Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Ditching the Heads Up Display

It all started with a little game on PKR! They got me in with a tantalising reload bonus and the free cash was just too much to resist!

So sitting there on the virtual 3D felt without my comfort blanket of a HUD and without 10 other tables fighting for my attention I set about to playing some poker.

As an aside ... It probably is the next best thing to playing live poker. In fact that is the real reason I am able to write this blog entry because I did start playing real poker.

I was able to identify the person who was playing weak tight. I was able to identify the player who was drunk. I was able to enter into chat to get a feel for a player. Most importantly I didn't rely on 3000 hands of history on a player to which had no relevance to that players current situation.

Let's just take a player of whom I have 3000 hands of history. I should have a pretty good idea of how they play ... right? Well yes as long as they play consistently the way their stats show they do.

What if I play a player who normally plays sober for 5 days a week and then plays loose drunk every Friday and Saturday night ... their stats won't show this on the HUD. In fact it will lead you to play less optimally on either side of their range because you will be playing to their average range.

Think about the fact that an average 6 man STT might last 30 - 100 hands (depending on format). Then think about the fact a player might play against his tracker stats for that SnG.
His tracker stats aren't going to reflect their change of style in play against 3000 hands of history.

What if a player is playing tilted? What if  he let his girlfriend have a go on his account? What if he has recently watched a training video?

With online poker as competitive as it is today identifying just one persons current situation of play, at that point in time, might mean the difference of a break even day to a losing one ... never mind a winning day.

Then let's go one stage further ...

If you have stats on a person it will probably lead you to play the same way against them. This then makes you play predictably and anyone picking up on that will exploit you.

So ... after successfully clearing my PKR bonus, I have moved back to, ditched the tracker and HUD and gone back to good old "read the situation" poker. What's more ... its paying off.

I am now ...

Playing less predictably
Picking up on people's weaknesses
Picking up on people's strengths
Making assessments of new players quicker
Picking up on players mood and current style of play
Making notes


I am playing less tables!

Then again ...

it is far more enjoyable, less systematic and more profitable.

So if you run a tracker and you think the stats have a handle on me. Think again because the next game it's all going to be different.

Until next time

Keep it Tight!

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Shocked by the impact of rake!

Perhaps I am a little slow on the uptake but I have only just seen pictorial evidence of the impact of rake for my Party Poker account.
I have to say I thought I was struggling to make a profit and perhaps that I was even becoming a losing player ... but this is obviously not so!


Am I the only one that finds this astounding. It makes me feel like I am being exploited for my time I spend playing.

Not only that I feel sorry for those guys who are winning players but the rake takes them into negative ROI.

The poker sites need to understand that this is not a sustainable model for income or maintaining a player market.

If they want to maintain their customer base they need to rethink their methods of generating profit from the games.

Perhaps for example they could rake less from losing players and more from those that win on an increasing scale, for example as a tax at the end of the month based on a players winnings.

Its worth checking your own graphs just to see what impact rake has on your profits ... even if you can't yet do anything about it.

Until next time ...

Keep it Tight!

Monday, 20 May 2013

Advantages of being allowed to play junk?

I spend most of my time trying to play poker properly, which normally means ditching the poorest of hands.

However I have recently been playing at a level that is allowing me to get in cheaply to multi way limped pots with absolute trash. Whats more this is not currently a losing proposition and is giving me one major advantage .... psychological well being!


Well normally when I play I am raising/re raising with a strong hand and then adjusting through the streets as to how I see the hand playing out. When I win I feel great and justified as the best hand wins ... but when I lose it is generally followed by feelings of ...

"How can you call a pre flop raise with that?"
"How do you stay in the hand with that trash?"
"Typical hit the 2 outer river to win the pot?"
"Mmmm tough fold or tough call?"

... all negative feelings.

However by playing trash I get feelings of ...

"Well didn't expect to hit much there anyway!"
"I didn't expect that to hold up by the river!"
"Thats an easy fold!"
"Oooh set up on the flop of 22A with my 2"
"Whoah ... straight to my 7 on the river!"

All positive feelings.

So why isn't this a losing proposition as it should be ...

Well I must have an edge on my opponents at this level and the players I have been playing tend to:

Not fold top A
Chase flushes and straights
Fold to weak bets if holding nothing

Anyway this isn't going to break the bank if I lose and it isn't going to make me rich if I win. But it has brought back some sense of perspective to my game ... as well as some happiness and fun.

For now I can reserve my tight game (and grumpiness!) for the tourneys I play.

Until Next Time

Keep it tight!

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Playing through a downswing - my take!

I was just browsing the other blogs I follow and came across a blog post by James Atkin (link at the bottom of this post). This is a great post and I totally agree with (and understand first hand) the difficulties a poker player has in dealing with a downswing.

However one thing that wasn't mentioned was that a downswing will affect you proportionately to what the losing means.

So what do I mean by that?

OK, well lets look at 3 different examples of types of poker player.

Firstly lets take the regular professional - they rely on a monthly income from their poker. Their expectation as a winning player is that they will make a profit every month. This, realistically, isn't sustainable due to the variance inherent within their game. Losing streaks are a huge hit because they put stress on the day to day running of their lives and are probably doubly debilitating due to the fact that they come as "Unexpected".

Secondly lets look at a serious recreational player. They have a non poker related job and fund their poker playing from other earnings. They have read all the books and want to achieve something in poker but it really doesn't matter if they win or lose because their livelihood is secured.

Lastly is the, what I call, "Made it Pro". You got a a couple of books out, a few TV appearances and a sponsorship deal for many of the tournaments you enter. What you lose in an evening has probably been earned in royalties and investments in the same day.

So a downswing affects you more if you put more value on the losses incurred from the downswing.

Too simplistic?

I am sure yes because its not poker that's complicated, its the people that play it who are!

Now to the whole point I keep this blog! ... I use it to listen to others and think through my own game!

So where do I sit in the scale of downswing turmoil?

Well I am very close to my second example with the winning mentality of the first ....

except ....

I REALLY want to achieve a big win at poker but every single small loss, that can't even be explained as a downswing, is like I have lost every thing ....

even though I have been a winning player for near on 10 years short term losses stop me from continuing to push the boundaries with what I am willing to risk ....

I put all value on the winning and not the amount I have won ... which makes losing any amount more painful ...

and at the first hint of a downswing I am back down the limits faster than you can say "losing player"


So tonight (with James Atkins' post as help my blog has taught me another lesson ....

.... I need to recognise that my short term losses are not that important and I need to learn to deal with downswings so that I can push myself harder ... and who knows? ... one day ... I might be able to hit that big win I dream of!

Until next time

Keep it Tight!