Following this, I decided on a $5+$0.50 HORSE SnG, and didn't fare too well. I missed the change from Razz to 7-Stud High and chased a great low of A234 on a Stud High game and lost my stack. I felt like a donkey.
Sunday's results: -$5.87
I'm a low-limit/low buy-in poker player who plays mostly for fun. You can find me on most sites that cater to Americans by screen name Piscivorous. Welcome to my rantings and ravings.
Following this, I decided on a $5+$0.50 HORSE SnG, and didn't fare too well. I missed the change from Razz to 7-Stud High and chased a great low of A234 on a Stud High game and lost my stack. I felt like a donkey.
Sunday's results: -$5.87
Thursday, August 3rd. Played the $3, $10K Guaranteed at 11:10AM PST on Stars, and once again ousted with the better hand when the money went in. I am having such horrible luck in MTTs. Played three $5 SnGs, one at Holdem Poker, one at Party and one at Poker Stars. Lost the Holdem one and the Poker Stars one, but won the Party one despite starting headsup with a 16,000 to 4,000 disadvantage. That was a very nice win for me, increasing my return on investment [ROI] significantly.
Thursday's Result: +$1.70
Friday, with no wargame night in San Jose, I went to Casino San Pablo rather than commute all the way to Bay 101, and settled in for day at the $3/$6 tables there. I won a small pot early and was soon on my way to up $80. Flopping a straight I lost a large pot to a player who had KQs and who rivered his flush. He had odds the whole way, so I wasn't upset in the slightest. Just one of those things. Later I lost a huge hand with KK when a players decided his Q7s was worth 4 bets preflop. Uggh. I hung in there. In my final hour I won three really good hands in a row, including 32o on the button [players post a $2 blind on the button] when I got 20-1 to call the extra dollar. Flopped A45 rainbow, and got chastised by the BB who had AA and didn't raise preflop. That's the reason you raise, buddy. Finished up $180 live. After dinner with my wife, I played a $2 rebuy at Paradise, a $5 $1500 Guarantee at UB, and a $5 MTT at Pokerroom, getting nowhere. I did manage third in a $5 SnG at Full Tilt for a $3.50 win.
Friday's Result: +158.50
Saturday my wife, Susan, and I went to a mall in Concord and roamed after eating breakfast at Carrows. We wanted to go to the Bath and Bodyworks and the Select Comfort. My back has been hurting severely for a month now, and my chiropractor isn't doing any good. So we spent an hour at the Select Comfort, having been already pre-approved and receiving our card from them. We ordered our bed, found our sleep numbers and will be in receipt of it after the ITH Convention. We then attended one of our friend's daughter's birthday. Got home around 10:30. Sue settled in to read and quickly fell asleep. I went online. Lost a $10+$1 MTT on Full Tilt when I lost my JJ all-in coinflip against AKs. I always lose coinflips. I played the Riptide $2 R&A on Paradise for the second straight night. I was out after the break in consecutive hands. I called a shortstack's all-in for a third of my chips with AQ. He showed KQ, I had him dominated. Flop was A43, he hit running J then T for the straight. Very next hand, now at about 3500 in chips I again get AQo. This time in the SB. One player limps, I go all-in, BB folds, limper calls with QTo. Yes!, once again I am dominating. He flops a T, and it's over. Two dominating hands, and I lose both. Unbelievable. Having had enough, I go to UB and play at a NL25 table. I play a little over 1.5 hours and leave up $42.87. I hit a straightflush with 87s [losing hand had the nut flush], I hit a set of Qs and stack two players. I was over $60 up until I hit a JT7 flop with my TT and get all-in with another player who just happens to have JJ. Uggh. No worries.
Saturday's Results: +19.87
August Totals: +$304.17
The picture above is of a player I ran into during my $100 Party Poker bonus chase last month. This is the epitome of a maniac in all regards. And he kept getting very lucky against me. How lucky? I lost $108 chasing that $100 bonus, and he was partly to blame.
But, that was the low-side of July. I managed to clear [including bonuses] over $700 during the month, including a rather lucrative $50 casino bonus at Party as well as $100 casino bonus at Sand of the Caribbean [Sun Poker's casino].
I won't go into any more details, as it would consume too much time. Hopefully, I will continue to blog away.
Germany 3 Ecuador 0. Germany played a masterful game and dismantled Ecuador on both ends. Meanwhile Sweden loses a star player to injury and despite a very late goal giving them a 2-1 lead, the Swedes rally and tie it up. All four teams are headed to the elimination round.
Today's results: +$46.25
Sunday's results: +$2.47
Today, I managed a bit more than two hours after work. I'll be making dinner shortly, then my team is in town [the Angels] to play the Giants. My wife manages to hoard the remote most nights, but I let her know last week, that the TV is mine for the next three days, lol.
Today's results: +$13.86
After work, I played some Holdem, both during the afternoon and on into the sweltering evening. Took a small loss on CD Poker, then got embroiled in a $1250 Guaranteed there and finished out of the money. I played a little at Sun Poker and Pokerroom and did markedly better. Pokerroom continues to be very fruitful to my bankroll. I made 20BB in an hour there. Virtually broke even at Sun, up $3.38. This wasn't a bad result, considering I was behind most of the session.
Friday's results: +28.43
Saturday found me and my wife, Susan, off to the Isleton Crawdad Festival. Yeah. The day after the hottest day of the year, and we're going to go somewhere in the Central Valley [which is synonymous with heat] and mill around a small town with thousands of others. Think mini-Mardi Gras west, except the women aren't showing off their breasts for beads. :( Never been to this crawdad festival before. They, unfortunately, had but one crawdad vendor. You had to wait in a line of about 100 people to buy your crawdad food tickets. Then jump in the food line, numbering another 100 or so, to get your food. In the 100 degree heat. Of the outdoor foodcourt. In the sun. Where propane heat was coming out of every corner of the court. Nope, ended up getting a beer and a smoked hotlink. I think me and Sue will go up there in a few weekends and eat lunch at one of the local establishments and eat crawdads without the hassle. They had lots of beer and soda vendors, lots of other vendors. Not bad, but overrun with bikers, and just too damned hot.
