Monday, March 15, 2010

Reader Challenge 1 - Turbo Tourneys - Your Mission

Now, it is time for the Challenge - GAME ON!!

Fellow bloggers and casual visitors, come one and all, join me (as I would ask nothing of someone else that I wouldn't do myself). Your Mission - should you choose to accept it - is to play Turbo SNG MTT tourneys, perfecting your play, limiting your losses, accepting loss as part of the equation, and make a profit.

Reread the following posts to refresh your brain (note, these pop up in separate window, tab):

The Challenge, Step by Step:

  1. With your own hand histories in mind, develop a strategy to play turbos, focusing on the pre flop focus of this game. Develop a strategy for what YOU believe are the different stages of the tournament. It doesn't have to be fancy, I have mine typed up in a Notepad text file.

  2. Play 12 Turbo Tourneys at or below 2% of your bankroll. I have $6. That means I'm limited to the 10 cent Turbos.
    Play Turbos listed in the Sit N Go Multi Table Tab. A fixed number of players lessens the variance and time, as opposed to large fields of opponents in scheduled tournaments.
    Play Turbos with 90 or more players (the practice of nearing the bubble can be more aptly applied here).
    Practice your Strategy and Note Taking while playing.

  3. If you lose 3 tourneys in a row. STOP. Take a break, analyze some play, observe the tourney you were just knocked out of (stalk the guy who knocked you out), lunch, laundry, whatever. Pay attention to your statistics. If total hands called is above 25% (and you get knocked out), STOP. Tweak your tournaments strategy, and try again.

  4. Out of 12 Turbo tourneys, finish 8 or more in the top 50% (180 for 360 man, 45 for 90 man, etc.) This enables patience, and shows any leaks in your tournament strategy.

  5. Out of the 12 turbo tourneys, finish 6 or more in the top 15% (54 or better in 360 man, 14 or better in 90 man). This gets you near the bubble, and if you get knocked out, or your short stack race explodes, you can tweak the tourney strategy some more.

  6. Out of the 12 turbo tourneys, finish in the money 4 or more times. You've played 8, you're not multi tabling beyond 2 or 3 at a time, you've followed the steps, you SHOULD be statistically in the Money 33% of the time. Running races of 60/40, it would be better at 40% in the money, however, losing streaks do happen. So lets look at cashing 33% of the time.

  7. Out of the 12 turbo tourneys, make the Final Table 2 or more times. This is where the money is at, this should be your goal. We're looking at 17% final. Even if you finish 9th twice, that is 1.80 at the 10 cent SNGs. If you cash and final at this rate, you will be making a profit.

There will be more challenges later, but this should do for now. Feel free to post your results. Have fun, and good luck on the Felt.

Pre-Flop Hole Cards Again, Turbo Tournaments, Personal Statistics

In this previous post, I mentioned shoving from the small blind with 99, because KK decided to limp in UTG+1 (sometimes a good move, but turned out disastrous in the play). So using Holdem Manager and my last 23 tourneys, plus the Still Being Tweaked Turbo Tournament Strategy, I will discuss certain preferred Hole Cards, how often I have won with them, and how they are best played.

Now that I've played more tourneys, my percentage of HM's top cards has increased. Raised from the initial 2.4% to 3.3% are AA, KK, QQ and AK. Let's take a look at the win/loss record here.

  • AA - 6 times. Lost with them only once, Loss was in CO position, 2+ limpers in front, and of course, I shoved. BB50. I also was second chip leader at 4450. However, big blind called all in with 55, made set on turn. Only lost 1220 chips. I tend to get AA most in Middle Position, and shoving doesn't always produce folds (as you can see). Win Rate: 5/6 hands - 83%.

  • KK - 5 hands, lost once. Still early stage 20bb, IN BB, shoved, got called by AQs and T9s (what?), and A flops. However, an 80% success rate falls within the 60/40 rule I'm looking for. I recommend shove regardless of position, just because IT IS a Turbo. But, if you feel better with a substantial raise in Early pos to see a flop, that can work also.

  • QQ - I have some better success with Ax. Win rate is 57.1%. Lost one with preflop all in from UTG, there was AA on board in late position, we all lost to the chip leader with QJ suited. BB 100, should have just raised. Best to fold QQ's when 2 re raises (AA did go all in, and I'm sure BB would have called). QQ is still best from mid to late position. The EV pre flop is 50%, so one needs to keep this in mind. Definitely worth the shove when have the stack. Lost again against KK. I did fold QQ when 20bb, during an all in frenzy (and A9 won. A2 off, the chip leader, received a side pot).

  • AKs - 75% win rate, dealt 3 times, lost once, won twice. All times were in Early position.

  • AKo - 9 hands dealt, 5 won, 4 lost (have a tendency to play all). I folded one hand, that I would have won with. Wanted to conserve chips, in BB. Lesson learned, other AK raised to 500, 2 other callers before the BB, not at level to race yet, probably should fold AKo in multi-raised pot. another rerun shows that at the Middle Stage, blinds 100 to 200, shoving with AK, and no K nor A on flop, is a mistake. However, once the antes hit, if on the button, defintely worth a big raise. Be careful if the BB has more chips than you, because you could end up with a race that you lose.

I want to discuss some hands won that are out of the ordinary (they have a higher percentage rate).

  • Dealt ATs once, blinds were 1000, chip stack 6000, middle position with one limper, made the shove (this is during the in the money phase). Flopped T2T to win the pot.

  • Dealt KTs once, on Button, made raise, blinds 4k, won the pot with a continuation bet.

  • 100% win rate with AJs, dealt twice, once in BB, called raise, won pot, and once in early pos, 7 handed, blinds 1k, went all in for 3.5k+, uncalled.
  • J5s in BB, made a move, and made the flush.

  • JJ and TT the same. Win rate of 75% out of 4 hands. All wins BB, CO, and BTN (one early pos win when blinds were big). Most wins were simply position raises, with appropriate bet when checked to me. 87s also has win rate of 75% out of 4 hands.

Now, on to Pockets:

  • 88 has win rate of 66.7%, while 99 has win rate of 60%. 88 plays best on button and SB. 99 plays best from middle to SB. Don't shove unless you are on the short stack.

  • 77 is dismal, apparently, I've played every one, regardless of position. Should only be played in the later stage, in the money stage, and part of final table. Only played 66 once, and ended up winning (folded all others).

There are many other hands I could go over, but you get the gist. You will also get a feel for how many times you get certain cards in a sample size of 23 tourneys. Feel free to analyze your own play.

Sunday, March 14, 2010


This post is a more indepth analogy that was posted as a reply on Donkey Thrasher's blog. As mentioned many moons ago, everyone and their dog wants to be pro. Poker is not EASY MONEY, and there is no software out there that protects against bad beats and losing streaks. Ergo, study and analysis, plus learning to read opponents WITHOUT software, is very important to your game.

However, we all can't live and breath poker 24/7. Even if spending a great deal of time studying the game, you need time off. So yesterday, I did just that. No blogs, no forums. I did start out watching some Poker on TV (some old recordings of Poker After Dark), and then decided - NO - I need a break. So I just relaxed, and watched regular ole TV. The mind is much more fresh today then yesterday.

When you are on a LOSING STREAK, when you don't feel your optimal play, or A Game (because you've been on losing streak), JUST STOP PLAYING. When you feel like busting your computer, when you feel like the site is out to get you - JUST STOP PLAYING.

I've read a few blogs, seen a few shows, and previewed a few videos (most notably from PimpinDonks on SharkScope), and they advocate a different form, typical of the younger (20ish) crowd of new multi-tabling players. From the 2 Months 2 Million show (gee, wonder why they didn't make it?), and others, if you have lost money or want to fight off tilt, put in a MASSIVE NUMBER OF HANDS. Supposedly, this will correct the issue of Losing Streaks.

There are so many reasons why this Player Strategy is wrong, its hard to count (okay, let me try):

  1. It promotes a form of gambling. You have promoted your game from suffering through the ups and downs (hence, proper bankroll management), and elevated to a form of chasing money. Even if collecting Rakeback, wouldn't you rather build the bankroll up, than at the best being break even through rake back?

  2. Playing (or wanting to play) as a professional, or at least to supplement your income. No regular job expects you to go into LOCKDOWN MODE in order to catch up on work. 12+ hour stretches are not good for your health, your family, nor your bankroll. You need a life, and either believing you can shake off a Losing Streak through adding thousands of hands, or working through Tilt by continuing to play (which leads to more chasing), will deteriorate your life. Pros know this. The youngsters are still playing WOW, just another level.

  3. Your mental state: you need time off to break the streak. I learned this the hard way, when playing rush. Put in plenty of hands at different levels. Didn't leave when I had more than 4X my buy in, and lost it (on premium holdings by the way). Your goals should be to make money, not to put in X amount of hands. If you make your money in 2 hands, LEAVE the table (what you expect is dependent on what you want - but 2 to 4 times your buyin should be good). If you've lost 10% of your bankroll, definitely stop. Take a Mental Break. Analyze your play. Observe some tables. Whatever.

  4. What the old hands have to say about it - Phil Ivey, Chris Ferguson, Phil Gordon, etc. I find this to be true in Live play also. If you are losing, find any excuse to get up from the table. For online play, this doesn't mean opening 20 more. It means shutting the client down. Ferguson built his bankroll by buying in with 5% of his roll, and leaving when it doubled (that's right, short stacking and ratholing). Both Phil's get up if they are losing. I lost 6 online tourneys in a row, I quit playing. REAL PROS know when to hold, fold and walk away.