Sunday, February 28, 2010

I have just witnessed a massacre!

I sat in on 2NL to play. There was this guy, he had the biggest stack in the table, about $6.xx. At one point, he had about $7.xx. He was playing almost every hand that came his way. He'd raise almost all the time whenever it was his turn to act.

I had the opportunity to check one of his showdown hands (before I was dealt in) and it showed Q9. I found it odd. He was making money in the table, but his hole cards, I wouldn't play. So I tagged him as LAG and see if I was wrong.

There was this guy behind him whom I assumed was a TAG. He didn't play much, but when he did, he was able to take a big chunk of the LAG's stack. He did so three more times as time went on such that the LAG's stack was about $4.

From there, the LAG was pushing all in preflop. Other players were a bit apprehensive at first, but having strong cards, called on the bet. And they won. Three more times the LAG shoved all in. three in a row. Each time, he was outclassed.

I think he went from the top stack in the table to zero and he had to exit the table. I'd tilt if I was in his shoes. He probably did by the way he was playing in the end.

Admittedly, I was intimidated by the action going on in the table. I did not play much. One time I did find action, I paid tuition. It's past 9.30, so I decided to call it a day.

Tomorrow, I need to get the car fixed, and maybe have my blood pressure checked. If I finish the car issue, I'd have time to go to the clinic. If not, I'd have to miss tuesday's morning session to finish all this. I need some time off anyway. I guess I might finish everything tomorrow then.
I think I found a leak in my game. Playing 5NL on rush poker, having pocket pairs, I'd raise. If I get reraised, I'd fold, more so if the amount of their bet was pot-sized.

I think I am losing out on the opportunity to at least see the flop and maybe get a chance for my pocket pair. If make my hand on the flop, then calling the reraise would be worth the investment. If I just folded, then my initial raise would have been for naught.

I gained this insight when I went out for my daily walk. I got tired of sitting in front of the computer all day, barely making any gain.
Morning session was slow. I first played on ftp poking around in the regular 5NL FR tables. Players/flop % are smaller. Players looked tight at the time. I wasn't seeing much action so I decided to check celebpoker.

I played in one 2NL tables and immediately found fish, about three of them. This one guy was playing a lot. Looking at his hands after a showdown, I saw that he was playing spec hands more often than not. I think the most stack I saw on him was 100BB. In one hand, this other guy took 2/3 of that away--lucky guy.

I was able to win a few pots now and then. Action seems to have slowed down. I decided to quit and work on the other part of the business instead--marketing.

My daughter was asking if I can take them to the beach later. We'll see what happens. If so, I will miss out on afternoon session and will play in the evening instead.

I made public my poker blog last night in the poker forums that I frequent. This is in line with the ftp affiliate business. I have uploaded this image to serve as baseline. This was taken from google analytics where I will also monitor results from the campaign.

Stat numbers look OK. People seem to read the blog. Reading equates to more time spent on the site, leading to more exposure for the ads. More exposure can lead to clicks.

Analytics also tells me that the site has already been generating traffic from the US and some parts of europe. This came as a surprise as the blog is barely two months old--but that's the power of google.

I am amazed at the reach of this "poker economy." It is one of the few systems that are truly global in reach. I can see great potential in growing this part of the business in the long term.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Target players


I think it is important that I can ID who or which person is going to pay me in the table--the fishes and the donkeys. These are the aggressive players who play every hand and preferrably, bet aggressively.

I can verify that after the showdown reviewing the last hand. When I see that they are consistently playing with speculative hands, then that establishes them as target. I'd play the table as long as they are around.

The more targets I have in a table, the better.
20 hands and I made profit. Bought in with $1.02, went out with $2.66. I can choose to stay on in the game as there is at least one fish that I can ID, there's about two or three of them. But I'd rather take profits off the table. I am building up my bankroll as well as my emotional bankroll playing this game.

I could have chosen to play on. With the profit I made, I'd be playing for free for several rounds. Maybe I'd make money, maybe I won't. I am open to them both ways. I learn something either way.

But it's almost 10pm and I am not as fresh playing, not as sharp as I want to. I will play again tomorrow morning.

Statistics for 20 Hands
Street Saw Saw/Total
Flop 5 25%
Turn 2 10%
River 2 10%
Showdown 1 5%
Street Won Won/Saw Won/Total
Pre-flop 0 0% 0%
Flop 1 20% 5%
Turn 0 0% 0%
River 0 0% 0%
Showdown 1 100% 5%

Saturday

I did not get to play morning session. We had someone come over first thing in the morning so I wasn't able to do my yoga. After breakfast, I did some things with the family. The car has a flat tire. Getting that fixed monday as wife will use the car on tuesday. That might take up poker time then. So be it.

I was able to play poker afternoon session. I went to titanpoker with the aim of practicing playing well and learning at the same time. There was about two fishes in the table. I was able to triple my buy-in after about two hours of play. I finished the session with about 1 buy-in profit.

Not bad. I was playing tight, following my guidelines. I was seeing/learning things that were not on my guide. More like, aha, so this is the reason why this is so. Most of the time, the hands recommended that I play is more to keep me out of trouble. Playing speculative hands, or trouble hands might work now and then, but most of the time, they will lead me to believe I have the nuts and go all in only to find myself running into wall--ouch! That's what I saw the fish doing all the time. Their stack will swing wildly on both sides. They'd win big, but they also lose big.

There was this one guy, I tagged him for future games. At first, he'd bet into my strong hands. After several times of beating him flat out, he'd only call my bets. On showdown, he'd still have speculative hands against my strong hands.

He gets lucky now and then playing that way so it serves him to do so. This is about motivation. He probably feels like playing specs are better and pleasurable than the boredom of waiting for better hole cards playing TAG.

I've been that road before. It gets exciting, but most of the time, it hurts. Regs, once they catch on to you, will set up traps for you.

You can't tell you are in a forrest until you are outside of it.

Friday, February 26, 2010

After dinner, I got an automated email from ftp. The email says that the $5 has been deposited to my account.

I guess it takes some time for their system to update...?

I found myself on tilt because of this fulltilt points issue. From now on, I am going to play FR 2NL until I get the right bankroll, which is about $65. When I feel comfortable with my skills on that level, will I then move to the rush poker tables.

This afternoon, I encountered a lot of reraises. I don't think those people are bluffing. I bet like 4x bb plus extra for other players in the pot. I'd get reraised to more than the pot, which gives me pot odds that are way out there. If I called them just because I thought they were bluffing, that wouldn't be playing well.

I think I made the right decision folding. I got myself a few pocket pairs, raised and got reraised. So I folded. This is my long term game. This is playing well.
I do not understand how ftp gives points to their customers. When I logged in to my bonus account from the cashier button this afternoon, it says there I only needed 7.xx full tilt points for the first release of my deposit bonus ($2).

So I logged in to the rush poker happy hour and clicked away to earn 8 full tilt points. So I checked back again to my bonus account. This time it said I still need 2.xx full tilt points to get my deposit bonus.

I am thinking that the my bonus account doesn't update as fast as the session information widget on the game platform. That, or the session information platform scores full tilt points differently from the bonus account.

Or is there something here that I don't get...?

i sent an email to fulltiltpoker to get this clarified.
I have a deposit bonus worth $20 coming due when I get the required number of points--334.

FTP has a promo called fast $50. That if I can clear that $20 bonus by March 10, I'd be invited for that $50. There's like 12 days remaining, so to get that $20, I am going to do 28points per day. When I get eligible for the fast $50, I have 30 days to clear 834 points. That comes out to another 28 points per day.

This is only possible thru rush poker. I don't think I can clear that much points regular FR unless I MTT like crazy. But I am not at that level yet.

I think it is possible to hit 30points a day. I do happy hour and do as much as I can per happy hour session. I was able to do that earlier. Now I just need to be more consistent and relaxed playing in that room. I'll take another shot later if there's still happy hour coming up.
Rush poker. Just finished a set. They were offering $5 if you made 10 points playing in rush poker. I figured, if I were to just pay the blinds and play the occasional monster hands, I'd easily make ten points.

And I did. I even made a little profit playing well, about 1bi profit. Add that to the $5 I'd be getting later, that's about 3bi's that I made in less than an hour. I didn't factor in the rakeback I'd be getting since this is a uNL. Imagine how much rakeback I'd make playing rushpoker if this were higher stakes table.

I'll get there one day.

Statistics for 184 Hands
Street Saw Saw/Total
Flop 17 9%
Turn 8 4%
River 8 4%
Showdown 7 4%
Street Won Won/Saw Won/Total
Pre-flop 7 4% 4%
Flop 3 18% 2%
Turn 0 0% 0%
River 1 13% 1%
Showdown 3 43% 2%

Thursday, February 25, 2010

I have three bonuses lined up, totalling $75. There is a promotion going on at ftp until march 10th, or around that time, that if I can claim my initial deposit bonus, I'll get $50 more. On top of that, when I first tried out rush poker this morning, the welcome message said that they'll give me additional $5 just for trying out rush poker. I get the $5 when I make ten points.

In the short time I played rush poker, which was less than half an hour, I made like six points. So I am thinking that five dollars is easily within reach, about an hour's worth of game, even less, on rush poker.

I'd like to go for the whole package, but total points to earn for that is 1,178. Can I make that much?

One factor for me to consider is that this is 5NL. I am currently playing 2NL. Is there really a big difference? Only if I say so. People are people. There may be a difference between the two levels, if we were to talk about technicals.

