Wednesday, 31 December 2008

6 month review

In the last 6 months I've more than doubled my bankroll from $1900 to $4900 from around 150k hands and have made the switch from mainly playing STT to ring games. Its been quite a transition but I feel smarter in almost all aspects of the game now and think I am on the right track to improve further. Its also been 4 +ve months in a row :)

Goals for the next 6 months
1) Move up to $1/$2 (200NL). (I'm working off a 30BI threshold so reaching $6000 would be right for $1/$2, and if I continue the way I am I should be there soon to give it a try and am prepared to move down if need be). I've played 1.6k hands of this during december and have run very well and didn't find it too different to 0.5/1.

2) Continue to study, analyze and be coached. Also, finally get around to signing up to CardRunners and watch the good vids.

December review

This month I've gained $1000, license for HoldemManager, 5 hours of coaching, 2 T-shirts and a pair of slippers from a total of 31k hands! I reached Gold iron man level so will have some bonus to work off in January.

Overall I'm really pleased with the month. Its the largest volume of hands I've ever played and although I didn't play at my best through all of it ($900 downswing mid-month) I feel my game has come on a long way. The coaching, analysis and some extra studying as well as the volume has helped me make some good adjustments to my play in almost all areas.

December goals review
1) Finish reading Poker Mindset
Oops.. forgot about that!
2) Try and exclusively play FR $0.5/$1
I didn't manage exclusivity (and doubt I ever will) but 19.5k of my hands were at 0.5/1. I don't think playing some variety is necessarily bad as long as you don't breach bankroll management.
3) Play enough volume (10k-20k hands) to reach one of the Iron Man levels for December (mental note from last month noted, but this will unlock at least $250 of bonus for my Iron Man play this year, so probably worth the effort)
volume target exceeded, gold level achieved and should have $300 (-27%) for January
4) Take up an offer to receive some coaching sessions from a better player
Coaching has been really useful and I'll definitely try and get some more sessions as well as hook up with another of the coach's students

$3 rebuy

$15.30 invested and $590.38 won :)

I was around 80th with 200 left as the bubble approached then had a run of good hands and some luck (KK beating AA, KQ beating AQ and JJ holding up...) taking me to 2nd with 50 left and i held on for to be 5th at the final table. I touched on 750,000 chips at one point, finally going out in 5th with a hand I wish I hadn't played (15BB A3 shove on the button v 99) but I was pretty tired after this 6 hour marathon. A nice way to finish the year!

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Various things

I've been playing a lot recently - probably a little too much and have definitely played some sessions when not in the best frame of mind - consequently its not been a hugely profitable month so far especially running $500 below EV. However, the volume of hands I have played have given me a good taste of the grinding lifestyle and what I'd need to do if I ever tried to play professionally. I never quite appreciated what an apt word "grind" is before this. I've beaten my records for most hands in a day, FTP and rakeback a few times (2164 hands, 1100FTP in a day and 21.5k hands for the month so far). I've also started playing at another poker room on occasion due to the softer tables as well as bonus & more rakeback opportunities - the software isn't as good but there are some real idiots.

Software & HUD
I've made a few changes to my setup recently: a clearer customised deck on FT as well as replacing PT3 with HoldemManager and a new HUD. Holdem Manager (although lacking a couple of tiny features of PT3) is SOOO much better. I'm still on the free trial but will definitely get a license soon. It still took some time to import 1.5 million hands!

I've had my first session with my coach now. He railed me playing 3-4 tables for a couple of hours and we discussed various things as they came up. I'm not going to go into the details but there was some really good advice and I've made some small adjustments to my play as a result. I've got a second session tonight and am looking forward to some more good advice.

All in all I'm pretty happy with the month so far: even if it isn't the most profitable I feel I'm investing in a better poker future. I'm 1 day away from Gold iron man level so will have secured at least a $300 bonus to start me off in January.

Sunday, 14 December 2008


Cold feet today, so couldn't resist for 3800 FTP!

Iron Iron Man Freeroll

I've played in a few iron man freerolls but without much success so far.

This time it was 385 people going for a prizepool of $30,000 with $120 for 90th up to $5k for first. I finished in 33rd for $150. It was pretty sick the way I went out though.. allin UTG with AK and called by BB with 88: I hit a K on the flop and then he got runner runner to hit a straight. Its all bonus cash though so can't complain :)

EDIT: It took a big chunk of my rakeback away for the day so guess it is included in their "-bonus" calculation :( Still a decent profit on it though.

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Full Tilt holiday $100k

I spotted this a few days ago and with a buyin of only 2000 FTP I thought I'd give it a shot. Prize pool was $100 for 361st-540th up to $8000 for first.

Sign up has been popular so they've now extended it to 10,000 entrants. However, the prize structure is making me hover over the unregister button. Its now only $10 for 901st-1800th and $10k for first.

I do remember finishing 17th in a 10,000 freeroll 3-4 years ago at ladbrokes when I must have played like a muppet. I think I was able to take a long shower over the break as I had so many chips! Unfortunately I had to go out and threw my chips away in the end. So I'll probably stay registered and see if karma can give me the win I didn't deserve back then!

On the playing as a pro front I broke a few records yesterday: most FTP in a day, most rakeback in a day and most cash hands in a day and made some $$ too. In my last session I almost threw my profit away when playing too tired but I focussed for a bit longer and got it back with my KK v QQ v JJ before heading to bed. I'm definitely aware of some lifestyle changes I'd need to make if I ever did go pro.

Friday, 12 December 2008

Holiday time!

I finished up at work today and don't have to be back till 5th January. Yayyy! :)

With few plans for Christmas and little non-poker money to spend (credit crunch etc.) this gives me an opportunity to try out life as a poker pro for a few weeks. The change in my schedule should mean that I can

  • Play a larger volume of hands
  • Play more often at times when tables are fuller and softer
Keeping sessions focussed and quitting when planned will be key as well as dealing with any poker mindset issues. I'm sure any form of tilt when playing more hands can really hurt bankroll.

I've also got my first session being coached coming up on Wednesday which I'm really looking forward to - I'll post some more about this later.

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Good session

The mind reset discussed below seems to have worked and I played much better tonight (aided by some decent cards and luck) and had a +3 BI session over 522 hands.

I finished wanting to play on but had reached my target 200 FTP for the day and so quit as planned.

I hope now the good decisions and mental state continue :)

Poker Mindset etc..

I decided to delete my last post - "The night of horrible big pairs" as there was absolutely no point to it. Its just variance and for the large part I made the right decisions for all the posted hands and just didn't get lucky that night. I guess I just felt the need to vent some frustration but posting isn't the way to go.. it certainly won't make any fun reading for anyone else other than reminding them how crappy poker can feel at times.

Another hand came up recently that I almost posted about, but resisted the urge as I made the right decisions again and just got unlucky. It was just that it was the largest cash pot I'd ever been in ($495) and so hurt all the more to lose 2 of my normal BI in one hand.

Exactly how I ended up at a $1/$2 6-handed table is probably more interesting... I was playing my usual FR $0.5/$1 and one of the players was perhaps the biggest fish I had ever seen. He was playing 95/3/? for 500+ hands and was a consistent loser. Unlike most other fish though he reloaded several times. You could almost feel everyone else at the table praying for a decent hand so that they could take this guy's cash.. it was just so easy. His revealed hands showed he was calling down huge raises all the way to the river with nothing.. not a pair or even a reasonable draw. I managed to get at least 1 BI myself from him before he left the table. I checked for his player ID and he was seated at a $1/$2 6-handed table so took a decision to sit down and try and get some more. He was playing in exactly the same way and I was soon up $140. He sucked out on one hand against me and reduced the gain to $60. In the final $495 pot before I left he was also well behind and beaten by both me and the other player. I guess the player that beat me had a decent draw and I could well have been trying to bully him out of the pot so I that could be alone against mr fishy. I'd raised well above the odds he would have needed to call with his draw so it was probably a -EV call by him but again the variance got me rather than my play. I'm sure it can be a bad decision to hunt fish on tables/levels you don't usually play at but in hindsight I think it was a reasonable decision in this instance even if it didn't pay off.

I've been a little on tilt since and definitely not making the correct decisions every hand. Fortunately it hasn't hurt financially too much and I'm only marginally down for the month (less than 1 BI), so time to refocus my head, forget what could have been and grind on!

The clean look of my PokerTracker stats from the beginning of the month has definitely changed:(

Monday, 1 December 2008

December goals

There is something very nice about reaching the beginning of the month and changing the PT3 date filter to hide all your bad play and bad beats from the month before and start afresh. I've been reading and thinking about how we are all quite results-orientated - its human nature. Some have tried to hide their poker account balance but they seem to end up making up fictional results in their head anyway. I think the best idea is to always be aware of it but try and reach that zen state before each decision that you have to make.

Goals for the month:

1) Finish reading Poker Mindset
2) Try and exclusively play FR $0.5/$1
3) Play enough volume (10k-20k hands) to reach one of the Iron Man levels for December (mental note from last month noted, but this will unlock at least $250 of bonus for my Iron Man play this year, so probably worth the effort)
4) Take up an offer to receive some coaching sessions from a better player