Friday, March 28, 2008

Moving, 6-max and more videos

6-max, here I come!

I'm not sure if this is a permanent thing, but I've officially decided to dip into 6-max. As it stands right now my bankroll can just barely support playing 100nl, but I'm going to stick to 50nl as I'm still a newbie to 6-max and will need plenty of time to learn.

Shorthanded play tends to have a lot more loose players who seem to play a lot worse in general. I've run into a few tough players who run a ~25/20 game and who seem to bluff and float fairly well and I'll need tons of experience and practice to get better at dealing with them, but the fish are just ridiculous. I've run into a few ridiculous hands which just leave me wondering what type of winrate is possible at these stakes with proper table selection. This is how I'm running so far...

(swingy much?), and I know I can do better. The big 1500-hand dip there is due mostly to bad play and tilt on my part, and I know I can smarten up and play better. I ran incredibly hot (47ptbb/100) for my that little while before it, and got a little overconfident. I ended up pulling too many squeeze plays, raising too much in position, and generally just running into hands.

Big sweaty videos

I started a low-limit study group thread over at cardschat and it sparked a lot of interest. I've spoken to both Zach and Jagsti, and they've both shown interest in playing (and recording) some sweat sessions. I figure I'll play full ring with Zach and 6-max with Jagsti, as that's what they both play respectively. They're both pretty intelligent guys, and the videos should spark some good discussion in the forums. I've never done a sweat session before, but I did do a small coaching session with Tygran, also of cardschat, and it was a lot of fun. Hopefully if this all goes well we can make this a regular thing. I just finished a small ~1 hour session of 6-max that went pretty well; you can see the video with commentary in cardschat's video section as soon as I get it uploaded.


As I've mentioned before, my mom has been moving locations with her business, and I've been stuck helping her pack and move everything. Two days ago I had to smash up and move a bunch of old casts (she's in orthopedics) and managed to throw my back out for what seems like the 200th time. I busted my back up pretty badly back in my hockey-playing days, and it still hasn't fully healed. I can't imagine what a mess I'll be when I'm older. Sigh.

Spring still isn't here, but if the weather report is in any way accurate (which, according to last week's report, it isn't) spring should be here any day now. I'm jumping with joy, no more winter depression! Weee!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Awesome find

2+2 NL Anthology

Collection and organization of just about every great NL-related post every written on the two plus two forums. Very helpful if you don't feel like wading through %95 feces to find that juicy %5.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

My brain hurts

A good friend of mine has been backpacking & working in several countries in South America for the last few months and he dropped off here in Toronto for a few days. He's making a kind of stop-off before heading up north for some field work (his father's a geophysicist, so basically lots of digging and trekking with heavy equipment). Needless to say I've been absolutely sauced these last few days.

So we hit up a bar last night, and without going into too much detail, we got really reckless, trashed some stuff, and had to run from the friendly neighbourhood boys in blue. Just like old days, such degenerates. I got away, but my traveling buddy and another friend got caught and ticketed for a combined $500. I can't even imagine how much I'd be steaming if I'd gotten one. So anyways if you see me swollen-lipped and limping you know what happened. Can't exactly remember how I got the swollen lip. Sigh.

On to poker, the reason I haven't updated (as most of you cardschatters know from my whining), I've been on a 20k hand downswing and it really took it's toll on me. I couldn't bring myself to make an entry so I apologize for the lack of updates lately. The swing has hit me so hard for so long that I should actually be playing 50nl considering the size of my bankroll (~$1950 online). I can't say I've dropped down fully yet - still playing 50nl/100nl half and half - but I may have to soon. If it weren't for a ~$175 day on Sunday I'd probably have withdrawn my whole bankroll out of life-tilt. Anyways things have settled down, I've cleared my head of the raging monkey tilt that's been plaguing me, watched and studied a few more stoxpoker videos (Hunter's 4-betting video is AWESOME) and all I need to see now is a solid winning streak.

Unfortunately I probably won't play much today as I'm going to help me mum move some more stuff from her old store to her new one, but I'll see if I can find time later on. I'll be busy in the next while too...sigh, so hectic. Such is life.

March results so far. Nasty stuff. This month has so far been easily the worst ever for me, including my worst ever day, -$650. I'm trying to maintain a positive outlook though, and I definitely see this as a learning experience. I know I'll run into worse swings in the future, so I have to plan for it. I'll need a job for real life funds (new apartment, rent etc), but until I build a ~$5k bankroll or so, I won't be living off of poker for a while now. Until my BR reaches that point, I think I should look at poker as a side endeavor.

Spring still isn't here, but it'll come soon. It's a little early for spring music but I'm more than excited about it and, well I love the Zombies.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

A winning day in more than one way

I guess saying as how this is a poker blog you'd like to hear that news first: I had a winning day!

I've been running so bad lately (sorry for the whining) that I truly lost all confidence that I was still a winning player. Looking at my 100nl graph, I've basically been on a break-even stretch for 15,000 hands and obviously it's really getting to me. I've heard of 50k hand stretches from people who also 8-table, and I can't imagine the emotional stress I'll go through when or if that happens if I can barely deal with a 15k stretch. Leatherass, resident ~5000nl pro, hired a golf/sports psychologist to help him deal with the stress and control his emotions better, and although I have nowhere near enough money to do that myself, it's VERY tempting :p

So I played today for the first time in a few days and managed to actually log a winning session. I played some 50nl 6-max first, losing two buyins to coolers but otherwise played well. I took a break, decided I needed to clear my head before I started to test 6-max (although I think I'm getting used to it), and booted up 8 tables of 100nl to see if I could grind out a profit, and I did despite more beats. I actually recorded the session with some commentary and I'll have it posted in both the cardschat and stoxpoker forums soon enough - it's rendering as I speak.

In other news, I'm moving out! Well actually I'm moving out of my mother's house to get a loft with my dad and possibly my brother, but it's exciting regardless. My father and I have lived in separate houses for the last 12 years or so and he's actually more of a friend than a dad to me. We found a few places that were relatively good-looking, but the one my dad called me about today takes the cake. We've all but got in on lock, and the only thing holding us back is the current tenant moving out.

It's twice the size of the biggest place we looked at, and actually less in rent. According to my dad's friend it's in immaculate condition. The best part is that we have a spiral staircase leading to the roof. Nobody else has access to the roof, so it's like having 2000 sq ft more outdoor room added on to the apartment. It even has a small windowed shed on the roof where the last owner apparently ate breakfast every day. Even if my brother decides to bail out on this which it sounds like he might, the rent will still be ridiculously affordable for us both. It's less than $1500 inclusive, and my dad's said he'll cover the majority of it. I expect to pitch something like $600 monthly for both rent and food/bills etc and that's well within my budget. Anyways I rant a little bit in the video about it, I'm just very excited at the moment and can't contain it :)

Here's my 100nl thus far, and I've picked up some more confidence which is paramount to my success if my previous experience means anything so hopefully we see a nice upward graph soon. Getting sick of this break-even BS. I'm not even seeing it as staying even, I'm seeing it as potential winnings NOT WON! GRR! :)

Anyways I just want to get back to my 5.7ptbb/100 crushing ways that I was running at in between my 'settling in' period and my recent swing. That was a lot more fun.

On another side note, spring is coming!!! Forecast says it probably won't actually get 'warm' until the beginning of next month, but Toronto weather is about as unpredictable as my swings, so I seriously wouldn't be surprised to see one more crazy snowstorm before the birds and the bees show up. Most non-Canadians don't understand the sheer excitement we get from spring. Winter can get very depressing and this is easily the best time of the year. Screw Christmas and birthdays, this is when the spring sun literally forces you to smile and be in a good mood. Can't wait.

On ANOTHER side note, I'm thinking twice about getting the SLR camera already :p It's something that I definitely WANT, but I'm not sure it's something I can afford. Sure, points are points, but I could get myself something that could be an asset as opposed to a liability. Something like a 24" samsung monitor that would increase my winrate multiple times...

Monday, March 17, 2008

Mid-month review

Considering it contained some of my worst days ever, it shouldn't be a surprise that this month's results aren't spectacular. I've gone through some pretty big changes with respect to managing my downswings and the associated tilt better, and feel that I could be growing more as a player, but it's a little tough to maintain a confident outlook based on the results I'm seeing. I can't imagine how pros go through multi-month downswings and keep their head clear.

Even so, this feels like the worst month I've ever had and I'm still crushing my monthly totals from pre-december (ie pre-ring game). It's all relative. I'm looking at pros like Leatherass and wondering how they can complain about 'only' making $10,000 in a month, or even breaking even (which means they made hundreds in rakeback/fpps). I'm sure some freeroller is looking at me and wondering how the hell I can complain when I'm still up $300.

Anyways it's been pretty demoralizing. I've essentially broke even since that nasty dip last Sunday and although I know I'm playing well, it's hard to trek on. meh, I'll manage.

The month thus far:

  • Ran at 0.9ptbb/100
  • Half-way to platinum
  • Losing confidence!!!
Thinking about dropping to 50nl, adding more tables and just nut-peddling if this goes on much longer. 50nl's $33.50/hr is much more enticing than 100nl's $22/hr thus far. It was a lot easier too.

I'm getting a new apartment soon (actually going to look at one today), and will most probably be splitting it 3-way with my dad and brother. If it all works out, me and my brother will be paying like a few hundred per month in rent and bills, my father covering the rest. I'm confident I can make more than enough to cover those expenses plus pocket change, so I really have nothing to worry about. Even if I do fail tragically, I can go and work part-time and still make enough to cover the apartment and then some.

Friday, March 14, 2008

A few more hands from last night...

The maniacs were out and about last night and to be honest I can't believe I didn't make more.

KK 4-bet preflop vs JJ which called, we stacked a rag flop; QQ vs a maniac, I 3-bet for almost 50bbs, he called and open pushed an Axx flop, I fold; very next hand AA I raise, he calls, he donks $44 into a ~$15 pot, I push, he folds. A few other smaller pots but that was basically the night's summary. Needless to say I've made my buddy list a little longer.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Wanna have a quickie?

Just another quick update for you guys. Not sure if I'll play today but I put in a few thousand hands yesterday and the day before with mixed results. Aside from two pots (JJ vs a limp-raise, then stacking a rag flop vs KK, and AJ for a very bad call down vs a lag - KK again), I thought I played pretty well. The results disagree somewhat, but if you take away those two stacks I'm in the positive. Just gonna keep grinding it out.

Got my cheque today and I'm gonna go buy myself a case of 8 ball and a hooker, brb. Sorry for the short post.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Stormy monday

Short update here - I told you I was confident that I was playing well and today it showed directly in my results. Through losing several big pots (KK<{AJ,A8s,JJ} AI on rag flop) I still managed to nearly mirror Sunday's losses. A couple of the bigger (winning) pots:

Poker Stars, $0.50/$1 NL Hold'em Cash Game, 8 Players - Hand History Converter

UTG+1: $93.15

MP1: $100

MP2: $100

CO: $101.90

Hero (BTN): $101.35

SB: $40.80

BB: $102.50

UTG: $99

Pre-Flop: 7 7 dealt to Hero (BTN)

UTG calls $1, UTG+1 calls $1, 2 folds, CO raises to $3, Hero calls $3, 2 folds, UTG calls $2, UTG+1 calls $2

Flop: ($13.50) 7 A K (4 Players)

UTG checks, UTG+1 checks, CO bets $4, Hero calls $4, 2 folds

Turn: ($21.50) 3 (2 Players)
CO bets $5, Hero raises to $18.50, CO calls $13.50

River: ($58.50) A (2 Players)

CO checks, Hero bets $75.85 and is All-In, CO calls $75.85

Results: $210.20 Pot ($3 Rake)
CO showed T A (three of a kind, Aces) and LOST (-$101.35 NET)
Hero showed 7 7 (a full house, Sevens full of Aces) and WON $207.20 (+$105.85 NET)

Poker Stars, $0.50/$1 NL Hold'em Cash Game, 9 Players - Hand History Converter

UTG+2: $49.40

MP1: $89.75

MP2: $108.25

CO: $107.20

BTN: $93

Hero (SB): $167.70

BB: $26

UTG: $43

UTG+1: $121.80

Pre-Flop: A 5 dealt to Hero (SB)

UTG folds, UTG+1 checks, UTG+2 calls $1, MP1 calls $1, MP2 calls $1, CO calls $1, BTN calls $1, Hero calls $0.50, BB checks

Flop: ($7) 7 T 5 (8 Players)
Hero bets $6, 3 folds, MP1 calls $6, 2 folds, BTN calls $6

Turn: ($25) 4 (3 Players)
Hero bets $17.50, MP1 calls $17.50, BTN folds

River: ($60) Q (2 Players)
Hero bets $29, MP1 raises to $58, Hero raises to $143.20 and is All-In, MP1 calls $7.25 and is All-In

Results: $190.50 Pot ($3 Rake)
MP1 mucked Q T and LOST (-$89.75 NET)
Hero showed A 5 (a flush, Ace high) and WON $189 (+$99.25 NET)

Anyways, fun stuff. I'm glad I'm back on the winning track, but even happier that I kept my cool yesterday and managed to come back today refreshed through all the coolers and beats. Getting better handling the tilt monster.

EDIT: on a side note, I'm WELL on my way to platinum this month! Wee!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Bloody Sunday

Perfect timing for another downswing - just after I've regained my confidence. If I was mentally handicapped as most of the 'rigged' believers were, I'd be insisting I was doomswitched today. The day started fine with a ~$150 profit through a few hundred hands, but soon went on a very steep downhill nosedive.

Overpair runs into set. Set runs into bigger set. Second nut flush runs into nut flush. Trips vs trips, he spikes his kicker on the river. All for stacks. Countless other smaller 20-60bb pots where I made thin-ish value bets that happened to run into more of what seemed like nightmarish miracles.

Ah well. I insist I played fine, if not great today, but I can't say I'm not steaming like a pile of dog shit in the middle of Siberia. Grr.

Well needless to say I'm done for the day and I'm not sure I'll have calmed down by tomorrow. I don't know what it is about Sundays - they're by far the juiciest day of the week but I can't remember the last time I won on one, and I all my record biggest losses were on Sundays. Grumble grumble.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


Well I'm glad I finally broke down that psychological barrier. I've already explained all the crap I went through and the ensuing monkey tilt, and finally it seems to have subsided. I still ran into a couple nasty spots today, but all in all had what I think is my record high for a day's profits raking in $440 through about 2300 hands. Very very happy.

So I'm back on track, have conquered the tilt monster again and can't wipe the smile off my face. It's funny how variance can have such a strong hold on your emotions. One day I'm doubting if I can play profitable poker any more, the next I'm a king and don't ever need a dayjob :p

Some side notes (to self): study and practice postflop bluffing and semibluffing, pay internet bills, withdraw another good chunk of your BR and buy lots of booze for this weekend in Guelph (friend playing concert, yay!)

EDIT: oh, on another side note I've decided to use my FPPs to buy myself that Canon Rebel digital SLR camera. I've had the urge to get into photography for quite a while now, and if it all turns out alright I'll be updating you guys with (hopefully) great photos along with my poker progress :) Well that is unless I change my mind by the time I get this thing, which I often do (remember the 24" samsung monitor?). ~40k FPPs in the bank, 59k for the camera. We'll see...

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Back on track, I think

Oh, the swings. They'll kill me one day.

I'm not sure what sparked it, maybe it was the 'times' getting tough around here in my real life, but I was in a very stressed mood for like 5 days there and it translated directly into lost money on the felts. I dropped around $900 before I smartened up yesterday and got back to 8-tabling full ring which netted me a nice $250 and put me back on track. I'm not sure what it is with 6-max, but I need serious coaching there or lots and lots of discipline from myself because it seems like I just can't beat it.

My play was getting a little ridiculous - I was in a state of mind of chasing losses that I hadn't seen in quite a while. I'm not sure why this is getting more frequent lately, but my guess is because of my personal life. I'm not playing as much, getting more slobbish and more idle, and it's getting pretty evident that my overall state of mind definitely translates into my poker game.

My confidence was basically shot and all I needed was a winning session to break me through that rough patch. I've been a little depressed lately for some reason (maybe the empty bottles of liquor and beer cans and an ashy pipe have something to do with it), and I've been trying to find ways to basically think positively to regain my confidence.

I'm a firm believer that if you're thinking positively then in general not much can go wrong, and conversely if you're dwelling on negative thoughts and have no confidence, a lot can go wrong (see the law of attraction, minus all the bullshit). Think about the last time you had a horrible downswing and couldn't get those past losses out of your mind; it sometimes seems like you can't possibly win. Now think about when you're playing poker or another sport and you're 'in the zone'. On a hot streak or just feeling in perfect physical shape or whatever - nothing ever seems to go wrong then. That's the state of mind I'm trying to reach at the moment but my issues away from the felts are basically keeping me in a mixed up emotional state and it's affecting my game.

As much as I'd like to sit down and continue to grind out full ring all day today, I have some tedious filing stuff to do for my mom so I'm not sure I'll be able to squeeze too much play in.

Back by popular demand (ie myself), we have Mr. Tilt-Killer again:

Saturday, March 1, 2008

February review

Well even with my terrible streak in the last three days, I've still managed to make a record month in February and it's unfortunate I'm in such a bad mood that I can't appreciate it. It seems like the tilt is getting to me a little more often lately and I've been looking at ways to reduce it's effect and control it more.

Apologies for any lack of posts in the near future but I think it's break time for me, plus I have some stuff to attend to in real life anyways.

February 08:

  • Played 19k hands of 100nl, 25nl 6-max and 100nl 6-max running at 5.7PTBB/100
  • Maintained Gold status, failed miserably at achieving Platinum due to small number of hands
  • Started considering playing 6-max more
  • 6-tabled more than I 8-tabled; thought it would help but results say otherwise
  • Peaked at $2,240 on the month, ended up netting a record $1,583 in profits

Goals for March 08:

Well to be honest I'm really not sure what I'm looking to achieve next month. I'd like to play a lot more hands (maybe 30k) and of course break my previous record for monthly profit, but I'm not sure I'll be able to with real life issues keeping me busy and stressed out. I guess I'll update the blog when I figure out what it is I should aim to achieve.

On a side note it looks like I won't win the Stoxpoker Project competition as ActionStan has a huge lead on both me and InsQQmniac. It's unfortunate as coaching from Ed Miller really would have been invaluable to my game, but I'll lick my wounds and keep on truckin'. ActionStan probably is the best candidate for the job, although I feel he needs a lot less help than me :p Anyways I wish him all the best since barring a miracle he's going to win this, and we'll all benefit from his shared experience over at Stox anyways.