Monday, 29 December 2008

A quick round up of 2008

2008 has been a mixed poker year for me, but has finished reasonably strong giving me hope for the coming new year.

I set myself the target of playing more live tournaments in 2008 but this got lost somewhere along the way in the struggle for profits mid year. I ended up only playing at the Gala Leicester about 6 times, two of the Poker Player Championship Tourneys and the Newcastle Virgin Poker Festival.

I did play Multi Tourneys on line with the following stats:

192 entries
39 cashes of which 5 were outright wins

Total Tourney Winnings - $2,204

I had 3 break even months (negligible profit) with one losing month, all the rest with a reasonable profit for my buy in levels; however my total profits doubled during the last 4 months once I rediscovered the 10man STT. My total profits were less than last year but at least my trip to Vegas in March will be a free one and at least now I have rediscovered a bit of confidence that I seem to have lost Feb through June.

So what are my plans for 2009.

Well I definitely want to enter more live tournaments so will be targeting the GUKPT and GCGBPT sub qualifiers. I have ring fenced $400 dollars for these qualifiers, plus will be adding approx $50 per month for this purpose. I am not going to be counting this within my profit or loss for the year, it will just be written off, thus breaking my mental "don't lose my profits" chains.

I will continue to hit the 10 man STT with a view to climbing up through the buy ins, this will be my staple source of profits for the year.

I said in a previous post that I want to get a little more adventurous with my buy ins but I hold myself back mentally because of the monetary value. Well in an effort to alleviate this I am tweaking with my bank rolling methods yet again. Before I used to start each month from a balance of Zero dollars, hence when I generated profit I tended to protect it too much. So I am going to try and roll my profits over from one month to the next. This should mean that I don't scratch around at the lower levels every month as I try to get it off the zero mark. Also I intend to start 2009 by rolling in my last quarters profit from 2008, again meaning I don't start in the lower levels as I get my year going.

As always I will be posting my progress here.

So until next time

Have a good New Year and Keep it Tight!

Friday, 26 December 2008

Gala Leicester - £10 + £10 NLH

Happy for the Christmas break I decided to play in the Gala Leicester Monday night No Limit tourney.

It was a full tourney with 52 runners, 3000 + 3000 chips and 30 minute blinds ... very good value for the small buy in. This payed to 6th with the winner taking approx £500.

I didn't get too many hands through the night but managed to survive to 14 players left with blinds at 1000/2000 and my stack sitting at about 16000 chips. That was when a very interesting hand happened ...

Having just moved to the other table (with 7 on each) I got QQ in early position. Looking at the stacks there was a shorter stack with about 8000 chips to my left, he already had them in his hands .... this was the guy I wanted in the pot. So I raised to 6000, he re raised all in to 8000; plan executed to perfection until the BB came over the top all in putting my tournament life on the line. Every one else out of the pot, I had a decision to make. Here were my reads ...

  • Firstly, the guy who went all in had sat on my previous table for about two hours and had dwindled his chips away ... on one occasion he even raised pre flop and then only just about managed to call holding KK.

  • Second I was so sure when I asked him if he held the monster AA that he had it. He returned the read I had twice before ignored when my opponents had in fact got AA.

I just struggled for about 3 minutes trying to get the courage to go with my reads. I was so confident I was beat. I folded.

The BB turned over AK. The small stack won but I would have taken my chips back from coming 2nd in the pot.

Should I have folded? I think given my reasoning I was so sure I was beaten I'm going with my play, however I did fail to see two important things.

1. The BB had moved from my table previously with a small stack and had obviously got lucky somewhere along the way as his chip stack had now got me covered, by a long way.

2. The fact that his stack was now a good size had led him to change his play by entering more pots more forcefully. I failed to factor in his stack size into his move.

Anyway I finished 7th and got my buy in back after my usual BBi (Bubble Boy insurance) negotiations.

Still it was a good evening.

Until next time

Keep it Tight

Saturday, 20 December 2008

Every Hand Revealed - Gus Hansen

Recently I have been travelling down to London for work on the train and this gives me lots of time to read, and of course poker is my first choice of literature.
Ever since I decided to play poker I started to read about it. I have probably read over 20 books on the topic, as well as every monthly magazine going. I believe that if you are going to do something then you should try to be the best you can, and reading about poker is a very important part of that process. The hardest part is shifting from your normal game and trying to incorporate some of the things you learn into your own game ...... but you must to improve.
One player that I think is a mile away from my own style is Gus Hansen, so I was keen to read his book revealing every hand on the way to his 2008 Aussie Millions win. I hoped that I could steal a litttle of the "Madman" to put into my own game.
On first read I felt a little dissapointed with the book. Whilst it showed Gus' style it doesn't really help to show his hands in context. It lacks the detail of table dynamics and things like how many hands he folded between moves, etc. I also started thinking that it was easy to talk in hindsight with bravado about a tournament that you had won. I wondered if I wrote an entry here how good it would sound because I won the tournament. What about all those times it doesn't work.
It would be nice to read a counter book of a tournament where he struggled to get into the money for instance, showing how he uses a short stack etc.
Then I started to play online again, and found myself consciously referring back to the book. I started to take a little bit of Hansen and use his mentality when situations seemed right. I was improving my game ....... thanks to this book.
Would you beleive it a book I didn't rave about has actually started to transform my game.
So in hindsight I think this book is a very valuable addition to your poker library.
Go out and buy it!
Until next time
Keep it Tight

