Saturday, July 31, 2010

winnings after 53,000 hands

end of day update

This is my winnings chart for both pokerstars and full tilt poker accounts.

This is my winnings chart for my pokerstars account without full tilt poker.

I play the same way for both sites, but my results are more swingy with ftp, and steady with pokerstars. I've decided that I will devote more time playing in pokerstars for now and check in with ftp every now and then when I get tired of playing with pokerstars.

2p2 COTW: Thinking like a fish

source: 2p2

COTW: Pitfalls of Common Thinking (thinking like a fish)
Tl,dr warning. If you’re too lazy to read the whole thing at-least skim over the bolded lines and read the parts that apply to you. Please note I’m just getting the subject started for debate, if you have something to add, or you disagree then please post it.

What is fishy thinking, and why do they think this way?

Humans are lazy by nature. They also have a thing called an “ego” that causes them to alter their logic to something that does not make sense. People refuse to admit that they are outmatched/outclassed or just out of their league. This is why the game is not going to die, people do not want to admit that they are a bad player, or humble themselves and ask someone for help.

Feel player vs Math player…

The endless debate… are you a “feel” player or are you a “math” player. The feel players feel that math is over rated and idiotic and the game is all about experience in being able to put players on hands and reading tells and body language to know when they are “weak” or “strong”.

Math players feel that every situation should be calculated via numbers, what are the odds I’m being laid, what are my % to win the hand etc. “Is this +ev”.

The logic here is flawed on both sides. Why would you be one and not the other? Why would you choose to ignore the math that goes behind it? Why would you choose to ignore variables that would alter your equation? Doing the math is only good if you’re doing it right and have the right numbers. You can alter variables all day long to make a bad decision look good. Here’s a couple common misconceptions one from each argument.

- "There are times when the numbers just go out the window"

No really there isn’t. There are times when you can use your “feel” to alter numbers and remove hands from their range, even if you have a tell on someone that is 100% accurate, you can seldom put them on 1 hand, usually you can only put them on a “range” of hands. The more accurate you define the range the more accurate your numbers are.

- "I’m Getting 3-1 so I have to call".

I see this all the time, even from players who don’t know the math. “I can call because I have pot odds”, fish love this concept because they love to see flops so anything that allows them to call a bet or chase a draw they can site “pot odds” or “implied odds” regardless if the math is right or not. There are also times when you are getting a great price, but in reality you are not getting the correct odds to call. It’s important to think about the type of hands they could be betting for “value” and what type of hands they could show up with this point in the hand and are now bluffing. Could they have missed a draw, would they turn a lower pair into a bluff? Do they overplay their hands, will they bet top pair on a 3 flush/ 4 straight board on the river?

“His strategy is just the wrong way to play”

This seems to come up a lot IMO with players that feel their play style is far superior that of everyone else. He plays looser than me he’s a maniac, he’s tighter than me so he’s a nit. The beauty of poker is there are multiple styles that can win, before you completely write off a guys strategy stop and think about how you would exploit such a player. Not only does this help you develop and find additional tools to add to your toolbox from an unlikely source, but it helps you understand the mindset of people that are going to be sitting at your table and you have a faster way to exploit their thought process.

“He’s a winning player he must be right.”

This is dangerous. You should never just take some take someone’s strategy advices and run with it, stop and think about WHY they feel this is the best play/horrible play. 2+2 is a great example of this, there are a lot of winning players that will post helpful advice, however this advice may not apply directly to your game, the player may have looked at the hand and made a mistake based on misreading of the hand (after all he doesn’t have any money on the table here, doesn’t have any feel of the villains and FWIW you may not have provided all of the relevant information for the hand and his advice might have been skewed based on what you provided).

This is also not factoring in players that perhaps while they have a winning style, have major fundamental gaps in their knowledge of the game. What works for some may not work for others.

"I’m so good I don’t need to work at my game."

This should go without saying, but the game of poker changes over time. You either need to adapt or you will get passed by. If players such as Phil Ivey learn something new every time they play, what makes you better than him?

"I’m just on a downswing everything will bounce back on its own"

While it is true that variance is part of the game but your being na├»ve if you think you’re still playing your best poker when your graph shoots down. Look through your hands, did you really lose the minimum on your downswing? Did you tilt off a buyin or two? Did you perhaps get frustrated because you were losing and make several mistakes that cost you 20bb here and 10bb there. It all adds up and most of us don’t play our best game when we are losing. The cards don’t have “memory”, but if you find yourself in what you feel is a “downswing” it may be affecting you mentally, cut back on the amount of time at the tables and focus more on finding out if you have any additional leaks that are costing you money. Did you get the max value from your good hands? Did you lose the minimum on your bad hands? Were your bluffs in good ‘profitable’ spots? Don’t be lazy and make excuses, check your ego at the door and do your homework. Chances are you can find some leaks in your game that have been there all along but are just now resenting themselves more frequently, so when the cards start falling your way again you can take more advantage as you aren’t losing money in that spot any more.
More info on this:

"Books are worthless."

This one makes me laugh all the time. Do you really think you are going to reach your max potential by ONLY playing the game and figuring it out for yourself? This is why there will always be a gap between the good players and the fish. The fish always will think they have an edge but never do the work, Good players KNOW they have an edge because they research, read, analyze their play and work to get better. Fish think it’s all about “tells and bluffing” good players know how complex the game really is and strive to keep getting better.

"These players will call all of my bets I can’t win here I’m going to move up where they respect my raises."

People joke about this on the forums all the time, but there are a lot of people that truly believe that the higher stakes are easier than the smaller stakes because “people know how to fold”. I personally love this thought process, because it makes us money! Only in poker does someone feel because they can’t beat the worst players in the game, they should risk MORE to play with BETTER players.

"If I give out my Super Secret poker knowledge I won’t be able to win at the tables anymore, the players will just be too good!"

First off, you’re giving yourself far too much credit if you think you know something about Texas Hold’em that no one else knows at this stage. Second for every 1000 players out there, let’s say 100 find their way to your post, out of those 100 chances are only 1 are going to properly be able to properly implement said advice into their game. The other 99 may improve their game via the advice, but people are lazy by nature and will likely half-ass their efforts and just use their new found strategy as an excuse for their bad play. Think about Super System, when that came out the information was revolutionary, many players ran with it and the game overall improved. Several other great players improved their game via that book and later wrote more detailed and advanced concepts based on some of the foundation that was laid out in Super System. Think about all the players that took that advice the wrong way and turned into a spew monkey. With their new found “poker wisdom” they felt more comfortable taking their action to games that were higher stakes.

With that said it can be beneficial to you to help others improve their game. How? You ask. When you help others with their game it forces you to think about things in a much deeper capacity then you thought about it previously. It’s more important to know now WHY you are doing something, not just that “I just do it because that’s how I’ve always done it”. Einstein said it best when he said, “You don’t truly know something until you can teach it to your grandmother” (I’m paraphrasing because I can’t find the exact quote, but you get the point). It’s true you may make more regs in the future and “make the game tougher” but there will never be an end to the supply of fish.

"I’m so much better than everyone at the table that I can get away with X"

In some ways this is correct. If you have a major skill advantage in a game you can open up a bit and play more marginal hands. The catch 22 here is YOU ARE PLAYING MORE MARGINAL HANDS. Obvious right? The point I’m making is when you are overly confident in your play you have a tendency to overlook some spots/edges or make wrong decisions. With that said combining that with opening your range to put yourself in more marginal situations where you have a risk of spewing off a ton of chips is a bad combination. Also it’s easy to start making excuses for your lazy play because the “other players are terrible”.

"He’s winning he must be good I should stay away, He’s losing he must be bad I bet I can pick on him."

Fish think like this all the time at the table. If a guy is winning, regardless of how, even if he is a horrible player and just caught a good run of cards fish tend to stay out of their way a bit more. When a player is losing they tend to give them more action figuring them to be “bad players” or naturally “unlucky”. This is why when you are playing and your winning fish start folding a bit more frequently to your cbets and double barrels. Fish do adjust their game slightly, they just don’t have good logic behind it. The problem with this line of thinking should be obvious, a good player can have a bad run of cards and be losing and a bad player can have a good run of cards and be winning, adjustments to your game should be made by player tendencies not by whether they are winning or losing.

