Saturday, December 27, 2008

2008 in retrospect

It's so easy getting caught up with the daily, weekly, monthly swings. I know you and I have heard it a fucking million times, but all you should be concerned with is the hand...and the results will come in the long term. A year is a good long-ish term, and I really can't be disappointed with how things have gone.

January of 08 saw me move from where I started in the rings at 25nl to 50nl. I still remember my first session, even one of my first hands when I moved up. I was playing full ring at the time, and I distinctly remember playing a hand with AA where I overplayed it a little bit on a Kxx board where someone limp/cold called my 3bet, and we ended up getting it in. I won the hand and his $50 stack against what turned out to be AK for top pair, and I got a taste for what could be some potentially big money to be made in the ring games. I don't think I'm way past my wildest dreams considering where I ended up, but I did pretty damn good, and am pretty proud of myself.

I've made my way from playing 25nl full ring to now playing mostly 200nl 6max with some 400nl mixed in when the games are good, and I've sustained a nice winrate the whole time. I've definitely had some trying times (namely March, where I lost about $200, and October where I lost about $1,500), but overall I've made a fuckload more money than I ever did in the tournies, and my game has progressed at a tremendous rate.

Last few months I've been taking a much more serious approach to playing and studying poker, and hopefully that will yield some nice 2009 results.

Real life has been a bitch. My aunt getting a stroke, my Oma moving in because of it, our whole financial situation being fucked up on top of it's been tough. It's been tough on me, I guess it's hard having to be around all the time to take care of my Oma...

[pic removed]

...ok maybe it hasn't been that bad, but I just yearn for more time to dedicate to poker. To the friends and family who don't understand what I'm doing, it seems to them like I just want to sit on my ass and play games all day. Those who do know me know that I'm trying to set up my future here.

I have no doubt that my current situation is the root of my stress problems and my tilt. I had planned on moving out or traveling this winter, but instead I'm stuck at home taking care of everything, and that means I can't play as much as I'd like. Things are clearing up some, and I expect to play a lot more in the coming year.

I've mentioned I've been getting coached by Alan. One of the things we discussed was his poker career. It seems odd for me to pay him 200/hr to tell me about his trials and tribulations as a player, but it helps tremendously. He talked a bit about his coaching from Jared Tendler. Alan was in a real rut at one point, and without straying too far off topic, Jared told him that basically at that point he wasn't setting his sights high enough. He made something like 300k one year, and decided that 380 or something was enough for the next year, so that was his goal. He was failing miserably, and Jared basically shook him up and said he should be shooting way higher. He didn't have enough motivation. So Alan changed his goal from 380k to 1M. In the end, Alan says, he's failing miserably for his 1M goal, but is crushing his previous 380k goal.

My point is that I need to set some really high sights for next year. I'm not big on monetary goals since that's something I really don't have much control over, but I can control the number of hands I play. I got through almost 275k in 2008. 2009, I'm shooting for 500k which translates to somewhere over 40k hands/month. I'd like to be positive and say I will reach that goal, but I think it's a little out of my reach. The main purpose of setting it so high is to try to get that high. Better to try and fail than never to have tried at all. If I play anywhere over 400k hands, I'll be very happy. 500k is the goal though :)

I'm starting to rant here, so I'll close up with my little condensed review and goals thangs.

2008 overview:

- 275,000 hands
- $25,000 profit
- Went from 25nl FR to 200nl 6max/taking shots at 400nl
- Ongoing battle with tilt, my biggest enemy
- Got coaching from Stosh and Alan of stoxpoker, both of which have helped tremendously

Comparing my big bets vs hands graph with my dollars vs hands graph, you can see why overall it all seems good, but lately it's been tough controlling the tilt. In 'real' terms, it's just swingier. In the terms I should be thinking about, it's been absolutely fine.

Overall, I'm happy with how the year went though. I'm sure I lost like $5-10k in tilt, but that's something I'm working on. And will most probably be dropping a few K trying to fix.

This month was pretty good btw. I ended it on a pretty bad run with pretty bad tilt, but I can't be too disappointed. I cleared 30k hands like 5 days ago and haven't played since due to RL business, but I'm still pretty happy with how it went. Going to start coaching with Alan again in the next week or so.

2009 goals:

- 500,000 hands
- Sticking with the 'possibly out of reach but motivating goals,' $100,000 profit. Bam.
- Continue coaching from Alan, look into coaching from other 1knl+ monsters, get coaching from Jared Tendler
- Beat 600nl by the end of the year
- Go sign up at the boxing gym
- Develop a firm schedule to make sure you reach these goals, including study time away from the tables
- Possibly take a cross-country road trip over the summer
- Enjoy life

GOGOGOGO 5k+/month, 100k/year, midstakes beat-down time guys. I know you'll be up there with me, let's just try to avoid each other on the tables :)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

14,085 hands

...and it's been a challenge.

It's all good experience I guess. It's just frustrating when you have days where you're like a grand under EV, or when said swings make me lose another grand from raging, frustrated tilt. I'm thoroughly convinced that tilt has me sitting on somewhere between 2-6ptbb/100 under where I would be without it, but realize my technical game still needs a ton of work. It's not just the beats and coolers that get to me. When I get in a spot where I'm not sure what to do, and in a confused 8-tabling rushed state make a mistake that loses me a half stack, then repeat the same process several times in one session...well that doesn't feel good either.

It's just hard. It's also very challenging which is what keeps me going. Like Tommy Angelo says in his book, every bad session is just practice for dealing with the next bad session. Every time I tilt, all I can do is just try to do my best to suppress it (usually by concentrating on breathing really deeply and tightening up on the tables to free up some focus), or just quit if it's too much to handle. Usually it's the former as I'm not a very good quitter.

