Sunday, February 28, 2010

Turbo Tournaments - A Discussion vs. Normal Speed and Play

Since my challenge on Stars incorporates building from .10 cent micro-limit Turbo Tournaments, a definite comparison between the types of play in Turbo vs. Non-Turbo is in Order. There are not a lot of strategy articles for Turbos. So, for our comparison study, we will be looking at NORMAL stack tourneys, which means both a normal speed and a Turbo speed will start with the same stacks (1500 in chips). While the blinds and minutes per entry level are different for Full Tilt than PokerStars, we will work with Stars as the focus for our study. There are many micro limit, multi table sngs running constantly on PokerStars. Some blind structures are a little different than others. However, the main difference between Normal Speed and Turbo, is the increase in levels (10 mins for a Normal speed, 5 mins for a Turbo speed). PokerStars also starts out the first blind lower than Full Tilt, at 20 vs. 30 for the latter.

Turbos are designed to be fast, fast paced action, fast paced structure (kinda like Rush Poker, only a little slower). You need to be comfortable with Coin-flip hands (the kind you want to avoid in normal tournaments and Sit N Gos). This is kinda like gambling, but is comparative more to BlackJack than a slot machine (since there is SOME skill involved). At some point in time during the Turbo, you will be short stacked.

You can click on the images below to enlarge.

When the blinds escalate to 1k and 2k, I've rarely seen anyone with 100 times the Big Blind - especially in MTT turbo SNGs, with a fixed number of players. To be successful in this environment, you need to set yourself up so that you win the race at showdown. Experience will tell you when you need to push for the coin-flip, the race. Some folks needlessly gamble (such as going all in the first hand with J9o and three other callers). Some folks don't shove when they should - waiting for the AA, KK, AKs hand. My stats say that I get those hands 2.7% of time out of 19 tournaments. And with multi-tablers, slow connections, and people running the clock down to get further ahead without playing a hand, you can easily get to 150 blinds and see only 16 hands. So the traditional wait for top cards, as in normal speed tourneys, won't get you very far in Turbos.

Turbos are excellent training tournaments. They are all about playing your first two cards, basically a pre-flop game. Therefore, you learn good starting hand values. If you have an analysis tool like Holdem Manager or Poker Tracker, you can get even more insight into how your starting hand and hole cards are working for you. For example, one strategy site recommends limping from amy position with Axs or Kxs. After having analyzed my play, I can see that won't work in Turbo Tourneys. They are DEFINITELY NOT shoving hands in the early rounds. The only value I can possibly see in these now - is from late position with a decent stack size, and only Axs.

Turbos also offer the opportunity for profit with short time investment. The 360 man .10 cent Turbo on Stars takes about 2 hours or so. The same Daily Dollar on Full Tilt will take several hours. Some deep stack big buy in events can last 8 or more hours (well, they want you to get your money's worth). Played correctly, the .10 cent turbo tourney will work well as the launching pad for higher buy in tourneys later on, as the Bankroll Building Challenge continues.

Now a quick comparison between the Turbo and Normal Tourney on Stars, even though the stacks start at 1500 in both, due to 5 minute blind levels, you will become short stacked much more quickly. After 30 minutes in a Turbo Tourney, the blinds are 150, and 10% of your starting stack. In a Normal Speed $1.20 sit n go, after 30 minutes, the blinds are at 50, which means your starting stack was 30 times the blind.

Now, my experience has shown that at the lower buy in level, folks are ready to gamble the pre-flop game right away (that is, toss all you chips into play with what YOU think will win the pot - or playing your coin flip, race hands). Patience is very important. In the early levels, while you have from 20 to 40 times the big blind in your stack, just play solid poker. And try to stay out of the mash which is folks shoving with any two cards. When folks are making mistakes, in order to try and build a stack, you can capitalize on the mistakes, and build your own (here is where direct observation, vs HUDS, comes in handy). But good solid poker is needed for this situation. Your stack of 1500 chips will go further if you don't try to steal the blinds and small bets worth 100 total, and will probably get called anyway.

An excellent example: you have AKs under the gun. You raise, and get called in later position. The flop shows no A nor K. You make a standard Cbet, and the late position player raises. Most folks think, its early in the tournament, need to shove NOW. However, your opponent has QQ, and down you go. In fact, going all in with this hand, would probably have yielded the same results, again busting you out. Now, the preferred solution? Less bluffing and stealing in the early phase. No K or A on flop, then probably better to check than use a continuation bet. Save those chips. Blinds at 50 and below, is not the time to try and steal. If you miss the flop, you miss it. In a normal speed tournament, go ahead and make the Continuation bet, because you have a LOT LONGER to raise and play big hands again. Turbos don't offer that type of time luxury. The time to shove with AK UTG+, is after you are short stacked, not before.

Difference for early stages of Turbos, less action on the button, less raising to steal. If you do attempt the steal, you will more than likely need to make a continuation bet, and anyone with a decent draw is going to give you action. Turn down the steal and bluff machines, now is not the time. Don't defend with your weak hands. If you didn't make the flop, or you are not getting EXTREMELY good pot odds to call (you will need to let go of the implied odds here) your draw, it is best to fold. Your A high will probably not hold up.

An example for play in the early stages, say blinds are 50, someone 3 bets UTG, then from late position can call with smaller pockets. The reason being, if you hit your set, then you'll probably be paid off. Maybe UTG has AA, and you made a set of 99s on the flop. UTG continues with bet, and is probably pot committed. You raise, and more than likely, since this is a turbo tourney, even pocket 10s will call your raise, and pay you off.

Play changes when the blinds are 100 to 200, no antes yet. You are short stacked, 1200 chips (haven't played a pot), and the blinds are 150, Stealing just to steal is not profitable at this stage, whether short stacked or Medium Stacked. The short guys are going to go all in. If you are short stacked, and manage to steal the blinds, you are only picking up 225 chips, making your 1200 into 1425. You are still short stacked. Mid stacked, even if the blinds are short stacked, either pick up 225 more, or end up in race for 1300 more chips. If lose, then have risked almost 1/3 of chip stack JUST to steal 225 chips. Not a good play. There will be a lot of races during the turbo. Unless you have a really good hand on the button, this race is not profitable.

When the antes kick in, play changes again. For the .10 cent turbo, the antes kick in at 125/250 blinds, 25 antes. The pot is now 600 or thereabouts in the middle. You bet 500 or more, in hopes of picking up 600. If you have fairly decent cards in late position, then go for the steal. If the short stack big blind goes all in, then call. You want to have cards that race 60 to 40 (you being the underdog or better). Its okay for the race, if You have the chip stack (7500 or better looks good here). If calling the all in is only 700 more chips, this is the place to race. Marginally good starting hands will qualify. If you lose, still in good position. However, the short stack has waited around for a good starting hand, finally got one, and 40% of the time will lose.

Now, this strategy significantly differs from the typical Normal Speed Tourney. (Play tight in the early stages, play regular poker in the middle stages). Making these same decisions over a large number of turbo tournaments, you will come out ahead. You will win races, even as the 40% underdog, and you will be able to steal blinds. You will accumulate a lot of chips, and get in position to win. Over the long haul, you will be successful. That's why Bankroll Management is so important. You need to not be afraid to lose, but over the long haul, you will end up winning with the right mathematical decisions.

As to the quality of Marginal Hands? I took some leeway here at the lower end of the Hutchinson Point System. Lower pocket pairs down to 77, even 66. Axs and Kxs. Qxs down to Q6. Suited connectors with gaps down to 10-8, and non-suited connectors down to 98o. That's just a guesstimate, can tweak later.

Nearing the Bubble, you will find a LOT of slow play, since the blinds are probably over 1k. You can choose to continue the aggressive approach, or, if you have between 35 and 50 times the big blind, you can switch back to tight play, and wait until folks start to go a little crazy with the chip stacks after the bubble bursts.

