Saturday, March 31, 2012

Pokerstars' zoom tables: pokertracker 4 or holdemmanager 2

I got this email from the people at holdemmanager, telling me about their new support for pokerstars' zoom tables...

Download HM2 or OM2 now for full Zoom Poker support. This includes support for the Zoom HUD, Filters and Reports.

Zoom is fast. It's for people who don't like to wait. If you're finished playing a hand and don't want to wait around to see how it turns out for your opponents, the Fast Fold button will move you on to a different hand. Some estimates say you can increase your hands-per-hour by 400%." - Poker Stars Blog

Micro-stake limits were launched in Beta release by Poker Stars a couple of weeks ago and higher Zoom Poker limits are expected at any time.

We are working to complete a similar update for HM1 but, if you have not upgraded yet, you can download a free 30 day trial of HM2 or OM2 to immediately play Zoom Poker with Hold'em Manager.

If your HM2 trial has expired, email with a subject line of "30 More Days" and we will be happy to extend to you an additional 30 day HM2 trial. Be sure to include your account email address.


Hold'em Manager Team

I enjoy playing in the new zoom tables. Who doesn't? Pokerstars added a new function in today's client update - the "New Table" button.

This button makes sure that you are dealt a new hand if you do not want to find out how things turn out for the other players.

I play poker three hours everyday. From the day I found out that the zoom tables were opened to the public, pokertracker 4 already had support.

Since I had a pokertracker 3 which was freely upgradeable to pokertracker 4, why should I wait for HM1 support for zoom?

I have been using pokertracker 4 for some time now. I am quite happy with it. The user interface is a bit different from what I have gotten used to with holdemmanager, but I am getting used to it.

Even if holdemmanager is offering a free demo for HM2, I don't think I am going to make the shift. I already have so many hands in the pt4 database that it is going to take time away from playing just to update the holdemmanager databse.

Besides, I heard that hm2 still has a few bugs in it. I've seen a number of players who have decided to make the switch from HM to PT4.

I think the people at holdemmanager are mishandling this marketing situation. This is going to cost them dearly.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Is this a good way to bluff your opponent?

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"...Villian is 15/12, 35 ats, 93 f3b, 60 fcb"

Your cbet was weak, and it fails to confirm your 3bet story. You should have bet at least 70% of pot.

Seeing that villain folds almost all when faced with a 3bet, I would think he/she will have strong pairs. Calling your cbet confirmed this.

The turn is always decisive. Why bet half pot? What story were you trying to tell? If you want to scare villain to fold, bet as if you really had big hands--70% of pot. A half pot bet only tells the story that you are not really sure whether you are ahead or behind.

Small hand, small pot. With the hands you have, check/fold is a good decision on the turn.

But wait--there's more!

Villain still called your turn bet. What does that tell you?

Either you have been over-3betting villain for quite some time now and wants to get back, or villain really has something to showdown.

I don't get why you still had to throw money on the river. What's the point? Villain has called everything that you threw at him/her... and still you did not bet enough to confirm your story. If you are scared to make a big bet because you have nothing, then don't bet at all.

I am surprised that villain reraised you all in on the river. He/She must have had AK all along. I don't think villain slow played AA from the start.

How would I have played this differently?

First, even if villain folded to 3bet 100%, I wouldn't 3bet with those hands the way you did. This is why I consider my method low variance. The most that I'd 3bet with is 6-7 offsuit, and in position.

Flop, standard cbet, 70% of pot. If villain calls that, I know villain will have at least one pair.

Turn, I check to see what villain will do. If villain bets half pot, that confirms he/she has at least one pair and wants to showdown. If I had a bigger hand 2pair or higher, I'll check-raise, 70% of the pot. If I had TPTK, I'd call. With nothing, I'd fold.

River, if villain checked on the turn with me, I'll check on the river because I have nothing. Even if villain were to bet one big blind, I'd still fold. I don't want everyone to see how I played with air.

PnL - March 2012

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Total hands played: 40,257
Beginning balance: $361.48
Ending balance: $341.82
Loss this month: -$19.66 (-5.43%)

You will find a $2 difference from the ending balance stated above and the remaining balance on the cashier image below ($339.82). I transferred $2 to my wife's poker account before I made this computation. To accurately show profit/loss, cash flows has to be considered into the computation.

Click on the image to enlarge

The win-rate chart is pointing north, and I still lost money. Imagine how much more I would be losing if the chart was trending down.

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QQ donked on the flop

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...Taken from 2p2 Microstakes Full Ring Tables thread.

I am assuming that it is just you and the villain playing on this hand, everyone else folded.

Since you do not have hand history on villain, I suspect that villain wants to see how you will react to a donk bet. On the flop, it's a relatively small price to pay. If you fold to the donk, then that goes into their notes as to how you might possibly react.

It is possible that villain will have at least one pair to donk on you like this. Since you were the aggressor preflop, I will suspect that one of those cards can give you a strong hand. The only reason I will donk on you is that I have a better hand than you have.

...or I know that you will almost always fold on a flop donk bet.

A 70% of the pot donk bet will scare off weaker hands, and will entice stronger hands to reraise.

My move--I fold.

I'd rather gather more evidence as to how villain plays, at least 100 hands on my pokertracker. Making a decision with my stack based on less than a hundred hands is, in my books, gambling.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Training a new player

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After spending weeks in limbo, we finally have breakout. From my observation, those times where the bulls are on my side, my win-rate chart slope upwards when I stop playing marginal hands.

Marginal hands for me are TPTK vs a villain who wants a big pot. The best way to win long term is to fold, then wait for a better spot.

New student
Someone just asked me to coach her game--my wife. She decided a week ago that she too, wants to play poker.

I installed wine on the other linux PC, installed the pokerstars client in there. The only thing that's missing is pokertracker. I think it's possible to install pt4 in wine (I'll have to check), but there's not enough memory on that PC to handle all those files.

She got bullish on poker when I let her play a session, and she almost doubled her bankroll. Last night, she was cheerful about it when she logged in. At the end of the day, she lost 3/4 of her bankroll--giving back everything that she's won, and then some.

She said she's going to take a break from playing poker tonight.

I might fire up pt4 for hand analysis and show her how to learn from that. From what I've seen so far, she plays call station. I explained to her that it's best to get the bankroll bonus from pokerstrategy, but she wouldn't listen. Her eyes glaze over trying to understand all those terms. Soon as she found the starting hands guide, she started playing cash games.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Tough month

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My win-rate is slightly sloping up, but it's been a tough month. I win big, move up stakes and give it all back. The following session, I move down stake levels to win them back again.

That's part of doing business. I have grown used to this.

I am not that busy with my copywriting business in the past few weeks and I am able to put in more time on my poker. Today, I managed to play 2,554 hands. That's a lot, isn't it?

Pokerstars notified me that I can start playing 28 tables, but I couldn't get that to work with the easy-seat function. I still play 24 tables. I can go 28, but I will have to open the tables manually to make 28.

To do that, I will have to use an autohotkey script. That's too complicated for me right now. Besides, running an ahk script to open tables gets me out of the zone while playing. I am going to settle with 24 for now.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Dropping holdemmanager

It seems holdemmanager is dropping support for HM1 sooner than expected.

First, they were mum about having support for pokerstars zoom tables. Their latest update for HM1 doesn't have this feature.

Second, I tried importing files from pokertracker3 into HM. HM was able to import the file, but the imported hands did not show up in my HM database. I think HM did not translate the pt3 format into something the hm database can use.

I enjoyed using Holdemmanager. But it seems they are more after their own profits than satisfying their customers' needs. Not good.

If I made the upgrade to HM2, what guarantee do I have that they are going to give support when they have version 3?

I'm going to stick with pokertracker3. I'm entitled to a free update to pokertracker4 sometime soon anyway.

Goodbye holdemmamanger. I was a loyal customer, but I guess you already have all the money that you need.

Nanonoko win-rate


Tuesday, March 20, 2012


28 tables cash games

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Cool. Now I can play 28 tables cash games. I wish they can let me play more than four tables on zoom tables as well.

Dear PokerStars Player,

We’re writing to inform you that the maximum number of ring game tables you are able to sit at concurrently (your ‘table cap’) has been increased to 28.

This increase is a direct result of your speedy play at the tables. Table caps exist to facilitate the most enjoyable poker experience possible in the world’s largest poker room. These caps keep players from playing more tables than they can keep up with and slowing down their opponents’ playing experiences as a result.

We will continue to monitor your play and may make further adjustments in the future. Reviews of individual table caps are performed on a monthly basis.
If you have any further questions about table caps, please don’t hesitate to contact us at

Thank you for choosing PokerStars, the world’s largest poker room.

PokerStars Poker Room Management

Monday, March 19, 2012

Variance and poor play

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"...Poker is a game that often rewards poor play and punishes correct play. It seems to follow that the higher the variance, the more likely poor play will be masked and correct play will look foolish. As you move up in limits, your opponents make fewer and fewer mistakes."

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Pokerstars ZOOM

You've probably played in it by now, haven't you?

What do you think?

Me? I love it! It's not exactly the same as Rush poker, but it'll do.

There seems to be a bug in there. When I don't click on the quick fold button (or whatever it's called), and let's say I played a hand to see the flop... on the turn, when I decide to fold, the software doesn't get me a new table. I have to wait until the other players are finished, and then I am moved to a new table.

For me to play more hands, I'd have to open four zoom tables. I don't know if that is a functional issue with zoom, or a bug. In the pokerstars website, it says there that when I fold, I should get new hands automatically. It doesn't happen that way.

And because of zoom, I switched back to using pokertracker3. Holdemmanager doesn't have support for zoom on HM1. Bummer. They want me to upgrade. Pokertracker3, on the other hand, already has a beta update for zoom.

I spent an hour updating my database for pt3. Next for me is to check the stats and the hud to see if they are according to specs. I'll play one regular table to see how the hud looks like.

In the meantime, here's how things have been doing this month to-date:

Friday, March 9, 2012

One-hour-a-day poker sessions... Is it any better?

I've been busy with copywriting work these last few days that I can only play poker an hour a day, minimum.

It's when I take a break from work and family responsibilities--my time off, that I can play. As you know, copywriting is both technical and a creative process. It is when I am not writing that great ideas come.

I have a deadline coming up soon. I'm not sure I will be able to play a lot of hands over the weekend.