X brings me luck.

The belief of luck is what keeps bad players sitting down with players better than them. Believing that something will make you less likely to win (will actually make you less likely to win as your confidence will be down), however believing you will win becomes of some mystical item will cause you to make illogical decisions. It can be very difficult to not develop bad habits when playing a game where luck is involved. There are times you will make the wrong decision and make money, and times when you will make the right decision and lose money. If you start doing things based on “luck” rather than what you know is mathematically right you will continue to make decisions that will cost you money.

"I’m going to show this great bluff/laydown I made so the table knows how smart I am."

Poker is a game of incomplete information and playing against tendencies of other people. Any information you give away for free gives the opportunity for someone to make the correct play against you in the future. Anytime you show a hand that doesn’t go to showdown you need to consider all of the ramifications. Some players will be extremely observant and remember every action/bet size that you made as well as any potential tells that they suspect. Why give away information for free? You should always be aware what information you are giving up, how it will be interpreted, and most importantly why you are doing it.

"I’m going to raise here to see where I’m at."

Theory of Poker suggests that you make a mistake every time you play a hand differently than you would if you could see the other person’s cards. So with that in mind, you should always bet with the intention that: 1. Worse hands will call (for value), 2. Better hands will fold (bluff), 3. To charge drawing hands to draw. What good does it do for you to make a bet that does not achieve any of this but rather “if he calls me I know I am beat”? If you could see his cards would you raise him if he can only call you with a hand better than yours?
More info:

"If I bet big I will scare them away, I need to bet big so he will fold."

Aside from the obvious making it easy to read you by bet sizing. You’re missing out on a lot of value with your big hands, especially against players that are passive, and your bluffs have to work a higher % of the time to be profitable long term. NL Theory and Practice explains this concept better
More info on bet sizing:

Friday, July 30, 2010

how to be a winning player

source: 2p2

What do I need to do to go from being a winning small stakes player to becoming a winning medium stakes player?

Improve hand reading. Play less tables and learn to get rock solid reads. Learn to mix your game up a bit, and stay intune with your table image. Play a solid game most of the time, but work in some moves that make your style unique. --Isura


For those times when I go on tilt because villain drew a lucky card on the river, don't fret. I get them too...

PokerStars Game #47456727560: Hold'em No Limit ($0.01/$0.02 USD) - 2010/07/29 21:32:13 ET
Table 'Palatia' 9-max Seat #2 is the button
Seat 1: ZmxPowah ($5 in chips)
Seat 2: Lemmiwinkss ($5 in chips)
Seat 3: sekos1954 ($0.70 in chips)
Seat 4: Now Open ($5 in chips)
Seat 6: xxxMehmetxxx ($4.03 in chips)
Seat 7: HELPADRUNK ($2.94 in chips)
Seat 8: M.E. Omaha ($5.37 in chips)
Seat 9: BraveWinner ($2.01 in chips)
sekos1954: posts small blind $0.01
Now Open: posts big blind $0.02
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Now Open [6s 7s]
xxxMehmetxxx: folds
M.E. Omaha: calls $0.02
BraveWinner: calls $0.02
ZmxPowah: folds
Lemmiwinkss: folds
sekos1954: calls $0.01
Now Open: checks
*** FLOP *** [7d Th 6d]
sekos1954: bets $0.14
Now Open: raises $0.36 to $0.50
M.E. Omaha: raises $0.50 to $1
BraveWinner: folds
sekos1954: calls $0.54 and is all-in
Now Open: calls $0.50
*** TURN *** [7d Th 6d] [4s]
Now Open: checks
M.E. Omaha: bets $1
Now Open: calls $1
*** RIVER *** [7d Th 6d 4s] [7c]
momentos51 joins the table at seat #5
Now Open: bets $2.98 and is all-in
M.E. Omaha: calls $2.98
*** SHOW DOWN ***
Now Open: shows [6s 7s] (a full house, Sevens full of Sixes)
M.E. Omaha: shows [8c 9d] (a straight, Six to Ten)
Now Open collected $8.18 from side pot
sekos1954: shows [Ah Tc] (two pair, Tens and Sevens)
Now Open collected $2.02 from main pot
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot $10.72 Main pot $2.02. Side pot $8.18. | Rake $0.52
Board [7d Th 6d 4s 7c]
Seat 1: ZmxPowah folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 2: Lemmiwinkss (button) folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 3: sekos1954 (small blind) showed [Ah Tc] and lost with two pair, Tens and Sevens
Seat 4: Now Open (big blind) showed [6s 7s] and won ($10.20) with a full house, Sevens full of Sixes
Seat 6: xxxMehmetxxx folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 7: HELPADRUNK folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 8: M.E. Omaha showed [8c 9d] and lost with a straight, Six to Ten
Seat 9: BraveWinner folded on the Flop

2p2: Starting tables

Click here to see the original post on 2p2.

Pooh Bah: Starting Tables
Since I post a lot of crap and posts just for the sake of posting, really, I thought I'd try and post something useful for once. I am a micro grinder who came up through 2nl to 50nl and am now playing 25nl after downswing/cashout etc. Just want to thank all you guys for being so helpful to me.

Starting tables is something that I do all the time and I know a lot of you guys do it even more and have more experience than me in this subject. Some of you might be a little shy of starting tables fearing the increased variance that HU play gives you, however you should get over your fear and join in, the water is fishy.

A) What is starting tables?

For those who may not know, starting tables is the process of sitting at an empty table and waiting for others to sit down, as opposed to sitting at a table where people are already sitting.

B) Why start tables?

I think there is one major reason for starting a table and it is:

Fish don't join waiting lists

Think about it, Joe Bloggs who comes home after a long day at a crap job sits at his computer and after jerking off, decides he wants to play a good ol' fashioned game of Texas Hold 'em because he once cleaned out a home game with his mates. So he deposits $100 on to his poker site of choice and looks at the list of games and decides to wait for 2 people to get up at a table before he sits down.

Wait, what? I think it is easy to categorically say that the casual fish is not going to join a waiting list ever (unless the table has a funny name). He is going to join a table where there is a free space. This is pretty ldo stuff, so why join a table with 7 nits and a regfish on it? Not only is that table not good, but it will not improve because there is nowhere for the fish to sit.

Starting tables is a way of giving the fish a chance to sit down and play.

Other reasons why starting tables is the bomb

1. Get to the fish first

Fish generally lose their money fast, and there is a lot of regs looking to take their money. Starting tables gives you the chance to play hands HU or short handed versus the fish which gives you the biggest expectation of being the one who they donk off their money to.

2. Get to choose who you play

If you're starting tables and DonkDonkDonkDonk sits down, you get the chance to sit out because he will really fast win your whole bankroll. Kidding aside, if a reg sits down that you think has an edge over you, you do not have to play him you can sit out, or just get off the table altogether.

3. Get experience of HU play without venturing to the HU tables

HU play at a FR table is not as crazy as the HU tables because the regs are basically playing some hands waiting for the fish to arrive. A lot of them don't adjust to the HU game and just play their FR game HU. This means that you can practice HU with reduced variance.

4. For the general good of the games.

More non-shortstack tables means more fish sitting with more money. This means that the tables are better for everyone, including you.

I shouldn't go into huge detail about the pros of starting tables, Jasons0147 did a good job of that on his COTW on the subject. All I am going to say is that it is very profitable tactic for everyone.

C) Table Ettiquette

Table ettiquette in regards to starting tables is a bit of a touchy subject for many. There are many people out there who hit'n'run, grim and other annoying tactics like that. Every month in the reg thread someone starts complaining about some reg's douchebag tactics.

Poker is a game primarily about making money so you shouldn't be sacrificing edges in the name of ettiquette. That being said no-one likes a douchebag. So where do you draw the line between being a douchebag and making money? Well you don't have to, because hit and running does not win you money, it only takes the money you've already won off the table, and if you have an edge at the table that is -ev, and if you don't, you shouldn't have been on that table anyway. Grimming wins you 1bb, and at the micros, whoop-de-doo. None of these tactics are +ev, so when you next get hitnrunned by a reg just lol and move on. Don't get angry and start going off at them in chat, just like you don't go off at fish who call with gutshots (I hope). Fish will always hit and run, for the same reason they do stupid stuff, because they're retarded.

Which leads me on to my next point, the chatbox is your friend not a weapon. It's always better to remain kind and chatty, at least in the chatbox. This should be obvious, if you act like a douche bag to people, they aren't going to want to play you, which is bad if they are a reg, but if you're scaring off fish, that's tragic. Remember, you get a reputation in online poker, and if you're a reputable douche, don't expect people to help you when you're having a 20bi downswing. Chatting to fish is great because they feel comfortable and are more likely to stay for longer. Many of them are live poker players who are probably suspicious of online poker and bots, so being a nice person when they want to talk makes them feel a lot more comfortable, which is great for you!

Seat selection is a part of starting tables that is also a big discussion point. Once a fish sits down at your table you'll find that regs will quickly swarm in to get the jesus seat on the fish. This is fine, really, if I'm sitting down at a table with a reg and a fish, I'm going to pick the seat to the left of the fish, obviously. However, certain regs make a habit of doing this and don't start their own tables, this is what gets on people's nerves. There really isn't much you can do about this, however annoying it is, just accept it and try and get as much money from the fish as you can.

When I'm sitting down at a table with a reg who's starting tables I always try and sit opposite him but make sure that I have four empty seats on my left rather than on my right. Sitting directly to the reg's right is a bit douchey in my opinion.

D) Identifying your opponent

HU game at a FR table is different from HU tables because at a FR table you usually only get 10-20 hands in HU before others join the table, especially if you're playing a fish. So it really pays to identify your opponent fast. there are several ways in which you can tell if your opponent is a fish or a reg before even the first hand is played.

1. Avatars

This is a thing to look out for. There are certain avatars which scream 'fish'. Baby, FISH, burning aces/kings/queens, FISH, red sunrise, FISH, dog, FISH, you get the picture. Take note on the kinds of avatars that fish are showing up with, you'll find that generally you'll see a pattern. Remember at Stars when you sign up you have to wait a few days for your avatar to be approved, so no avatar is also a sign that you're playing a fish. Please note that this is not foolproof, some regs don't have avatars and some have a baby or something that is generally fishy, just use it as a clue, not as a fact.

2. Stack sizes

Most regs buy in for 100bb and have auto top up turned on. Fish on the other hand buy in for all weird amounts, because they're fish and have weird notions about the best way to play poker. When you see someone join the table with $39.50 at 50nl, for instance, you can almost guarantee that he's a fish and that is his last bit of money in his account. If someone joins the table with less than 100bb I'm already thinking that they're a fish. I realise that a few regs buy in for weird amounts, but in my experience those that do tend to be terrible anyway.

3. VIP status

This is a big one at 25nl+, if they're showing bronze, (or maybe silver) they don't play much, while this could be a reg that hasn't played in a while, this most of the time means that they're a fish. Obviously you can flip this and say if they're showing supernova, they probably know a little bit about poker. At lower limits this probably isn't a big factor as it is much harder to hit the VIP status'.

4. Note everyone!

When I am finishing a session I check everyone who I have over 100 hands on and colour note them. Even if I just say 'TAG' I still have a bit of colour that goes with their name. The categories I go with are:

Terrible TAG/LAG

Obviously this is all personal preference, I'm not saying this is the best way to have it, I'm just suggesting mine as a base that you could add/remove from. This is important as if you have played with them before, you will see what type of player they are before the hand is even dealt. I will note a fish after only 40 hands sometimes as they don't last long and it's hard to get a good sample on one. Another advantage to this is when an unknown comes to the table, it's another thing that points to fish!

Please bare in mind that this doesn't always work, don't use these as gospel, they are just points that can help you when you have a short time to get to know your opponent.

Once you start playing a few hands you can notice whether they are a reg or a fish pretty easily because fish do random stuff like limping, min-raising, open shoving etc. that don't have a significant plan or pattern to it. So you'll know he's a fish after he open limps his first two buttons.

E) Adjusting to HU play

I love HU play, it's really fun. It's such a relief from 9-handed nit play to just open up and get in really cool spots. It is higher variance, yes, but that is part of the fun, in my opinion.

It is said that HU play is the 'purest form of poker', and while I sort of hate the phrase, it does bare some truth. it is you versus one opponent, that means that you are looking to exploit just one person, find out what he is doing right what mistakes he is making and then adjust. Playing HU allows you to make some interesting adjustments, is he 3betting a lot and never flatting OOP? Min-raise and widen your continuance range when he 3bets. Is he waiting for TP+ on the flop? Then open 100% of buttons and bet every flop. In FR play, you are making adjustments vs someone only when you are involved in a pot with them, HU, you should be making adjustments almost every hand. This is why I love playing HU, it can get really crazy and you have to get a bit creative to succeed.

One of the hardest adjustments from FR play is that ranges get a lot wider. For example, playing 9-handed, you open UTG and a TAG calls in the SB, his range looks like 22-QQ and maybe some big aces, depending on the TAG. However, HU, because your opening wider, the TAG is going to call a lot wider. It all depends on the TAG, they're all different, but 9 handed, he's never going to show up with QTs, but HU, he could very well have QTs, maybe some suited connectors, suited one gappers, Ax, broadways etc. This means that when you're deciding to cbet you have to take all these extra hands into account, and that really tests your hand reading a lot more than FR. This was just an example of how narrowing someone's range down is so much harder HU than FR.

One big adjustment that people make is that they widen their stack off ranges. This is a good one most of the time. You shouldn't really fold JJ when a aggressive regular c/r a raggy board like you might do 9 handed. Remember that 9 handed you are going to win at showdown over an infinite sample one ninth of your hands, HU, you are going to win half your hands. However, that being said don't get lazy. You should be establishing people's stack off ranges and they can be very different, some people are so tight HU that I'm stacking off tighter versus them than I would do versus a standard TAG 9-handed. Stacking off because 'it's HU' is a poor reason and you should remember that although people's ranges are in general a lot wider, it doesn't mean you should not hand read and shovel your money in when in reality, you didn't beat much at all.

I can't give you the comprehensive guide to HU play, because I'm not an expert (not even close) and even if I was I couldn't possibly fit that into one post, probably not even 10 posts. That complexity however, is why I find HU play so fun, you get into some really cool spots that you rarely do 9-handed.

One last thing, love the variance! Be aggressive, bluff when appropriate. I know you play FR so you do want to limit your variance, but playing scared and weak-tight is a poor adjustment to HU play. As long as you have a good amount of buy ins behind you you should forget the monetary value of your chips and just go for the most +ev move, which HU is a lot of the time to be aggressive. On the other hand, do remember that fish are still fish and they will still call you!


Well that's it, feel free to disagree with me with any of it or add your own comments. I never claimed to be an expert at this. I'm just one of those people who can't bare to see 3500 go past without doing something lol.

On being solid (2p2)

Find the original thread from 2p2 here.

On Being Solid.

I used to make long posts like this all the time, and I haven't in a while. So here we go. Ups to Verneer, who I've been discussing some of these concepts with lately. This is x-posted on my blog

Verneer called me yesterday to chat about some poker ideas, our respective experiences with rush, and the idea of the "Ladder of Mistakes," that I discuss in the first chapter of the upcoming book, which touches on the idea of making small mistakes early in a hand to avoid or cause bigger mistakes later on, such as folding 77 on a J94ss flop even though it might be the best hand at the time, or 3-betting a seven-high type hand to cause an opponent to tilt when you later pickup Aces.

By his own admission, Verneer is a life nit. So am I. We don't like bankroll swings, we both play mostly SSNL, and we both play extremely overrolled. I play and advocate a relatively straightforward, super solid TAG style, using a lot of common sense decision-making mixed with a few choices idiosyncracies. I make standard plays 90-95% of the time. I'm sure Verneer's apple doesn't far fall from the Solid Tree either. In his blog post about his tremendous success at 100-200nl, he describes his game-plan as "Raising when I got it, folding when I don't, and letting the 2+2-ers try to 5-bet bluff-shove me off Aces."

Back in the day, people used to herald solid play as the key to beating SSNL-MSNL games. Then, after the poker education boom, solid play fell out of favor. People became obsessed with Hero calls and romantic bluffs, and lost sight of their roots. Rather than asking "how does my hand fare against my opponent's?" they asked "what can i get my opponent to fold?" Without balancing the two questions, they suddenly became marginal winners, and as their opponents became even better, these players became more and more breakeven.

So often, I see people say "ABC poker doesn't win the money." What?!? Says who? Did someone flip a switch and suddenly make solid play unprofitable? Did a bunch of nosebleed players all come out at once and say that solid play is a losing style? And even if they did, were they doing so for the benefit of their opponents, or for their own benefit?

Solid plays wins the money. If anyone tells you anything else, they're deluding themselves. When someone says "Oh ABC poker doesn't win," they're wrong. At least half a million hands between Verneer and I proves that solid play not only wins, but it wins at a steady clip. Don't believe it beats MSNL and higher? Go search up Nanonoko, or TcBlade.

Let's say a SSNL player-- Edward, we'll call him, because i love vampires-- plays a really solid, slightly nitty 19/16 style that focuses on putting in very little money while behind, and putting in as much money as possible when very likely ahead. This philosophy is exemplified by the poker aphorism "Big hand, big pot. Small hand, small pot."

Let's take a second SSNL player, Jacob. Jacob loves bluffing. It's a drug. He splashes around, and gets high off of stacking his opponents and running big all-in bluffs when his opponent shows weakness. He plays 27/24 with a 9% 3-bet, and spends a lot of time trying to “own” his opponents, which is arguably necessary with his much looser style.

If you took 100 Eddie's and 100 Jacob's, most of the Eddie's will be 2 to 4ptbb/100 winners, depending on their skill and how well they ran. However, if you look at the Jacob's, I'll bet they generally will have winrates closer to -.5 to 1.5ptbb/100. This is for a couple of reasons:

1) At SSNL, value-betting is often more powerful a weapon than bluffing.

2) Eddie is much less likely to have big swings, and hence, is less likely to tilt. Jacob's game is much more sensitive to gameflow conditions, making his auto-piloting game much less effective as his number of tables increases. While Eddie can probably play 6-8 tables very effectively, Jacob should usually play no more than 4.

3) When Eddie's playing his B-game, he'll rarely be making huge mistakes for his stack. More likely, he'll make more small ones than usual, perhaps calling raises a bit too lightly, or folding a bit too early in the hand. If Jacob's playing his B-game, he might poorly time a 4-bet bluff, or 3-bet an aggro reg too often and get 4-bet, or run a bluff that would've been effective in a vacuum, but is poor in a specific dynamic. In turn, this leads to a deterioration in play, and Jacob loses even more.

This isn't to say that there aren't outliers. There are certainly some VERY talented hyper-LAGs out there, but they are rare. Tableratings seems to anecdotally support this claim: when you look up very loose opponents who are giving you trouble, the overwhelming majority of the time, you'll find these players are small losers to small winners, and are rarely big winners over large samples. Of course, big winners are rare regardless of style, but I'd posit that players with 27 VPIP or higher are much less often 3ptbb/100 winners than their 22 VPIP counterparts.

When I first joined Cardrunners, I was one of the biggest winners at 100nl playing an 18/15 style. I table selected well, showed up with the goods, and generally didn't run huge, ridiculous bluffs. I wasn't a particularly fearsome player, but I grinded out a very steady, stable, low variance income, and that was good enough. As I became more experienced I opened up my game to 26/22, mostly to play more pots with the fish, though as I moved up to 2/4 and flirted with 3/6, I was having a harder and harder time maintaining a winning clip with a looser style. Those games are full of knowledgable, aggressive players, but if you dig deeply, you'll find that most of them are breakeven or very small winners. Why? Because these players are too spazzy, too suspicious. They're always worried someone's making a move on them, and put money in way too lightly. In fear of getting outplayed, they lose sight of “Big pot, big hand.”

If I was to seriously grind 100-200nl 6-max again, I would probably play between 19/16 and 20/17, with no more than a 5% 3-bet statistic (though I'd recommend my students to play very slightly looser, because they wouldn't have to worry about people trying to make hero plays on video against them). In the current state of the games, most regulars are Cardrunners or 2+2 members, and you'd think they wouldn't be susceptible to straightforward value betting and raising. Yet they are! They love to Hero call and they have high rebluffing frequencies. If you C/R a regular on JJx with a Jack, your value doesn't just come from a player calling you down with 88, it comes from someone bluff 3-betting and putting in 1/3 of their stack and then folding to your shove.

The tricky part, in my eyes, is how one defines “solid play” besides playing tightly pre-flop. I'm sure to butcher this definition, but I'll still give it a whirl:

1. Play big pots with big hands. When the pot's 50bb's or more, you should usually have a hand that compares very favorably against your opponent's. Against nits, that means you're near the very top of your range, and against fish, you've got top pair with a moderate kicker.

2. Run bluffs with equity. When deciding to raise a K84 flop as a bluff, it's MUCH better to do so with 76s or A4s than it is to do so with JT. Against KQ, 76s has 22% equity and draws to the stone nuts. JT has 6%, and sometimes when you backdoor two pair, you'll be paying off better two pair. This concept goes for both bluff-raising and floating. When double barreling, without a specific read, I'm barreling when A) my equity increases on the turn (I pick up a draw or had a premium draw to start) B) the card pooped on my opponent's flop calling range (aka usually an overcard to top or 2nd pair). At SSNL, I'm almost barreling with the sole intent to get someone off of TPGK.

3. Don't try to simplify poker into a pre-flop battle, trying to push tiny 3-4% edges. If you're getting in AQ or 99 pre-flop standardly in late position, you're not necessarily doing something wrong, but you're exposing yourself to significant trouble against perceptive or tricky opponents.

4. Play JUST loose enough to get people to assume you're a goofball. 3-bet on the button. Occasionally C/R and bluff-raise obvious bluffing spots and then fold. Let your opponents assume you're capable of more than you actually are. In a recent session, a 13/9 regular 4-bet QT and then CALLED OFF against my 5-bet. To make that call correct, either I have to be 3-bet/5-betting a hand like 55, or I have to be 5-bet jamming a hand worse than Q-high-- neither of which I've done outside of extreme circumstances. But my opponents don't know that!

5. Have a folding range. In every situation, you need to have a folding range. Be it folding to 3-bets, folding to 4-bets, folding to cbets, turn bets, etc. Though folding guarantees you'll lose the hand, folding encourages your opponents to put in more money with bluffs to try and run you over. Now, this doesn't mean you should fold too often-- you should still have a W$WSF north of 45%-- but it does mean that you should be willing to give up in certain positions, even when you know your opponent is going to be firing 100% of his air range. For example, occasionally C/Fing Kxxr with the betting lead encourages opponents to take shots at you when you check, which you can later exploit.

6. Cold-call very tightly. As you get more proficient, you can call much more loosely, especially with fish to act. However, standardly calling open raises with very speculative hands and 100bb effective stacks just isn't going to be profitable. Hands like 98s and A2s are going to require multi-way pots to show a profit if you're not accurately fighting for small and medium pots, or if you're misjudging how often a fish comes along for the ride.

7. Don't attack strength, attack weakness. There are a surprising amount of threads where I see someone shove over a 4-bet, or a C/R and turn bet, or a 3-barrel on a bad board to fire on. Yeah, there are some spots where this is right, but this should certainly not be the norm! Don't attack people in spots where they are trying to put a ton of money into the pot, attack when they can't possibly have a strong hand. For example, if two players check around to you twice in a small pot, or a straightforward opponent doesn't lead after you check back the flop, those are times to pounce or run bigger-than-usual bluffs. Not only will your success rate in these spots be VERY high, but if you're caught, you get to develop a crazy image very cheaply.

