Saturday, August 11, 2012

Act on your excitement

Friday, August 10, 2012

Coming Soon... Poker is Legal in the US

Read the full story here... The DOJ Has Spoken: It's Time For Congress To Legalize Online Poker - Forbes -

Yet another dry spell?

Dry spell, about three days now. I am not on tilt, nor playing poorly. It's just that I'm not getting good hands.

Do I take a break, or move down stake levels?

The kids don't have school today. I don't think I can go out for a bike ride to the gym. I can do yoga later, do a brisk walk in the park to get some sun. I can also play with code on my pc.

I'd probably take a break from poker for the rest of the day. We'll see how I feel at the end of the day, then decide if I will play during the weekend or not.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

TPTK facing turn donk

Villain is 20/16/0 in +60 hands... WSF is 63, W$D is 100 and WTSD 33.

PokerStars - $0.05 NL ZOOM - Holdem - 9 players
Hand converted by PokerTracker 4:

BTN: $4.93
SB: $4.95
BB: $6.84
Hero (UTG): $5.07
UTG+1: $5.32
UTG+2: $2.93
MP: $10.62
MP+1: $9.35
CO: $8.37

SB posts SB $0.02, BB posts BB $0.05

Pre Flop: (pot: $0.07) Hero has Kc Ah

Hero raises to $0.12, fold, UTG+2 calls $0.12, fold, MP+1 calls $0.12, fold, fold, fold, fold

Flop: ($0.43, 3 players) 9s 4s Kd
Hero bets $0.28, fold, MP+1 calls $0.28

Turn: ($0.99, 2 players) 6h
Hero checks, MP+1 bets $0.70, Hero calls $0.70

River: ($2.39, 2 players) 3d
Hero checks, MP+1 bets $1.30,

Hero--bet, call or fold?

Let's see. What are villain's range in this case? With less than 500 hand history on villain, I wouldn't rely on my HUD to tell me how she is as a player. So I am going to rely on villain's actions to tell me what her hands could be.

Preflop - Villain limps in after I raised from early position. Villain probably has suited connectors, low to medium pairs, ace high flush draw.

Flop - I make TPTK, I cbet. Villain calls. He has at least a pair or nursing a draw.

Turn - To find out what villain has, I decide to check. Villain makes a good-sized bet, 3/4 pot. I now look at my HUD. Villain will not go to showdown unless she has something.

One thing is for sure, I am not going to put my stack in the middle for TPTK. Never, ever... unless I have a good read on villain with more than 1k hands. I call villain's bet and see what the river has in store for us.

River - 3 of diamonds. I don't think that helped her, and mine as well. But wait--villain bets HALF POT.

Villain is not sure about what she's got. I raised preflop. What is going on in her head to make her bet half pot? From experience, weak bets like these on the river vs a player who's checking behind only wants to scare you off if you had nothing... because she probably has nothing.

That's how play is on the microstakes. At these levels, not a lot of players understand meta-game.

If I were in her shoes and wanted to scare off my opponent, I'd make a sizeable bet, 2/3 pot at least. This gives the impression that, "I have a big hand, therefore, I want a big pot." Even if she wins this hand, the next time we are in this same situation and I make a bet, she will call.

I don't think villain has something, and that my TPTK will stand a chance on the showdown, so I call his/her bet.

Villain shows JTd.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

How to play top pair post flop

* I folded my hand on this one preflop, but found this one hand interesting and wanted to share my experience playing top pair post flop.

PokerStars - $0.05 NL ZOOM - Holdem - 9 players
Hand converted by PokerTracker 4:

BTN: $8.09
SB: $7.21
BB: $20.17
Hero (UTG): $5.27
UTG+1: $3.36
UTG+2: $5.00
MP: $4.73
MP+1: $5.16
CO: $1.77

SB posts SB $0.02, BB posts BB $0.05

Pre Flop: (pot: $0.07) Hero has Qc Ad

fold, fold, UTG+2 calls $0.05, fold, MP+1 raises to $0.20, fold, fold, SB raises to $0.60, fold, fold, MP+1 calls $0.40

Flop: ($1.30, 2 players) Js Ts Jh
SB bets $0.95, MP+1 calls $0.95

Turn: ($3.20, 2 players) 9c
SB bets $2.15, MP+1 calls $2.15

River: ($7.50, 2 players) 5s
SB checks, MP+1 bets $1.46 and is all-in, SB calls $1.46

tl;dr MP+1 had Jack Quads.

MP+1 HUD stats showed 11/4/3... a tight player whose win rate on the showdown was 60%, WTSD is 29%.

If I had top pair on the flop and villain like this were to call my cbet, I'd check on the turn and see how he/she will act.

IME, when villain has a big hand, villain will bet at least 3/4 pot. If I were to second barrel on the turn with top pair unimproved, villain can easily call my bet... worse, raise me.

Small hand, small pot. Big hand, big pot.

I think the turn is probably the most important street. If I don't have the nuts on the turn, I'd rather check behind, or fold.

As for bluffing, I seldom bluff on the turn. It's cheaper to bluff on the flop. Turn bluffs tend to get more expensive. What if villain calls your bluff? Do you intend to still bluff on the river?

Here's one hand that I finished a while ago.

Villain is 10/6/3... tight player who used to donk on me a lot. He/She wins showdowns 56% of the time, and wtsd is 32%. Good stats if I may say so (+2k hands).

PokerStars - $0.02 NL - Holdem - 8 players
Hand converted by PokerTracker 4:

UTG: $0.83
UTG+1: $6.94
MP: $0.82
MP+1: $2.55
CO: $2.01
Hero (BTN): $5.00
SB: $2.12
BB: $2.96

SB posts SB $0.01, BB posts BB $0.02

Pre Flop: (pot: $0.03) Hero has 3s 3d

fold, UTG+1 calls $0.02, fold, fold, fold, Hero raises to $0.05, fold, BB raises to $0.16, UTG+1 calls $0.14, Hero calls $0.11

Flop: ($0.49, 3 players) 8d Jh 3c
BB bets $0.23, UTG+1 calls $0.23, Hero raises to $4.84 and is all-in, BB calls $2.57 and is all-in, fold

Turn: ($6.32, 2 players) Qs

River: ($6.32, 2 players) Kc

BB shows Ac Ad (One Pair, Aces) (Pre 82%, Flop 9%, Turn 5%)
Hero shows 3s 3d (Three of a Kind, Threes) (Pre 18%, Flop 91%, Turn 95%)
Hero wins $6.10

What is interesting about this particular villain is that, in the last three showdowns I had with him/her, villain always showed AA vs my set--always. It was the same song and dance each time. I'd raise, villain will 3bet and I'd call. On the flop, I go all in and villain will call.

I know... I was lucky three in a row. But man, if this were to happen to me three in a row, that will put me on tilt--BIG TIME.

How I play AA (..JJ)?

Go all in preflop. Sometimes I win nothing but the blinds. A few times, villains makes a bigger hand. In the long run though, someone will call with lesser hands and my hand will win unimproved.


After that big spike up over the weekend, things are back to grinding--invest in meta-game, earn points, practice patience.

The last two sessions that I played, I didn't do any big showdowns. Wait a minute. If I remember my hand history review last night, I did get two big pots earlier in the day. It wasn't so bad after all.

It has been raining these last few days... bummer. I am cooped up in the house, too lazy to ride my bike to the gym when it's raining. I'd rather stay home and do yoga. I might do a one hour brisk walk in the part later in the afternoon.

I have been busy learning computer science. The stuff that I'm learning now is web development using ruby, and creating applications with C++. These, plus poker, keeps me up until midnight.

There's some friction between me and my wife at the moment. It's like an undercurrent. You can't see it from the surface, but when you dive in to the water, you get sucked in. Issues are not being addressed properly, making resolution next to impossible.

Part of life, I guess....

Monday, August 6, 2012

Fold Straight Nuts

From 2p2...

Villain is 8/6/3 in 210 hands.

MP: $5.13
MP+1: $3.07
LP: $2.11
CO: $4.99
BTN: $1.60
SB: $1.98
Hero (BB): $2.40
UTG: $2.32
UTG+1: $0.90

SB posts SB $0.01, Hero posts BB $0.02

Pre Flop: ($0.03) Hero has A K

fold, UTG+1 calls $0.02, fold, MP+1 calls $0.02, fold, fold, fold, fold, Hero raises to $0.12, UTG+1 calls $0.10, MP+1 calls $0.10

Flop: ($0.37, 3 players) 2 T J
Hero checks, UTG+1 checks, MP+1 bets $0.18, Hero calls $0.18, fold

Turn: ($0.73, 2 players) Q
Hero checks, MP+1 bets $0.45, Hero raises to $1.00, MP+1 calls $0.55

River: ($2.73, 2 players) Q
Hero checks, MP+1 bets $1.30, fold

. . . .

210 hands is not enough, but we can work with this information. What is villain's range? More importantly, what is your image on the table--how do other players see you?

Flop - Villain donks on you, half pot. In my experience, donk bets like this, it is because villain landed a pair, or makes a big hand and is baiting the aggressor to reraise to make the pot big.

More importantly, how often does he/she donk on the flop?

Turn - you made nuts. Why did you not go all in? Even so, villain bet half pot. I don't think villain has a set. Maybe Ace-high, or has two pair, at best. If villain made low set, he wouldn't bet small on the turn.

Since you were the aggressor preflop, the other players will put you on AK if you made the pot big on the turn. By not betting enough, you are only giving villain good pot odds to call your bet. If I was villain and had a set, I'd call hoping to make full house.

River - villain still bets half pot on that scare card. If villain had the boat, or was trying to represent having full house, a half pot bet gives you good odds to call. I would have gone all in on the turn. Even so, seeing villain's half pot bet on the river on a scare card, I'd call, not fold.

Remember--Small hand, small pot. Big hand, big pot.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Chart Analysis

I used to trade speculatively in the online financial markets. One of the tools I used to determine which positions to take is technical analysis. I analyzed chart patterns to see if there be any opportunity to make money.

One of the chart patterns that I look for are congestion and continuation patterns. Here's an example...

Looking at the example image above, congestion/continuation patterns occur when price moves sideways. This usually happens when investors are cashing in on recent gains, trying to get out of a position--in short, accumulation and distribution.

When these price patterns start to narrow, almost always, you can expect a breakout in favor of the prevailing trend... chart moves up, goes sideways for a while, then moves up again.

Oddly, I see the same thing with online poker. Take a look...

My win-rate goes up, moves sideways, then continues moving up again. Click on the image to enlarge

The reason for this, I think, is variance.

During those times when my win-rate is sideways, I am on a dry spell and not getting good hands--or it's villain's birthday. While doing pot control, I am investing on my meta-game.

Almost everyone who regularly plays online poker has poker tracking software. If they are in this for the long term, these regulars invest time analyzing hands, while taking down notes on different players.

Investing in my meta-game means I do plays which will come out on their poker tracking software that I play like a fish. I do this often enough on cheap pots, and some regs will start to think that I am fish. They will start calling light.

For a while, my win-rate chart goes sideways. This is to be expected. Variance favoring villain, and investing on my meta-game costs money. But when the planets line up for me and my investment pays off, the chart starts moving up again.

I can tell if I am not playing optimally, my win-rate moves below the lows of the congestion/continuation pattern. When this happens, either I take a break from poker, or I tighten up my game.

It can get frustrating though, specially if these dry spells lasts for several weeks. To get through these dry spells, I remind myself that this is part of doing business.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Experiment update

What you put out is what you get back

Remember that experiment I am making on "How To Improve Your Luck"?

I have been making changes in my life that will help (I think) to improve my definition of my Self (and how I value my Self). I have been getting rid of the things that cause stress. I go out more often, I exercise in the sun, eat healthy and all that.

One other thing that I am doing now is listen to Brainwave Entrainment tones while playing poker. This helps me to relax and take it easy while playing.

I am not exactly sure how brainwave entrainment works, but I'll try explain it here. Imagine you have two tuning forks. If both were in close proximity to each other and you were to strike one, the other will start vibrating as well.

According to brainwave entrainment research, the brain behaves in the same way.

By introducing certain frequencies by listening to them with my earphones while playing, the brain will adapt to these frequencies, giving me that effect that the stimulating frequency was for.

Listening to these binaural tones, I find that I tend to think clearly and react less in a negative way.

Maybe the recent breakout on my win-rate chart was because of variance--getting lucky with the hands I play.

If so, then I guess my initial efforts on this experiment is giving me positive results. It is too early for me to make a conclusion whether this works or not... but so far, I like what I am seeing.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

PnL July 2012

Click on the image to enlarge

Total hands played: 75, 515
Ending balance: $333.37
Beginning balance: $374.15
Profit/Loss for July 2012: -10.89%

July 2012. Click on the image to enlarge

All hands. Click on the image to enlarge

Chasing Mavericks

"'s about finding that one thing in life that sets you free."