This is the local mind trying to make sense of something beyond its grasp. I feel that it is possible. I play real tight. I play according to the book. My stoploss should be where? $45. I stop playing when my BR reaches that level. From that I grind back again at 2NL.

Am I breaking any of my rules here? Maybe, maybe not. I am looking at the pot odds. I am risking $5 to make $75. Given my odds of making 1,178 points, I think the odds are in my favor.

Worst case scenario is that I bust out. Best case scenario is that I hit the draw and make the points. The bonuses are going to be released in increments anyway. So along the way, I win, I lose and I get bonus released.

If I were to not consider the how, I'd take this shot.

Time to pick up the kids from school. I'll have my decision when I get back.
RB doesn't come from the cardroom - it comes from your affiliate. Affiliates are businesses that bring players to a poker site. In exchange for this they get a lifetime cut of the rake the player generates. Some affiliates (rakeback affiliates) will offer you some of this rake back. They usually get 35%+ of the rake you generate and offer most of it back for signing up with a site through them. Some other affiliates will have you sign up through them and will give you a small bankroll or a gift (poker tracker or a chips set), but will keep the full 35%+ they are getting from the site on your play. In general these are very bad deals. The discounted present value of your future stream of rakeback payments potentially huge and poker tracker cost $50.

Bonuses come from the sites and are independent of rakeback with one exception: Many sites will deduct bonus paid in determining your total rake. Example - you generate 1100 in rake and they pay you a 100 bonus. Your affiliate will get .35*(1100-100)=350 of which you will get 300 (with a 30% deal).

Rakeback is worth a lot of money if you play a lot. So much so that there are rakeback pros. These are people that are little better than breakeven players with the rake , but who make several thousand or more per month in rakeback.

source: http://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/showpost.php?p=1520268&postcount=27
Got myself stopped out. I had 99 hole cards, other player called my raise. Flop I had a set and the board did not look like anything. He pushed me all in. I called. He had QA and got his flush completed by river.

I am back to 2NL to get my balance up. These things happen. So be it. Lesson learned.
Day one on rush poker and my hands are still shaking. The action in those tables are really fast. They weren't kidding when ftp called it rush poker. You get a rush playing it.

I started out with 50bb buy in, about $2.55. I got out to catch my breath within five minutes and I was up $4.78. One hand I had 76s. Flop I got two more and there was a villain betting into me. I had good pot odds so I called. Turn I got my hand completed and he bet me all in. Turns out he had QQ. How come he did not see the straight draw happening?

You really won't have time, or at least I did, to check under their hud how the other player plays. I guess it really is a double edged sword. I was playing TAG and it was working. Soon as I folded, I was moved to a different table.

I am going to get back in the cloud and play again. I am now moving my stop to $50.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

I still get anxious going into a table. I may still have definitions that are not in alignment with what I prefer. What are those?

That I can lose money.

Everyone loses money in this game. I know the answer to this already. I guess this is just a recurring thought. To dissolve this, just be aware of the thought. How can I not lose money? By playing well. I can play well--stick to my rules, concentrate on the game, enjoy the moment.

When I try to analyze how I am going to make money, I lose my alignment. When I lose my alignment, I do not play well. I tend to be cerebral about the game. The local mind takes over and goes around in circles trying to know what it wasn't designed for.

Just be in the moment. Allow what is. Allow things to change according to my vibration.

compare

"I played 40,507 hands of $3/$6 6max limit at Party Poker – my winrate was 2.51 big bets per 100 hands. I paid rake at a rate of 2.19 big bets per 100 hands; therefore, my winrate before rake was 4.7bb/100. As you can see, I paid back almost half my winnings in rake. Seems like a lot, right?

I played 59,375 hands of $5/$10 at the same site. My winrate was 0.24 bb/100 (and the games weren’t all that much harder… isn’t variance great?) I earned $1,450.14 in this stretch, and I paid $11,699.00 in rake. Yes, that’s right. I paid rake at a rate of about 1.94bb/100; therefore my winrate before rake was 2.18bb/100. In this case, as a marginal winner, I was actually paying back 89% of my winnings to the rake!!!

Now let me paint another picture for you. If I was playing at a site that offered 25% rakeback (a pretty standard amount), I would have earned ($11,699 rake paid x 25%) or $2,924.75 in rakeback ON TOP OF MY WINNINGS OF $1,450.14! This rakeback would have TRIPLED my bottom line, tripled my hourly earn, tripled the rate at which my bankroll grew (on the specific winrate of 0.24bb/100). If you are playing online poker without a rakeback deal, especially in limit hold’em where the rate of rake often exceeds a good player’s winrate, you are missing out on a hell of a lot of money. Rakeback is essential for low-limit players, but it is beneficial to every single person who plays online where the site takes rake."

source: http://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/32/beginners-questions/pooh-bah-post-general-guide-aspiring-online-poker-players-842/
2NL. Morning session I lost $2. Afternoon happy hour I made it back, plus a few cents. There was this guy who was playing loose and aggressive. I think this is what they call a fish or donkey. He was playing low starting cards and keeps calling everyone.

On his last gasp for air, going all in, he was trounced by AA and he did not even have a pair. Things got a bit slower after he left, and it's been an hour since I started so it's time for me to take a break, get things ready for dinner.

My eldest daughter is away for school camp. It's a bit quiet around here. I tried playing in ipoker earlier. I couldn't get a table. Good thing, happy hour on ftp was coming up; good timing for me to load up on points.

I have three sites with 'no deposit bonus' on them: titanpoker, celebpoker and the latest one is betfred. I got the bonus with betfred after signing up with pokerstrategy for some free lessons. So far, the basic lessons I have learned from them are paying off pretty well.

Playing TAG, you need to be patient. There be times when you feel like "this thing doesn't work," then you get good hole cards. I see a lot of hole cards that I used to play before when I did not know better. I am saving a lot of chips by sticking to the recommended starting hands. When I get to post flop, I have an edge over the other players and my hands only get better on turn and river.

I think the problem earlier was that I made a wrong decision with a hand I was playing. I think I raised instead of folding. I paid considerable tuition (relative to my buy in) on that and somehow I let that affect my game. Lesson learned and moving on.

WHAT DOES 'CALL 20' MEAN?

When you play a small pair like 55 you are speculating on hitting three-of-a-kind on the flop. This only happens approx. 12% of the time, but when it does, you will have a very strong hand that can bring in a fair amount of money. This is why it's profitable to call a raise when holding a small pair, as long as your opponent has enough money to pay you off when you do hit.

With a small pair, you should only call a raise, when your opponent has at least 20x the raise amount in his stack. By the way, this applies to you as well. You must also have 20x the raise amount. You can only win as much money as you have in your stack, so if your opponent has 20x the raise amount but you don't, it really doesn't help you. That is what the term 'Call 20' means.

source: http://www.pokerstrategy.com/strategy/bss/1535/1
From a BR high of $50, it's now down to $46. What happened?

First play I joined, AJ, I should have folded as the hand was raised. I forgot the positions but fold is what I remember I should have done. I did not join the action much after that as hole cards I was getting did not tell me to do so.

Other times I joined the action, I was forcing my hand. OK, these things happen. It's poker. At least I learned a few things that improves my game. I'm taking a short break. I'll play again when I am fresh.
Bankroll management for the Big Stack Strategy looks like this:

You always join a table with a full stack (100 big blinds). 100 big blinds equal one buy-in.

Once you have 25 buy-ins for the next highest limit, you can move up to that limit.
If you only have 25 buy-ins for the next lowest limit, you must move down to that limit.

source: http://www.pokerstrategy.com/strategy/bss/1534/1

2NL BR should be $50.
5NL BR should be $125

With this in mind, I am not playing 5NL for now until my bankroll is $125.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I need to decide which room I will play in for 5NL--the regular FR or rush poker?

Regular Full Ring rooms:
Pros:
- I am used to this type of platform.

Cons:
- other players can look "under my hood" using tracking software.
- lower rakeback/points earned.

Rush poker:
Pros:
- higher rakeback/points earned.
- at the moment, very little "looking under the hood" from other players.
- more hands played, very little wait time.

Cons:
- I am not familiar with this platform.
- I don't know if my game will work here. Some people say LAG is good, others say TAG makes better. So I guess it's the same whether it's regular FR or rush poker: this works and that works. Different angles of the same one thing.

So what if I played rush poker and did not do well? I go back to 2NL and grind my way back to $50 for a buy in. Again, to play rush poker.

Does this mean I am decided on playing in rush poker then? I guess so. First time I saw the ad for that, it got me excited. This is one reason why I have an account with FTP. If following my excitement were to be my guide, then playing rush poker is the thing for me to do, and I will be supported. The same way I was supported moving up from 2NL to 5NL. It's the same one thing.

It is decided then. Rush poker, here I come!
I am looking for info on how much potential cash flow is from rakeback playing FTP's rush poker. Here's one post from twoplustwo.com forum that pretty much sums it up:

Here are the reports I have been able to get off of here from Rush Poker:

NL10...$2.50 per 1000 hands
NL25...$4.60 per 1000 hands
NL50...$8.60 per 1000 hands
NL100.$13.80 per 1000 hands

If you play 4 tables you play around 1500 hands per hour as long as you use the quick fold button.

So if you have the bankroll for NL100 you can make $20/hr in rakeback alone.

5NL


Big moment for me--I just made it to the next stakes level, 5NL!

Afternoon session, with happy hour on ftp. I think it was about my 10th hand on BB, I got 45 hole cards. Flop was 236. Flop turn river, there were two other players betting for the pot and us three had to go all in.

I won, pot was almost 2buy-ins, getting me to the next level. Had to stop playing so I can celebrate and enjoy this moment.
I just realized I am ahead. I am in the black. I am winning.

I got a big win this afternoon right before I was about to pick up the kids for school. I got KK hole cards on BB. Someone raised all-in middle position. Guy next to him called. I was concerned there might be an overcard--AA can beat me. But I remembered that I shouldn't concern myself too much with that. There could be an AA out there, or maybe not.

So I called.

Everyone else folded and the flop was served--Low cards. Betting went around back to the guy who called earlier and he went all in. I had a few chips left and to call this bet, put me all in also.

Turns out the first guy who went all in had JJ. Second guy had QJ (WTF?). Turn was a low card, no flush draw. River was another low card, no straight nor flush draw. I won the hand!

The pot gave me 1 1/2bb's into my stack. I wanted to play some more, but I had to stop by the grocery, then pick up the kids.

Now I am back. I'll get the kids settled down, then do a session before making dinner. I am about $1.20 away from moving to the next level, 5NL.
I am taking a break right now. I just finished happy hour, playing for about an hour and a half.

On my free time, I go to the twoplustwo.com forums and read a thread or two. These are great resources for me as they are more relevant to the level that I am playing. The books that I read are more general, and cover a wide range of poker play. It helps me somewhat, but the information is more like a shotgun approach.

My game seems to have stabilized these past few days. I haven't lost a buy-in and found myself finishing a session with a little something. That's good. Before, I lose a buy-in then end the session right there. The reason I lose a buy-in is because of hand selection. I'd go with anything that looks good, and in the middle of the hand, my head will go around in circles trying to figure out if the other player is bluffing or not.

These days, most of the hole cards I am dealt I muck. I seldom get a strong hand to play, but when I do get them, I get back all of the blinds I have paid. Next strong hand I get gives me enough chips to play for subsequent blinds--I am actually playing for free. Come to think of it, with the rakeback I am getting, I am getting paid to play poker.

The next step for me is to raise my bankroll enough so I can move to the next uNL level. I'd like to play uNL rush poker. I get there when I have $50 in my bankroll. I think that is highly possible and can get there by the end of the week.

I feel more comfortable now playing in ftp. I seldom open the other poker platofrms since I don't get rakeback from those sites, even if there are more fishes there than in ftp. Not that there arean't any fishes in ftp. There are. In the tables I've played, I think half of the players there are fish.

It can get boring at times waiting for my hand to play, but this is part of the game. This is the job I chose. This better than working for someone else.

Monday, February 22, 2010

FTP Freeroll with 10,000 participants--finished 923rd place. Pretty good finish in my standards, playing TAG.

Statistics for 114 Hands
Street Saw Saw/Total
Flop 23 20%
Turn 11 10%
River 7 6%
Showdown 6 5%
Street Won Won/Saw Won/Total
Pre-flop 1 1% 1%
Flop 4 17% 4%
Turn 1 9% 1%
River 1 14% 1%
Showdown 2 33% 2%

One particular hand I remember, I had 88 on BB. Rule said if raised, call. Other player raised all in. I called. He had AJ. Flop, turn river and he ended up with a full house. This hand cut my stack in half.

Oh well. These things happen when you play poker. If he can get lucky, then I too am going to get lucky.
Here's a great post on twoplustwo.com that supplements what I've learned about TAG recently.

The author outlined a way for newbies to graduate from uNL. From what I understand, keep to the fundamental games and quit being fancy. Most of the players I'll be playing with are fish and that they don't know what thin value play is.

I learned why I wasn't playing consistently well. I'd watch all these high stakes poker videos on youtube, then play, rather try to play, the way those folks played in the uNL level. Those guys were playing against experienced pros. They had to play differently. I am playing with fishes, and the way I was trying to play will not always work.

I played tight last night playing in celebpoker. I wasn't playing the way I saw it in tv. The game I played was TAG, the way I learned it. It was boring and slow. But my losses were minimal, limited mostly to the blinds, yet I made a few wins that were big enough to get me in the black.

The article I mentioned above gave me a better undertanding of how to graduate to the next level.

I'm going to play TAG in the coming weeks. Also, I will start posting on the forum. There's plenty of staking going on in there and to get to that, I will need to establish myself first as a member of this community.

I haven't played today just yet. I went to the medical clinic in the morning for my weekly blood pressure check. After that I went to the library to return some books. When I got home, I did some research on staking/BAP and found myself in twoplustwo.com.

I am making dinner now, I'd probably walk to the grocery after that to get milk. Play time then is going to be after dinner.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

I got a better understanding of how to play TAG, thanks to pokerstrategy.com. I had the starting hands chart up and open on my desktop while playing. I felt more at ease and somehow knew what to do. I did not have as much anxiety or negative feeling playing this time.

At the beginning, I lost a buy in. It was about the second hand for me for the day and I wasn't used to reading the chart. I had a straight draw, but there were two other players betting into the pot. I had a gut feel to fold, but I was deeply pot committed. In the end, went all in and lost on a higher straight draw. Lesson learned.

Subsequent to that, my game was tight. I mucked a lot of offsuit cards. One hand I got KK. One other player was calling into the pot. I think he was on a straight draw. Three jacks came out of the board giving me full house. I made 10bb off this hand. It was worth the wait.

Wife came in the room. She was finished watching tv. I guess it's bed time for me. I am excited to play again tomorrow. First, I need to stop by my doctor's clinic for my weekly blood pressure check. After that, I am scott-free playing poker, online, all day.

Made hands

How should you play made hands?

Playing with made hands is relatively simple. If you have the best hand, you bet or raise. The weaker your hand, the more you need to pay attention to controlling the size of the pot. Try to keep the pot small with weak hands, and if your opponents offer too much resistance or make too much action, fold.

The more opponents you are facing, the stronger your hand needs to be. If there was no raise before the flop or if you called a pre-flop raise, you should have a really good hand before you get involved in any large post-flop pots.

Only slowplay with very strong hands. The more draw-heavy the board, and the more vulnerable your hand, the more important it is to focus on protection. Don’t let your opponents see the next community cards too cheaply.

Always try to find a balance between pot control and protection. You don't have to protect a marginal hand that could already be far behind.

source: http://www.pokerstrategy.com/strategy/bss/1550/1

Playing Draws

How should you play draws?

In order to play draws perfectly you need an understanding of the mathematical concepts of outs, odds, and pot odds. You will learn more about them in the advanced articles that you will have access to once you've passed the poker quiz and received your free starting capital.

In general, you should always play draws passively when no-one raised before the flop or when you called a raise before the flop. You can call moderate flop bets with strong draws like flush draws and OESDs and can usually just fold weak draws (like gutshots).

Don't chase draws! If you have a flush draw on the turn, you will complete your flush on the river less than 20% of the time. You're wasting money when you call big bets on the turn.

If you raised before the flop, you can continue to play aggressively with a lot of draws, as long as you are only facing one or two opponents. You will, for example, almost always place a continuation bet on the flop when you have a strong draw.

When you are facing several opponents, or opponents who call every bet on principle, you can't bluff. The same counts when it comes to playing draws aggressively. You should only play a draw aggressively when you know your opponent(s) can fold.

source: http://www.pokerstrategy.com/strategy/bss/1550/1

TAG Starting Hands Chart

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Imagine you are concentrating on playing a good game of poker. All your opponents are tough and aggressive. Suddenly, you get good hole cards--then you hear the vacuum cleaner turned on and your youngest son starts crying and two other kids are fighting screaming their heads off.

That's exactly the situation I have right now. Weekends.
I just paid one buy-in ($1) for tuition today.

I had A4s and got my straight on the turn. Thing is, there was a pair of Q on the board. Thinking this was good and the other player had a three of a kind, I was calling his bets.

On river, he had a full house.

About an hour later, I am still in the game. Previously, losing a buy-in is my stop out. Today, as long as I am not careless in my game and that I am learning, I'd still play. I take breaks now and then to keep me fresh. I still have my buy-in plus a small profit. I guess I am playing well.

I am also writing notes on the different players when I see a pattern. Mostly their starting hands and their betting behavior.
I have enabled auto-top up on my full tilt account. It makes sense to me now. In the past, I'd let my stack fall below initial buy in and manually top up. Problem with this is when I get good hole hands and I wasn't able to top up, I get a small return for my strong card than if I had a bigger stack.

I used to set a certain level when I am going to stop playing, a default stoploss. Previously, this was set at 80%. When my stack goes below that level from initial buy in, either I stop playing or move to a different table. Then I moved this stop to 100%.

It feels restrictive that way having a predetermined stop level. There are times when I don't get good hands but I am playing well within my parameters. This time, with the new stack setup, when I feel like I am not playing up to par, then I stop. The trigger this time is how I feel.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Whenever I read material on playing poker, I get confused. I feel like I have tons to learn and shouldn't be playing at all.

On the other hand, I learn better hands-on. When I read about it then apply, the learning doesn't feel complete. And this is my predicament. Should I stop playing and read everything there is to know, or trust that I will know what to do when I am in the moment?

Are my actions on the table really that transparent? How can I improve my game?

A majority of experienced players will say--read first, play later. I feel like I do not have to agree with them. It might have worked for them in the past, but we are different. I learn differently.

