Monday, January 31, 2005

Bad Beat Blues

If you don't want to read about my rants about the horrible bad beats I've been suffering on a consistent basis, then please don't read the following. It is for my own benefit that I let off some steam in an attempt to control my emotions better at the tables.

If there is a poker cheating software, then everybody must know exactly what cards I am holding and what cards are coming on the turn and river. If PartyPoker has a "hit list," I must be at the top of it. The bullshit that these people have been pulling out on me over and over again has passed beyond the ridiculous stage. If I have the best hand on the flop, it is guaranteed that these people will call me with and catch their draws. If I am on a draw, it is guaranteed that I will never hit. So I just keep bleeding my chips away.

It is impossible for me to hit one of my 15 outs on the turn or river. But the idiot next to me will keep betting/calling and catch his inside straight draw. If I hold top pair with top kicker, the guy holding the same top pair with lower kicker is guaranteed to hit his kicker card on the turn or river to make two pair against me. Anytime I am all-in on a coin flip, I am guaranteed to lose. My AK won't pair up. My QQ fall to a rivered Ace or King.

Why is this happening? I don't know. Perhaps it's because my top pairs were actually holding up a couple of days ago. And although I still couldn't hit the fifth flush card on a four flush flop, I still had decent hands hold up and win me pots a couple of days ago. So maybe luck has seen enough of me winning and has decided to play its cruel trick on me. Lady Luck can be a cold, cruel bitch.

As Jesse May is quoted on Iggy's site, "The trick to poker is mastering the luck." I must go back to the "Professional Attitude" John Feeney wrote about in his book, Inside the Poker Mind. But will I be able to endure after I've gone broke? Will I reload and take another crack at this game? Hopefully, I won't have to find out.

Sigh...Just One of Those Days...

Coupla days, actually...

After a nice run to end Friday, I moved up in limits to the 6 max $50 NL tables. And I have just been getting crushed horribly. I am pretty certain that it's not my lack of skills at this level because the level of play have been just as horrific as at the $25 tables. Instead, I've been getting busted by hands in which I should have dominated but ended up getting dominated instead. Hands like KQ falling to a guy who calls all-in with QJ when he had a pair of Queens, pocket Jacks losing to AJ, KQs to 84o, etc., etc. Blah Blah Blah. I'm getting tired of losing like this. And I'm pretty sure that towards the end, my play just sucked. And this obviously led to more losses...damn.

Times like this, I like to just move down in limits and ride this wave of "bad luck" out. Sadly, I didn't listen to my own advice, and I ended up dropping about two-thirds of my bankroll in the last two days.

When I get back on PartyPoker, I'll be back at the 6 max $25 NL tables rocking back and forth in my chair while sucking on my thumb. Just ride this out, just ride it out...

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Eh...

"Me fail english? That's unpossible!" - Ralph Wiggum

I reread some of my posts, and I realized that each blog was filled with spelling typos and grammatical errors. But being the lazy ass that I am, instead of going to each blog and correcting the errors, I am writing a post apologizing for my messy writing and failing to proofread each post before it gets "published" onto this site. Sorry. But I'm pretty sure the errors will continue in this post and in future posts as well, so I'm sorry I'm not such a meticulous writer. Sometimes it's hard for me to bear my own writings. :P

The rake amount that Party (and skins) shows to the left of the dealer is misleading (using a euphemism). Lately, I've been wondering why the pots that I dragged in didn't add as much to my total at the table as I expected. And then I realized that the amount that they show as rake taken (to the left of the "dealer") is sometimes understated. They take more money than they seem to take. Sneaky, greedy bastards. So, what does that mean for me, being primarily a Party and Empire player? Not much, other than that I'll be working harder to beat the rake. IGM must literally be making a ton of money every hour.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Fell Down the Steps

I've sworn off the Steps Challenge (at least for now). There are just too many loose players who call you down with nothing only to hit their miracle cards on the river over and over again. And the blind structures are way too fast for me. I admit that at times, I've been a bit too aggressive (due to my 6 max NL games), but it's just too ridiculous for me to experience bad beat after bad beat, and...BAM!...you're gone. Buy in for another Steps tourney. Bad beat after bad beat, and...POOF!...you're clicking "no" again when that little pop up asks if you want to see the tournament summary after it's finished. There's no point in seeing it if I'm always one of the first three to lose. Sigh.

I know I know. It's not bad beats; it's actually my play. My 6 max NL strategies do NOT translate well in these sit-n-go tourneys where the blinds rise too quickly with people who have no idea what's going on call you down to get lucky on the river. Sigh.

Back to the ring games for me.

WPBT

Although I'm not as famous a blogger as the names that appear to the right of my column, I have been blogging for over a year now. And I've only participated in one WPBT tournament so far. (I didn't fare too well). I'm wondering whether I should deposit some money into PokerStars and play the tourney. If nothing else, it's a lot more fun than regular tourneys. We shall see.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Working Hard

So far, the best games have been at the 6 max $25 NL Hold'em tables. The swings can get ugly (I went from negative 4 buy-ins to positive 12 buy-ins back down to negative 2 buy-ins in about four hours), but the players there are so terrible that it makes for the easiest games. Weathering the swings is the hard part.

I have a question which I'll perhaps post on the 2+2 forum as well. Here's the scenario: I have QQ in mid position in a $25 buy-in 6 max No Limit Hold'em table. Blinds are $0.25 and $.50. I've been playing steadily for about half an hour and built my stack up to $45. Player before me folds. I raise to $2. Button reraises all-in. Blinds fold. What do I do?

My read on this guy is that he's been in and out of lots of pots. It feels like an attempted steal here. I am 90% sure he doesn't have Aces or Kings. What would you have done?

*Edit*

In hindsight, it's easy for me to say that I made the right move in calling him and going all-in if I was so sure that he didn't have an overpair to mine. (He ended up showing AKo and catching two additional Kings on the board). The reason I posted this question was to see whether people thought it is better to save the money you earned for a better situation later on rather than to risk it all on a coin flip. But I think if you end up playing with scared money, then your decisions won't be as good as it should be. What are your thoughts?

Friday, January 21, 2005

Interesting...

"The foundation of the professional attitude is an understanding of the principles of correct play paired with an accurate appreciation of the nature of the chance element (particularly the kinds of fluctuations) encountered in poker." John Feeney, Inside the Poker Mind page 217.

Nothing like reading up on tilt to get my poker juices flowing again.

So after experiencing the worst 48 hours of poker in my entire life, I came back to the tables, with what was little left of my bankroll, and I geared up to play with the "professional attitude." I went back to the short-handed NL tables, and I forced myself to play well. And I adjusted very well as a matter of fact. And just as I was starting to win again, it happened. Then it happened again. And again. No need to articulate on what "it" is. I'm sure we all know. But nonetheless, I calmed myself down and went back into professional mode. And you know what? Even though I was losing, I was starting to enjoy the game more. Why?

Well, like the above quote says, poker is a game of chance. And after learning all these numbers and stats and percentages, I think a lot of us get fixated on what should happen. And when things don't go our way, we start to blame others, ourselves, and the game itself. But I tried to remember that chance is a big part of poker. And you know what? That's what makes the game good.

So while I was enjoying myself, I was watching one particular hand when I made a comment about a dryside pot bluff. And one guy, who wasn't even in the hand, started to berate me about my stupidity about how this is poker and how bluffing is a big part of the game. I smiled to myself because of his ignorance, and I politely stated back to him that he should look up what a dryside pot bluff is. Nothing more. I honestly was nice to him back after he called me a "f-ing idiot." Seriously. I didn't fire back at him. I just told him to look it up so that he may learn more about the game.

But did it end there? No.

This idiot kept going on about how I was a "fag" and to "suck his dick." Um. Wait a second, who's the one who wants his dick sucked by a guy, and who's the fag here? What a weirdo.

But you know what? I still was nice to him. I didn't say mean things back to him. Of course I could've called him on his ignorance and ripped him apart. But no, he couldn't take my polite replies. He started calling me a moron because I got sucked out on three times beforehand losing my buy-ins each time. (Yup that's three suck-outs on hands where I went all-in preflop with the favorite...a huge favorite actually...hand). But did this guy know anything? Nope. He called me a dumbass because I was losing my money. Blah blah blah. He was better than me because he had yet to lose all his money.

???

Thank God I had read Feeney's articles on the professional attitude before I sat down at the table. It wasn't the losses that were bothering me as much as this guy's ignorance. Oh well. Another name to add to my "Buddy List." :)

Anyway, I'm still down horribly, but I'm feeling upbeat because I felt like I was making all of the correct plays on the tables. Yeah, I lost to draw-outs when I had huge favorites (one particular guy hit his two-outer on the river twice against me...oh boy!). But still, like I said, I felt good. I feel good.

So I imported my hand histories onto PokerTracker, and I was taking a look when some interesting things caught my attention. I have only 6,358 hands in the Tracker so far, but I thought I would share some interesting (at least to me) statistics I've gathered so far. In stats, even though the sample size may be small, but it can still shed some insights on interesting trends.

First off, I've won the most with pocket Aces which is as expected. I've gotten them 30 times and won with them 90% of the time. Hooray for Aces!

My second best hand are the Kings which I've gotten 38 times and won with them 73.68% of the time. Now, I remember someone telling me that Kings are 82% favorites. But 74% seems like a pretty big anomaly. Anybody know where I can get the percentages that certain hands should win with?

My third best hand was the AQs. Yup, it beat out the AKs and the QQ. I got them a total of 13 times and won 69.23% with them.

Next is AKs 22 times, 68.18%.

JJ and TT are next with me getting them 31 and 27 times respectively. And JJ winning 67.74% while TT wins 59.26%.

Then finally come the QQ at 58.97% with 39 occurrences. These Queens have given me so much trouble. I don't understand why I have so much trouble with them.

I won't go through the whole list, but I'll share some facts and figures that were surprising to me.

ATs did better than AKo which did better than AJs.

99 did indeed outperform AQo as Sklansky has them ranked ahead in Group 3 of his hand rankings. I always thought AQo were stronger, but that's just me.

Next in order are KQs, A9s, A5s, and AJo. That A5s really surprised me. How'd they do so well?

Next are QTs, KJs, KTs, A3s, JTs, 88. The QTs was stronger than the KTs? And where the heck did A3s sneak in from?

66 > K9s > QJs > KQo > K8s. I always thought QJs would be stronger. And KQo as well.

Oops. It looks like if I continue this, I'll go through all of the hands. I don't want to make it long and boring. Oops, too late for that.

Oh well. Just remember the Professional Attitude next time you're down. Hey, I lost over two-thirds of my bankroll. But I'm still keeping my chin up because I know I played my hands the right way as can be evidenced when I go through my hands again. It happens in poker. And that's the beauty of the game, I guess. Don't let anybody ever fool you into believing that luck plays no part in poker.

Good luck at the tables.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

What are the odds?

In the span of my 3 hours session today (playing on 2 to 3 tables of $25 NL), the best starting hands I got were pocket Aces, pocket Kings twice, and pocket Queens twice. Now, what I want to know is, what are the odds of losing with Aces, Kings (once), and Queens (twice) when going all-in preflop or on the flop? I won with Kings once. The best hand I got after these were AJo, and absolutely nothing would hit for me all night long.

Needless to say, I lost over 7 buy-ins. This was perhaps the worst day of poker for me. And I'm surprised by it because I just had probably the best session of poker in my career earlier today. But I lost all that and then some tonight.

Anyone know the odds?

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Bleh...

Finished 16th out of 288 players in a NL tourney today. I was in great position to make the final table when one guy went on a mad rush and took down me and two other chip leaders, drawing out on all of us. It hurt to go out the way I did, especially since I had a lot of chips, and I was in great position, but I guess that's poker.

I'm doing well in full table pot limit games. But the short-handed no limit games are killing me. Short-hand play requires you to be more active because if you just sit there waiting for a big hand, everybody will simply fold when you bet out. But with a combination of getting cold cards and people drawing out on me, I just can't seem to find a way to win at those tables anymore. I'm going to start taking my short-handed games a little slower to try and see if this is just a slump I'm going through or if it's my lack of skills that is causing this. I used to beat these games, but now, they seem unbeatable.

Got killed in a home game. No cards. No cards at all, and people drawing and hitting their cards on the river. I guess it's just that kind of day.

Today was the best I've finished in a multi-table tourney for money. I hope to improve my multi-table play and hopefully, I'll be able to start making some money through them.

Nothing much else to report. I have been winning steadily, but not as much as I had hoped for. I hadn't hit a flush until today in over 3,000 hands (I kept track through PokerTracker). For the time I'm putting into poker, I should be seeing better results. Hopefully, things will get better. Otherwise, I may need to take a look back at my play.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Rounders

"First prize at the World Series of Poker is a million bucks. Does it have my name on it? I don't know. But I'm gonna find out." - Rounders...

I know Rounders isn't technically accurate, but I still love the movie. I think it's because of the spirit of Michael McDermott that lives in most aspiring poker players. We've gone on rushes before, and we've lost it all before. But we're still willing to come back to the game to try and play at the right time, at the right place, and win it big. I don't know how to describe it, actually. Maybe it's the thrill of gambling or the idea of trying to control a game that requires chance, but there's something of coming back to the table after a big loss, to try and win back your money, that is fulfilling in many ways.

The cards haven't been too kind to me lately. I go on rushes where I get Aces and Kings for four or five consecutive hands, and then I get nothing higher than a KTo for a few days. Then I go on a little rush again, and then the board won't hit for me for a while. It's frustrating at times, but I'm learning to deal with it.

After trying to play full table limit games for a while to try and stabilize my variance, I realized that I just can't play those games. I can't play full table limit games (although that's what I started with when I was first learning poker). For me, it has to be no limit or short-handed games. I guess I like the action better. But I also believe that I can control my hands better. Raising a player on a limit table doesn't have the same effects as raising the pot in a no limit game. It's completely different. I guess I'm just getting drawn out on more on the limit tables because people are willing to chase for one more bet. But they can't make the same moves on a no limit table when I raise the pot. That's why I prefer no limit. But I'm going to try and crack the limit games as well, eventually...as soon as I make back the money I lost playing limit and build up a good enough bankroll.

Most people seem to recommend of at least 300 bb for a limit game. I think Matthew Hilger recommends 500 bb in his Internet Texas Hold'em book. Either way, currently, I don't have the bankroll to even play at the $.50/$1 limits at Party. But I hope to work on that soon.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Starting to Wonder if Online Poker is a Scam

There are tons of comments out there about these online poker sites being scams and cheats and such. I don't think that most major sites try to cheat you. But one thing that bugs me is terrible customer service.

I just deposited $200 on my EmpirePoker account using their reload bonus code "HAPPY2005." However, when I go into my account, there is no record or any mention of any bonus that is pending release. I know that bonuses don't get added until I've played the required number of hands. But usually, at the place where it says "Bonus Account (Pending Release)," the bonus you would get once you have cleared the required hands should come up. But right now, I am getting $0.

I e-mailed EmpirePoker at 11 AM this morning. When I got no reply, I e-mailed them again at 4 PM. It is now 8 PM, and I still haven't even received any e-mail saying that they're even looking into it. I sent them another e-mail, but I'm starting to wonder if my quest for some decent service is futile. I mean, at least an e-mail saying that they're looking into the matter should be the bare minimum "service" that these poker sites should offer. But I'm getting absolutely nothing from these guys.

It's bad enough that I have to weather the bad-beats, but when customer service starts to tick me off, I just lose all eagerness to go back and play some more.

On the other hand, PokerStars seems to have very efficient and courteous customer service. I can usually expect an e-mail back within thirty minutes of sending it. That is pretty impressive. But PartyPoker and EmpirePoker...it's been nine hours and still nothing.