Friday, June 27, 2008

I <3 June

Canada Day Weekend at the Cottage

If you don't see me post heree, at CC or at stox for the rest of the month, well now you know why. Me and a few friends are heading up to my cottage and it's gonna be great. I haven't been in years. We have a spot up in cottage country and although it's been under construction for longer than I can remember, it's more than liveable at the moment.

Bringing up the pooch, beer, 'combustibles', my chip set, my swimming shorts and my camera. I'll post pics and maybe videos when I get back.

So since I'll be gone until probably the 2nd or 3rd of July, I figured I'd post my end-of-month results now.

Seriously, I love June.

Best month evar. I put in the most work I ever have, ran like a god, watched damn near every video stox put out, and managed to get out and party hard through all of it.

Last month's goals were basically to stay away from 6max and to play 30k+ hands. I actually failed in both categories :( I definitely could have played more hands, but with the weather nearly overheating my PC, and with me getting out and exercising more, I can't really be angry with myself. I'm not worried or anything, but I have to realize that future months most probably won't be this good for a while - I ran incredibly good, and my expectation for 25-30k hands should be more like $1000-$1500 or something.

Another thing I meant to do but never got around to was playing more HU. I think maybe I'll touch on that next month some more. Crazy high variance, but I think even playing one table I could easily rival my current $/hr winrate at 50nl, no lies. We'll see. It'll be an experiment.

Also made another video for you, this time just playing 100nl by myself instead of a sweat or something more interesting like that.

July Goals

I've been debating whether or not to not only increase the number of tables I play, but also if I should drop the number of tables. I find my tilt basically has an exponential effect on my game when I add more tables as I have less time to think about hands, and more opportunities to run silly bluffs. Add on the fact that my progress is stunted with more tables (less time to run through a hand and explore all options), and I think I've decided to stick to 9 tables, and 12 at most if I find that many juicy tables.

So with fewer tables it'll be harder (read: will require more hours) to accumulate as many hands. I managed nearly 30k playing 9 tables almost all of June, so maybe I'll just stick to 30k as my 'standard' number from now on. Eventually I think 30k will be my minimum, but I guess I have to crack it first in order for that to happen :/ So...
  • 30k hands at 100nl FR
  • If running well, take a few stabs at 200nl
  • Play >1000 hands of HU
  • Play >1000 hands of 6max (oh dear...)
  • Watch every stox NLHE cash video for July
  • Go to cottage at least once more
  • Fix speed bag stand & buy new speed bag
  • Dunno what else
In a little bit of a rush, maybe I'll add more stuff later.

I know a lot of you guys ran like shit in June and I'm not quite sure what to say except keep your chins up and keep hammering away. It'll turn around. I said it before in Rex's brag thread, and I really believe it: I think a bunch of us CC guys are on a come up. It's easy for me to say because I'm running like an fuckin Ethiopian, but try to keep your eyes on the big picture rather than the daily - or monthly :( - swings. In a few months, we'll be hitting the mid limits and will be eyeing >full time job salaries with our game, and we can all open up our restaurants, bars, personal businesses...whatever. I don't doubt for a second that any of us who keep at this game will make a killing in the long-run.

<3, see you guys when I get back.

Monday, June 23, 2008

4,264 hands

The Grind

Haven't played all that much since my last post. What I have played has been swingy as hell, but I've come out on top. Like I sit down, first hand at the table against a guy who I honestly didn't recognize (turned out to be a spewer anyways) I ship AK:

Then a few hands later on another table against a tight reg:

Just blegh. At least I literally laughed at the QQ vs TT hand. I said in my head "yeeeaahhhh show me those TTs" and my jaw dropped when he actually showed them lol.

Aside from today, I went through a mini-slump over the weekend that was just kind of Murphy's Law left right and centre. I would repop QQ vs a spewy lag and get donk-shoved on an Axx or Kxx flop. I would raise/3bet AK, cbet a missed flop and get shoved on. I would try to value bet a set, and see the turn and river drop two of the worst cards in the deck putting 4-flushes and 4-straights on board. Fun stuff.

It all blew over today, I played better, ran better, and gained a little more confidence (even through the top set vs quads ;ldasjf;lafjdsfidwojif:). For fun, here are more swongy hands:

^^was up against a 14/8/3 reg. I don't think stacking is terrible, but I think I might be able to find a fold or at least a different line there. It just felt wrong the way I played it, I dunno. Maybe just a setup.

Ughhhh against the spewiest of spewtards. He was like 75/2/2 or something over a decent sample size and I'd been just waiting all session for a hand like this. Breathe in, breathe out. Breathe in, breathe out...

Float turned semibluff all in against a reg. He was probably too tight to make this move against him and I don't think I like it. I was a little tilty after losing some other pot (probably against Mr. 75/2) and decided to call and float most flops. Turn is where I really don't like my play since he's basically completely committing himself to calling that shove with any pair/any draw. Was really surprised to see him fold.

Video Killed the Radio Star

Got some videos done - something I haven't gotten around to in a while. First up was a replay of the hands up session we played at cardschat months ago. If you haven't seen it already, it's actually getting some pretty good feedback and you can watch it here.

Today I watched bw380892095 play a session of 10nl FR and although there are still audio problems (plus some weird video distortion) I think it turned out well. He's been running bad for a while now and I just wanted to help out - bw if you're reading this, again I suggest moving to FR and just shipping the extra tables. Less variance, quicker hand logging, better $/hr profit, easier :) Video is being uploaded and will be posted soon in the video section at CC.

I'm thinking about doing a coaching thing like what dbitel and bw have done, but I'm not %100 sure I'll have the time. Maybe I'll just make the announcement thread and dip like Bitel did, lole.

Oh as a random side note, I made Platinum for the first time. I remember coming just like <5k hands away from doing it several months before. It doesn't mean much on it's own - kind of like daily results - but it comes with a 2.5x multiplier and more VIP freerolls I can forget to play. Gonna go buy 1,000 Moneymaker posters to celebrate, brb.

edit: oh, a CC member made a post in memoriam of George Carlin who apparently passed today of heart failure. His was one of the first stand-up videos I ever saw and I loved the guy. Such a shame, he was an icon for atheists, chronic cussers and grumpy old men all at the same time. RIP George.

Friday, June 20, 2008

3,947 hands

Some New Resolutions

Irexes recently wrote a post titled The Irexes Principle and the Napoleonic Player, and needless to say if you know the man, it was excellent, and humbling. Now I can't give that article all the credit for my newfound urge to make some changes to my poker goals, but it definitely had an impact.

What influenced me was his reiteration that not only is poker strategy (cards, pot odds, metagame etc) not the only factor in a winning game, but that it may not even be the most important factor. Keeping your ego in check and thus playing within your bankroll limits, maintaining control over your tilt and keeping an eye on the long run rather than the short probably are the most important factors.

With Jared Tendler's new sports psychology (ie tilt control) videos at stoxpoker, my recent move to 100nl, running well and probably getting over my head, and finally Rex's article, I've decided it's time for some changes.

Doing things like checking my results in-game, posting daily results here and keeping a close eye on my bankroll for ego-boosting reasons just isn't going to fly. My long-term goals are basically to scrap all of the above. I know this can't be done overnight, so I'm going to start with small changes and gradually work my way to a zen-like state where results have no affect on me and tilt becomes a non-factor. I think for the sake of the blog I'll be posting my results bi-monthly instead of daily now.

So, a few of the short-term goals for, say, before July:
  • Stop posting daily profits results. Instead, report the number of hands, and how well you played, including the replays for the particularly interesting/well played/poorly played ones.
  • Post results on the first and fifteenth of every month.
  • Stop opening poker grapher beside your tables to check your results.
  • Check bankroll size only when you feel you've been running bad enough for it to get close to being too small for 100nl.
  • Re-watch Jared's videos and take notes.
  • Read Zen and the Art of Archery; buy and read Elements of Poker; read The Poker Mindset.
That's all I can think of now, but I'll see what else I can come up with later on.

Bruised Knuckles

Sorry, no fight story. I mentioned before that I busted my speed ball swivel, and a few days ago I ordered a new one from rival boxing. It was a little pricey, especially with the shipping, but the thing works great, and I've been beating up the speed bag like every day since it came. Unfortunately my pinky knuckles are nice and swollen now, and I think I might have a bone bruise on both hands from going at it a little too hard and too long (that's what she said).

Anyways it's a lot of fun, and especially with the new smooth swivel I'm actually getting pretty good. Maybe I'll upload a video or something for fun. Then you can see the garbage dump that is my backyard too :D

The Grind

The last non-1st/15th post where I write updates. I swear :)

June has just been killer. It has definitely been swingy, and especially so in dollars since 100nl is obviously double the stakes that I was playing last month. I missed one day of playing, sat down the day after, and felt rusty as hell. Don't know what did it to me, but I lost a good chunk that day, and I've been just grinding since. That day I stayed up sooo late grinding back what I'd lost and was constantly checking to see if I'd broken even yet. How silly. That was definitely another factor in making me want to make some changes.

Holdem manager has been great. Aside from some speed issues with mass stat retrieval, everything's going very smoothly and I'm very happy with my purchase. I've now moved my whole poker 'operation' to HEM from PT2, and it's been smooth sailing since.

I'm in a little bit of a rush now, so I'll just end this by plopping some hands on you here:

Villain was a lagtard and I don't think I can get away here. He was like 50/25 over a decent sample, but even so I was pretty unhappy getting it in on the turn.

Bluff against a reg. meh. This kind of sucks because I want to post content for the blog, but also was going to post some of these in HA. I really truly felt I could fold out an overpair here, on the turn actually. Noted that he couldn't fold even TT here, I guess I'll just valuetown him next time with obvious beluga plays.

Iffy flop & turn play OOP, but villain was another lagfish and bets like his whole range here. Just a set up.

Another marginal one. I have a problem underestimating my opponents' hand strengths when I've been aggressive. He was a reg and I felt he was doing this with any draw, any pair, bluffs and of course big hands, so I went with it.

No, you can not have his username :)

He hit and run. I hate hit and runners. Like nazi-level hate.

Yaddayaddayadda some bad beats, now some winning hands:

UGHHH this guy was so juicy. I had like 4 fish to my right at that table, and he was probably the worst at like 70/5/a million. He bet every flop, couldn't fold to bets or raises, and so I basically limped behind with any hand with any kind of potential. Unfortunately this hand was just part of the big picture, and he somehow only lost like 3/4 of a buyin to me overall.

Really this one was blind aggression after the flop. PF was up against a reg who steals too much, so I restole. BB's cold call is either something marginal like 22-TT or a slowplayed monster, and I can't really give reasoning to my CRAI on the flop. Going to review this one myself in depth and see what the ideal play is. I obviously really lucked out on that one - 6 outer, booya!

vs another lagtard

Much closer than it looks as he's a pretty tight reg. Still not sure about this one.

Also against a nit. Was actually worried about the bigger ace a little bit.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Some hands, some profit

Hold'em Manager

Well I gave up on PT3. Even though I have the full version of the program already, I don't think I'm going to use it for quite a few months to come. Most of you who read this already know that by way of cardschat, but I thought I'd re-post it anyways. I decided to drop the $80 on Hold'em Manager after trying out the hud and seeing how stable it was.

So far the layout and general feel of the program is definitely a lot different than PT3, but looking at the barebones of the two programs, they're essentially the same imo. Small features here and there are missing on one, but present on the other, and vice versa. Again though, the main reason I bought HEM was the hud. It actually works. Go figure.

I've just imported my whole 160k hand NL database by way of exporting hands from PT2 and then importing them into HEM, and it took about an hour. At first I was really disappointed because the whole program was basically bogged down after the import and it actually crashed on me a couple times (definitely in part to me button mashing the thing - that never works btw).

I ended up posting on their forums, and shortly after finding some old threads that dealt with the same issue (search first ldo).

One thing I did wrong was try to list my whole database in the reports tab. That's either not possible, or requires so much time that it's just not worth it. The reason that same action works in PT2 is apparently because it displays fewer, simpler, less resource-hogging stats, so naturally it takes less time.

Anyways I don't want to get started on another rant leading to nowhere, but I'm on my way to figuring the whole program out. Plenty of other little things I've yet to even touch on, I'm sure. If anyone needs help setting it up or figuring something out, I'm glad to show you (or figure it out with you if I don't know myself). Just PM me on cardschat or msn or whatever.

I was actually going to do a full review on the program, but tbh it's just way too detailed to go through everything. I did do kind of a run-through video, but I was half-asleep when I did it, and it's a little half-assed. Should help for those who can't seem to find their way around the program though.

I'm too lazy to check exactly when I updated last in my DB and need an excuse to brag, so here's a monthly graph via HEM. Gotta say if there's one thing I actually dislike about the software, it's their graphs. Don't know what it is about them, but they're just hideous imo.

I've really been running hotter than the sun. In contrast to my old 100nl results (~1-2ptbb/100) it looks like I'm just on a heater, but really I've been working very hard reviewing my play, reading (mainly Sklansky/Miller TAP) and watching videos, not to mention putting in more hands daily. I really don't think the 11ptbb/100 I've sustained since moving back up at the end of May is sustainable long term, but I do feel I'm playing a much better game overall and that my real winrate now should crush my old one.

I've also started to really try working on my tilt. It sounds like a given, but one of the best things to do (ty Jared Tendler) is just to stop and breath. Breathing kind of resets your system, and makes sure that when you hit that bump in the road and go swerving to the right, you don't try swerving back to the left - you just relax and straighten out the wheel.

I've yet to read Tommy Angelo's book - which I hear is absolute gold by the way - but he is big on breathing too. He's more of a live player, but he emphasizes taking long, deep breaths before each hand to clear your mind and stop you from even microtilting.

Now while I feel like I'm in that zen state where I can beat anyone right now, I realize I'm running good and that the real test will come when I run into a nice 40k break-even or losing stretch (again). I'll just deal with that when it gets here though. Right now I'm playing well, running well, and am working my ass off with poker, and it's paying off. This month was my TSN turning point (I guess only Canadians will get that one). Very happy with my results, but especially happy with my work ethic thus far.


Nice summer track from like my favourite year in hiphop:

Now if only this shitty weather would clear up. Was planning on hitting up the cottage, but it's a little bit of a waste if I'll just be inside hiding from the cold rain the whole time...

Monday, June 16, 2008

1,575 hands, $301 profit

Just a quickie here. Had another ridiculous day, and had it not been for a few spewy bluffs in the last 10 minutes or so of my session it would have been a $400 day instead. A few hands:

WOW this was up against a reg too. I planned on calling for set value but also to make a few moves/floats etc on favourable boards. Couldn't believe how light he stacked there...

Pretty standard.

Thank you Mr. Spewtard.

Unfortunately I didn't have the read on this guy that I got about a dozen hands later; he was a maniac. His stats at the time suggested he was something close to a tag, and I think my line was pretty standard against a tag or an unknown.

Obviously didn't pin him on an overfull :p I think he shows up with a bluff or a weak pair here a lot of the time and although I overbet some, I stand by my shove. Good FE + decent equity when called. I don't mind it.

One of the late bluffs that I really didn't like. First off I want to fool with some PT3 filters and see just how profitable (if at all) calling a 3bet with a pair is when we have certain stack sizes. Obviously 100 or fewer BBs deep it will be a loser long-term, but I'm curious about 120, 140, 160 and up. Postflop was just spew obviously. He'd been really squeezy/3bet lighty (yeah I'm making up words now), hence my aggression in the hand.

Another late-game bluff. I think the bluff is fine, but the player I chose to do it against was terrible. This is one of my bigger leaks, and I've mentioned it before: thinking my opponents are observant and tricky enough to make moves in spots like those. In reality they're just playing their hands for face value and usually aren't bluffing me. Especially not the 12/6 players.

And that last one against my buddy Jagsti. I think he's smart enough to know that a)he isn't getting set mining odds pf and b) my range is very tight for a 3bet vs a 12/7's utg raise, so basically his range is QQ+/AK there. Off the top of my head I think we're seeing AK more often than KK and QQ (unpaired hands are much more likely when we're looking at it combo-wise), but since I have two aces in my hand, we might actually see QQ more often, and therefore the ideal line might be to actually check behind that flop to either induce 'bluffs' from QQ, or to convince him that his hand might be best and coax him into a call.

Looking at the situation in stoxpoker combolator, we're looking at AK and QQ %37.5 of the time each, trip kings %18.75 of the time and AA %6.25 of the time. I guess that means betting is fine. Even if he folds QQ %100 of the time, that means he'll still have top pair the majority of the time, and won't ever fold it, so betting is probably still the ideal line.

Hm, 'quickie' my ass. You know me, I like to rant. Anyways, good day, 3BI up, and I'm just killing it this month. At about $2,000 in profits after 19k hands. Going to crack 30k easily and should see some more nice profits along with it. bw, vanq, zach - chin up and keep on that grind. You guys know you can profit, just keep plugging away. Hell, if I can win then you can too :)

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Half time

Well June is half gone, and I'm starting to get a little worried about how fast this summer will fly by :(

My poker progress has been good to say the least. For the past few months I've been eagerly awaiting the day when I check the PT3 forums and find that they actually have a stable working version of the program. The new stats will add a massive edge to my game, but as of right now even if the program was actually stable (still not sure, haven't fully tested it myself), the default configurations on the program are so different from what I'm used to with PT2 that it would take a good chunk of my time just to customize it.

The other day a quick hud configuration turned into a long 6-max session. If you follow me and 6-max, you'll know that means trouble. I'm finally pinpointing my actual leaks which I guess is a good thing. Mainly I find I don't stop and think for long enough, especially in big pots. I'm too lazy to pull up PT3 and get the graph, but basically it went steadily (like 20ptbb steady) upwards, only to see a massive drop where I got stacked making some ridiculous bluff or call down. Then back upwards steadily, and then yet another drop. Rinse, lather, repeat. I ended up dropping about 3 buyins at 50nl, but made at least 5 buyins worth of stupid plays, so I'm seeing some improvement :)

Like I've mentioned before, I plan on playing at least %50 of my volume at 6-max eventually, but have a long ways to go before I start making 6-max worthwhile (ie profitable). Right now my goal isn't progression, it's profits, and FR is giving me plenty of that. Since moving to 100nl FR again I'm on a tear - I've already crushed last month's total winnings and have only played 16k hands.

I've been a little busy the last few days, so I didn't have much time to play. I got a 'day off' from partying today, so I sat down this morning and ran like a god. I only really played like 700 hands, but managed almost a $400 day which is nice. I was lucky enough to pick up kings vs aces twice, spiking a king in one and losing the other. A good chunk of the other pots were just me picking up hands at the right times, but I also won a good amount from non-showdown pots. My 6-max and HU practice, plus the stox videos are really helping in that area. No better feeling than losing KK to AA, then immediately winning it back with some good solid play with no hand.

So...halfway through the month, I really haven't put in all that many hours of play, but have definitely put a lot more effort in sitting down and playing longer sessions more often. I don't often play >2 hour sessions, but have played several of them this month already.

So far:

  • Play 30k+ hands of 50nl full ring
More than halfway there...except I'm at 100nl...
  • Don't touch 6-max
*blushes*...touched :/
  • Watch and study more coaching videos
Watching every one that comes out and then some...
  • Bank as much money as you can for the new flat, whenever it actually happens
Banking, though the apartment looks like a flop.

Well on my way to a 2k+ month. I know I'm running good, but I've still definitely seen my share of variance this month (see -$750 low point a week ago). Things are going good. Putting in more effort, getting better results. Coincidence?

Thursday, June 12, 2008

3,951 hands, $132 profit


Another crazy session yesterday. Well, two sessions actually. I started the day playing fine, and as you can tell by the graph, hit a nasty patch of variance (~1000 hand mark). Up, down, up, down. that kind of tilted me a little bit, but I'd say I was still on my B game. Then the family got home. Ugh. Cue the inter-floor yelling, stomping around, and dog freaking out because everyone's home. That uber-tilted me (enter my D game) and after dropping a couple buyins with some bad calls I decided to take a break.

Came back after a nice big meal and a shower, and played pretty well. Really I ran bad all day, but still managed like a buyin and a half which is kind of meh.

Kind of an interesting one against a reg:

Pussied out vs what I thought was KQ. This deep I dunno about raising...

Sigh. Against an aggressive reg:

Soon learned this guy probably wasn't folding even a 6 on that flop. Against anyone else I think I like my shove. GS+overs+BDFD+FE = shove for me. I could be wrong:

Decide for pot control vs a reg here (same guy with the trip kings vs my FH). Nice turn :/

Yay stack. Well, all but a stack. Guy was a pretty big lag, but gave up kind of easily vs aggression. Beautiful turn card and I was just hoping he had KQ on the river. I think either he was outright bluffing or had something like AQ/QJ that he decided to do something weird with on the river. Odd one:

Another standard cooler. Against a reg; not sure I could take any other line. Being this deep sucks, hence having to take a flop to keep all

Guy was a maniac. He opened to $11 the previous orbit and I decided to pitch 9s. Got a little bit of a read on him ("MANIAC") and decided to take a flop. Noticing a swingy trend yet?

I don't doubt he actually flopped it and slowplayed me:

A little iffy but the guy was a fish. QJ is probably in his range.

FFS you twat, raise the flop...

Pretty thin value bet. This is up against the AQ vs AA guy. I figured 78/89/79/JT/QJ/99/TT were paying me off. What a tard.

Real questionable here.So pf I'm putting him on middling connectors, pocket pairs and weaker aces.
A strong reg, which I was up against, will float this flop with like that whole range, but not necessarily %100 of the time. Nowhere close. Anyways since a good chunk of his range is hands like KQ/55 that are going to take the pot away on the turn, I let him fire and call. The problem now is that most of those middling pairs have either hit a set, or are bigger than my pair. Then the river comes, and any suited connectors that had a seven in them now have me crushed. My reasoning was that I really didn't expect the 'only' hands that beat me, ie AT/TT/99 and similar hands, to bet this much. Pretty flawed thinking since a) there are a ton of other hands that now beat me, b) any ace will definitely bet this way - I've shown sooo much weakness, and c) hands that I didn't even consider in his range - AQ/AK - can definitely be in there. And they were. I think this was the point where I took my break. I realized tilt had me making some ridiculous call downs and needed to clear my head.

Guy was pretty bluffy; I decided to let him bet his busted draws and turn his 99 hands into bluffs:

Two short fish + AKs = autostack.

vs another fish. I probably could have just popped the turn and got his whole stack in.

...a bunch of small pots...

VS a lag fish. Not sure about this one:

To be %100 honest I put him on a flush, but called down anyways. The guy was pretty bluffy and I just couldn't let go:


Marginal bluff turned genius lol. I basically pinned him on a king or underpair, hence the bluffing. Turned out he was a huge station (STOP BLUFFING UNKNOWNS), so no more bluffing him.

Terrible terrible call. In the hand I just couldn't see him/her check-raising an 8 or 99. It just didn't make sense to me. Not a very logical call though - the guy was an absolute nit and I basically put him squarely on 88 or a once in a lifetime valuebluff with 99 or something. Anyways I thought I was valuetowning the river vs TT or something. Blegh.

Against a ~14/10 reg. Thoughts? Maybe even fold pf?

Sigh. Just sigh. I'd been setting him up all session.

A little unorthodox for me. I had a few squeezy players behind me, but that pf plan failed. Postflop he's valuetowning most of his pocket pairs, thought I'd just let him bluff me and call him down.

Another weird one. This is up against a reg who basically never shows up with worse than jacks/AK here, so I really don't see any value in betting. We scare off JJ-/AK and give money to AA/QQ. Seems really weaksauce, meh.


And that's about it. Wow I really swamped you guys this time...

Monday, June 9, 2008

1,961 hands, $501 profit


Well I already bitched and moaned over at CC about the muggy weather, but really I have to appreciate these 3 sacred months. All year long we're trudging through dirty slush and desperately trying to shield our faces from the bitter cold. I went on a great bikeride for a few hours today and it made me appreciate the weather a lot more. By the end of my trek I'd probably lost 10 pounds of my body weight to sweating, but the rain came down as I was on my way home and it was the most refreshing thing I'd felt in ages. Anyways the weather is actually having an effect on my game. If I were living alone I think it would probably be worth it not to play on days like this. My PC actually heats up my room, doing nothing to help my monitors either, and the fan I have to keep running all day no doubt does wonders for the hydro bill.

I played a good chunk today, a couple smaller sessions yesterday and the day before. The last day I blogged about was so brutal it had me scared shitless to play and possibly drop another $800 or whatever, but I sat down and put some hands in, and everything's been fine. Great actually. I don't know what it is but have the tables been like REALLY juicy the last week or is it just me? I was having more trouble finding good tables at 50nl than I am now at 100nl. Anyways, some more replays for your entertainment:

Yes, you saw that right. The guy actually seemed decent too which was really odd. Buddy listed.