The final table of turbo different than regular tournament. As mentioned before, many short stacks here, and more often than not, no one has a clearly defined chip lead. And, once reach the final table, the dynamics of play change again. Obviously, the short stacks are gonna fold, waiting for someone to bust someone else out, moving them up in the money. I've also seen short stacks actually rebuild, as the races change in their favor. If you are well stacked, and have been playing aggressively, then you will need to tighten up, since everyone has seen you play, or they've watched from another table. Only go with the Good Hands as in the start of the tournament, opponents expect you to try and take advantage, and they will try to take advantage of you. If you are short stacked, and can make a few rounds (maybe 6 hands or a few more), be patient and wait to get a good hand. If someone bust out prior to your good hand, you move up. No matter what you shove with, you are probably going to get called.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

A Note on Loss Limitation - The 30 Big Bet Rule (Big Bet = Big Blind)

As part of Bankroll Management, we will discuss the role of limiting your losses in a particular game. I have found this very helpful throughout my online poker playing years (ergo, you won't find me losing thousands of dollars online). There are a few rules for Bankrolls and Buyins. For limit games, a Bankroll of 250 to 300 times the Big Bet is advisable. So if you are playing a .10 fixed limit (without antes) game of Omaha or Holdem, you need about $25 to $30. For a $1 game, you need about $250 to $300.

Now, this buffer works against that dreaded word, VARIANCE. While Poker is a game of skill in the long run, we all have losing streaks in the Short Run (see my adage on the sidebar that states if you are losing, find any excuse to get up from the table, or Just close the Client down). Your losing streaks can be long, and many players should come to grips with this.

In fixed limit games, there is less variance than in No-Limit/Pot-Limit games. You get more value for your pot odds and implied odds, because you don't have to throw your whole stack in the middle. Hence, you can play fixed limit games with a lower bankroll than the higher variance games. However, we do run across those folks with the GREED factor, or they just watched Phil Ivey in a cash game, and they are ready to rock and roll with repeated deposits of $30, OR they insist the only way to play is with the maximum buy in.

There are several rules of thumb for Bankroll guidelines to No Limit/Pot Limit games. Here, many advocate 25 times the Big Buy In for ring games (you may want a bigger buffer for 6 man ring games). Because Implied odds may sometimes outweigh the Pot Odds in these games, you need a larger roll to rock with. So for a NORMAL (not deep stack) ring game of No Limit Holdem, or Pot Limit Omaha, 10NL (meaning big bet is .10, big buyin is $10), you will want a roll of $250 to $300. $500 for Deep Stack and ante games.

However, I have played (and successfully mind you), 10NL with a lower bankroll. And in Chris Ferguson's Bankroll Management Guidelines, he advocates up to 5% of your roll (20 Big Bet buy ins) for ring games and single table Sit N Gos (however, you need to get up from the table when you double that buy in, at 10% of your roll). What about variance, and what about buying in with the max to our 10NL game, which would be $10?

Well, here is where we work on the Loss Limitation. Recently, Full Tilt Poker has changed their min buy in for regular ring game NL/PL to 35 times the big blind, and Rush Poker is at 40 times the big blind. We can work with these rules. I started with the premise (not on purpose, and not having read Annie Duke's article), of typically buying in with 30 times the big blind. This is where our 30 Bet Rule comes into play. When you sit down to play, DO NOT LOSE MORE THAN 30 BIG BETS. This is fairly easy to handle in fixed limit games (since my current roll of $6 on Stars allows .30 cent buy in to a fixed limit game if I wished). But with Ring Games, you will see the majority of self proclaimed professionals stating that short stacking and rat holing makes you:
  • a: a losing player (haha, guess again),
  • b. you don't know how to play with big stacks (well guys, what about tourney experience?) or
  • c. You're just not right for the game because you take their chips and run (gee, I wonder where that comes from).

Using our 30 bet rule, we can step outside the box a little on Bankroll Management (providing you have extra on hand). My online Roll for Full Tilt is $53+, but my total allocated is $200+ at the moment. However, supposing I decide to play a ring game of 10NL (or 5NL), I can still do so with the 30 Bet Rule (or Short Stacking as its called). For a regular ring game, I would now buy in for $3.50 (when I had the whole roll on Tilt, it would be $4 or $5). Then, I would play my game. If I lost the buy in, I would either find a new table, or quit (depending on if I was doing a challenge or not). You can even Break it down literally, that if you have lost $3 of your $3.50, then get up from the table. For Rush Poker, with my small roll, I played 10NL with $4 buy in three times (once as a test regarding a strange email I received from Support). All times had been profitable. However, the same rule applies here. Don't buy in for bigger than $4 at rush 10NL. While some say the only way is with the Big Stacks, I would rather shove my $4 into the middle with AA, than $10 with KK (and who is going to fold KK pre flop?) KK does lose to bad beats, and someone calling with AQ suited, and either hitting an A on flop, or worse - KJT appears with no paired board. AA has lost for me in Rush against KK when a K hit the river.

So, Variance wise, learning wise, and Bankroll Management wise - it is MUCH better to risk your 30 to 40 bet stack vs. a 100BB+ stack (I lost $45+ on that AA vs. KK hand). While you WILL win with AA a lot more than lose, losing streaks DO happen, and buying in for 100BB (Big Bets), when your roll is between 25 and 50 times the Big Buy Ins, only allows for so many games. And when you start losing? Then, to continue the Big Stack Buy in, you need to move down in limits, or go bust. The originator of this design was Annie Duke posting on the Advice of her big bro Howard Lederer. Even professional players work with the Loss Limiting (despite forum talk). Continually rebuying at the same table you have lost at:
  • a. continues the losing streak, if one is in process
  • b. loses our focus on how well we are playing, because we are focused on shoving to make up for our losses.

When you are losing, your table image erodes (if you are playing Rush, you will have a tendency to go on tilt a LOT easier). Those looking up stats can see this. Opponents will come hard at you, making it more difficult for you to bluff, which REALLY eats at your profits. You are not on your A game. Once again, even with a $250 roll, a $4 loss is much easier to take, than a $10 loss. If you lose, get up from the table (don't rebuy). If you double or better your stack, get UP. There is nothing wrong with keeping your money. Folks that want to play with Big Stacks, well - we have Deep Stack tables, do feel free to take advantage of them.

And how can we incorporate this into Tourney and SNG buy ins? I like to think of three games or so at a time. For your typical single table Sit N Go, you really need to cash one out of three times. For multi-table tourneys, you can go longer, because the payouts are bigger, BUT - after three games, even if multi-tabling for that time (say 3 windows for 3 buy ins at a time leading to 9 games), if you haven't won anything, take a break. Variance here is big, and if starting a long losing streak, why prolong it with a long session of 20 to 40 games? (I learned this the hard way). So think of tourneys in increments of 3 to 9 buyins at a time. This still falls within the 30 Big Bet rule.

Using Holdem Manager to Perfect the Game

I'm not quite sure WHY they show a box, does anyone order this other than via download? Didn't check whether shipping software was an option, since I downloaded trial, and then obtained license.

This is a more in depth study using some tools and reports in Holdem Manager, to fix the leaks in your game. I will be focusing on the last 19 tourneys (not counting the Freeroll), played on PokerStars. If you haven't read it yet, be sure to check out: Analyzing Your Own Play, BIG Part of Studying the Game.

Now, we are looking at stats from the Plugging Leaks 02 – The Basics. It shows statistics for full ring and 6 max games. Since we are dealing with with 360 player .10 cent SNG's, when the 6 max game shows up, that indicates a short table approaching the money, and getting to the final (a very tough ride while in a turbo tourney).

First to check is Sufficient Pre-Flop Aggression: shows as PFR/VPIP. Should be higher than 50. Now, when moving up the money ladder, you will have to weigh your tournament strategy against your Pre-Flop Aggressive tendencies. My full table is 33.5%, while my short table (the 6 max), is 60. So look to change at raising more often, and calling less often. The more profitable player will have 70 to 89%.

Next check is Positional Awareness: Playing positionally strong poker is one of the fundamental concepts separating winners from losers. The more you play in position (being last to act on each street postflop) the more you will win playing No Limit poker. Look at how often you are raising an unopened pot from early position and compare that to how often you are raising an unopened pot from the button. This is where the Preflop Positional Awareness stat comes in and it is essentially a ratio of your PFR on the button vs PFR from early position when unopened. My Pre-Flop positional awareness for full table is 5.3. For 6 max (short handed), is na. Optimal is between 2 and 2.5. Simply tighten range in early position, and open many more hands on the button (keeping good tournament strategy in mind here).