I am going to have to trust my instinct on this. I am going to learn hands on. If they make money from me, so be it--tuition paid, lesson learned. Some of the poker greats learned this way. If they can do it, then it is possible for me to learn my own way.
It is my wife's birthday today. I chose not to play the morning session. We had to go to the grocery, and I wanted to spend time with her today. She, rather, we both feel lighter now that she has her PR in the pocket. Now it's only a question of when we can raise the money to pay the levy. I am not worrying about that. The money will come, all in due time.

I lost a buy-in today, paid that for tuition. I was in AQ and was calling the bets of the other player. Turns out he had KK. I was reading that he had something, but couldn't quite put a finger on it. The board showed lower cards and my hole cards dominated them. So I figured if he made a pair on one of these cards, I'd dominate him with good kicker.

What could I have done differently? Maybe I could have checked down the hand. Was he aggressive preflop? If I had seen him bet preflop--or maybe he did and if I remembered that, I would have eased off as it was a clue right there. Maybe I bet and he called. That was a good move. I am going to be more aware of this next time.

Right now, I am waiting for the FTP NZ freeroll. It starts in 40minutes. After that, I will play cash until bed time. This is good practice for me.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

I am feeling a bit anxious about my game in ftp. It's a new platform, and somehow there is a definition in me that causes this anxiety. I think it has something to do with me reading a room review of ftp. As one of the leading poker sites, players in ftp are more experienced(?). Better is not really the word I am looking for. Different comes closer. The players in ftp are different from the ones I am used to playing with.

Am I not at par with these players?

The basics are the same for everyone. I feel I have a good grasp of the basics of this game. In that way, I am not below them. Reading hands may be what I do not have much confidence in; to neutralize this, I can and am varying my game. This makes it not easy to read my game. Bluffing? I can bluff, but I know when to bluff and when not to. I don't have to bluff everyone on preflop.

Is there any other definition that is causing anxiety in me?

Luck? I am as lucky as the other fellow is. Poker is about balancing luck with skill. Skills, I feel I am as good as more than half the players in the world.

I guess the anxiety is caused more by thought habits then. I know how to shine the light on that.

I've uploaded this image to serve as my baseline with my game on ftp. I am going to focus on this site exclusively from here on. The other sites I'll play when maybe I feel like trying something out.

The beginning balance is $49.50. Points I will not measure as part of my performance. I also will monitor number of hands played and hours played.
Finally! I am done with transferring funds to ftp. It took me three attempts. It seems like moneybookers was having technical errors, which caused depsit failure with ftp. I closed my browser, opened it again, tried to deposit one more time, and it finally went through.

I was getting anxious about this that I emailed my wife if she can transfer six dollars to my visa debit so moneybookers can verify it. Now she knows I have some live money in my poker accounts. At least she will get an idea that I am making money with this.

FTP Academy

I signed up for ftp academy. First lesson was preflop play with chris ferguson. Here are the challenges that I accepted:

In early position (UTG, UTG+1, playing 9- or 8-handed), open min-raise (double the big blind) 3 times with the following hands: A-A, K-K, Q-Q, J-J, T-T, 9-9, 8-8, A-K, A-Q. (3part task)

In middle position (UTG+2, UTG+3, UTG+4, playing 9- or 8-handed), open-raise to 2.5 times the big blind 3 times with the following hands: A-A, K-K, Q-Q, J-J, T-T, 9-9, 8-8, 7-7, A-K, A-Q, A-J. (3 part task)

In late position (cutoff, button, playing 9- or 8-handed), open-raise to exactly 3 times the big blind 3 times with hands other than A-A, K-K, Q-Q, J-J, T-T, A-K, A-Q.
(3 part task)

Steal the blinds 5 times from middle or late position in a 9- or 8-handed no-limit Hold'em cash game.
(5 part task)

The Pro Play - Play 100 consecutive hands without open limping. Raise or fold if it’s been folded to you. Repeat 5 times.
(5 part task)

I made a big win this afternoon. I was dealt JX--flop came JJJ. I slow played my hand as this other guy was raising. I was thinking he has AA as he was aggressively raising my calls. On the river, he pushed me all in. Turns out he had TT. This win got me back to within breakeven (in the black if I counted in rakeback).
I have decided to move my funds from pokerstars to ftp. I left less than a dollar in the ps account so they wouldn't close it. The funds are to be sent back to my moneybookers account.

I am happier playing in ftp than in ps. Ftp has more promotions, and I feel like they want my business more than any of the other sites I've played with. The games are tough and I can't afford to be loose or they'd eat me up. It's good, as I will be a better player because of the tough competition, and still make money from both my winnings and rakeback.

I was expecting ps to send the money back by way of my visa debit as that was the deposit method I did initially. No problem. I can sweep the funds from moneybookers into my ftp account soon as it clears.

All is well!
GOOD NEWS--Today, my wife got her New Zealand Permanent Resident status!

I wonder if the figures I see in the rakeback calculators are true. At NL $1/$2, playing 8 hours tight game, here are the potential income from rakeback alone:

Daily: $168
Weekly: $1,179
Monthly: $5,139


If these figures were correct and anyone can earn this much just by playing, not winning) in the NL $1/$2 tables, then this will provide a lot more cash flow to my business. These calculations were made based on the lower stakes table. If I were playing at the high stakes table (NL $1,000/$2,000) and earning rakeback, just imagine how much I'd be making!

To manage risk playing in that stake level, I'd need a $2,000 bankroll, which is 20x the buy-in amount ($100).

This sounds too easy. I put up $2,000 and I make $5,139 each month--? Why not? I have a rakeback account setup. I'll see how much rakeback I will earn at the end of the week.

PS, a few weeks later...

My calculations here are obviously wrong. The figures are too high. I think it is best to see rakeback as a little bonus poker sites give out for loyalty, but the bulk of the income is going to come from the winnings.

Rakeback calculation method

When you sign up for a rakeback deal, you should know that the method the poker room uses to calculate your rake contribution will be crucial in determining the amount of rakeback money you’ll be entitled for. In a word: make sure you know the method the poker room uses to save yourself a few possibly unpleasant surprises.

There are three basic ways that poker rooms use to determine players’ MGRs, or individual rake contributions. Depending on your style of play, one such rake calculation method may be more advantageous for you than the other.


The dealt rake method. The dealt rake method takes the rake resulting at the end of a hand and it distributes it equally among players who were dealt into the hand. That’s right, you don’t even need to actually put money into the pt to generate rake and thus to earn rakeback. Full Tilt Poker uses this rake calculation method, which means that signing up for Full Tilt rakeback is an excellent idea. This rake calculation method provides an advantage to tight aggressive and tight passive players. If you’re a beginner or an ABC player, this method will offer you a nice advantage as the loose players will end up generating rakeback money for you.

The contributed rake method. This method is a little bit more accurate than the dealt one, in the sense that it rewards actual contributors better. The contributed rake method only considers those players who actually put money into the pot one way or another. If you pay a blind (BB or SB) you’re going to get credit for a part of the rake. If you make a call or a bet, again – you will be given credit for the rake. If you just sit around and fold though, you won’t make any rakeback in a poker room using this method. The shortcoming of the method is that it divides the resulting rake equally among contributors, so it doesn’t really matter how much you contribute: you’ll get the same credit for it as the guy who called a single BB.

The weighted contributed rake method. This method is the most accurate of them all. Only contributors get credit for the generated rake through this method, and the system actually takes it into account exactly how big their contribution is. Thus, the player who puts more money into the pot earns more rake credit than the one who puts less. This method offers an advantage to loose players who no longer end up generating rakeback money for others.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Slow day for me. I played cash in pokerstars and got myself stopped out at 80% re-buy. I was feeling not up to par at the moment. Wife is at home. Maybe I should do something else later in the day instead of play poker.

I think my optimal time is when I am alone in the house. It's quiet and I concentrate better. I am also considering moving more than half of my ps funds to ftp. I like ftp better as it is easier to earn points. They also make an effort to get my business. I like that. I guess it's that being number two in the market thing. They always work harder.

I won't be surprised if ftp were to overtake ps and be the number one poker site in the world. As a newbie, I'd get more learning resource on ftp than on ps or any other sites. The software is pretty good also. It doesn't slow down as ps' platform sometimes becomes sluggish, but not that often.

I'd give this a week more, maybe by the weekend. If I am pleased with my game on ftp in the coming days, I might shift my funds around. For now, I am shutting down.
I see now why a lot of players that I see on poker forums play on ftp. The points are easier to earn. I have been playing in pokerstars now for about two weeks and have earned less than five points. At fulltiltpoker, this is only my second hour of play (microstakes) and I already have 2.30points.

I get my first installment on my deposit bonus at 34points. If I played two hours a day, I get that in two weeks. If I played here exclusively, like six hours, I get that bonus sooner.

I might transfer my funds from ps to ftp. I'll just leave a little bit just in case.

I got stopped out this time. One dollar got cleared. I was going flop out of the blind position. I'd go to showdown and I'd loose. I think the best hands I got was two pairs on a showdown. Other times, I was beat by a high card. I wasn't getting the cards--no. I was off center. I was out of alignment. This is expected. I was feeling anxious about my game. This is good tuition paid for a good lesson.

Next time, I am going to play as if I were going for the points alone. When I get a good card, then I see if the conditions are favorable.

I'm taking a break now and make dinner. I'll come back and play after dinner. I have a freeroll at seven, I think. It's a regional freeroll on ftp for kiwis only. I'll check what time that starts and see if I can join.
I feel like my game has improved tremendously since day 1. Before, I wouldn't touch no limit games. Today, there's no other game I know how to play better.

Some people use excel to chart/manage their bankroll or play. I find that tedious and doesn't really reflect what is really happening with me as a person who plays good poker.

For me, the numbers are only the result, rather the reflection of who I am. If I were to focus entirely on the reflection, or what is outside, then I am giving my power away. Power is from the inside-out. When I want to change the reflection in the mirror, I change my self.

I prefer writing my experience playing poker. This way, I am able to note down everything--emotionally, mentally, physically, spiritually (not in the GOD-sense, but more about my vibration).

The numbers are easy to monitor. I just look at how much balance I have. I also check how I feel about my game. When I feel good, the numbers reflect this vibration. When I am off center, I pay more tuition in the tables. This is still good. Paying tuition means I am learning. When I am learning, then I am a better player.

I am thinking I'll observe my game with ftp. If at the end of next week I get better results, I might shift part of my funds with pokerstars to ftp.
First cash game on ftp. I made $0.69 on a dollar buy-in. Table was pretty tight, small percentage players on flop. It was ok. I made AA and this other guy had 22. I was betting pot leading the way. I don't think I went all in, but if I had to, then I would have with such a hand.

I chose to take a break as I had been in front of the computer since 10am--almost two hours now.

There is a regional freeroll exclusively for kiwis. It starts around 7pm tonight. I got myself registered for that and am excited and looking forward to playing there. FTP has happy hour promo where points earned are doubled. That's great. I'm not sure when happy hour happens, but I am going to put that on my calendar.

So far, ftp feels fun to play than the other accounts I have. Good stuff.
I finally took action on the rakeback issue and opened a new account for rakeback with fulltiltpoker.

Rakebacknation.com emailed saying that if the account I opened before was not active in real money games, then I can open a new one through their links. The first account was only played a few times in playmoney. As such, I was eligible to open a new account with ftp for rakeback.

I had opened a new account, funded it with $20. I think earning points is easier with ftp as one full point is given every dollar on the pot and increments thereof. The next release for the deposit bonus, $2 is triggered after 34 points. I think that is possible.

Since there is rebate, this deposit bonus is going to be deducted. So I guess I am going to rely more on rakeback than on that deposit bonus. Rakebacknation said they will email me in 48 hours to confirm, but this is practically a done deal. I think I can go ahead with this.

I have the ftp game platform open right now and am just getting myself centered before I go in.

Interestingly, I love my new ftp playerID: "xxxx" (*can't publish this here otherwise I'd be an easy target) ;p

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

I Spent the whole day re-searching rakeback. At the moment, my choices are narrowed down to either fulltiltpoker or cakepoker.

Pros for cakepoker:
- 33% rakeback
- tracking software is banned
- anonymous play (change screen name every 7 days)
- loyalty rewards seem generous
Cons:
- the number of players
- game platform doesn't appeal to me
- micro stakes starts at $0.02/0.04

Fulltiltpoker cons:
- large number of players
- rush poker
Cons:
- 27% rakeback
- play can be tracked

I don't know how big a factor player tracking is. I seldom join competitions anyway. The number of players online doesn't seem to be an issue at this time. As I see it, cakepoker has a number of full tables on the micro stakes in my time zone.

Rakeback wasn't such a factor when I was getting started. I was enthralled by how easy it was to grow my account ten times bigger in the playmoney games. In real money games, I am barely breaking even.

I am wondering if there was rakeback, I'd be at breakeven or better. The question I have right now is if there is a limit level for me to earh rakeback. I think there is not as I remember it correctly in the signup site.

Ok. That's a big factor. I can check that again.
Cakepoker
Pros:
- 33% rakeback
- tracking software not allowed.
- Anonymous play: screen name can be changed every 7 days.

Cons:
- not as many players compared to the big poker sites.
- game platform interface ho-hum.
- micro stakes start at $0.02/0.04

Monday, February 15, 2010

Titanpoker game. I was up 150% from buy-in. I had two pair plus nut flush draw with A. I think I played the hand as well as the information I had. Turns out villain had full house. That A44 on the flop could have been my clue, but really, I had a good card and he didn't seem to have anything--or I didn't read it right.

Paid tuition on that, steep, then another hand went awry and I was stopped out. Now moving to pokerstars and see if there are any freerolls that I can join.

Nope. No freerolls until six hours later.

At least I am able to grow my stack to double %. That I am able to do that is a good indication/reflection that I am playing well. How to avoid such bad beats? I'm not sure I can. It happens to anyone. People get lucky. That's part of the game. I get lucky too. So I allow that to be.

Tuition paid, lesson learned. At least the tuition I am paying is profit from hands played.

PS
No freerolls I can join in pokerstars. I guess I'm watching high stakes poker on youtube the rest of the night.

Why not play again? I'm off center. I'd rather do something else. I can choose to play again, but I want to digest today's lesson. besides, it's my rule that if I get stopped out, wait one hour before playing again.
Afternoon session was stopped out. I have auto buy chips set when stack goes below 80% of initial buy in. When this is triggered, I leave the table and do something else for at least an hour. This way, if I were somehow not playing well or getting clobbered on the tables, then my loss is limited. When my loss is limited, it'll be easy for me to get that back.

I am immersing myself in high stakes poker videos. I love the way those people are playing. They are playing cash games, specifically the one I want to focus on. I see different styles of play, and learn from each one of them.

While I tend to classify myself as a TAG, at times I play loose aggressive. I guess my play can vary sometimes. Usually, when I am starting in a table, I tend to be tight. I tend to be more stringent with my starting cards. When I find myself playing well and making money, I experiment with different starting hands to see how the other players will react.

There are times when I can read the energy of the table and I know when to bluff and when not to. Usually, I bluff when I'm in a showdown and I can sense what the other guy is holding.

I found myself pushing to consider moving up to a higher stakes table. This is more out of anxiety to earn more money? If so, is it going to be a good move?

Now, on with the videos.
I was playing good this morning. Pokerstars, bought in with one dollar, got it up to $2.54.

Hole cards was A9 and I thought I got a straight on the flop. Pushed 2 villains all in and that's when I learned I was missing a jack. These things happen. I went out with breakeven. I was off center at that point and need to vent, find alignment.

I can go to the doctor to get my BP checked for the rest of the morning. Forecast today is cloudy. Not much to do around here. I just ate, so I'll watch high stakes poker, get that digested and then I'll leave for doctor's clinic.

I told wife there's a poker tournament tonight and that I might go. I think I will. My foot's feeling better, but this is a consideration when I go to doctor. I'll wear the kids' flipflops then.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

I've been watching high stakes poker on youtube, alternating in between games. I am learning a lot doing this. I see something in the video, it gets noted in my subconscious and I apply on the tables.

One thing I am learning is which pocket cards to play and which ones not to. There seems to be no hard and fast rules. It all depends on the situation at the table.

I also got an insight just now. I am not to worry about losing money in pokerstars as long as I play well and always be a better player. When I am in that frequency, money will come as night follows day. But if I were to wait to have more money before playing well, it will put me in a frequency where I am not playing well and still be losing money.

Keep on the play well vibration and improve my game.
i've been playing freerolls on pokerstars today. I am not getting the good cards on the cash table. Instead of pissing my stack away, I'd rather get practice on the freerolls. I think I am doing better on this, just need to be aligned when I do this.

On titanpoker and celebpoker, I can easily get good cards. My stack wouldn't even get below 80% and I'd win a pot and be above buy-in. Maybe it's because the bankroll I have there is free and I don't worry much about it. True, somewhat, but still, money is money.

Maybe it's just my off day playing pokerstars. i don't want to form a definition to that, saying I am not lucky on weekends or that I should avoid pokerstars on weekends. That would be one more definition I can do without.

I am doing good on freerolls with pokerstars. That's a definition I prefer. So I guess my sails weren't just catching wind at that time.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Poker sites that advertise 100% deposit bonus are a scam. They don't tell you upfront that you will have to earn that bonus by playing. If you fail to earn a certain number of points over a period of time, you will lose that bonus.

What if I were a working man and don't have the time to play as often? I'd surely miss out on that bonus. What to do about it? Nothing. I don't have to fight it. That gets me out of the light.

I'd rather focus on something that gets me into alignment than go after the illusion of power.
When I am drawing and villain pushes me All-in, I fold. They have made hands and can only get better with each draw. I have nothing unless I get lucky.

There will always be a next time.
I played in all three sites today--pokerstars, celebpoker and titanpoker. Biggest win was with celebpoker, but paid tuition in the other two.

Should I be avoiding all-in bets? I'm not sure I should. At this time, what are the chances? If i don't have the nuts and I am pushed all-in, then I shouldn't bet. They have their hands made. They probably have the best hand in the table. Why go against strength when I am still drawing? Theirs are good and strong and can only get better while mine still has some growing up to do.

Lesson learned. No more going all in on a drawing hand. I paid a dollar for that as tuition and I am going to make money with this lesson.

Am I done for today? We'll see. I wasn't able to go to Bar Africa this afternoon. We were still making lunch at 2pm as we just got home from the grocery. Start of registration is at two and tournament starts at 2.30pm. I could have gone still and try for a late start, but I felt woozy this afternoon from the cholesterol medication I am taking. Plus the fact that my foot is healing and I don't want to put a shoe on it. So I guess I am going to go on Monday instead.

I'd like to go. I like the energy on a live table as I can see from the videos I am watching on youtube. For one, there's Antonius. He got good playing poker by playing poker. He says he never learned poker from anyone, nor from any printed resource. That's incredible. This is what bashar is saying. That you will know what you need to know when you need to know it.

Reading is good, but sometimes, I get information overload and it messes up my game. I play better when my head is fresh. I pay tuition and I learn a good lesson about my game. I get better that way. So I guess reading poker books or stuff from the net I will only see as entertainment.
Friday update:

Here are your PokerStars Game Statistics for your last 511 games.

****************************************************
Hold'em (Real Money):

511 hands played and saw flop:
- 25 times out of 69 while in small blind (36%)
- 44 times out of 65 while in big blind (68%)
- 143 times out of 377 in other positions (38%)
- a total of 212 times out of 511 (41%)

Pots won at showdown - 30 out of 72 (42%)
Pots won without showdown - 25

Balance in the account:
Pokerstars: $37.16
Celebpoker: EUR13.11
Titanpoker: EUR23.37
Pokertime: $9.87

Friday, February 12, 2010

I did not have much to do so I decided to log in to celebpoker. Bought in with 1EUR. There was this one guy who was very aggressive. He was betting heavily into my hands. I was patient this time, having lost a buy in at pokerstars just an hour ago. When I did get me strong cards, I forgot what it is, this guy was raising my bets.

I seem to have a good read on the table this time and I knew I had the nuts so I just kept at it and he pushed me all-in. Twice this happened, and twice I won.

I went out of that table half an hour later with 4EUR to add to my bankroll. Now that was effortless. That is how I prefer my games to be.
SO much resistance in me right now. I had a talk with the wife last night about her work situation. I guess I am pushing against this situation seeing it as bad, when it is really a different door opening for us.

Waking up this morning, I filled up the immigration form for work permit. Then I got an insight to document what I am doing now with poker so that my work permit application will reflect that I am self employed working on my business start up.

I couldn't apply for long term business visa. You need NZ$2million show money for that. By mentioning that I am self employed growing a business start up, I am showing that I am a businessman who's got an idea, but don't have the capital at this time to back it up. I am growing this from scratch.

I decided not to play the morning session and instead write the businessplan. I already had pokerstars open and was on a table, but the idea kept popping up in my head so I decided to stop and write.

After writing, I saw the F40 add on pokerstars. There was only 200,000 hands to go before the jackpot hand draw. I chose a table to play in. I wasn't feeling centered when I did this. I was still resisting, I still had a neggie inside of me. This manifested in my game. On one hand, I had KK and bet pot preflop, checked on the flop, then bet pot on turn, all in on river. The other guy had two pair. He got his second pair on turn.

Bad beat. Part of doing business.

Next hand I got JJ. This time, I chose to be more careful. I was checking all through out. At the end, same guy, he had flush with hole card 63d.

I felt resistance build up in me and that's when I decided to quit, wash the dishes and do something else. I won't go back on the table until I feel better, more open, more allowing.

I emailed the wife the businessplan asked her to print so I can attach them as reference in my immigration application.

I remembered there is no outside. If so, what is the use of getting upset with another player when they are only reflection of my state of being? This is a lesson for me. I paid tuition for this.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Micro stakes table 0.01/0.02. Bought in at $1, auto top up for $0.20, then went out with $0.86. I wasn't playing as good as I was. Variance maybe. I was playing well, at least it felt like it. I was kinda loose, but my flop out of position stats are around +20%, which was where I was playing before.

Should I put this on luck? Maybe. Was I outplayed? I think it was more the need to improve my hand placing ability. I wasn't really there on the showdowns. I didn't know their betting going into the showdown. I wasn't really paying attention.

OK, so I paid tuition this session. Lesson learned.

During current Hold'em session you were dealt 33 hands and saw flop:
- 4 out of 5 times while in big blind (80%)
- 1 out of 3 times while in small blind (33%)
- 6 out of 25 times in other positions (24%)
- a total of 11 out of 33 (33%)
Pots won at showdown - 1 of 3 (33%)
Pots won without showdown - 1

Pokerstars bankroll balance: $38.56
FPP: 3.52
Time played: 1 hour, 9 minutes

PS
The fact that I am able to walk away from the game when I am not getting the results I prefer--I think is a sign of discipline. This way, I am able to keep my tuition low. It'll be easy to get back the watermark on good days.

I am getting the impression that I play better when no one else is at home. This session I just finished, the evening session, all the kids and wife are at home. The kids have been on and off fighting all afternoon since they got home from school.

Why not give them my undivided attention instead?
My morning session went well. Buy-in at $1 and I was stopped out at $1.50.

My game was good. I feel fresh playing in the morning. I was patient. I waited for a good hand to play and bet using pot odds. I was using check-raise when I wasn't that sure about villain's hand. Sometimes if they insist on betting and I have the nuts, I just let them. I don't want them to get an idea of what my hole cards are. I make sure I bet pot on the river to maximize my returns.

Here are the morning session's table stats:

During current Hold'em session you were dealt 37 hands and saw flop:
- 3 out of 5 times while in big blind (60%)
- 0 out of 5 times while in small blind (0%)
- 7 out of 27 times in other positions (25%)
- a total of 10 out of 37 (27%)
Pots won at showdown - 2 of 4 (50%)
Pots won without showdown - 5

Pokerstars bankroll: 39.11
FPP: 3.33
Hours played: about an hour

I am taking a break now. There are dishes to wash and I need to get passport pictures for immigration requirements. I am easy on this issue. This is what needs to happen. Light is shining at this time. I am awake.

I might get back in about two or three hours. Either I watch high stakes poker on youtube or play a freeroll by then.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Growing up, I had this image of adults who gamble, that they were iresponsible, couldn't get a job--someone I did not want to grow up to be. Those who had money to gamble, I thought were corrupt, and had money to burn.

That was about thirty years ago.

It's a lot different today. Thanks to the internet, one can find a table to play in anytime of the day. You can choose how much you can risk on any table. There are tons of information on how to be a better player.

Do I have the same definition of a gambler today, as I did when I was a kid? I don't think so. What concerns me is that other people, my wife, have that same definition. I can't change the way she defines things. That is the contrast I get. It is just so; nothing wrong with that.

I don't have to figure things out. All I need to do, is enjoy myself in the process. There be days when I make money; other days, I pay tuition to be a better gambler. No, let me correct myself. A better poker player.
I got this insight that I should tell my wife about my intention to play poker full time. This to come clean. No lies. Just play with a clean slate.

She'd be upset. Disappointed. Anxious? Problematic. It might, rather will create a rift between us. She thinks she needs my support by getting a job. That is not where my excitement is.

I don't know how I am going to support this family playing poker. What I do know is that a lot of people are doing it--not just a few. My local mind/self does not have the capacity to know how. The local self is an efficient feedback mechanism. It only knows how things have happened.

So what now?

I am going to tell her. And I am going to tell her how I am going to do it. I am going to tell her I don't have the plans or steps how I am going to support my family. All I know is that, at every moment, I can choose my state of being.
Played myself a good round of freeroll. I finished 1,739th place out of 9,000--top 19.32%.

Here are my table stats.

During current Hold'em session you were dealt 85 hands and saw flop:
- 6 out of 10 times while in big blind (60%)
- 4 out of 10 times while in small blind (40%)
- 24 out of 65 times in other positions (36%)
- a total of 34 out of 85 (40%)
Pots won at showdown - 9 of 14 (64%)
Pots won without showdown - 6

There was this guy on the table, he was calling almost all of his cards into play. He was getting a decent return for his game. I pushed him all in with my QQ, he called with AXo. He got an A on the river. That transferred most of my stack to his. After that, I was just looking for a way out. These things happen. It happens to them, it happens to me too.
I played a good game morning session in celebpoker. I went out +$0.10 on my dollar buy-in. It went as high as $1.40+, then came the lull in my game. There were dishes to be washed and I've been in this game for an hour. Thought it best for me to take a break, wash the dishes.

As I was headed to the kitchen, I remembered to check pokerstars for freerolls. One is opening registration in 15minutes. I figured, I'd get myself registered, and while waiting for the tournament to start, I'll wash the dishes.

Playing freerolls is good practice for me. It's free and there are a lot of good players in there to practice with.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Play tables with about 50% players/flop.

45 minutes of play, cash games pokerstars. Buy-in 50bb, went out with about 120bb, or $1 became $2.40.

What went well, I think was that I chose a table with more than 50% players on flop. I read somewhere that figures like that shows players were loose and easy with their money.

I played the usual TAG. I was betting pot odds when I had to. Most of the time though, I was giving mixed signals. Checking preflop when I have good hole cards, letting the aggressive ones lead the bets, then hang them on the river to dry.

I decided to call of early while I am ahead. I want to savor this experience when I go to bed. I am enjoying my games in pokertars right now. Before, I found the tables intimidating and chose to play either celebpoker or titanpoker. These days, I just log on the latter when I have time to kill.

I forgot to take my game stats for this game. Anyway, those are just details. I'm going to bask in this light now.

Ending balance: $38.60; FPP: 2.97

*PS
I'd like to try one of those 10FPP freerolls, that's why I have my eye on my FPP. Also, I did a freeroll early this afternoon. Finished on the upper third of the crowd. Not bad (while patting myself on the shoulder).
Whenever you are faced with a river decision for a large pot, take your time. Reevaluate your action and your opponent’s action on every street. What type of story is he or she trying to tell? What story are you trying to tell?

In every form of poker we are telling a story based on our betting actions; your ‘line’ must make sense to a competent player, otherwise your bluffs will receive no credit.
My wife told me last night that her boss gave her notice that he did not like her work, and that she was to talk to HR within the week. This news took the air out of my sail.

I don't know what is going to happen next. I am resigned/allowing/open to whatever is going to happen. Worst case, we wait for deportation and no cash flow. I am thinking I will pursue my poker business. This is what my imagination is showing that has the best potential to make money given that my work visa is expired (and cannot find work), am about to apply for visitor's permit so we can still get a shot at permanent residency.

I don't know how to get from $37 in bankroll to financial independence. For now, the next step that I can see is joining that NLHE tournament in Bar Africa. Hopefully I can find someone who can help me get into the cash games as a sponsor (to provide bankroll).

I am not the type to plan every step of the way. As a creative person, that has never worked for me. I'd rather follow my excitement and see where that leads to. Nothing that ever happens is either good or bad, but how I choose to define it. What you put out is what you get back.

Anxiety/fear and excitement are the same energy. I feel it. I just need to remind myself how I choose to define that energy.
Just finished a freeroll with pokerstars. Out of 9,000 participants, I finished above 3,000. Here are my game stats:

During current Hold'em session you were dealt 41 hands and saw flop:
- 1 out of 4 times while in big blind (25%)
- 1 out of 5 times while in small blind (20%)
- 8 out of 32 times in other positions (25%)
- a total of 10 out of 41 (24%)
Pots won at showdown - 2 of 3 (66%)
Pots won without showdown - 3

I played as I would in a cash game. There were long stretches where I couldn't play any hand as the pocket cards I was getting were junk. The last hand I got was AA. Villain bet 3/4 of my stack. I went all in reraise. He had 22. On flop a 2 came out. I am done for.
The only way a bluff will work is if your opponent is willing to fold.
When should I move up?
source: http://www.pokernews.com/strategy/bankroll-builders-micro-stakes-no-limit-hold-em-part-1-7685.htm

When playing $0.01/$0.02 through $0.05/$0.10 NLHE, stick to the bankroll requirements we talked about before — 10 to 15 buy-ins for experienced players and 20 to 25 for beginners. However, once you’ve built your roll up to around $500, it’s time to re-evaluate. There is a significant jump in skill level from $10 buy-in NLHE and $25 buy-in NLHE. Especially if you’re multi-tabling, it may be time to increase the number of buy-ins you have in your account relative to the game you’re playing.

If you’re moving up to $25 NLHE for the first time, start slowly by mixing in one table of $0.10/$0.25 with another of $0.05/$0.10. If you’re comfortable in the $25 game, excellent! Keep grinding and gradually phase out of $0.05/$0.10. If you drop a few buy-ins right away or feel as though you’re in over your head, drop back down to the $10 games. Beginners should have 40 to 50 buy-ins at $0.10/$0.25 (at least $1,000) before multi-tabling at the $25 level.

Players in bankroll-rebuilding mode, who are more comfortable at $0.10/$0.25 and higher, can relax those requirements a bit. But beware of playing any game for which you have less than 20 buy-ins. Variance will always rear its ugly head, even for the best players.
PokerStars Game Statistics for the last 340 games

Hold'em (Real Money):

340 hands played and saw flop:
- 20 times out of 46 while in small blind (43%)
- 26 times out of 40 while in big blind (65%)
- 110 times out of 254 in other positions (43%)
- a total of 156 times out of 340 (46%)

Pots won at showdown - 23 out of 53 (43%)
Pots won without showdown - 14

Bankroll to-date: $37.75
FPP 2.72

Monday, February 8, 2010

There's a NLHE poker tournament scheduled today. Registration starts at 6pm. I chose not to go. There's going to be another one on saturday. That one, registration starts at 2.40pm. That is a much better time for me.

Today, wife came home around 7pm. With a situation like this, you can see why I chose not to go. Saturday afternoons, wife is at home busy cleaning the house. Saturday afternoon is the house-husband's day off.

I can go there by bike. It takes about 20minutes to get there via the shortcut under the highway. Or I can take sunset road, doesn't matter. There is ample parking at the side of the bar. I can leave my bike there.

For my evening session of poker, I registered for the pokerstars' freeroll. This starts in a about fifteen minutes. I need to be able to play a live game without the pressure of a cash game--playing freerolls fits this perfectly.
I am amazed at how active the poker community is back in the Philippines. I found one pinoy poker blog and it then links to a whole lot more poker blogs written by pinoy poker players.

At this writing, cardrooms are everywhere! There are also a number of pinoys playing poker online. I am wondering what the heck am I doing here in New Zealand? Everything has a reason. Even Luke Skywalker had to isolate himself from everyone so he can master the jedi arts.
Afternoon session I've been paying tuition a lot. Time to take a break. Times like this happen, even to the best of them.
Titanpoker is giving 50% more points to play in their euro tables. I'm taking it. I have about 118 player points in my account with them. I haven't played there for a few days. This is a good time to get back.

Morning session was moved to around lunch time as I had a few errands to do. I played in celebpoker. I played well, but paid tuition. I was up by about 100bb from 50bb. I found myself in a three way pot in the showdown. This guy was betting and somehow showed weakness. I had two pairs ace high but the guy beside me won with flush. I should have watched both how they were betting.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

  • it's OK to just limp/check, depending on pocket cards or position.
  • play defensively at this time. My intention is to win player points so I can maximize the deposit bonus. Also, at my level, I still make mistakes (although less now than before), so that tuition paid is less.
  • Vary limping with aggressive/pot odds play to confuse others.
  • Players seldom bluff. If I don't have strong hands, best to limp or fold.
Pokerstars afternoon session stats--about an hour and 15 minutes of play.

During current Hold'em session you were dealt 48 hands and saw flop:
- 5 out of 6 times while in big blind (83%)
- 5 out of 7 times while in small blind (71%)
- 13 out of 35 times in other positions (37%)
- a total of 23 out of 48 (47%)
Pots won at showdown - 3 of 4 (75%)
Pots won without showdown - 3

Buy-in $1. Stopping to rest with $1.02 stack.
Finally received a response from pokerstars. It seems that I was not putting in the correct information. Got the right information and they sent me a temporary password. I see now why I couldn't figure out my old password. The sequence was different because of pokerstars' password required sequence.

I've got the new password saved on my desktop.

I played in celebpoker morning session. I made a little, gave it back, then hovered a little below buy-in. I think that session was on the tuition side. I learned much in this session given the mood I was in (about the password issue).

When I got bored with playing, I decided to ease up and play golf.
I sent pokerstars support another email for the log in issue. I attached the validation email they sent me previously. It is now 11.40am. I want to see how responsive they are.

I know it's a sunday, but sites like these have customer support open 24/7.
I was doing some routine audit with my account in pokerstars. At one point, the dialogue box asked for my password, so I gave it. It then said wrong password. I then logged out, typed in the password as I remembered it. Wrong password. I tried to troubleshoot the issue from my end, giving them my validated email address and physical address--it didn't work.

To make the long story short, I emailed support@pokerstars.com with the log in failure. It has been an hour and no reply yet from them.

I don't think there's an issue other than for them to email me my reset password. I have the validated email address and if they can check the IP address, they will find everything in order. It's just that it shouldn't take an hour for them to do this. Minus one point for them in my books.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Here are my PokerStars Game Statistics for your last 100 games

Hold'em (Real Money):

100 hands played and saw flop:
- 3 times out of 14 while in small blind (21%)
- 7 times out of 10 while in big blind (70%)
- 35 times out of 76 in other positions (46%)
- a total of 45 times out of 100 (45%)

Pots won at showdown - 11 out of 19 (58%)
Pots won without showdown - 3
I feel like my game has improved tremendously these past few days. I am now able to play for hours and my buy-in, almost always hovers a bit above breakeven.

In the weeks before, I'd play loose and aggressive. I thought I knew what I was doing in the cash tables, but I wasn't. I'd wonder how I was able to double my buy in during tournaments during the first part, but can't even do the same in the cash tables.

There really is a difference in play between tournaments and cash games. I choose to specualize in cash games in the coming days. This ties in with my intention to earn more player points for me to get more of the deposit bonus. Even if I played to breakeven, I'd make some money because the points tie in with additional money to my bankroll. When I have all the bonus to be had, then I'd start loosening my game. Or maybe not.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

played with the celebpoker account and made $1.20 over the $1 buy-in. Playing cash games is all about patience. Tournaments are a bit exciting. I was using tournament play in my cash games that was why I lost money before.

I am keen to play the celebpoker account at this time. The total NDB is $199 and this is given in pieces the more I play in their site. So now I have two sites to play to gain points--pokerstars and celebpoker.

I don't mind as I get practice this way. I am polishing my cash game play. It feels easier for me, no need for pressure to perform or be better than other players like in tournaments. All I need to do is sit and read the energy of the table.

Harrington on Cash Games, the book helped improve my game. Kudos!
I opened an account with celeebpoker courtesy of bankrollmob.com. They gave me 13.61EUROS simply by opening an account.
I'm reading Harrington on Cash Games. Amazing book. Now I see why I was losing on cash games. I'm still reading the fundamentals and I've learned a lot already. There's two volumes of this. Soon as I finish this, I'll get the other one.

I'm also changing my poker day schedule. It's still three sessions per day. This time, when I study that counts as one session. This morning, I started reading the book and that counts toward the session for the morning. This afternoon, I am thinking of reading some more and that will count for the afternoon session.

It's a full time thing for me. Learning poker and playing poker are what I do. When I feel myself not having a good time, or just want to take time off, I do so. Like this morning. I chose to go ride my bike, go to the library. Today was the first time that I do not have kids with me. They are all in school now and I have free time. I've always wanted to go out and do as I please--and I did so today.

This is the reason why I chose to play poker full time. If I wait until I am getting good cash flow to do what pleases me, then that is like putting the horse behind the cart.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

top 13.32%


Good finish for me--out of 9,000 players. Played tight, patiently waiting for a good hand. If and when I did bet, I'd bet half the pot or pot to give the other players worse odds.
OK, from here on, I am going to post only the good plays that I made; I won't post the bad beats and mistakes that I've made anymore.

I too, learn from my mistakes, but the good plays that I made gives me a confidence boost--that I can play well when I choose/allow myself to.
failed to read well, i was drawing dead and still raising.

PokerStars Game #39104392067: Tournament #237869137, Freeroll Hold'em No Limit - Level IV (50/100) - 2010/02/02 2:40:18 ET
Table '237869137 561' 9-max Seat #1 is the button
Seat 1: szücsferi (6395 in chips)
Seat 2: Vovka pups (17445 in chips)
Seat 3: pointdownstr (4240 in chips)
Seat 4: alainbrive (2670 in chips)
Seat 6: FlintPro (1215 in chips) is sitting out
Seat 7: XastartesX (1225 in chips) is sitting out
Seat 8: pugh10 (1110 in chips)
Seat 9: OinKhan (2755 in chips)
szücsferi: posts the ante 10
Vovka pups: posts the ante 10
pointdownstr: posts the ante 10
alainbrive: posts the ante 10
FlintPro: posts the ante 10
XastartesX: posts the ante 10
pugh10: posts the ante 10
OinKhan: posts the ante 10
Vovka pups: posts small blind 50
pointdownstr: posts big blind 100
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to pointdownstr [9h As]
as.M.B.4444 is connected
alainbrive: calls 100
FlintPro: folds
XastartesX: folds
pugh10: calls 100
OinKhan: folds
szücsferi: folds
Vovka pups: calls 50
pointdownstr: checks
*** FLOP *** [Qs 5d Td]
Vovka pups: checks
pointdownstr: bets 480
alainbrive: raises 480 to 960
pugh10: folds
Vovka pups: folds
pointdownstr: raises 640 to 1600
alainbrive: raises 640 to 2240
pointdownstr: raises 640 to 2880
alainbrive: calls 320 and is all-in
Uncalled bet (320) returned to pointdownstr
*** TURN *** [Qs 5d Td] [4s]
*** RIVER *** [Qs 5d Td 4s] [Tc]
*** SHOW DOWN ***
pointdownstr: shows [9h As] (a pair of Tens)
alainbrive: shows [7c Qc] (two pair, Queens and Tens)
alainbrive collected 5600 from pot
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 5600 | Rake 0
Board [Qs 5d Td 4s Tc]
Seat 1: szücsferi (button) folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 2: Vovka pups (small blind) folded on the Flop
Seat 3: pointdownstr (big blind) showed [9h As] and lost with a pair of Tens
Seat 4: alainbrive showed [7c Qc] and won (5600) with two pair, Queens and Tens
Seat 6: FlintPro folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 7: XastartesX folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 8: pugh10 folded on the Flop
Seat 9: OinKhan folded before Flop (didn't bet)
At this timing, I feel like I have read enough material about poker--and it is getting me confused. I am going to stop reading now and start playing live.

A few weeks ago, I read one book, finished it and started playing. At first my game was all over the place. I was trying to remember something I read from the book and I was missing out on what was happening in front of me. When I started paying attention, I played well. Playing well meaning either I learn something, I won a hand, or both.

I'm going to put down my books and start playing more.

I just got another no deposit bonus with celebpoker, courtesy of bankrollmob.com. Upon opening the account, I get $19. By playing consistently in their site, celebpoker will add more bonus when I hit a certain level of points. All in all, the total bonus is $199. Not bad.

I think celebpoker is from the same network as titanpoker. Their game platform are very similar except for the skin. That's good. That means I will be playing with all the members of that same network. That's a good number of players and there'd be enough NLHE tables at any given time.
Winning players aren't afraid to pull the trigger. That is, they aren't afraid to make the right play, even if it is risky. But they are careful not to go too far and become reckless. Recklessness, when it works, can be mistaken for bravery.

- barry greenstein, ace on the river.
To make money, you just need to find some people who play worse than you do.

- barry greenstein, ace on the river.
My average win has been much larger than my average loss. It may seem that I have achieved success by quitting when I was losing and playing when I was winning to account for this disparity.

In reality, I have played to the end of almost every sesion. It is not my control, but rather, my opponent's lack of control that has contributed to these results.

- Barry Greenstein, Ace on the river.
"A compulsive gambler is one who is afraid to miss a potential winning action."
- Barry Greenstein, Ace on the river.
I coudln't sleep last night. Local self was looking for answers on how to play better poker. I think I got an answer--play the odds.

Gus Hansen is not a loose aggressive player, IMO. I think he plays the odds very well. Sometimes it doesn't matter what hands you get. It matters what odds you take and what odds you give to them.

I'm not familiar with the math, but like casinos, sometimes the customers win big jackpots, but as long as they keep playing, the odds are always tilted in favor of the casino. The casinos know what the odds they are taking and giving.

Hence, the more I play with the odds on my side, the more I win in the long term. There may be a few surprises here and there, some all-ins that go bust, but that happens all the time. It happens to anyone anyway.

Phil Gordon said that as a tight player, you win one way only--by playing winning hands. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. But when you play the odds right, and make the other players play rotten odds, then you win two ways: with winning hands, and making the other player make mistakes.

Today I will try this. I'll be looking for freerolls and SNGs.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Just finished my first SNG. I made it to the last two tables. Last card I had was a pair of 8's. My mistake was that I did not get a set on the flop and was still raising hoping to get a win by bluffing.

Lesson for me here is to use CB only if I get a set on the flop. If not, fold or bluff only if other players seem weak.

I played a ring game earlier with $2 and lost. i think I get a better return for my money playing SNG. The buy in is only $0.25 but the win is leveraged. The intention now is to play SNG, perfect my skills and build my bankroll.
- best to go postflop with a set rather than just one pair. Know when to play otherwise.
- play sit & go micro stakes to build up bankroll. This way, I pay as little tuition as possible, and if I win the tournament, wins are leveraged.
I got over that threshold, joined a ring game 0.01-0.02 with $2 buy-in. After about an hour, I got stopped out.

I did better than I expected. Was it luck that I did not have? I'd like to think so, but luck is only one part of the equation. Even though I got stopped out, it was a cheap tuition to pay to get back on the game again.

I will play again later for the after dinner session. For now, I need to go out and raise my frequency.
PokerStars Game #39047181646: Hold'em No Limit ($0.01/$0.02 USD) - 2010/01/31 22:31:09 ET
Table 'Azha' 9-max Seat #7 is the button
Seat 1: shokroman ($1.51 in chips)
Seat 3: vmarqui ($4.87 in chips)
Seat 4: xeksley ($2.57 in chips)
Seat 5: pointdownstr ($1.49 in chips)
Seat 7: lowsyplayer ($5 in chips)
Seat 8: El Puppyto ($2 in chips)
Seat 9: kun_brigate ($1.03 in chips)
El Puppyto: posts small blind $0.01
kun_brigate: posts big blind $0.02
IdleSC4: sits out
sargeyboo: sits out
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to pointdownstr [Th Tc]
shokroman: folds
vmarqui: folds
xeksley: folds
pointdownstr: raises $0.02 to $0.04
lowsyplayer: folds
El Puppyto: folds
kun_brigate: raises $0.99 to $1.03 and is all-in
pointdownstr: calls $0.99
*** FLOP *** [Ks 2s Jh]
*** TURN *** [Ks 2s Jh] [Js]
*** RIVER *** [Ks 2s Jh Js] [4h]
*** SHOW DOWN ***
kun_brigate: shows [As Kc] (two pair, Kings and Jacks)
pointdownstr: mucks hand
kun_brigate collected $1.97 from pot
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot $2.07 | Rake $0.10
Board [Ks 2s Jh Js 4h]
Seat 1: shokroman folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 3: vmarqui folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 4: xeksley folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 5: pointdownstr mucked [Th Tc]
Seat 7: lowsyplayer (button) folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 8: El Puppyto (small blind) folded before Flop
Seat 9: kun_brigate (big blind) showed [As Kc] and won ($1.97) with two pair, Kings and Jacks
I'm having issues. I feel inadequate to play ring games even at the micro level after that three dollar loss. I guess this shows me I have definitions that are not in alignment with what I prefer.

I have a definition that I have to learn all these theories, read all those poker books before I am able to play. Is that true?

I was able to play in titanpoker and make good. I was able to play and win 3X my buy-in. That account is down at the moment because it was the first live account that I played. It's only natural that the bankroll will go down. But I was able to play very well in that site.

Is it different in pokerstars? Are the players better in this site?

The players in pokerstars are different in a way that there are more players here than on any other site. As in any other site, there's going to be a mix of good players and bad players. Are they better? Only if I see it that way.

I think I just need to get playing again. If I bust out, so be it. That is part of the process. See it as tuition paid to play better poker. If I make good, then continue.