Wednesday, March 31, 2004

slow and steady

i think that because i've gotten used to short sessions, i have a hard time sitting at a table for longer than an hour. it's almost automatic that i just leave after an hour, an internal alarm clock just goes off and i get the urge to look for something else to do. so i'm gonna try to increase the hours i play slowly.

it's really interesting to see the different opinions people have of poker. all of my non-serious poker playing friends call it a friendly gambling game. and when i try to discuss with them the differences i see in poker and gambling, they all just laugh and believe i'm some kind of gambling addict who's denying that poker is gambling. but there are a few people who are starting to understand what i mean once they have played a few hands with knowledge of starting hands, position, basic odds, etc. and it's always good to see them play and progress.

play at the no limit tables at party continue to be great. i especially love playing against people who think they're better than everyone else. the past few games, every table i sat at included at least one player who would chat it up talking about busting out the "fish" when in fact, they are the fish themselves. i've done this to a few of them, and it's always fun watching them leave the table as soon as they go broke, leaving me in peace to play against the real "fish."

sometimes a misread can lead to good things, especially when i fold a better hand on the flop to find that i would have lost big at the river had i continued to play it. i got lucky with this hand.

ten-handed no limit $25 buy-in table. i get dealt pocket rockets on the button. under the gun limps; early player next to him limps; mid player limps; i raise to 3; small blind and big blind fold; under the gun and early player call; mid player folds.

flop: [J-10-8]

under the gun checks; early player bets .50. now i'm thinking that i probably have the best hand unless the under the gun is slowplaying a Q-9 which is possible with such a loose table. so i raise to see where i'm at. i raise to 5. under the gun calls, early player calls. (hmm...i could be in trouble).

turn: [9]

under the gun checks; early player goes all in (for about 22). at this point, i can't help but think that someone has the queen for a straight. i fold. under the gun calls.

river: [Q]

under the gun turns over K-J offsuit for the straight. early player shows A-7 offsuit for an ace high bluff.

so my read on both players were way off. but i was lucky enough to fold my hand and not lose all my money when the under the gun made runner-runner for the straight. some players may argue that if i called (both players had me covered by a few), that the under the gun might fold. but having watched him play, i seriously doubt that because he would call with strange hands just like he did in this hand. so here's one where a complete misread helped to save money. i got very lucky.

current bankroll: $232.15

Monday, March 29, 2004

back to business

back at school and back playing poker. it's just so damn boring here that i have no other option except to play poker. which is good because i tend to slack off of playing once in a while. so i'll be forced to sit through my hour(s) at the tables.

cashed out some measly change and now working on building my bankroll back up. i'm not going to cash out until i hit the millenium mark this time.

current bankroll: $150

play at the no limit tables has been erratic. there are times when i go through long stretches of just folding preflop. it's impossible to bluff at these lower "big bet" tables; a call by someone is always guaranteed, which is good when you have the nuts, but terrible when you're card-dead. but when those good hands come along once every hour or so, that makes the playing just barely profitable enough for me to continue this life of poker. sitting there waiting for one playable hand per hour is boring to say the least. but i guess that's why patience is such an important part of poker.

reformatted my comp over the break, so i had to re-download all the poker software, but i forgot to save all the "favorite" websites i have saved on my internet explorer. so i'm trying to recall some of the more important sites i visit daily, other poker blogs among them. well, back to more browsing the net.

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

blah...

so i was set on abandoning the poker project and just concentrate on making some money. and then i came across poker oddyssey's site, and guess what?...he's abandoing it too. he gives a great reason for doing so, and you'll probably get a better explanation from him anyway; you can go read his blogs.

so spring break's been kind of a letdown. despite all the free time i have during the day, i haven't played much poker at all. during the evening, i'm usually out doing stuff. so i have very little time to play during the peak fishing hours. and i don't have the discipline yet to sit and get blinded out at tables full of sharks, or to duel with them with less than premium hands, so i'm pretty much stuck waiting until i get a good opportunity to play.

the short sessions i have played in so far have been up and down, mostly down. but i'm not down by much.

i feel like i'm just wasting time everyday.

current bankroll: 337

so i'm waiting for david sklansky's theory of poker and matthew hilger's internet poker book. but it seems that amazon is out of stock or something because i received an e-mail today stating they'll be delayed for about a month. sigh. at least i'm getting free shipping. i've been hearing mixed reviews about the theory. apparently, people find it lacking in specific details and examples. i will post my thoughts on the book as soon as i finish reading it, if it ever gets here.

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

the surreal life

first off, congrats to paul phillips on the win on tonight's wpt episode. i knew he won way back when they published it on cardplayer, but it was fun watching him go up against dewey tomko, gus hansen, and his old nemesis mel judah. good playing.

on the flipside, i kept wondering how the hell that abe mosseri guy got to the final table. he must have been incredibly lucky or wpt chose to show only his worst plays. i mean, the plays he made on t.v. were so obvious to even me. just horrible, awful plays. i kept thinking that if this guy can get there, i certainly can! yeah right. but honestly, he was either extremely lucky or wpt just showed his worst plays. maybe he got nervous and started to choke in front of the cameras and the crowd and the tough final table. i don't know. but the plays he made on t.v. made me reminisce about all the fish i play against on party poker. he was that bad. and him busting out mel judah was just a bad read on mr. judah's part. if abe can make it to the final table, then...heh...a guy can dream, can't he?

on another note, i was kind of surprised to hear that paul had made a deal with mel in their previous wpt battle at the legends of poker. and then, i got to reading today about how shady things can get at tournaments and how many tournament "pros" are actually broke all the time. it was an eye-opener in many ways because the fans of wpt and poker in general kind of look up to these players. and a driving force behind these tournaments are that they are run by clean and honest establishments and played by honest people. but when these images are shattered, it makes me wonder.

it's not that i didn't know there were some struggling professionals on the tournament circuit. but when i hear that most of the "pros" that earn the majority of their income through tournaments are always broke, it's sad in many ways. kind of bursts my own bubble of dreams of playing and making money in major tournament.

i've been thinking a lot about my loss last night, about how i had an actual chance at some serious money or even getting to play at the wpt championships. i know fifty-something place is still a far ways off from in the money, but i honestly felt like i had a good chance. and i keep having dreams (nightmares) about it. i guess this must be a thousand times worse for tournament pros who lose after ponying up the big bucks to play in the major tournaments. that one costly mistake, that one bad play that lost them the tournament.

tom mcevoy and t.j. cloutier keep emphasizing this point in their books: poker is a game of mistakes. players who make the least amount of mistakes and capitalize on other players' mistakes win.

i truly believe that in poker the only person who can beat you is yourself. of course a little bad luck can hurt you as well. but even with bad luck, if you play smart and if you play with the least amount of mistakes possible, you will get the chance to win. case in point: the no limit games at party continue to be great. i suffered a moderate loss in the first hour and a half of play (card-dead as usual), but i came up almost $60 in the next half-hour of play. i am really looking forward to playing in these games every night.

current bankroll: $342.78

bad play

busted out 53rd out of 412 entrants at the wpt super satellite on party tonight. the sad thing is, i blew it with bad play. i was a little below average, but i still had time to wait for a good hand. yet i got impatient and blew it all on an open-ended straight draw against a guy who disguised his pocket aces very well. (he went on to win second or third, i forget...but he won the trip anyways). sigh. i'm not disappointed in the fact that i can't go to the wpt, i am more disappointed in that i missed out on the huge 5th, 6th, and 7th place prizes. (5th paid out $7800). so yeah, i missed the big money. i knew that even if i made it to the wpt, i would have a snowball's chance in hell of making the money, so i was going for the cash.

to be honest though, i should have been one of the first people out of the tourney. i reraised all-in with pocket tens preflop against a guy who had pocket queens. ten on the flop and an early double-up. but it was incredibly hard for me to find the right cards to play with. i saw the flop 8% of my hands. yup. how sick is that? 8%?! i was so card dead that when i got an open-ended straight draw off of a free flop in the big blind, i overplayed my hand. sigh. well, i didn't deserve to win. that's for sure. out of the hands i got, half of them got out drawn on. but i was able to double up a couple times with my other hands which allowed me to hover just below the average chip stack for the entire tourney. and everytime i was getting set to attack the blinds of the short-stacks, some other player would come in for a huge raise. quick folds for me. and when crunch time started getting nearer, i guess i panicked. so yeah, i know i'm not ready for the wpt. but the money. sigh. i think if i was more patient, the cards would have eventually come. but i misplayed the tourney.

on another note, my no limit play at party is going well. nothing spectacular. but since my lowest point in my bankroll since moving up to the 1/2 limits, i've been averaging around $28 per hour playing the $25 no limit tables. i am just loving the loose players there. no limit is the game to play at party!

current bankroll: $286.38

Monday, March 15, 2004

problems playing limit hold'em

the limit hold'em games at party at any limit are tough...that is if you play at any other hours than between 5 and 9 pm pst during the weekday. and with my schedule, it's tough to set aside just that time to play. i'm sure people coming off of work will have a splendid time picking off the fish. but for others, like me, who play mid-day or around midnight, it's tough because only the sharks remain at those hours.

i'm not saying that the games are unbeatable. there certainly are a couple of loose/passive fish playing at all hours of the day. but trying to get onto the same table as them is nearly impossible with about a thousand sharks lined up waiting. and as soon as the fish bust out, only the sharks remain, leaving very small pots won. and the average bb's won per hour go way down. but there is one exception to this problem.

there are never a shortage of loose/passive players at no limit tables. and if played correctly, your wins aren't bound by the limits you're playing. it's no limit (well, table stakes, anyway). so even though you may only get one fish per table, if you play correctly, your winnings get maximized per every hand that you win. one example is the session that i just finished. playing about 90 hands, i was getting terrible cards for quite a while. i saw the flop only 13% of the time. but out of those 13%, i was able to win over $50 in a matter of one and a half hour. that's over 25 bb's at the $1/$2 limit which will take at least four times as long to do when the average pot per table is only 6 to 8 bb's and filled with sharks.

also, i believe that because the only type of poker shown on television is no limit, that's the game that most fish are drawn to anyway. they may find the restrictions of limit poker to be very boring, and are instead looking to fulfill their need for excitement through no limit. and no limit is where sharks can make the most money.

of course no limit also offers huge down swings. the variance is much greater at no limit than at limit. but, again, if played correctly, i believe a good player can minimize his losses and maximize his gains provided he/she is playing against worse competition.

so for now, i've switched to the $25 no limit tables at party where the fish seem to be drawn towards initially. i believe that if my bankroll gets big enough, i'll switch back and forth between limit play and no limit. but at low limits such as $1/$2, grinding out four bucks per hour, with the rake taking its share, just isn't worth it. at higher limits, of course, it'll be much more profitable.

until then, i'll be sticking to no limit. of course, i might be singing a different tune later when i suffer really bad beats to lose all of my buy-ins.

Sunday, March 14, 2004

doubts

as the super satellite for the wpt championship draws near, i can't help but feel like i have absolutely no chance of winning a seat in the actual tournament. just bad beats after bad beats keep eating away at me. i always end up busting out to loose players who draw out on me. and when i see those loose players amass huge chip leads only to throw it all away later to some other guy, i just get frustrated.

here's an interesting hand. how would you have played it?

$20+$2 multi-table tournament at party. typical party tourney with lots of loose players. blinds are 50/100. i have about 1650 in front of me.

and i get pocket nines in the small blind.

early position (loose player) limps.
another early position player (overplays any ace hand) limps.
mid player raises minimum.
button calls.
i call.
big blind (extremely loose player and huge chip leader) calls.
table goes around and limpers all call.

flop: [Qs, 9s, Ac]

i check.
big blind bets 100.
ep limper 1 calls.
ep limper 2 raises all in (about 700).
mp folds.
button folds.
i re-raise all-in.
big blind calls.
ep folds.

hands are turned over. the loose big blind player has Ah, Qh. the ep has Ad, Tc.

at this point, i'm really happy.

turn: [blank]

i believe i have this hand won until...

river: [As]

ouch. i lose to a three-outer.

the extremely loose chip leader draws out yet again. i've counted him calling over ten hands throughout the tournament with the 2nd pair on the flop to catch two pairs or trips on the turn or river. over ten hands, and i am not exaggerating. but he wins yet again.

did i misplay this hand? should i have just called the all in raise? should i have bet out the flop? either way, i believe i wouldn't have been able to lay down my set no matter what to these players. i knew they were loose/passive, and i couldn't put them on another set. i did suspect that one of them might have had the top two pair. but i never thought that they would river a bigger boat than me.

i believed that i was playing great until then. and even if i had played this hand correctly, in the end, i get nothing. i end up with a nine hundred something place finish (out of almost 1750 players by the way, the tourneys at party are going crazy with all these fish acting out their wpt fantasies). and i wonder if that wpt seat is just that, a fantasy for me as well. here i am, a struggling micro limit player trying to make a seat at the wpt. can it be done? i have my doubts.

arg

last post got deleted...

basically, i said that i'm trying to learn new things each day to become a better player. so i hit the $1/$2 tables again with a renewed attitude and $150 in my bankroll. luckily, about half of my good hands held up against the loose calling stations.