Third is Steals, here we want a number greater than 33%. However, you will want a chip stack to match here. My total steal % is 21.7 full ring, and 14.3 short handed. Along with Aggression, I need to work on that steal material (helps to have potentially steal worthy hands).

Next, am I Check Raising enough? The optimal is 8% to 10%. Mine is 2% on full ring, na short handed. Should increase to 4% - 5%, but more important, depends on your opponent. Here is where reliance on HUDs is not opportune, but watching your opponent for his actions of the moment is the way to go.

Now, for the more statistical indepth study, requires changing your Overall Report Drop Down box, applying various filters, and paying attention to your bb/100 number.

My current Steal Success Rate is 50% (however, the filter only shows six hands). Of the 6 hands, 4 won, 2 lost (the bad beat). The win rate is 67%. My Blind Defend Stats show no negative numbers, win rate of 40%. Using the Heads Up Filter on the flop, showing win rate of 52.6% (out of a total win rate of 11.3%). 38 hands showing, 4 folded to small blind call, 14 lost, and 20 won. My Heads up on Flop, no Pre Flop Raise is pretty dismal, will need to take a look at these hands, win rate 35.3%, bb/100 first time negative. My multiway pots bb/100 is positive. Win rate is 32.4% general, and 27.7% if I did not make the pre-flop raise.

Pocket Pairs Study: VPIP should be 85% to 90% especially for 88 to AA. My VPIP is 100% down to 66. My PFR is 100% down to 99, 0 for 88 and below. Won Hand % is 66.7% on up for 88 and higher (except for QQ which is 25%).

Suited Connectors Study: Look for minus bb/100. These cards play best in multi-way and steal, late position 3 bets. Overall win rate, 27.3%. All suiteds have negative bb/100 except 87s and 76s, QJs, win rate 20%, only won one hand, calling raise in cutoff. JTs, won one, lost one, both in cut off. 10-9s, 50% win rate. 98s is 0% wins. 87s 75%, and 76s is 50%. The others shouldn't even be in there.

Unsuited Connectors Study: the only positive bb/100 were 10-9o and 98o. Tend to win a lot with 98o, usually played from late position or blinds. 10-9o only played from Cutoff, twice, and won one hand. Only other hand called with is QJo, and that didn't work out. The did cold call filter produced only one hand, the 98o, called on the button, flopped 2 pair against JJ and 86o.

This is what I purchased the program for, and it is proving useful. My strategy will need to change, not only to improve the numbers (which should be fairly easy counting only 19 tourneys), but to strengthen my play and win rate. The Tournament Strategy article coming up will definitely take these statistics into account.

Good Luck on the Felt.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Analyzing Your Own Play, BIG Part of Studying the Game

I woke up rather late today, was going to play some live poker, but may save that for later next week or next weekend. Was THEN going to hop on and play some more tourneys, but read DeathByLight's 50 to 5k Journey latest post. I have been working on my offline Poker Study, however, decided to delve into Holdem Manager, and see what I could find. This took about 6 hours of study, but well worth the effort (since I have so much I need to learn about the Program).

I started by using the Hand Replayer, to look at my own stats. While I have my filter set to Tourneys starting 2/7/2010, my hand count is 5.8k, enough for a decent sample size to produce an accurate display. For more explanation of the stats, please visit Stat Definitions for Holdem Manager.

The Displayed Stats in my pseudo HUD are:

VPIP / Preflop Raise / Steal / 3-Bet
Agg Factor / Flop CB / Fold to Flop CB / Hands

My Current Stats Displayed (up to Date for PokerStars):

Showing win percent of 18%

23 / 12 / 32 / 5.8
2.2 / 82 / 46 / 5,8k

So my first analysis revolved around understanding the stats, and how they affect my game.

VPIP or VP$IP Voluntarily put money into the pot. Folding Big Blind doesn't count. This is a BIG one that many using HUDS rely on.

My current VPIP is 23. According to the chart, this is a good VPIP, with positive 3.72 win rate.

PFR Pre Flop Raise

My current PreFlop raise shows 12. Overall, not generally profitable. Ways to increase, 3 betting limpers, 3 betting raisers from late position when they are trying to steal the blinds. I need to raise PFR to about 15.

I am now switching to leak buster stats (filtered for the last 19 tourneys, which are the beginning of this challenge). The Drop Down Menu in Holdem Manager Reports is Leak Buster - Overall.

VPIP is 24.3 (still good, see above).

PFR is 8.3, raise to 15% (as described above).

AGG (Aggression PostFlop) 1.52, Ideally, should be around 3.0. My first changes should be considering whether to raise or fold. Last thought should be whether to call. Also, a low factor in this level indicates calling to much. This is WHY I post my stats from the tourneys. A professional should play between 19% and 24% of hands seen (Blinds don't count). That is 19 to 24 hands out of 100. Anything above, and you need to search for some leaky behavior.

AGG% (Aggression% Postflop) 17.6 Ideally should be around 33%. Lower factor here not same as lower factor for AGG. Easiest ways to increase Post Flop AGG% are make more river value bets, fire more double and triple barrels, reraise other players when they habitually CBet the flop etc.

WTSD% (Went to Showdown): wo, this is bad. 51.4. Anything over 28 indicates either don’t play aggressive enough or call too often or both. This will generally also reflect in a low W$SD score. Best is between 24 and 26.

W$SD%: the more you win at showdown the higher your winrate. Mine is 48.9, which is just above the min of 48. Ideally, should be 52 on up.

WWSF%: The won when saw flop stat is more of a product of good solid, select, aggressive preflop and postflop play. It is a good stat to look at to see if your game needs some work. Too low and you are likely playing too many hands preflop and playing too passively postflop. Mine is 36, ideally should be 43 to 45.

3Bet %: A relatively high 3Bet% preflop is obviously a key stat for winning players. Mine is 3.2. Ideally, should be 5.2 to 6.2. Ways to improve - 3betting a late position raiser with basically any 2 reasonable cards when you first join a table. Then, tighten up a little bit but still raise with some speculative hands. By the time you pick up a big hand you ideally would have 3bet your opponents a few times and at that point you are more likely to get it all-in preflop. (Basically, more raising or folding, not just limping).

4Bet Range: If you do this too infrequently it is too easy to put you on a very tight range and fold just about all hands you are ahead of. You definitely want this to be above 1.25% and probably higher. Mine is 1.4, which is actually good. Actually, I prefer to 4 bet with really good hands (JJ and up). Especially when the blinds are bigger, I'm indicating a pot committed attack, and it definitely causes some folds).

Call 3Bet%: Of course, this is affected by positional play. However, I stand at 83.3, which is WAY over the limit. 23 to 29 is the optimal range, this shows how big of a mistake it is to call too frequently to 3bets – obviously these results would be even worse when calling out of position. Lower this number be 4betting or folding a lot more often than I currently do.

Fold to Flop Raise: Mine is 20. Optimal is above 35%. Don't be afraid to fold on flop to draw heavy raises, or that big Check Raise (I really need to work on that one).

Flop CBet%: Mine is 70% (a bit high on the Steal Meter). However, this is the optimal range to be in. (Generally, a positional play).

Turn CBet%: the study of being too aggressive. Not necessary to constantly double barrel your play. Mine indicates na, so not sure what to make of that.

Fold to Flop CBet%: On general be very aware of the opponents flop tendencies when he is PFR. How often does he CBet? How often does he fold to a bet or raise? How often does he fire a second bet on the Turn? Mine is 29.4%, which is a fairly decent range. And the study of your opponents is very key to this game.

So, the moral being to tighten up my play a tad (which I already knew), and think more along the lines of raise or fold, not just call. Now, I do work off of a specific strategy, and some of the MTT strategy taught at the FTP Academy is incongruous with these goals. Though I haven't typed up my Low Buyin Multi Table Tournament Strategy yet, I see I will need to tweak it from the analysis I have done thus far.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Full Tilt Poker Bankroll Challenge Explained

Now, this site is being run differently than the PokerStars Challenge. I initially invested a sum, and found it tough going no matter what game I played. I then discovered the Full Tilt Academy, and have vastly improved (the players DO tend to be tougher on Tilt than Stars).

