Thursday, July 31, 2008

My July, My July

Since I last updated I have taken some more shots at 400nl. They have went well in monetary terms but I did find it pretty tough. When there were no fish at the tables I probably was the fish so I stepped back and moved back down to 200nl again. While at 400nl I won 2 pots worth over $1500 each which was an amazing feeling I have to say. I was on such a high that evening, to be fair in one of them I sucked out a little. I opened 77 UTG and 2 fish call. We are all nearly 200bb deep and the flop is 478 rainbow. I bet into both players and I get minraised by the first player and the other guy folds. I re-raised him and he again min-raised me, I had a set so I wasn't folding and he showed me 56 for the nuts but an 8 on ther river shipped me a pot of over $1500. The sickest thing is this guy had just lost a $1500 pot to me 3 minutes earlier on another table so I ended up the day $1700 which was my biggest ever winning day in online poker.

The following day I played some more 400nl over the next few days and I lost most of what I had won the previous days. I have to admit I did get coolered a lot on those few days. I got AK in very far behind twice, QQ in vs AA and I lost AA to AQs. All those hands I got all the money in preflop and didn't win anything. Other than these I think I played well enough but I think I got a very cheap lesson in that I am not rolled for these games even with over 20 buyins. These hits are what made me drop back down and grind it out at 200nl for another while. I hope to be able to take a few more shots at 400nl in August. Most of these will be while I am getting coaching which has been working well so far. When you know that someone who is watching over you that you respect I tend not to do anything stupid and play very solid.

In other sorta non poker news I booked my holidays to San Francisco and Las Vegas in October for a week. I booked all my flights and also my Las Vegas hotel but I still have to book an hotel for San Francisco. I really can't wait to go. I'm going with my girlfriend and a friend of mine and his girlfriend so it should be a great time. I don't intend on playing any tournaments over there as they just take up to much time and I am going for a holiday rather than poker. No doubt I will play some cash games over there though!! I also want to go to a show, see the Grand Canyon and I read about this shooting range there that sounds like a good buzz. A helicopter ride over the strip is on the agenda as well. I'm going to start withdrawing $200/week from poker for some extra spending money while I am there which hopefully will allow me to do some things that I would not have done otherwise.

So the customary graph for the month is below. I really am delighted with how I done this month and I have to be honest I hope to beat it next month so hopefully the poker gods are listening and will give me some more positive variance for the month.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Half way review

I've been meaning to put up a post about how the year has went so far and as its been just over 6 months since I started at 50nl, so it seems appropriate to do this now. Looking back now, I'm not really sure why I couldn't beat 50nl but with the rakeback and sign up bonus I was rolled to play 100nl so I moved up anyway. Perhaps one of the reasons why I wasn't a winner at it was because I was running way to many bluffs versus calling stations and being overly aggressive in a game that you don't really need to be all that aggressive to win at. I guess I also had FPS (Fancy play syndrome) which just means trying to make the perfect plays/bluffs all the time. One thing I am sure of though I had really really bad tilt issues back then and I still have tilt problems but not to the degree as I had them back then. When moving up limits this will really slow you down and I spent quite a while at 50nl so my top tips for anyone trying to beat 50nl are:
  • Get the basics right, cut out the limping, play your big hands strong and fast.
  • Always play ABC poker, no need to do anything different to beat the game
  • Make sure you have rakeback and a clear-able sign up bonus.
  • Avoid tilt.
  • Table select the best games (lots of NITS at 50nl trying to move up, loads of fish at this level so need to play against them).
  • Sign up to a video training site, this will improve your play a lot by watching how experts can easily beat these games.
So I then moved onto 100nl and went on a heater at the start, making 20BI in about 4k hands so I was off to a flyer. I just ran really good, was putting coolers on so many people and rarely getting sucked out on and of course sucking out myself the odd time. I found the move from 50nl - 100nl really easy because of this but once I was settled in at 100nl and the heater was over I found things started going downhill and I needed to improve my game. The aggression at 100nl was pretty high and had lots of spewy regs stacking off PF with KQs, AQs, TT etc and I also found myself doing this.
At this point I took a step back and tryed to figure out what was the best way to couteract this. I figured folding to 3b was making me a lot of money. I could easily outplay most of these guy post flop so thats what I needed to do. There was no need for me to be getting into inflated pots with 78s and being OOP against some aggro guy. These hands play so much better in multiway raised pots not 3b ones. So my tips for 100nl would be:
  • Don't call 3b OOP with less than TT/JJ and sometimes fold AQ. (This may seem weak but I found it to work well)
  • 3b IP more than you do OOP. Regs at this level didn't like folding to 3b so you want to be playing these pots IP.
  • Spew less, this is the biggest leak for all regs. They are just to aggro.
  • Start figuring out good spots for value betting, this will improve your game a lot.
I took a very quick shot at 200nl when I had 20BI and well I was playing 50nl after that so enough said. I then rebuilt again and also moved sites. This worked very well for me as I again went on a heater when I moved to 100nl, I moved through 100nl very quickly and started getting some coaching and started taking shots at 200nl. This time 200nl went pretty well and I was up to 8k and was starting to think about 400nl again. Doomswitch then hit and I was back to 100nl again rebuilding my roll.
Around this time I decieded to get a new desk, comfortable leather chair and a new 24" moniter for the new desk. Set up below:

I think comfortable surroundings are really important when playing poker. I have the desk pointing towards the wall so its hard to look at the tv when playing so less distractions is good. The new screen is a great investment, I was able to 10-12 table without any overlap which is great when mulitabling. I really hated having to stack tables on top of each other and misclick quite often which is a pure pain.

So at the minute 200nl is going really well, I've also done a coaching session at 400nl and the games seemed good which is encouraging. I've got just over $9k now so I will try and hold off taking a proper shot at 400nl until I have at least 25BI. I guess my aims now for the year will be to have taken a few shots at 1kNL. This is highly ambitious but I am that way anyway so no harm in it. To play 1kNL I would really want to have at least $30k so time will tell if this is achievable. Hopefully it will be as I don't cash out to often. I'm also planning a trip to the US in October, going to visit San Fran and Vegas over a week, I've being to both places before but I loved them when I was there so no harm in going back again.

Below is all my stats for the year so far. 125k hands is a lot for me but I think I have learned a hell of a lot and I am 10 times the poker player I was 6 months ago. All the top players say that there is so much to learn in poker and I really am starting to believe this. I think I have come along way since I started playing 50nl in January. I've played a decent buyin tournament which I played well enough in. I've moved from 50nl to a stage where I'm starting to take shots at 400nl which I'm delighted with.

Looking at my stats I think its quite interesting how they have slightly changed since moving from 50nl to 200nl. There are constant trends in them all. So as I moved up through the levels the following has happened:
  • Win rate has gone up in them all, but the sample size at 200nl is to small to really know how good of a winner I am at it.
  • I've tightened up as I moved up levels but not to a point where I've got to NITTY, I would consider my 200nl stats as a decent TAG.
  • My PFR/VPIP has merged closer to 1, 73.3% at 50nl, 81.8% at 100nl and 82.5% at 200nl.
  • My 3b% has decreased, I put this down to playing better players who play back more at you so I had to decrease this.
  • My 4b% has increased but this should happen as my 3b decreases my 3b range will have gotten tighter so my 4b range of hands is pretty similar, slighly wider if anythings.
  • I am squeezing a bit more but hopefully I am picking better spots for it.
  • My WTSD% has increased which I am a bit worried about but to be honest I am not really all that sure on the relevance to it for the way I play.
  • W$SD% is fairly similar, I would love to get this higher but I bluff quite a bit so inevitably this will stay low when I bluff in bad spots.
  • One thing which is good is that my W$WSF is increasing all the time even as I have moved up limits. I'm really happy with this as this is a really good indicater how capable you are as a poker player and how well you play post flop.
  • My aggression has also increased which I think is natural as the games are more aggressive as you moved up.
  • My 3 barelling is quite high as I do it quite alot and its even higher at 200nl than any other level. At 200nl I calculated it to be 5.84% of hands that I open with. This is probably quite high but it's not a stat I have really looked into and havn't compared it much to other players. It was 5.09% at 100nl so it just means that I am being more aggressive.
  • So overall I think my stats are going mainly in the right direction and it shows that I have adjusted pretty well to each level I think.

So a recap on the poker goals for the next 6 months are:
  • Play some more big buyin tournaments, the Killarney festival and the Paddy Power Winter festival. Playing one of these is a big ambition.
  • To be able to beat 400nl and 600nl, with an aim to me ready to take shots at 1kNL
So thats it until probably August now where hopefully I will have more positive news, Until then good luck at your games.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Its been a while

Haven't got around to updating this in a while mainly because I'm playing bad. Right after my last update things went very downhill. At one point I was -$3610 on what I was. When you see the drop in my graphs you will see that I dropped $1k in about 40 hands, 4 of these were me just plain tilting, something I have obviously not gotten over. And once again I did $400 being an ass at 1kNL but hey I'll learn yet.

Things in July have been fairly swingy so far, I've had 4 -$800+ sessions but I am up about $1400 so far this month and I have played nothing but 200nl this month so far. I've been happy enough of how I've been playing so far this month. At the minute I am fairly confident about my 200nl game. I've racked in 22k hands so far and I am beating it for 4.25BB/100 or 8.5bb/100 so thats a fairly decent winrate but the sample size is to small really to take much meaning from it.
I've found the games a lot more aggro than 100nl and I've tightened up my game quite a bit since I was playing 100nl. I can have session at 200nl where I am 17/14 but so far this month I am 20/16/3.5 over 10k hands. I think I play my best around 18/15 when I try to NIT it up a bit and don't get involved with the insane 3b/4b that is going at these levels. In one session this month I was 3b 35/270 hands which is quite insane and 8 of those was from the same player who really was killing me and I dropped $450 to him that day, each time I shoved over his 4b, once with AQs and the other with 66, both plays aren't good so I gotta give him credit, he MADE me do it really so well played him!!

Currently my online cash bankroll is $7.6k. I really hope to be getting close to $10k by the end of the month and hopefully sometime in August/September I can start taking some shots at 400nl. This is where I want to be playing, the level above where I currently am!! I really want to keep moving up all the time, likelihood of me ever reaching high stakes game 10/20+ are slim to none but I will keep trying until I have resigned to the fact that it is impossible. Poker is only a hobby for me and the money I have in my account is all winnings so going bust wouldn't be the worst thing in the world but hopefully I will have the discipline not to do that. Hopefully valor will be back coaching me again after his WSOP was cut short due to a family death. My condolenscence to Gavin and his family.

My stats so far for this month are shown below, a few things I need to work on are my "W$SD%" and "Avg All-in EV%" as both are below 50%. I am also losing from EP and MP so far this month so I really need to plug those leaks also. Hopefully with getting in more hands and really working on my game I will achieve this. I have also signed up to Deuces Cracked which is so far been very good. I think Foxwoodfiends videos are excellent and he explains things really well.

I hope to have another update in before the end of July so until then. Good luck.