I'd like to end on a final note:

We've all seen videos where high stakes pros have said "well, I'm kind of a station." And then proceed to make a call-down. In your own games, you should greatly resist the urge to be a huge station. Opponents at SSNL simply are not as aggressive as their higher stakes counterparts, and don't have the theoretical knowledge base to back up more sophisticated plays. At 50nl, I've never once said "Oh, my opponent has a capped range here, so I should shove this river" or suspected my opponents of being sophisticated enough to turn 77 into a bluff on Q64KJ when I triple barrel. Of course, people ARE doing this, but those players fall into such a minority that I do not let it dictate my overall play (I'm also convinced most of those players aren't big winners).

Be proud that you can make big folds when the need arises. Don't worry about balance and exploitation-- people aren't observant enough, aren't good enough, to be consistently exploiting you in esoteric spots. There are a lot of times where I said to myself "man, if I posted this hand in the forums, I'd get so berated," then proceeded to fold a flopped set or KK pre-flop (usually multi-way, where my opponent's range are stronger, and I get the side benefit to see that I'm right or wrong). I've folded top pair to a single flop bet in a single raised pot. Do I worry about folding the best hand? Of course! But it's not like I'm always folding top pair, or even folding enough to be exploited. Folding the best hand, though it may be a mistake in the moment, can often be correct in the long run. Trust your spidey sense. Your first gut instinct is often right. When the nit snap-mashes pot, I don't care what he's representing or that I have an overpair. He's got me crushed. Nice hand.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

end of day update

9.36pm and I still have a lot on my to-do list. I had a wonderful time playing in pokerstars tonight. No homeruns, but a few wins here and there. My game in full tilt poker, wasn't as productive. I paid tuition in those tables, playing with less than two pair calling donk bets on the river. If I stopped doing those, my bankroll would have been in the black today. Tuition paid, lesson learned, moving on.

Playing 2NL, I decided to finish my first VIP $10 bonus last night. I was like 3% from finishing it. It took me way past my bedtime. My bankroll is now less than two buy-ins away from the $100 dollar mark. I am thinking of taking shots at 5NL, playing my usual five tables. I'll move back a level if I lose one buy-in. We'll see.

It was my wife's day off today. I did not get to play poker as much as usual. Plenty of chores to do and we didn't get back until after lunch. Dishes to wash, pick up kids to school, bring one to her netball game. I did not get to sit and focus on my game until after dinner. Surprisingly, there was a lot of fish in pokerstars then.

In the meantime, I still have to write a letter to my daughter's teacher explaining why she didn't show up for school the last two days. Also need to get the immigration applications prepared so I can finish them tomorrow. Then I go to bed.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

end of day update

I got careless today and paid tuition at the tables. Most of the time, I was playing back, calling with one pair way past the point when I should have folded. It's 10.47pm. Way past my bedtime. I'll finish posting these then I'll go to bed.

The past few weeks, I am totally awake before 5am. No matter what I do, I couldn't get back to sleep. The pc is inside our bedroom so I just fire it up and start playing. At least I get to catch the US prime time. Around 9am, I'd get so sleepy I take a nap. After about an hour, I resume play. Two hours play, one hour break until bedtime. Six days a week.

This is what it's like to be in business for myself.

Monday, July 26, 2010

end of day update

Winnings chart for the last 8,698 hands. When recovering from a slump, you will notice that I filter my chart from the point of reversal. This gives me an idea if the changes I am doing are taking effect or not. When filtered All Hands, I tend to see that "I am not there yet." As such, I tend to take unnecessary risks in my game. This then keeps me in the slump.

When I have breached my all time high, then you will start seeing me post my charts filtered all hands.

Time for bed.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Doing my hand history review, I seldom see bluff going into showdown. Either the bluff wins without showdown, or the bluffer stops betting past a certain point (turn?).

It seems true what I keep reading from the forums--the money comes from players who make poor decisions (fish/whales). The good players look for tables with fish and profit from their errors, not playing against other good players. Need proof? Review hand histories that went to showdown. You'll find plenty of fish keep making the same mistakes again and again.

I had an interesting day today. I made off with a few stacks on both pokerstars and full tilt poker, practically in every session I played--or almost every session. I've marked a few interesting hands that I am going to review in a few minutes. These will add to my HUD notes, plus get a better understanding of the game.

I also found someone who said he/she was going to stake me. Last PM I got I was asked how much bankroll I needed. I sent them my reply, it was around noon and no reply yet. I am thinking this person is probably from the US...? I hope this pushes through. I'd like to learn more about the business of staking. Staking is like a turn-key, franchise business where I can put my money to work for me in the long term by staking several players instead of me playing poker exclusively. By staking others, I can let money to work for me.

It's a sunday. I'm going to get the kids ready for bed in a few minutes. When the wife gets home, I might join her see a movie on cable tv if it's interesting enough. Or I can continue with my poker study.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

I am posting these stats/images at 2p2 t get feedback on how I can imrpove some more. I will update this post soon as I get replies from them.

Source: click here to go to the original post on 2p2.

As you can see, their stats are different, but they share certain characteristics that show that they are playing solid, tight/aggressive poker. Here is what chargers’ and baja’s stats are saying:

1. Seizing initiative:
baja15 is winning at 17.5/13.5. chargers in o7 is winning at 13.4/11. The specific numbers are not important; what is important is that both chargers and baja are almost always raising the pots they play. Seizing the initiative is crucial to winning at tight/aggressive poker. They have the table reacting to them. When they call, which is usually about 3.5% of the pots, they have a reason for doing so. If chargers or baja went back through all the hands they called a PFR with, they would be able to tell you why they did it every time. And they would never say “well, because KQ is playable in MP” or something vague like that. It would be “because I was getting the implied odds to play 33 for a set here—villain is a 10/2 nit with 100bb who only raises UTG with premium hands; I knew I’d get at least a big part of his stack if I hit my set.”

The bottom line here is that by raising when you enter a pot, you seize the initiative. If you are not raising about 2/3 of the hands you play, you are playing too passively.

2. Positional awareness:
The closer they are to the button, the more hands chargers and baja play. They understand that a hand that is junk in EP (ATo) becomes a raising hand when it is folded to them in LP. This is applied probability—the chance that someone behind you has a better hand increases when there are more players behind you. Say you are first to act of 9 players. There are 8 behind you. If you have Q7s (the hand that is the median hand in NLHE), on average 4 players behind you will have a better hand and 4 will have worse. If you are UTG with ATo, a top 1/3-ish hand, you can expect about 2-3 players to have a better hand. So you fold it. That same hand, OTB, when it has been folded to you, rates to be the best of the 3 remaining hands. So you raise. In EP Tags usually raise with premium hands plus a few hands that fit their preferred style of play (all pocket pairs, suited or connected paint) and fold everything else. They loosen their starting requirements progressively to the point that in the CO and OTB the fact that they are in position is as important as the cards they happen to have been dealt.

Notice how baja and chargers’ cold called a PFR% increases as they approach the button. They become more willing to call a preflop raise as their position improves, because they know they can win some hands by using position even when they don’t make a hand. Out of position, they are ruthless in applying raise or fold to their hand selection. OOP they have to take the initiative; in position, they look for spots to use position to use another player’s aggression against him.

If you do not have a similar ratio, you should be playing fewer hands UTG and more OTB.

3. Blind stealing.
This subject blends into positional awareness. In addition to raising for value with decent hands that you expect to be the favorite, you should raise with some hands you would ordinarily fold, hoping that it gets folded around. For an excellent discussion of blind stealing, carefully study and apply Pokey's and Dan Bitel’s advice on blind stealing. chargers has achieved what Pokey thinks is the optimal 30% steal percentage, and Baja is right there, too. Pokey does the math on how profitable this can be, and baja and chargers sure look like solid evidence Pokey is right. Pokey also talks about what hands are good stealing hands.