I had built up a nice nest egg running challenges, and playing within the Bankroll limits. Then came along Rush Poker (and with it, a little greed). Instead of sticking with my usual Bankroll Management rules, I went in with larger stacks (since folks were decrying this was the way to go), or found luck at higher limits than I should be playing (since folks were making fun of the limit I was playing). Twas my own fault. And - a few times I didn't cash when it would have meant over $200 in Bankroll, only to find I lost my whole stack to KK vs AA, or AA vs KK, and a K falls on the river.

Disgusted, I promptly cashed out my roll (while building a roll is good, I DO use my winnings as a supplemental income). When discussing this with support on the phone, they suggested a simple self-exclusion. I stated that cashing a roll was REALLY GOOD self exclusion. I later re deposited with Echeck, and all problems have been solved.

Now, my account on Full Tilt is a little different. I was raking in the Bonus Dollars (since Rush came, it was fairly easy). I am also set up for Rakeback. I had started the Bankroll Building Challenge by Chris Ferguson, but with deposits coming in and out of account, the Bankroll was continually reset. So, I put it on hold to run the courses.

I am considering the cash out to be part of my overall Bankroll (for live games and Full Tilt). Ergo, when I did a trial deposit for $40, and with better discipline in mind, sat at a few sessions of rush, to succeed in doubling or tripling my buy in. The dollars on Full Tilt are actually to work the challenges, and are considered investment in my Poker Education. Between the cash and the $$ on site, my roll would be considered over $200. So I do give myself a little leeway when it comes to Rush Poker and Bankroll Management.

With the introduction of Rush Poker, I became interested in the Iron Man Challenge (noting the points REALLY rack up, especially during Happy Hour). You can find out all the promotions and points under My Promotions in the Full Tilt Client. Right now, between the 2 sites, I don't see having enough time to spread the required points over 15 to 25 days. However, there is a point a day qualifier for a freeroll, and that will be my first attempt starting March 1st.

First part of challenge, use the $53+ in account to complete the MTT Challenge I'm currently in. I have found that after a couple of tournaments, a quick run through on Rush 10NL (remember my lax rules here), catch me back up rather quickly. This Challenge is a little perplexing, because the first one has cost me some tournies (in fact, since starting the challenge, haven't made one final table).

With a stack of at least 50x the big blind in a real money, 45+ player, NLH MTT or MT S&G, call a raise and see a flop with small to medium suited no-gap or one-gap connectors (10-9 or lower) or with a small suited ace (A-8 or lower). Repeat twice.

Since this portion is completed (and you have to play so many number of tournaments JUST to get these cards at the right moment, AND hope someone raises), I can see some smoother sailing ahead. Check out the Tournament Checklist Challenge for yourself.

Challenges/Lessons I have completed (and, in this order):
  1. The Academy's Guide to Sit-n-Gos, Phil Gordon

  2. Betting Basics, Howard Lederer (this one is really good)

  3. Understanding Position, Bill Edler

  4. Sit & Gos by the Numbers, Aaron Bartely

  5. Mastering the Bubble, Howard Lederer

  6. 5 Common Leaks, Phil Gordon

  7. The Mathematics of Poker, Andy Bloch

  8. Pre-Flop Strategy, Chris Ferguson (another really good one)

  9. I've also completed 5 steps for the Serious Beginner, Phil Gordon (though I wasn't a beginner at the time, points out some new topics not covered in the other lessons)

Challenges Working On, Yet to Complete:
  1. The Tournament Checklist, Andy Bloch

  2. Bankroll Management, Chris Ferguson

Now, before moving on to the more advanced courses, and before continuing the Bankroll Management Challenge, I might repeat some Lessons, starting with the Micro Stakes (since they introduced a 5NL Rush game). I want to redo, and refresh, strategies as I climb the limits here, WHILE building the roll up back to where it SHOULD be. There are also some mid level lessons to add on, that are not listed as part of the Course List.

So this is a different kind of Challenge, and one that can be complimented with other forms of Poker Education. However, to know only one style of player is not helpful, so challenges on TWO sites is warranted, in my Opinion.

P.S. My Favorite Pro is Chris Ferguson.

The PokerStars $5 to $10k Challenge Explained

I did clock some Poker time on Stars yesterday, more on that later. Per request of a previous commenter, I've decided to post a more detailed explanation of how I will work this challenge.

Note: I have 2 different challenges, one on PokerStars, and one on Full Tilt. Whether I decide to do a BlackJack challenge on UB is debatable at this point.

The inspiration started with a redeposit of $10 on PokerStars (I think it was to qualify for some freerolls, that never worked out). I then started some .10 cent SNG MTTS, more explanation of how I got down to $5+ can be found in The Challenge Begins.

There are 2 aspects to this challenge:

We'll cover the second aspect first, since it is very important. Chris Ferguson stuck to these rules quite adamantly throughout his entire challenge to build $0 into $10k (except, somewhere there was a loophole posted on his progress that allowed for events of $2.25 regardless of bankroll size, but that I am ignoring). I built an excel spreadsheet to help with the calculations for each Poker Site I was on, and also to calculate ROI and $$ earned (manual entry, no macros, just linking cells, not ready to be sold on the market heehee).

Basically, only 2 calculations to consider: 5% of Bankroll (.05 X your site $$$), for ring games and single table SNG's. 2% of Bankroll (.02 X your site $$$$), for multi-table tournaments and SNG MTT's. This includes the buyin. If you are playing ring games with your 5%, you need to get up from the table (mo matter how juicy the game), when the stack reaches 10% of your bankroll (essentially, double what you sat down with, also known in circles as RATHOLING, but when you are building, do you really care what others think?) There are other, more stringent guidelines - like 300 to 500 times the Big Blind for Fixed limit, and 50 times table max buyins for no limit/pot limit. I decided to Stick with Chris's rules here, simply for SNG MTTs.

Boku87 started the premise of his $5 with .10 cent SNG MTTs only. Since he massively multitables (was 50 at a time), quickly scored up to over $100. His other Bankroll builder was the option of .01/.02 cent fixed limit Holdem, with a buyin of .20 cents. He works off the starting rule of the 50 buyin rule (until reaches a certain level, then wants to keep 70 to 80 buyins for the SNGs).

Having studied Boku for awhile, I have decided on the challenge of SNG MTTs only, for the PokerStars site. I incorporated the downgrade and mix of buyins depending on downswings and upswings. So, Here are the Guidelines and Marks to Reach:

  • At $5, this allows 50 buyins for .10 cents SNG MTTs

  • At $12, I can add .25 cents SNGs, MTTs. If start to run bad, add back in 50% .10 cent SNGs.

  • At $50, will add $1.10 SNGs MTT. If running bad, can play 70% $.25 cents, and 30% $1. If running good, can play 70% $1 to 30% .25.

  • If drop back to $20, will return to .25 cents games.

  • Once hit over $100, pretty stable in the Bankroll.

  • Over $100, can add some 1.75 18 player SNGs, I've played $2.20 profitably at $120. If at any time drop, will lower stakes.

  • At $180, play $1, $2, and $3 SNG (working on a 70, 80 buy in rule). If running bad, can play 70% $1, and 30% other. If running good, can play 70% other to 30% $1.

  • So for $5, need about $350, etc. In this case, will still keep the split in mind for running bad and good. A mix will keep the Bankroll Steady, and minimize losses due to Variance.

I have not added the pressure of time lines, because I can see where falling off the track increases your play when you are running bad (trying to play catch up). If you are running bad no matter what level you are playing, it is time to stop. As I observed Boku's Bad Streak, and have noticed that when running cold myself, the bad cards keep following me to new tables - its best just to lay down the Poker (that's why its handy to have accounts on 2 sites).

I am currently at $6, and have played 19 tourneys plus one freeroll since the challenge started. So I currently have 60 buyins left. Noticed on my third game yesterday the bad beat, cold card streak, and stopped playing money games. When you play enough, you will recognize this path too. However, switching over to No Limit ring games is not an option on this Bankroll, so patience is the key (and while hopping onto $1 single table SNGs are tempting, this is outside of Bankroll Management, and I am trying AT ALL COSTS not to redeposit).

Monday, February 22, 2010

Life of Poker and Blogging, Where is the Time?

Well, haven't played nor blogged this weekend. Yesterday, took off time to wait for Sis and a visit to Reber Ranch for cheap Premium Cat Supplies (a conundrum there - I feed Wellness Canned and Eagle Pack dry, if you have cats, Google is your friend). As part of scheduling my life, I couldn't get into blogging nor tournament play during the time Sis might show up, only to find out that she wouldn't show up till today (note, she is NOT into Poker).

Spent time in the Full Tilt Forums, to find out some with check depositing issues, which I followed up on. Looks like I am safe (whew). Got lost in other forums too, Two plus Two had some interesting reads over 300 pages long (so bookmarked, but probably won't be able to finish). Did some posting in all my fave Forums (links on sidebar), watch out in the Holdem Manager Forum, folks willing to Pay for Datamining!! Once again, if you are needing this data so bad, or are using others like Poker Edge or Sharkscope HUD, you ARE NOT PLAYING POKER, YOU ARE PLAYING A VIDEO GAME!! A True Professional should be able to play on ANY SITE and in ANY Card Room, and many of the players relying on HUDs WON'T play on the Cake Network, because the Huds aren't allowed (and some other sites are producing issues, so folks won't play till they get that HUD working?) Nuff said.

Speaking of Poker Tracking Software, I layed down the $54.99 to activate my trial version of Holdem Manager. I love the stats in this software, and can only see my game improve. I also spent some time changing the format of the blog from 2 column to 3 column, not sure if I like it yet (so please don't get bug eyed if I change it back). My blog list needed to be redone, thank god for automation. If you are interested in 3 column templates, look under the Copyright test at the bottom of this blog (that's also where you will find the other Blogs of note).

As to Blogs of note, I do try to read and keep up with my faves. Part of my study includes following the live blogging at the Venetian for the beginning of the North American Poker Tour (plenty of big names in there). Refresh this page, and check out the Sidebar for links to the latest RSS feeds. For the Rigged theorists out there (or those just woeing that they can't win at MTT tourney's, please read this blog for Bad Beats - such as QQ against AQ and KJT flop, KK against 77 for a 7 on the Turn, etc). My favorite Blogger Covering this is found at Hard Boiled Poker, check him out.

Other blogs of note, there are similar challenges to mine - one for snyder321, and this new one I found for Nomad. Do stop by and give them a shout. I have several down below, all good reads.

Today's schedule: write up and article for Low Buyin MTT strategy, a little around the house stuff (including the Trip to Reber), and I swear, I will try to get in some Poker (though I must catch up on some reading for the NAPT).

PS, there will be a contest later when I reach between $12 and $50 in Bankroll. Be ready, I already know what the prize will be (and the rules).

So I changed the Template back, still working on the settings, I lost some functionality I was unaware of.

Friday, February 19, 2010

You Gotta - Know When to Hold em, Know When to Fold em, Know When to Walk Away, Know When to Run

Just a moment note here: You are probably wondering, is there any Poker Playing on this Poker Blog? Yes. But there is more to Online Poker than the Bankroll and the Charts. More than the NAPT Venetian coming up, more than High Stakes Poker.

So this post covers the More Than Challenge, more important than Bankroll Management, the Most Important Strategy You will need to play Online Right. Besides my previous article on the non-automated importance of playing online, the knowledge of self and discipline will save your bankroll in the long run, and build the profit you are looking for.

Obviously, Tilt and Bankroll Management go a long way. There are days you are angry. There are times when you are tired. There are things you need to do, schedules to keep, routines to set in place, and outside life that needs addressing. If you are not attending to these things, or paying attention to your current stress level, then you are NOT playing your A game. And A games get the results. (P.S. - this is REALLY important for you multi-tablers).

Everyone and their dog would probably want to quit the day job and become a full time pro. The true test of a pro is to build something (hence my challenge to build $5 into a considerable income - much less than the recommended deposit minimum $50). Not only does this teach me the nuances of the game, multiple settings and personalities, different MTT scenarios, etc., but it also teaches discipline. Chris Ferguson took 9 months to build $0 to $100, and 9 more months to take it to $10k (and he probably played a LOT MORE than I do). So my goals are data based points of $$$, not time.

No matter what level of player, we can all use improvement. Studying chip leaks, weaknesses in play, etc can be a real help (this is what I really want Holdem Manager for). Learning better positional play, strong and implied odds starting hands, watching my stats for too loose play, studying scenarios for pot and implied odds, studying opponents (so recognize a blind steal when see one), etc. are good learns for the novice and the 2 year online player. Not to mention how this helps your live game play.

There are times not to play, and times to go into overdrive. Recognizing these are very important. Don't play to make up that all in stack loss from the bad beat in Rush Poker. If you are tired, or sick, don't play online (and don't play to escape, especially if drinking). If you feel your edge dropping, going in with hands you KNEW you shouldn't, take a break. A break can be 20 minutes, half a day, a couple days, or a week. The poker will still be there waiting for you. If poker dominates your life (are you still playing in your PJs, no shower for a week, etc?), then its time to step back and set some basic routines for yourself OFFLINE.

Those playing well above my bankroll, feel free to comment.

Multi Tabling - More Profit? or Defeats the Purpose?

My low limit MTT multi table player, is down $7. Out of the last 200 tourneys, has made final table 8 times. At .10 cents a tourney, that is $20. Not sure if this player wants to move up, but spending more than you make is disastrous on the bankroll. This player has not changed stakes, but $20 minus $7 (not counting the tourneys he played after making money) equivocates to at least $13 profit (he actually made $18). At this stage, one should move up to where variance is a little less (.25 cent tourneys with fewer players).

Multi tabling is not always the answer to more cash flow. Phil Gordon recommends beginners stick to one table, and frowns on folks going for 16 tables. Now, many of these players are relying on HUDs to help, but HUDs are unreliable (as in, someone had a tilt streak and is over it, someone has just gone on tilt, someone always continues with a min bet on flop, whether monster or nothing, etc., renders the HUDs useless). Basic strategy taught at the Full Tilt Academy not only covers starting hands, but also position plays and opponent reads. C-betting is an art not learned from ABC poker, but by knowing your opponent.

Its because of these lessons, and I never had used HUDs, that I am fairly successful at Rush Poker (its only the Bad Beat that gets me in there, and HUDs don't protect against bad beats). One player running a blog doesn't know what to do without running Poker Edge, a centralized database that is verboten on many sites. They need to know pot odds, etc, without actually gaining the experience from playing.

Its that experience that distinguishes Professional Playing from Wannabe. In an earlier post, I was labeled a Calling Station (LAG). These stats are definitely OFF (except for the part that stated I can't be bluffed, HaHa). While I might start with 2 tables, possibly work up to three, I don't see the need to mass Multi Table, watched the results from Boku87, and it definitely wasn't pretty.

Depending on Computer Programs to pick out Fish Tables, Player Stats, Forbidden Bots, etc, really won't help you be the winning Poker Player you want to be. Suppose you make it to the WSOP, what is going to help you there? You need to play the player as much as you need to play the game, and direct observation, at THAT POINT IN TIME (not everyone plays consistently the same way), will give you the winning edge. Also, experience pumps the edge, and a HUD doesn't give you experience, it gives you STATS of past performance.

A word on Mult Tabling tournaments: you miss out on PRIME OPPORTUNITIES to play that winning Edge. You are not observing your opponents (our hero from the first paragraph went all in first hand with J9 off, definite improvement needed there). You are pretty much stuck with ABC poker, and can't sniff with those big stacks and a call with 87 suited. Positional play, complex betting, bluffing, all become a lost art when you have 12 tables open, and are either relying on statistical info, or simply trying to minimize your variance. Many of the Pros on Full Tilt, UB, and Stars, only play a few tables at the most (these are the seasoned veterans, that also play live games).

Don't fall into a trap on relying on software for your game, because this does not a winning player make. Try not to lose your total bankroll multi tabling, easily done even if you are playing in your bankroll range. Learn the game, learn the reads, lose the HUDs. My take on conquering my challenge.

P.S., my stats for PokerStars, with about 110 games played (all low level), profit is over $80, but I cashed that out for this challenge. And that's just the tourneys :-)

Note: The last 25 or so tourney's were not part of the profits, because they were experiments prior to the challenge, but after the cash out.

Holdem Manager Again- Destruction, Tweaks, and Improved Performance

Well, yesterday didn't go as planned (but so is life). I performed a tweak on my computer to get rid of an error message in Event Viewer (turns out I was right, more on this later in post). Besides having to research and solve my problem (still on the trial version), I needed to bus some Paperwork to a State Agency. By the time I was done, blogging and Poker were the furthest things from my mind. I hopped on UB, and played some free money casino games (I like the challenge of Pontoon). I also observe and chat with the Blackjack Players. Recently, one was able to turn $20 into 1k (he's done it a few times), and another turned $80 into $2k (but I think he lost a bit). Personally, I would like to try that as a side challenge, but don't have time right now, and kinda feel like chicken (a lot of folks were losing last night).

But, enough with the rambling. I kept getting an error message in Event Viewer (its gone now, since there were so many, I cleared the log), but research had narrowed it down to a user sign off issue. The only new users on my machine was Postgres from Holdem Manager. So to test my theory, I blindly deleted postgres from net user. Walla, the error was gone. AAAARRRRGGGGHHHH, there's no way without indepth study to add the user back, and Postgres SQL, along with Holdem Manager, will no longer work.

I Found the error:
Message: The COM+ Event System could not remove the EventSystem.EventSubscription object {CEB8B221-89C5-41A8-98CE-79B413BF150B}-{00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000}-{00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000}

Now its true, this is a fairly new installation, and reimporting hands, plus getting the tourney info from Stars for the last 13 tourneys (or even manually entering the data), would not be overwhelming. But by God, I was intent on fixing this WITHOUT disassembling my database. I had limited time for research (even though the deadline for getting my paperwork in was today, part of my new Poker Life includes keeping up with schedules and other outside issues). So a quick search of the Holdem Manager Forums, and some googling, brought me some answers. The redo of Postgres lead to a whole new improvement in performance, and easier reinstalls on this machine and others. The latest configuration has also rid the machine of the error regarding Users signing in and out.

First off, the newest Combo Installer for Holdem Manager has 8.4x Postgres SQL with a blank password downloaded and automatically configured on your machine. So, to reinstall Postgres SQL without losing my database, I needed the 8.4x version, do an installation WITH a password - its required, but the version offered on the HEM site is 8.3x. Now, a few folks have reported in the forums that they downloaded 8.3x and installed, then installed 8.4x, and everything was okey dokey. But I didn't have that kind of time. I downloaded 8.4x directly from the Postgres SQL site (the download for windows x86 machines, the non-64 bit version of Vista).

I then put a copy of the data folder under HEMdata off the main branch of my file structure (that is, directly off of the C; direcotry). This proved useful later, since from my earlier Win2k Network Certification days, I knew NTFS systems work better with file structures directly off the main branch, as opposed to deep filing under Program files, pseudo My Documents for users, etc. In fact, on my other Computer running Win2k pro, I had moved all the folders to the Main Tree.

I also left a copy of the Data for HEM under the current Program Files Postgres folder. I then uninstalled the Postgres that came with Holdem Manager, and installed the Full Version 8.4x using the Program Files directory as the data folder. This did not work. So I uninstalled, and resinstalled using the HEMData folder. This folder also contained my previous tweaks, and they were maintained as part of the reinstallation. With the new version, you need to set a password. THIS WAS A KEY TO SYSTEM PERFORMANCE, AND THE ERROR MESSAGES IN EVENT VIEWER. I use the XP Menu style in Vista, so pull up Postgres SQL, Start Server, right click Run As Administrator, and walla, we are up and running. Now, with my Data directory located where it is, the speed and Memory performance of Postgres and HEM are greatly improved. I thought I was missing hands, so did a test reimport from files for last three tourneys. Got Error messages saying that the HH's already existed (totally fun to learn about this kind of stuff, but that's just me).

Lessons learned: when download the Combo Installer, uninstall the version of Postgres that came with HEM, and reinstall from Postgres site with Password. To keep the Database, simply move to a file folder under the main directory tree. If need to move or place on a new machine, simply copy this database from the separate file folder over to new machine (may need to make new copy, if password info stored in old directory). No need to EVER RE IMPORT HANDS!! No more error messages in Vista when logging on and off Computer, or when starting, stopping Postgres (I have the service set to manual, not AUTOMATIC, so I can run when I want to, no need to use System Resources when not using Holdem Manager).

Hope you found the Above Post Useful. PPS, I have McAfee firewall set to Standard, no ports open, and SHOW SMART RECOMMENDATIONS. Therefore, when a program attempts to go in or out of computer, I can allow access. I have never had to manually configure McAfee as the HEM site instructs (just allow access when the Pop Up window appears), and have never had to disable UAC (User Account Control).

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Evening Post - Read All About It Again

I played some today, knocked my own self out. More on this tomorrow. Had some errands to run, and more articles coming up. But I am tired, and its time to rest.

Tomorrow's plans, bus an errand, a little housework, some more tourneys, and some more blogging.

Got a tad bit of surprise for you:

If you find this Avatar on Stars, You find me.

PS, the winner will get something as soon as I have it, lol. (Since I don't want to deposit, spoils the nature of the challenge).

Off to evening chores, spike up the TV and my non-poker game play, and everyone have a good night.

Holdem Manager and Pre Flop Card Discussion

I've learned a little trick today, to help with stat info for Holdem Manager. Pokerstars doesn't save summaries in the Hand History files for Tourneys. Consequently, I have been keeping a separate spreadsheet based on my own recorded data, and the Sharkscope database. I've now learned how to request tournament history data for the tourneys I'm interested in tracking (the last 3 for example), and pasting that into a Notepad Test File. I then Open up Holdem Manager, Auto Import the new Tourney Hand Histories, and then manually IMPORT FILE, navigating to where I saved the Tourney History text file. Walla, the only manual change to be made is type of tourney (regular, turbo, etc.).

Now, there are a lot of Stats to go over in improving your game with this program (77 preflop comes to mind). And, I will be writing up an article for Basic Low Buy In Tournament Strategy soon, which is a combination of tips I've learned through education, research, and my own play.

However, this post reflects on the PreFlop cards. Holdem Manager likes to quickly summarize the details for the Premium Hands, listed in order of QQ, KK, AA, and AK (I'm presuming this is suited and non suited, since suited only adds 3% +EV to a hand). In the Hutchinson Point System, AA has a value of 42, KK a value of 38, QQ a value of 36, AKs a value of 37 (note, this is above JJ), and AKo a value of 33 (though everyone appears to want to always go all in with it, can be handy nearing the bubble time).

In my stats for 16 games, I have received these cards 2.4% (this appears to stay fairly steady). I was dealt AA three times, and won all three hands (but not necessarily the tourneys). I was dealt KK 3 times, and only won once. I was dealt QQ 3 times, and only won once, when no one called. Lost twice, the guy next to me (a limper) had KK. Dealt AKs twice, won one and lost one. Dealt AKo three times, won twice and lost once to AJ off.

So my take on these premium starting hands, KK is great with preflop equity of 50+% from early position to 80.9% from later positions, but at the lower buy ins, someone with bigger stack may just call with AQ suited, and get there. AA provides the best PreFlop Equity, great hand to double up on (I'm sure it gets cracked, but since I've only had it three times, I've been luckier than the draw). QQ, while everyone likes to shove with these cards from any position, has the best equity from mid to later positions, BUT ONLY 18% OR LESS.

What does this tell me? That I maybe shouldn't go all in with QQ unless really short stacked, and simply call raises from mid to late position with these cards. Early position, all in, you are at a bit of a disadvantage. I know they are hard to fold, but I need to discipline myself in order to increase ROI and Hourly rate.

As to AKs and AKo, there doesn't appear to be much of a win difference between the two types. AKo is obviously better in later positions, and shoving is what I like to do with this hands when the blinds are over 200 or 300 (since everyone and their dog with a small pocket pair will call an all in with the early stages, as I discovered with my AKs shove). Many advocate, especially when nearing the bubble, that if there are reraises, and you hold AKo, should probably fold. Depends on your chip stack. If the amount will put you all in, maybe think it over some. And there are those times when preflop you are the favorite, but the AJo hits his Jack, and that's all she wrote.

Now, as to other Pocket Cards, been dealt JJ twice, and won both (who knew), even on a board with AQx flop. Look for JJ preflop on the Button or Cut Off for making moves, when the preflop equity is 67.1%, and the only other opponents are limpers.

Everyone's favorite shove (so far that I've noticed) is AQs and AQo (of course, if someone folded it, I don't know). I was dealt AQs twice, from middle position and the Big Blind. From Mid Position, won by simply calling the raises (took my 16k down to 14k, not all in), and when raised from the Big Blind, the limper folded. These are not shoving cards, but if you have the chips, they make calling a raise in position profitable. AQo, the same (simply calling raises that aren't too large for my stack size). I was dealt AQo 7 times, won three times, lost twice, and folded twice (the big raiser would have took half my chip stack, and I would have won, Q on flop, but I do tend to play a little tighter).

Well, there are many more hands to discuss, I hope you liked this starting hand discussion. Query, would you fold the above hands or shove? How do you analyze your play?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Yeah - A Successful Deposit, The Money is Mine!!

Finally, I checked Pending ACH for my Bank, and they are withdrawing the money. One obstacle down for Full Tilt. Whew (this was a lot easier on Stars).

Working on Laundry and Shopping, Visiting and Commenting on some Blogs, might hop on some forums, but plan to get a few tourneys in on Stars today.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Evening Post - Read All About It

Well, I started to feel a bit tired when it came to playing some MTTs on Stars. Been working on the site, and reading up on some blogs I've been following.

Noted: someone mentioned his play and bankroll went down when playing tired. So, I decided just to observe a few games (at that level, I don't bother to record hands observed). I started working on backgrounds, and I can tweak this one some more later.

A word on the tools I use to track my games, and improve results.

I use Holdem Manager, though have to manually enter tourney stats. Better for cash games. I have the bare subscription to Sharkscope, so can get tourney results and graphs better than Holdem Manager. Downloaded a spreadsheet, that automatically calculates bankroll, and keeps tabs on tourneys (and other games if you wish). Manual entry, graphs aren't that great. Obviously, you need your Poker Client to save Hand Histories.

Tomorrow, life may crack into my Poker play. Errands to run, and phone calls to make. Might try in the evening, but again, if feeling like sleeping, won't play. (Never hurts to watch and take notes though).

Good Night to All, its a back to work week.

Another Day, Another Dollar?

Well, whether they liked it or not, the Cats allowed me to sleep until aournd 7:30 am this morning. The sun was actually out (well, in Seattle, there was daylight). This has usually not been the case.

Keep my TV on CNBC (Dunno why when Stock Market not running). Just an observation.

SO, will play later today, but decided to work on Blog this morning.

A Computer Geeks observation for those playing Online Poker:

  • Even with 3gb Memory - your machine will run best if you reboot at least once a day.
  • At least once a week, shut your laptop down. Leave off over night.
  • I have a Targus Stand Alone Cooler (fans the Laptop from the Bottom, best for Toshibas that have the cooling fan on side). Add some cooling to your system for online stretches.
  • You will want to defrag your machine at least once daily or every 2 days. I use Auslogics, which is free. I then use the Windows defragger (you need to use both), to keep the MFT (Master File Table) pointer up to date, and helps with the registry.
  • Laptop users, occasionally dump your prefetch files except readyboost directory (that actually holds the xml file used in Event Viewer), maybe about once every three months or less.
  • Also, when you turn off your laptop, take out the battery, and continually press on the Power Button (hold down). Repeat for about 2 mins. This will clean your memory out.

Hope the above helps.

PS, got the time wrong for the FTP academy Freeroll yesterday, so only played one hand. Apparently, it starts at 15:01 eastern time, which is 12:00 my time. Thought it was 16:59. My bad.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Finally a Final, My First Multi-Table Experience, Progress Part II

If you haven't read it yet, please check out Wow, a Tiring Morning, Progress Part I

Starting Bankroll: $5.14. Forget the Hutchinson Point System (though will incorporate with Other strategy). Back to usual play. Joined one table, and no cards, thought I would do the multi-table thing. Joined a new game. Now, have only $4.94 left.

In my first game, the cards started to come, non-busted AA, JJ, QQ, etc. The second game was a waste of 10 cents (lol). I had a break of about 20 minutes to sit and study, which brought me out the "PokerStars is out to Get Me (or my 10 cents) Mode".

In my second game, I did hit it with AA, and doubled. But pairs of 77 were my downfall. Jumping between tables, thought I had straight when only had set, and other player with 10-6 off (what are you doing in there anyway?) made the straight.

Not learning my lesson (and Pokerstars is out to get me), the next hand was pocket 77s. Short stack goes all in, I call and someone else calls. I have second best on flop (828), and bet, get called by 10-9 suited, whom makes a straight on river (the ole runner, runner). Short stack had QQ, and makes full house on river. Hero (me), left with 600 chips, and blinds at 100. Final hand, my 2 pair gets crushed by flush, but hey, no chips to back them down.

My conclusion, I don't play as well yet to multitable in turbos. Stay away from 77 (Even though was best until river, but they will chase).

Yuck from that experience, finished 168th place.

During current Hold'em session you were dealt 18 hands and saw flop:
- 1 out of 2 times while in big blind (50%)
- 1 out of 2 times while in small blind (50%)
- 4 out of 14 times in other positions (28%)
- a total of 6 out of 18 (33%)
Pots won at showdown - 2 of 5 (40%)
Pots won without showdown - 0

However, my AA double up continued on the first game. I made it to the final (up and down during the in the money stage). Finished 6th, for 1.70. Game improved after I quit the other. I've played many tourney's and many finals, so was glad to be back. I made a donk call on the end (but the blinds are so huge at this time, 6k plus antes), I got it in there with an open ender that didn't make it. My stats are more reasonable also.

During current Hold'em session you were dealt 119 hands and saw flop:
- 8 out of 14 times while in big blind (57%)
- 7 out of 18 times while in small blind (38%)
- 14 out of 87 times in other positions (16%)
- a total of 29 out of 119 (24%)
Pots won at showdown - 8 of 14 (57%)
Pots won without showdown - 8

My ROI since I started the challenge is now 85%. I seem to be cashing every 6 games (woulda been 6 if I hadn't opened that other game). I now have profit of $1.10, and the ole bankroll is at 6.64. All around pleased (Oh well, may try that multitable again, if it produces AA lol).

I feel vindicated, and there's more grinding to come.

Wow, a Tiring Morning, Progress Part I

Cats woke me up around 2:33 am (Jimmy, the Super Hoover, was hungry). So, decided on investigating PT3 vs. Holdem Manager, decided on HEM (even though there are some problems with importing tourney information). Don't know if will buy yet, but when I get into the cash games, will definitely prove useful.

So, what does one do? Well, lets try some more tourneys. Logged onto PokerStars at about 4:55 in morning. Noticed the F40 Sit n Gos, and the F40 freerolls were running. Would love to play, but Bankroll Management needs to be adhered with.

Starting with 5.44. Continuing with the Hutchinson Point System study.

1st tourney, finished 294th (really bad).

Went all in with KK, got called by AQ suited, A on flop, the rest is history. (2 prior guys at my table had won with the all in KK, what happened to mine, whine?)

During current Hold'em session you were dealt 4 hands and saw flop:
- 1 out of 1 times while in big blind (100%)
- 0 out of 0 times while in small blind (0%)
- 0 out of 3 times in other positions (0%)
- a total of 1 out of 4 (25%)
Pots won at showdown - 0 of 1 (0%)

The one time was the KK, heehee

Proceeded to a second tourney. Finished in 81st place, this is not going well. Folks calling with just about everything. While I had playable hands, the cards were not following my way. My stats show I need to slow WAY DOWN.

Believe I threw my stack away with AQ suited, went all in with check raise on flop, and King showing (didn't think he had it). He didn't have K, but had a pair of 77s, and more chips than I.

34 hands played and saw flop:
- 1 times out of 4 while in small blind (25%)
- 1 times out of 4 while in big blind (25%)
- 9 times out of 26 in other positions (35%)
- a total of 11 times out of 34 (32%)

Pots won at showdown - 5 out of 7 (71%)
Pots won without showdown - 1

Bankroll down to $5.24.

Third Tourney, starting to feel a little tilt going on (stress and aggravation ggrowing on the inside). Played WAY too many hands, as the stats show, finished in 122nd place. Methinks I'm starting to get that feeling from the Challenge Begins Post. Behold the stats of an On The Verge Tilt Player:

During current Hold'em session you were dealt 28 hands and saw flop:
- 2 out of 2 times while in big blind (100%)
- 2 out of 4 times while in small blind (50%)
- 9 out of 22 times in other positions (40%)
- a total of 13 out of 28 (46%)
Pots won at showdown - 1 of 5 (20%)
Pots won without showdown - 4

Time to take a break.

P.S. Another of those milestone hands hit, again at the .05/.10 nl tables.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Well, Starting to get a Little Tired

As you can see, did a little tweaking of the site. Hope you like some of the Blogs at the Bottom. Some of the Newbies need your Support, (just like me), so give them a cheer. Others are great from everything to stats, strategy, and rush poker. Something for everyone out there.

While trying to get to one of the blogs, "", Avast sent off a JS:Small-C Trojan warning. This site must be using Wordpress, because googling has shown an exploit in the older programs. Would have loved to read it, but it redirects to oriental porn sites, NOT exactly what I was looking for. So if you don't have Avast, please don't follow the link (unless you have a Mac). And if anyone knows the site owner, might want to email them (I may start a chain later on that, but fairly busy).

Tomorrow is Full Tilt day, because of the freeroll for the FTP Academy. Starts at 1:59 PST (I think). Happy Valentines Day to everyone. I have a purchased movie, and some TV to catch up on. Might play another game on Stars, or not. Might just observe some small play or large play. Pizza is in my future I believe.

On with the Challenge, PokerStars Site

Well, I started today with $5.64. My current graph prior to starting play is:

For my first few games, I am trying out the Hutchinson Point system, located at this Page: Hutchison Point System - Starting Hand Values.

What I learned in the first tourney, there are very few hands at the 30+ level to work with.

So 1st game, running bad, no playable hand till blinds at 150, had QQ, chips stack 1295, guy next to me had KK.

If I had called a raise with AJ off, in mid position, and the flop was QKQ, and chased like the guy who kept betting with A10 off, woulda made a straight on river.

However, Stars PRNG being what it is, who knows what would have happened if I was on the flop.

During current Hold'em session you were dealt 19 hands and saw flop:
- 1 out of 2 times while in big blind (50%)
- 0 out of 3 times while in small blind (0%)
- 1 out of 14 times in other positions (7%)
- a total of 2 out of 19 (10%)
Pots won at showdown - 0 of 1 (0%)
Pots won without showdown - 0

Finished in Position 145.

On to the second game. This one showed a little promise, but short stacked, got lucky by going all in with 98o. NOT the optimal strategy. The object of the low level Multitable study is playing in this game. Looks like he made the final on this one.

Break after only one hand, in which I folded Q8 Suited. Later, doubled up when someone slow played their three kings, had pocket 88s, and hit the 8 on the river. Limped in with K10 suited, and lost a little money, due to the flop, turn and river scenario. But the final blow, had over 15k in chips, had AKo on the button, raised, and called an all in (he had bigger stack, and AJ off). J hits flop, and no help to me, so out in 48th place (don't know if I would have played that hand any differently, even had I known I was that close to the money).

So out in 48th place, while multi table guy still up high. My nemesis from the previous hand earned another 16k+ additional chips with 26 off in the small blind (no fear this guy), to close the table.

During current Hold'em session you were dealt 51 hands and saw flop:
- 4 out of 6 times while in big blind (66%)
- 3 out of 7 times while in small blind (42%)
- 6 out of 38 times in other positions (15%)
- a total of 13 out of 51 (25%)
Pots won at showdown - 4 of 6 (66%)
Pots won without showdown - 6

Got more cards this session, so looks like played more hands.

Current Bankroll, $5.44. (Milestone hand, the 1 million kind, was hit while I was at one of these tourneys, in a .05/.10 no limit game).

Taking break now, back to report later.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Back Into the Full Tilt Poker Cashier

Maybe the second time is the Charm.

Found out they deleted the old Echeck profile for me, so start over (that's okay with me, but the Premium Bank Wire never disappeared). Verified, like my bank requested, that the numbers matched the ACH online tool, did that by reclicking in all fields after match proclaimed. Again, processed and approved rather quickly (they are supposed to check the account as part of the processing).

Telephone support suggested a software glitch, so not willing to deposit more than $40, to bring my BR up to $53, where it was before.

Some goodies, besides the MTT challenge I play for $1 are coming up. The 5k freeroll I qualify for every month by doing Sit N learns in the FTP academy (Check out the Full Tilt Poker Academy Tag, for the site). Also, the Forum has a nightly gathering for very low cost, might try a couple of those. Plenty I can do with the $13 extra, while waiting for the $40 to clear my bank account (will be checking every day or so).

Just Dealing with Life Here

There are a ton of Poker Blogs out there, decided to follow a few. This takes time and research. If you check my profile, you will find some good reads.

Decided for a small subscription to Sharkscope (200 searches, plus your 5 free a day, for 9.99). This allowed for some more searches above and beyond, plus I can do advanced searches on myself.

Played tweaks on Holdem Manager and Postgres SQL, will be changing those. Might switch to Poker Tracker 3 Trial, see what it is like, if I can get the databases to cooperate.

Usually, I tend to rest after 12 or 1 pm pst. So if doing research, not much time left for poker.

Check out the Full Tilt Poker Academy. My game has greatly improved because of them. Work the challenges, not just the sit n gos. I personally am not in rush to earn points (as some are), so I work them one at time.

P.S. Rebooting, cleaning Temp Files, and defragging are very important. Not only do these actions extend the life of your system, helps to keep memory optimal, and helps those constant connection client (Full Tilt, PokerStars, any online Gaming Client, Holdem Manager, Poker Tracker, etc.) to run optimally on yur machine. Just an FYI.

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P.S. - Sharkscope is not allowed while you are playing on site, Stars checks if you are at a table when you run it. Once again, it is a centralized database.

Multitabling and Boku87, PokerStars F40 Promotion

While watching the object of Wednesday's multitable marathon (posted on Thursday), I started looking for the 40 person SNG's advertised on the 40 Billion Hand Promotion on Pokerstars. Saw some Symbols from the lobby, and low and behold, Boku87 was in action (the inspiration of my challenge for PokerStars).

So I did a search for Boku, wanting to check out some play in action. The search filled the screen. This was about 9 am pst, so about 12 pm pst. I tried to hop in on SNG's MTT's where he was close to the money.

Now, confirming on search today that our poor German boy is on a downswing, we are all susceptible to that infamous word TILT. I didn't know at the time, (he was still in a $100+ tourney, and shortly busted out) but our guy here was suffering a little tilt. One table, with still a substantial chip stack, Boku went all in with Q8 suited!!! Huh??? Another table was A4 off. Give me a break here (remember the A4 off in my previous post? Do a search in the blog).

Boku played well over 200 tourneys yesterday, ending with a win of $1k plus. He varied between many different games from 18 man to 180 man. Buyins from $100 to $25. He does have more cashes than wins, which is still very important for ROI, but he spent WAY more money than he won. I guesstimate a total of 400 tourneys yesterday, but that is just a guess.

That form of Multitabling at that level can lead to this. He is on a quest, he is also writing a book on SNG MTT strategy, but making those kind of plays will lead to this kind of result. You can't just hop back to a screen, and go all in with those kind of hands, without knowledge of your opponents. And you can't get a good grasp of your opponents, unless you have been observing them. And 50 or more games at a time, just does not allow for this. (Boku, you already wrote about this on your blog, please remember).

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