Friday, November 30, 2007

Booya silver

Well not only did I achieve silver status on stars tonight, but I actually kept 2-tabling 1/2 for an extra hour and raked in a hefty profit.

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I still have a problem with bluffing a little much and going too far with them, but aside from that, limit is a cakewalk when your cards hit. Simply take the best line to make the most profit and you're good. I had one player call me down every single time I bet to the river, and he showed down all types of crap - bottom pair, busted draws, mid pair, ace high, king high...

Anyways, the bankroll's already nearly back to where it was before I transfered that $189 to stoxtrader for my subscription and I couldn't be happier. I've only watched one or two FL videos and they've already helped tremendously. I've got plenty to learn still, but I can't wait to dig in.

I'll be hitting up the FL side games as well as lots of STTs and the occasional MTT, so stay tuned for updates.

Leafs won!!!...?

I'm actually genuinely surprised we won last night. I was a little (ok exceedingly) drunk though so I don't remember all of it. I ended up spending $40 on half of what I drank last night, my old man buying the other half. Saw my good buddy who I haven't seen in ages and had a fun night all in all.

There's video of the highlights here if you're interested:

I mentioned before I got my stoxpoker subscription all sorted out and have already ripped through like 3 videos. So far they're great. I also got a free copy of SnG Wizard which is an EV-calculating tool that incorporates ICM; I'll be using that from now on in close bubble situations and it should really help as well. The forums aren't quite as active as I'd hoped, but I'll definitely be posting there as well as on CC from now on. 2+2 just pisses me off with all their snide comments cluttering everything up. I'm just about done with them.

I'm also happy to see that I'm not the only one at cardschat who's unsatisfied with the state of things there. This thread was recently started up and has gotten a lot of replies and views and whatnot. Glad to see that other members have the same motivation to make the site better like I do.

Anyways, I was 100FPPs short of making silver today, and after half joking that I'm too lazy to finish them up today (last of the month!), I've been scrambling a bit to rake those last few FPPs in. Silver will allow me to make FPPs %50 faster and also enables me to join the weekly and monthly freerolls so that'll be nice.

Fellow poker degenerate Vanquish set me straight and said I should just play an hour of 1/2. I was going to take my first shot at 1/2 soon anyways, so I thought what better time than now. Early in my first session I managed to suck out big time on one hand where I was trying to make a hopeless bluff with ace-high, and managed to spike an ace to rake the pot in. Aside from that I actually played very well by my standards and am enjoying the raise in stakes - it's giving me a little bit of the nervous butterflies for the first time in a while but that's kind of a good thing. I'm giving more consideration to every decision I make and that can only be a good thing.

Anyways, I'll leave you with a song that just popped up in my iTunes playlist and is so kick-ass that I can't not share it with you:

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Leafs win!


Well tonight I'm off to see my old man and watch a leafs game with him tonight, but unfortunately we're in one of the shittiest slumps we've been in for years and I'm not exactly banking on them winning.

Anyways, I played a $4/180 today and ended up placing 5th for a measely $30 or something. I was recording while playing and the video will be up on cardschat soon enough. I also decided to finally register for a poker coaching video site, specifically, and hopefully that will turn out well. $189 for the next 6 months is pretty pricey for someone as broke as me, but I'm very very eager to move forward in my poker 'career'.

I've been playing a lot more lately, especially STTs and a couple MTTs. I said a while ago that I was pretty much sick of preflop poker, but have really gotten the itch for tourneys lately and am doing fairly well. Unfortunately the $6.50 STTs are killing me, but I'm still doing fairly well in the $16s so it's all good.

Short post this time; I hope to be back with some good news about the leafs and poker for next post :)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Poker time!

Well exams are over. I purposely packed my backpack light, leaving my 100lb textbook at home to make the 20 min walk quicker, only to find that my prof decided that the goddamn exam was going to be open-book (with NO sharing). Fantastic. Luckily, I brought my notebook along which was allowed to be used during the exam as well, but I still managed to botch the exam enough that I'm not sure I passed the course.

A good chunk of the questions were literally copy and pasted from old tests, and all that was needed was to copy my old answers. Easy-capeezy. The rest was a little tough. Some of the questions were on parts of the course I hadn't studied enough and I managed not to have anything on in my notebook. Had I brought my actual textbook I could have looked up the terms and figured out the questions with common sense, but I know I screwed a good chunk of them up.

I needed exactly %44 on the exam to get a passing mark in the course, so I'm pretty confident I should be seeing a congratulatory letter in the mail soon.

With the exam done and not another course until January, I now have plenty of time to grind out the bankroll
and try to get a job. Seriously, I've been thinking a lot about my long-term plans, and have to set my priorities straight.

Number one on my list is a job. Ideally I'd like an electrical apprenticeship, but I think I have little to no chance of getting one in Toronto without a driver's license since most of the work will probably be driving out to either people's homes or wherever to do electrical work. I remember about a year ago I called every electrician in the phone book to apply for an apprenticeship, and the few that actually had spots open required driver's licenses.

The problem with getting a license is that a) the test centre is so far it actually requires a goddamn car to get there from downtown Toronto, and b) if I get my G1 license it'll still be a minimum of 8 months before I get my G2. A G1 only allows you to drive with someone who has a full G license (next step up from G2), and I obviously can't work with my mom driving beside me the whole time :D

Anyways, I'll have to find some other type of manual labour job that pays well. I simply won't work as a waiter, grocery store clerk or any other job like that. I hate dealing with people who act like asshole for the simple fact that you're behind a counter - I'd much rather shovel horse manure all day or some other dirty job than deal with people who decide to take their after-work stress out on the 20-year old store clerk.

Like I mentioned in my first post, I plan on using poker for a significant supplementary income when I finally do get my electrical career going. Rex's routine interests me a lot. He basically doesn't really apply bankroll management rules, but simply keeps a good chunk of money online, and plays whatever level he thinks he can beat until he thinks he's good enough to move up. When you depend entirely on the income generated from your poker bankroll like I do, you have to practice proper bankroll management or else the possibility of going broke gets bigger and bigger depending on how much of your BR you play with. So right now, I'm kind of stuck at stakes that I think I can beat somewhat easily, but they're so high-variance that building my bankroll is taking ages.

Eventually, I just want to be able to come home from a hard day's work either running my own electrical company or working for viciously nice wages at a big-name company and grind the tables (whilst having fun) for some good pocket change every month without risking significant amounts of money.

My brother also plans on starting his own restaurant eventually, and I'd love to manage it for him. Maybe I'll turn out to be one of those multi-source-income people :)

Anyways (wow I'm ranting again), I've decided that a subscription is a definite option for me soon, but with my limited income I might have to wait. I'll have some free time in the coming months and will probably be playing a lot of poker so expect a lot of blog posts with it.

Sunday, November 25, 2007


Well my last week of my course finally crept up on me, and I've got my final exam tomorrow. To be honest I really screwed up in the beginning of the course; completely forgetting to go to the first three classes and missing an early assignment put me behind the whole class and I still don't get some of the earlier concepts and things that were taught.

On the other hand, my teacher is very nice in that each weekly test we've had, he's used the exact same example questions that he used to teach that concept to test us with. He dropped a hint to review those old tests and I'm almost sure that he's just going to take the toughest question from each test and make an exam out of that, so studying should be a breeze. Add on the fact that my class is almost entirely immigrants trying to make their way in Canada, and that all the tests are written very simply and straight-forward, and I shouldn't have too much trouble if I get today and tomorrow's studying in.

I'd actually planned on studying yesterday, but got caught up with a razz table that turned out to be a half-day (and 1500-hand) affair. I'm really liking the change of pace from hold'em. Not only that, but .5/1 is chock-full of maniacs and nits, so making a profit is easy even for someone like me who barely knows the basics.

Unfortunately I don't have PT stud, so I can't give you exact numbers, but I brought my Stars bankroll from ~$600 up to $720 yesterday with razz alone. I'm actually thinking about picking it up (or maybe the discounted OH/Stud combo) to expand my poker horizon. Like Zolotow said, be the fox, not the hedgehog. Specialize in a variety of games - not just one.

Back to hold'em, I actually haven't played that much lately, but have been winning when I do. I'm still hovering around 5BBs/100hands at .5/1 FLHE, but haven't played any tournaments in ages. I'm kind of missing the STTs and I might take a shot at those again. MTTs too, actually. Maybe I'll get my feet wet in a few small satellites after I'm done with my exam.

On a side note, I've been an absolute slob the last few months. Not getting enough exercise, not eating properly, staying in too much etc etc, and I've actually lost a few pounds which is no good. Lately I've been getting the urge to start working out again and to start eating healthier, and I feel a lot better. I've only really started doing push-ups and sit-ups again, as well as some running on the side, but that little exercise that I do get helps a lot.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Don't laugh

Hai hai! Outwitted! Hai! Bad smell air!

note: only good after cheeba dosage.

Malkovich: Malkovich Malkovich Malkovich. MALKOVICH!!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Busy but not really...

Well I'd like to say I've been busy doing something constructive, but to be honest I've been very idle and just didn't feel like writing. Sorry :(

Like I mentioned, I bought CoD 4, and it's freaking amazing. I was playing it for like three days straight and eventually overdosed to the point where I felt I had to stop. It's still a great game, but I did't want to play it so much that I lost interest. So I bought a Wii. Yep, bought a Wii. $400+ with a couple games (Super Mario Galaxy and Zelda: Twilight Princess - both contenders for best game ever in my book). My brother has been wanting one for a while, so I've decided to sell it to him instead of keeping it. Poker is consuming enough - I don't need more video games. I've also got a busted xbox 360 that I need to get rid of...anyone interested? :)

Anyways, after my crazy downswing at 25nl, I went on a brief upswing which quickly went back down again.

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I don't know exactly what it is, but nl rings are not my game. I simply have too many leaks. And big ones at that. I overvalue TP type hands, don't practice proper pot control with marginal hands, bluff too much, pay people off too much...the list goes on. On top of it all I've been running terribly, but a good chunk of my losses are from my own bad play.

I did play a few fixed limit sessions, and have been doing fairly well. Overall I'm running at 5BBs/100 hands over about 4000 hands, and I think that winrate is pretty consistent with my quality of play. I've made a few bad (but repairable) mistakes, but overall I'm pretty much on the ball. I'm not sure winning 5BBs/100 is really enough to warrant moving up, even if I sustain that winrate at the 10k hands mark, but it's certainly good enough to bring in a nice profit and to keep me happy. I think once I reach 10k hands, I'll start taking shots at 1/2 every four sessions or so, and eventually make it so half my sessions are 1/2, and eventually play exclusively 1/2.

As it stands right now, I've still got a long ways to go and might have to play up to 20k hands at .5/1 before I actually move up. I'm not sure I'll maintain interest in FL for that long but It's really growing on me. NLHE is something I think I'll play mainly in tournaments as opposed to side games. At least until I learn a few lessons. Hell, maybe I'll try grinding up like Tenbob did; starting at 10nl and working my way up. It could be a humbling experience seeing just how bad I really am at rings :D

On a side note, I've been reading Ace on the River by Barry Greenstein, and it's fucking great. A++ for that book - if you haven't bought it, please do. It's not your typical poker book. I've also skimmed through Stoxtrader's Winning in Tough Hold'em Games, but tbh it's over my head. For one, I don't play in games that this book's concepts really apply to. The fact that the book is oriented around short-handed play does help somewhat since I play 6-max, but the majority of players at my level aren't aggressive enough to be making steals with ranges anything close to what stox suggests, so his advice really isn't applicable. SSH is much better for the conditions I play in, but nevertheless, WiTHG is still great. Information is power.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Break time

Even after having a nice upturn to my progress at 25nl, I've decided I still need a break. I'm happy with my discipline and the fact that I stopped all the madness (so far) to play sound poker, but I've got other things that need attention in my life.

I'm currently attending college for an electrical course. My prof comes back from his trip to the UK on the 12th for class, and we've been assigned a midterm project and take-home test, neither of which I'm close to finishing. I don't feel much like failing a course that a family member actually paid for, so I've got to get on the ball with it and get the assignments done by next monday. The due date really crept up on me there.

As I said before, I love video games, and there are two biggies being released in the next while that I've decided to buy to get my mind off poker for a bit. Crysis is coming out some time next week, but Call of Duty 4 came out on the 6th I think, and I'm gonna go pick that up today.

Kind of counterproductive, breaking from my poker only to start playing video games, but meh.

I'll no doubt still be playing in the next while (I never hold my word with poker), so I'll still stick in the occasional post. Just don't expect two posts daily from me for the next while.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Starting to turn around

While yesterday morning's sessions were disastrous, I managed to play a sound game and only lost one big pot. I ended up getting my stack in on a Q96 two-flush flop with KK in a reraised pot, and saw AKs hit it's flush. Even with the stack (I was actually slightly deeper than 100BBs), I managed to have a nice little upturn in profits, and I think I'm on the right track now.

I've taken a step back and really looked at what I was doing wrong, and found a few problems. One of them was just plain playing too aggressively. I was raising limpers with too big of a range, and going too far with weak hands. Another thing was 3-betting light too often, especially out of the blinds where I stick myself in a really bad situation: OOP in a reraised pot with a marginal hand. Not good.

So I've decided I'm not going to stack without a) a very good read, b) a very strong hand, or c) something where I'm committed, like AK for TPTK in a 4-bet pot PF or whatever. Play it safe. I've also got to make sure I don't put myself in sticky postflop spots by playing more sound PF. I'm usually used to playing with a ~20 or 30BB stack, so playing AK from the blinds is fairly easy - reraise preflop and shove the flop. With 100BB+ stacks, I've really got to play a hand through. The disadvantages of being OOP really start to rear their ugly faces.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007


Really not very happy with myself right now. I've been playing a lot of 25nl 6-max. The only problem is that I suck.

Well, not really. I actually am playing very well, but have had several beats, several coolers and several situations where I was truely clueless about what to do. My old habit of making terrible calls has come back to haunt me, but I'm working on that. Though, through all the beats and all my bad calls, I've still managed to break even since my first disastrous session. I'm very confident that I can crush these limits in the long run, but only if I can overcome my uncontrollable urge to make fishy calls.

For what it's worth, I'm having the most fun playing poker I've had in a while, and feel like I'm really playing again rather than taking the role of a pushbot in all those damn turbos.

At the moment, I'm four-tabling the 6-max tables, and am actually having no trouble dealing with it. I know I mentioned it in a previous post, but I'm really happy about how easily I'm handling four tables because I have a feeling I can possibly move up to around 8 profitably which will skyrocket my winrate.

First thing's first, though. Gotta stop making donkey calls. STOP AND THINK dammit. $20 to be taped to my monitor as soon as I'm done with this.

For your entertainment, here's my hideous, hideous graph of my 25nl winnings so far. Enjoy!

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Monday, November 5, 2007

They call me the wanderer

I never was a NL ring person. I did have my moments at 100-400nl, but that was back when I was a crazy and was seriously gambling.

Anyways, I watched an old dbitel instructional-type video, and it really got me hyped about ring games. I'm getting pretty sick of PF pushing and calling ranges and all that bunk, and found myself very interested in certain concepts of postflop play. Things like the WA/WB concept, and even simple things like why you make bets has the gears in my brain turning again.

Well I decided to sit down at a 25nl table, and soon found myself 4-tabling without any trouble. The only problem was the beats (KK < QQ, KK < A9, QQ < A8) and a few flat-out losses (combo draw loses to AA, JJ < QQ, some bad plays on my part). I managed to drop about 3 buyins worth, but aside from my brief tilting after the beats I managed to play very well and plan on possibly playing more ring games overall. Tournaments are just a little crazy for me sometimes; playing my heart out for three hours and seeing my stack vaporize on the bubble from a beat doesn't exactly appeal to me anymore. Anyways, I do realize I'm probably not going to stick with this, but I found myself multitabling without any trouble, probably due to not having to worry about the dynamics of tournaments. I think I can grind out a nice winrate with possibly even more than 4 tables at 25nl, then I'll try my luck at 50nl when (if) I do. I'll still be playing FL, but NL rings are luring me in...

EDIT: please see the kickin knowledge thread again. Some updates with some killer 2+2 archives. Killllerrrr. Seriously.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

$6.50/18 video(s)

Decided to record a video earlier today, and again would appreciate any and all input/criticism.

Cardschat discussion thread, download Part 1 and Part 2.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Love it, hate it, hate it, love it...

When I first started playing I had naive thoughts of becoming pro by the time I was 20. I remember hearing from more seasoned players that they would never consider playing pro in their lifetime, regardless how good they were, and thought they were bonkers. I'm only now beginning to understand them.

Simply put, I think most intelligent people could develop the skills needed to make a living from poker. There's more to it than that, though. It takes a very disciplined, psychologically very strong person to be able to deal with the ups and downs of this game. Poker is swingy. "Poker" and "consistency" should never be in the same sentence, save this one. Or one with "is not" before "consistent". Well you get my point anyways.

I played several 2-table SnGs earlier today, and got tossed around like a ragdoll. AA loses to AKs. ATs loses to A9s. Top two pair gets flushed. More beats. I got so pissed at one point that I slammed my desk and said "what the FUCK is with these swings???". That's poker, Chuck. Suck it up.

Poker is all in the long-term, and as Larry Phillips puts it, the long run is longer than you think. If you can ignore the frustration and tilt that the beats brings as well as the 'winners tilt' and overconfidence that winning big pots brings, then you're set.

Back to poker; I ended up taking a break, eating some lunch and walking the dog, then I came back to play some more. Queue upswing. I fired up two SnGs, and go on a rush which mirrored the ugliness that happened earlier. AA first hand doubles me up on one table. KK on the third hand doubles me up on the other. QQ wins another big pot. JJ pads more to my stack. It goes on.

I somehow ended up only barely cashing in one of those two, but end up finishing the day with positive profits after playing a few more. But god damn I hate the swings sometimes. It's like Mike Tyson decides to come along and practice his hooks and crosses on my emotional body. Then Jessica Alba comes along and porks me 'til I feel like a king. Sigh.

Well needless to say, I don't think I could ever be a full-time professional; probably not because I don't think I have the drive and skills to do it, but because I don't think I could handle the emotional stress. I think the farthest I'll go will probably be playing a few hours after I come home from my regular job, hopefully raking in some 5k+ paydays occasionally to help pay for the toys et al.

Then again, you never know what the future will bring. Maybe I'll fall in love with live poker and find I'm much better at it than I am online, and become a millionaire. Maybe I'll find that this is all just a gambling problem and I end up on the corner of Queen and Bathurst drinking Listerine.

I'm ranting again...anyways, today ended up finishing the day with another FLHE session; this time only one table and only a hundred hands, but I did well. Maybe not as well as I should have considering the cards I was getting dealt, but I'm happy.

On a side note, I really haven't worked on my midterm as much as I should have so far. Have to get to work on that sooooontime.

Friday, November 2, 2007


Well after thinking a lot about what I talked about in my last post and how I don't play as well in the lower buyins as I do in the higher ones, I've smartened up some. I played several $6.50/18s and $16/18s and although I haven't won any, I've cashed enough to give me a nice profit. Some bad beats and some shorstacked pushing gone bad resulted in some 3rd and 4th place finishes.

Stars actually has some very evenly-weighted payout structures (%10/%20/%30/%40) which means shooting for first shouldn't be as much of a priority as it normally is with STTs or MTTs. Placing regularly in any pay spot should show a nice profit long-term; it's just that first isn't a huge deciding factor in your long-term success.

Anyways, I played a few of those, played well and made a little dough. I also just finished playing my first FLHE session in quite a while, and finished up well there too after nearly doubling my buyin in only a hundred hands or so. The more I read SSH (almost done now), the more I realize how much work my game needs. I'm still terrible with pot odds on the spot, and still can't count outs as well as I'd like (it goes beyond flush draw outs/overcard outs etc).

I also went to the job fair I mentioned earlier today. My buddy came along and drove us there which saved a lot of time and money, but the job fair wasn't exactly what I was looking for. Most of the jobs were for banks, financial advising companies and other jobs I wasn't looking for as opposed to trades. There was one trade booth, and they said they were offering apprenticeships strictly outside of Ontario. Yay.

Something I've semi-seriously considered is actually trekking out to the prairie provinces to get a job where the economy is apparently just booming. I've heard of people going and working on oil rigs for a year or so and having money to live for the next ten. The oil rig jobs are bringing more people in, which in turn create more jobs for services (restaurants, bars, clothing chains etc etc). Hell, even McDonalds apparently gives $12 starting wage.

Just a thought.

Here's your video for the day. Andrew WK fucking rocks, and I don't care if you disagree or think all his songs sound the same.

There. If that's not the best love song you've ever heard, then you're nuts.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Psychological barriers

I think a big problem of mine is that I rarely play my "A game". While that sounds like a nice, cocky excuse for not winning as much as I'd like to, I really do think it's true.

Online poker separates you from the money you're playing with. I rarely play live anymore, but I know that a player is usually in a different mindset when they put $200 in cold hard cash down on a table rather than $200 'online dollars'. When you rarely see the actual physical money getting moved around, it starts to feel more like a video game than a game of poker; I personally find that I don't value each buyin for what it's actually worth, and I no longer play my best game.

For some, that could actually be a good thing. They say that the best of the best completely separate themselves from the money in order to play optimally no matter what they're playing for (how else would Ivey and co. play 50/100k HU?). For me, though, it's a big problem.

I'm posting this because I realized how much better I played in that $60 tourney in comparison to how I play in the $6.50s or $16s. In my first year or so of playing, I used to have a note pinned right under my monitor that read in big, bold letters, "STOP AND THINK". I would often make spur of the moment decisions without thinking a hand through, and it cost me bundles. I've had it removed for ages now after finally overcoming that problem, but I might have to do something similar to try and correct my new problem. Maybe I'll tape a $20 bill there instead to remind me what I'm playing with.