The combination of raising for value in LP with hands that you fold in EP and raising with folding hands to steal the blinds should get your CO and OTB VPIP up above 20%, and closer to 30% is probably best for experienced players.

4. Postflop Aggression.
chargers’ AF is 4.48. PT calculates your AF by adding the number of times you bet to the number of times you raise, and dividing this sum by the number of times you call. chargers bets or raises 4.5 times as often as he calls.

Your total AF doesn’t tell the whole story, though. Look at chargers’ aggression by street—he is way more aggressive on the flop (6.3) than he is on the river (2.29). This high AF means:

He decides on the flop whether and how he will play the hand. One way you increase your aggression factor is to fold to flop bets. chargers probably never says to himself “hmm, ok, I’ll call and we’ll see what he does on the turn.” He puts his opponent on a range preflop based on his opponent’s action. Then he looks at what his opponent does on the flop, and adjusts the range. If he decides to play, he bets or raises six times as often as he calls on the flop, and over twice as often on later streets. He can be this aggressive because he folds on the flop when he thinks the flop hit his opponent’s range pretty hard while missing him.

chargers does not slow play often. Slow playing trashes your aggression factor. Chargers has internalized the correct strategy of betting out or raising with strong hands most of the time. If your aggression factor is under 3, go back and study your monsters and check to see how often you are slow playing them. You shouldn’t be, very often, and you should always have a very player or board specific reason for doing so. If you can’t list those reasons off the top of your head right now, you should search the forum and learn when it is appropriate to slow play. On the other hand, you should be calling so few bets that slow playing monsters represents a significant fraction of your total number of calls.

If chargers plays a draw, he plays it aggressively. Check/calling oop or calling in position when you have a draw will drag down your aggression factor. Again, we don’t care about the aggression factor per se, but we do care that it may be telling us that we are not playing draws aggressively. Betting or raising with very good draws gives you two ways to win the pot, but just calling with them means you are playing fit or fold—you have to make your hand to have a chance of winning the pot. By betting out with his very good draws a lot of the time he decides to play them, chargers is winning a lot of them without ever making his draw. By folding his decent draws in the face of big bets and lots of aggression, he is saving money on draws that are too marginal to bet or raise with against a determined opponent, and these folds will also increase his aggression factor.

The lower your aggression factor, the more likely it is that you are making the common mistakes that Chargers does not make very often (calling to see what happens next or because you are unsure of where you are, slow playing too much, and not playing draws aggressively). Read this, too

5. WTSD%, W$WSF, W$SD: These stats come the closest of all stats to having hard and fast rules associated with them. As a general rule, winning players usually:
Go to showdown about 25% of the time
Win when they see the flop at least 35% of the time
Win at showdown between 45 and 48% of the time OR between 52 and 55% of the time.

If this stat is too far from 25%, it could indicate several different problems. You could either be not betting enough on later streets when you are ahead, or you could be calling too much behind. Usually, when this stat is off, it is both. Your by street aggression factor is a huge tell here. If you are below 2 on any street, you are going for pot control too much (usually on the turn and the river). Make your read on the flop—if you are behind with little chance to improve, fold on the flop. If you think you are ahead or have a strong draw—bet or raise a lot, and win the hand before the river (if you are actually behind, your opponent WILL let you know, normally by sliding it far to the right and clicking). Either way, it is a hand that doesn’t go to showdown. If you think your opponent has a decent hand, fold or raise—either get out or try to push him off his marginal hand. Either way it is a hand that doesn’t go to showdown.

The correct action on the river is a very complicated subject, but, in general, if you are checking behind a lot in position, you are increasing your WSD% by failing to bet and induce a fold from an opponent who checked to you. Only check behind when there are very few or no hands that you beat that would call a bet. If your WSD% is too high, you need to use Poker Tracker and Poker EV to look at the hands where you did not bet the river and won. Then, in the future, you bet in similar situations. Your opponents will fold a lot, and you will decrease your WSD%. Then you need to find hands where you called on the river and lost. Among these hands, you will find hands where it was correct to have folded on an earlier street, maybe even preflop. Do so in future similar situations, and you will decrease your WSD% and increase your winrate by winning more when you are good, and losing less when you are behind.

If you make these adjustments, you will be playing better, and, incidentally, you will see the change reflected in your WSD%

If you are not winning at least 35% of the hands you see the flop, there are 3 possible problems, all of which will need examination:
You are playing marginal hands too much. 97s or 22 are great hands to speculate with in ideal situations (deep, multiway and in position), but win like 12% of the time. If you play these hands indiscriminately, it will show up as a lower W$WSF%
You are getting blown off hands by aggression. Remember, most flops miss most players.
You are not winning pots based on position and you are not c-betting enough.

All 3 of these are symptomatic of “fit or fold,” poker, which is –EV poker.

There are two approaches Tags take to showdown. Both are profitable, but they show up as different ranges of winning at SD:

Tags who border on loose aggressive play generally win less than 50% of their showdowns. This reflects the fact that they are pushing very hard, often all in, with good draws or marginal hands, relying on their opponents’ willingness to fold as much as the quality of their hands to win pots. They frequently make big bets when they know they are behind but have outs, hoping for a fold, but knowing they have plenty of cards as outs if they get called. Here’s an example of a Lag sample from ship_it_trebek that shows you can achieve a nice winrate even when you lose most showdowns:

If you play a typical Tag style, you should be above 50%. If you are not, you have to go back through and look for patterns in your river decisions to find the recurring mistakes (there WILL be recurring mistakes, most likely calling a big river bet with TPGK or an overpair). If your W$atSD is too high (yes, it is possible) it means that you almost have to be folding the best hand too often.

I am up against the max word count and there’s a ton I had to cut to get this much done. I’ll ask the experienced players to add their thoughts on some of the things I didn’t get to, such as defending blinds, and to point out any mistakes I made.

Part 2, which I will post as a reply, will be a practical exercise I think the newer players should participate in.

I lost my stack with this hand and took the rest of the day off.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

end of day update

Not much happened today. Something seems to be wrong with the ftp game platform. It did a software update early this morning, then suddenly HEM couldn't import the hand history file. To isolate where the problem was, I switched to pokerstars--everything was all right. I guess there's a bug in the new ftp update and not with my HEM. It's going to be ps until they get around fixing that bug.

I notice that ftp's player base seems to be getting smaller lately. It spiked up recently when they had the rush poker promo, then things slowed down again. No wonder more people choose to play with pokerstars. Plenty of fish is one good reason. Second, for me, is their software. It works well with tableninja and HEM.

I am thinking of doing one more poker session, then it's bedtime.

tweaks: starting hands

I made a few minor changes to my starting hands, based on Phil Gordon's Little Green Book:

ep: AA, AK, AQ, AJ s/o, KK, QQ, JJ
mp: + A7s; ATo, KQs, QJs, 77
Lp: +A4s, A7o, K9s, KTo, QTs, QJo, JTs, 22
bu: +A2s, A2o, K6s, K9o Q8s, Qto, J8s, J9o, T8s, T9o, 65s

* small hand, small pot. big hand, big pot.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

end of day update

Paid tuition at the tables today, both ps and ftp. Lost a stack early in the day bluffing someone who wouldn't let go of his TPTK with my 77 on flush board. I then allowed this to affect my play the rest of the day, feeling remorse for a play I could have done better.

Tuition paid, lesson learned. Moving on.

Second chart is for me to monitor progress on game improvements I am implementing starting last saturday.

using your energy

- Pay attention to how you are flowing, to the vibrational signal you are putting out. And to what serves you with the most integrity.
- Are you following your highest excitement?
- Are you letting go of that which does not serve you any longer?
- Are you listening to higher mind and taking action on the results?
- And are you in a state of Allowing things to be?
- Allow your shifting vibration to effect the changes you want to see instead of trying to muscle and control reality.

ELIAS: I would express to you that it is likely the greatest potential, presently, is that you will discover a manner in which you can stop the vomiting. Whether that is enough to generate questioning to the point in which you begin to implement change, that remains to be seen. It is generating considerable attention. And the more the planet continues to vomit the more it effects, and the more effect, the more it appears to be uncontrollable, the more it emphasizes the point.

This is not a matter of good or bad. This is also not a matter of right or wrong. This is a matter of change, and what you do want. What is to your collective greatest benefit, and what is not. It is not a matter of opposition, or that some individuals are wrong.

LYNDA: There is a lot of blame back and forth. A lot of blame.

ELIAS: This is not the point. The point is your planet does incorporate the ability to alter this itself.

LYNDA: Like our bodies do.

ELIAS: Without your help which is not helpful. Your planet can readjust, and it can reconfigure. The challenge is that the intelligent species that occupies your planet is insistent upon being helpful to the planet, and not actually being helpful. For it is insistent upon being in control and therefore attempting to manipulate situations that the planet itself could very effectively heal itself. But that is not what is occurring. For humans are including themselves. Which in one respect is somewhat understandable, for the humans have created the situation, and therefore view themselves to be responsible. And, in a manner of speaking, you are. But that is relative also. It is all an extension of you. Are you responsible for massive destruction in one capacity I could respond to that and say yes. In another capacity I could also respond and say no, not entirely.

You are generating explorations, you are experimenting and you are discovering that some explorations are not necessarily entirely to your benefit. The difficulty or challenge in that is that with some discoveries it is incorporating longer time frameworks for you to recognize that it is not necessarily to your benefit for in the short, or the smaller picture, it seems to be very much to your benefit.

ELIAS: Now, this situation is what you would term to be a larger scale example of what you do. If you were to investigate, which I am aware that individuals already have. In actuality the situation could be viewed in the capacity of one individual's choices, one individual's actions. One individual generated a choice and this occurred. That one individual's energy and choice is rippling and affecting a considerable volume of other energies. And that one individual's choice has rippled throughout your world. That one individual's choice in the moment, was a simple choice. One that the individual incorporated little or no attention to.

That is a prime example of what I am expressing to each of you and the power of your energy and your choices. It is just as powerful and far reaching as that one individual. Do you at all think to yourself how one individual, in that one moment, generating that one choice, expressed any idea that their one choice would be expressed and would be of such awareness throughout the entire world? No. Did that one individual view himself to be so very important? Or that their individual choices were so very important? They are. Every individual's choices are that important. Whether they are generating an action with within an [oil deck?] or whether they are generating an action within their home. Energy is energy and it is unbounded.

LYNDA: Okay then.

ELIAS: Therefore, what can you do? Be aware.

Pay attention to what you are doing, knowing that it is rippling just as much as that one individual did. Pay attention to what you are doing. Pay attention to how you are rippling. Pay attention to your energy. What is to your greatest benefit? That is the ultimate question. What is to your greatest benefit? Pay attention to that.

If you must ask a question, ask the question "What is to MY greatest benefit?" In any situation. That is the key of what to pay attention to.

Excerpt from a friend's email

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Past three days have been encouraging. Most of the gains came from the pokerstars account, whereas ftp has been sideways.

Things are starting to warm up again at my pokerstars account. Bulls ran healthily again today keeping up above recent resistance. Fish are aplenty at pokerstars any time of the day. I get two on average at the tables at play, and consider it a slow table if there was only one fish.

With full tilt, it's been a bit slow. Not much happening. Players are so tight that if they get a hint that you have something, they fold. Maybe I'm playing more regs in that site because of the rakeback. If there was one fish on a table, that is considered a GOOD table.

The trend for the ftp account is still bearish, with very little signs of the bear releasing its grip. But still, it's good to play at ftp. I get to sharpen my skills playing with regs and nits, plus the occasional fish. My ftp account is soon clearing the bonus deducted and might start earning rakeback next week.

Monday, July 19, 2010

end of day update

354 hands played total. Not as much as my regular day. Spent morning attending to family chores--good to run pc maintenance and reset my head. Morning, I paid tuition on the tables. Good lessons were aplenty.

Evening session I played one table only. I do this at times to watch player tendencies. I try to place them on a range based on the line of action they are taking. After the hand, I write notes. It gets boring at times, but I consider it an investment for the long term. Playing multiple tables is short term.

Second chart shows medium term time frame last 7,000 hands. Winnings just broke past consolidation towards the upside. That's great news for me! I have a better definition of variance: not as a negative, but as a neutral circumstance--all part of the game. Sometimes they get lucky, other times, I get lucky as well.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

End of day update for both pokerstars and full tilt poker accounts. The chart is bullish, but I made more profit from pokerstars than with ftp. Not that I paid big tuition with ftp, but I was getting cold cards and not hitting anything on the flop. I guess this is part of the game, and I accept that.

Tomorrow is another day.
"...I look at poker not as a gamble, but as a skill... I want to make a small business out of that skill, and like most businesses, I don't want to risk having to close up shop. Staying open is the goal first and foremost; maximizing profit is second."

"...I learned acceptance. If I was to play so much as one more hand of poker, I had to get it through my head that there would be good luck and bad, but if I played long enough with a clear head, skill would eventually win the day."

"...Mistakes are necessary. The question isn't whether you'll make mistakes, it's how often you make the same one before you learn what is correct."

Treat your poker as a business, Dusty Schmidt

Good book. I highly recommend it. This reinforces my view on playing online poker as a home-based business. Reading this as part of my night time poker routine.

Friday, July 16, 2010

I was able to play a few hours on my 'free' time. This shows last 500 hands played at ftp. At first, I lost two buy-ins gambling with AA. I went all-in preflop. I guess those were tuition well paid. It reinforced the lesson on how to better play AA for me.

What did I do right?
- no unnecessary raises.
- when I can't see why villain is raising like crazy on the flop and I have not the nuts, I fold. There's always next time.
- I took as much time as possible to make the best decision--more so on big pots.

Session was played in ftp. I got tired of seeing the pokerstars platform and game sound, and needed something different. The ftp sounds I like better. The sound between an ordinary call and a raise are different that even if I was not looking at the platform, I'd know if there was a raise. With pokerstars, the call sound and the raise sound are the same. Why can't they make that better?

I found out that I can have tableninja for both ftp and ps running in the background, but only one can be activated. This way, I can easily switch between sites and not have to wait for tableninja to load (takes five minutes each to load--more if there are software updates).

Decision tree

Click here to read the original article from 2p2.

4. Piecing the puzzle together

This is by far the hardest part, but I'll try to give you a decision tree that should serve you well at the microstakes. Whenever you are faced with a decision, aks yourself this question first:

1. Can I valuebet?
If the answer is YES, proceed to valuebet.

If the answer is NO, ask yourself

2. Do I have showdown value?
If the answer is YES, you should probably check (especially in position).

If the answer is NO, ask yourself

3. Do I have Fold Equity (can I fold out enough better hands than mine)?
If the answer is YES, you might (I SAID MIGHT) consider bluffing. You should be aware that bluffing is not a very useful tactic against calling stations.

So the decision tree looks like this

NO =>

YES => CHECK /fold
NO =>
YES =>
YES => maybe maybe maybe bluff
NO => fold/check

5. General rules at the microstakes.

You noticed that I didn't mention raising. This is because I think that you can probably AUTOFOLD every time a villain raises if you don't hold the nuts or the second nuts and still make 5PTBB+ at the micro's.

Your objective should be to valuebet/valuebet/valueshove your good hands. If you c-bet with air and you get called, you can probably give up, esp OOP. No use "second barreling" or "third barreling with air" at the micros. No use trying to put villain on AK when he checkraises you all in on a scary turn and you have an underpair. Just fold. Wait for the next hand, and bet/bet/shove.

Good luck at the tables.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Two things:
1. Second day into rush poker week. Although the chart for my ftp account is still bearish, the bulls showed up and broke past short term resistance. I made two buy-in wins this morning at rush poker. The intention is to make ten points per day to get the $10 bonus. It's less than an hour's work. I can extend easily if I wanted to.

2. I tried to play a different method today and paid big tuition for it. I wasn't comfortable with it and didn't know what to do. Maybe I shouldn't have tried it in a real money account. I was like trying to fight like a boxer when I was really a jujitsu expert. I prefer to take the game to river where pots are bigger instead of taking shots at the pot. Good thing that when I admitted to myself that it wasn't my style, I got a big win and got me back to within the congestion area.

...And one more thing. just sent me an email saying they were giving me $50 to play in I tried to claim the bonus, but the party poker software was buggy. I'll try again tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


For tonight's episode of R&R, I found Rounders on youtube. I have three of them streaming right now. These will tide me over till bedtime. I just finished dinner with the wife and kids.

Before dinner, I found Chau Giang. He was a vietnamese who came to the US, started work in menial jobs, but now plays high stakes poker. I saw a video of his home--now I have someone to look up to.

I too, am an immigrant. I chose to grow my own business than look for menial jobs. I see the long term potential playing poker.

I used to think that other people would see me as a lazy bum who chooses to let his wife do all the work while he plays poker all day. They can see it that way, or any way they want to. It's their choice, and I can't change that.

I see things differently.

I see myself as one who is growing his own business. Someone who is dedicated and enjoys what he is doing even if the short term financial situation looks scarce. I know that in the long term when everything lines up, this business will provide for more than enough to all the stakeholders involved.

I see myself as one who, even though it is not evident how following my joy can support me, but is open to it.

Morning session at pokerstars. Saw lots of flops on the cheap, no homeruns this time. Upside to this is that I learned a lot and improved my game without having to pay a stack as tuition.

Time for a break. Wife and kids to use the pc. I'm going out for a walk. Cloudless, sunny day today. After that, I take a shower.
Day one of rush poker week at full tilt poker. I finished my ten points for the day and made a little in the process. I think it took about 180 hands to finish it.

I switched to full ring tables after that, but decided not to stay long. Their table search function seems to take too long even if I set the filters to zero. I was thinking I'd play again at rush after a good round in fr. We'll see what happens before midnight ET.

Monday, July 12, 2010

I made a good play in the afternoon session, making 175bbs. I'll post the hand and the chart tomorrow. I just closed HEM. I called it a day shortly after that big winner. It was time to make dinner before the World Cup finals update starts.

After dinner, instead of playing poker, I went over to 2p2 forums on uNL and helped wout with the strategy posts. I'm increasing my posts with that forum in case I get staking in the future. People look for the member's posts to see one's line of thinking about the game.

It's 8.37pm. I think I am done with poker tonight. I'm in front of the pc looking for something else to do--watch videos on youtube or something.

Morning session at pokerstars. Not much happened. Saw a lot of hands cheap but no homeruns, mostly punts made. Small wins here and there. Occasionally called raise with drawing hands. Play after breakfast wasn't as exciting. I take that as my cue to take a break.

Done with morning session. I am going out for a walk, then take a bath.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

I am doing R&R at the moment. No more poker at night, do something else instead. I ran some analysis on my games the whole day. I ran the report for the last 500 hands to compare my wins with tuition paid on the table.

As you can see from the image, my game is in the black. The biggest tuition paid was when I had to fold three of a kind when the third flush card landed and the other fellow bet all in.

All in all, a small win here and there adds up more than tuition paid. I have got high stakes poker videos lined up on youtube. I've been wanting to see them for some time now.

Here are my stats to date:

Afternoon session at pokerstars. Last 1000 hands showing breakout past congestion. That's good. It means the changes I have made are working in the short term. Which is...? Not try too hard at this.

I am taking a break. Time for a nap. After nap, I do yoga. I might call it a day at this point. I have yet to make dinner and wife is going to join us for dinner.

Morning session at pokerstars. Small wins here and there. Tuition paid kept at a minimum. Almost called an all in on the river when flush card came out. I had a set.

Felt better, slept better with no poker after dinner. It was a slow night with nothing to do. I thought of reading and learning about poker but it felt boring. It was terribly cold last night so I just decided to get under the blanket and went to bed.

Time for a break. I'm going out to get some sun, go for a walk. Will play when I get back. Time for the kids to play with the pc.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Midday session at pokerstars. Finally, we see a bounce off the lows, even if it is a small one, it's still a bounce UP.

I went out for a walk after my morning session. It is bright, sunny and cloudless today, while it is freezing inside the house. Easy choice to make there. Plus I need to clear myself. Getting back, I sat some more under the sun in our backyard. It's winter down here. Weather like this is such a welcome treat.

Taking a break now to take a nap. One of the kids will play on the pc now. I need to roast the pork for dinner but my daughter has yet to bake her cookies.
Morning session. Played at both ftp and pokerstars acount. I tried playing less tables at first at ftp, but it was way too slow. I decided to do at least three tables. Not much happened. I did get to play around with their new seating gadget. It makes table selection a whole lot easier. I think I was playing with nits. Not a lot of action there.

After breakfast, I fired up pokerstars and did find more action. I was winning small pots. Plenty of fish this morning looking at their showdown hands.

I decided to cut back on my day's play--no more after dinner. Either I open HEM and go over my stats, read a book, or just be open to what is available. I notice that I don't get much action anyway. Better to clear up my vibration prior to dreamtime and wake up fresh the next morning.

The previous nights, I've been tossing and turning in bed with poker monkeys running wild in my head. This gets me in a negative vibration that carries over to my game the following morning.

Mornings are prime time for me. It sets the tone for the rest of the day and it is when there's more fish. I get a good night's sleep and clear my vibes, then I am going to get out of this slump a lot sooner.

Friday, July 9, 2010

A lesson is again repeated to me as I seem to have forgotten. When playing for big pots, take the time to see if I am ahead or behind.

I paid 75bb a moment ago for this lesson. Three way pot, one went all in preflop, the other called and so did I with 555. My head went "BIG HAND!" and did not take the time to check what the second player's range was. The board showed a clear straight draw, which the second player won.

Lesson learned, moving on.

In the meantime, I am going to sing!

Definitely going through variance still. My pokerstars account is down about 20 buy-ins. Ftp, I am not sure how much, but that account has been down for some time now. At this time, I feel like I have been lucky all this time. The last few weeks I feel like everything I play (well, almost) turns sour. I make small wins and make big losses.

I am not sure what to do about this other than to play this through. I haven't made any drastic changes to my game. I seldom go all in preflop with AA anymore other than when someone else has raised big before me.

I got an insight/lesson from this while taking a shower: After the second breakdown on support, tighten up. Technically, a second break past support is a potent reverse pattern. This tells me something is fundamentally wrong. On the other hand, a second break past resistance is bullish. I will then act accordingly.

If variance is something that happens to everyone who is in this business, then so be it. I am going to play through this one and see what happens.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Morning session at pokerstars. Higher low on the chart. The other image shows bbs won compared to tuition in bbs. About a hundred hands played and wins more than tuition paid for the last 100 hands.

It is cold, cloudy and raining outside. I feel down at the moment. This feeling tells me I have a definition. What I am seeing right now is that I should be getting out to feel better. Is that true?

I am taking a break now. Grab something eat, let the kids play with the pc. I'll have lunch now so that three hours later I can do yoga. I can do a session later.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

W$SD% at 60.4%

8.52pm. Afternoon and evening session played in pokerstars. Small wins here and there. Played one party guy in one of the tables. They are typically called whales, but using autorate, I use the crown image to distinguish them from whales. Whales have a semblance of strategy in what they are doing. Whales are sometimes newbies learning the game and throwing a lot of money on the table. Party guys, on the other hand, are simply throwing away money. Sometimes they make good hands, a few times they are lucky, but most of the time, their showdown hands are seldom better than one pair.

I made off with more than half his stack early on. I did not know he was the party guy. Later in the game, I noticed that he was going to showdown a lot and I began to observe his table more. And that's where I went wrong. I called his all in with 88 and he got a 9 on the river to make 99. I gave back what I won from him, save for one bb.

Then wife came home and we all had dinner. My eldest daughter has the flu right now. My eyes feel tired. I feel like not playing anymore. I don't have to. This is my business and I want to enjoy doing this. I am not going to force myself to grind or work hard on it. So I am going to call it a day then.

Here are my stats after more than 49k hands: