Thursday, February 28, 2008

Pressing marginal edges - cash v tournaments

I have a confession to make - I talk to myself. No, not out loud. But I always seem to have some sort of an internal conversation with myself when I am by myself. This happens most when I am either eating lunch by myself (which is fairly frequent) or when I am driving. And no, this is not my coping mechanism to get away from loneliness. At least I don't think so.

Anyways, these internal conversations usually are centered around poker (prob 7 times out of 10, my internal conversations are poker related - the other 3 are usually social/political issues like gun control, abortion, religion, environment, etc... yes, I'm a sicko).

It's actually fairly amazing how much you learn about yourself when you talk to yourself. One of these things that I've noticed about myself which might be a detriment to me being a good poker player is that I lack the "gamble" factor. Gnome recently posted this regarding what everyone's thoughts were on poker. It was very interesting to see everyone's comments and then I realized that in the end, I tend to be more about managing risks.

This post is going nowhere...

Let me try to bring this all back to the point of this post. Some of my coworkers know that I play poker. So, they classify me as the guy that likes to gamble. When Vegas comes up (like someone went to vegas or whatever), they always say, hey Alan, Vegas is totally like your place right? I think they think that I throw big money around on roulette tables and blackjack tables... Funny thing is, I hate those games. I HATE those games. I really do. Sometimes, I hang out with my buddies so I string along and play blackjack. But it sucks. I might have some fun but it's just not exciting for me to think that in the long run, it's a losing proposition. And that's what is always in the back of my head so I don't think I've ever had a session of blackjack where I thought it was actually really fun (winning or losing is inconsequential at that point). Craps is my only gambling vice (and I'm damn good at it, just ask Bayne or any of the other bloggers that lost money when I rolled in December). So how does this relate to poker?

Ok, back to poker (FINALLY). So, generally speaking, there seems to be a lot of discussions revolving around pushing marginal edges and whether those are more fit for cash games vs tournaments. The general consensus seem to be that in a cash game, you should push every marginal edge you can find because even if you lose, it's a cash game, you can buy back in and as long as those decisions are +EV, you should be happy to get your money in. If it's a coinflip, you should gladly take it if you're on the right side of the coin flip. But the devil's advocate in me started questioning this. I mean I understand the premise. In a cash game, you can always buy back in so if you think you're a 50%+ favorite, you should always be putting your money in there. But is that really true? Here are some of my thoughts.

In a cash game, the blinds never go up. That means you are under no pressure to play hands. If you so choose, you can just wait for AA or KK and just play those. So, the question is, is it really that important to find every marginal edge and push it? If you are in a tough game with very tough players, of course it is. In other words, luck/all in preflop neutralizes the skill factor to an extent. I'm not saying there's no skill in reading the right timing to do that but in general, it's easier to do that than to make decisions on subsequent streets. So, if you're sitting at a table with a bunch of pros, chances are, there aren't too many opportunities for you to get the money in with the best of it so, you might need to employ more of a high risk/high reward strategy.

But let's say you are sitting at your regular 2-4NL table, full ring in this example. There's a mix of decent players and bad players. If you happen to be in a confrontation with this bad player, do you really want to get all your money in on a coinflip? I feel like in a cash game, I actually tend to avoid 50/50 situations. It's almost at a point where it's not worth it because if I wait another 30 minutes, I could probably get my money in as a 60% or 70% favorite, or even better. In other words, what's the value of pushing those marginal edges (and I'm completely ignoring fold equity here but even ignoring that, I think this might be a valid question)?

On the flip side, in a tournament, I wonder how important it is to push marginal edges. In a tournament, the blinds keep escalating. You are dealt finite number of hands. So, within that small sample, you are only going to be dealt certain hands, certain number of times (duh). So, in that sense, even if you sense that your edge is marginal, shouldn't you be willing to get your money in there, knowing that if you do and your marginal edge holds up, you would be in much better shape? I don't really have answers here. These are the types of discussions that I actually have in my head all the time when I drive to work, or going #2, or if I'm in a boring meeting (and 95% of them are boring).

Unlike Gnome, I am not a total math guy. I don't start doing random EV calculations on certain hands when I'm bored (I think I read that he did that when he was on a flight to or from somewhere). That's just not my thing. Having said that, I do wonder if me foregoing marginal edges to look for better edges is actually costing me or benefitting me. I think the easy answer is that it's hurting me. That I should be pressing every marginal edge. But I guess the other thought is, what if a hand that has a marginal edge on the flop but a more significant edge on the turn comes up? I think the hand against Fuel in my HU match where I flopped a set of 3's is really what made me think about it (well, that and an email from lucko questioning my thought process).

I might revisit that hand in the next post but I'd love to hear some people's thoughts on whether pressing every marginal edge you can find is the way to go or if it's better to wait for a better spot. But then again, as I request this, I am thinking that maybe not many people may have made it this far...

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


What else can you say? This will be a quick post, I swear.

- 55 tourneys over the next 13 weeks
- Tournament of Champions at the end
- 7 seats to the WSOP

7. SEVEN! SEVEN F*CKIN SEATS to the World Series of Poker. That's freakin sick.
2 seats to the Main Event and 5 $2,000 preliminary event packages.

And apparently, this on top of other leaderboard prizes and such. $18k Aussie Million package was insane. So is this. Al is the f*ckin man.

Looks like this will kick off with Don's Big Game this Sunday night at 9:30pm EST. Followed by the usual Mondays at the Hoy (MATH), Blogger Skill Series on Tuesdays, Mookie on Wednesdays, and Riverchasers on Thursdays. Doesn't look like I'll be seeing anyone on those nights for a while. At least not till I win one of these to secure a seat in the TOC.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Recess "Golden Glove" Rampage defeats Fuel55!

Well... the title should I guess say, Dirty "Golden Glove" Vizzer since we played on Pokerstars and my pokerstars account name is Dirty Vizzer.

Well, before I go into the hands and such, here was the deal between me and Fuel.
1) We will play at pokerstars, static blinds (ie blinds stay at 15-30 the whole match)
2) We will play at $20 stakes.
3) We will have a side bet of $400.
4) If either one of us go 3-0 (best of 5), the side bet will double.

Basically, all of the above ideas were by Fuel who brilliantly stated that instead of playing a $100 match and paying a lot of rake to PS, we can just do a side bet with no rake.

Well, around 9:30pm last night, our first match kicked off. 3 hours later, I would come out victorious. As a matter of fact, I didn't lose a single match and as such, I ended up winning $800 and advance to the HUC finals in back to back HUC events. But I'm not one to really gloat on my victory or anything. I am also not one to try to justify the moves I made or what not. I am generally not an insecure person. As such, I don't need to justify luck or anything for that matter. Plus, it's poker. Luck is obviously a factor so denying that winning all 3 yesterday was all skill would just be silly. Having said that, I shoulda known that last night was my night when this was the very first hand of our heads up match.

Seat 1: Fuel55 (1500 in chips)
Seat 2: Dirty Vizzer (1500 in chips)
Fuel55: posts small blind 15
Dirty Vizzer: posts big blind 30

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Dirty Vizzer [Jh Qs]
Fuel55: raises 60 to 90
Dirty Vizzer: calls 60

*** FLOP *** [Tc 7s 9c]
Dirty Vizzer: checks
Fuel55: bets 120
Dirty Vizzer: calls 120

*** TURN *** [Tc 7s 9c] [2d]
Dirty Vizzer: checks
Fuel55: checks

*** RIVER *** [Tc 7s 9c 2d] [Kc]
Dirty Vizzer: bets 260
Fuel55: calls 260

*** SHOW DOWN ***
Dirty Vizzer: shows [Jh Qs] (a straight, Nine to King)
Fuel55: mucks [8c 8s]
Dirty Vizzer collected 940 from pot
Fuel55 said, "nice catch" <--- at this point, he had no idea how significant that phrase would be.

15 hands later, same match.

Seat 1: Fuel55 (1150 in chips)
Seat 2: Dirty Vizzer (1850 in chips)
Dirty Vizzer: posts small blind 15
Fuel55: posts big blind 30

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Dirty Vizzer [9d Tc]
Dirty Vizzer: raises 60 to 90
Fuel55: raises 90 to 180
Dirty Vizzer: calls 90

*** FLOP *** [Kc 4c Qh]
Fuel55: bets 60
Dirty Vizzer: raises 180 to 240
Fuel55: calls 180

Just to give a quick background here - Fuel hardly ever reraises preflop. The fact that he did and the reraise was so small (it was a minraise), I figured he must have a fairly strong hand. When he came out betting a small amount on the flop, I've seen him do it with flopped sets but it's a HU match and I thought it's possible he had a hand like JJ so I figured I'd make one raise to see what he does. I also felt (believe it or not, Fuel) that by me raising, if he just calls and I actually catch my 4 outer, it would be impossible for him to figure me for a straight.

*** TURN *** [Kc 4c Qh] [Jh] <--- golden glove baby!
Fuel55: bets 270
Dirty Vizzer: raises 1160 to 1430 and is all-in <--- overbet a la Fuel
Fuel55: calls 460 and is all-in

He instacalled and so I knew he had a set. I was almost certain the board will pair. But this was gonna be my night.

*** RIVER *** [Kc 4c Qh Jh] [Th]

*** SHOW DOWN ***
Fuel55: shows [Kh Kd] (three of a kind, Kings)
Dirty Vizzer: shows [9d Tc] (a straight, Nine to King)
Dirty Vizzer collected 2300 from pot

DV 1 - 0 Fuel

One thing I noticed about Fuel is that he really tries to keep the pot small unless he's got some semblance of a hand. So, I tried to keep up the pressure on him. On the same token, I knew that I had to control my aggression because he would be setting up a trap at the right time. But, keep in mind that he and I think alike in terms of the way we try to get all the money in the middle. I lost the hand count but the second match took a lot longer (maybe like 180+ hands?). In the end though, I had a 2:1 chip lead and then this happened:

Seat 1: Dirty Vizzer (2115 in chips)
Seat 2: Fuel55 (885 in chips)
Dirty Vizzer: posts small blind 15
Fuel55: posts big blind 30

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Dirty Vizzer [Ks Ah]
Dirty Vizzer: raises 60 to 90 <--- for the umpteenth time
Fuel55: raises 795 to 885 and is all-in
Dirty Vizzer said, "I pray that I don't get unlucky"
Dirty Vizzer: calls 795

*** FLOP *** [4c 6s 6h]
*** TURN *** [4c 6s 6h] [2d]
*** RIVER *** [4c 6s 6h 2d] [8d]

*** SHOW DOWN ***
Fuel55: shows [As Jc] (a pair of Sixes)
Dirty Vizzer: shows [Ks Ah] (a pair of Sixes - Ace+King kicker)
Dirty Vizzer collected 1770 from pot

Again, I was raising a fair amount so against my range, Fuel probably thought AJ was ahead. More often than not, it probably is and considering his stack size, he was hoping that I would call off that much with a hand like KQ, KJ, QJ or a smaller pocket pair for a race. But again, another indication that this was to be my night. I had a dominating AK.

DV 2 - 0 Fuel

At this point, Fuel complained that he wasn't getting chit in cards so he suggested we move up to the $30 level for karma. I'm freerolling at this point so I figured why not. Also, the time was fairly early (10:30pm) and I told him that I don't want to play/start a new game after 11pm because I was going to wake up early to play basketball. Well, this was not meant to be. The game we started at 10:30 will be an epic match that will last 2 hrs... 344 hands I think (maybe more).

Well, match 3 started off interesting. Either he started catching hands or he turned up his aggression (I have his HH also so I could check but I'm too lazy). Either way, I found myself in a hole early. I clawed my way back to even and then I decided to get cute which hurt me pretty bad.

Seat 1: Fuel55 (1545 in chips)
Seat 2: Dirty Vizzer (1455 in chips)
Fuel55: posts small blind 15
Dirty Vizzer: posts big blind 30

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Dirty Vizzer [Ac 5d]
Fuel55: raises 60 to 90
Dirty Vizzer: raises 150 to 240
Fuel55: calls 150

I felt that he was starting to raise more so I figured I'd reraise.

*** FLOP *** [3s 8h 4s]
Dirty Vizzer: bets 330
Fuel55: raises 720 to 1050
Dirty Vizzer: folds
Fuel55 collected 1140 from pot

I caught my gutter draw so I bet out. Fuel was not gonna have any of that and he raises me, basically committing me and obviously, I'm not gonna call off with a 4 outer so I fold. This brings my chip count down to <900. Not good. But not bad if you're a gold glover.

Seat 1: Fuel55 (2040 in chips)
Seat 2: Dirty Vizzer (960 in chips)
Fuel55: posts small blind 15
Dirty Vizzer: posts big blind 30

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Dirty Vizzer [Kh Td]
Fuel55: calls 15
Dirty Vizzer: checks

*** FLOP *** [9c 8h Qd]
Dirty Vizzer: checks
Fuel55: bets 30
Dirty Vizzer: calls 30 <--- gutterball baby, how do I not call???

*** TURN *** [9c 8h Qd] [Js] <--- Torii Hunter is proud of the catches I make
Dirty Vizzer: checks
Fuel55: bets 60
Dirty Vizzer: raises 120 to 180
Fuel55 said, "you hit a gutter?" <--- he sees right through me
Fuel55: calls 120 <--- but calls because...

*** RIVER *** [9c 8h Qd Js] [Ac]
Dirty Vizzer: bets 380
Fuel55: calls 380

*** SHOW DOWN ***
Dirty Vizzer: shows [Kh Td] (a straight, Ten to Ace)
Fuel55: mucks [7s Tc] <--- it turns out he did too
Dirty Vizzer said, "I did"
Dirty Vizzer collected 1240 from pot
Dirty Vizzer said, ":)"
Fuel55 said, "i knew it"

Stupid PS hand history shit, you actually have to look it up so obv, in the chat, I didn't know... until few seconds later, I went to check the HH, found out he caught his straight... I was pissed that I didn't end the match here. To his credit, instead of raising me on the river, he opted to call and kept his loss to a minimum. Now THAT's impressive.

After that, we once again, trade blows but I am starting to spew a little and at one point, my chips are down to 705. However, I keep clawing and trying to stay alive until this key hand happens:

Seat 1: Fuel55 (1860 in chips)
Seat 2: Dirty Vizzer (1140 in chips)
Fuel55: posts small blind 15
Dirty Vizzer: posts big blind 30

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Dirty Vizzer [3h 3c]
Fuel55 said, "fawking irver rat" <--- yes, just caught a 3 outer in the previous hand. Shoulda bet at one point Fuel. Don't complain if you're checking it down.

Fuel55: calls 15
Dirty Vizzer said, "<--- golden gloves"
Dirty Vizzer: checks

*** FLOP *** [3d Jd 9h]
Dirty Vizzer: bets 60 <--- bet my set
Fuel55: raises 180 to 240
Dirty Vizzer: calls 180

I obviously debated whether I should shove here or not. But I opted to call just to switch gears and also, I didn't want to give him two cards if he's on a diamond draw. So I called, praying for a nondiamond turn.

*** TURN *** [3d Jd 9h] [Ah]
Dirty Vizzer: bets 870 and is all-in
Fuel55 said, "at least 12 outs"
Fuel55: folds
Dirty Vizzer collected 540 from pot
Dirty Vizzer: doesn't show hand

Though I was fairly down in chips, I didn't want to gamble. I felt like I had a good chance to beat him if I didn't get all my chips in a near coinflip situation so I was happy to take down pots without going to showdown. When the A comes on the turn, it's so draw heavy so I elect to shove and try to take down a decent sized pot that would bring me back to even if Fuel folds and will cripple him if he calls and loses this pot.

Well, once again, we are back to even and once again, I find myself in a 2:1 chip deficit after a while. At this point, I am aggressively stealing but also trying to find a spot where Fuel is willing to commit a lot of his stack because one thing that's very difficult with Fuel is getting chips out of him. Extracting those extra chips are extremely hard so I knew that I had to try to trap him. Always helps when you're running good.

Seat 1: Fuel55 (1890 in chips)
Seat 2: Dirty Vizzer (1110 in chips)
Fuel55: posts small blind 15
Dirty Vizzer: posts big blind 30

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Dirty Vizzer [9c 7c]
Fuel55: raises 60 to 90
Dirty Vizzer: calls 60

*** FLOP *** [5d 7h 6s]
Dirty Vizzer: checks
Fuel55: bets 90
Dirty Vizzer: calls 90

This wasn't necessarily the kinda board that I want to go crazy with. Since he's seen me float his flop bets a few times, I figured this was a easy hand to get away from without much improvement but unless he had something, it would be a hard hand for him to keep betting on as well.

*** TURN *** [5d 7h 6s] [8h] <--- Didn't I tell you???? Gold glove lives here.
Dirty Vizzer: checks
Fuel55: bets 1710 and is all-in
Dirty Vizzer: calls 930 and is all-in

This is the first time I thought he lost control of his overbet for value. This is an extremely dangerous board and it's one thing if he had a 9 or had T9. But the only call he would get if he did this would be if I had a 9 or two pair. What did he shove with?

*** RIVER *** [5d 7h 6s 8h] [Kh]
*** SHOW DOWN ***
Dirty Vizzer: shows [9c 7c] (a straight, Five to Nine)
Fuel55: shows [Ts 8s] (a pair of Eights)
Fuel55 said, "of course" <--- dude, you had to know that was a bad shove
Dirty Vizzer collected 2220 from pot

This was very key. For the first time in Match 3, I had a 2:1 chip lead. I was determined to not let this one go. And yet once again, 15 minutes later, our chips are back to even. This looked like a match that will never end. But I'll stick with the theme of how I caught everything.

Seat 1: Fuel55 (1155 in chips)
Seat 2: Dirty Vizzer (1845 in chips)
Fuel55: posts small blind 15
Dirty Vizzer: posts big blind 30

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Dirty Vizzer [Tc Jh]
Fuel55 said, "might not be a race"
Fuel55: calls 15
Dirty Vizzer said, "it woulda been a race. I was just far ahead of the race though"
Dirty Vizzer: checks

Conversation is where Fuel revealed he had 22 when I had repopped him and he folded. I said I wish he shoved for a race. (I had AA).

*** FLOP *** [Kc 8d Qh]
Dirty Vizzer: checks
Fuel55: bets 60
Dirty Vizzer: calls 60

*** TURN *** [Kc 8d Qh] [4h]
Dirty Vizzer: checks
Fuel55: checks

Free card Fuel?

*** RIVER *** [Kc 8d Qh 4h] [9h] <--- another one!!!
Dirty Vizzer: bets 120
Fuel55: calls 120

*** SHOW DOWN ***
Dirty Vizzer: shows [Tc Jh] (a straight, Nine to King)
Fuel55: mucks [Qd 7d]
Dirty Vizzer said, "lol"
Dirty Vizzer collected 420 from pot
Fuel55 said, "jesus christ"

And then finally... after nearly 2 hrs of intense back and forth battle... I get dealt like my 5th AA for the night.

Seat 1: Fuel55 (1185 in chips)
Seat 2: Dirty Vizzer (1815 in chips)
Dirty Vizzer: posts small blind 15
Fuel55: posts big blind 30

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Dirty Vizzer [Ah Ad]
Dirty Vizzer: raises 60 to 90
Fuel55: raises 150 to 240
Dirty Vizzer: raises 1575 to 1815 and is all-in
Fuel55 said, "please be good" <--- no way it's good
Fuel55: calls 945 and is all-in

*** FLOP *** [3s Kc 9s]
Fuel55 said, "come on"
Dirty Vizzer said, "no suckout"

*** TURN *** [3s Kc 9s] [7h]
Dirty Vizzer said, "hold"
Dirty Vizzer said, "hold"

*** RIVER *** [3s Kc 9s 7h] [Td]
*** SHOW DOWN ***
Fuel55: shows [Js Jd] (a pair of Jacks)
Dirty Vizzer: shows [Ah Ad] (a pair of Aces)
Dirty Vizzer collected 2370 from pot

And that's all she wrote. DV 3 - 0 Fuel

One thing to note here. On the last hand, I don't think many could get away from JJ in a HU match. However, I did put in the 4th raise for an overbet all in. I hadn't done that all night, he should know that I knew it was impossibly hard for me to get his chips, he hasn't been reraising much so I had to give him credit for a hand and yet I came over the top all in. The only hand, and I mean the ONLY hand, I could have that he has me beat is AK. Not TT, not 99, not KQ, not AQ. Believe it or not, I am not a spew monkey even in HU match against an opponent like this. The only hands I woulda done that in this spot is AA, KK, QQ, JJ, or AK. And I would say JJ is a maybe and an AK is a maybe. But again, after 2 hrs of grueling HU match and if he was really not getting anything to work with, I don't blame his call here.

Either way, this put an end to our intense battle and I am back in the HUC finals baby!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Fuel v Recess - tonight!?

EDIT - it appears we will be playing on Stars maybe at the $20 level of static blinds HU match. There will be a decent side bet (amount yet to be finalized) that will go to the winner of the best of 5.

I am hopeful that we will get started tonight. Depending on how the match goes, I don't know if we will be able to complete the best of 5 match. We shall see. Some of you showed interest in watching so I will post the time/stakes as soon as I nail down the details with Fuel. I will say though, watching a HU match without knowing the hole cards would seem to me like watching paint dry. I'll be on girlychats tonight so if any of you are watching and want to know my hole cards, I'll mention it. I trust that no one will leak this info to Fuel. Even if you did, I don't think he'll use it against me since I don't think either one of us want to have any type of unfair advantage.

Admittedly, I tried the static blind HU match on pokerstars for the first time this weekend and it is a very different game. So, I'm going to have to make a lot of adjustments. And, it could be something that takes a while. I'm hoping that we can get started by 9:30pm EST. It's generally hard for me to start playing poker before then because Monday nights are generally my workout night so I just don't get home till like 8-8:30 at which point I'd cook dinner and it won't be till like 9:30 that I'm ready.

Either way, I do want to at least get the showdown started. Funny how I never woulda played these heads up matches if Fuel didn't give me such a hard time before HUC5 to get me to sign up. After a shockingly successful HUC5 campaign, I find myself in a good spot once again. Hopefully, I can make whatever adjustments I need to make to play a successful static blinds match against a guy who seems to be playing this thing all day long.

See you all tonight!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Final Four BABY!!!!

I just played WillWonka in the Heads Up Challenge (HUC6) and won 2-0 to advance to the final four of this tournament. 2 more matches till I can claim that I bested a field of 32 contestants to become the HUC6 champion... ok, I know I know, I'm getting a little too far ahead of myself.

WillWonka and I squared off in HUC5 also where I beat him 2-0 and so admittedly, I was fairly confident going into the game. However, I also know that the poker gods are cruel and so I wasn't overly confident. I just felt that if I played my game, I could probably beat him. So, what was my game plan going in? I was going to be the aggressor. The same way I was when I beat him last time. Except he must have had other plans. I think he raised almost every hand preflop that he had the button. He was very aggressive and even after the flop, I felt like he was stealing some pots away from me. I quickly had to adjust as he quickly gained a 2:1 chip lead on me. Fortunately, I had a few well timed big hands that ended when I had about 2100 chips and found TT. WillWonka limped so I bumped it up to 120 (I think the blinds were 20-40). He then shoves. It did make me pause for a minute. I mean only big hands would do this right? But then I remembered this was HU and TT is a monster in a heads up match. So I called. I was relieved to see him flip over K7s (I think it was a 7... it was an undercard to the ten) and fortunately for me, my pocket tens held up. 1-0.

In the next match, we were trading blows when we both had fairly even stacks and then this happens. What can I say. Poker is easy when you run good.

To his credit, on the river, I bet, he raised, I shoved. He had about 460 remaining and he actually thought long and hard. In the end, he said something along the lines of if you have a boat, so be it and called. I mean you can't fold there I don't think but his instincts were working. That's just a major set up hand. Great game by WillWonka. I honestly felt that he played a much more aggressive game this time and I definitely had to adjust.

The other part going into this match up was I really didn't want to look ahead to the next matchup. In other words, I didn't want to overlook WillWonka and then get beat. And it was hard not to. I mean I mentioned this before. Fuel is waiting for the victor of the match between me and WillWonka. The guy that all but mentored me in poker where now I've graduated to the point where I'm critiquing his hands? I mean this is big... even bigger if I take him down. Probably the equivalent of the Lucko match I had in the finals of HUC5 (where I unfortunately lost).

We're probably gonna play on pokerstars with static blinds. I don't know for how much yet since I don't have much of a roll but I'm sure we could do some swap deal where I send him money on Fulltilt and he could send me the money on PS. I'm fairly certain he's not gonna wanna play anything below $50 and I don't blame him. I'm guessing $100 but I could be wrong. Who knows what he has in mind.

This is big. Two guys who play cash games, probably think alike but play different styles of heads up match. And this one is best of 5.

Fuel, you're going down.

Catching up

This will be very little poker content. I think. I am in the mood to ramble on so that's what I'm gonna do. Of course, my life and poker are very closely intertwined so my "little poker content" might be a fair amount... just depends on who you compare it to.

EDIT - fairly amusing HH at the very bottom if you just want poker stuff. Part 3 is related to the upcoming blogger battle so you might want to read that too. If you have time to kill, Part 1 and Part 2 are probably ok too.

Part 1 - "Old Car"

I always joked with the guys at my previous job that I was like an old car. Once I get going, I'm fine but it takes forever for me to find that groove. This applied to work. I would get into work, boot up my laptop, get coffee, stop by someone's cube, chat, catch up on a few things, finally get back to my office where I would plop down with what is now a half a cup of coffee and... I browse the internet. Catch up on some emails. Eventually, I start working. But it takes me a while to get to that point. I'm never one to be able to get to work and start working immediately. And just in case many of you were nodding in agreement, when I say a while, it's at least one hour from the time I get to work to when I actually start working. So, I actually like meetings in the morning. What a good way to ease into work.

Well, this actually translates into many things in my life. For example, basketball. It takes me a while to warm up. I was always that way. When I warm up, I can play well. My body is loose, my shots feel good, etc. But when I hurry to go play and there's no time to warm up, I get tired quicker, my shots are off, and I just generally play atrocious. Last night, we had a county league basketball and that was a good indication. Because of work, I didn't get to the game until like 5 minutes into it. I felt like I was thrust into the game and I played ok I suppose but it just took a while to get going.

And since I told you this will intertwine with poker, I noticed that this is the case for me in poker. It takes me a while to get into the groove. I usually have to "warm up" before I get into a groove. That generally means I have to play in a game that I'm more comfortable in before I play games that are generally out of my comfort zone. For example, heads up matches. Despite my decent success in HUC 5 and my winning streak so far in HUC 6, HU is just not something I play enough of to be comfortable in. So, I noticed that I need to play 2-4NL 6max which is a game I'm getting very comfortable in recently, in order to warm up for the heads up matches. I don't know why, it's just the way it is for me.

Part 2 - Poker strategy posts, where have you gone?

There are poker degenerates... and then there is me. Fuel sometimes emails out HHs from his sessions... and I don't mean a few HHs to analyze but rather the entire session. I am generally one of the very few (I assume) that actually goes through every single hand. Probably sounds boring to most of you. But I actually like that. The analysis is saved for the select few and recently, I made a comment about how blogs for a lot of people are turning into a "I did this and I did that" report which is fine but starting to become thin on strategy posts. I don't know why. I don't know if it's because people no longer want to share their "secrets" or what. For some, I know that it probably got to the point where there's no point in posting to a blog. But there are still some of us that try to post some strategy or HH material. The obvious ones that come to mind are cmitch and gnome. I also try to but with mine, sometimes you have to sift through garbage posts like this one.

One thing I noticed is that I personally have no problem divulging my thought process. If someone thinks I'm thinking incorrectly, I want to know that too. If anyone can benefit from what I post, that's great too. The way I see it, over the past year, the blogging community and the blogs I commonly link/refer to have made me a much better poker player today than I was a year ago. The least I can do is give back to the community that's given me so much. Having said that, I miss seeing deep strategy posts from some of the very successful players. And since I can't get to P5 and 2+2 from my work computer, my "studying" time is kept to a minimum.

This is just a long ways of saying whenever I have a chance to chime in with the guys I respect on way a certain hand is played or how a session is played, I do because it helps me. And never at any point did I feel like someone sharing their strategy made them exploitable. All I thought about was how I can incorporate some of their moves into mine. And if that means I have to sift through a 150+ hand HU match session histories, that is what I will do. I told you I'm a degenerate.

Part 3 - BBT3 is here!!!

I kinda stopped playing in a lot of the blogger tourneys. Because I started playing ball in the mornings, I didn't want to play in tourneys that could potentially force me to stay up till 1:00am. Especially if the stakes aren't high enough. I know a lot of people play the blogger tourneys for fun but again, I just didn't want to get stuck in a situation where I am up until 1 or 1:30, just to win a few hundred bucks. I know I sound high and mighty but it's really not like that. I just felt the cost/benefit ratio in terms of money, sleep, and bball in the morning just wasn't worth it to me for me to play in the blogger tourneys that all start at 10pm EST. However, this is about to change for obvious reasons. You can go here for all the details. I'm assuming a seat to the WSOP is involved. I mean if BBTwo winner was going to Australia for a $18k package, a $12k package to go to the WSOP ME is a no brainer right? Whatever it is, I want it.

Part 4 - Just cuz I have this HH... there's a donkey at every level.

And some things just cannot be explained...

Full Tilt Poker Game #5246390462: Table Cranwood (6 max) - $2/$4 - No Limit Hold'em - 22:37:30 ET - 2008/02/13
Seat 1: LooseKnit ($400)
Seat 2: willw9 ($400)
Seat 3: Luffy-san ($653.70)
Seat 4: RecessRampage ($386)
Seat 5: JeffSqueak ($193.10)
Seat 6: tammi62 ($141)
tammi62 posts the small blind of $2
LooseKnit posts the big blind of $4
The button is in seat #5

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to RecessRampage [Kc Qh]
willw9 folds
Luffy-san raises to $14
RecessRampage calls $14
JeffSqueak folds
tammi62 calls $12 <--- SB
LooseKnit folds

*** FLOP *** [7c 8s Ks]
tammi62 checks
Luffy-san checks
RecessRampage bets $35
tammi62 calls $35
Luffy-san folds

Since he didn't reraise preflop for a squeeze, I didn't put the SB on AK. I figured him for a K, a spade draw, or maybe a straight draw.

So, when the safe card on the turn falls, I thought I was overbetting for value (if he has a worse K) or pushing out the draws.

*** TURN *** [7c 8s Ks] [5h]
tammi62 checks
RecessRampage bets $116
tammi62 calls $92, and is all in
RecessRampage shows [Kc Qh]
tammi62 shows [As 4c] <--- sometimes, my read is sooooo off

*** RIVER *** [7c 8s Ks 5h] [9c]
RecessRampage shows a pair of Kings
tammi62 shows Ace King high
RecessRampage wins the pot ($297) with a pair of Kings
tammi62 is sitting out

A-high. Calls off stack for the sucker end of a gut shot straight draw. Impossible to put him on that hand. Well played by the villain to truely conceal his holding. I never would have guessed A4o. Tricky tricky.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

When they throw a pot sized bet, it's a weak hand, huh?

Fuel always preaches that if a villain throws out a pot sized bet, it generally means it's weak. Hoy also had a post (click here where he talks about that) where if the villain all of a sudden comes out betting, it's very unlikely that their hand is strong. I agree with both of their observations. That's why when I have a chance, this is what I do...

(The only thing that I hate about posting this hand is the criticism that will come my way about how I don't have a full stack - so lucko, please, let it slide, ONE TIME - I still don't have AHK set up...)

Full Tilt Poker Game #5336890162: Table Garwood (6 max) - $2/$4 - No Limit Hold'em - 22:54:05 ET - 2008/02/20
Seat 1: Luffy-san ($421.40)
Seat 2: madd skilzz ($151.30)
Seat 3: basiccourse ($652.50)
Seat 4: donkoz ($494.20)
Seat 5: RecessRampage ($374) <--- I just don't notice unless I'm a little shorter... I'm 4 tabling on a tiny laptop screen!
Seat 6: La Jolla Shores ($400)
RecessRampage posts the small blind of $2
La Jolla Shores posts the big blind of $4
The button is in seat #4

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to RecessRampage [Qh Jh]
Luffy-san folds
madd skilzz calls $4
basiccourse calls $4
donkoz folds
RecessRampage calls $2
La Jolla Shores has 15 seconds left to act
La Jolla Shores checks

With bunch of limpers and a hand like QJs, I see no reason to raise since I feel like this plays well multiway. AND I hate raising OOP with mediocre hands.

*** FLOP *** [Js Jd 5h] <--- gin!
RecessRampage bets $16 <--- I instabet
La Jolla Shores has 15 seconds left to act
La Jolla Shores folds
madd skilzz folds
basiccourse calls $16

Naturally, after the first two folds, I thought I messed up. But I actually thought there might be a guy hanging in there with a pocket pair. With the big blind and two limpers, it's more likely that someone has a pocket pair or some middle cards. Basically, I was betting that one of them had a pocket pair. Me betting out screams of a 5 right? I mean it's impossible that I have a J. Right? Admittedly, this was dangerous in the sense that I almost took down this pot. But that's the risk I am willing to take to mix it up. Winning a pot is always good, even if it's a small one. Plus what am I gonna do? Check call screams of a monster. Check raise may be ok but most hands will go away anyways so I make an extra $16 if they do a pot sized bet and I raise to take it down. Instead, I get the $16 here and anything further will just be bonus.

*** TURN *** [Js Jd 5h] [8c]
RecessRampage has 15 seconds left to act
RecessRampage bets $35
basiccourse calls $35

Well, since he called, the pot now has $48. I didn't want to bet too much to discourage the call. At this point, I'm putting him on like 66, 77, maybe 88, and maybe, very unlikely but 99 or A5.

*** RIVER *** [Js Jd 5h 8c] [Qs]
RecessRampage has 15 seconds left to act
RecessRampage bets $97
basiccourse has 15 seconds left to act
basiccourse calls $97

The river bet was tough. I obviously made a boat and now I want to get max value. Based on what I had him on, only 88 would call a big bet. And I figured if he had 88, he will raise here so that won't be my concern. I want a guy with 77 or something to call me because he's convinced that I am trying to get him to fold. So I put in a fairly sizeable amount. I think the pot was about $115 and so I thought $97 was probably callable (it's the $9.99 is much cheaper than $10.00 mentality).

But what does he have to call 3 barrels from me?

*** SHOW DOWN ***
RecessRampage shows [Qh Jh] a full house, Jacks full of Queens
basiccourse mucks
RecessRampage wins the pot ($309) with a full house, Jacks full of Queens

*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot $312 | Rake $3
Board: [Js Jd 5h 8c Qs]

Seat 3: basiccourse mucked [8d 5d] - two pair, Jacks and Eights

Notice I got this guy to play a $300 pot with 8-5. And after this hand, I was able to bet out on safe looking flops where I didn't hit either and I got a lot more folds. Just another illustration of how mixing up your play is key.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Been so long, I can't even come up with a title...

Man... it's been a while since I posted. Well, in reality, I guess it's only been like a week but for me, that's a really long time to go without posting. Work ramped up last week again and so I just couldn't really bring myself to blog during work hours. And yet I managed to still play basketball in the mornings but that means I gotta get up around 6am (I know, not that early for some people but uber early for me). So, this is why you haven't seen me play in any blogger tournaments recently. I don't like to play in tournaments that could go to like 1am (EST) when I know that I'll be waking up early to go work out. Who knew that working out/playing basketball ranked higher than poker for me?????

Having said that, I of course have played an hour or so every night. Which by 4 tabling is enough to earn me 200pts... yes, I'm still that sucker... once a sucker, forever a sucker... or something.

Recently, I noticed based on other blogs that there have been a lot of non-NLHE tournaments. I think that's great. A little variety never hurt. However, I personally have mixed feelings about these mixed games. My high school basketball coach used to say to me "Stop practicing your left hand layups until you can shoot 100% with your right hand. At least, don't do it on my time!" His point was that during practice, we shouldn't be trying something new. That we should be working on other parts of our game on our own time and that practice should be used to perfect your current skill set. Because of that, my lefty lay-up is not really smooth to this day (yes, I'm 31 and I'm blaming my high school b-ball coach on the lack of development of certain areas). However, I do have a fairly mean jumper. So I guess it all evens out. The point of this is, that's kinda why I have reservations about coming out to the blogger tourneys to play in the mixed games format since I have no clue what I'm doing. I mean I know the rules. But I don't know "how" to play. And I feel like until I study up, read, practice on my own time, etc, I shouldn't play. And then the other part is, until I perfect my NLHE game, I shouldn't be spending my limited poker time on non-NLHE games. God dammit. Stupid high school coach. Coach Peterson, why are you still in my head!? So, for as long as I only have 1-2hrs of poker time on the weekdays, it appears I will be focusing on 6 max cash game because I am far from 100% in that area. Sure, I'm profitable. But I'm past the point of being profitable or not being the criteria for how I'm doing. How profitable is the question. In my mind, not enough.

Having said that, it looks like I have a fan. He's been sifting through my older posts, leaving me comments which was very funny/interesting because I know I did the same for some of the other blogs where I went into their archives, read up on stuff, and left comments where no one else would see except for the blogger himself. Well, this "fan" of mine (I'm taking the liberty to call him my fan regardless of whether he really is or not) did a post which was totally flattering. Read that here. It's almost insane that I get grouped with this high profile crowd. But I am flattered. So, go read his blog. He's another guy who's grinding low limits right now with visions of making it to med/high stakes (5/10NL). Maybe you too can enjoy the ride.

Hopefully it won't be too long before I put up my next post.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

HUC 6 update

My 2nd round opponent in the HUC 6 was jmathewson_iii. I don't have the HHs or the stats with me so this will be a quick update.

He suggested doing a $20 HU match which was good in terms of not having to play against random donkeys. The $5 HU matches are brutal because it's so hard to time it to make sure that you don't end up with a random person. So, without any difficulty, once I was settled in, we got to play.

In our first match, I played aggressively like I usually do. And I noticed that it wasn't working. I was winning small pots but losing big ones. Before I knew it, I was down to like 600 chips. I kept grinding and fighting and clawing with everything I had and I think I made it fairly tough for him to finish me off... but he finished me off with his KQ vs my KJ when I shoved on a Q high flop with my very short stack.

Recess 0 - 1 jmathewson_iii

Using the new nifty rematch feature from FullTilt, we had the second game going. Based on the first match, I knew I needed to make some adjustments. He was a fairly tight opponent so I knew I could steal some pots off of him but this time, I was a lot more careful about picking my spots. I also had what Highonpoker had said before about losing begets losing. When someone posts stuff like that, I'm even more focused on proving them wrong or to make sure that doesn't happen to me. I mean I was more determined about that than actually winning, I think. But I will say, his post that pretty much laid out how losing the first can lead to just another loss was definitely in my head and I was determined to not let that happen. Well, thanks to a few good cards early, I was out to an early lead that I never relinqueshed. And eventually, I was able to chip away at jmathewson_iii's stack until he was short stacked. I don't remember the bust out hand but game 2 goes to me.

Recess 1 - 1 jmathewson_iii

The last match was similar to match 2, I think. I was able to jump to a early chip lead. Once I had 2000 chips to his 1000, I just kept applying careful pressure. I was helped by decent cards here and there and in the end, I was able to take down the 3rd match. In any of the 3 matches, I don't think there were any suckouts on either one of us. It was definitely one of the toughest HU matches I played and I felt like I had to grind quite a bit to get the win. Well played by him. I'm glad I advanced another round. I am determined to prove that my run in HUC5 was no fluke. Funny because I never play HU matches except during the heads up challenge... but oh well. It's still poker.

Recess 2 - 1 jmathewson_iii

Recess advances to Round 3 (ie Elite 8).

And I have to admit one more thing. In HUC5, I soooooo badly wanted to beat Lucko in the championship. When I took the first game, I honestly thought I had the chance to actually do it. But, I got pwned. Lucko is one of the few bloggers I really look up to in terms of poker prowess so it woulda been sweet to take him down. Too bad he got busted in rd 1 of HUC6 so no chance for me to exact revenge. However, there's another blogger that I would love to beat on my way to winning this thing. None other than Fuel. He's been a big supporter/poker mentor of mine from early in my blogging career (which is a little over a year old now) and I would love to show him how far I've come by beating him HU. Of course, I have to win one more match before I get to him so hopefully I won't be looking past my next opponent. I doubt it since I take these HU matches seriously. So if I lose, all the credit goes to my opponent that has yet to be determined. For the full bracket, go to the official HUC site.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Some cash game tips

EDIT - this post became a lot longer than I intended. But, I think it's got some good tips for a lot of the struggling cash game players (not to toot my horn but I guess I am). Take your time, read these hand histories. Maybe not all of them will help but I'm sure most of you can find one or two things that you could incorporate into your game.

Yesterday, I saw this post from Mike_Maloney. Now I didn't want to be too brutal to the guy who voluntarily created a banner for me but I just couldn't resist. So, I left him a comment which I think if you are a struggling low limit cash game player who might be breaking even or slightly up or down or whatever, would be good to read... I think. The reason I say this is because I used to be like that. When I played .50/1NL and 1-2NL, I played tight, dinking and donking to make some marginal profits. I would squeeze out an extra bet or two. And because I played tight, the ABC formula worked enough to make me profitable. Though barely. Fast forward a year to today and probably the one blog that helped me the most (for a sec, I was afraid it was gonna make his ego bigger but it's already ridiculously huge so I guess it won't matter) is Fuel's. Basically, one big thing that I got out of it was the overbet for value. To control pot size. Controlling pot size doesn't necessarily mean keeping it small. It means controlling pot sizes! In other words, you want the pot to be big if you have a big hand, smaller if you have a marginal hand.

In his post, Mike had some great hands and yet played them very poorly. Did he win the hand? Yes. But the question wasn't whether he won. The question should be, did he get the most out of his hands. And it was clearly a "no." Again, I don't want to steal his post but if you are a struggling cash player, go read his post, check out my comment, and go throw your 2 cents in there. But if you are complaining about bad beats being the reason you're not making money, I guarantee you that that's not the only reason. If you are getting the maximum amount out of your winning hands, then despite bad beats, you will notice your bankroll to continually grow.

Below are some hands to illustrate these points, I think.

6 handed - relevant stacks
Seat 1: RaiseKelly ($298.80)
Seat 5: RecessRampage ($1,095.40)

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to RecessRampage [6c 5c]
usi34 folds
sitsik2008 folds
isohartsa folds
RecessRampage raises to $14 <--- button
yakuza85 folds
RaiseKelly calls $10 <--- BB

*** FLOP *** [6h 5h Qh]
RaiseKelly bets $12
RecessRampage calls $12

This is obviously an interesting flop. I have bottom two but it's an all flush board. This is not a spot that I care to bumping up the pot size so I just call. I could look like I am just chasing a heart. If the 4th heart drops on the turn and he bets a solid amount, I could potentially let the hand go. But I run so good so...

*** TURN *** [6h 5h Qh] [6s] <--- beautiful
RaiseKelly bets $6
RecessRampage has 15 seconds left to act
RecessRampage raises to $30
RaiseKelly calls $24

So the turn card was great. Now I have a boat. At this point, I'm putting the BB on either a Q or a heart draw (or both). I can smooth call here, telling myself I'm being extra tricky but this is a spot where you want to make the pot larger. Plus, my thought is, from his point of view, if I actually make my boat, why would I represent a boat by raising when the board pairs? Doesn't make sense right? So I raise. But of course, I don't raise enough to get him off his draw. I want him to feel like he still has ok odds to call. I probably bet a little too much but it's only $24 more to call for him into a pot that already has close to $60. He's foolish enough to call.

*** RIVER *** [6h 5h Qh 6s] [2h]
RaiseKelly has 15 seconds left to act
RaiseKelly bets $55
RecessRampage has 15 seconds left to act
RecessRampage raises to $1,039.40, and is all in
RaiseKelly calls $187.80, and is all in
Uncalled bet of $796.60 returned to RecessRampage

This is the no-brainer overbet. 4th flush card comes and he bets out strong. I'm hoping he has Ah at this point. You don't want to minraise here. Now, you just have to overbet. If his hand is good enough to call a minraise, he's gonna have a hard time folding regardless (but he might not be stupid enough to repop me all in if I just minraise since the board is paired). Again, this is an instance where a donkey might be smart enough to want to slow down his betting but that doesn't mean that he could find the fold button regardless of the bet size. Opponent has to know that the only hand I'm shoving here is with a hand that beats a flush.

*** SHOW DOWN ***
RecessRampage shows [6c 5c] a full house, Sixes full of Fives
RaiseKelly mucks [Ah 5s] - a flush, Ace high
RecessRampage wins the pot ($596.60) with a full house, Sixes full of Fives
RaiseKelly is sitting out

This next hand is just crazy but again, when you believe you have the best hand, instead of trying to get an extra buck or two, just go for the homerun. Sure, sometimes you might strike out but if your reads are good, you will hit more often than whiff.

6 handed - relevant stacks
Seat 2: RecessRampage ($374)
Seat 6: The Orange Frog ($612.20)

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to RecessRampage [Ks Kd]
The Orange Frog raises to $14 <--- UTG
FrankMorris08 folds
RecessRampage calls $14 <--- CO
Manifest071 folds
christina82 folds
DunderDaniel folds

*** FLOP *** [Jh Js 7c]
The Orange Frog bets $24
RecessRampage raises to $72
The Orange Frog has 15 seconds left to act
The Orange Frog raises to $204

Interesting set up. He raises UTG. However, instead of repopping, I just smooth call so he's not gonna give me much credit for a hand. When he bets out on a x-x-y board, that's a prime bluffing flop. In other words, it's likely that this hand didn't hit anyone. So, my raise could seem to him that I have a small pocket pair or I'm trying to steal this pot away from him. Of course, he could have AA but that's the only hand that beats me that I could think of. I can't imagine a 77 betting out like that, at least on this board. And I can't think of a hand that includes a J (other than AJ) to raise from UTG. Of course, it's not to say that that won't happen but you can't always be afraid of the nuts. He puts in a 3rd raise and so now, I'm thinking maybe this is a setup hand... But he could be doing this with TT or QQ as well. So, I decided to just commit my stack.

RecessRampage has 15 seconds left to act
RecessRampage has requested TIME
RecessRampage raises to $360, and is all in
The Orange Frog has 15 seconds left to act
The Orange Frog CALLS $156
RecessRampage shows [Ks Kd]
The Orange Frog shows [Ac 6c] <--- this was not in the hand range I had for him
*** TURN *** [Jh Js 7c] [8d]
*** RIVER *** [Jh Js 7c 8d] [8c]
RecessRampage shows two pair, Kings and Jacks
The Orange Frog shows two pair, Jacks and Eights
RecessRampage wins the pot ($751) with two pair, Kings and Jacks

The next hand is where if you represent a hand, even if you hit a hand that is different from what you were representing, if you hit it hard, just keep betting. Don't try to get too fancy.

5 handed - relevant stacks

Seat 3: __Acehole888__ ($487.70) <--- button
Seat 5: RecessRampage ($384.45) <--- BB

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to RecessRampage [9d Td]
Sparky1980 folds
jsfry18 folds
__Acehole888__ raises to $14
Camen folds
RecessRampage raises to $44
__Acehole888__ calls $30

He's a pretty decent player and since it's 5 handed, I figured his opening range is even looser. I have a great suited connector so I put in a 3 bet.

*** FLOP *** [9h 2h 3s]
RecessRampage bets $72
__Acehole888__ calls $72

Interesting because I hit a piece of the board but he smooth calls. Now, I'm worried that he has a hand like JJ or something.

*** TURN *** [9h 2h 3s] [Ts] <--- woot!
RecessRampage bets $268.45, and is all in
__Acehole888__ calls $268.45
RecessRampage shows [9d Td]
__Acehole888__ shows [4h 4d]

Again, the turn brings the second pair and now I have what I believe is the best hand. At this point, I have no reason to get cute and check. He could have been on a flush draw but he's a decent enough player that I don't believe he woulda called my flop bet with only a flush draw. I reraised preflop, bet out flop so I'm basically saying I have a pocket pair. By him calling, again, I put him on a hand like JJ. So, I shove, hoping he'd call with a hand like JJ. Of course, what he turned over was a little surprising. I guess he though I had two overs and was shoving to get him to fold.

*** RIVER *** [9h 2h 3s Ts] [5d]
RecessRampage shows two pair, Tens and Nines
__Acehole888__ shows a pair of Fours
RecessRampage wins the pot ($767.90) with two pair, Tens and Nines

Next hand, if the guy looks like his hand enough, then just put all your chips in the middle if you think you have the best hand.

4 handed - relevant stacks
Seat 1: galacticrose86 ($345.50) <--- SB
Seat 4: RecessRampage ($387.80) <--- BB
Seat 5: PokerPete0815 ($425)

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to RecessRampage [As Ah]
PokerPete0815 raises to $14
rambler66 folds
galacticrose86 calls $12
RecessRampage raises to $56
PokerPete0815 folds
galacticrose86 calls $42

Even in a 4 handed situation, I don't want to see a 3 way flop with AA so I put in what I'm hoping would look like a squeeze play-ish raise and fortunately, I accomplish my goal of just getting one caller, going into the flop HU.

*** FLOP *** [4h 6c 3d]
galacticrose86 has 15 seconds left to act
galacticrose86 bets $72

All low cards and this guy bets out $72 into a $120ish pot. Seems like he likes his hand enough (anywhere from maybe 55, 77-JJ, maaaaaybe QQ or KK though I would guess they woulda reraised me again preflop). Anyways, the point being, I don't want some scare card to come on the turn to kill the action. So if he likes his hand so much, there's only one move here.

RecessRampage raises to $331.80, and is all in
galacticrose86 calls $217.50, and is all in
RecessRampage shows [As Ah]
galacticrose86 shows [5d Ad] <--- OESD, nice call
Uncalled bet of $42.30 returned to RecessRampage

*** TURN *** [4h 6c 3d] [Qh]
*** RIVER *** [4h 6c 3d Qh] [Ac]
RecessRampage shows three of a kind, Aces
galacticrose86 shows a pair of Aces
RecessRampage wins the pot ($703) with three of a kind, Aces
galacticrose86 is sitting out

Another one. Again, if your opponent shows strength but you feel you have the best hand, GET THAT MONEY IN THERE!!!! Stop squeezing an extra bet or two. Try to stack them!

6 handed - relevant stacks

Seat 1: Sparky1980 ($209.30)
Seat 5: RecessRampage ($770.40) <--- SB
Seat 6: sosofino ($443.60) <--- BB

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to RecessRampage [Ah Qh]
Sparky1980 calls $4
__Acehole888__ folds
Camen folds
RecessRampage calls $2
sosofino raises to $16
Sparky1980 calls $12
RecessRampage calls $12

*** FLOP *** [Qc 3h 6h] <--- monster flop
RecessRampage checks
sosofino bets $32
Sparky1980 folds
RecessRampage calls $32

BB showed strength preflop so he has to bet on this flop. I have TPTK so I'm worried that if I raise him here, I would only get the money in behind or he would fold. So I decided to wait till the turn to see what happens.

*** TURN *** [Qc 3h 6h] [Ac] <--- monster turn
RecessRampage checks
sosofino bets $112

Ok, BB fires a second bullet when the A falls so whatever he's got, he clearly likes his hand. Now I'm actually guessing AK since the A didn't phase him one bit. Well, if he has AK, there's no way he'll fold so...

RecessRampage raises to $722.40, and is all in
sosofino calls $283.60, and is all in
RecessRampage shows [Ah Qh]
sosofino shows [8s Ad] <--- K, 8, whatever... it's all the same to the donkeys I guess
Uncalled bet of $326.80 returned to RecessRampage

*** RIVER *** [Qc 3h 6h Ac] [7s] <--- meaningless river. opponent drawing dead is a beautiful thing

RecessRampage shows two pair, Aces and Queens
sosofino shows a pair of Aces
RecessRampage wins the pot ($900.20) with two pair, Aces and Queens
sosofino is sitting out

Alright, this was a lot but hopefully, for some of the cash gamers just starting out, this post will help you think about the value of overbetting. When you think you have the best hand and the opponent is showing that he clearly likes his hand, get the money in the middle. Don't wait because you never know what scare card will fall (not for you but for your opponent) that would slow down the betting. I hope this helps. Have a good and profitable weekend.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Blogger cash game and FTOPS

Before I start my actual post, congrats to Waffles, Willwonka, and Katitude for also advancing to the 2nd round of HUC6. Go to that site for updated brackets. Also, please note that if your 2nd round opponent is set, you can go ahead and schedule/play your match.

So last night was a little different for me. Normally I have 4 cash tables open, grinding as usual at the 2-4NL 6 max tables. But last night, I had 3 tables open... two of which were tournaments. Unreal. I satellited into FTOPS #1 so I had that going. And at 10pm, the Mookie started as well as the deep stack 4/8NL blogger cash game. My buddy Pouringreign asked a good question on the girly chat. "Shouldn't you play against lesser competition at 2-4NL 6 max rather than playing against these known ringers?" My response? "They're all donkeys." Just kidding. That was not my response. My actual response was "yeah, but Fuel said I would be publicly humiliated if I didn't play. Plus after all the cash game posts and the recent posts, if I didn't play, I'd basically be admitting that I can't hang." Gotta get the "felt cred."

Unfortunately (or fortunately), I didn't really get much for cards. I definitely played fairly tight but the cards were just atrocious. Not even suited connectors or one gappers in late position... One AA on the button but it was folded to me and I raise and stole the blinds... One KQ from the CO, button calls my raise, I flop a straight but of course, I fire out a c-bet because that's what I do and the button (nonblogger) folds.

I don't have the HH for this one but one interesting hand was when Rakefeeder, Fuel and I were in a hand. I raised from MP, Fuel calls (because he has position on me and I'm sure desperately wants to rub in the fact that he's got more game or something), and Rakefeeder calls from either the SB or the BB. 3 way. We see a flop 9 high with two diamonds. Rakefeeder comes out firing a pot sized bet. The initial pot sized bet made me think that he either had TT or maybe a hand like A9. Either way, fairly strong for that board but not THAT strong, was my read. What did I have? KdJd. Two overs with a king high flush draw. I seriously considered raising there but I didn't want to get reraised off what I thought was a pretty good draw. Plus Fuel was behind me and I wasn't sure what he might do. If he flopped a set (there was a 5 out there if I recall correctly) and he decides to raise and rakefeeder comes over the top, it would be an easy fold for me. So, I smooth call. Fuel calls. Turn is an offsuit J. Rakefeeder checks to me so I fire out a good size bet (prob 80% of the pot), Fuel folds and Rakefeeder after thinking about it folds. So, Rakefeeder, if you had TT, it's a good fold. And as promised, I'm telling you what I had.

Speaking of which, I got lucky with my seating. I was seated to the left of Gnome and Cmitch, two of the players that I would much rather have on my right than to my left. Cmitch was probably not too excited that whenever he raised, I put in a reraise. However, both times that I 3 bet, I had a hand. One was AK, the next was TT. With Cmitch, I wanted to apply aggression with strong hands and couple that with the fact that I had position on him, it would be very hard for him to play on without premium cards. And since I was playing tight, there's no reason for him to think that I would be getting frisky without cards. At the end of the night, I ended up a little over $800. Nothing crazy considering the stakes but definitely happy about that. Thanks again to Gnome for setting that up. Oh, and before I forget, here's a good HH. Fuel knows what I have before I know what I have. :) Good thing he's a payoff wizard.

Full Tilt Poker Game #5152471555: Table Alise (deep) - $4/$8 - No Limit Hold'em - 22:55:34 ET - 2008/02/06
Seat 1: SirFWALGMan ($945.20)
Seat 2: weak_player ($1,547)
Seat 3: Fuel55 ($1,600)
Seat 4: Bone_Daddy84 ($1,592)
Seat 5: Rake Feeder ($1,403.20)
Seat 6: smizmiatch ($2,127.30)
Seat 7: cmitch ($1,659)
Seat 8: RecessRampage ($1,805)
Seat 9: SPIRITSLAYER ($1,307.40)
RecessRampage posts the small blind of $4
SPIRITSLAYER posts the big blind of $8
The button is in seat #7

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to RecessRampage [8c 8s]
SirFWALGMan folds
Fuel55 raises to $24
Bone_Daddy84 folds
Rake Feeder folds
smizmiatch folds
cmitch folds
RecessRampage calls $20

*** FLOP *** [6c Kc Td]
RecessRampage checks
Fuel55 checks <--- he always checks top pair

*** TURN *** [6c Kc Td] [Th]
RecessRampage checks
Fuel55 bets $24
RecessRampage calls $24

At this point, I did think that Fuel had the K. If he had a draw, he'd bet out the flop. So, I actually thought about making a move on the river if another club comes. Except I forgot Fuel runs so bad (only according to him).

*** RIVER *** [6c Kc Td Th] [8h] <--- gin!
RecessRampage checks (he's got top pair so he'll bet)
Fuel55 bets $64 <--- right on cue
RecessRampage has 15 seconds left to act
RecessRampage has requested TIME (I like to think about my bet sizing)
RecessRampage raises to $244
Fuel55: ceom on
Fuel55: you have 88? <--- he's good...
Fuel55 has 15 seconds left to act
Fuel55 has requested TIME
Fuel55: i am a payoff wizard <--- oh thank god
Fuel55 calls $180

*** SHOW DOWN ***
RecessRampage shows [8c 8s] a full house, Eights full of Tens
Fuel55 mucks
RecessRampage wins the pot ($589) with a full house, Eights full of Tens
Fuel55: fawek i knew <--- I know...

Nothing much to report on the Mookie except I had a decent chip lead that I rode to the final table but couldn't get anything going and busted out in 8th or 7th or something. Admittedly, between the blogger cash game and the possibility of going deep in FTOPS#1, I really wasn't paying much attention to the Mookie.

On the FTOPS, the first hour, I played like... a bitch. Oh my god. I wanted to play tight. Instead, I played some weak tight poker. After the first hour, I knew I had to do something different. Basically, I needed to play my game. My desire to play tight actually made me play weak tight. So, after the first break, I decided to still play tight but be more aggressive. Slowly, I was able to chip up and the big break came when I flopped top set with QQ against a guy who had QJ and doubled up. Chipped up nicely after that until this hand came.

Full Tilt Poker Game #5153078013: FTOPS Event #1 (35825338), Table 385 - 170/340 Ante 25 - No Limit Hold'em - 23:41:58 ET - 2008/02/06
Seat 1: canuckoo (28,460)
Seat 2: BRAZILUSA (27,306)
Seat 3: bkrake (5,757)
Seat 4: SuperSnoopy (8,685)
Seat 5: ProtekYoNuts (12,188)
Seat 6: 3pounder (6,053)
Seat 7: RecessRampage (14,425)
Seat 8: unemployed (6,170)
Seat 9: SELPARA (20,099)
canuckoo antes 25
BRAZILUSA antes 25
bkrake antes 25
SuperSnoopy antes 25
ProtekYoNuts antes 25
3pounder antes 25
RecessRampage antes 25
unemployed antes 25
SELPARA antes 25
3pounder posts the small blind of 170
RecessRampage posts the big blind of 340
The button is in seat #5
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to RecessRampage [6d 4d]
unemployed raises to 725
canuckoo folds
BRAZILUSA calls 725
bkrake folds
SuperSnoopy folds
ProtekYoNuts folds
3pounder folds
RecessRampage calls 385

*** FLOP *** [3d 8d 9d] <--- gin!
RecessRampage checks
unemployed checks
BRAZILUSA bets 2,570
RecessRampage calls 2,570
unemployed has 15 seconds left to act
unemployed raises to 5,420, and is all in
BRAZILUSA calls 2,850
RecessRampage has 15 seconds left to act
RecessRampage raises to 13,675, and is all in
BRAZILUSA has 15 seconds left to act
RecessRampage shows [6d 4d]
unemployed shows [Jd Ad] <--- d'oh!
Uncalled bet of 8,255 returned to RecessRampage

*** TURN *** [3d 8d 9d] [Kd]
*** RIVER *** [3d 8d 9d Kd] [Kh]
RecessRampage shows a flush, King high
unemployed shows a flush, Ace high
unemployed wins the pot (18,830) with a flush, Ace high

Fortunately, that only brought my stack down to about average so no big deal. I was able to chip up again and at one point, I was like in top 20 out of 1000ish players left. When this next hand happened, I was like in top 100 out of the remaining 950ish players with 750ish spots cashing. But of course, cashing isn't the goal here. I don't know what the minimum cash amount was but I'm guessing like $300 or something maybe? Anyways, that's not gonna do much to my roll. I wanted at least 4 figures... of course I was dreaming 5 or 6 figures...

Full Tilt Poker Game #5153656456: FTOPS Event #1 (35825338), Table 41 - 300/600 Ante 75 - No Limit Hold'em - 0:29:59 ET - 2008/02/07
Seat 1: RecessRampage (26,850)
Seat 2: fightingchicken (7,804)
Seat 3: ArmenH1 (28,425)
Seat 4: blubboz (7,423)
Seat 5: Donwaldorf (58,438)
Seat 6: Gwermpt (14,927)
Seat 7: ckingusc (12,237)
Seat 8: MrTimCaum (13,446)
Seat 9: GAME OVER 73 (14,413)
RecessRampage antes 75
fightingchicken antes 75
ArmenH1 antes 75
blubboz antes 75
Donwaldorf antes 75
Gwermpt antes 75
ckingusc antes 75
MrTimCaum antes 75
GAME OVER 73 antes 75
RecessRampage posts the small blind of 300
fightingchicken posts the big blind of 600
The button is in seat #9

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to RecessRampage [Qd Qc]
cmitch (Observer): gl alan <--- nice guy, that cmitch.
RecessRampage: ty cmitch
ArmenH1 raises to 1,555
blubboz folds
cmitch (Observer): so what did u have? <--- relentless
cmitch (Observer): i had AK <--- he must've really hated me reraising again
Donwaldorf has 15 seconds left to act
Donwaldorf calls 1,555
Gwermpt folds
ckingusc folds
MrTimCaum has 15 seconds left to act
MrTimCaum raises to 13,371, and is all in
GAME OVER 73 folds
RecessRampage has 15 seconds left to act
RecessRampage raises to 26,775, and is all in
fightingchicken folds
ArmenH1 has 15 seconds left to act
ArmenH1 folds
Donwaldorf has 15 seconds left to act
Donwaldorf folds
RecessRampage shows [Qd Qc]
MrTimCaum shows [Ah Kd]
Uncalled bet of 13,404 returned to RecessRampage

*** FLOP *** [As 7h 5d]
*** TURN *** [As 7h 5d] [8s]
*** RIVER *** [As 7h 5d 8s] [8d]
RecessRampage shows two pair, Queens and Eights
MrTimCaum shows two pair, Aces and Eights
MrTimCaum wins the pot (31,127) with two pair, Aces and Eights

This was huge. I felt that the guy's shove meant he was a little weaker so I ruled out AA and KK. I honestly considered folding the QQ here but again, I felt that his shove was an attempt to pick up the two weakish raises from EP. And I didn't have any reason to believe that the other two players involved were tricky players. So, I decided to take a stand here. If I win this race, I'm top 20 in chips. Instead, I lose half my stack but still ok. But then I think one hand later, this happens.

Full Tilt Poker Game #5153680548: FTOPS Event #1 (35825338), Table 41 - 300/600 Ante 75 - No Limit Hold'em - 0:32:04 ET - 2008/02/07
Seat 1: RecessRampage (13,329)
Seat 2: fightingchicken (6,754)
Seat 3: ArmenH1 (26,120)
Seat 4: blubboz (7,273)
Seat 5: Donwaldorf (56,733)
Seat 6: Gwermpt (16,352)
Seat 7: ckingusc (12,087)
Seat 8: MrTimCaum (31,052)
Seat 9: GAME OVER 73 (14,263)
RecessRampage antes 75
fightingchicken antes 75
ArmenH1 antes 75
blubboz antes 75
Donwaldorf antes 75
Gwermpt antes 75
ckingusc antes 75
MrTimCaum antes 75
GAME OVER 73 antes 75
ArmenH1 posts the small blind of 300
blubboz posts the big blind of 600
The button is in seat #2
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to RecessRampage [Ac Qs]
Donwaldorf folds
Gwermpt folds
ckingusc folds
MrTimCaum folds
GAME OVER 73 raises to 1,555
RecessRampage has 15 seconds left to act
RecessRampage raises to 4,200
fightingchicken folds
ArmenH1 folds
blubboz folds
GAME OVER 73 has 15 seconds left to act
GAME OVER 73 raises to 14,188, and is all in
RecessRampage has 15 seconds left to act
RecessRampage has requested TIME
RecessRampage calls 9,054, and is all in
GAME OVER 73 shows [Ad Ah]
RecessRampage shows [Ac Qs]
Uncalled bet of 934 returned to GAME OVER 73
*** FLOP *** [2s 3s 2h]
RecessRampage: damn
*** TURN *** [2s 3s 2h] [8d]
RecessRampage: gg
*** RIVER *** [2s 3s 2h 8d] [4d]
GAME OVER 73 shows two pair, Aces and Twos
RecessRampage shows a pair of Twos
RecessRampage stands up

I guess I coulda called there and fold to a flop bet. By reraising, I kinda got pot committed when he came over the top and shoved like that. I thought I would be racing and with me getting 2:1, I couldn't fold... or so I thought. Tough spot I think. I coulda just tried to hang around to cash but again, cashing was not my goal. It was extremely fun playing in this tournament though. I still have a long ways to go with my MTT game but since I actually satellited into this after my first try, it only cost me $24+2. Good times.

Thanks for IT, Buddy, and Smokkee for showing me love on the radio. And thanks to all those who were railing me during the Mook, FTOPS 1 and blogger cash. Good times.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

HUC 6, FTOPS I, and Blogger Cash Game

Well, it appears that the HUC6 is officially under way. PvanHaribo kicks off this thing with a pseudo upset (I say pseudo because considering her recent successes, it's really not fair to call her an underdog in any tournament) but considering that she was against the HUC5 champion, I think it's fair to call this an upset. Good thing because I woulda hated to have her get bounced and then question the "random function on RecessRampage's computer" as CK31 so cleverly put it. Well, you can see the updated brackets on the official HUC website. I'll try to keep that updated as the results come in. And speaking of CK31, congrats to her for knocking off Cmitch. On paper, it might seem like an upset but I think CK31 plays a pretty disciplined, aggressive game so even though my initial reaction was that of a slight surprise, I'm actually not that shocked anymore.

As for me... my first round match was against lifesagrind who admittedly, I didn't know much about. But, as the commissioner and HUC5 runner up, I wanted to make sure I had a respectable showing. So, I went to check out his blog, found out he's mainly a MTT/SNG guy but beyond that, I couldn't find much else about him, his playing style, etc. So, I played a few HU matches to warm up and then when he was ready, we kicked things off... sort of... these $5 HU matches are so hard to coordinate. I LOVE the new rematch feature that FullTilt now has on the heads up match. I think UltimateBet had that and I liked that about that site so I'm glad FullTilt finally brought that in. But that still doesn't solve the problem of being able to find a table where a random person doesn't jump in. As such, lifesagrind had to play a random dude because apparently, I didn't click on the "ok" button quick enough. Then, after he got done working over some random online donkey, we tried again... this time, I ended up with two tables... neither of which was against lifesagrind. I did win both of them so that was good. Eventually, we were able to land on the same table and finally, we were off.

I don't have the HHs or the number of hands or the stats on me. But I know that I had to adjust my game very early and quickly. Lifesagrind was much more aggressive than any of the opponents I faced in HUC5. In HUC5, I felt that I was the one applying aggression every round. In this one, I could tell that he was going to be the aggressor. So, I hunkered down a bit, played a little tighter and tried to keep the pot small unless I had a big hand. I got lucky in the first match when he had a 2:1 chip lead, I flopped a set with 55 against his overpair to the board, doubling me up and I was able to finish him off. 1-0. Next match, was kind of a blur but it was another instance where I flopped a better hand against his pretty good hand. Sorry, again, no detailed memory because I ended up playing 5 HU matches by accident so they're all kinda running together right now. But I think one was like A high flop, he has top pair, I have two pair, type of situation. Not much you can do in a HU match. I was able to take the second match and advance to the second round of HUC6.

Tonight kicks off the FTOPS. I know that a bunch of bloggers are playing in this thing. I qualified for it as well so we'll see how well I do. Admittedly, I wanted to play a few more MTTs over the weekend but I never got a chance to. Friday night, my buddies and I went out, got totally thrashed, so not much poker was played. Saturday night (though some of us were still struggling from the night before), we had "poker" night. Now I put quotes around that because I can't even call this poker... but it is the same game... I mean we all get dealt two cards and see a flop, turn and river... but really, there's no thought process involved, hardly any raises preflop, I don't think I ever folded preflop, etc. Anyways, so no time for MTT, just enough cash game online for me to earn 200 pts (having to work during the day didn't help). Sunday was Superbowl and catching up on sleep so again, no MTTs. As much as I talk poker, apparently, it's not as high on the priority list as I make it seem...

Ok, back to FTOPS. I wanted to play some more MTTs since I rarely play them and I also wanted to watch more videos on PXF. I'm in the middle of watching Rizen take down the Sunday Million on Pokerstars and he does a great job of explaining his thought process in the tournament. I wanted to complete all 11 or 12 installments of that series but alas... I'm only at part 3... So, I guess I'll just have to hope to get lucky if I want to do any damage tonight on that thing.

One last thing is the Blogger Cash game that gnome is organizing. It's $4/8 NL on Full Tilt. This should be interesting. I have mixed feelings about this game. First off, it doesn't start till 11:30pm EST which is quite late for me since I usually go to bed around midnight. Second, if I'm in the FTOPS still at this point, I would want to focus on FTOPS. But then again, I've seemed to have made quite a name for myself in the cash game blogger world... so it would look like I'm copping out if I'm online but not playing in this thing. Third, this would be an extremely -EV cash game. In other words, you hear everyone preaching table selection and how you want to be at a table full of donks. So why voluntarily sit at a table where everyone is a profitable cash gamer??? Of course, as a guy who wants to prove his worth, I am fairly eager to play in that sense... even if that costs me. So we will see where I'm at when the thing starts.

Good luck to everyone tonight in whatever they are playing.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Thoughts about going pro (Part 1)

I've been thinking about this post for a while... and debating whether I should post this or not. Now first off, this is NOT a "I'm going pro" post. So, for all you degenerates, curb your excitement. And to my parents, you can breathe a sigh of relief. But I'm not gonna lie. I definitely think/fantasize about that. When I was a teenager, I had a dream. No, it wasn't to be a professional poker player. I didn't even know poker back then. But I always wanted to be that guy who was not afraid to chase his dream. I didn't want to "settle" and grind out an unhappy living. Now that I have found something I can be truly passionate about, there is a part of me that wonders what could be...

I guess if you play poker seriously, then a lot of us have had this thought. Can I quit my job, play poker full time and grind out a living? Well, that is certainly a thought that I have. I've had that thought since last year. But I knew that my skills weren't where it needed to be in order for me to take such a risk. I'm not saying that my skills are there now. But I know I've come a long ways and I feel that it is certainly a possibility. But like anything else, I like to research and think things through and there are lots of factors that would go into determining whether going pro is a good option or not. Here are some of the questions that I would have to ask myself in order to consider going pro.

1) Do I love poker enough to make that my full time gig?

2) Do I have enough of a bankroll to sustain my current lifestyle even if things aren't going well?

3) How much would I have to make in order to sustain my current lifestyle?

4) What can I give up in order to give myself a financial cushion?

Generally speaking, I have been blessed financially. No, I'm not a financial tycoon or anything but aside from the mortgage, I am debt free (no credit card balances, no car loans, etc ie no exceptions). I have a good job that pays me very nicely and I've amassed a fair amount of short term savings (long term savings such as ROTH IRA and 401k doesn't apply here). And recently, I've really tried to curb my spending because I want to build a bank roll (not just poker bankroll but short term savings to cover my short term expenses). The recent drop in the stock market is not helping but I'm not too heavily invested with my short term stuff so it doesn't hurt quite as much (being fairly well diversified also helps).

But for simplicity of calculation, let's say that I make $60,000 (the amount is fictional). That breaks down to $5,000 per month (I told you, it was for simplicity sake). Does that mean that if I make $5,000 per month playing poker, that would be good enough? It appears that way but there are other factors. Usually, your gross pay doesn't include any 401k contribution that your company might give you. Nor does it include the insurance premium portion that your company pays for you. So, take that into account and you are probably looking at maybe another $500-$1000 more per month. Quite frankly, at the level I'm playing now, I think I can sustain that kind of income level if I played enough. But I don't KNOW that. Maybe I can, maybe I can't. I just don't have the track record to prove it. Close. But not officially there.

Also, if I were to try this, how much of a cushion would I need? Do I need to have enough money to go a whole year without getting paid? Does that mean I need to have set aside $60k in order to go into this endeavor? I don't think I need quite that much. But I would think that maybe you should have enough in savings to go 6 months without getting paid. So would $30k be reasonable? Remember, you still have to pay bills, mortgage, etc and I don't want my poker sessions to be affected by those thoughts. In other words, if you have enough of a cushion, you're not dipping into your poker roll for your life expenses. Ideally, you want to build your short term roll with poker winnings but not be dependent on it.

Do I love poker enough to make this a full time gig? I sure love poker. I mean I have to right? I freakin blog about it, I play every night, I think about it all the time, etc. But I've mentioned this to some of you before. Poker could become such a grind. And because of the mentality I play, there are times I feel like it's my second job. I might not feel like playing but I play because I feel guilty about not playing. I grind it out day in and day out. So do I have what it takes in terms of determination and discipline? That, I think I do. I will treat it as my job and I will put certain numbers of hours in. The question is, do I really want to do that?

Another question that I touched on is insurance. Health insurance to be more specific. When you're part of a corporation, you're covered under their plan. However, if you're on your own, you'd have to find your own plan because the worst thing that can happen is that you quit your job, and assuming you were savvy enough to at least maintain COBRA payments, 18 months later, you're still covered. But let's say after that, you let your insurance coverage lapse. You get sick and you are uninsured. That's bad in itself but even worse is try getting insurance after that. And let's say your "sick" was actually a fairly serious condition. It becomes very unlikely that an insurance company will pick you up. So, it would be very important to have a plan to be covered under some health insurance plan from ahead of time.

You also have to consider the "missed opportunities" of not having any sort of retirement plan. You miss out on 401k which as we all know will potentially be a big, big loss (not having one, that is).

Now I just posted bunch of cons about going pro. But I don't mean to be so negative about it. I think these are all very reasonable points that you really need to think about if you are considering going pro. And that's just one part of the equation. I mean in the end, "going pro" is easy. Maintaining that lifestyle is the hard part. The quote "hard way to make an easy living" really seems to make sense. And I'm just on the outside looking in.

So after I posted all these negative thoughts, you might wonder why would I even consider it because I'm clearly anti-going-pro. However, I'm not. That's the practical side of me talking. I would love to have more time to study my plays. I want to watch so many more videos on PXF and join CR to watch those videos, etc. But life gets in the way. I have to go to work. I also like to work out. Those things take up most of the weekday. I want to spend more time at the tables but I can't because of other priorities. I'd love to be my own boss, set my own schedule, and make a living doing what I love. So, admittedly, I am curious to watch how Subzero, who recently decided to go pro, does. No offense, my man, but based on the blog posts I've read of yours, I didn't think you were ready. But you did it. At the very least, you obviously have more balls than I do. And now, you'd have more time to analyze your play, watch videos, post on forums, and basically do all the things that could make you a better player. For that, I am definitely jealous.

I am at a point where I think I'm a fairly decent player. But I am decent enough to know my weaknesses and I have some tremendous weaknesses that I think I need to plug. I don't know if it's something I can plug to be honest. At some point, I think I have to really tear down my game and build it back up. Unlike some people, I don't have the natural aggression or the "gamble" in me. And I think I need to inject that into my game a little more. I just don't know how and when I try it now, it seems that I do it at the worst times. In other words, I don't know that I have that "sixth sense" in poker. We shall see.

As for now, this is clearly a dream I'm not gonna give up on so easily. I'll just have to continue analyzing my game.

Monday, February 4, 2008

I've come a long way...

January was an extremely busy month for me. Generally, January, April, July, and October sucks. Those are all the months following the quarter end and since I work in financial reporting, we're generally swamped for the entire month. However, this January, I also got busy clearing the massive bonus I got from FullTilt. I'm not complaining but I really pushed aside some work to clear that bonus. And as such, I kinda paid the price over the past few weeks where I had to work weekends and work late nights (past 10pm qualifies for late nights). One night, when I was at work and it was close to midnight, Fuel asked me a good question. "What are they paying you?" I certainly make a fair amount considering I'm a CPA with 9 years of experience, you can generally look up those career sites and guess what I make. Obviously not a killer but not a bad salary to live on. Especially here in nowhere-ville, VA. Anyways, that's not the point of my post today. Since I haven't posted much lately, I have a feeling this could get long. Just to warn you...

Recently, I've been getting more frequent inquiries on HH analysis. I've also noticed myself leaving even more thoughts on other peoples' blogs about my thoughts regarding how the hand progresses. I know cool guys like Don don't appreciate HH analysis but I freakin love them. Of course, that's why I'm a degenerate. And it makes sense right? I mean for a guy like Don who plays professionally out in Vegas where you can play live poker, there's so much more than just simple hand analysis. But as an online degenerate, what else can you go by? You can't make out any physical tells. Only thing you can really use in terms of reading players is really how the hand progresses. Their betting sequence, the texture of the flop, if the player betting strong = strong or otherwise. These are all tendencies that I use to figure out what the other player may have. That makes the difference in terms of when to overbet for value or make a value bet.

The funny thing is that just one year ago, I was a total donk. I was a moderately profitable donk but a donk nonetheless. Don mentioned to me that he had notes on me from like 2 years ago on FullTilt. I would love to know what his assessment of me at that time was. I know "tight" has to be one of them. Weak tight maybe? Nonetheless, I'm pretty sure I was easy to read. And it was rare that I put up a fight without a hand. Just generally weak player but again, just by playing tight, I was able to make profit up to the 1-2NL level. But that was it. And I wasn't sure how to progress further than that.

Fastforward one year... this January, I played over 25k hands at 2-4NL. I took a plunge into the world of 6 max and in the beginning, I was overadjusting to the aggression level of the 6 max play and I was down $3k for the month. I thought about dropping back to 1-2NL but I felt that I wasn't really getting outplayed as I was just making bad plays. I thought about them, did a few posts on adjusting to 6 max and plugging leaks. And stuck by what I said. And it all turned. I had a monster run and after being down $3k, I ended the month up $4k or $5k (somewhere in between). And this was before my $1,175 bonus kicked in. And you know what? I'm actually upset at myself. Considering how much I played, I felt that I should be up a lot more. Before the month started, I was thinking about the number of hands I would have to play in order to clear my bonus and I had visions of having the best month ever, surpassing my previous best that I posted here. I had visions of a month with 5 digit winnings... instead I played 4 times as many hands and made the same amount...

Funny thing is that a year ago, if someone said I could average approximately $3k plus in winnings each month, I woulda been fairly happy with that. Now, it frustrates me. And that makes me think that I've progressed as a poker player by a fair amount this past year. However, I am also very aware of my many weaknesses at the poker table and so one of the things I have to do this year is to really plug that leak. Hopefully by next year, I would take another big step towards being a better poker player.

And also, during that span, it looks like I picked up a fair amount of readers. I don't know how many people reads through bloglines or google reader or whatever else is out there so I'd like to think that there are even more readers than this site indicates. Nonetheless, I appreciate all those that frequent my site to get whatever insights they can get from my blog. I will try to continue to post more HH's, much to the chagrin of some of my nonpoker playing friends that read my blog.