28 February 2006

What a Great Day

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 and Monday

Sunday, February 26th. I had a very good day:

  • Finished the monthly bonus chase at TotalBet as reported in the previous post. Nice to get it out of the way.

  • Decided to play some NL at the $0.05/$0.10 tables at Royal Vegas. Wow. Two and a half hours later, I leave there up $16.09. Limping with JTo, I flopped JJT, and got it all-in against two other players who had me covered. Nice score.

  • At Ultimate Bet, in the same time frame, I won $1.19 at $0.01.$0.02, plus $0.36 in bonus.

  • After bowling league, and with nothing on TV, I played a little $1/$2 fixed limit at Holdem Poker. I have an initial $100 sign-up bonus I am working on there. In little less than an hour, I managed to win $30, and clear off som eof my raked hand requirements. All in all, a 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:

  • PokerStars found me getting whacked hard. First hand I get A5o in the BB. I flop A5x, turn a 5 and win immediately. Two hand later, I get AA and go all-in against a guy who I have covered. Flop comes KJx. I already don't like this. Q on the turn, blank on river. He shows QQ. Uggh. I spend the whole afternoon chasing my losses. I ultimately finish down $0.75 here. I'll take that.

  • Ultimate Bet sees me hit AA early and win a large pot. I then manage to lose 2 sstes, and am nearly back to even. I get AA late and double through. I finish the session up $1.92 [plus $0.42 bonus]. Overall, a winning day.

26 February 2006

Things looking up a bit

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!

24 February 2006

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.

22 February 2006

February 22, 2006

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.

21 February 2006

The Past Three Days

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.

Sunday, 2/19/06

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.

Monday, 2/20/06

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.

Tuesday, 02/21/06

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:

  1. TotalBet was a goldmine today. I managed to finish off 43.75 raked hands today and earn £50.25 in the process. For those of you keeping score at home, that's ~$87, in a little less than 3 hours. Sure does make me feel better about the state of my limit game. Alas, I get in these ruts and downturns where I either completely miss the flop, or hit the flop and lose good hands to either better hands or suckouts. I know the swings are inevitable, but it does get to be a bit debilitating.
  2. PokerStars was yet again, very sub-optimal. After 4.5 hours [some of it two-tabling when I finished at TotalBet], I only made $0.39, Part of the reason was getting AQo in the SB hammered on a Q-high flop by a slowplayed QQ. Despite this set-back, I managed to make that small profit. I have ideas about how to change the Quest for PokerStars.
  3. Ultimate Bet, once again, proved to be a good fit for the quest. Despite losing another flopped straight, this time to ATo that hit it's four out fullhouse, and a few other choice hands, I cannot believe how loose players are here. I realize it is extremely low stake NL, but I am amazed at the loose calls. I made $2.65 plus another $0.59 in bonus. I have no doubt, that as I progress up the NL ladder, that this entire bonus will get cleared.

Finally a few notes:

  • I will dropping my buy-in at PokerStars down to $1.00, instead of $2.00. The max buy-in at this level is $5.This would be a 20% buy-in rather than the 40% stated in the quest rules. One of the reasons I need to do this is that it has become apparent that after a few blinds at UB, players are more apt to call my all-in with $0.67, than they might at PokerStars should I go all-in for $1.87. They appear to only call something that big when they have a near unbeatable hand. I also think the players, on average, are that much better.
  • For those who do not play at the Cryptologic poker rooms, here is a list of them:
  • Classic Poker
  • Sun Poker
  • PokerPlex
  • Littlewoods
  • Interpoker
  • TotalBet
  • UKBetting
  • William Hill
  • Ritz Club London [no Americans]
  • BetFair [no Americans]

19 February 2006

NL Quest Observations

I'd like to share some observations and items:

  • $0.08 is still 4xBB
  • Comment made by another player, "They are only pennies." Correct, but mistakes made at the micro-limits are amplified as the stakes go up. Why not learn to play right now and not get into bad habits?
  • Until I get better at NL, I think I'll dump A2o-A7o in the SB. A few times I got holding that ace with a poor kicker and losing small pots. I need to let that SB go.
  • Originally I wasn't going to add the UB bonus to my NL Quest on UB, but decided to anyway, as the difference between starting bankrolls at UB and Stars is $120. I think this will allow me to move up to the next level, $0.05/$0.10, on both sites at roughly the same time.
  • I already have been 4-tabling. It has become second nature, especially with regards to waiting for hands to play.

NL Quest: The First Three Days

Overall I had very good results my first day. I made a whopping $0.61 at PokerStars in a little over 6.5 table hours. One thing I recognized was that doubling up from $2 to $4 was a bit harder than I imagined here. Despite the looseness of the tables, the PokerStars opponents were reluctant to make a move with their chips, and thus the pots I managed to win, were small. Not so at Ultimate Bet. In 4.4 table hours I managed to make $4.27, which is spectacular in terms of Big Blinds. Add to this the $0.72 bonus I cleared, and I finished at almost $5.

On day two, I ran into a whole bunch of trouble at PokerStars, losing two buy-ins when my KK ran into AA twice, and then losing a bit more when AKo all-in was called by J7o, which managed, despite a K43 flop, to hit running 65 for the straight. On UB, I managed to virtually break even, winning 4 cents [but clearing $1.21 in bonus].

The third day, Saturday 2/18, I decided to give the quest a little rest, and decided to try my luck at Bodog.com's NL micro-tables. Their lowest NL tables are $0.05/$0.10, and I decided to try playing at only $2. I also decided that since this wasn't part of the quest, I'd play without the shackles of the quest rules. What a wonderful result. I played about 4 hours, single table, and managed to turn the $2 into $10.13, twice winning big with 99. First time was pure heaven, tripling up. I flopped 988, was all-in against two players by the turn with one card to come and them holding 83 and Q8, and drawing dead. The second time I doubled up when I hit another set. Hitting a set of 6s cemented the session.

Embarking upon a NL quest

Recently I embarked on a NL quest whereupon I would endeavor to start minimally staked at the lowest NL tables available at both Ultimate Bet [UB] and PokerStars[PS]. I would start by buying-in at each table I played with 40% of the maximum buy-in. Likewise, I would ensure that I started with 100 buy-ins for that level. There is a large difference between the two sites. UB's max buy-in at the $0.01/$0.02 tables was set at 100 x Big Blind. PS' is 250 x Big Blind. Thus the max buy-ins at their lowest levels are $2 and $5, respectively. This means that at 40%, my buy-ins would be $0.80 [UB] and $2 [PS]. Since I wanted 100 buy-ins at each site, I needed to ensure that I was bankrolled $80 [UB], and $200 [PS]. Initially, the only hands I would play are AA, KK, QQ and AK [suited or not]. These hands would see me all-in by the flop, giving my opponents no opportunity to bluff me on later streets. Every Monday, and anytime I double up my quest bankroll, I will add another hand to the mix. These hands can be played as I see fit. In the blinds, I would use the same starting requirements that normally would be used for my fixed-limit game, based upon action to me in every given circumstance. Finally, everytime I double through on a table, I will play out the orbit, and bank the win prior to posting another blind. Then switch to another table, and start the process all over again at a new table.