Monday, December 31, 2007

Graduation Day

It may be the last day of 2007 for everyone else, but for me it's Graduation Day. I have reached my initial goal of playing 10,000 hands at the $5 NLHE tables at Party Poker and finishing with a profit. Not only that, I have beaten my expectations beyond any measure that I could have hoped when I started out.

If you'll recall, I allowed myself a miniscule bankroll of only $30.00 and was determined that, unlike the last bankroll, I would not lose the lot. I would have been happy with doubling my money to $60.00, in fact.

Last night when the 10,000th hand had been played and I closed my session, my overall bankroll stood at $142.27, and I was prepared to step up to the $10 NLHE tables. Once again I'll be setting a new list of goals, plus the requisite milestones to keep my focus along the way. After all, it worked so well the first time, I reckon I must be doing something right.

I'll be reporting back when I have completed my initial set of $10 NLHE goals.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Poker Links for the Week, 24 - 30 Dec

A quick trawl through my blogroll this week threw up a few juicy tidbits to chew on.

PokerNews and Pacific Poker have announced during the week that the PokerProForAYear competition has finally come down to the 10 finalists with the winner to be decided at Melboune's Crown Casino on January 7.

The always interesting Shamus of Poker at Hard-Boiled Poker has informed us that he has recently been added to the roster of "BigPoker Bloggers" at He can also be read at Pokerati where he is also now posting.

The Noted Poker Authority gave us some tips on how to cope with playing at wild poker tables, you know, when the betting just goes crazy and you're taken out of your comfort zone. As he explains, it's all right to move in on those aggressive raises.

At the Anonymous Poker Weblog a few hints/tips/reminders on how to identify and exploit weakness when playing at the micro level.

Blinders gives us some thoughts on differentiating between a donkey move and an expert play in MTT's.

Jaklang at Online Poker Jottings has been checking out and has given it the thumbs up with word being that bonus tips from poker rooms are out there to be had, not to mention some valuable strategy articles. Worth a look.

Anguila at Runner-Runner has posted a hand from a recent MTT that contains a call that would piss off a priest. He's looking for comments.

Some Blog Tournaments for the Week 24-30 December

The Mookie at Full Tilt - Wednesdays - Low Limit Grinder's blog for password and buy-in details.

Hoyazo has let it be known that, for the 52nd time this year, he didn't win the Mookie.

Monday At the Hoy (MATH) and the winner was cemfrommd. For a good rundown plus an update on the MATH moneyboard, visit the man himself. Buy in, password and start time details can all be found at the Hammer Player's blog.

BTW: Make sure you check out Hoy's post that unveils the Top 5 Hoy Haters for 2007.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Mission Accomplished - Almost

After taking the day off yesterday to celebrate the Christmas season with all manner of cold beer and hot food, I was back again tonight to polish off the last few dollars needed to reach my goal of $140.00. It seems that the micro-limit Euro-fish are still in the giving mood with every table I visited bestowing untold riches upon me, vaulting me over my target in no uncertain terms.

The hand that took me there was the sweetest of them all when I limped into a short-handed pot with Ks Th on the button. I hit Broadway with a flop of Qd As Jh and, with only one other player in the pot, called his minimum bet after the flop. The turn of 5c held no concerns so when my brave opponent doubled his bet, I was happy to go along and call again. A 2c on the river and I've got the nuts in front of me. A cagey check from the enemy prompted me to bet one-third of the pot, making it look like I was attempting to steal it. Sure enough, my soon to be very disappointed adversary raised me to double the pot, so I re-raised All-in and got the call I was after. The poor bugger had hit a set of 2s on the River and thought he had trapped me but good. So long, sucker as he doubles me up and puts me across the finish line.

But that's only part of my target reached. According to my original goals, I still have another 650 hands to play at this level to reach the stated 10,000 hands. That means I have around 4 more days, playing at the rate I usually take before reaching the "experience" goal.

So Merry Christmas to you all and watch your backs. I'm one step closer to playing for some serious money.

Friday, December 21, 2007


I get the feeling that I’m about at the stage where I should be at my most wary. It’s sort of that watershed moment that means the difference between stagnating and progressing. I’ve got the feeling that I’m bulletproof when I sit down at the $5 NLHE cash table at the moment, pulling down a profit virtually every time I play. It’s a dangerous attitude to have, mainly because it means that I’m shifting from the game plan that has brought me success so far.

In order to successfully progress to higher stakes tables this change, or growth, must occur. It’s down to how I manage the adjustment that becomes the key factor in whether I take advantage of my growing confidence. The risk is that I overdo the confidence thing and find myself taken down a notch or two by players that are more experienced, more aggressive and/or more crazy.

Just between you and me, I expect that the $10 NLHE cash games at Party Poker are just as fishy as the $5 tables and my strategy will continue to hold. But I’ve got to sound humble and apprehensive from the start or I’ll find it difficult to get action.

My original plan was to play 10,000 hands at the $5 NLHE cash tables at Party Poker and I have around 1400 to go which should see me reach the target by around the new year. My bankroll has grown from $30 to $130 far exceeding my modest goal of reaching $60. As I move on up I’ll post a more complete set of statistics and figures.

Current Bankroll Position : +323.81%

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Milestones, Milestones

It's inevitable, of course, that the milestones are becoming easier to achieve, what with my growing experience and the resultant growth in confidence. And so, after only a week since I reached the $100 bankroll mark I have moved it beyond $120 and am beginning to prepare myself (with a healthy looking bankroll) for the next level.

The $5 cash ring tables remain a complete minefield with any number of desperados will to call pre-flop all-in bets holding A-rag. Watching someone's AKs get knocked off by the caller's A4o makes you both cringe and rub your hands together all at the same time.

Naturally I have my own annoyances, today's version went something like this:

***** Hand History for Game 6593842277 *****
$5 USD NL Texas Hold'em - Saturday, December 15, 04:51:00 ET 2007
Table Table 126658 (Real Money)
Seat 9 is the button
Total number of players : 10
Seat 3: Seat 3 ( $5.02 USD )
Seat 5: Seat 5 ( $3.04 USD )
Seat 6: Seat 6 ( $3.82 USD )
Seat 8: Seat 8 ( $3.97 USD )
Seat 9: Seat 9 ( $4.87 USD )
Seat 10: Villain ( $2.66 USD )
Seat 4: pizerule ( $0.69 USD )
Seat 1: Seat 1 ( $4.92 USD )
Seat 7: Seat 7 ( $4.96 USD )
Seat 2: Seat 2 ( $1.96 USD )
Villain posts small blind [$0.02 USD].
Seat 1 is sitting out
Seat 2 posts big blind [$0.04 USD].
** Dealing down cards **
Dealt to pizerule [ Kh Tc ]
Seat 3 calls [$0.04 USD]
pizerule raises [$0.12 USD]
Seat 5 calls [$0.12 USD]
Seat 6 calls [$0.12 USD]
Seat 7 folds.
Seat 8 folds.
Seat 9 folds.
Villain calls [$0.10 USD]
Seat 2 folds.
Seat 3 calls [$0.08 USD]
** Dealing Flop ** [ 9d, Kc, 5d ]
Villain checks.
Seat 3 checks.
pizerule is all-In.
Seat 5 folds.
Seat 6 calls [$0.57 USD]
Villain calls [$0.57 USD]
Seat 3 calls [$0.57 USD]
** Dealing Turn ** [ Jc ]
Villain bets [$0.64 USD]
Seat 3 folds.
Seat 6 folds.
** Dealing River ** [ 2c ]
Villain shows [ 2d, Jd ]two pairs, Jacks and Twos.
pizerule doesn't show [ Kh, Tc ]a pair of Kings.
Villain wins $0.64 USD from side pot #1 with two pairs, Jacks and Twos.
Villain wins $2.78 USD from the main pot with two pairs, Jacks and Twos.

Now this joker called my pre-flop raise with J 2 and then called with the fishy's favourite - the allure of the flush draw - and proceeded to hit runner runner. Needless to say, the bloke did a runner from the table after that hand, obviously embarrassed at having it shown down. He'll keep.

In order to ensure that I continue to challenge myself, I think I will have to adjust the milestones so that I have to aim to reach them over a shorter period of time.

Current Bankroll Position : +292.77%

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

A Winning Night and a Question

I had my most successful night at the Party Poker $5 cash tables since beginning to keep track of my daily returns. This has helped give me a giant boost towards the next milestone target in record time, which is probably just as well considering the Christmas-based interruptions that I’m expecting in the back half of the month. It seemed that no matter what I did last night I couldn’t help but take down the pot – certainly makes a pleasant change to sitting on the other end of a notorious Party Poker suck out.

Compared to the vast majority of microtable denizens I am a particularly tight player, sticking to premium starting hands for the vast majority of the time. A significant number of players I play against have a VP$IP of over 50 which is really quite ridiculous, but it also provides plenty of opportunities. Sometimes I get myself into a fold-rut where I will automatically fold whenever some crazy makes what I consider an indecently large raise before the flop, even when I’ve got a decent starting hand.

So that’s why it was really out of character the way I played my A Qs.

I was UTG and whacked in a 6xBB raise trying to limit the commonplace multi-way pots that scuttle many a strong starting hand. My raise was immediately called by the guy next to me, only to be raised All-In by the next bloke. Everyone else folded around to me. My usual reaction in this situation is to fold, fearing I’ve come up against AA. But last night I allowed myself to break free from my usual passivity and chucked it all in. As an added bonus, the guy who called my original raise also called the All-In move.

A Queen in the door saw my hand prevail and tripled me up. Unfortunately the Party Poker software doesn’t show each player’s hole cards when All-In in cash ring games so I have no idea what the other guys made their move with. And here’s my point… other than to crow about a handy win…surely, if I have risked all of my money by calling someone’s All-In move I have bought the right to see the hole cards of my opponents. Party Poker displays the hole cards when players are All-In during tournament play, why not at the cash ring tables?

I shall be asking the Party Poker powers the same question.

Current Bankroll Position : +272.66%

Sunday, December 9, 2007

The $100 Milestone

I'm currently playing the .02/.04 NLHE Tables at Party Poker. The goal is to increase my bankroll sufficiently to move up to the next cash game level.

A couple of days ahead of schedule and the latest milestone ($100) is mine – not without the odd self-doubt in the midst of a few mind-boggling beats – with the last few days proving to be very profitable indeed.

One thing that I am rather uncomfortable about is that I feel as though I am playing way too tight, allowing myself to get pushed off my hands too easily. (My PT Total Aggression factor is 1.16). It’s an aspect of my play that I must overcome if I am going to be successful at the higher stakes tables. Part of my problem is that I’m very bankroll-conscious at the moment and am often unwilling to risk losing in order to win. I know this goes directly against the essential ingredient in becoming a successful NLHE player, so it’s a part of my game I will have to address sooner rather than later.

Be that as it may, I’m celebrating the power of goal-setting today and am basking in the satisfying glow of success.

So now I have to focus on the next milestone target of $120 which I will be trying to reach by December 21. I have been playing a lot more hands per day over the last couple of weeks so the expected date for reaching 10,000 hands has moved forward to early January which will coincide nicely with the beginning of the new year.

Current Bankroll Position : 225.98%

Monday, December 3, 2007


The key to successfully playing profitable poker isn’t whether I play A 9o from middle position too often but to my overall discipline…

When starting out on the challenge of something ambitious such as building a bankroll from an insignificant amount to impressive proportions, you tend to begin with bright-eyed confidence and an undying belief that the goal you’re attempting to achieve is reachable. Indeed, it is achievable…just about anything our imagination can think up is achievable. Realising your goal comes down to a number of key factors, but the most important one, and the one in which we have the most control over, is discipline.

Here are a few of the discipline challenges I have encountered over the last couple of months as I have been grinding my bankroll up from $30 to $90 on the Party Poker $5 NLHE Cash tables.

  • The discipline of playing day after day in a bid to meet the goal number of hands per day.

  • The discipline of sticking to the cash games rather than trying my hand at the SNG tables.

  • The discipline of sticking to my tried and tested strategy of leaving the table as soon as a profit has been made.

  • The discipline of slowly building my bankroll rather than succumbing to the temptation of moving too quickly out of my depth in a bid to try to speed the process up.

  • The discipline of constantly reaffirming my goals to keep them solidified in my head.

  • The discipline of honestly recounting my progress in a blog to make it more real and powerful.

  • The discipline of remaining pragmatic whenever someone calls my pre-flop raise and then proceeds to take down my pocket KK with their 8 3o.

  • The discipline of not allowing overconfidence to distract me from my original goal.

Naturally, my discipline is most sorely tested after a losing day as the doubts start crowding in and attempt to take over from all of the hard built positive energy. For all of the reasons listed above, not to mention a few more that will probably come to me as I continue to think hard over it, setting out goals is vital to ongoing poker success.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Grindability Factor Set To High

As we near the end of November the progress continues to be slow but steady, as you would expect when playing as a self-proclaimed grinder. I once again picked up ground on my latest milestone target of $100, regaining the confidence I lost when I was used as a plaything during the week.

I’ve taken to stopping by Full Tilt each night after I’ve had my fill of the Party Poker $5 cash craziness to play a few $2 STT SNG’s. I’ve been meeting with a reasonable amount of success with a net profit so far the result. Now, I know this is a completely ridiculous suggestion but I’m going to make it anyway. I have been astounded at the number of times the big stack seems to hit a 1 or 2 outer on the river when someone’s gone all-in at Full Tilt. The comments along the lines of “that’s a Full Tilt Special” are commonly seen at the end of the hand.

Perhaps it comes from being able to see both sets of hole cards while the all-in unfolds, compared with at Party Poker where they’re not revealed in the cash games so you don’t get a sense for how often it happens there too.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Irony of Poker

Hugely ironical or a timely reminder of how tough the game of poker can be, I don’t know, but a day after posting that quote about the value of failure I suffered my first losing day for 2 weeks. The reality is I was due for a loss, I can’t expect to win every time I throw money on the table, it’s just the timing that strikes me as rather poignant.

The difficult part about it was the fact that it felt as though I was being used as a punching bag at times last night. If I hit top pair on the flop and bet, someone would come over the top with a re-raise. When I bet on the river with a reasonably strong hand, the inevitable re-raise all-in would materialise. It seemed that every time someone chased their unrealistic draw to the river they were hitting against me (that wasn’t actually the case of course, it just seemed like it).

My mood wasn’t helped when I picked up AA UTG, threw in a standard 3 x BB raise and was popped all-in by a guy in MP. He then showed A 2o and proceeded to hit a 2 on the flop and another 2 on the turn to take me down. It’s cold comfort to know that although he might be a short-term winner, making plays like that will ensure that he is bound to be a long-term loser. I’ve just got to make sure I’m there when the ledger is balanced.

Current Bankroll Position : +176.22%

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Price of Success

As I am only a month and a half into my newly devised strategy to play poker profitably, I am on a very steep learning curve. I’m reading as much as I can – and not everything I’m reading has to do solely with poker. As you may have picked up from the bulk of my posts, I am relying on the power of goal-setting, combined with a basic poker savvy, to keep driving me forward.

I thought I would share the latest valuable nugget that might help you get over the next time you go bust:

There is an old saying: "Anything worth doing well is worth doing poorly at first." It is not practice that makes perfect; it is imperfect practice that eventually makes perfect.

Whenever you start something new, you can expect to do it poorly. You will feel clumsy and awkward at first. You will feel inadequate and inferior. You will often feel silly and embarrassed. But this is the price that you pay to achieve excellence in your field. You will always have to pay the price of success, and that price often involves the hard work of mastering a difficult skill that you need to move to the top of your field.

Source : Goals by Brian Tracy (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.)

Monday, November 26, 2007

Another Week, Another Milestone

Another successful weekend has rolled by, the $80 milestone has been achieved and I’m now pointing my focus on the next milestone target of $100. While the numbers appear small, the progress feels enormous and my confidence is growing accordingly.

The full milestone target that I’m looking to achieve next is a bankroll of $100 by December 10. As things stand today, that’s a profit of $13.13 in 15 days or an average daily profit of $0.88 playing on the .02/.04 NLHE Cash tables. Given that my average daily profit for November is currently $1.45, the goal is more than realistic.

I’m still on track to build my bankroll up to a level that will give me a solid financial background to play on the $10 NLHE cash tables.

Having a look around at the various blogs out there, I can see that I am an insignificant speck playing tiny stakes games and earning a decidedly unimpressive profit. However, I have also noticed that, apart from a very minor percentage of the blogging populace, I seem to be one of very few people who have given much thought to devising a plan that will lead them to profitability. (Or maybe I’m just one of the few who constantly talks about it in my blog…)

There’s lots of moaning and bitching about the donks out there who beat their KK with an inferior hand (perhaps unwilling to admit to themselves or us that maybe their earlier style of play may have prompted the seemingly loose call, hmmmm?). I also seem to be reading about people who “had a spare hour so decided to jump onto the $100 table”. Certainly there’s little mention of anyone reaching a certain predetermined playing level and are now moving up to try their game at the next level.

Just out of curiosity, how many of you out there actually have a plan or a goal in which you hope to move up the various stakes games, be they MTT, SNG or Cash games? On the flip side, how many are just as comfortable to play for the entertainment factor and are willing to deposit more funds when the bankroll is fully depleted?

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Australian Federal Election & Milestone Day

The Australian Federal Election is in full swing today as the nation votes to elect a (new) Prime Minister into office. The writing has been on the wall for Little Johnny Howard for quite some time and the expectation is that Kevin Rudd will take over as the Prime Minister of Australia. George Dubya will have to get someone else to kiss his arse for him in future.

Milestone Day

Today is also the day that I had nominated to have increased my bankroll to $80, as a minor milestone on the road to my longer term goal. After playing a few hours last night I finished with my account sitting at a little over $79.50, so a profitable session tonight should see me realising my goal on time.

Doing so means that I'm still on track with my attempt at averaging a daily profit of $1.25 on the .02/.04 NLHE Cash tables.

Friday, November 23, 2007

I'm A Titan!

I’ve opened an account at Titan Poker to go with my existing Party and Full Tilt accounts. I’ve done so for a number of reasons, but I suppose the overriding factor is plain ole greed.

I was reading an article that set out to determine the fishiest online poker room taking into the number of low-limit SNG’s, MTT’s, Ring Cash games and Tournament Qualifiers as well as the ratio of rank beginners to more experienced players. It came down to a battle between Party Poker and Titan with the title being awarded to Titan.

Wow! A poker site that is fishier than Party! That’s got to be reason enough for a small initial deposit just to check out the standard for myself. I’m still sticking to the micro-tables although I’ve stepped it up a notch to play the $10 NL 6 max cash games. A little bonus is that, as a first time depositer I also get the opportunity to play in the Beginner Freerolls. I’m not sure whether I’ll bother playing these because, the way I see it, the time I spend gunning for a pittance after 3 or 4 hours of play could be better spent fishing at the cash games.

I’ve had 3 sessions at Titan so far noodling out a profit each time and getting a bit of a feel for the standard of play. To this point it’s pretty much as advertised with plenty of people willing to chase their draws all the way to the river.

So the plan is to apply the same strategy that I'm using at Party Poker to the fish at Titan and challenge myself to growing my bankroll, progressing up the cash game ladder.

Note the Hole Cards At Showdown

One of the most important aspects, not to mention potentially profitable, parts of playing on the micro-tables is taking note of what’s shown down. Last night was a prime example of picking up a person’s playing style – or lack thereof – when a guy took down a pretty big pot with a flush showing his hole cards which were 9 2d. The fact that to get there he had to call raises after the flop and turn before hitting on the river made my night and flagged that there was a lot of easy money to be made.

Sure enough, time and again I played hands that were called to the river with either flush draws or straight draws that didn’t hit, only to see the hand folded when a bet is made. It’s taking advantage of the obvious poor players at the micro-level that will prove profitable in the long run. For every bad beat that you take off these calling stations there are numerous opportunities to exploit the craptastic.

Mr 8-3 Returns

Right back at the start of the month I moaned a little bit about the guy who called my pre-flop raise with 8 3o, prompting me to dub him “Mr 8-3”. It has taken 20 days but he finally made a return to the tables at a time that coincided with me. And you reckon the band didn’t play Waltzing Matilda inside my head when I spotted him? Like bloody hell it didn’t.

True to his previous – for want of a better word – style, he played every damn hand that was dealt to him, limping if it hadn’t been raised before him and calling if it had. Party time! He paid big time…and I plan on returning to the well in the future too.

Current Bankroll Position : +141.32%

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

My Progress Report After 5 Weeks

Time for another check on how my progress is going as I attempt to meet my bankroll goals. I find this kind of analysis is important to reaffirming my goals as well as ensuring that I’m not straying from my original strategy which is easy to do when beset by impatience, overconfidence and complacency. The temptation to begin pushing harder after a little bit of success can cause me to deviate from the original plan and away from the discipline that brought the success in the first place.

I acknowledge that I’m a better poker player than when I started this challenge, but I also acknowledge that I’m nowhere near as good as I will have to be if I am going to succeed at the higher levels.

Goal Actual
Play 100 hands / day Playing 99.7 hands / day
To show a profit Current profit is at 114%
To have a bankroll big enough to allow 20 buy-ins at the next level Bankroll = $66 Current profit / day is 0.98. The target minimum is $100 which works out at only 0.53 / day.

So I can conclude from this little summary that I am safely on course to achieve the goals I have set for myself. (Insert warm inner glow of indulgent self-congratulation here). I admit that I can improve HOW I play, but, for the standard with which I am mixing it, I'm doing OK.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Making Up For Lost Time

My internet connection has been restored, pay television (the deity my children bow down to) is returned and the poker fun and games has been allowed to resume.

I think the enforced break has allowed me the chance to take a breath, reassess the way I’ve been playing and not stress so much about copping a bad beat or two. My drive to meet my goals has caused me to play very passively out of the fear of taking a loss when often times, had I remained aggressive, I would have had more success.

I’ve jumped back onto the Party Poker $5 tables showing great patience with the numerous multi-way pots that are common there. So I’ve made myself a little mantra that no-one in the big blind will get a free look at the flop if I’m in the pot.

To welcome me back today our table was visited by a guy who announced as he sat down “I don’t play poker any more…but they gave me a bonus…I’m going to splash it around to you guys”. Oh year, I thought, that sounds like a case of Come In Spinner. But he was true to his word and he was kind enough to donate 2 buy-ins to my cause. A very handy little welcome back present.

Add to that a couple of $2 + 0.25 SNG wins at Full Tilt and it feels as though I’m making up for lost time.

Current Bankroll Position : +113.75%

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Things Sent To Try Us

With my new goals set and a steely resolve to grind my way to the daily profit I had become accustomed to, I thought I had covered all the obstacles that could get in my way. What I hadn’t counted on was the dirty great truck that would roll down our street and snag itself on our cable connection bringing the whole lot down in a tangled mess. Goodbye broadband connection, adios Foxtel.

The earliest we can hope to be reconnected? Monday!!!

5 days without cable television or access to the internet. It’ll feel like we’re living in the 1980’s again – without the techno-crap music, thank God.

So that gives me 5 days to study. I might crack my copy of The Theory of Poker by David Sklansky and go over a few handy hints that will give me an added edge. After a little fortune reversal lately it may not exactly be a bad thing to regroup, reassess and reapply.

Fortunately I can still sneak onto the internet from work and while Poker sites are blocked because of that whole gambling thing, blogs and forums are available for access, so at least I can keep up with what’s going on around the traps even if I can’t participate.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Pain of Losing

Here’s an interesting paradox that some of you may be familiar with.

On Monday when the Australian stock market took a dive I lost around $5,000 in one day, yet barely gave it a moment’s thought, accepting it as part of the frequent rises and falls that go with share trading. Yet when I lost 7 bucks – Seven. Lousy. Bucks. – playing poker on the micro-tables last night, I spent the rest of the night muttering and cursing, despising myself for some of the insane calls I made, reliving hand after hand, pissed off at the prick who played 89o and beat my set when he hit his straight on the river.

How does that work???

There are a few obvious reasons for the difference in my reaction (apart the fact that I’m just plain weird) to the two situations but logically they should be same. Why?

  • There is a known risk of loss when entering both transactions.
  • There a ways and means of minimising your losses in both cases – setting stop losses for the market, limiting yourself to a certain buy-in, for example.

But I think the main reason that I tool the poker loss so much harder was that I’d had so many winning sessions in a row that I simply wasn’t conditioned to accept a loss. My mind had conveniently overlooked the probability that, every now and then, the cards simply won’t fall your way and the money will move from your account to someone who is infinitely less deserving.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

When I Deviate - I Lose

I experienced another minor hiccup last night with a couple of hits setting me back, one of them was my own fault for being a dumbass and chasing when I knew I was behind, but the others were because of ridiculously loose calls pre-flop that hit from nowhere. You’ve got to accept the beats I suppose, after all if they were decent players they wouldn’t be wasting time on the $5 tables.

Last night’s loss wiped out most of the previous 2 day’s profit so while it has left a bitter taste in my mouth, it’s hardly devastating. The most galling aspect was that, playing at what turned out to be the last ring-cash table of the night I once again deviated from my stated strategy in a bid to chase my early losses and blew a 26% profit to eventually leave the table with a 38% loss.

As if I haven’t had the proof of the success of my “stand up with any profit” strategy already drummed into me, I received a further smack around the chops with it. Lesson : don’t tinker with what already works.

Smart Poker’s Muppet of the Day

A great way to approach some of the bad play that you encounter on a regular basis is to deride and make fun of those who exhibit a deficiency in game. Taking the opportunity to point and laugh, Smart Money has introduced us to Muppet of the Day. Hopefully it will be an ongoing feature of his blog, readers have certainly gotten into the spirit of the occasion with their own additions. Well worth checking out.

Current Bankroll Position : +101.01%

Monday, November 12, 2007

Adjusting the Short Term Goal

When I posted my initial goal-setting post I mentioned that the goals should be regularly adjusted as circumstances change. I had no illusions about my own progress or that the change of goals would come about because I had far exceeded my own expectations. After all, I had just exhausted my first bankroll, the standard of my own play was awful and there was no real sign that I was going to turn it around.

Some major cramming of noted poker books by Sklansky, Brunson and Harrington as well as diligently putting their theory into practice and some typically shoddy play by my fellow micro-table guppies has kicked me forward at a great rate.

New Short Term Goals

  • Complete 10,000 hands at the $5 NLHE tables. (I’ve currently played 3,000 hands).
  • Reach a bankroll of $140. To do this I calculate I must average around $1.13 / day which I figure is a challenge on the unpredictable .02/.04 tables.
  • Readjust milestone targets to (i) $80 by 24 November (ii) $100 by 10 December (iii) $120 by 26 December
  • I’ve bought myself Poker Tracker and plan to use it to identify weaker players to help me choose which tables I play at. Interestingly, when I loaded in my old hand histories the players who came at or near the bottom of the statistics were those players I had identified myself. I was fairly pleased that my own analysis was backed up by the numbers.

Long Term Goal Reaffirmed

  • Play at the $5,000 NLHE ($25/$50) tables by July 2010.

Medium Term Goal Reaffirmed

  • To play profitably at the $100 ($0.50/$1) tables by October 2008.

I’m happy with the knowledge that I have picked up so far by reading the various recommended poker books, but I still have quite a lot of work to do in calculating pot odds. I find it particularly difficult to do given the speed at which on-line poker is played, so this is an aspect that I will have to work on. I figure that when I fold a hand I should sit there and try to calculate what my pot odds would have been had I stayed with the hand.

So much of the success I'm trying to attain has more to do with effective goal setting rather than effective poker.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Pay Me Bitch!

How’s this for a dream scenario.

You’re sitting at a table that contains a couple of absolute feebs who regularly take pots with massive overbets, backing the other players down. Occasionally the overbet is called and you see the bluff but it doesn’t deter them from making the identical play over and over again.

Finally, I’m on the button and pick up 9 Tc and make the call with one of those erratic players checking in the BB. The flop comes 8c 9d 9h – trips is a pretty fair flop, I’m pretty sure I know what’s coming and BB bets the minimum so I call signalling I’m chasing. The turn comes Jc and not only do I sit there with trips but I’ve also got a straight flush draw. The erratic BB predictably bumps the betting up 4 x the pot to scare me off the hand so I again make the call.

Well bugger me if the river isn’t the Qc and there I am with my second queen high straight flush in two days. Now if history is anything to go by…

Sure enough the aggro BB chucks me All-In. It’s one thing to pick up the absolute nuts but a whole nuther thing to get paid off to the max!

And what did the showdown reveal? A mighty 8d 2h!!!

Milestone #3 achieved!

Needless to say I flew past my 3rd milestone target yesterday and am now embarking on a new goal.

If I am going to play the $10 NLHE tables with the recommended bankroll risking a maximum of 5% with your stake, my minimum requirement is a bankroll of $100 for a $5 stake. Therefore my new goal at the $5 tables is to get as close to $100 as possible. I estimate it will take around 60 more days to play the 7000 hands to get me to 10000, so that’s only an average daily profit of 0.60 – a target that’s definitely achievable. Exceeding that mark will allow me to play with a higher stake.

Current Bankroll Position : 108.56%

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Of Tiny Cash Games and Limit Sit N Go

Another significant day today has drawn me to within $1 of my first money goal of turning $30 into $60. The 3 day losing streak at the start of the month is now a fading memory but still a reminder of what can happen if I get ahead of myself. The reins are still tightly in check and I am only playing quality starting hands wherever possible. I’m also careful to eject the hand when the texture of the board combined with the betting looks to be going against me.

Although the quality of the microtable player may not be terribly crash hot, the outlandish array of starting hands that people are willing to call a raise with makes it somewhat of a minefield to play in. The play is interesting at times to say the least.

Limit Sit N Go Tourneys

As well as the .02/.04 cash games I have begun playing a few of the Party Poker $3 Limit Hold ‘em Sit N Go’s. I’ve been reading “Small Stakes Hold ‘em” by Miller, Sklansky and Malmuth and have been trying to apply the concepts from the book. It’s early days so far but from the couple of Sit n Go tourneys I’ve entered I have picked up a 1st and a 2nd place finish. Some of the entrants in these SNGs are absolutely clueless about how to play LHE with the first 10-15 hands all raised to the maximum on every street. Not only that, last night one genius announced to the rest of the table “Damn, I thought this was no-limit, I hate limit.” Guess who was first eliminated.

So the sailing is smooth at the moment as I continue to learn the craft. The pace is probably slower than that which most would like to progress, but I am convinced that I can “get rich slowly” by doing it this way. The plan is that at some point the graph will develop into a nice J-curve.

Current Bankroll Position : +91.50%

Thursday, November 8, 2007

"Tonight's my first night playing with real money"

How's this for the chance of a lifetime. Someone comes and sits at the .02/.04 table tonight and, before being dealt a card announces to the table that it's her first night playing for real money. (You could almost hear the girlish giggle as she said it). Well naturally, I thought "just pass the money over here - save us all some time".

And then the fun began. She played 92o like it was pocket aces...until the river where she checked it down and lost in a showdown. 86o was played like there was no tomorrow before the flop with a 12xBB raise, then it was checked after the flop, called to the river before going down (surprisingly for such a powerhouse hand).

Boom, ka-boom, her first stake was gone and it was a laugh riot to watch the zany action. The rest of us were fighting over getting our money in. She didn't miss a hand and I don't even think she was issued a "Fold" button.

But she didn't stop at one stake. Click - *Rebuy* and round 2 was on for young and old until that too was gone. Cick - *Rebuy* OMG I thought I'd died and gone to hog heaven.

But then all too soon she was gone from our I followed her to her next port of call. It wasn't all one way traffic, though. I watched her push, check and then call from UTG all the way to the river against one poor guy The board showed Td Th 3d (9s) (4c). He raised pre-flop, bet after the flop, bet after the turn and shoved All-In on the river only to find that she finally hit something on the river with her pocket 4s - a boat.

The betting was crazy and the starting hands were just ridiculous, but I tell you what, I have her name marked down and I'll be back for more fun and games tomorrow night. I hope she is too.

It's All Down In Tiny Town

There are grinds and then there are grinds. Last night I played a helluva lot of poker with absolutely nothing to show for it at FullTilt and then swapped over to Party Poker where I only played 28 hands and came away with a handy profit.

At FullTilt I entered the nightly freeroll that is restricted to Australian players. Once again I was experiencing a bit of flakiness with my broadband connection that was dropping out and back in a few times. This has only started happening since the latest server reconfiguration last weekend, my connectivity appears OK elsewhere and my ISP reports that everything is A-OK at their end.

Anyway, after a solid 2 hours of bumping and grinding, pushing and folding I found myself down to the last 80 of the field of 700. But I was getting short stacked and still 50 places from the money. It only took one ill-considered push at precisely the wrong time to see me out on my ear in 73rd place and nothing to show for my efforts. Uh, that is, except for the knowledge that I play these tourneys way too passively. Where I should have been accumulating chips I was folding my hand expecting something better to come along when in fact it had just passed.

The contrast between the tournament play and the tiny stakes of the micro-table cash games at Party Poker was enormous and the calling stations were out in force, falling over themselves to pay off my flopped sets and straights. Obviously I have tailored my style to be more suited to the set blinds where I can afford to wait for a quality hand to make my move.

The thing is, on a micro-table there is no such thing as a tight table image. I don’t think anyone noticed that I folded down virtually every hand for 2 orbits before entering a pot judging by the willing callers to my pre-flop raises. Not complaining – just saying.

Current bankroll Position : +63.57%

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Out! Out! Damn Broadband Connection

I had what I would consider to be my most frustrating night at the table last night and it had nothing to do with finding myself card dead, I really didn’t suffer from bad beats and I was fairly happy with my own play. My problem came with an extraordinarily uncooperative broadband connection that repeatedly disconnected me from the site. I had entered a STT Sit N Go and hadn’t even played a hand before the dealer’s comments announced that I had already been disconnected and reconnected 3 times.


My concentration was absolutely shot to pieces as I didn’t know when my screen was going to freeze midway through a hand. I’d come back partly through the next hand madly trying to work out who had taken down the last pot. This is something that has never happened to me before – perhaps it’s karma after my bitchy post from a couple of days ago complaining about the time taken by multi-tablers. That’ll learn me.

The fact that I made it to 4th was even more annoying with the blinds going up, my chip stack dwindling and the freezes becoming more troublesome. As it turned out, I was getting blinded out of the tourney by the auto “Post blind and fold” feature that kicked in when I was disconnected.

Before all of these fun and games I managed to fit some ring cash play in over at Party Poker and picked up a little profit to keep me on track towards my short term goal. It’s slow and steady but the direction is forwards.

Current bankroll Position : +57.54%

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Melbourne Cup Day

I had a relatively quiet night last night after experiencing my brief losing streak. I felt it would be more prudent to be circumspect for a day father than immediately go out to chase my losses.

As it turned out, I still got to play my fair share of hands for the day, but instead of hitting the cash tables I played a Full Tilt Freeroll followed by a Party Poker Freeroll. Full Tilt saw me crash out fairly early but at Party Poker I was lucky enough to make it to the money again picking up a small bonus for my efforts. The payout represented enough to keep me on target for reaching my next goal so I chose to rack my cue and have an early night.

Melbourne Cup today and it all feels a bit ho hum around Sydney. The equine flu outbreak that has brought the Sydney racing scene to a grinding halt seems also to have affected the interest with the locals too. I’ve falling so completely out of touch that I won’t be having a bet this year. The only interest I’ve got is in the yearly office sweep for which I contribute on a fortnightly basis. As it turns out I have drawn the race favourite Master O’Reilly – for what that’s worth.

Current Bankroll Position : +55.95%

Monday, November 5, 2007

Bad Moon Rising?

Reality hits hard and fast to remind you that it doesn’t pay to become overconfident. (When I say “you”, of course, I mean “me”).

For the 3rd day in succession I have finished in the red and my initial goal, which was looking ridiculously easy only a few days ago, now looks as though it will provide the challenge I was expecting.

The inevitable beats have started to have an effect. Add to that some deserved losses through dumb play – things I have tried to drum into myself like never slow-playing after flopping a set. Suddenly I’m left to reconcile myself with a close examination required of what I am doing differently.

Of the things I can control, I have made one change that has noticeably altered my daily results. I decided I could relax my rule of leaving a table the moment a profit has been made and twice over the weekend I went from showing a handy profit to bad-beating my way to losing the lot. The exact strategy that saw me patiently build my bankroll could have also helped me arrest the slide.

I can put the change in strategy down to 3 insidious factors : overconfidence, impatience and greed.

Current Bankroll Position : +54.49%

Sunday, November 4, 2007

An Observation on Multi-Tabling

Just a quick word to those of you who multi-table. You may think you're handling playing 6 tables at once (or more...or less), I can tell you do by the posting in blogs and comments in forums, but there is a factor that I don't think one of you take into consideration. It's got nothing to do with the fact that you're more prone to making mistakes by multi-tabling rather than devoting your concentration to a single table.

The factor I'm talking about is common courtesy to your fellow players.

If you were playing live, you wouldn't consider for a moment getting up mid-hand and walking over to another table to play a second hand, meanwhile making the players at the first hand to wait until you deign to return to check how the progress of the first is going. For starters, your fellow players wouldn't stand for being made to wait time and again - and nor should they.

I was playing at a Sit N Go today and there were 2 players at the table who were obviously multi-tabling. Almost without exception, every time it was their turn to act the game was held up while we were waiting for them to bother to turn their attention to our table. These self-indulgent bastards thought it would be quite OK to make everyone wait - blind-time slipping away - just because they were under the misguided impression that they can multi-table efficiently.

I've got news for you boys, you can't.

Plus, there's another little secret you might like to know about...the tells are much more obvious when a multi-tabler is around. If the calls, checks and raises are made promptly all of a sudden, I know that the hand you hold is big and important enough to make my table the centre of your attention. You're pretty much announcing "I've got a hand." If it takes ages for you to get back to us, well, your hand is obviously not quite so important and you're willing to risk it being folded down through a failure to act in time.

By all means guys, multi-table to your hearts content, just remember to be considerate to others. Poker is a social game and you're part of that society just like the rest of us.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

A Bump In the Road

I stubbed my toe for the first time in ages last night and it serves as a powerful reminder to play according to the type of opponent you're up against. I came up against a calling station who called my 3 x BB raise pre-flop and then proceeded to take down my A Qo with their powerful 8 3 o. (The useful rhyming slang "Berkeley Hunt" was muttered a time or two while I calmed myself).

I have made a note of this person (heretofore now referred to as Mr 8-3) and you can be sure I will be seeing a lot more of him and I'm counting on him assisting me towards my target bankroll.

So a lesson has been learnt - that's a positive. I will now be more careful to pay close attention to the game of ALL of my opponents.

The bankroll position for the day was in negative territory for the first time in 2 weeks, a pretty good streak that I will now aim to emulate.

Current Bankroll Position : +69.96%

Friday, November 2, 2007

Sometimes You Just Get Lucky

I had a lucky escape last night playing my usual .02/.04 stakes, one that I should record to remind myself that, should I do it too often I will be seeing my bankroll start heading in the wrong direction.

Here’s the hand in question:

***** Hand History for Game 6463830369 *****
$5 USD NL Texas Hold'em - Thursday, November 01, 05:34:30 ET 2007
Table Table 126699 (Real Money)
Seat 7 is the button
Total number of players : 6
Seat 2: ( $2.02 USD )
Seat 3: ( $3.88 USD )
Seat 9: ( $0 USD )
Seat 6: pizerule ( $4.48 USD )
Seat 10: ( $9.66 USD )
Seat 7: ( $4.82 USD )
Seat 10 posts small blind [$0.02 USD].
Seat 2 posts big blind [$0.04 USD].
** Dealing down cards **
Dealt to pizerule [ Jh Kh ]
Seat 3 folds
Seat 9 has left the table.
xxxxxxxx has joined the table.
pizerule raises [$0.12 USD]
Seat 7 calls [$0.12 USD]
Seat 10 folds
Seat 2 folds
** Dealing Flop ** [ Kc, Qd, Js ]
pizerule bets [$0.12 USD]
Seat 7 raises [$0.24 USD]
pizerule calls [$0.12 USD]
** Dealing Turn ** [ 9c ]
pizerule bets [$0.24 USD]
Seat 7 raises [$0.68 USD]
pizerule calls [$0.44 USD]
** Dealing River ** [ Jd ]
pizerule is all-In [$3.44 USD]
Seat 7 calls [$3.44 USD]
pizerule shows [ Jh, Kh ]a full house, Jacks full of Kings.
Seat 7 shows [ Ts, As ]a straight Ten to Ace.
pizerule wins $8.57 USD from the main pot with a full house, Jacks full of Kings.

Now, the problem was, I was pretty damn sure from the first time I was raised that I was behind, and I was guessing A T was the hand I was up against. But I got stubborn because all I wanted to see was that I hit 2 pair on the flop and it just HAD to be the best hand. The J on the river bailed me out, although had it not come I most certainly would not have pushed All-In.

As I said, I got lucky and more often than not, I would have taken a hit from it.

Free-Rolling Along

The Freeroll payouts are continuing to roll in with another little bonus to tack onto the bankroll. The adjustment necessary to play a Speed tourney compared to a Cash Ring game takes a little bit of getting used to. Whereas you can sit back and wait for the premium hands in the cash games, you can’t afford that luxury when trying to stay ahead of the rapidly rising blinds. At least it promotes creative play.

Current Bankroll Position : +81.22%

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Milestone #2 Reached

The milestones are coming much more quickly than first anticipated with my 2nd goal of growing my bankroll to $50 having been achieved last night. It’s amazing what a little bit of focus has done for my game combined with a moderate amount of education. Obviously I still have mountains of learning to do but I am already benefiting from the confidence of experience.

My original projected timeframe for reaching my second milestone profit level was mid-December which puts me way ahead of schedule. This means I’ll have to sit down and set myself some new milestones to aim for – some that are more challenging than the originals. I don’t want to run the risk of drifting along simply because things have gone better than expected. Like in trading the market, when things are going well you’ve got to push it even harder.

After all, my original plan was to play at least 10000 hands at the .02/.04 level and that hasn’t changed. As of last night I still have a further 8200 still to play before moving up the ladder.

Sit N Go

As a little celebration for reaching my 2nd milestone I decided to treat myself to a $3 Sit N Go tournament of Limit Hold-Em. It seems that 8 other people decided that they would get into the spirit of the occasion by allowing me to take down 2nd place. The cash was a nice little bonus but it’s the experience of playing in a tournament that I found even more valuable.

All of this is still very new and exciting for me and I feel a little sorry when I read how some people tell that they like to play 6 tables at once (or more), otherwise it’s just “too boring”.

Current Bankroll Position : +64.52%

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Folding Two Pair

With few highlights or lowlights tonight I bided my time at 3 .02/.04 tables and came away with a profit from each of them. I am bearing down at a rapid rate on milestone #2, so be prepared to break out the fairy bread and chicken nuggets for the celebration.

I'm still having some difficulty staying with a hand but, then again, anyone who doesn't fold the odd bluff is probably calling too many times. I folded two pair K's & 9's when faced with TKQ 9 and a raise from 1st position after the Turn followed by a call from middle position. I figured the chances were too great that a Jack was out there and I was probably beaten. Turned out it was taken down by a pair of Queens - raiser and caller both held A 7 - ya gotta love playing the micros...

Current Bankroll Position : +55.40%

The Value of Patience

What a weird night last night turned out for me, and also, compared to normal, a long night in which I played 183 hands.

I know I’ve said this before but it’s worth repeating if only to drum it into the centre of my own consciousness : it is vital to remain patient at the poker table.

I had an early loss at the first table I played where I was pretty much card dead for the duration. The result on me personally was that I was beginning to mutter and curse under my breath over the crap cards I was getting, the crap way others were playing and what I would do to them when I finally got a hand. I was literally beginning to steam (although it was a warm day in Sydney) and I started to play some pretty bad hands. I was lucky to pick up a big pot just before I had to leave the table which minimised my losses.

Having given myself a chance to cool down by sitting and watching an episode of The Office I came back more composed and settled. It was a good thing too because I pretty quickly began taking hit after hit and was watching my stack disappear. This time though I was able to remain patient knowing that something would eventually come my way.

When it did, though, it was a virtual donation in a hand that I should never have been allowed to make, let alone get paid off for.

Hole cards : A Ts – 4 of us see the flop and I’m on the button.
Flop : Q T J rainbow – one person bet the minimum so I called with my bottom pair and straight draw, so did the other two.
Turn : K – I’ve hit my straight but the same person bets it. I call and the other two run away.
River is a blank and my friend in early position makes a big bet at me. I figured they must also have an A so I raised it all-in for the hell of it. Well they call and then show 9 9!!! Thank you very much.

Feeling as though I’d just been kicked in the arse with a rainbow I took my winnings and scuttled off to bed.

Current Bankroll Position : +49.89%

Monday, October 29, 2007

Second Freeroll Tourney Payout

I picked up my second Freeroll payout last night making it to 38th and earning me the princely sum of 0.70. I know, I know, it’s a pittance, but on the other hand, the prize money represents around 3 days worth of what I need to earn to reach my short-term goal of $60.00, so in that respect it’s not bad at all. Perspective is a funny thing, no?

I may have progressed deeper if I hadn’t been so conscious of the payout bubble, around which I altered my playing style. Earlier I was prepared to push when I had to and was paid off as a result. I became too careful, releasing winning hands rather than accept the risk v reward ratio. Consequently I left myself short-stacked against the rapidly rising blinds. In this kind of speed tourney you have to continually push when you’ve got half a hand to keep building the chips and remain oblivious to the number of opponents that remain.

Still learning...still learning.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

It's the Little Things

Well, it's official...I'm starting to see obvious signs of improvement with one of my most pleasing plays so far.

#Game No : 6452606216
***** Hand History for Game 6452606216 *****
$5 USD NL Texas Hold'em - Sunday, October 28, 08:16:47 ET 2007
Table Table 127693 (Real Money)
Seat 5 is the button
Total number of players : 7
Seat 3: Luke_Pokain ( $1.15 USD )
Seat 4: the_caII_ing ( $5 USD )
Seat 5: HoldemJappie ( $5.34 USD )
Seat 6: aragon448 ( $5.19 USD )
Seat 8: LavenderB ( $3.23 USD )
Seat 10: g0ing_s0uth ( $2.67 USD )
Seat 7: pizerule ( $4 USD )
aragon448 posts small blind [$0.02 USD].
pizerule posts big blind [$0.04 USD].
** Dealing down cards **
Dealt to pizerule [ Kd Th ]
LavenderB folds
g0ing_s0uth has left the table.
Luke_Pokain calls [$0.04 USD]
the_caII_ing folds
HoldemJappie calls [$0.04 USD]
aragon448 calls [$0.02 USD]
pizerule checks
** Dealing Flop ** [ Kc, Ts, Qs ]
aragon448 bets [$0.04 USD]
pizerule raises [$0.12 USD]
Luke_Pokain raises [$0.40 USD]
HoldemJappie calls [$0.40 USD]
aragon448 calls [$0.36 USD]
pizerule folds
** Dealing Turn ** [ 6s ]
aragon448 checks
Luke_Pokain is all-In [$0.71 USD]
HoldemJappie calls [$0.71 USD]
aragon448 folds
** Dealing River ** [ 6d ]
Luke_Pokain shows [ Jc, 9s ]a straight Nine to King.
HoldemJappie shows [ 8s, Kh ]two pairs, Kings and Sixes.
Luke_Pokain wins $2.76 USD from the main pot with a straight, Nine to King.

Now sure, I should have raised pre-flop instead of simply checking from the BB, but that aside, it wasn't all that long ago that, had I have flopped two pair, I would have held onto it 'til the bitter end. But when my raise was reraised followed by a couple of calls, I actually stopped and considered the board and where my hand may have stood. I actually put the raiser on A J or maybe 10 10.

I'm well on my way to getting myself promoted to the .05/.10 tables.

For the 2nd time I reached the money in a Freeroll, this time making it to 38th place. Add to that a couple of healthy wins at the .02/.04 and the day proved to be another profitable one. My goal still looks to be well within reach.

Current Bankroll Position : +47.42%

Friday, October 26, 2007

Milestone #1 Reached

It’s all happening at once.

It’s only taken around 3 days of playing in the nightly free-roll and I’ve scored a payout. Very exciting for this little black duck. 70th place and the added bonus of $0.45 to add to my slowly growing bankroll. (Stop drooling over my massive winnings, it’s quite unseemly).

But today is also party time because it marks the day that I have reached the first of my milestones. When I initially set out my short-term goals I also nominated a set of milestones that would be notable when I achieved them. The $40 mark is the first of those and I reached it today. The best thing about reaching this milestone is that I’ve done so around 3 weeks earlier than planned. I’m so far ahead of schedule it’s not funny.

Anyway, the focus is reset to milestone #2 and a bankroll of $50.

Current Bankroll Position : +36.62%

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Life With the Micros

Interesting night last night with one early sick beat by a typical micro-table chaser. Looking back, I sort of have myself to blame for leaving the door ajar in the first place but that doesn’t make up for the 2 crap calls after the flop.

Details of that hand are as follows:

Table Table 127738 (Real Money)
Seat 4 is the button
Total number of players : 6
Seat 5: pizerule ( $2.61 USD )
Seat 8: Prog3man ( $5.43 USD )
Seat 9: dunk246 ( $5.13 USD )
Seat 10: ove_allstar ( $4.87 USD )
Seat 2: Marbet111 ( $3.67 USD )
Seat 4: dawigga666 ( $5.47 USD )
pizerule posts small blind [$0.02 USD].
Prog3man posts big blind [$0.04 USD].
** Dealing down cards **
Dealt to pizerule [ Qs Qd ]
dunk246 folds
ove_allstar folds
Marbet111 folds
dawigga666 raises [$0.08 USD]
pizerule calls [$0.06 USD]
Prog3man folds
** Dealing Flop ** [ 9d, 7d, 2d ]
pizerule bets [$0.20 USD]
dawigga666 calls [$0.20 USD]
** Dealing Turn ** [ Ks ]
pizerule bets [$0.20 USD]
dawigga666 calls [$0.20 USD]
** Dealing River ** [ Ts ]
pizerule bets [$0.24 USD]
dawigga666 calls [$0.24 USD]
pizerule shows [ Qs, Qd ]a pair of Queens.
dawigga666 shows [ Td, 2c ]two pairs, Tens and Twos.
dawigga666 wins $1.41 USD from the main pot with two pairs, Tens and Twos.

Just because Doyle Brunson one two WSOP’s with 10 2 doesn’t make it a good starting hand!!!

Lesson – bet out from the start, don’t allow these Any Two Card cowboys a cheap foot in the door.

It was all atoned for later in the night when I flopped quad 8's and was lucky enough to come up against someone who flopped a full-house. It's the kind of hand you hope for and could only have been sweeter if I had more money to pile into the pot.

Anyhow, the night ended with me making another healthy profit and putting another name into the book of people who will chase bottom pair all the way to the river.

Current Bankroll Position : +12.65%

Monday, October 22, 2007

I'm Profitable Again!

I’ve made it back into the black with a big night tonight, taking a profit away from every table I sat down at. I was particularly pleased with myself at the last table I played at for the night. One cat was playing a super aggressive style, raising on every hand he played, often significantly over-betting in order to take down a tiny pot.

I bided my time, folding in the face of his raise time and again until I finally picked up J J. The flop gave me a set and he predictably raised all-in. My chance had arrived and I had no hesitation in calling. Needless to say I took down the pot with my set too good for his pair of Jacks. Needless to say his name has been recorded in my daily log for future reference.


As well as the regular .02/.04 ring games I have also decided to get myself some tournament experience by playing in the nightly Freeroll whenever I can. Living in Australia means that the opportunities for freerolls are few and far between, but 1 a night will hopefully prove sufficient. Even though I cautioned myself to tread warily this evening, knowing the craziness that goes on in the first few hands of these things, I still only lasted 14 hands in my first attempt and was out in 293rd place.

Current Bankroll Position : +8.76%

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Head Down, Bum Up

It’s been head down, bum up for the last 3 nights as I have knuckled down to grind my way back towards break even. The news has been mostly good, too, with 3 winning nights in a row being the result of my efforts. From the hole of being over 14% behind, I have dragged my sorry micro-tabling hide back to only 3.63% down.

Along the way I have fought my way back from some low chip stacks to eventually leave tables with a profit, albeit small. My attitude remains that I am going to be happy with small profits because they beat the shit out of a loss every day of the week.

And the learning continues. Knowing when to be aggressive is a powerful tool and it is a part of my game that I’m finding difficult to acquire but is paying handsome dividends when I get it right.

I’m looking forward to putting my bankroll back in the black in the next day or so and then I can begin working on that expected daily profit that I initially announced.

Current Bankroll Position : -3.63%

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Reality Bites

Reality hits with swift brutality and, this early into my brave new bid to become profitable, has gravely dented the confidence I need to achieve my goals.

Three times out of 5 tables I went broke for a combined loss of $9.00 which was only offset by $2.64 profit from the other 2 tables. That left me with a $6.36 loss for the day. It’s day 2 and things aren’t looking nearly as rosy as they were 24 hours ago.

Fortunately my mindset has been prepared for this kind of eventuality and, while I’m not thrilled about it, I am able to take one or two things from the experience that I believe will make me a better player.

What Did I Learn?

Too many times I continued with my hand believing that whenever someone raised my bet they were attempting to steal the pot, so I called. It cost me enough pots to learn that people will chase a flush all the way to the river and then jam the pot when they hit. That’s micro-table strategy and my game has to adjust to cater for it.

I also learned that patience is key. Losing an early hand is not devastating, but it can become so if you start playing inferior hands that would normally be folded in a bid to quickly recoup your losses.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Grind Begins

The first night of my new strategy is over and I am pleased to say I finished with a profit of $1.29 – not that the amount is important, merely the fact that I didn’t leak dollars.

Things were looking a bit grim early on when I went broke at the second table after a small profit at the first, but in true grinding style I clawed my way back with 3 profitable forays and 1 further small loss.

Although my fortunes swung, it was a good solid test of my strategy and bankroll plan, not to mention my temperament when things weren’t looking so good. It’s nice to start off with a winning night.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Step One: Write A Goal

I'm a long-distance runner, so I understand the importance of goal-setting when trying to improve your performance. When I lost my original bankroll I decided to do what I should have done in the first place, write down a clearly defined list of goals complete with strategy, milestones and a timeframe in which I want to achieve them.

The goals come in 3 flavours: long-term, medium-term and short-term and they are also made of plasticine. In other words, they can be reshaped should my circumstances change or the hoped for improvement doesn't come.

Now, my goals are very specific for me and will look ridiculously easy to achieve, but I'm starting right on the bottom rung of the ladder, I admit it.

My Starting Point

I'll be playing the .02/.04 cash tables and have given myself a starting bankroll of $30. I'll be sitting down at each table with an opening stake of $3 (a high 10% of my bankroll) and am planning on leaving the table each time I make a profit.

Long-Term Goals

To play profitable no-limit hold ‘em on the $25/$50 tables.

I’m not completely dedicated to the idea of achieving this goal inside a set timeframe, however, I’ve seen the metric of Hands Played used when others have set their goals and this seems to be a reasonable way to work out how long it might take me to achieve the goal. At this point in my life, I can only reasonably aim to play around 100 - 150 hands per day which means around 10,000 hands in 3 months. Before I allow myself to step up to each consecutive level I want to "do my apprenticeship" by playing at least 10,000 at that level. Therefore, my rough estimate is that I can hope to achieve my long-term goal is by July, 2010.

In order to play effectively at each successive limit level, a minimum bankroll will be required. I have calculated that the minimum bankroll I must attain to play $25/$50 is a tad over $35,000.
During the next 2 and three quarter years, I will have to continue to absorb as much knowledge as I can. To that end, I want to have exhaustively studied the books of Brunson, Harrington and Sklansky – not just read them but read, re-read and re-read again.

I also have to study the mathematics involved with playing winning poker and that means being able to calculate the odds. My ability to calculate pot odds and implied odds should become second nature due to the number of hands I will have played to reach this goal.

Medium-Term Goals

This goal is where I would like to be in 1 year’s time (16 October, 2008). Using the baseline of playing 10,000 hands at each level, I can expect to have progressed up to the 5th level on the ladder which is the .50/$1 level.

The only way I can hope to reach this level is to have shown a profit at each of the lower levels. I can expect my game to improve as I rise to each new level. However, I can also expect the competition to be tougher, so I may find it difficult to start with to maintain profitability.

I must include a plan of what I will do should I find that my bankroll is beginning to dwindle. To that end, I will be stepping back a level if I find that my bankroll is suffering. I will be writing a plan for a bad-case scenario and put it in a future post.

Short-Term Goals

Progress to the next level (.05/.10). Before moving up to the next level I must play at least 10,000 hands and show a profit when I have finished. I hope to average around 100 – 150 hands per day which gives me a timeframe of between 9½ - 14 weeks with which I can expect to have met my goal.

An added monetary goal is to have increased my bankroll from $30 to $60, which is a $30 profit. Given the expected timeframe quoted above, this works out to be an average daily profit of between 0.31 & 0.45 which I think is a reasonable expectation.

In this short-term goal I have split each $10 point as a milestone (Bankroll = $40, $50 and $60) and will be having a mini celebration and indulgent pat on the back when I reach each of these points. I've got to acknowledge my progress

Plans / Expectations to Meet the Goals

I hope to keep a log of every session that I play. In this log I'll note my opening bankroll position, the profit or loss made at each table I play, the number of hands that I played at each table and the closing position of the bankroll at the end of the day. I'll also try to also record notes of mistakes I felt I made and what I could have done better. Just as importantly I will note down when I feel I have played really well pointing out what I did right.

Studying others will become important too, taking notes of other players. Something that I've never done before is determine the loose players, the aggressive, the tight and the solid when I sit down at a table.

I am going to have good days, OK days, bad days and terrible days. The most important factor in succeeding will be how I react to the bad and terrible days. Accepting that they are going to happen is the first step in succeeding despite the losses. I will remain calm and will not complain about the bad beats that I’ve suffered. Instead, I should study the hand history and figure out what I could have done better that may have avoided the loss (or at least minimised it).

Monday, October 15, 2007

Lost Without A Plan

I have been playing NL Hold ‘Em on-line for over a year now but, like many rank amateurs who think they know it all, my play has been erratic, my strategy pretty well non-existent and thoughts about bankroll management nil. I had set myself no goals for how I might improve my game, or even how I would recognise that my game had improved.

A few days ago, I lost the last of my original stake. As the last few cents trickled out of my account my thoughts of consolation to myself were along the lines of, “Ah well, put it down to the cost of education.”

But the reality was I had learned very little, if anything at all. My mistakes were basic, but crippling.

  • I played with no strategy.
  • I had not set myself any goals.
  • I rarely studied the play of others at the table (I would read a book when I wasn’t in a hand).
  • I never studied my hand histories.
  • I still hadn’t picked up a poker book.
  • I had no idea how to implement an effective bankroll management strategy.
  • I had no plans on how I might build my bankroll, nor how I would get myself to the next level.

It was time for a wake-up call.

So my education (or re-education) has begun. I have sat down and worked out a plan with written goals for the short-term, medium-term and long-term. I have defined where I want to go and how I’m going to get there and have built in some notable milestones to achieve along the way to stoke my motivational fires.

I have also picked up some books that I have committed to studying (Brunson, Harrington and Sklansky) and I have developed a money-management strategy that will help me protect my bankroll while I’m playing.

Finally, to help me analyse my play and to assist me on my journey I have started a blog. I aim to discuss my progress, post some critical hands for discussion and celebrate the completion of each step.

Before plunging in to the Poker Room, I will give an overview of my goals and the bankroll management strategy that I intend to employ to assist me in becoming a profitable poker player.

And they will be the subjects of the next couple of posts.