Thursday, 18 December 2008

WBCOOP - Event 3 - PL Hi/Lo Omaha

Well this will be a boring post .... saw the start time and didn't bother entering ... 2.00 a.m is not the time to be playing poker when you have work the next day.

Any way ... on the plus side ..... I BOOKED FOR VEGAS IN MARCH NEXT YEAR !!!!!


Looked at the Virgin Atlantic website and a direct flight from Gatwick was £342 return ...

Well you can't afford not to go ...

So me and the GF will be experiency the delights of Vegas (me for the 6th time and her for her first).

I will be playing poker and will post my progress here for all to see.

Until Next Time

Keep it Tight!

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

WBCOOP - Event 2 - NL Hold Em

Well the self fulfilling prophecy of my leg one being my best performance of the series (despite knowing nothing about Omaha) I didn't fair very well in event 2. I started well enough building my stack from 2500 to about 3900 in the first two levels, and even got to play on the table next to Micheal (4 king hell blog) .. which was all very friendly. Then the hand of my demise came pretty quickly.

In 2nd position I had JJ so raised it to 3xBB to 180 chips, all folded to the button (who had already been pretty active, and I had took a pot away from him on the river earlier, so I wasn't too worried about his re raise) who made it 400. Every one else folded and I called the extra 220, essentially playing my JJ for the set or see what happens after the flop if I could keep the pot small.

The flop came JT4 all clubs (or something like that). As previously before stated I didn't want to get too active unless I hit my set, which I did do, but the clubs were not nice. I still wanted to keep this pot small until I had a bit more information on the turn. If no clubs show I get busy. I check and the opponent bets $550 or so. I flat call.

The turn is a K spades. I checked to him again, why? I wanted to see what size of bet he put in on the turn, if it was small I flat call (perhaps he has a monster let him drag the chips out of me), if it is pot size I detect no flush and re raise all in.

He virtually pot bet and I re raised all in another 2000 or so for him to call. Call he did holding KK for a higher set.

I see no way of getting away from this unless the turn had come a club. To add insult to injury the river paired the board so I would have had a full house by then and he would have beaten me with a better full house.

Not sure if I played this well, but other options were:

1. Fold pre flop - surely not!
2. Re- raise pre flop - he calls, the hand plays out the same; he re-raises and I can't fold - we get it all in, same result.
3. All in on flop - he may possibly have folded. Would you believe I had hit the flush or drawing to the nut flush with the Ace (he had the K clubs) with a bet like that holding overpair KK? He could worry about the Ace of Clubs - perhaps an all in would have saved me.
4. If the pot had been kept small because of flush fears then the river would have sealed my fate ... think its just one of those hands.

Anyway .. still good fun, and a bit more learnt (I didn't even think he could have had KK or AA).

300 ish out of 550 ish

Until next time.

Keep it tight

Monday, 15 December 2008

Pokerstars WBCOOP 2008 - Tournament 1 - PL Omaha

I have only played Omaha twice before ... and that was because I mistakenly joined SnG's thinking they were Hold'em. Needless to say I didn't fair very well then, was today going to be better?

Well it couldn't be worse! At least today I knew that you have to use 2 of your cards from the 4 you are dealt. I gleaned this valuable information from my 15 minutes of online rules reading before going to work this morning. I also took a look at the beginners starting hand selections ...... so was going to rip it up .. LOL

Anyway after about 20 minutes and still not having played a hand, mesmerised by how many cards there are on the table, and trying to figure out the type of hands people were playing in the Nano-Second allowed at showdown. And after briefly wondering how many packs of cards Omaha is played with .... I eventually won a pot in the BB only to check it on the river with the straight ... I bet they wondered why I didn't value bet ... what a fish!

I then seemed to get in the swing of things a bit and did take my chip stack well above my starting stack for the blind level ... I took a pic below just to prove it!!! He He He ...

After this high, my uber tight starting hand requirements started to hit my stack. Couple this with mistakenly using 3 of my hole cards a couple of times and betting them off I soon stumbled upon another problem ..... what is the best starting hand to go all in with??? And is 9944 any good?

Well I eventually went all in with TTAx ... hang on I still have some chips left (DOH!!! its pot limit!!!) luckily I was re raised so I could put the remainder in. I think my hand looked good to the river ..... then the chips went to my opposition ..... HA HA!

126th out of 450

I just know what the irony of this is going to be ... this will be my highest place in all of the 5 Blogger Tourneys .... a game in which I know just marginally less than nothing about.

Anyway I did really enjoy it and will play the Omaha Hi / Lo ... OMG my head will explode.

Until next time.

Keep it Tight!

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Pokerstars Blogger Tournaments

As you can see from the banner at the top of the screen I have signed up to the Pokerstars Blogger series.

I have played on pokerstars before, about 3 years ago, I signed up for a free tourney through a magazine, in which I came nowhere.

I did enter one of their freerolls shortly after that, and then saw how many entrants there were, about 4,000. Anyway I came in the top 27 ... and won entrance to another freeroll in which I could win cash ... . I won $1.20. My claim to fame was taking this up to around $100 using micro cash games, coming 2nd in one of their 180 player SnG's along the way.

I also paid half of the sunday million about a year back with my mate, and we ended up coming around the 600 mark to double our buy in.

I am looking forwards to the blogger tourneys, however I had better learn a few more poker variants as the only one I can play is Hold Em. Anyone know where I can read a good crash course?

Until Then

Keep it Tight!

Friday, 5 December 2008

Double up STT strategy pays off in online MTT

Well after all the double up tournaments I have been playing I was wondering whether it might be making my game weak for play in top heavy tournaments. So I entered a small Deepstack Tournament on Ladbrokes.

78 players started and after a couple of successful early moves and a button raise with 45spades making its flush on the turn to get paid off by a player that just didn't believe me I sat about 3rd with 58 left and a decent chip stack. I then proceeded to play solid and after my first AA getting beaten by a set, another AA splitting the pot with an AK all in (low straight ... who'd have thought it?) and my button raise with JJ being beaten by a short stacks all in holding KK in the BB, I sat about 15th with 17 players left (pay was to 10th).

It was at this point that I saw my predicament the same as sitting with the short stack in a double up STT and with 7 left to be knocked out to the money I basically treated the situation as if I was on the bubble already.

By carefully stealing all in from the low - mid stacks and avoiding all ins with the short and big stacks (unless I had the hands) I managed to fluctuate between 8th and last position and hold on for about 40 minutes. Other players were getting knocked out and by the time the bubble burst I had reached the final table with an incredibly short stack, but at least a reward of double my buy in for my efforts. I had a stack that would get me through the blinds once, which I decided would suffice to see if I could make a few extra dollars (there was no way I was gonna win this thing, I just wanted to maximise my return). So I got through the blinds the first time and another player obliged me by getting knocked out 10th to step me 1 up the pay ladder. A double up from the SB 2nd time around saw me through the blinds again, and to my surprise another player got knocked out on this circuit. Down to 8th! Through the blinds again and another player out this circuit putting me in 7th. I got through the blinds again and then had my A9 on the button all in called light by the BB and I was out 7th.

I am however happy that I got that far with the cards and chip stack I was left with following my good hands not realising their potential, and I feel I have to thank the double up STT's and their required strategy for my short stack play.

So back to the grind and hopefully up the levels.

Until Next Time

Keep it Tight

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Some results from the last 3 months and my psyche!

As discussed here before, up until September my poker playing had hit a bit of a stagnant period. For about 6 months my profits would increase and then fall by a similar amount having the effect of my poker bank roll just "treading water". This was quite a sole destroying period as all the effort put into winning an amount would be undone the following month by losses. Either that or the effort would be spent on trying to get back to a break even point. In addition this had the knock on effect to my playing confidence - was I playing poorly or was this just variance.

So in September I went "Back to Basics" by identifying what used to be my bread and butter game (ie STT tournaments) dropped down a couple of levels and cut out all cash games and most of the MTT. Here are the results:

September 61% cash across 1-3 pays and double up STT's. (Approx 100 games)
October 63% cash across 1-3 pays and double up STT's. (Approx 120 games)
November 64% cash across 1-3 pays and double up STT's. (Approx 150 games)

So my bankroll has steadily built over the last 3 months, and so has my confidence and mental state. So am I happy with poker now?

Well not really, I know I can make money at the levels I am playing but I feel I am not really fulfilling my potential. I want to be entering bigger tournaments, qualifying for live events and have a shot at the big time. But will all that come at the expense of returning to break even again?

I am coming to realise that I am holding myself back. My personality dictates that I would prefer to win less more regularly, than more less often. The loss of one $50STT affects me more negatively than if I grind out my $50 profit over 3 times the amount of time.

So what do I do? Am I too risk averse to acheive anything big at poker?

Am I going to have to settle for winning between $2000 - $6000 a year and just accept its a paying hobby?

Well I am going to be trying hard to find out what it is that makes me such a "non gambler". I am going to see if I can tweak my bankrolling methods and reporting to convince myself into thinking I am taking less risk.

My friends are constantly telling me I have the game ... all I need to find now are the Balls!!

Until next time

Keep it Tight