current bankroll: $184

Thursday, March 11, 2004

i am the fish

after 13 and a half hours of playing at the $1/$2 table, i have lost over 100 bb's. and this steady loss makes me believe that i am just not ready to play at the $1/$2 level. i play tight; i lose. i play tighter; i lose. i play looser; i lose. can't hit any of my draws no matter how great the pot odds are. and i keep getting sucked out on when i have the best of it preflop or on the flop. i thought after my first huge losing session that it was just bad luck. but now that i've suffered my second huge loss session, i can't help but wonder. my confidence is shaken to be sure. and i am forced to go back down the $.50/$1.00 limits. no matter how hard i try to just play my hands correctly, they always end up losing in the end. and i always see the loose players call with their bottom pair to hit two pair on the turn or river. they end up with huge winning sessions. and no matter how hard i try to think of only playing correctly, isn't the bottom line of poker about money? and if i keep losing my money, and they keep winning, then maybe my strategy's just all wrong. and all the strategies that i've been reading have been wrong.

i tried lee jones' tight aggressive play. i've tried steve badger's looser and aggressive strategy (ramming and jamming with draws on the flop). but no matter what, i can't hit my draws, and i just keep losing.

i think i'm going to take a break from ring games for a little while.

1st place at the wpt...qualifiers...

march 11, 2004
$22 + $2 buy-in multi-table no limit hold'em tournament qualifier to the wpt super satellite
280 entrants
place: first!!!

yes! i actually won a multi-table tournament! unfortunately, 1st place paid the same as 18th place. it was a qualifier for the satellite to the world poker tour championship at the bellagio in april. this was amazing! although the final table was more of an all-in crapshoot. but i did it! i actually won!

to be honest with you, i was looking to place 19th where the winner got $155 and no entry. when i first registered for the tournament, i had just finished watching the foxwoods episode of the wpt, and i think i was inspired by chris ackerman, so i just signed up and thought "what the hell...if i get an entry, i'll play in the satellite and see what happens...hey, i might get to play against the pros..." but after an hour of playing, i decided that i wasn't really ready to play at that level anyway. and i would probably just end up losing in the main satellite. so i was aiming for the 19th place prize which was $155. a nice pick-up for finishing on the bubble. so with 20 people left, i was getting ready to just push all-in with any two cards as soon as the 20th place finisher was determined. but unfortunately, two people got knocked out at the same time, so i was automatically left in the top 18, and i won an entry. i say unfortunately, but it was a good experience in retrospect. hey, if i get lucky again, i might get to play at the championship. that is the tournament of the world poker tour! but i'm not gonna get my hopes up too much.

so yeah, the end of the tournament was pretty much everybody going all-in. after four hours of play, everybody was tired and ready to go to sleep. so i just started clicking all-in on every hand. except i kept getting winning hands. so i ended up with a huge chip lead, and with four people left, i thought, "what the heck" and i went for the win.

the win offset a horrible day for me at the ring games. i am down by quite a bit. and that cash could have kind of boosted my morale. but hey, taking 1st in a multi-table tourney ain't so bad either.

so i heard on the wpt episode that chris won his first tournament right after he turned 21. and considering i'll be turning 22 when the championship rolls around, it would be just a really cool experience to go to vegas and play against the pros. but again, that's if i win another multi-table tourney and win an entry to the "big one."

to comment on the episode that aired tonight. i really enjoyed it. chris, mohammed, phil, and hoyt made a very fun table. and you got all the audience going crazy everytime chris or mohammed made a move, which must have been really tough for phil hellmuth, considering he's the biggest name (and probably most egotistical) of them all. nobody really cheered for him. haha. how sad. but let me tell you, that hoyt corkins fella has the kind of demeanor that i want to portray at a poker table. strong and silent. when he won, he won graciously. when he lost, he lost gracefully. but that guy flat out pounded phil hellmuth every single hand they showed. of course he did get lucky a couple times, but that's the fun of poker. and i heard that hoyt drew out on phil at the showdown at the sand as well. phil must be losing sleep at night thinking about hoyt and his draw-outs. lol. but i think phil just tried to trap too much. slowplaying when he had the best of it to get drawn out at the river after giving hoyt so many free cards. can't really blame the fella for winning when he gets free draws. and of course, hoyt had position on phil all night long.

overall, a very good episode. i hope to see more phil and hoyt battles in the future. that'll be very fun to watch.

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

table selection

been up and down most of the day...mostly down though. sigh. i always seem to run into monsters when i have a good hand or just get drawn out on a lot. and because i can't even see the other player in person, it's so hard to detect when i'm up against a better hand or if they're just betting because they think they're second pair is the best hand. i guess that's the bad thing about online play. you can't detect any tells except through their betting patterns and previous hands played.

one question i have is whether anyone has used the party poker fish finder, i mean, player search option. i've tried it several times on different people and even myself, but it doesn't seem to work.

so i've been learning that table selection is the key to winning big here (or losing big). but the problem is that the fish to shark ratio is incredibly shrinking. so far in my mid-day sessions, i would say the ratio of fish to grinder is about 1 to 5. and it's pretty bad when 5 grinders try to beat up on one loose/passive player who ends up busting out pretty quickly and exits the table leaving only grinders to play against each other. this makes the table way less profitable. for every fish entering party's pond, i think there's about 5 more sharks entering as well. so although it may look like party's full of fish on the surface, underneath, the grinders lurk waiting to just shoot them down. this isn't good for me because i rely on those fish to build my bankroll, and i'm still not good enough to make my time played against these grinders very profitable.

current bankroll: $286

thank you, dr. feeney

after reading feeney's essays on tilt in his inside the poker mind, i was able to put a stop to my terrible losing streak and have turned things around 180 degrees. ok, so my game's not near perfect still, but i've been learning about how my attitude should be towards playing and about how fluctuations are a part of poker, and i need to learn to play my best no matter what the outcome. feeney states that tilt is when you know you're not supposed to do something, but you do it anyway due to your emotional state. and i realized that i've been tricking myself everytime i tried to draw out on someone or stay in the pot when i know i'm beat because i was trying to get lucky and make back the money i had lost. so in my past couple of sessions, i did nothing but concentrate on playing each hand to the best ability i could. and of course, the wins naturally came along. my latest session culminated with me winning over 15 bb's in a half hour. not bad at all.

current bankroll: $320.50

so after 8 hours of play, i have come up even with when i first started recording my bankroll data. but i know that with continued effort, and finding the right games, i will build up my bankroll to reach the next point in the "poker plan." thank you, dr. feeney! his book is highly recommended by me. it is filled with essays on a variety of different topics about hold'em which inspired a new outlook for me. and i'm sure i am a better player now than i was before i had read the book. big wins or big losses, i know that i will be playing with a better understanding of the game. and whenever i get peeved about "bad beats" i will always turn to his book to remind myself on how i should be playing the game.

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

steaming

when a guy makes his inside straight draw on you when you have the nuts on the flop, it can be irritating. when he draws runner-runner on the turn and river to get trips to beat your top pair, that can be irritating. when he hits his hand over and over and over again, then i wonder if there is anybody that won't be steaming.

current bankroll: $250

in my past blogs, i admit when i just played badly. but that was not the case today. it was just an awful run of cards. and the negative swings of poker really make me wonder if this game is worth playing at all. no matter how much i try to play "correctly" with tight and aggressive play, when shit like this happens over and over and over again, i have to wonder if poker is really worth it. is it worth all the time and effort spent in slowly building up a bankroll only to take a huge hit when some guy seems to just beat you with any hand he has against you?

i think now would be a good time to read that chapter on tilt by feeney.

what is going on?!?!

after seeing mostly tight tables at my mid-day session, i figured that the loose players would be out in abundance at night. i got to the tables a bit late (around midnight) and i sat down to play at the biggest average pot table for $1/$2 limits. i take a seat and find out that the table has turned really tight. my usual bad luck of nothing hitting on the flop continued. but at this table, i was able to steal five small pots by simply betting the flop! until now, i had never seen such a thing at these party low limit tables. have all the fish been scared away? have the sharks punished them so thoroughly that they won't come out to play anymore? or was tonight just an anomaly? this was an incredibly frightening experience. everybody's been blogging about how loose and fishy party players are at the low limits, and i had just finished witnessing some of the tightest playing ever at any limit! it was like watching paint dry as player after player just kept folding to any raise preflop. so what happens when you limp preflop and bet the flop? more folds. and if they call, you know you're beaten. unfortunately, nothing i held ever hit, and i had to settle for stealing very small pots or just fold hands whenever anyone bet or raised. on my other table, a loose player always saw the flop but immediately folded whenever nothing hit which led to more small pots. i basically got blinded out for six rounds, just sitting and waiting and trying to hit. my big slick fell to the "hammer" when a 7 flopped for the loose player. he checked, i bet, he called. he checked, i bet, he called. he checked, i checked. and he took down the pot. it was like that all night long for me. i always get a little bummed when i have stretches like this.

but the tight playing is still bothering me. i used to see at least five tables each session with average pots of over 9 big bets at the 1/2 limit. but tonight, i only saw one. and that one quickly turned into the tightest ring table i've ever played at. i do have a theory, though, about why this is happening.

after reading other people's blogs and posts online, i believe that many "pros" or aspiring "pros" or even just better than average players are turning their attentions to party poker's extreme fish population. initially, these players who study the game have a greater edge over the "fish" and have been profiting from them as i have. eventually, the fish keep losing and decide that poker is not what they thought it would be like and have stopped depositing money into their accounts to continue play. but the spread of the news of the great fish population on party continues to attract better players from every other poker site. thus, the numbers of players keep growing, but the fish are becoming fewer and fewer and harder to find on the tables (except perhaps at the extreme micro limits). when these fish sit down, the average pot size will grow. but as soon as they leave, "sharks" fill their seats hoping for the continued great average pot size which they wish to win. but play will get tighter and tighter as they realize that they are up against players of equal, or better, caliber. and the sharks continue to flood party while the fish quietly lose interest in poker and leave.

i honestly hope that this theory is wrong. i hope to God that today's tight play was an anomaly, and the loose players will once again fill every table.

current bankroll: $344

my goal is to win 4 bb's per hour per table playing two tables. since i've started recording my bankroll every half hour of play, i've been averaging 3 bb's per hour per table. and with tight tables like today, i don't know if i can reach my goal.

Monday, March 08, 2004

running bad...

so my streak of winning sessions came to an end sadly. yes, i actually thought i could go on playing poker without another losing session. so what caused the losses? a couple of things...

first, i tried to play three tables at once. i've been reading about how online players usually play three or even four tables at once. and david ross plays four 5/10 short-handed tables even! and since i normally play up to two tables at once, i figured that i could handle three full ring games.

big mistake.

i was constantly clicking back and forth between tables trying to keep up with the play. it was just way too hectic. i don't think i'll be trying that again anytime soon. i am still wondering how in the world people play more than two tables at once.

another reason was that my luck just sucked. no suitable starting hands for long stretches of time followed by a big pocket pair that would get sucked out on. in one hand, i had aces against a guy with kings. he and i basically got into a betting war on every street of the hand. sweet! except...the board came out [5-6-7-8-9] and we ended up splitting the pot. when that happened, i just knew i couldn't count on luck tonight.

and a third factor was that i just didn't play well. i was missing value bets and misplaying hands all night long. i rammed and jammed when i should have slow-played. i slow-played when i should have been aggressive. it was just awful.

i tried to settle down and play out the rest of the session as best as i could. and of course no cards came for me. another cold deck run.

i can't blame the cold decks though. i would have ended up a few bb's had i played correctly on the hands that i won. but i screwed it up. well, there's always tomorrow.

running well

i've been having a nice little run my past few sessions. i haven't had a losing session these past few days. i came close once, but was able to win big with a boat to get above even before i had to leave. things are running smoothly.

i've been reading john feeney's inside the poker mind. i've found some interesting thoughts, but nothing has "blown me away" so far. in the first few chapters, feeney goes over some topics sklanksy and malmuth cover in hold'em poker for advanced players. i have yet to read the second half of the book, but i hear that the essays on tilt is well worth it, so i'm looking forward to reading that.

current bankroll: $359

it's getting harder and harder to find many loose games on party in the late morning/early afternoon. this is unfortunate because this period is basically the lull in my schedule throughout the day, so i usually spend it playing poker. instead, tables are filled with mostly low limit grinders. it's not surprising to see only two or three players per flop which is amazing by party's low limit standards. i'm sure the looser players will come out later in the evening, but i wish i could make my mid-day sessions more profitable.

i've been playing mostly full ring games so far. but my last session was spent at a 6 max table. i admit that i am a bit intimidated by short-handed play because the swings can be very wild. but i'm going to try practicing more on these short-handed tables because it seems it has greater potential for greater hourly rates. i believe i just need to psychologically get comfortable with the swings and different style of play. i believe the full ring games are much more comfortable because i can afford to wait longer for better hands. in short-handed play, i have to be the aggressor, and if i sit and wait too long, i'll just keep getting blinded out or be pushed around by bullies. i admit that i am still passive compared to the short-handed players. but for a full ring game, i think i'm fairly aggressive.

another lesson i've learned is that i should focus more on my hourly rate than my win percentage as i have been doing in the past. feeney discusses this in his book: about how the true mark of a good player is his/her hourly rate, not the win percentage per hands played. so i'm once again copying poker odyssey's idea, and i've started to keep records of and chart my total bankroll per half hour of play. and i believe my hourly rate has gone up a bit lately.

i hope to reach the 2/4 limits by beginning of april.

Thursday, March 04, 2004

more gripes about party

party's new interface menus are all fine and dandy, but i also noticed that they added the feature where the players' cards are revealed when they go all-in ala wpt and poker stars. the only problem is that the software whizzes through the flop, turn, and river so quickly that one barely gets a chance to see what the other player was holding before finding out that the hand is already over and the winner is highlighted. i thought the point of revealing hands were to add to the drama. poker stars achieves this by slowing down the flop, turn, and river. but party accomplishes exactly the opposite by flying through the hand so quickly, that it becomes anti-dramatic. i hope they fix this soon. along with their ever-troublesome waiting list for the tables. is it that hard to get things right?

interesting hand

been playing and winning steadily over my past few sessions. nothing great. a few bb's per hour. but here's an interesting hand i witnessed just before i finished my session:

texas hold'em table. limits $1/$2.
under the gun limps.
early position player folds.
I fold.
mid-early position player limps.
mid player folds.
late-mid raises.
cutoff folds.
button folds.
small blind calls.
Big Blind folds.
under the gun calls.
mid-early re-raises.
late-mid caps.
small blind calls.
under the gun calls.

ok. so we have four players seeing the flop and betting was capped preflop. $17 in the pot.

flop: [6-4-4]

small blind checks.
under the gun checks.
mid-early player bets.
late-mid player raises.
small blind calls.
under the gun calls.
mid-early calls.

$25 in the pot. all four are still in.

turn: [4]

small blind checks.
under the gun checks.
mid-early player bets.
late-mid player raises.
small blind calls.
under the gun calls.
mid-early player re-raises.
late-mid player calls.
small blind calls.
under the gun calls.

$49 pot. now, my thoughts were that the mid-early player and the late-mid player both had big pocket pairs. but the mid-early player was a little looser and tended to be a little more aggressive, so i put him on [J-J] or [Q-Q]. i was pretty sure the late-mid player had [K-K]. and i had absolutely no idea what the small blind or under the gun players were doing in the pot. if i was the late-mid player, i would have capped the turn. but he just called raising suspicions. and now the river...

river: [4]

small blind checks.
under the gun bets.
mid-early player calls.
late-mid player calls.
small blind calls.

final pot: $57

so the board came out to be: [6-4-4-4-4]

and i was thinking that the small blind and under the gun must have had big aces to have stayed in the pot like that. and i was pretty sure that the calls from mid-early and late-mid players confirmed my suspicions of them having pocket pairs. so who won the pot?

under the gun player turns over [A-3] offsuit to win with four of a kind A kicker.

i'm thinking that the small blind probably had a pair as well. but it's amazing to see that how awful the suck-out was in this particular hand. and the under the gun player wins the biggest pot i've seen at a $1/$2 table.

my hand history request hasn't come in yet. it'll probably take another couple hours or so. gone are the days when party would send you the hand history within one minute of the hand having transpired so you can see immediately what the other players' hole cards were. now, you're stuck wondering until you can go back to your hand histories a couple hours later and then make notes about them after you're done playing with them. sigh.

current bankroll: $278

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

bugs in party

it still astounds me how many bugs party has yet to fix after they've been doing this for how long? and after how many updates? instead of fixing the major bugs like their damn wait list that goes bust whenever it feels like, they decide to change their menu selections. how irritating.

so after futilely trying to get onto a table with the busted wait lists running amok (some single table tourneys are frozen before they can even start and live games just show the "reserved" seat whenever a player leaves, but nobody can get on!), i've decided to just rant on this blog. after my devastating losses last night, i managed to pull some steady wins today to come up a little less than even from where i was when i started the $1/$2 tables. the swings are hard to accept. although the number of bb's may be the same, the bankroll takes a bigger hit. and i'm sure that it's also my psychological outlook towards these limits. i have to remember to think in terms of bb's. well, my current bankroll is $215. i will be trudging along, learning the ways of the $1/$2 until i can reach my goal.

the games aren't necessarily tougher here, but i do see a lot more "grinders" than i did at the $.50/$1.00 tables. i see the same names over and over again at different tables just grinding it out. i'll have to learn to adapt and beat these guys as well. i would say that about 60% of the tables are filled with these grinders who play tight and solid; the other 40% are loose/passive preflop, but interestingly only half of them would be considered calling stations. the other half is mixed with rather tricky/aggressive players who bet out and raise on the flop and turns to try and win the pots right there, and others would just drop their hands as soon as they don't hit on the flop. so the number of calling stations are way down, and trickier players are seen here.

anyway, i hope party resolves their issues soon. with the second season of the world poker tour starting tonight, i believe party's going to reach astronomical figures of players in the near future. and i hope to bank on them if possible.

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

it hurts, doesn't it?

"it hurts, doesn't it? you can't believe what fell. all your dreams...hops down the fucking drain..." - teddy kgb...rounders

took a huge hit today. i'm still stunned.

i won 3 out of 118 hands played. the 3 wins were the first three hands i played at the beginning of the session. and i suffered the biggest loss i have of this poker plan so far. i'm not going to whine about it. but i'm also letting you know that it's not because i played badly. 115 straight hands of nothingness. it's a desolate place: sitting and waiting, and getting drawn out on, and waiting, and waiting, and not hitting your draw, and waiting, and waiting, and waiting. until you realize that you're down 50 bb's. and you realize how devastating it is to your bankroll.

not gonna say anything else.

first session at $1/$2

i must admit that i was a little bit intimidated when i moved up the limits. at first, i didn't see many huge pots. and then the calling stations and maniacs showed up. and pots were climbing high. when i lost a hand, although in terms of bb's it was the same as the $.50/$1.00 limits, it felt like a greater loss because of the higher limit. and i was wondering how i was going to climb out of a $10 hole when i realized that it was still only 5 bb.

i came out with a small profit. party was experiencing one of its spastic can't-handle-all-of-the-players-because-of-crappy-server problems, so i just left at that point a few minutes shy of an hour. looking back, the session went well, but all the time, i kept worrying that if i lost, i would end up a huge loser and would have to go back down to the lower limits. but my fear was in vain. i had nothing to worry about as long as i stuck with basically the same strategy i used at the $.50/$1.00 tables.

for a while though, i began to worry when i saw tight players. at the highest "average pot" table, i saw the table go a couple hands with everyone folding to the big blind. wow! what is going on? but luckily, the looser players came in time to make the games more lively.

i guess party's popularity is bitter-sweet. sweet cuz of all the money flowing around; bitter cuz the servers can't handle the amount of players.

moving on up...a learning experience

i have yet to experience one of those rushes players talk about (where almost every hand they play wins) during the past week. instead, i've only seen cold decks so far. my overall win percentage is still below 7% for all the hands i've ever been dealt. and a cold deck was what i was experiencing during the first 45 minutes of my hour-long morning session today. i was afraid that i wouldn't be able to reach my 200 bb goal today, but i was fortunate enough to win a couple monster hands towards the end to come up a winner. and now, i will move up in the limits to $1/$2.

the past week has been a good learning experience for me. although i gripe much about cold decks and bad beats, i've come out a steady winner overall. and i figure that if i can win under such circumstances, i'll do even better when the deck turns in my favor.

well, so long $.50/$1.00. although it's been fun and educational, i hope i never ever see you again. and barring a 75 bb loss in my first few sessions at the $1/$2, i won't.

current bankroll: $207
goal: $600

i've been reading over poker odyssey's experience, and wow, i am impressed. he jumped the level from $.50/$1.00 in 5 hours compared to my measly 1 week 1 day. i believe if i add up all the hours, i get around 15 hours. i've also read some of the old 2+2 forums about the old open internet challenge. and some guys jumped the level in a mere 2 hours! these guys are impressive. i guess i have a lot of learning and catching up to do.

well, good luck at the tables. i'm looking forward to the $1/$2 tables.

nice catch

the last two hands before my final win for the session were brutal. but luckily, i won against the same guy who drew out on me, so i was able to take some money back. i am happy to say that my last few sessions have been fairly profitable. i've been averaging about 7 bb per hour. after a small losing session earlier in the day, i finished winning my last few. so now my bankroll is up to $190.50. i hope to reach the goal of 200 either tomorrow or the day after. and then i'll be moving on up to the $1/$2 limits.

i've been getting very comfortable at the $.50/$1.00 limit; i'm surprised that i'll be leaving it so soon. but i certainly don't want to have to drop back down to this limit after losing too much in the $1/$2 games. but it was almost like there was a certain poker community i belonged to, and now i'm leaving it for a different one. it feels very strange.

i just hope i continue to improve, and my bankroll will grow enough to move me up to the next limits. i'll keep you posted.

Monday, March 01, 2004

profitable crapshoot

i don't play much on weekends because i spend it at home with the family. and i usually go out with friends and whatnot. i wish i could though because i know that that is when the biggest fish come out to play. but i was able to sneak in a really short session on saturday and won a handsome amount.

i started off this week with an $11 buy-in single table tourney. basically a crapshoot at the end, like many people have said before, but let me reiterate again, if you don't come up with good cards in the critical stages of the tournament, you have no chance of winning. this is because a) the blinds rise so quickly that in relation to your stack, you basically have to go all-in and b) it's nearly impossible to bluff against the loose/passive players at the lower buy-ins. but i managed to come out in 1st which is lucky for me.

current bankroll: $157.25

i believe that i'll be able to move up in limits by the middle of next week at the latest. because of projects due and finals coming up, i won't be spending as much time as i have of late at the tables. but knowing me, i'll probably still get enough time playing. wow, i can't believe that i'm already about to move up in limits. but i don't want to get ahead of myself and then end up losing a big chunk of my bankroll. so i'll just leave it at that.