Tuesday, August 31, 2010


I seem to be hitting a plateau around these levels. Was I playing bad? Not like a maniac, but I have been pushing the tables quite a bit. I think the reason for the variance is me pushing thin value--TP going to showdown with villain leading out. I guess winning a few hands with TP in some tables, I equate top pair with instant pot wins.

I'm going to tighten up postflop--tomorrow. It's 9.25pm. The new broadband connection is definitely faster than what we had before. I like it. I hope the free equipment will be here tomorrow. It's coming by courier post and someone has to be here to receive them. Otherwise, they'll leave a pick up notice and I'm going to have to schedule a different day for that.

OK, I admit, I am excited about the free nokia phone. It has been more than a year since I had a mobile phone myself. The last one I had, a sony ericsson, I accidentally left in my jacket which went into the washing machine. I lasted a year without a mobile phone because I do not really need one. It was only my wife that I was texting with. These days, two of my kids have their own phone.

Time for bed. It has been a good day for me.

new broadband

Today our new broadband connection was activated. This seems to work faster than the wireless broadband provider we were using. I am still checking on the configuration, settings, etc. see if everything's OK. Then I will start playing poker.

What got us to change broadband service providers was because of the promo they had. Landline, plus mobile and 10GB broadband for $90 each month. Considering that we were paying $40 for prepaid mobile and $60 for broadband, the deal we were getting was really sweet. To top it all, they are giving away a free 3G nokia mobile phone, free modem and landline phone, free connection, plus the second month is free.

Wouldn't you do the same?

Monday, August 30, 2010

monday evening session IPK

As usual, I am drunk being a monday. We do grocery shopping on mondays and had a bottle of wine in the list. I had a few after dinner. Feeling a little tipsy, I wouldn't dare play in my main accounts. I was planning to do some poker study--too boring. I decided to fire up the betfred platform instead and played about a thousand hands (10 tables) until bedtime.

Even at 2NL with a lot of loose fishes, I get good plays here and there. Too bad I don't have a hotkeys program for the ipoker network. IPK is a poker network that has the third biggest number of players that I know of. I am looking also at the merge network and considering opening an account with them just to widen my perspective. What hinders me is that I do not have a hotkeys program for them. It's tough to play effective poker when you do not have a sit-all key when I need to focus on one table. With tableninja, I just hit one key and all the other tables sit out the next hand. That really comes in handy when playing ten tables.

Incidentally, I am not a wine drinker. I prefer beer, tequila, or vodka. It is only now that I am learning to enjoy good wine. A good bottle here only costs about $10, and that will last me the whole week. I don't drink as much as I did back in college. A quarter glass of wine and I am a happy gambler.

I am going to bed now.

morning session

Not bad--sideways on the chart. I think I was playing back, calling more than I should have. I got more calls to my cbets this time, but that's part of the game. Around 20 hands, my HUD shows I am fish, but at 50-plus, it's a steady TAG. That's why I removed autorate from my HUD and rely more on my read on villain's action compared to their stats.

My HUD-- first line, I have the usual preflop stats, vpip/pfr, 3bet and number of hands. Second line is a measure of villain's aggressiveness on every street. Third line tells me how things are working for them: w$sf, w$sd, wtsd. Comparing these to villain's action, I get an idea if I should raise, call or fold. I find it easy to read TAGs. They get so predictable. Loose players, they are more complicated and feel I am taking a risk when I stand up to them. This is why I am developing my LAG game. LAGs see more flop. The more flops, the more chances of landing monster hands.

I am going to take a break now. I am expecting people from either the post office or from the broadband/telecom. We're getting a new line including modem, phones and mobile. They were scheduled to come today.

Sunday, August 29, 2010


Taking this moment to give myself a pat on the back for reaching the $200 level at pokerstars--Good job Jim!

How to create perfect stacked tables on pokerstars

I found this on 2p2. The link leads to a different site and shows how you get perfectly lined stacks on pokerstars. Here's the link.

Saturday, August 28, 2010


9.54pm. I have a headache. I am calling it a day. I tried playing, but my heart isn't into it really. Better to give this a break than force myself doing this. I started playing today around six am. I make most of my gains in the morning and early afternoon when it's quiet in the house.

Funny--I am still making money considering how tight I get postflop. I guess it's the small pots I win here and there. They probably outnumber the folds/tuition I make, plus the few homeruns I get here and there.

Is this method exploitable? Of course it is. There is no holy grail. Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Dr. J, they knew as much of the fundamental basketball as any of the NBA players. What set them apart was who they were. I'm trying to get into that "thing." Hopefully, I am on the right track. If not, at least I am doing something about it.

Here's a video I found on youtube. I'd like to have one of these for myself--

Theory of leverage

Source: Full tilt poker strategy guide.

Succes in poker is about putting villain to as many difficult decisions as possible, and making your decisions as easy as possible. By betting small amounts relative to the pot, the same way whether you hit or miss. If they call, they ensure that they wil have more difficult decisions downstreet, because they have given you info on their hand, while gaining no info on yours. If they make a stand and go all in on you, you usually have an easy decision. You can fold your bluffs and medium hands, conceding small pots (and encouraging them to continue doing this). But when you have a big hand, you can call and be a big favorite when you play big pots. Your ability to take control of the hand, with a bluff or with the nuts, with villain thinking you could have either, is the key to leverage. You can bluff and lose small pots--though you will also win a lot of small pots--and when you have a good hand, you win big pots.

You need to be aggressive to use leverage. You need to bluff some. You need to get caught bluffing. If you are betting often, but betting small, you can be very active. Leveraged bets allow you to bet without having the bet hand. You put people back on their heels. They then have to play into your leverage to find out of this is the hand where you are bluffing. Your risk is limited to the small bets you make. Their risk is potentially their whole stack.

morning session

Played ten tables at pokerstars, 5NL where things went as intended. Villains at this level seem more sedate and not splashing around chips like fish do at 2NL. 70% players on flop is far common at 2NL but not at 5NL. Villain respects CBets more, I find more tags playing here. There's the occasional fish, but they are definitely more sedate; no maniacs/drunks encountered so far.

I am two buy-ins away from reaching $200 in my bankroll. I am considering moving up to 10NL soon as my bankroll is steady above $200, moving back down when the session is not profitable, just to bring things back to level.

Kids need a driver for their music lessons. Elise wants to go to the mall afterwards to get herself a new pencil case. We're planning to give her an early birthday present tonight over dinner--a new celphone!


...deeper into the hand, there is less difference between tight play and loose. So much info is now available in the board cards and the betting history that the distinction between tight and loose play disappears and becomes correct or incorrect play.

source: 2p2

moving up 5NL

Update from previous day's games. I am playing 5NL today. When I don't finish a session in the black, I move back down to 2NL, grow my bankroll back to previous level, then go again at 5NL. At less than $200 in my bankroll, I think this is more than adequate to play 5NL, ten tables.

Friday, August 27, 2010

I paid tuition in the afternoon session. My game is high variance as I see it, and going to showdown with 1p makes it even more so. I'm toning this back down, still playing 25%, but tighter post flop. This way, I get to see more flops at my price and on my initiative.

I'm taking a short 'ergonomic' break. My shoulders feel tired.

High variance vs. low variance play

source: http://www.pokersavvy.com/poker-articles/high-variance-vs-low-variance-playing-styles-in-nl-holdem-cash-games

I don't think too much has been written on this topic, though it has been touched upon by various authors to some extent. I will do my best to explain my thoughts on the matter, and through comments and follow-up posts, I may be able to make some sense out of what I am trying to explain here.

First of all, I play a pretty low variance form of NL Hold'em cash. It was not always this way, but my game has evolved to where variance has been pretty much minimized. This is a good thing in some ways, and bad in others. Playing a low variance style minimizes the swings in bankroll, and keeps you from having lengthy losing streaks that can mess with your confidence. This is a huge benefit. The negative in playing this way, is that it is not the way to fully maximize profit at the tables. I could make more per hour by allowing more variance into my game, but as a result I would have to deal with the bankroll swings that come along for the ride. My game has been criticized many a time, because of my uber-tightness. I usually shake this off, because I know that the way I play works and is solidly profitable. The one criticism that has stayed with me, though came from F-train a while back when reviewing some statistics that I had posted. He basically said that my post flop aggression was off the chart, and that because of this I was leaving money on the table. I would need to learn how to go deeper into the board (past the flop), and because of this learn how to make some huge laydowns if I wanted to further improve my game. He has a very valid point here, but would it really be worth it?

So before I start lets just talk about the basics of variance. Some charts would be helpful here, but I will try to explain in a way the mathematically inclined will understand. Variance in it's simplest form could be represented by a Sine wave. It goes up and down around break-even at some amplitude, but over time the area under the curve goes to zero (overtime variance washes away). In the real world variance is random and chaotic, but still sums to zero overtime like a simple Sine wave does. A high variance game would have high amplitude in this signal. A low variance game would have low amplitude. The variance signal is then overlaid on your bankroll growth (Profit/Loss) signal. Imagine this as a straight line that slopes up if you are a winning player, or slopes down if you are a losing player. The rate at which you win or lose determines the slope of the line. So your overall bankroll growth is a combination of the variance signal and profit/loss signal. In general, the variance signal has a much, much higher amplitude and tends to drown out the profit/loss signal over short periods of time. Only over long periods of time (when variance washes away), can you see the underlying profit/loss trend.

For a winning player, variance is what makes it possible to lose. Imagine if the pot went to the person mathematically ahead when the money went in (no suckouts allowed), and when hand ranges came in to play the winner got their mathematical equity in the pot. Variance would be pretty much eliminated and winning players would win all sessions that they played in. Losing players would lose all sessions that they played in. Variance is what allows losing players to have winning sessions. Because of the way the human mind works, the losing player selectively remembers the winning sessions, and feels he is better that he really is. Variance keeps the fish coming back so it is a good thing. But, if you are a winning player, does a high level of variance really help. Possibly not. If you can minimize the variance, you can maximize the percentage of sessions that you win, and as a result potentially maximize your enjoyment and confidence in the game. For a losing player the opposite is true. Maximizing variance maximizes their chances that a session will be a winner. Wild play is actually better for a losing player given that the other lower variance choice is neutral on profit/loss. A losing player has no reason to play a low variance style. A winning player does in a way. They can use their profitability to outweigh a low variance signal and obtain much more consistent results.

So what makes one style high variance and one style low variance? Before I get into that, I will talk about how to recognize what type of style you or your opponents are playing. I have played cash games for a long time. I typically do not run my stack north of 2x my buy-in. I rarely "rack-out" (get stacked) in cash games. So I am minimizing my losses and minimizing my wins at the same time. I am attenuating the variance signal in some way. When my good friend smokkee started dabbling in cash games (when he had only been playing for several months), I would see him routinely sitting with 3x, 4x, 5x the buy-in. Levels that I have never got to in a cash game, he was regularly achieving. Of course he was getting stacked left and right as well. He was playing a very high variance form of cash game. I would put lucko, wes, Fuel55 and doubleas in the same category. They play a high variance (and profitable) cash game style. So the signs in general, are how easy and often to you get up to 3x or 4x your buy-in in a cash game, and how often are you reloading your chips. Most people play a high variance style. Nearly all new NL cash game players play a high variance style. NL is much higher variance than limit (obviously).

So now I will try to explain the aspects of a low variance playing style below:

1) Play very tight preflop. The TAG style is much lower variance than the LAG style. TAGs play fewer hands and get into fewer unique situations as a result. LAGs play more hands and push slimmer edges post flop as a result, increasing the variance.

2) Multitable lower limits vs. single table higher limits. If you play 3 or 4 tables at a time, your variance is reduced because you are getting much more hands in to wash it away. If you get stacked on one table, your winnings from the others will offset this. If you play a single table at a higher level for the same profit potential, variance is magnified by 3x to 4x vs. multitabling.

3) Don't limp from early with hands that you normally will not call a raise with. Limp early with small to medium pairs, but not with medium suited connectors. You can usually call the raise with the pair, but not with the suited connectors. Sometimes you will limp with suited connectors, get raised, get some callers, and feel you are priced in for a flop. This is a very high variance play, as it is pretty unlikely you will hit the flop hard. You might also lose a huge pot to a higher flush when you do hit. Suited connectors in general are a high variance starting hand.

4) Don't call big raises with middle pocket pairs preflop. It is ok to call a reasonable raise with a small pair preflop (3x-4x). Be careful when it is raised more than this. Use the rule of 10 (or better yet rule of 15) to see if your opponent's stack, and yours are big enough to "set mine". Avoid the borderline situations by folding, and look for situations that have great implied odds. Playing a pocket pair for a big raise with implied odds barely there is high variance.

5) Don't raise small to medium pocket pairs from early or middle position (full ring). It is best to limp/call these hands to minimize variance. Also if you don't hit your set, don't get too crazy post flop. Folding to pressure when you miss your set minimizes variance. Trying to play on with overs on board when you have a middle pair is high variance. You will remember the massive pots that you won when raising pairs and hitting a set, or calling a big raise and hitting, but the most profit is made when you limp multiway and hit over the long term.

6) Be aggressive on the flop. Take your stabs at the pot early, and find out where you are at early before the pot gets too big. Checking, betting, raising, and folding on the flop are low variance. Calling the flop is high variance (in general).

7) Don't be overly aggressive without a made hand on later streets. Double and triple barreled bluffs are high variance. Try more single barreled bluffs, and less of the double and triple barreled types to minimize variance.

Don't make heroic calls on the river. When you call the river in NL you should be pretty sure you are ahead. Ace high calls on the river are high variance. Look for a better spot. Call when you pretty much know you have it, or are at least priced in.

9) Don't get cute with big pairs preflop. If you look down at AA or KK preflop, and there are a lot of limpers, raise it up pretty big and take it down right there, or at least get heads-up. If someone raises before you act, reraise them enough that you take away there set mining odds, and push the flop if they call. Don't limp ever with these hands preflop if you want to minimize variance. Make a big raise, and eliminate the competition.

10) Learn how to fold TT-QQ and AK preflop. There are times when these hands are obviously beat. Fold them in these situations and look for a better spot. Going to war preflop with these hands is a very high variance play.

11) Don't slow play or float (too much). Slow playing and floating are both high variance plays. Betting your good hands, and folding your junk is low variance. There are times when these plays are correct (for profit reasons), but they will always increase your variance.

12) Semibluff your draws (especially when in position). Draws in general are high variance. If you can control the betting on draws you can lower the variance. Semibluff your draws, and try to take free cards in position, and take pots down uncontested before your draw hits. Manage the pot size when drawing so that most of it goes in after you hit to minimize variance. Calling with draws all the way down is high variance.

13) Learn to make huge laydowns. Probably the most difficult situation you can get in is when you have a good hand, and are facing a ton of pressure. You may need to fold a set, or a straight, or a flush, when it is pretty clear that you are beat. If you can make these folds your variance will be reduced.

14) Choose tables with short stacks present. If you are playing at a table with all full buy-ins, variance is maximized. As the mix goes towards shorter stacks variance (proportional to potential pot sizes) is reduced.

15) Play full ring vs. short handed. Full ring cash games allow you to exploit bigger edges with bigger hands. Short handed the blinds will eat you up if apply this strategy. You have to push smaller edges with more marginal hands short handed, so your variance will be higher accordingly.

16) Play in position. When you are making moves/playing hands in position you can keep your variance lower by having better control of the pot size and betting. When out of position, the variance goes way up because others can exploit your positional disadvantage, and manipulate the pot size beyond your control.

This is what I have so far and they are not in any particular order. I am sure there are many other ways that I have missed. Let me know if you can think of anything, or if you think I am way off in what I am saying. I would say that most NL cash game players should go through stages. Initially they will play high variance. Then their variance will come down a bit as they become better. The better players will allow more variance back in their games if it means more profit. I am not sure if I am ready to do this yet, but I will be a little stuck in my win rates until I am.


Winnings just broke major resistance. Below are my stats filtered by position, all hands.

In case I need to check back on this, here's what did I do to improve:
- Loose preflop
- Tight postflop.

I play 25% of hole cards preflop from any position, and I am getting away with it. What surprises me more is that I am getting more monster hands playing this way. As I mentioned in an earlier post, my HUD stats are color coded. VPIP turns green at 22 and PFR is green at 15. When these two are green on any table, I ease off and play only strong hole cards. When these two numbers are white, I raise.

If you look at my stats by position, I am playing more at early position than late. I am also making more money in EP than in any other position. It probably has something to do with the belief that if someone raises in early position, it's a monster card. Some just fold, others set mine, then fold on the flop. Only fish and observant regs will float me on the turn or river.

To counter being floated, no matter what I have, I check on the turn. Sure, someone will get a free card--I get one too. If villain is observant, he/she will notice that no matter what, I check on the turn. If I have strong hands, I'd get all the stacks in the middle on the last street. If villain raises on the turn, I just fold weak hands.

On the flop, if I get one pair and someone is betting aggressively, I stop pushing and reconsider my options. If I have TPTK and villain pushing is TAG, I'd check it down, even fold. It is senseless to put my whole stack at risk for one pair. There's always next time.

And also, I try not to include my ego in the game.

start work at 3am

I awoke at 3am and couldn't get to sleep. I'm a person who wakes up fully rested with 5-6 hours of sleep. I went to bed earlier last night, before ten. I started having red wine with my dinner, and my alcohol tolerance is not as high as it used to be. Instead of tossing and turning in bed, I fired up the pc, put on my contact lens and started my day.

Some people get up around this time to go to a job they are not excited about. They literally have to force themselves to go to work. I have to force myself to stop working. I'm lucky that my wife supports my decision to grow this business. It's not like she has a choice, really. I'd do this even without her blessing. I am thankful that she understands.

I played ten tables at pokerstars. Plenty of fish this morning and made good. I still don't get what they get out of bluffing you when you've shown a strong interest in the pot. Those are the people who fuel the poker economy and am thankful for them.

After an hour and a half of play, I feel like going back to bed now.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

10 tables pokerstars

Mid-day session at pokerstars. Played ten tables, and only one glitch where I forgot to fold weak hand. Good lesson learned there for a reasonable price. I think I was able to get that back when a fish tried to bluff me off TPTK. Normally, I'd back off, but villain was pushing the table with marginal hands. At least I was pushing with strong hole cards. He showed 45s. I guess he was trying to get his straight, leading to river. What I don't get is why did he/she not fold on the river seeing that he/she misssed and I was raising? Did villain think I was bluffing? What you put out is what you get back.

more monsters

If the goal is to flop a monster, AK doesn't have any advantage over 87. The more flops you can see, the more monsters you expect to get in the course of a long session.

source: 2p2

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

25% betfred

More updates to playing 25% at betfred poker. I played about 100+ hands in the evening session. Except for one suck-out, results were pretty good. Is it just me or are the players in the ipoker network softer than ftp or ps? A number of my cbets were uncontested. It looks like players there, not all, play fit or fold. Either they hit something and stay on, or fold.

I played the same way in my pokerstars account this morning. It was OK. I got played back now and then, but I think it works. For my own record, I need to mention that I am playing 10 tables, playing 25% of hands dealt. Open raise with 3bb+1bb per limper, cbet 2/3 pot.

I'm looking into the possibility of depositing some of my own money with titanpoker. The only concern is that tableninja wouldn't work with their site. Playing 10 tables using the mouse is not ergonomic for me. I remember reading about a hotkeys program for them at 2p2. If I get motivated enough, I'll look it up and see how that works. For now, I'll put this in the oven.

Here are my stats filtered by position with the betfred account:

I'm thinking of getting holdem manager's leak buster app. The no limit version is $80. I can get it for free when I deposit $50 with some of their affiliate poker sites, get 100% bonus, play for 500 points and get the app for free.

Seriously considering that. I have $50 bonus coming up with pokerstars.

pokerstars 25%

Playing 25% of hole cards, 10-tables at pokerstars. Winnings going sideways, that's good. I am loose pre-flop, but tighten up postflop--if it's less than TPTK, I fold, even to a min bet.

I am pleasantly surprised that the chart is sideways. I was folding to turn donk bets often, plus a few showdown hands that didn't fare well. I guess I was making small wins on my CBs to keep me on the tables for free. I had a few homeruns, but most of the time, I just was punting to get to first base. I guess this is why they call it "the grind." Put it the volume, earn rakeback, and the homeruns make it all worthwhile.

How can I improve on this? I'm not sure at the moment, but to continue playing, get a bigger sample size then analyze from there. My vpip/pfr is somewhere from a high of 30/25 to a low of 10/10, in a session of about 100 hands per table (x 10 tables). It's still within TAG, I don't think that I am seen as a fish on the tables. My showdown hands are strong, and I think that is the reason my fold equity is good.

And that was the morning session folks! Time for my yoga.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

betfred playing 25%

Played a hundred or so hands on betfred, playing 25% of my hands, and I am happy with the results. I tried this earlier this afternoon with my pokerstars account, and am pleased with the results.

One leak I found, if that is a leak is that I'd call big raises when I have top pair, and I tend to call them. I should look into HEM to see what results I really had with those times to see how effective that action is, but from hindsight, I think I'd get better profits if I stayed my hand.

Comparing this chart to the chart on the previous post, you'll see small but steady movement up. The little downswings are the times I folded when villain showed strength post flop. Consequently, the small upswings are the times villain chose to fold on my cbet. I suppose, 1 in 10 were monster hands on the flop, but not all of them went to showdown. Just a few. Still, the results are positive. I learned much without having to pay as much tuition as I used to, but made money in the process.

What I mean here, playing 25% of my hands is that I am open raising almost all of my hole cards that corresponds to 25% of the pokerstove algorithm. At times when my HUD shows that I am pushing the table too hard, I simply open limp or fold marginal hands. Position? Of course, I play in position, but only relative to how the fish behaves.

Monday, August 23, 2010

playing 25%

Improving on my LAG game playing on my betfred poker account, real money. I was raising 25% of my hands. Some showdown hands that lost--well, sh*t happens. But it's always a two-sided coin. I get lucky too.

This whale I raised him out of his hand, but I had a set and he folded. Next hand I had pocket tens. Standard pfr folded to me, he 3bet behind me, I called thinking he had monster cards. I checked not improving on the flop. I can't remember what villain's actions were but shoved all in and I called seeing flush draw with my hand. And I did get my flush on the river. Villain had JJ.

This session was encouraging. I'll play LAG again next time on this account next time. I'm not sure I am ready to do this with my ps/ftp accounts, but intend to do so in the near future.

Here's my stats for the last 1,000 hands for this site.


Accept the fact that--

Things will NEVER get any easier!

memo to self

Best way to improve my game away from the tables:
- review hand history.
- watch videos.
- sweat sessions.

On the table, I have decided to cover my stack using my HUD. This prevents me from being too anxious about results and instead focus on winning action.

The HUD is color coded. When I am not doing what I should in a given situation, the stats are colored neutral/white. When I am doing what I should be doing, the color is green. White and red colors = not optimal. Green = optimal.

I only check my bankroll at the end of a session. During the game, I strive to have green stats on my HUD. Win or lose, as long as my HUD stats are green, then I know I am putting in winning actions and making good decisions given the situation at hand.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

I've been playing looser than I used to, and the one thing I noticed is that synchronicity has been happening a lot more. I get lucky on the table, I find resources that improve my game and this business. I feel lighter about this, not worrying/anxious as much as I was before.

The last few days was a congestion period. Considering the volume played, I guess this is a period where everything is consolidated, made permanent. I did not have any big swings towards the downside--this is good news. My decisions have improved.

Time for a break. I am going to do yoga, then finish up on house chores. The kids will now take over the PC.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Da One thing

The one thing, that if I did consistently well, would give a significant impact in my bottom line is:

- folding top pair to a donk raise/pot raise/all in.

Even if it were just a bluff, I'm sure the tuition paid will come around back several fold.

Friday, August 20, 2010

As hot as things got yesterday, today, I barely made any profit.

I took time off from poker early this morning as I had some chores to do outside of the house. I also took that opportunity to get out of the house, get some sun and be with the outside world. It was raining all day, and somehow, I wasn't feeling 'up' and blamed the weather for it.

I've been playing since after lunch and I don't remember going to showdown with a big hand and a big pot. I was somewhat less aggressive today. Why is that? Maybe I was looking to see good results first before putting in the process. Maybe I'm tired. I'm stopping now. Do something else, get ready for bed.

happens both ways

Thursday, August 19, 2010


Running hot the last 20k hands:
- playing 5 tables.
- table Ag%=25 on average.
- morning session (just me and smokey the cat--no distractions).

improved preflop Ag

Compared to my stat a few days ago, my preflop aggression grade has improved from F to D minus. The intention is to have Ag% at 25.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

measure aggression

Source: 2p2

Aggression Factor: this is defined by (bets + raises) / (calls). That is, the total number of times the player bet when first to act or raised a bet, divided by the number of times the player called a bet.

What this basically is showing is how aggressive a player is "when he decides to continue in a hand". For example, Player 1 with an AF of 1 calls a bet just as often as they bet or raise themselves. Player 2 with an AF or 3 bets or raises 3 times as often as they just call a bet. Player 1 is playing much more passively than Player 2.

Aggression Frequency: this is defined by (bets + raises) / (bets + raises + calls + folds). That is, the total number of times the player bet or raised a bet, divided by the total number of all his potential actions.

This statistic is showing how often a player will take an aggressive action "when faced with any decision". For example, Player 1 with an AFq of 10% only bets or raises 1 time in 10, the other 9 times he either calls or folds. Player 2 with an Afq of 60 bets or raises 6 times in 10, and only folds or calls 4 times in 10.

To me, the Aggression Frequency is easier to understand, and it is what I use now instead of Aggression Factor. I think it also is more close to being correct over a smaller sample size than Aggresion Factor, so it is more useful to me at the lower limits since you face so many different opponents.

Both of these stats only measure actions Post-Flop, so Pre-Flop actions aren't included. You would use VPIP and PFR to measure Pre-Flop aggressiveness.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

here is a reason to celebrate

I am back at BREAK-EVEN!

So how did I get here?
- Played more aggressive preflop.
- beyond flop, unless I am on a bluff, I check down TPTK. Sometimes.
- Playing 5 tables.

I had this idea that I was playing too many tables that I wasn't making good decisions postflop. I guess that isn't true. I can play as many tables as I want, as long as when a hand is to play beyond flop, or playing a big pot, I sit out all other tables.

I think playing more aggressive is the key. Before, I'd only bet/raise if I had a set. I wouldn't even raise two pairs. I read this one article on 2p2 and it really made a big difference in my game. Any reason I can find to bet/raise, I use it. My HUD stats still show TAG, but not so much as a nit I was before. These days, I play my draws aggressively and get paid. One when I made the flush, and a few others where villain folded.

As someone said in them forums, "In a game where aggression is paramount, you need a reason NOT to bet with a drawing hand, rather than a reason to bet."

One other thing that might have contributed to the bull run to breakeven: my wife.

If you looked back over my posts and follow the time line, you will find that at some point, she was staying home mornings because of her work schedule. You will find that the bear cycle started around that point. Things started to go sideways and improve when she went back to work mornings and I was left alone in the house. The chart went sideways and was started breaking short term resistance.

I love my wife. It's just weird that when she was at home, I went through a downswing. One rationale I can think of was that she wanted to use the computer everytime. Considering our time zone, prime time poker in the US is morning to early afternoon here in New Zealand. By the time she is getting ready for work, it is already lunch time and I gotta get the kids from school.

When the kids are home from school, all hell breaks loose. I can't concentrate on my game. The only time things start to quiet around here is bedtime at 9PM. US is past midnight, almost dawn and Europe is morning. Around this time, I get to play the regs--which isn't good for the bankroll. Plus I am past MY prime time and should not be playing.

We'll see how things work out from here. All I can say is that I am enjoying time alone at home when the wife and kids are away. I fire up the pc around 5am and it's quiet time here until 2pm. This is my golden time.

TPTK reraised on the turn

Here's the link.

what to do...?

I posted this situation on the uNL thread at 2p2. Here's the link.

position stat update

Pokerstars stats, filtered by position, for the last 10k hands.

Monday, August 16, 2010


source: 2p2

I'm drunk--not playing poker tonight. Might as well catch up on my reading. Found this on 2p2.

Poker Story:

(partially copied from interview I did with EurekaKid)

I started playing poker just like everyone else, in the dorm, drinking Natty Light and playing $5 and $10 donkaments with my friends back in ‘04. A few of the other guys were doing decent online (who wasn’t in those days...) so I decided to give it a shot and deposited $50 on Stars to play SNGs. I busted that pretty quickly and around 10-15 more $50 deposits mostly by playing way underrolled ($100 SNGs with little understanding of ICM, etc.) and eventually I decided that Stars must be rigged. I took my last $11 on Stars and entered into some huge 1500 person donkament and spun my $11 into $1500 by taking it down ($1200 if you take into account the $300 I spent at the bar that night). I was hooked. I started taking BRM more seriously and have not made a deposit on Stars since, other than to get a bonus.

Sophomore year some friends told me about this glorious place called PartyPoker where the players were (gasp!) even worse than on Stars. One Friday afternoon I really had the itch and deposited $300 on Party. I basically played for 60 hours straight and by the time I had to go to class on Monday I had over $20,000 in my account, mostly from playing $100 and $200 sit n gos. The rest, as they say, is history. Those were the days, when poker was actually fun. I was so involved in school and had so little free time that I genuinely looked forward to being able to play. Party had this great tournament back in the day, a $33 rebuy that started at like 11pm. You could rebuy anytime you were all-in so the average person was in for $300 or so. At one point, I cashed this tournament 9 times in a row. I would bust around 4am, take a quick nap, and wake up for class at 7:30. Rinse, repeat. F the UIGEA =/. I played donkaments semi-seriously for the next year or so with some decent scores but the whole sit down for 8 hours on end was not very conducive to my busy schedule.

In November of my senior year, I got two five figure scores on Stars and had built up a nice bankroll. I decided that I had pretty much mastered tournaments (laughable, I know) and was ready for a new challenge. I had never played in a cash game online before, so I decided to give them a shot. I immediately started 12 tabling 1/2 FR on Stars. Full ring was the logical choice for me because I was used to the dynamics of 9 handed poker. (I think the first posts about me on 2p2 were me 4b/c A7o and doing other such spewy stuff.) It took me a couple weeks to adjust to playing with deep stacks and develop pot control skills, but after that I was pulling in a steady five figures every month in my spare time. I moved up to 2/4 and 3/6 ~ April (graduated from Ohio State in June and won the million for 135k in July, YAY) and played there for about 6 months before moving up to 3/6 and 5/10.

I had accepted a job working for Ford up in Michigan (pretty sick job in marketing, I was going to be a marketing relationship manager... coordinating cooperative advertising campaigns with Ford's partners such as Sony, Sirius Satelite Radio, BP, Microsoft Sync, etc.) and moved up there in September for the position. The week before my scheduled start day I got a call that Ford was undergoing a hiring freeze and my start date would have to be pushed back. They gave me $5000 for the trouble and said I should be starting within a month. So here I am in a new city where I don't know a single person and have absolutely all the free time in the world... time to triple my volume! Long story short, they kept pushing my start date back and giving me the run around where I wouldn't hear from them for weeks at a time... I had two 50k+ months to start 2009 and the next time they called with BS excuses and to just hang tight I basically told them to go *****.

I was seriously doubting my decision to do this thing full time a couple months later when I hit an inevitable downswing and started to get seriously burned out. I was actually doing job interviews with local advertising agencies, but I found myself basically hoping that I wouldn't be offered a job. I had a sick place in Vegas with alot of FR guys from this forum so I decided to just stick it out through the WSOP and reevaluate from there. I didn't play much online at all in Vegas (I think i had 7000 hands total in June haha) but I came back reinvigorated and proceeded to crush pretty hard. Since then I pretty much play 5/10-25/50 exclusively, playing pretty much everything from HU to FR depending on what games look good at the time. I'm getting much better at shorthanded play (the adjustment has been more rocky than I expected, especially with the tough player pool at high stakes) but I'm still most comfortable at FR where I am pretty confident that I am one of the best online atm.


Taking my lunch break, I decided to learn something about pokerstove and googled it. I found a few videos on youtube and a thread on 2p2 with instructions on how to use pokerstove.

I then made a few analysis on the hands where I paid tuition. I see some spots where I probably folded too early, and a few other hands where I should have folded, but went on instead and got lucky. I don't think it's a tool that can tell me exactly whether to raise or fold in any particular situation. I think this tool can help me in the decision making process, but it's only a part of the equation. There are other things to consider, like my reads on villain among other things.

5NL--this time, a different player.

First day at 5NL. Chart looks choppy but still uptrending. I did about an hour's play 5-tables playing the TAG. I played these stake levels a few months back, back then I was tight passive. Playing TAG, I get to see a lot of flops and get paid for it.

At times I was scared because they were bigger than what I was used to at 2NL. I'll get used to them, and you will find me at these levels until ps bankroll reaches $200.

My game seems to be picking up steam again. Winrate is still in consolidation, but the last 5k hands showing short term uptrend. It's steep, I know, but this tells me the tuition invested/lessons learned are now paying off. I am a few pots away from breaking that major resistance. This could happen at any time now.

So what is different this time?

I am playing more aggressive. My bets are the same at 2/3 pot no matter what. This way, observant players can't tell what I am playing. Against fish, I bet higher off the flop to get more value. I am playing 5 tables. I can play more but chose not to. Playing poker is also about making the right decisions. Playing more tables, I may have to time out of some of the others, even lose some reads on other players. I'll add more after I break that resistance level.

One of my kids are up. Time to make breakfast and get them ready for school.

happens both ways

the money made in ssnl is from people overplaying dominated hands, especially preflop and when oop. if it seems close, bet. if it seems close, call. simply by virtue of preflop hand selection and positional agression you will have better hands almost always when money goes in and you will always get good action. playing in such a way so as to get only two bets in postflop with tptk or better is often leaving money on the table (though there are obvious exceptions such as KK2 or 678 flop holding AA).

those times you find yourself OOP with ak and an a flop? oh well. happens to everyone. that money is just trading hands. you might be asking yourself "but shouldnt folding strong but non-nut hands be a skill i should be working on?" my answer is: of course. but at the same time, by not playing these hands agressively you will develop very poor habbits at higher levels. its also the only way to develop your game in the more difficult situations, because by playing weakly and passively with top pair you also implicitly abandom the smaller pots that are to be won here.

Source: 2p2

Friday, August 13, 2010

KK, villain goes AI on flop

Here's the thread I posted on 2p2.

Only had four reads on villain, 75/25 in four hands. Winrate on HUD showing he's recently lost big.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

TPTK on flush board

I feel I should have folded on the turn, villain bluffing or not. Even with TPTK, I seldom call a reraise on the flop or turn bet. Here's the thread on 2p2.


When in a downswing, players like this never fail to cheer me up!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

straight on the river--raise, call or fold?

Here is the link to the thread on uNL at 2p2.


I was seeing good results playing in ipoker that I decided to give it a try in pokerstars and ftp. I did not do as well in ftp. I was agitated, a lot of things running in my head that I was calling donk bets after I CBet. After a few rounds, I took a break, then played in pokerstars.

It wasn't as bad as I feared it would be. I was making the standard pfr on my strong hole cards, automatic cbet on the flop. I'd get donked on the flop a few times, some I called and won the pot, some I reraised with the nuts.

I wasn't as loose as I was playing in ipoker. I let a few hole cards limp in when I would have raised them in ipoker. My stats at the end of the session was that of a TAG, a bit on the nit side. Still it's a big improvement. I'll play a session before I get the kids from school. First, it's time to do household chores.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

betfredding at the moment

I've decided to stop being such a nit and bring up my Af number. I am not playing "my own money" accounts with pokerstars or full tilt poker. I feel a lot of resistance in myself whenever I don't see a return on my investment, and this hampers my learning. Instead, I am using my no-deposit-bonus account with betfred. After about 3,500 hands these figures shows the results thus far, and I am encouraged.

The balance in that account stands at $49. I'll keep practicing with this account until the balance is $100, move everything and resume play on pokerstars and full tilt poker.

In a nutshell, I open raise with PP, BRs, SC, AXs. Position is relative and dependent on who is behind me. Automatic CBet 2/3 pot made or not. Checking down if less than two pair. If I have strong hands, I proceed to bet 2/3 to the river. I bet 2/3 pot consistently with the nuts or not. This way, those who are observant won't be able to tell the difference.

Mornings like today, I have minimum one fish on the table, most I have seen are three with two gambler icons. I am playing 8 tables max at the moment.

11.25 am. Time for my break. Doing the dishes and other household chores.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Skalnsky starting hands

I found a book, "Small Stakes Holdem" By David Sklansky. Here are the starting hands that they recommend:

* No raise:
Play: PP, +A2s, +K9s, +KJ, +Q9s, +J9s, +98s, +AT.
Raise: +99, +ATs, +AJ, +KJs, KQ

* Against a raise:
Play: PPs, +ATs, +KTs, QJs, JTs, +AQ.
Reraise: +99, AKs, AQs, +AQ

* vs 3Bet
Play: +TT, +AJs, KQs and AK.
Raise +QQ and AKs.

* If there is no raise:
Play: PP, +A2s, +AT, +K2s, +KJ, +Q8s, J7s, T9s-98s, 87s-43s, T8s-53s.
Raise: +88, +A8s, +K9s, +AJ, KQ, JTs

If at least four people in the pot:
*Against a raise
Play: PP, AXs, +AQ, JTs, T9s-76s.
Reraise: +TT, +AJs, KQs, AK.

* vs 3Bet
Play: +TT, +AJs, KQs, AK
Reraise: +QQ, AKs

If fewer than four people in the pot, use tight games guidelines for late position.

* If there is no raise:
Play: PP, +A2s, +AT, +K2s, +KJ, +Q8s, J7s, T9s-98s, 87s-43s, T8s-53s.
Raise: +99, +ATs, +KJs, +AQ.

* Against a raise:
Play: PPs, +ATs, +AQ, +KTs, QJs, JTs
Reraise: +TT, +AJs, KQs, AK.

* If there is no raise
Raise: +99, +ATs, +AQ, +KJs

* Against a raise: same hands that you would play from LP for one bet, except remove the weak offsuit hands AT, KJ-KT, QJ-QT, JT.
Reraise: +TT, +AJs, KQs, AK.

I've read some of his other books, and the starting hands he mentions in them are somewhat different in detail, but in principle, they are all the same.

I prefer Harrington's (on cash games) and Doyle Brunson's start hands definitions. Categorizing starting hands, they recommend that you mix them up some of the time in different positions. This way, your game is not as predictable.

I don't think I have issues with starting hands. This is a small part of the game, and I am losing big money downstreet. Like this afternoon, after reading Sklansky's book, I made two pair on the river and villain shoved all in. I don't know why I called, but I did, and villain had a set right from the flop. I wouldn't normally call all in with two pairs. I was trying to recall what I read in the book that I wasn't in the present moment, reacting to what is happening in front of me. This happens especially when I study right before a game. My mind gets so busy trying to remember/recall what I've just read that I don't see what's happening in front of me.

Tuition paid, lesson learned, moving on.

I still have Collin Moshman's book with me, Heads up NLHE. I like it. I am applying it in my game, but mostly with the no deposit accounts with ipoker. I think I've been playing those accounts almost exclusively the whole week. The results I am seeing is encouraging. I'll post a screen shot of my chart tomorrow.

Basically, the line of action he recommends is the standard pfr, cbet. If villain checks and I do not have hands with showdown value, I fold. No questions asked. If I did have good hands, then that changes the equation. But the working premise is that everyone misses the flop. You risk the pfr and cbet to make that much, and if you encounter resistance, you fold. It doesn't matter which starting hands you use.

Moshman gave an example even of playing this way without even looking at your hole cards. You only play randomly looking for resistance--then you fold. You go for small pots each time. By the time villain adjusts to your game, you'd probably have the nuts and clean them up, or you fold.

I've tried this once in my ftp account, but I feel resistance in me as it was real money account. But in the the few times that I did have good hole cards and position, villain folded. Soon as I get comfortable playing this way with my ipoker accounts, I'll give this a shot with my real money accounts.

I wake up at 5am and I fire up the pc, play for about an hour then get the kids ready for school. Weekends, I play longer before breakfast. I then take one hour breaks/two-hour play the rest of the day. With the time and effort I put into this, I know I am going to get this sooner or later.

9.56pm. Time for bed.

Saturday, August 7, 2010


For playing break-even poker with less than a thousand hands at full tilt poker last week, I earned $0.92 in rakeback. As a previous investment advisor, I think that is a good return on my investment of time and money. That will come out to about 7% ROI per week, or 364% annual.

Not bad. Because of this, I made another $10 deposit today.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Winnings chart is going sideways with recent action showing higher lows. That is good. I am improving my game, with more hands I play. The chart shows that I am paying less tuition at the tables.

Wife's day off but she had to go out. The kids are in school. It's nice and quiet in the house. I think I started playing at 4am. I woke up to pee around 3am and couldn't get back to sleep. I was able to take a short nap after breakfast. Now it's time for my break. It's not a break where I goof off doing nothing. I still have to make lunch, was the dishes and do chores around the house.

The joys of running your business from home. Sigh.

I orderd a new set of contact lens online. The one I am wearing is almost a week overdue. The new set will probably arrive wednesday-ish or earlier. I used to have to go to an optometrist to get my prescription. I don't have access to that right now, but I can order online without prescription and way much cheaper than the local shops.

I think I spent half my morning session learning, and half playing. Learning meaning reading poker forum threads, replying to the uNL strategy threads, and reviewing my hand history on HEM. Play, review, share. Repeat. That is what I do each day. Far better than working for someone else. The only tradeoff is that I don't get out that much. It's a small price to pay for the freedom I have.

W$WSF at 30%

On my intentions list, one of the items was to hit W$WSF at 30%. Reviewing my hand history, I realized that this goal has already been achieved. Intention to make PFR 2% for August has also been achieved (...patting myself on the back).

I have been raising my buttons since yesterday. I've had issues with this for the last six months. What swung me over to the other side was reading the 2p2 forums and Heads up no limit poker by Collin Moshman. I can't remember his exact words, but the idea was that in NLHE, it is a given that everyone misses the flop. The advantage goes to the person in position who raises preflop, then cbets on the flop.

There were times when I'd get upset during the times this wasn't true--when I'd get donk bet on the flop, or when I flop air, cbet and gets donked on the turn. Reviewing my game, the small pots won really do add up. These little wins help cover paying the blinds at least. I still play for the big pot, but the little ones help to cover the day to day costs.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

> $100 pokerstars

Milestone--broke past $100 (again) after going through a recent downswing.