Not much else to say I guess. When I found out I was going to be getting more free time through december and on, I got pretty excited about making lots more money, but that hasn't been the case so far. I'm fluctuating around 3k on the month which is good, but not great. I guess everything feels small after a monster month like september's 9k. There's always more money to be made, or to be desired. I can't possibly be disappointed with 3k, but I can always strive for more by doing more work.

I'll be getting some more coaching sessions with Alan soon, will be looking into coaching from Jared Tendler some time soon, and will be doing some more work (similar to the pokerazor analyses I posted) away from the tables.

Of course the obligatory hand replays since last post:

Obviously an embarrassing one. One of the two things that happen to me when I tilt: I don't believe people when they obviously have a hand.

Funny spot. Villain folds to 3bet incredibly high, so I'm 3betting almost any two in position, and most OOP. Flop comes great, but I fuck up all the bet sizing, yadda yadda yadda, and I can't push out an overpair which holds.

1) my CRAI sucks, it was tilt, I suck. 2) WOW at villain's call. He's one of the laggier regs at like 28/22 or something. He's owned me in a ton of pots, but every once in a while he makes a ridiculously spewy play like this which leaves me in shock. No, you can't have his screen name. You might not even want it. He's a pain in the ass.

That's about it. KK vs AA for 10 hands in a row isn't too interesting. Bitch, whine, moan, yadda yadda yadda.

Thanks for reading. I hope my ramblings are half interesting, or that I make some of you feel better about your monthly progress, heh...

Sunday, December 14, 2008

You have achieved the Supernova

Poker goes well. Well, everything's kind of going well right now. My cousin has taken over for a good chunk of the week watching my Oma, and that means I'm basically free every day but Mondays and Wednesdays now. Even when I am busy, I have my new laptop to play with. That all adds up to more poker. Last few days I've been a little busy, but without feeling like I'm even playing that much at all, I'm already on pace for a record month in number of hands played.

Coaching with Alan has been phenomenal. We had another two hour session and talked a lot about flop textures, how exactly to use pokerazor, and other good stuff. I should get coaching more often. He charges $400 for a two hour block, but I always seem to make that back and then some after a session with him (or Stosh for that matter). I may be getting a little ahead of myself, but both Alan and I are confident I can both make it to the mid stakes, and win. By his guesstimations I'm better than %50 of the regulars, probably %60. That sounds pretty good, but I think I still need some more work done before I move up; I feel I'm better than a much higher percentage of 200nl regulars than %60, and would like to feel a little more comfortable before I move to 400nl.

Right now that's not really my biggest priority though. If I can really motivate myself to play more hands the rest of this month and next month, I can start reaching the 10k/month point again. I mean even if I'm making around 20c/hand (my overall rate has been ~10c/hand, my 200nl rate has been slightly higher than 20c/hand), that means I can clear $10k in 50k hands. That also doesn't include bonuses, which are significantly higher now that I've reached Supernova status on Stars.

10k/month is 120k per year. And that's fucking ridiculous for a degen like me. Moral of the story: play more, and you can set the rest of your life up with your poker winnings.

Now I'm obviously really high-spirited right now, and as you can guess, a lot of that is from me running like a god recently. But even if I'm overestimating my winrate or whatever, how can playing a ton more possibly be wrong? What's wrong with trying for $10k/month and only getting $5k?

I really mean it when I say this, but you guys will be seeing a lot more from me in the future. I'm motivated through the roof and will be playing tons more, and a lot better too with the help of Alan and some other resources. Oh, as an aside, I'll probably be coming out with a sweat style video for stoxpoker with Stosh! Should be fun. I wasn't really sure if I wanted to expose myself and my screen name like that, but I don't think it'll make much of a difference anyways.

So, this month's graph below. It's obviously a sample size thing, but my coaching literally started right at the base of that mountain.

Monday, December 8, 2008

7,720 hands

Swinging confidence

Two days ago, I was feeling like I'd taken a huge leap in my game. Today, well, not so much.

I had a two hour coaching session with Alan Jackson (Dixon01) of stoxpoker, and it was awesome. We talked mostly about preflop stuff, lots on stats, and some mental game stuff. I go through a little more detail on cardschat in this post. As you might be able to tell, my attitude has changed a little since. I'm still %100 happy with my coaching, but my confidence has dropped considerably since then.

I'd rather not get into the nuances of the stuff I've changed lately, but it's getting tough. When you change your game, you generally don't get great results until you balance the rest of your range, and I'm having a little bit of trouble in that area. Some things are showing immediate, and very positive results, but I know I have a ton of work ahead of me. It's fun and challenging, but hard.

Sunday I played my longest session ever at 5k+ hands, and unfortunately ran pretty poorly. I can recall a good half dozen hands where I ran into the very top of my opponents ranges, all in huge pots. If you look at my EV graph, I'm basically running neutral, and that goes to show how little that thin green line means. The coolers lead to some tilt, and I'm sure I lost a good $500 making bad calls and running silly bluffs. One terrible defense vs a 3bet preflop lead to me winning a stack off of a bluffy opponent, but obviously I should know better than to believe that was a good call.

At least I'm playing lots. I'm putting in lots of work with my game, and I'll be looking forward to doing some sweat sessions with a fellow Dixon student, FPaulsson. Lots of work and playing at least means my FPPs are piling up. Supernova will be a breeze (only 2k vpps left) and when that's complete I'll have a nice raise in pay with fpps. I think I'll be gaining some weight with all the cookie baskets I'll be ordering.

Oh, on the subject of the fpps and all that, I finally got my laptop (via fpp store via $1,000 giftcard). I actually got it a few days ago and have been figuring it all out since. I can now use it downstairs with a wireless connection (which is surprisingly stable since I last tried it), and that means even more poker! I'm actually writing from my dining room table...

I'm pretty happy with it. It's pretty fast, has a great monitor with solid resolution, and surprisingly vista hasn't caused any problems yet. I actually like it. I only have one qualm with it, and that lies in the cd drive. For one, the actual tray rattles back and forth and feels pretty cheap, and it also has a problem of getting really choppy when I play burned movies on it. It seems to skip up every time it changes 'chapters' or whatever you want to call them. The bluray drive is pretty awesome, but it's too bad I only own 3 movies in that format, and they all came with the pc. Surf's Up (yay disney), Quantum of Solace (meh), and Hitch (have yet to see it, and probably won't). Otherwise, I'm happy.

The new laptop means more poker, and that means more profit (hopefully). I feel as if this is a big turning point in my poker career, and as long as I can maintain the swings I'll be just fine. I'm in good hands with Alan, and hopefully his coaching 'feels' cheaper than it does right now. It's hard dropping $400 for a couple hours when you're breaking even with your game.

Oh, you want hands right? Well too bad! Gonna have to go over to cardschat's hand analysis section for that. I've posted plenty, feel free to jump in the discussion.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

November review, December goals

I can't find my November goals post, so I'll just post results rather than how my goals went.

- 20k+ hands
- Good tilt control
- Played lots given the time I had
- Adjusted my play well
- Improved!

I was approaching monkey tilt during my ~3k downswing weekend, but I kept my cool, tried some new things and ended up having a fantastic last few days which brought me back up. I'm feeling really good about myself right now (and was even during my swong!). If it weren't for home life being really fucked up and twisted, I'd be a very happy camper right now.

December should be good. I'll be getting my laptop any time now, and that means more hands. More hands, more poker, more profits hopefully. One thing I'm looking for in either Dec or Jan is another coaching program. Mr. Paulsson seems to be having a great time with Jason aka code1234567 of stoxpoker. I think he's currently booked but will be opening up with a new program in January, and I'll definitely have a look at that. I've pm'ed him at stox to see what's up.

I've got some stuff that will keep my wallet busy in the coming month, so it looks like I probably won't hit 400nl for a good month or two, minimum. I think realistically I would win if I were to move up, but it would probably only be around the 0-3ptbb/100 mark, and the variance would be considerably higher than what I'm experiencing now at 200nl. So 400nl will have to wait until a) I get some more coaching, and b) my bankroll is >40 buyins for the level.

New goals:

- Breeze by SN while plugging a million hands
- Buy laptop with futureshop giftcard that will come sooner than later hopefully...
- Get back to practicing Jared's metal game concepts
- Look into coaching, also deucescracked/leggo/cardrunners
- Play lots, 25k+ hands
- Keep rehab'ing back
- Go to the boxing gym now that your back's better!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

2201 hands

Poker's going great for the first time in what feels like forever. I've been finding tons of really great tables lately and have generally just been running pretty damn well. What's awesome about streaks like this is that I'm really not running that great (all in ev says I'm miles above expectation, but as has been argued in forums, that stat isn't exactly accurate for all luck). I just feel really confident. I guess yet again I shouldn't get caught up in the winnings and start feeling like I'm unbeatable again. It's just hard not to when you catch a terrible beat (88>TT aipf), then go ahead and win the stack back within like 30 hands. So poker is good. 2k in two days is always nice.

Going to the chiropractor is awesome too. For a good day and a half there I was in the worst pain I've ever been in. I woke up after my typical shitty sleep feeling just 'kind of' shitty, then it just snapped out of place and the pain was so bad I wanted to puke. Usually I can lay on my back or stand straight and the pain goes away, but this felt like swimmer's foot for your back, multiplied by 10. Anyways I finally got it all set up and went to the chiropractors, and he's A+. I think he's done a good handful of nhl player's backs so I definitely trust the guy. There's something about someone physically shifting your back into shape. I walk out of that place feeling like I'm standing taller and straighter every time. Not having chronic back pain is nice too. Thanks Dr. Marv!

Just something that came to mind now, I think I'm realizing one of the big reasons I ran so well a month or two ago or whenever it was. Reading Elements of Poker is making me understand it. I used to play a ton of short sessions. Tommy Angelo preaches taking tons of breaks, and making sure you cut sessions while you're still on your A game. Put simply, if you cut your sessions off right when you reach your C game (or well before you reach that point), then your overall play will consist of a higher % of your A game, meaning you can lop that C game off and start playing your A game more often. I think I was quitting for the wrong reasons (I'd be up a buyin or two and quit mostly out of worry of losing it then finishing the session pissed off and feeling 'down' for the day), but now I know that it in fact helped me, and it's something I think I'll go back to. Short sessions ensure you don't start zoning out, which is something I often do too.

That's today's rant, just kind of rambling aimlessly yet again. Thanks for reading my boring shit, if you got this far. Oh, here are some hands since I'm guessing that's the only interesting part to the blog :)

Against a reg! hah!

Thank you Mr. Slowplay

Pretty marginal, but I like it. Villain is a reg who loves to defend his blinds, and rarely folds to 4bets. I could be wrong, but I think we're in pretty good shape here.

It's like looking at a mirror, except me last month!

Thank you Mr. Fish.

Little bit of steam coming off my head there.

Against an aggro fish. Pretty happy stacking there, especially after just flatting the flop raise.

Against another, less aggro fish. Probably a bad calldown. Snap minraises usually don't mean trips, but I guess here it did.

And those are literally the 3 losingest pots I've played in the last two days. I run goot.

Monday, November 24, 2008


So, this month took a turn for the worse. After a nasty day at 1/2 where I really didn't tilt, but still managed to lose about a grand, I decided to take a shot at 2/4. No, this wasn't some 'jump up and even your losses out' type thing. I've been thinking about moving up for a while, and for whatever reason decided saturday was the day. I took my shot, played some big pots, most of which were beats and coolers...

...and called it a day. There were a good handful of smaller pots, some of which I played terribly, others I played fine. They basically evened themselves out. The big pots ate me up though, but even then I still maintain that I'm playing my A game or very close to it. Looking at those 400nl tables made me realize that it's very very beatable. Granted it was a saturday night, but I found some excellent tables, even by 200nl's standards, within seconds of scanning them with telescope. Sure, the regulars are tougher, and the fish are fewer and farther between, but it's beatable. People over-adjust when they move up, and that includes myself. All you have to do is look at each situation and play it the best you can. It's not like players have some magical quality at the next stakes up, they just have more experience and are more well-rounded players. Look at their stats, find their leaks, and exploit them. The regs look pretty beatable, and maybe I'm just getting ahead of myself but I'm pretty confident about 2/4 when the time comes. In the future, I'll probably hop up when my roll reaches 40 buyins or a little more.

Anyways, hop on over to sunday, and we have another brutal day. I'm going to cut the whining to a minimum, but I'm really just running like shit. All in pots are killing me; I'm either running into the top of my opponents' ranges, or I'm getting sucked out on. This month's profits have been wiped out. Oh well.

Just trying to stay confident. The only thing that's really tilting me is the fact that my fucking giftcard for my laptop still hasn't come! I guess I'll email them one more time; this is the longest anything from stars has taken to get here, and it's only a fuckin gift card! How long does it take to grab a gift card, scan it in your computer, input $1000 in credit, then fuckin mail it!? Bah.

Oh also, I really really need to get back into shape. For about a week and a half now, my back has been in writhing pain. I slept wrong on it one night, and sitting at the pc every day hasn't helped it. I'm literally sitting here in spasms, groaning in pain every 30 seconds. I can't move my head past about...60 degrees in any direction, and I wake up about 10 times each night because of it. It's back to the chiropractor for me, and once that treatment has at least relieved the pain, I'm going to start playing hockey and going to the boxing gym again. Time to whip myself back into form.

So building on the exercise thing, I've got a few more goals which have become priorities for me:

- See chiropractor
- Go to gym and get a membership when the back's better
- Look into a serious ergonomic chair, maybe an Aeron or Steelcase
- Finish Elements of Poker and PNL
- Think about Christmas (it's wtf close!)
- Achieve Supernova

Supernova is going to be a big priority of mine, even though it's well within reach. I've achieved platinum the last few months and I don't even need to accumulate as many in Dec to reach SN, so all should be fine. It'll completely fuck me over though if I somehow fail to do so, since it's a yearly VIP level and since it's such a big raise from platinum. IIRC it means going from 12c/hand to 22c/hand in rakeback, but I could have done my calculations wrong. Either way 22c/hand is nothing to sneeze at.

Ending this with a nice sunset with the doggy:

Thursday, November 20, 2008


...and so the long battle with winter begins.

Really, it's actually very nice though. I know I'll be dead sick of it as soon as January and February come along, but for now it's putting a smile on my face :)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tommy boy!

Tommy Angelo's Elements of Poker is my new favourite book. No, not just poker book, favourite book. And I'm only through about a quarter of it (ripping through it as fast as I can remember reading any book fwiw).

I have to admit that running well is helping lift my spirits and possibly instill some extra confidence, but this is the most confident I've been in ages. His writing style is pretty unique, and it's really hit home with me so far. He just makes everything so simple that it makes me want to drop the thousands on personal coaching from him to get even more out of his head. Anyways, I'm really excited and will no doubt reread the book several times. If you want to see a sample of what his writing style is like, check out his site above or look through his coaching bio page thingy over on deucescracked.

So like I said, I'm running well, but I'm also just gradually taking a different, more ideal mindset. Obviously we all know poker is about the long run, but I'm finally getting the feel that each session really doesn't matter. Not in the results category at least. Daily results, weekly swings, monthly reviews - they're all just kind of arbitrary. What really matters is playing each hand as best you can. Constantly reviewing the table conditions, your mental state, your opponent's mental states. Recognizing not only when you're tilting, but how close you are to crossing that line. Flat-out ending your sessions when you feel you're too close to it.

Naturally I'll still be posting monthly updates because I'm only human, but I really do feel like I'm progressing as a player, on and off the tables. Like I mentioned in earlier posts, my goals now are simply to progress as a player as much as I can, and make as much money along the way as possible. I knew I was going to make big changes this month and I'm starting to feel them :)

Unfortunately something else disastrous has fallen upon my shoulders. Left 4 dead was released. I'm just too much of a video game addict not to pick this up - it looks like such a fun multiplayer game. Cool thing is now that I'll have my laptop (still have yet to get the giftcard though), both my brother and I can play multiplayer games together, or maybe lan or whatever. This winter will be fun :) Unfortunately it's actually something that's going to dig into my poker time. Just got to make sure it doesn't take up too much.

Monday, November 17, 2008


Only about 1000 hands since my last post unfortunately, but it's been a nice 75c/hand. I didn't think it was really possible, but real life got even more fucked up. This time with details I'd rather keep to myself, but it looks like this is the real turning point for all of us. All I can do at the moment is take care of my grandma when I'm needed, and chip in a grand here and there to keep us afloat. I've decided not to buy my couch, instead helping out with the broken stove and broken washing machine. I'll have to buy the laptop since I've got a giftcard, but that will help with my hand-logging as I will then be able to play and take care of my oma - grandma in dutch :) - at the same time.

Poker has been going well this month, and unfortunately with last week's real life bullshit I had to really cut down on the number of hands I played, but even so I'm on pace for a great month. I'm just trying not to fall into the trap of seeing results and cutting down on playing, like last month. This time I really do have an excuse, but I want to make the most of my free time by plugging in as many hands as I can.

Another thing that's keeping me a little busy is study away from the table. Bryce's recent tutorial on the Stox Combo beta gave me motivation to start studying common situations so that they come more naturally to me at the table. For example, if my opponent is a typical tag with a %5 3bet, what will his distribution be on a Q92 flop? I have no idea! Hence the studying :)

With my crazy motivation earlier in the month, I was playing tons. I finally got the feel for plugging in big volume (relative to my 6-tabling style), and logged my biggest day ever at 3k hands earlier in the month. I can definitely see putting in a good solid number of hands in the coming months, maybe 30k or 40k. And with more hands comes more profit. It's just unfortunate that I've been snuffed a little bit.

Looking back at my goals for November, I'm following them pretty well. Admittedly I've really lost my way studying Jared's tilt control videos, the main reason being that even though I was breaking even for a good 5k hands or whatever, I still feel that watching his one video and practicing loose warm-up, wind-down and breathing exercises does wonders for me. Not that I don't need tilt coaching anymore, but I feel good right now. Otherwise, my goals have been going pretty well. Halfway through the month I'm at 10k hands despite not playing much for the last five days, and I've stuck to 6max the whole time. I've 'SUCKED IT UP, BITCH'. Now my problems are beyond 'how can I get rich and buy myself stuff'. It's now 'how can I help my family get out of his rut', and the answer is to help out with my oma, play as much as I can on the side, and put that money to good use.

Enough rambling. Here's my month so far followed by some fun hands from last night.

And the last hand I'll post will be in HA since I find it pretty interesting. Would like some input on it if you guys don't mind.

edit: oh, another thing! I finally got Tommy Angelo's book! Thanks for taking the time to buy it and ship it to me JD! This book is just awesome. It's the most excited I've ever been to read a book, hands down. Ever. And it's delivering. If you haven't bought it yet, do so. I love it.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

8,521 hands

Basically, shit sucks right now. Poker is going fairly well. I'm up about 2k since my last post and have been feeling pretty good about my play and my discipline. I plugged a good 3,000 hands today in what I think was my longest session ever at 7 hours (almost nonstop). Too bad I ran kinda bad and made a few questionable plays that left me at a buyin and a half under for the day.

Against a fish, had a set in the back of my mind the whole time.

Also against a fish, but I can't take anything away from him. I got %100 trapped here on a timing tell and his whole line in general. I was going to say this one was a little tilty, but I think it was more of me acting before fully thinking a hand through than me tilting. Semantics really, I guess it was just bad either way.

Barf. Against a fish who floats like crazy, turn check was with the intention of CRAI.

Against he same guy. This is where I cry about running bad and say that my sets never hold up and my combo draws never hit like everyone else's do against me :)

Against a tag. He calls the flop without much thought and I really didn't put him on a king, hence my turn bluff. I expected all underpairs to check back for the showdown, and all his floats to bet, so I went for a bluff raise on the turn and got stuffed on.

Plays like those definitely have their place, but I think I make them just a bit too often. If I had the discipline (which is slowly coming) to fold instead of run a bluff like that every time, I'd probably be up in the 8ptbb/100 area rather than the 5-6.

Real life sucks. Some new shit I'd rather not talk about (as well as rewatching the first half of Goodfellas) has given me the motivation to play lots more and basically get rich. I'm sick of this broke ass lifestyle, sick of living in this mouse-ridden, broken down, hundred year-old house, and I'm sick of my family not having enough money to fix it all. Time to suck my fuckin pride up, make good laydowns, grind more, stop running low-percentage bluffs, study more and move my way up through 400nl and 600nl so I can make some serious paper and fix this mess.

Monday, November 3, 2008

438 hands

Bad session in that I played pretty poorly and by the end was steaming pretty badly, but a great session in that I'm kicking off Jared's system of warming up and shutting down and I feel just great overall.

Before I start a session, I read my newly desktop-linked txt file which reads:

1) Food/drinks/washroom/clear desk

2) Set goals on pad (hands, time, tilt, strategies)

3) Warm up poker brain

4) Bring important poker/mental skills or challenges to the front of your mind

5) Deep breathing for a minute
-Think about A game
-Think about C game
-Strategies to manage tilt

Also something that I simply can't just implement immediately and do every time, but by the end of the month I'll hopefully be doing something along these lines every session:


1) Set goals
2) Review/warm up your poker brain
3) Deep breathing to get focused
4) Visualization and comparison of A game and C game

Ending a session:

1) Extract learning
2) Evaluating goals/progress
3) Reviewing my play

At the moment it honestly seems like a lot of semi-unnecessary crap to do, but I do understand all this will help tremendously. There's no big, easily-understood secret for curing my tilt. It's just going to take some serious work and understanding of what Jared teaches. To some this is all just voodoo bullshit, but for me it's essential.

My good friend is leaving for a working and/or fun trip to Vancouver for at least a month this wednsday. Already making excuses, I'm going to have to postpone some of that post-session analysis until tomorrow.

Some hands for your enjoyment:

'Meh' push against someone who started off as a maniac (not just raising lots of pots, but 3bet shoving $100 every other hand), but who tightened up to the point where I'm not sure shoving here is good.

A little over aggressive preflop vs a lag who folds often to 3bets, but postflop I think it's fine.

One of the hands that got me steaming. As Jared says, frustration is nothing but the lack of acceptance of reality - or something like that :). I fully undertstand I got outplayed here though. IIRC villain is funkeemunkee or something and is a complete nit at like 14/12. I'd been stealing tons and I often get the false feeling that they play back at me more than they do.

vs a fish. bleh.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

971 hands

I was serious when I said I wanted to make some big changes in November, and today's first session helps a little bit with the confidence. I ran into a few tough spots that, had they happened a few days ago, I would have been furious about. But I kept my cool, kept grinding it out, and decided to stop the session when I started to feel a little bit hungry and tired.

Funny how a two hour session can be considered my work 'day'.

No doubt my goals will change slightly this month as my original November goals post was written in an enraged flurry, but they will be similar to what I wrote down. Most of what I plan to do revolves around my mental game, how I prepare and wind down for sessions, and I'll be looking to post more HA stuff and study my own hands away from the table. I just may have to retract my point about not playing any HU this month as a new Stoxpoker coach, Cole Robinson, is coming out with a very sound-looking video series on HU play.

I've been taking a serious look at what went wrong last month, and although obviously tilt was the main catalyst to my losing month, I definitely feel like I wasn't on my A-game at any point in October. So...more HA, more review, more videos and video reviews, more everything.

Hands of the day:

Sloppy-ish call vs a maniac.

Only real tilt-induced play on the day, and I kind of smacked myself to stop going down that road.

Hooray for fish!

Times two!

Weird line from a tagfish. I actually almost folded river, but couldn't lay it down getting almost 3:1 against such a nonsense line.

Tomorrow I'll most likely be a little busy, but may get some hands in later in the day. I'm expecting my futureshop giftcard in the mail, which will go towards a new laptop. Stars has been so good to me and so quick with every little thing they deliver that I instinctively looked for the card the day after ordering it. I'm still hopelessly expecting it like tomorrow, but realize it could take up to a few weeks.

Pics of halloween and the new laptop to be posted when I get my hands on either one.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Jared's mass coaching may be the key

I really wanted to get one on one coaching with Jared Tendler, sports psychologist of stoxpoker, but it looks like that won't happen for at least a month or more.

His videos on stoxpoker however may just do the trick. His most recent videos, mostly pertaining to the actual practice of his theories, are just gold. Preparation for a session (setting goals, mental preparation etc), finishing a session, and dealing with tilt in real time. All gold.

Right now I'm scrambling to get a costume for tonight so I have yet to watch all of them with %100 of my attention span, but I'll rewatch them tomorrow, make notes, and start putting all that stuff into practice. Pretty excited to be honest. If you have a stox membership and have yet to watch them, you're missing out. If you have yet to get a stox membership, you're also missing out. I always feel like a dirty whore spamming my referral, but if you do sign up, tell them Clean (my username at stox) sent you, and I get free months. Then thank me for putting you on :)

September, here I come!

...right after I get smashed and shitfaced tonight.

Monday, October 27, 2008

You know what helps keep me going?

The smell of lots and lots of dirty money.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

894 hands

I take it back. Winning $300 or $400 does still feel good. $650 feels better.

I played one quick HU session a couple days ago which went well (I think I got a BI and a half off of a fish), and today after watching Stosh's new video and gaining some confidence, I played a good 850 hands and finally ran well. At first I was getting the shit kicked out of me by one fish who had position on me and just wouldn't fold. So I instamoved to the seat to his left when the player who was sitting there left, and lo and behold, it helped tremendously. Got to showdown easier, calling down his retarded 2x pot bluffs, getting full value from my good hands, etc. Position is the nuts. I'm also thinking of changing my name to UPAYMERAKE or something similar in regards to the nitty regulars. I think that's the best analogy for how easy it is to steal against them: it's like they pay you rake. Even the good 20-tablers (maybe especially) fold their big blinds like >%80 of the time, and of course that means steal with like a %90+ range. Eventually the better half of regs catch on and start to adjust, but even then it's easy to readjust and continue to run them over.

Such is poker when you run good. Or rather when you're not running bad - I swear if I could just run neutrally, not winning any massive pots but not losing any either, I'd still burn through 200nl at like 2 or 3ptbb. I mean I made $650 today with no full stacks won, and actually ran below expectation.

Some of the more interesting hands since last post:

Against a 70/25 long-term drooler. Yes he's been buddy listed.

Against an unknown. Was a little lost on the turn.

vs the same player, who turned out to be a massive fish as you probably could have guessed.

Odd line vs a nitty reg. Being deep really threw me off, really wasn't sure how to play the hand at all. After his turn bet I like just calling as he can't have anything less than 2 pair really, but otherwise it was just a weird hand.

vs the 70/25, lol

also vs the 70/25 who donked %80+ of flops.

That's it for now.

Had it not started pouring rain just a few minutes ago I was going to go play some pool with a buddy, but I just might stay in tonight and play some HU. I bought the new Brothers in Arms game the other day, so maybe I'll play some more of that.

Friday, October 24, 2008

2,875 hands

I really don't know what to say about where I'm at right now. Last month's upswing bloated my ego to the point where I thought I would be crushing 400nl and the mid stakes in no time. Now, heh, well now I'm not so sure. I'm running like shit, and while that's obviously a big part of me not winning lately, I can't help but think I'm not up to par with my game at the moment. I dunno.

Last month everything went well. When I made a marginally +EV play, I would either be shown the very bottom of my opponent's range, or I would be shown the top, but suck out anyways. Either way, I wasn't tilted by the results, and I would see the situation as slightly thin, but didn't really care because I won anyways. This month, those marginal plays (as well as the clear-cut +EV plays) are just killing me, and I can't help but think I'm doing something wrong.

I might be playing just fine, and am just hitting a rough patch, but it's killing my confidence. I think last month's success lead me to kind of expect every other day to bring me in $800, break-even days being the worst I'd see. I'm still nearly a 6ptbb/100 winner at 200nl overall, and I don't see how I can possibly be disappointed with that. It's probably just a case of lifting myself above the clouds of variance and seeing that in the long run, I'm going to beat 200nl for a solid winrate.

Tilt has obviously been a part of my break-even month so far, but it's definitely getting better. Today for example I ran into a good handful of ridiculous beats and even though I didn't keep a completely level head, I managed to stick it out with a 5 hour session and played at least my A- game. Jared's videos are helping a ton with that. Understanding what triggers your tilt, why this trigger affects you in that way, and how you can prevent or subdue the effects of the trigger. All very good solid stuff that I'll probably have to watch several times to get it completely sunk in my brain.

I've noticed that a couple more things may actually be a factor in my downswings. The first being that unless I see the fruits of my labour every so often, I kind of forget about exactly what type of money I'm dealing with. It's easy to tilt and say 'fuck this, he can't possibly have me beat yet again' and toss out another $200 to call, but really that $200 is like a new monitor. Or a divono keyboard. Or like 1/6th of a new laptop (thanks for all the help by the way!). I've been planning on getting this loveseat for a while, and although a laptop isn't necessary either, I'm getting a pretty good price by way of the $1000 gift card from the fpp store.

The other factor is something that I haven't though about for months. My bankroll. Before I took out about 3k for the sofa and other stuff, my roll was sitting at nearly 15k (now 10k). With me playing 200nl, that gives me 75 buyins. Probably the biggest, both in terms of buyins and in dollar value, that it's ever been. There's absolutely no pressure of me dropping back down. Winning $300 or $400 in a day doesn't even feel that good to me anymore. I mean winning $500 back when my roll was at 4 or 5k was huge. Now that it's more than 10k, it's more like a drop in the ocean. I considered taking shots at 400nl, but as I mentioned earlier I'm not feeling tops with my game at the moment, and definitely don't want to tilt at double my stakes, so I held that idea off for a bit. Who knows, maybe I'll take some shots in the next couple of days and see how it feels.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

4,115 hands

I think I've had one session where I legitimately tilted since my last post and it cost me. Taking a quick glance through my DB filtered since that time, the biggest pots I lost were all within a few hundred hands of each other in the same session. AK stacking 200bbs deep in a marginal spot, KK paying off a beluga raise and river shove, some other smaller pots.

Overall though I've been running well and keeping my tilt under control for the most part which is good. Doing simple things like taking more time to make decisions and breathing slower and deeper helps tremendously. Sometimes I feel like if I take too long to run a bluff that my opponent will pick up on it and look me up lighter, so sometimes I'm putting out bets fast enough that my real thought process doesn't even have time to decide if it's a good bet or not. I've been trying to wait until the "ChuckTs has 15 seconds left to act..." message comes on every single time I make a decision. Helps a lot.

I really do feel like tilt is my weakest link though, and it's always a challenge trying to subdue it, or even harder yet, work through it. I'm confident I'm a solid winner (5ptbb/100 or better) at 200nl and that I'll be able to win consistently at higher stakes, but in order for that to happen I'll really have to work on my tilt problem.

Next up on my to-do list is to rewatch Jared's videos. It turns out that he only accepts payment by Paypal (ie credit card), and since I don't have one yet it doesn't look like that's a go. I do think his videos will help, but to be honest I've fallen asleep watching them before. They're just taught in a slightly different way than your typical training videos, and obviously deal with different topics, so it's a little tough. I think I'd benefit a million times more if I were to get one-on-one training and have him both identify the root of my problems and to fix them, but for now I'll have to deal with his stox videos.

$3k cheque arrived and was deposited a few days ago, and as soon as I get a chance to hit up Ikea I'm getting that reclining couch. Probably some new clothes too (winter is coming *sadface*).

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


And a much-needed one at that.

My tilt is to the point where I really think I need mental game coaching, and if possible I'll get it from Jared Tendler of stoxpoker. I think he charges about 250/hour, but from what I've heard about him I wouldn't mind paying even more. Or rather I wouldn't be surprised if he was worth more. Plain and simple, I need coaching in that area. I won't be able to sustain myself as a professional or amateur poker player if I don't fix this problem, and I need to do it soon. For the last few months I wasn't tilting at all, but that was mostly because I was running so good, and didn't really see any bad runs, so obviously I had nothing to tilt about.

I mean I'm running semi-badly through the 14k hands I've played this month, and I can't even begin to imagine running badly through a sample like 50k hands. I just couldn't handle it. Coaching from someone who's dealt with Leatherass who plays five hundred million hands a month can't hurt.

So, my goals for the rest of the month are to keep plugging away with the hands, get coaching from Jared if possible, and generally try to control my tilt.

One thing that should help is that I found a boxing gym really close to my house. I haven't fully looked into their programs but that should relieve tons of stress and get me healthier in general.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

8,580 hands

October has been swingy. Some sick beats, sicker coolers, but really it comes down to me tilting. I can pinpoint the exact point where it all started too.

Earlier this month I was doing the video series where I try to show how to beat all the stakes from 2nl through 200nl. Basically it was complete bulldozerage up to 50nl. 100nl saw me play even more lag for whatever reason, and it backfired as I ran into some big hands and some even bigger stations. Tilt ensued, and after basically (temporarily) abandoning the video series for my regular 200nl game, I've started the month pretty shittily. Down about a grand, but I wouldn't be nearly as tilted had I not lost most of that through tilt. I can't deny some of the hands were just infuriating though. Especially against 75/25 types:

A few more spots where I believe I made great hand reads and stacked hands like TT and 99 pf with light 4betting history and the reg will show me a 5bet shoved QJ and spike. It's awesome how light you can get them shoving.

As usual it's been a real challenge keeping my tilt in control, and earlier in the month I definitely failed. Yesterday and the day before I played much more calm and collected which boosted my confidence some (just book a fucking win and end the day!).

I think I've decided to tone my whole lag style down just a notch. I've nearly reached the point where I'm 31/28 on each table and while I think it can definitely be among the most profitable of styles (laggier even), I don't think I have the postflop skills to keep it up. What I'll do is I'll tone it down to a 24/21 style, and try not to run so many double and triple barrel bluffs. When I run them successfully when I'm tilt-free, it gives me reason to try and throw my stack around when I'm on monkey tilt, and of course that's the root of this month's downswing.

Bah, even my sleep schedule is all fucked up because of this. Staying up til 5 in the morning playing poker, then going for a run at 6 before I pass out just can't be healthy. Gotta either stay up all night tonight with lots of tea and sugar and not fall asleep until tomorrow night, or I'll just put myself out with some booze tonight at like 10pm so I can get a full night's rest.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

3 things...


As was requested by some peeps after I put out my 6-tabling video, I'll be putting out a small series of 4 videos where I play 10nl through 100nl 6max in hopes of showing players how to beat their respective stakes. ~30 minute videos per stake in which I'll be two-tabling while talking about the hands I play and the general strategy I think you should adopt. Should be fun.

I've already finished 10nl and 25nl today and I think I'll do the other two tomorrow.


I won't be playing any more poker today. Why? Because the new Brothers in Arms game is out and I want to pop some tops.


Best month ever. I've done too much bragging already, so this is it for September:

Biggest winning pot:

Biggest losing pot:

My only real goal from last month was to play more hands. I'm really not hating myself that much for playing what I did. I'm only 4-tabling and occasionally 6-tabling, and I'm thinking about poker like I never have before. My biggest strides in my game have been from this month and August. I do think I could plug more hands and I'll see if I can do so in the coming months, but honestly I'm happy plugging 15k-20k hands monthly and doing what I'm doing now.

Plans for the future include treating myself to some new shit, including a reclining leather loveseat for my room and probably some clothes. I own about 50 white and black tees, a pair of khakis and a pair of ripped up jeans. It's about time for some new stuff. I think long-term I'm going to stick around at 200nl for a good 50k hands minimum and see how that goes. If I maintain anything over 5ptbb/100 I'll probably start taking shots at 400nl.

Monday, September 29, 2008

1151 hands

I remember falling asleep last night thinking about my play, and thinking there was really only one hand I felt I played poorly. AK stacked from EP vs a tag. Aside from that, I played well, ran extremely well again, and couldn't be happier.

Obviously I've been running hotter than the sun, but I do feel (when I'm not tilting) I'm playing a very good game which definitely contributes to my winnings. My NSD winnings are on a steady incline for the month and just at the tables I feel like I'm really running them over the majority of the time. Running 24/22 which is also a lot of fun :)

Yesterday was especially fun though. I ran into a fish or two who were just terrible. One guy at first just seemed bluffy and bad, but soon started tilting after losing some pots to the point where...



All three against said fish. Within 270 hands I'd made like 1200, and about $1400 total on the day.

More nomnoms

Same guy as above, weak tagfish.

Floaty hand against a good tight aggressive regular. Kind of interesting.

Easy to start second-guessing yourself in spots like these, but this guy is pretty lag and even right after losing I'm pretty happy with a stack there.

AK hand against the tag. Not a fan of stacking here even though my image was like 30/30.

One more I could have made a bad call on, and probably did. I think there are enough smaller flushes, trips and straights in his range to make the call, but it's close. His terrible slowplay certainly earned him the max this time - it's got to work once in a while or else they learn and start playing correctly :)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

1,758 hands

Another swingy one. I definitely tilted for a good 200-400 hands or so, but I was running pretty bad too. My biggest problems were playing oop against aggressive fish who fuck with me on like every flop I cbet (and naturally I try to cbet more, duh), and also playing deep with a pretty tough lag while on tilt from the former.

Villain had just sat down at the table, and after checking my HEM database and finding out he's a 40/30 over a good sample, I decide it's good enough to ship. He stuck around and was obviously very drunk with all his table chatter, but it was a pretty big pain in the ass playing against him oop. Basically in a situation like that it forces you to nit it up which I hate doing.

Against the toughish lag. If you read the HA on cc/stox then you know I called the river, which imo is terrible. I'm stopping it at that point though because I want to hide the results. Still a little undecided about the hand, but I'm leaning towards betting the flop, and check-calling the turn since his range is so chock-full of floats.

Kind of marginal hand. Tough to get away from given my image and the fact that the 4bettor is pretty good and can be in there with some JJ/AQs hands as well as the occasional bluff. A little optimistic but I don't think I can let that one go.

Fuck you, fish! Top of his range, meh.

Against that good lag, this is after I got stacked by him though. Nice result, turned my frown upside down!

Against a decent tag. Easy when you flop a set on a board you can rep a bluff-raise with, but it could definitely get a little tougher on rag boards or Axx/Kxx/Qxx boards.

Aaand that's it. -$200 or something on the session, thought I played pretty well aside from the tilting and the AKs hand, and there's always room for improvement.

Friday, September 26, 2008

2,126 hands

And the ball keeps rolling

I've been bragging incessantly and I think I'll save it for the end-of-month review, but this is just getting insane. That debate about going for fewer tables and increased improvement vs playing a kajillion tables and going for lots and lots of rakeback and rewards is definitely a legit one. I've thought a lot about that the last month or two and have yet to make a decision; right now though I'm perfectly happy playing 4 (or occasionally 6) tables now with my 24/22 style. I've improved the most in my newly found niche in 6max than I ever did before, and the results reflect that.

My only qualm is that I'm still playing a dismal number of hands, but a lot of that is a result of playing so few tables as well as the fact that my real life has been crazy busy lately. I could definitely plug more hands. Hell, I could just abandon sleeping if I really felt like it, but I don't think it would be healthy. I'm in a nice balance right now with my poker playing time, my cash flow and my real life. Aside from a few problems here and there I'd say my life is pretty damn good right now.

Enough bragging; here are some of the more interesting hands since my last post:

Wow. Checking my biggest pots lost, I don't even have a full stacked one. Biggest is $156, then $120, then $100 and under.

One of the many reasons squeezing dominated hands like AT is a dumdum move.

Gotta let them have one once in a while or they stop coming back :)

om nom nom

That was in my 6-tabling video actually. Villain is a reg.

Tight pf stats + superlow fold to any postflop street + super high wtsd = valuetown him!

AK high ftw!

That's about it, tons more coolers and flips I won, nothing too interesting. Last hand there is kind of a fun one I guess, but most of the hands are just boring to watch tbh. I'll be coming out with another video, next time 4-tabling for the forums, both cardschat and stoxpoker.

edit: oooh by the way, next thing on this consumer's list is a reclining leather loveseat :) Pics when/if I get it.

More mgmt, I'm just obsessed with these guys right now. Weeeeird youtuber video though: