Semi-amateur poker

Past couple of months…

Posted in No Limit Hold 'Em by insigniared on September 3, 2009

Apologies for not writing a new post in a while…

July – with my bankroll I dabbled in a lot of different areas; cash games, SnGs mostly, MTTs etc. This was mainly a warm up month for me…

August – I played almost every day and managed to reach the bronze frequent player level. This was the first time I’ve ever played poker “full time” and I was introduced to a lot of new things; chiefly variance and how much it sucks. I never realised how often suck outs actually happen as I’ve never played at such a high volume before. I’m slowly getting better at tilt control as I realise that suck outs happen and there is little you can do to stop them but get your money in good all the time.

At the beginning of the month I played mostly 9 man $1.25 tournaments but did very poorly with them so I eventually stopped playing them in favour of 6 man turbo’s.

My 9 man stats for August:

Tournaments: 130
Amount won: $132.82
Net won: -$29.68
ROI: -18.26
ITM: 36.15
1st place: 13
2nd place: 16
3rd place: 18

As you can see, I’m pretty bad heads up. I think I’m too overly aggressive. As I played more over August I think my whole game did generally improve as I multi-tabled a session of 9 man SnGs on the 28th and did quite well to recover a little.

About half way through the month I decided I’d put my “over-aggression” to good use and play 6 man turbo’s and I was actually $15+ in profit until I multi-tabled too many and blew it. My stats for 6 man turbo’s are the following:

Tournaments: 291
Amount won: $356.40
Net won: -$7.35
ROI: -2.02
ITM: 40.21
1st place: 65
2nd place: 52
3rd place: 43

I think my main problem aside from the playing too many tables error was that my bubble play was inadequate. Far too often I would raise with junk to steal the blinds and get pot committed. Also, I think my aggressive play actually contributed to the massive variance swings that are common with turbo SnGs.

So, in September, to combat the variance, I began playing normal 6 man non-turbo SnGs with 6 minute blind levels. Although my sample size isn’t so big yet, I’m seeing a difference:

Tournaments: 28
Amount won: $50.08
Net won: $15.08
ROI: 43.09
ITM: 64.29
1st place: 7
2nd place: 11
3rd place: 3

Couple of points: I suck at heads up obviously although I did think I was pretty good. I think my heads up opponents generally have a difficult time folding bottom pair et al but it’s my fault for pushing so hard. Second point, I haven’t bubbled nearly as much; my approach has been to stay tight and maintain my stack at all times and only make the occasional steal with an optimal hand. I think this strategy is working out great to be honest. Although, I am naive in assuming anything just yet; 28 SnGs is not nearly enough to get a good idea of how I’m doing.

One more quick point before I move onto my cash game summary:

I played a few $1 to $3 MTTs with fields ranging from 500 to 9,000 people. I had a really rough beat about a week ago at the hands of a Dutch LAG. I won’t go into details but he did river a flush and I finished three from the money with an above average stack when I was just ahead in the hand (something like 55%)… It hurt a lot. Poker can be so cruel. Oh, another thing that I’ve been introduced to since I increased my volume is runner-runner straights and flushes. They hurt so much that it almost makes me cry. Maybe not cry, but close…

My cash game play has greatly increased in the past month or so. I’ve learned some valuable lessons: never play bad hands just to get heads up with a mega fish. I was playing 0.05/0.10 cent cash one night and I saw this incredible fish play every single hand and wouldn’t fold bottom pair. It was hilarious! The sad thing is I ended up shipping him $10 trying to push him off of hands and raising just to get him heads up. Most likely he is busto now and his money has been fed to the sharks… Sad times for me.

The 0.01/0.02 cash games are full of fish but the massive variance makes it incredibly unappealing. I think I’m up about $6 after about 13k hands which is terrible. I used to buy in for the full $2 (which is technically correct to give you best chances for maneuvering) but I usually hit a downswing and loose it all… and that hurts if I have $2 on each of my 9 tables. Lately I’ve been short stacking it at the minimum buy-in of $0.40 and open-shoving with a pair. It’s an experiment that has so far worked.

I’ve also played some higher stakes game and am pleased to have posted $75 profit from that. Although, I have been naughty and have been barely bankrolled for those stakes. Fish still exist up there which I guess is great for the regs. I’ve always wondered how higher stakes cash game players even make money with NLHE being so “easy” to become adept at.

Anyway, I hope you’ve enjoyed this post. If you have any questions, concerns, or criticism’s please feel free to comment!


SnGs and multi-table cash games

Posted in Mixed games, No Limit Hold 'Em, PLO, Razz by insigniared on July 19, 2009

A really up and down day. Played 4 table cash games for the most part. Initially, I was up on 3 tables at a time but heavily down on a fourth. Regardless, I still made a profit on quite a few sessions and was up at least $5. Eventually, through lack of concentration, bad play,  and bad luck I ended up being at minus $5 after a couple of coolers.

A little on tilt, I then decided it’d be a good idea to multitable 6 $1.25 SnGs at once. Of course, it didn’t turn out how my adrenaline filled mind thought it would. I ended up finishing 2nd twice and missed the money on 4 tables. To be fair, I did have a bad run of cards and some general misfortune. A couple of times my well-intentioned slow play of KK went awry against a weak ace, and you don’t often expect someone to call a preflop raise with K4s against your AQo.

By the end of the evening I was down to around my starting bankroll. I then tried a 45-man SnG and played extremely well finishing 1st for $17 pushing me well into profit. The competition was pretty soft and I made at least one good (if not obvious) call and I might be interested in continuing to play them.

To wind the day down I played some low limit Razz and mixed games. I was in profit on the Razz but slightly down after I got sucked out in PL Omaha Hi.

Oh well! Generally happy with my 45 man tournament victory. Feeling good after a bad day. See you tomorrow!

$5,000 freeroll 2

Posted in No Limit Hold 'Em by insigniared on July 17, 2009

A couple of days ago I finished 8/12,494 players for $70. The first prize was $475.

After 7 grueling hours of hanging on I managed a huge deep run. While I obviously didn’t run perfect I still managed to suck out quite a few times and made some brilliant plays.

Since then, with my new bankroll, I’ve been playing $1.25 SnGs and have been making a decent profit. Sorry for the shortness of this post but I’m eager to get back to playing!

$500 freeroll 5

Posted in No Limit Hold 'Em by insigniared on July 14, 2009

Sorry for the lack of posts recently; I’ve been playing on various different sites and on various different games. I’ve learned to play razz and I love it!

Anyways, I played in my normal $500 freeroll last night and basically (out of 6,000-ish) I finished 100 short of the money.

I played alright, to be honest. I missed the first couple of levels but on my first hand I doubled up to about 6k with the average at 3.5k. After making 6k I made a couple of bad bluffs and got unlucky here and there but eventually kept climbing up to my peak of 16k with the average at 13k (blinds 800/400).

My crippling hand:

Called a raise preflop (from a loose aggressive player) with KQo in late position. Flop comes K8Q (uncoordinated), he bets pot and I reraise all-in. He snap-calls with AJs (?!) and 10 fills on the turn. Disgusted and almost amused. Oh well, that’s poker.

Hoping to get staked in the future for smaller MTTs (18 and 27 player MTTs).

$500 freeroll

Posted in No Limit Hold 'Em by insigniared on June 15, 2009

3000-ish/6000-ish. Ran bad again. I seem to be having a lot of bad luck in general and I mean that in the most honest and sincere way. I’m not trying to make excuses for bad play, sure I might have made some glaring errors, but at the end of the day the cards were no help whatsoever.

My main table was full of calling station maniacs who would raise with anything and just wouldn’t fold bottom pair. It’s actually ridiculous. Are they all so paranoid?

With less than 10 BB’s I was shoving with any ace. I got away with it the first time. Second time: On the button I had A6o and I went all-in. Another short stack calls my all-in (for about 2/3 of his stack) with K7o and hits two pair. What the hell is wrong with people? They all want to play bingo and just hope to get lucky. It’s so bloody annoying. I’m a serious player; I study and I work hard on my game but these guys are limping in early position with 74s etc. etc. They spike the 4 with two overcards on the flop and they never let it go “just in case”… Whoever taught these people how to play needs a serious telling off.

I’ll be back in the morning to play the $300 freeroll and hopefully cash again.

$100 freeroll

Posted in No Limit Hold 'Em by insigniared on June 15, 2009

481/7490 – Cashed again.

Touch and go for a while until I sucked out and got a massive stack. It felt good to know that I, too, can get lucky.

The amount of new players in such a large field is phenomenal and often frustrating; rarely, for me, does it seem that I ever gain an advantage from their naivety. But that’s poker.

If I continue to make mincashes I estimate that I could have an operational bankroll by 2012. Just in time for the Olympics.

$300 freeroll

Posted in No Limit Hold 'Em by insigniared on June 15, 2009

296/6836 – Cashed in this one.

Was card dead for most of it and only had a short hot run to get me up to 40k ish with the blinds relatively low.

Eventually the average outgrew my stack and I was forced to shove. Ran into JJ vs. my KT. All-in-all I guess I played okay… I could’ve made some more steals to stay alive but my tables were usually frequented by hyper-aggressive maniacs. Oh well.

$1k guarantee 3

Posted in No Limit Hold 'Em by insigniared on June 4, 2009

Finished 21/727. Pretty deep run and cashed in the money for the second consecutive time in this tournament.

I think my play was pretty good; I made some daring bluffs and a couple of laydowns that saved me some chips.

Just one “interesting” hand:

With 6k/3k blinds (ante of 75) I raise it up (UTG+1) to 20k with JJ and get one caller (UTG).

The flop comes A A 7 and my opponent shoves for 88k~ and has me covered by about 16k. I went into the think tank for a while… Wouldn’t you slowplay a monster hand like A7/AX/77? Eventually I couldn’t make a decision and I just folded. I wrote an e-mail to a poker player I know for his thoughts on this and perhaps I’ll post his view.

Anyway, this is my second deep run in this tournament in a row; the competition is quite soft and it’s fairly easy to make the money so I’m feeling pretty good.

As an aside, I made the stupid mistake of playing SnGs without being properly bankrolled for them. I came close to cashing a couple of times but variance always brings me down. Basically with my limited bankroll in tatters I had to grind it out at the ring games and managed to push up my bankroll again. And I’m not a specialist cash game player; tournaments are my forte!

$1k guarantee 2

Posted in No Limit Hold 'Em by insigniared on June 3, 2009

Finished 57/645 and in the money.

Played alright. My first table wasn’t particularly tough and managed to get a few chips out of that. Had a hot run that pumped me up to about 15k~ and spent a lot of time hovering around that marker. Later on I got some cards but just no takers. Eventually folded my way into the money…

All in all, a decent tournament but I wish I could get my good cards evenly balanced out.

$500 freeroll 3

Posted in $500, No Limit Hold 'Em by insigniared on May 31, 2009

This was a half freeroll. I bought in for 50 frequent player points. I finished 25/412; well in the money.

I got off to a fantastic start and made my way into the top 20 for roughly an hour. I think I played near perfect poker and got some great cards.

My downfall was long and arduous:

Just a handful of places before the money I got QQ. I made a 4x BB raise and a big stack (about double the size of mine) came over the top all-in. Normally, if we weren’t so close to the money I would auto-shove but an instantaneous all-in made me second guess… I also made the mistake of asking him what he had and, of course, he told me he had aces. I think I made the right decision by folding. Even if it was only AKs I’d still only be a slight favourite.

I also ran into bullets with AKo a couple of hands later which took a big chunk out of me. After that, I got AA and QQ a couple of times but could really only steal the blinds. I just played them too aggressively, to be honest. I hung on for a while and basically shoved a handful of times each level.

I think 25th out of 412 really isn’t a bad result. I feel I could’ve gone deeper if I’d have called that all-in (and won, obviously) with QQ and I bet some people wouldn’t have thought twice but I don’t play poker to gamble.

Thanks very much to all the support I had on facebook. Cheers guys.