We got home relatively early, and ended up eating dinner out after I got some NL cash game time in at CD Poker. No hands, no flops, and I finished down $17.80 Came home from dinner, house still sweltering, but outside had turned cool. So we opened some windows and doors. Sue took the computer in the dining room to play her latest arcade games on, I went into the office and was delighted I managed to get into a $3+$0.30 tournament on Stars. As soon as it started, I realized it was a Fixed Limit tournament. Uggh. Half an hour in , I decided I needed some NL action, so I started a NL tourney on Royal Vegas. Folks, don't play two tournaments which are on separate break schedules! Especially if you need a bathroom break....Anyway here are my results:
Saturday's results: sigh, -$17.06
Tuesday's result: -$96.00
Wednesday. I decided to move some money out of Pokerroom after reloading for another $100 bonus. I did markedly better. After losing two $2+$0.40 "Dirty Dozen" SnGs at CD Poker, I settled down to play some cash games there. I was about 2BB up, when I got dealt J4o in the BB. Three people limped in and I saw a flop of A44, two clubs. I checked, and one player bet, while another raised. I re-raised, and the man who had checked behind me, capped it. Uh-oh, I'm thinking, do you have the case 4, with a better kicker or did you limp with AA? All of us call the cap. Next card off is another club. Great! Going to lose this big pot to yet another flush. I check, flop capper checks. Whatthe...? Guy behind him bets, fold, I raise, re-raised by guy behind me. Call, call. The last four hits the river. I bet, called by guy who kept raising, fold by other guy. I scoop a huge pot. Guy next to me didn't even have a flush. He had ATo. With the two SnG losses, but up on the cash game table, I finish up almost $16 at CD Poker.
I venture over to Sun Poker to work some hands off towards their $40 monthly bonus. What a weird session this turned out to be. First off, I play there only about 1 hour. I only manage, in this hour, to earn 10.25 points towards my bonus. This is way below the norm for $1/$2 there. However, I kept getting dealt good pocket cards. What happens is that I am well ahead preflop, my opponent outflops me, but I have a hand I have to stay with, and I end up outdrawing my opponents. Again and again. In an hour I manage a $38 profit.
Wednesday's Result: +$54.20
Today being Thursday, I haven't played any poker. I go to breakfast with my Dad every Thursday morning [unless he has a doctor's appointment], and then go to work. I'm working for an online company, so my poker playing time is affected. I still usually manage a few hours daily. Perhaps I'll play tonight. If I do, I'll make another blog post tomorrow.
May there always be a road - Louis L'Amour
Today's results: -$60.87
There is also the problem with today's World Cup results. The American team played flat, disconcerted and lackadaisical. The Czech Republic destroyed them 3-0. Add to this a Ghana loss to Italy [a tie would have been a good result here], and the US is already on the ropes. They have to beat both Italy and Ghana for any hope, but losing 3-0 hurts with regard to tie-breakers. At least the German team [my pick on the Pokerroom reload bonus] won their first game against Costa Rica. Perhaps they will light the way?
Saturday's totals: -$10.86
Sunday, 6/11. I have decided I want to take a crack at the PokerStars $15K Guaranteed $3 R&A every day. I think I'll do a buy-in each day, and if I am still around by the break, make an add-on. I don't want to go over the $6.30. Average prizepool in this is over $3K. Bottom payout is usually at spot 198, which usually is double the $6.30 buy-in I will make.
Today's results: -$24.70
Yesterday's total: +25.75
Today, I decided, after watching the German soccer team beat Costa Rica, to play some more hands at PokerPlex and CD Poker, playing one table at each for about five and a half hours. What a horrendous result. Players calling raises with hands like T8o. Raising with 42o. And even when I caught flops or started with big pockets, I was getting beat severely. I just cannot understand how other players that play as well as me can have their hands hold up against these fish, when I can't.
Although I may play more today after dinner, or perhaps play a few SnGs or a tournament, I'll report my huge ring-game losses, nonetheless.
Today's results: -$103.64
That trashes yesterday's results, and means I have lost money this month so far.
Today's poker results: -$62.00.
I really wish I had more time in the day to keep this up-to-date. Between my new part-time job and playing poker, the recently completed WiFCON, trying to get into the gym daily and everyday chores and family commitments, it's hard to maintain a blog. But, not being a quitter, I really am going to try to update my blog at least 5 times a week. If I can keep my posts down to smaller sized jam-packed posts, I will be able to fit it in. This post will probably be longer than I really want, but I want to keep everyone up-to-date!
I got back from WiFCON West on Sunday the 28th, right before Memorial Day. WiFCON stands for World in Flames CONvention. World in Flames, for my non-wargaming readers, is a WWII Strategic wargame. Encompassing the entire world and war, it is truly a game that plays out like a labor of love. Anyway, I placed second at the Con, with my teammate winning first. Two things I learned there [and you non-wargaming poker players can skip this part!]:
OK, poker players, you can turn your attention back! I missed poker for those 11 days I was away. And with my new part-time occupation, I'm having to squeeze it into the time I have allotted. Here's a quick rundown of my results since I have been back:
How's that for a crappy return to poker?
Is that short enough for you? Hopefully, I will see you at the tables. Oh, and by the way, I ran into chillrob from ITH today. Not sure if he knows who I am though! Shhh! Keep it between you and me! ;)
Started some freelance consulting work on 4/20, so my time for updating my blog was severely crimped. Once I get everything back on track, like my daily gym workout, consulting work, daily poker play, and my responsibilities to my house-husband work, I will also set aside at least a half hour daily to do my blog.
So other than the consulting work, what have I been up to? Well I have an upcoming World in Flames Convention [WiFCON for short], commencing 5/19 through 5/28. Every two years I attend the convention, which has been held in Seekonk Massachusetts or Lansing Michigan since I attended my very first one in 1998. This year a friend of mine is running a West Coast version in Lodi Ca [about 70 miles away], so I opted to play that one this time around. This is a board wargaming convention where we have control of various major nations [Germany, Japan, US, Britain, etc.], and playout the war from 1939 until the Axis are conquered, or the game finishes on the July/August 1945 game turn.
So, what does this have to do with poker? I am proud to say, that my convention fees, gas, hotel room and food will all come out of poker profits. Won't impact my wife and me one iota. Also, ITH, www.internettexasholdem.com, is running their annual convention in August,and I figure it will run me around $800 for the full four days there, so I will also attempt to pay for all of this in poker funds. Who knows, maybe I can money in one of the four tournaments we will play.
I finished April up a little over $500 in profits, including bonuses. I was real happy, because I was only up $150 on April 26th, and this was because of bonuses. That day, I took a long hard look at my game and realized I was playing very poorly. My preflop aggression was horrible, my postflop aggression was horrible. So I re-tooled. I have been raising a lot and really taking the wood to my opponents. Much to my amazement, not only were they folding to my aggression more, but the fish and calling stations started to fold when they missed also. Since April 27th, I have had one losing session in 11 days. I have made over $600 playing $1/$2. Almost $10/hour. Phenomenal.
Today I worked off some hands towards both Pokerroom's $100 reload and Poker Stars' $100 reload.
Today's Total: +$19.35.
Egads. I decided to finish this bonus this morning before going to breakfast with my dad. It went none too well. I was never up. I played some 1/2 and 2/4, both in pounds. I should have seen the writing on the wall. I had QQ, flop came Q83, and I lost to A5o who caught running 2 then 4 for the pot. Ugly. I cleared the $50 monthly, but lost $83.83 in the process. So much for breaking even here. Lost $33.83 today after adding in the bonus and the little more than $8 I was ahead.
After breakfast, I came back and decided to go to Ultimate Bet and play a few hours. I stayed there for 4 hours. At the $1/$2 tables there, I'll clear a little more than $2 in bonus each hour. Indeed, when I finished up, I had cleared $8.70. One of the good things about UB is that any amount of bonus you clear at each table goes directly into your playable account as soon as you leave the table. I finished up $15.75, so with the bonus, up $24.45.
Back-to-back losing days, but if I lose less than $10, I don't feel too bad.
Today's Total: -$9.38.
First off, I'd like to thank my friends from ITH [Internet Texas Holdem; you can find the link on the right hand side of my blog], Patch and Cybrarian, who showed me a nice little trick for bringing up the notes function at the Cryptologic sites. Double-clicking on the player placard brings up the note-page on that player. This is a real time-saver and has proven to be a real boon to my play over the past few days. Thanks again guys.
Today, I decided to put in as many hands as I could at PokerPlex. With a monthly $50 bonus, PokerPlex is a decent bonus to work on. The requirement is 250 MPPs. MPPs stand for "My Player Points". You receive 1MPP for every pot raked at $1 [or £ or euro] or higher. You receive 1/4 of an MPP, for every pot raked at $.25 to $.99. Pots raked lower earn no MPPs. The good news is, that no pots in fixed limit rake lower than $.25. Therefore, nominally, every MPP at PokerPlex is worth 20 cents. It would seem that here at PokerPlex that it's monthly bonus is a 5x bonus, but that is misleading. You could pay $.75 in rake four times and get only 1 MPP. That's right, $3 in total rake could equal one pot that managed to rake $1. They changed this so that those people at the really low-limit tables would have a chance to work off the bonus. It takes about 16 table hours to work off the $50 here at PokerPlex at 1/2 fixed limit. Double that at .50/1. This works out to be about a 6x bonus at 1/2, and 12x at .50/1. Neither are bad, but obviously, if you can chase at 1/2, you should do so.
When I started the day, I had already accumulated 107 MPPs, so I was attempting to put as big a dent in the rest as I could today, so that I would be able to finish it tomorrow. Tables here at PokerPlex were vaccilating all day. Starting up, closing down, moving between great tables to play on and absolutely wretched ones. I ended up playing here in three definable sessions.
Today's total: -$8.01
I know, I'm all over the place with my decisions, but I really needed to find what might work. A few weeks back, I changed from NL to fixed limit. I am convinced this is the right move. The skillsets between the two are very different, and I couldn't see abandoning my FL roots just because I was running bad. My switch was ugly, however. I continued to lose at an alarming rate, and even bonus money wasn't enough to cover my losses at FL. I really started questioning whether I should even be playing poker any more. I was losing at every table, every site and almost every session. Before going onto my latest change, I want to go over what I did earn in bonuses. I got some real sweet deals:
Fulltilt: On 4/1, I got an email from the VIP department at Fulltilt. They offered me a choice between some FT Gear or $100, if I made a deposit and earned 300 Fulltilt Points. This was an incredible offer. In order to earn the 300 FT Points, I had to be dealt cards in enough hands to where a total of $300 was raked from tables I was playing on. So early last week, I deposited $300 to chase this bonus at the $1/$2 FL tables. It took 921 hands to clear enough points to satisfy the requirements. I already have the gear I wanted at FT, so I went after the $100. The average bonus out there clears at about 7xhands/bonus to 10xhands/bonus. Meaning, that for every $1 you earn in bonuses, you have to participate in 7 or 10 raked hands. Initial Party/Empire bonuses are 5x bonuses, which are phenomenal. 10x is acceptable and is generally a decent bonus. This FT bonus was simply incredible. At 921 hands this bonus figured to be a 3.07x bonus. This is, without a doubt, the best bonus I have ever received.
Party: Party swallowed Intertops, PokerNOW and Multipoker last week. They also moved Empire onto their platform, so now, Empire and Party share the same tables and players. When they did this, I had a measly 88 cents in my Intertops account. I decided to see what would happen if I attempted to log-on to Intertops. Well, what it did was take me to Party, where I filled out a form to transfer the 88 cents to my Party account. I had recently lost what little I had at Party, so when I logged onto Party, I expected to have the cashier show me an account balance of 88 cents. Not quite! Party put $25 into my account, with the stipulation that I had 10 days to accumulate 250 raked hands. So I played off the raked hands, and profited by $5.50. So another sweet little bonus.
Against $166 in losses last week, I managed only $88 in bonuses. However, I got the $100 Fulltilt bonus credited today.
So what's the big change? I have decided that multi-tabling isn't working out. I'm finding that I am relying more on Poker Tracker[PT] and GameTime Plus[GT+] while multi-tabling than anything, and it doesn't allow me anything but sub-optimal reads at the tables. It is impossible to take notes at a level I need to in order to keep up with the idiosyncrasies of the players. Although initially I thought it was going to bore me out of my skull, I actually enjoy taking these notes, getting a good read on my opponents, and making the right decisions at the table. So, Sunday, I started the process of designing shorthand for my note-taking, and started single-tabling. One thing I need to mention is that I play at each site with 150 Big Bets [BB], rather than 300 BB. I do this because I currently have a little more than $4K in my bankroll, which, considering I am playing mostly $.50/$1 and $1/$2, figures out to be 2000-4000 BB total. Since I don't play at just one site, my chance of ruining my bankroll is virtually nil, considering I will drop down a limit on any one site, if it comes to this. The other decision I made was to stop moving money around to take advantage of all the reloads. The reasons are quite simple:
I know my work is cut out for me, but I think I can attain these short-term goals, and get myself back onto the right track towards making a good earnrate each month. My long-term goal is to be able to play $5/$10 at a few of my sites.
So, where do I stand so far?
Sunday, 4/8. I played around 4.5 hours of $1/$2 FL at PokerStars. I made $32 in the process. That's about 3.5BB per hour, which is darned good. I moved over to the Gaming Club for an hour and lost $1.50 playing $.10/$.20. Not so good. I need to plunk an extra $100 in here to make my bankroll because I don't want to wallow here or Royal Vegas [another site where I have a sub-$150 bankroll]. Doing so will allow me to play $.50./$1 at each, which should allow me to progress to $1/$2 that much quicker.
Monday 4/9. Great day. I got my $100 Fulltilt bonus, and for the first time in a long time, actually made more money playing for the day than I received in a bonus:
So, for the day I made $124.83 at the tables, and received my $100 bonus from Fulltilt. Fantastic!
Tuesday, 4/11. Today didn't go as well. Back at the Gaming Club, I managed to lose a further $5.41. Not good. I am wallowing here. Playing 3.5 hours, I couldn't get anything going. Perfect example was raising preflop with AQs, and flopping QQ2. However, this was a big loser, as my lone caller had 22! Ouch. I quit Gaming Club at noon, and ate lunch.
When I finished lunch I returned to the tables, but went to PokerPlex, to work off some more hands towards the monthly $50 bonus. Once again, I had to play over my bankroll limit. There were just too many loose tables at the 1/2 pounds tables. So I settled into one. I made little more less than 17 pounds before the table started breaking up. this worked out to a little more than $29. I then moved down to a .50/1 pound table . I finished my day here, playing 2.5 hours, and only finishing up $1.13. A very poor playing fish kept laughing at me when his cheesy hands held up and he won some money. He kept it up, and despite being down, I landed a huge pot when my AKs flopped AKx. I got the pot capped on the flop, then kept betting into 3 callers, and ended up winning a huge pot [25BB]. The poor playing fish wasn't in it but I thought it quite funny when he typed how lucky I got in the chat box. My only reply was, "Indeed. Best hand on the flop held up. Quite lucky." This brought out a lot of "LOLs" from the others at the table. He kept needling me. I wasn't about to educate. my opponents? 65s in my suit, A6o and KQs. I was 84% to win with that flop. Yeah, I got lucky!
Despite not equaling yesterday's results, I'm quite happy averaging about a BB/hour. I know it is early in my change, but why not look at this optimistically? I am doing quite well right now. I'm owing it to being able to really watch the table, taking notes and establishing very good reads on my opponents. I think, that if I can continue to maintain this level of focus, that my downturns in the future will be both shorter and less damaging than they were in the past.
Seems Party has made a lot of changes lately. I ran into a lot of problems there this week. How do you lose to the fish there? Sometimes all you need to do is show up. I got sucked out by so many incredibly horrible players, that I lost the $125 I had there.
Then, according to friends and a few websites, Party liquidated PokerNOW and Multipoker, and gave their players a "Welcome to Party", bonus and transferred their accounts over. Now it appears they have moved Empire over to Party's tables as well. I have accounts at Party, Empire and Intertops. What is to happen to my accounts?
I just wish they would allow cashouts via FirePay. I am still stumped that they allow deposits, but not withdrawals.
I dropped Fulltilt last June. At the time the traffic was mediocre, the initial deposit bonus was complete, and there was no Poker Tracker support. On Saturday the 1st of April, they offered me a sweet deal. $100 bonus for 300 Fulltilt Points. It didn't take too long to accomplish; just a little over 12 hours. Of course, the email said they will get to me within 72 hours of completing the Fulltilt Point requirements, but I have no reason to doubt them. I managed to lose $16.50 in the process, but I am not worried about that. Now that there is Poker Tracker support, and the traffi chas picked up [and the players have gotten worse], I think I won't mind playing here. So I loaded $300 into FT. We'll see how it pans out.
I'm going to slow down on reloading for bonuses over the next couple of months. I have over $2, 400 pending in bonuses now, and this constant withdraw/deposit cycle I am goign through isn't allowing me to build up my bankroll and move to higher limits. Unless I see an incredibly sweet deal, I am going to hold off on reloading, and concentrate on clearing what I already have.
Time to move back to my roots of fixed limit. I have been losing money at NL25 these past two or three weeks, and even on days when I am making money, it isn’t anywhere near what I can make at fixed limit on an average day. I still have bouts of poor sessions and hideous beats, but I know fixed limit much better. I will still play NL a few times a week [predominantly on UB], to remain fresh with this style and improve gradually.
A few of the reasons why I am abandoning NL ring as my primary game:
A few reasons why I will continue to learn this game:
I like fixed limit better…overall. The real difference is that it is a bit harder to get the bad players off hands in FL. However, in the NL25 games I was playing, it was equally hard to get these lower level NL players off their hands. In the end, I was amazed at how many people were calling off all of their chips with a gutshot straight, flushdraw or open-end straight draw. It became problematic when they kept nailing them, and I was losing buy-ins when I was a heavy favorite. I know this is short-term thinking, but I have been watching my bankroll decline steadily, these past two weeks and decided switching back to FL was timely, if for no other reason than to shake things up.
Fixed limit has a lot going for it. Odds and Pot Odds are more defined, and less reliant on implied odds than NL. When making calls with draws in NL, one of the things I kept missing was how much my opponent had to back up his play.
“If I hit my hand would he have enough chips left to make it worth the call?” In other words, if he bet $4 into a $4 pot, giving me 1:1 odds, and I have 12 outs [roughly 3:1], does he have $8 left if I manage to hit one of my outs, and thereby give me the implied odds?
More times than not, he’d make a $5 bet into a $5 pot, with me on a 4:1 flushdraw, and he’d only have $5 left, and I would need to fold as I wouldn’t stand to win enough from him to validate a call.
In fixed limit, odds and the fixed limit of bets, plus a cap on how much can be wagered [which, of course isn’t the case at the Cryptologic sites], make the play of a hand less open to manipulation than NL, and more standardized. There is still room for maneuver, but your opponent’s counterplays and moves are also restricted. You cannot be pushed off of a decent draw by someone putting you all-in, or making a potsized bet and busting your pot odds, like you can in NL.
I think in the end, you can achieve a certain mastery in both NL and FL, but NL requires a higher mastery than FL.
Did I mention I was running poorly? I saved a screen shot [which I won't post because it would be unfair to my table opponents], where I have 85 offsuit on all three tables.
I have managed to do pretty well in Sit and Go's [SnGs] lately, raising my ROI from 18% to 40%. For those who don't know, ROI stands for return on investment. It gives an indication of how well you are playing multi-table tournaments[MTTs] and SnGs. I track each in separate spreadsheets. You find your ROI by using the following formula:
(Money won - cost to enter) divided by cost to enter. So, for example, if you bought in for $5.50 in an SnG, placed 3rd and made $10, your ROI would be 81.82%. Obviously, single wins, while important, don't mean much to your ROI. It is over the longhaul that your ROI is relevant because it tells you whether you are a longterm winner. Last year my SnG ROI was -18%. I'm working on improve that this year. By contrast, I had a 1.21% ROI in MTTs. I need to work on improving this also.
Finally, I think I will be travelling back to limit holdem for a while. I need to keep it fresh. I think I will stick to NL at UB, but these other bonuses I have stacked up at various sites need to be tackled in fixed limit. They work off much faster there.
Where to start? I've had such an up and down week. Only made about $83 this week, and that was only accomplished because I made $192.66 in bonuses. Yuck.
Party Poker started offering a reload on Sunday. Or at least that was when I found out about it. The bonus reload was made account specific. Some, like myself, were offered 15% up to $75. Others were 20% up to $100 and 25% up to $100. I moved $500 out of PokerStars, which I had just reloaded for a $100 bonus, and moved it into Party via FirePay to take advantage of the full $75 bonus. But this bonus had a twist, and as you are about to see, was more confusing and ultimately more frustrating than any bonus offer I have ever pursued:
I played three low buy-in multi-table tournaments yesterday. The first one at Paradise saw me go out in the second hour when my AJs was called by A5o, and he flopped a 5. Ugly result. Of course, in the second tournament, I had A5s, and lost to AT when I got no help. Talk about a double standard. At this point, I didn't want to go to bed, so I played a $3.30 MTT at PokerStars. I logged into Internet Texas Holdem's IRC channel and was surprised by all those who were present at this time. niin, TallPaul, wack, Red Devil, Clever, just to name a few. Here is how this MTT played out:
I started on my first table with $1500 chips. There were 705 participating, and the MTT was due to pay out the top 126 positions. The real money was on the final table, and first was worth a little more than $440. Places 100-126 would pay basically 30 cents higher than the buy-in. I was playing this MTT, because, well quite frankly, I suck at tournaments, and at least at this point, don't want to throw too much money into them. And basically toom's article on ITH about the Internet Player of Year and the buy-in/satellite charts to the bigger events, had me longing to play. I printed that chart out, by the way.
Anyway, the first hour on my first table, I was basically stealing blinds [something I'm not real good at], and I basically doubled up, although I still don't know how, as the only real hand I got was AA, and I won the blinds with it.
Second hour saw me at my second and final table with about $3K. One of the first hands I got was AA. I led out with a standard 4x raise, and got called by the BB. Flop came up three clubs, with me holding none. BB checked, and I went all-in. I was determined tht if he flopped the 118-1 longshot, I'd bow out. He called, and showed 77, one of them a club. I somehow avoided demise and double up to ~$6K. People were dropping like flies. I managed to stay at about $6K for quite some time. In fact I rode it into the money. Howevr, I got AA twice again, both times against a Scandinavian man who both times called my all-in with AK, and both times lost to me.
I was moving up in money, but my chip position was constantly at between $4K and $6K. Then came a pivotal hand, and the only donkey move I did the whole tournament. UtG with AKo, I min-raised $1200 of my $4800. Gal immediately to my left went all-in with her $4600. My AA/AK rival from earlier raised to $8K to isolate. Staring at a naked unsuited AK, I thought about calling but folded. I just could think I had the best hand with the betting patterns. It turned out that the lady had K4o, and my protagonist AKo. He ended up taking the whole tamale. Down to $3600, with blinds at $400/$800, I started looking for opportunities to push. Niin commented on how few opportunities I had. Player were raising in, re-raising and I not only didn't have an opportunity to steal blinds, but never had the chance to be first in. Finally I did, and I pushed in EP with A4s. I was called in two places. I flopped a 4 and somehow it held up against KJ and Q8. That got me throught he blinds, but then the antes and blinds increased, and I was back to needing to push. I did so, once again, in EP with 66. My nemesis once again called all-in with AK. All we saw was that damned Ace come on the flop, initially. But right behind it was a 6! I doubled up. Lasted a few orbits, and once again needing to push, I landed JJ. Went all-in, a big stack called with A4s. He flopped a 4 and finished me off when anotehr 4 landed on the river. I finished in 33rd, good for $6.77. Had a lot of fun. Looking forward to doing it again.
I know I keep promising to update my blog more consistently, and I will try to do so for the 2 or 3 of you that actually read this thing. Good luck at the tables!
Oh, yeah, before I forget. Cal Bears lost to NC State. Hopefully Leon Powe will stay another year. Keeping my fingers crossed!
On the Poker Scene:
Playing NL25, I have managed to win $324.06 since last Tuesday. About $103 of that was bonuses cleared at Littlewoods, Paradise and PokerPlex. I managed to lose a little over $50 playing $1/$2 and $.50/$1 limit on Friday and today, while trying to put a dent in the $100 Holdem Poker bonus, and the new Party 15% to $75 bonus. I am finding that I am preferring NL over fixed limit, but there are times when I have to play fixed in order to clear the bonuses faster. I ran into a horrendous patch of hands getting beat by very poor players. I lost a $50 pot on Saturday with my KK, when a complete fish chased down and hit a set of 3s on the river. That was how my day was going...Awful.
I watched the WPT Mirage tournament that I had taped from Wednesday night. This was the first event in their fourth season, and it was quite a good tournament. Ted Forrest's ability to read the other players was simply amazing. I watched him fold hands that I know I couldn't fold in his position. And he really knows how to change gears. I don't think I saw him play a hand until two players were gone. A kid named Gavin won the $1.1M 1st prize, as he was definitely going through most of his nine lives that night. He won some huge pots when he had one foot out the door. But you cannot win a tournament without some degree of luck.
Right after watching the WPT event, they were broadcasting the final table action of the River Belle.info Monte Carlo Millions. This is a big-stake $10,000 buy-in event, with a nice twist. All of the players who are eliminated before the final table play another "Second Chance" tournament, and the winner of this, gets the 7th and final seat of the final table. I don't know if this person gets 10 x the BB, or if that was the way it worked out, but John Juanda managed to play his way onto the table and was the shortstack with 160K chips on 8K/16K blinds. 7th and 6th place both pay $100,000. The only other notable on the final table was Phil Ivey who had more chips than the rest of the table and, of course, knows how to use them. Juanda went out 6th, and the field was pared down to Ivey and two others when the hour finished. I will try to post the result here after I watch that episode.
Gearing Up for March Madness:
I am a College Basketball Fanatic. My team is the Golden Bears of California. They did very well to finish third in the PAC-10, but going into the final two weeks, definitely had their fate in their own hands. A tough loss to Washington sealed their fate, and then they lost an 11 point lead on the last regular season weekend to UCLA at home. They managed to tie it up and get the overtime, but scored but one point in the extra 5 minutes. I knew at this point that they had to be a lock for the NCAA Tournament. UCLA and Washington finished 1-2, and their were a lot of knowledgeable people who were saying that Arizona, which finished 4th in the PAC-10, would be in the tourney. Although I have seen some strange things in the NCAA arena, both on the basketball and football sides, I couldn't even concoct a way that the Bears could be shut out of the Big Dance, while allowing Arizona in. Much to their credit, the Golden Bears beat USC for the third time this season, rallied in two overtimes to beat the Oregon Ducks who beat Washington. Down 16 at one point in the first half against the UCLA Bruins, Cal went on a 13-0 run at the end of the first half to go into the lockerroom down only 3. They almost caught the Bruins in the second half, only to wilt under the pressure. I think that 2OT win that finished at almost midnight the night before weighed heavily on the visibly tired Bears. They played gamely enough and got to the finals, and were rewarded with a #7 seed. They have NC State on Friday, a game they can definitely win. It will be dependent on Powe getting support from Ubaka and Midgley. It will also be dependent on Hardin staying out of foul trouble.
There is, however, one thing that really bothers me with regards to the PAC-10 Tournament. That is that since it was reinstated in 2001, every single one of them have been hosted in Los Angeles. Now I understand that the venues are larger down there, but why give the two Southern California schools home field advantage every year? So what if the smaller venues won't generate as much revenue? You can always host them in bigger arenas within the area. Let's think about this.
This way, all the schools could have a part of the advantage without just giving that advantage away to the SoCal schools.
Finally, I think it is about time for the PAC-10 to expand into the PAC-12. I say it is time to bring in Nevada-Reno and UNLV. Both of these programs have outgrown their conferences. The revenue they will bring to the PAC-10, and the revenue brought from the PAC-10 would benefit all parties involved. It will expose both schools to the national spotlight in all collegiate sports activities. It also is a very good fit. Travels times for all schools involved would be minimal.
Well, that's my two cents worth today. I will attempt to keep this blog more up-to-date than I have, but I've been so busy playing poker and living my life, that sometimes I get behind.
Poker Plex: Continuing with NL25, playing mostly three tables simultaneously, I managed to finish the 250 raked hands requirement for my $50 bonus. It took a little more than 40 table hours, meaning around 13.5 hours total. Not bad, especially considering the low NL stakes I was playing for. However, I made an extra $137 on top of the bonus. This is a very good outcome.
I finished just before lunch, and decided to start a new bonus chase after. Littlewoods with it's £25 bonus [around $43], for 200 raked hands sounded as good as any other. I decided on one table, and I would play some NL25 on two other sites while I did this.
Littlewoods: Playing the NL$25 table, I managed to clear the equivalent of £9.64 in US$. I also managed 24.5 raked hands.
Paradise Poker: I started off woeful. But managed to get to almost even, when I hit a huge hand with a gutshot straight that I lucked into, while chasing a K high flush.. Another hand, where I nutted a fullhouse, and suddenly I was way up. I finished up $33.97, which was a veru good session. To add spice to the session, I managed to chase off around 60 raked hands towards my next $10 bonus release. Sweet session.
Holdem Poker: Up and down session. Got off to a wrong start when I chased top pair, no kicker too far and started down. Added $10 to offset the loss, but only managed to get back to within $4.85 down before I finished for the day. I did work off more points towards the $100 bonus, however. I haven't decided whether I want to finish the bonus here at NL25, or run back to $1/$2 fixed limit.
Do you notice a theme here? 90-95% of my poker play involves playing where I have bonuses awaiting me. I have a few sites where I play without a bonus, but by and large, if I am not chasing a bonus, I am playing in a tournament. I will delve into Bodog, Gaming Club or Royal Vegas, sans bonus, but usually only to just play for play's sake, and to keep that software fresh in me.
Bad Quote of the Day: "I knew I was behind going in."
I was dealt my first AA in two days and nearly 1,000 hands. I raised 6xBB, and the quoter called me. Flop came 542. He bet 1xBB, I raised to 20xBB. He called. Turn card was a 6. He bet 1/4 the pot. I called, fearing he had the 3. River was a J. He checked, I checked, he showed 65o. Another player at the table remarked, "Seems the fish calls with anything". To which he made that reply. Unremarkably, he lasted another 10 minutes before going bust. I ended up having to liberate my chips from a stronger player. It happens. It never ceases to amaze me how people approach this game. Oh, yeah, he later mentioned that he could get away from the hand, if he didn't hit the flop. He went out on a K-high.
This brings me to today's title: Is it really this easy? It seems straightforward poker in NL, with few diversions and aggressive play will bring home a lot of money. I finished up $150 today at this low level. It seemed almost effortless. Perhaps I am on a good run? Whatever it is, I will play good solid tight aggressive poker. If I hit a bad run, I think it is easier to rectify in NL. Or maybe switch up and play some fixed limit or possibly Omaha Hi/Lo. But in the interrim, I'm going to take all this easy money out there, and continue to chase bonuses.
I dropped the quest last week. Not because of bad results [I was actually doing quite well[, but I got bored awaiting hands, and my profit margins were going down. Although I was winning around $3-5 daily at $0.01/$0.02 NL, I am used to winning much more at fixed limit. I am convinced that this quest will work, but I don't have the patience for it right now. Perhaps I will restart in the future.
Will Hill: I moved over to fixed limit on Wednesday in an effort to clear their monthly bonus of £25. They are the last Crypto, which allows Americans, that pays £5/hour tmaximumum of 5 hours. I ran absolutely horrid. I lost $75.92, while, after conversion, I made $43.51 in bonus.
PokerPlex: I moved here to start my slog through this monthly bonus. Criteria is 250 raked hands, where you get credit for a hand if it is raked $1, or credit for 4th of a hand if it gets raked $0.25 to $0.99. I decided on NL25 and played for an hour, finishing up $2.50, and making about 5 raked hands total. On Friday, I played 12 table hours [4 hours at 3 tables], winning a little less than $15. Not bad, and I managed to clear another 84 raked hands, putting me at 89 total. Today, playing three tables for 9.7 table hours, I finished up $33, and garnered another 67.5 raked hands. So I stand at 156.5 raked hands. I figure I will play here tomorrow and finish my monthly, then collate my bonus chase info, and see what the overall results are.
UB/PokerStars: I went back to both sites on Thursday, losing a little at each. UB crashed. They have been plagued by a number of problems since their latest updates, but I managed to cash out $800, and got it in two days. I will venture back there in a week, There problems should be sorted out by then.
I am finding NL very rewarding. I cannot believe how easy it is to win money here. I have seen people literally bluff off their whole stacks, or make calls with the worst draws imaginable. I realize that these results at the microlimits of NL don't occur as often at higher limits, but I feel confident that once I progress to those higher buy-ins, that I will be well prepared for the task. I also know that I will never leave my fixed limit roots. Once I start feeling some comfort in NL, I imagine myself giving equal time in both genres.
I played in two stints today. I had a craving for hotdogs today, so broke my day up when I went on a Polish Dog run. Started at PokerStars and UB. After lunch, I played again at UB, but switched up to some NL at Holdem Poker.
PokerStars was yet again average at best. Perhaps it is the players, or the site. Some sites that others hate, I love and have good results at. It's just quirky. I managed $0.41 in little over an hour. I added PokerStars after settling in at UB for a little over an hour.
UB came in two shifts. Before lunch I played 2.5 hours and ran well. Up $3.70 [plus $0.34 bonus]. AA and KK paid off big. After lunch, and I didn't think it could get better, it did. Funny thing is, I had JJ, flop came 995. Small bet into the pot, I called thinking I might still have the best hand. J on turn. Another small bet, and I made a pot sized bet. 9 on river, I lost a buy-in to K9o. I was amazed that she made a $0.02 bet into a $0.28 pot with trip 9s and a K kicker. One outer....yuck! Anyway, I still finished up my afternoon session up $5.45 plus the $0.83 bonus I cleared. $10.32 at $0.01/$0.01. Fantastic.
In the afternoon session, I filled the PokerStars slot with Holdem Poker. Playing their lowest limit, $0.05/$0.10. I bought in for $4. I finished at $9.65. Very happy. I was trying to see how feasible it was to clear bonus points here. Not too good. I will need to clear my $100 bonus here at $1/$2 limit like I did Pokerroom last month.
I think this system I am using has a lot of merit to it. Not necessarily the all or nothing AA, KK, QQ, AK part, but rather the 40% buy-in, table change once I double up routine. Granted, not buying in at maximum does have it's disadvantage of not maximizing double up potential. However, I think this is remedied by not losing a lot when your hand isn't the best. Moving tables helps disguise your play style. Overall, I think it is safer, but will ultimately mean that you won't maximize your profit if you employ this type of system.
Sunday, February 26th. I had a very good day:
Monday, February 27th.
I added JJ to the quest. However, this hand and any additions aren't saddled with the all-in constraints of AA, KK, QQ and AK. This will eventually allow me to open up my game. Here are my results for Monday:
On Friday, I couldn't manage to find a £1/£2 table to finish up my bonus chase at TotalBet. So I concentrated on playing just NL micros at UB and Stars. At PokerStars, I started off ridiculously horrid. I started with JJ in the SB, and lost to QT, when they hit a Q on the turn, despite me being all-in on the flop. Then with an unraised BB of 64o, I flopped 532 rainbow. I went all-in and was called by J4 of spades who managed to hit running spades for the flush. I rebought. A few hands later I get AA, and lose all-in preflop against AJo when the flop comes JJ2. This is almost the same flop that buried my KK the day before. Less than a half hour in, I'm down three buy-ins. I decide to two-table PokerStars. I manage to recoup all of my losses except $0.21. I was very happy with this result. At UB, I flounder on two tables. Never quite gaining any momentum that will see me ahead by much....until just before I was getting ready to leave. I hit KK for a set and left UB up $2.30 plus $0.41 in bonus. Nice finish.
Saturday, I was very lazy. My wife and I basically did nothing but watch TV and lounge. What a great relaxation day. After dinner, bored with TV, I ventured online to Party Poker. I had emptied this account about four weeks ago, minus about $8 which I lost in thinterimim. So I ventured to a $1250 Guaranteed Freeroll. Top prize was $262 and some change. 753 players played. I did pretty well throughout. Hitting quads twice, a few fullhouses, and other hands, I was at about 13K in tourney chips, when I started going card dead. With the blinds at 800/1600 [with antes at 50], I got dealt AK. I went all-in and was called by the table idiot who called off half his stack with a 66. No K, no A and I was out in 53rd. I have come to expect donkey play at freerolls, and since I wasn't out anything but 250 Party Points, it wasn't a big deal. Still, I would have liked to refund Party for free.
So far today, I finished up the TotalBet chase. Cleared my £25 bonus, up £6.75 for the day. All that time, and I managed to only increase my TotalBet bankroll by £1.15. Uggh. Ah well, I'll get them next time!
Where to start? Another ugly day of fixed limit at TotalBet. I can really see why people like NL over fixed. You absolutely cannot shake a bad player off of a hand. When you are experiencing average results, both on your end and the poor player's end, it's like taking candy from a baby. You'll simply take all of a bad player's money in the longrun. It is when you are running poorly, missing draws, missing flops, or when the bad players run well, hitting gutshots, hitting set on pairs smaller than the board on the turn or river, or the omnipresent runner runner flushes, that you really have a horrid time of it. And it can affect you mentally. Unless you realize that it happens to everyone. In NL, you can mask this because you can convince a bad player to lay down that hand by betting big. Unless they are truly bad.
TotalBet saw me playing two sessions. One at 1/2, that I was running poorly on, and then the only table collapsed. I managed to clear only 11.25 raked hands, and was down 23.50 in less than an hour. I then dropped to .50/1 and made a whopping .40. All of this in British Pounds Sterling. But I cleared 24.5 more raked hands, and I am within 50 raked hands of clearing the bonus. I'll finish it up either this weekend or Monday.
Despite a big early win with a set of tens that morphed into a fullhouse, I got hammered a few times. KK fell to AJ, when the flop came JJx. 99 hit a set, and lost to a straight. ATo in the SB managed to lose despite the ATx flop, when AJ hit his J on the river. I still managed a small $0.53 win.
I had my first losing session at UB today. Most everything I played got beaten badly. A9o from the BB flopped A99, and I lost to KK when he hit a K on the river. No way I could get away from that hand. AQo managed to connect and double me up, but in the end I lost $1.50. This was mitigated by $0.56 in bonus clearing, so overall, despite being down in my NL ventures today, only really lost $0.41 today.
I ran into an opponent today at TotalBet while trying to add more raked hands and clear this damned bonus. He is a very poor player, who is in a current luck streak. I watched him build up his stack to £120, before finally going on the inevitable downturn. Problem is, he left before I could get any hands to hold up against him.Hee managed yesterday to call my preflop raise with KK in EP with his powerful 63s in the BB. Of course, he hit a straight, and I had a new buddy. Today he did the same to my KK, only this time he limped with Q8o in EP, and once again filled the knucklehead straight. Everyone at TotalBet was doing that to me today. Flop a set? Lose to runner runner flush. I managed to hit AA twice in about 20 hands to put a dent back in my losses, but still finished down £57.75, wiping out yesterday's win. I figure I will finish this bonus just in time for the next crop of monthlies to start in March. Ah well, on to the Quest:
PokerStars: I changed my buy-in from $2 to $1 at these $0.01/$0.02 tables. Much better. As I surmised, more players were willing to call my all-ins when I had only a dollar or less in front of me. The powerhand today was AK, both suited and unsuited. I doubled up twice with it, going all-in on the flopped K-high board and getting called. The big hand at PokerStars today was that beauty 99 that flopped a set and went all-in against three calling opponents. Quadruple up? Nice. Finished up $3.55 after 5 hours.
Ultimate Bet wasn't as good today. I managed to rackoff the table the first time after losing both AA and QQ. Then I got ATs in the SB, and tripled up when I flopped the nutflush. About 2 hours later, I managed another triple up with AJo in the SB on a JJ4 flop. Still cannot understand how they can call off that many chips on gutshot draws. But I am not complaining. Due to the earlier losses, I only managed a $0.61 win, but added to the $0.81 bonus, and I did pretty good today.
Didn't play as much poker as I wanted due to appointments, honey-dos and a renewed self-commitment to exercising! But I did get a lot in during the time I had.
Only setback the entire 3 hour session was when my KJo in the SB flopped a straight but lost to an all-in flush draw. I had him well covered, so I only lost $0.68. I finished the session up by $5.68 plus another $0.80 in bonus worked off. Nice profitable session.
With the end of February closing in and two Crypto monthlies still outstanding, I decided I needed to try to clear Littlewoods this day. I still needed 80.25 raked hands. For those of you who don't play at the Cryptos, they changed their requirements to receive the £25 from playing 5 hours to accumulating 200 raked hands. You get credit for 1 raked hand for every £1 raked per hand. If it is raked from .25 to .99, you get 1/4 of a raked hand. They went from being great, to being tedious. However, I am not complaining because I am doing quite well at the Cryptos. However, one of the reasons why I decided to do this NL Quest was because I have been running bad at the limit tables for about two weeks now, and needed a break. I finished the bonus chase at Littlewoods, losing a total of £0.77, so I finished up overall at £24.23. Not bad. I also had 36 raked hands to finish my last $10 in bonus at Absolute, and decided to finthattaht one off. Big mistake. I lost $34 chasing that at a pair of $1/$2 tables. Horrible.
After finishing Littlewoods yesterday, I decided to tackle my last Crypto monthly: TotalBet. Problem was, the recent update didn't take, so I had to uninstall, then re-download and install. That ran into serious problems, so, on the Phone with customer support in England, I finally got it squared. I settled in to play a single table of £1/£2 at TotalBet along with a $0.01/$0.02 table at both PokerStars and Ultimate Bet. Here's how this came out:
Finally a few notes: