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.