An interesting one that I think I botched. I posted it at both CC and stox and got some good responses. I think the issue is with my flop raise size; after I pop it to $40 I'm basically committed unless he has a range of like only sets and overpairs, so it's a clear call. Definitely noted this guy too. I'm sure others at the table noted me as well :)

Another weird one. Guy was a fish, not sure what else to add there. I was basically hoping for bluffs/Kx/other smaller two pair hands in his range, and K4 was more than enough to take the pot down.

Completely fucked that one up. The guy was a nit, and had I took the extra 5 seconds (another problem with 12 tabling) to check his popup stats, I would have seen that he check-raised the flop like never. So basically his range was sets and nothing else. One of my bigger leaks, especially at 100nl for some silly reason, is giving opponents too much credit for multilevel thinking and expecting them to fight back way more than they actually will. A good general rule for FR poker at 100nl and under is if someone's giving you lots of action and you don't have a monster, just fold. Most FR regulars don't get past button stealing and c-betting when it comes to bluffing. So anyways I'd been isolating like crazy at that table, and thought the BB had caught on to this. Basically I was expecting any overpair there (yes, they will slowplay KK pf), some unimproved underpairs, and a couple JTs/76s draws.

Even against this guy who was an absolute nit, I think I have to get it in. I'm 50/50 with sets, and if I add in two pair hands and the occasional slowplayed overpair it becomes a trivially easy stack. meh.

I'm a fish.

And a few random nasties like that one.

Getting a little low on funds here so I withdrew another $500. After updating my withdrawals spreadsheet which I've maintained since I started actually withdrawing, that leaves me about $500 short of $10,000 all time. Looking back, that's really not too shabby considering this is all from an $11 cardschat freeroll cash. So things are going well. The bankroll is healthy, it's growing, and even through $750 downswings I'm squeeking out a solid profit. I've already logged 11k hands on the month, well on my way to reaching my goals for June. I'll give a halfway point update some time this weekend or close to it. The best thing is that as I put in more and more hands, playing long sessions becomes a lot easier, and makes it possible for me to play even more. It's actually an acquired skill - managing your time. I used to suck at it. Still do, kind of. But I'm learning; 40k+ hands monthly is on the horizon. Anyways I'm very happy so far this month. I'll miss a few days for a cottage trip as early as next week, but even so I think I'll easily surpass my goals for the month.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Stoxpoker review

It's been almost 6 months since deciding to make the jump to stoxpoker's coaching site, and I've been planning on giving it a review for quite a while now. This thread over at cardschat reminded me to do it, so here it is.

First off I want to say that I have exactly ZERO experience with other poker coaching sites, but I do have experience with other poker forums, so take my word for what it's worth.

Videos - 9.5/10

450 videos (as of this post) in several different formats. The quality of the videos varies - for example, some coaches use worse quality mics than others, and it shows in the videos. The streaming versions of the videos are often of such bad video quality that you can't see the hud stats or the bet sizes, so I personally rarely use it unless I want a quick preview. Although the technical side of the videos can be a bit dodgy at times, the content of the videos is just amazing. All of the coaches are proven (and very big) winners, and they explain their thought process and their strategies very well. The different formats:

In-game session/replayer review: These make up the bulk of the videos. Coaches open up usually 1-4 tables of whatever game has been requested the most lately, and basically just play a session explaining their thought process and why they're making the moves they're making. Sometimes, especially recently, coaches have get-togethers and do tandem sessions. So one coach will be playing and explaining why he's doing what he's doing, and the others will agree/disagree and give their opinion. These are especially great because you get several different points of view. Less common than the session videos are the replayer sessions. Basically they make a video with a certain theme - like Hunter Bick's recent 'postflop play in 3-bet pots' video - and basically review a bunch of hands in some kind of hand history replayer. Also great.

Classroom: These are the videos I make detailed notes about and save in my filing cabinet. A good example of one of the better ones is Kyle Cottonseed Hendon's continuation betting video which I believe is actually one of the free videos. Go take a look. Basically they use powerpoint to teach different concepts, and most of these videos are absolute gold. I'm always drooling when I find a new one's been posted.

For every video that's posted, there's a corresponding discussion thread in the forums where the coaches help with anyone who's got a question or just wants to discuss certain hands/concepts from the video. I don't think anything else needs to be explained - you get to discuss poker with 400nl-10000nl pros, all of which are really nice guys. What else could you ask for?

The videos they release cover everyting from NLHE to 2-7 triple draw to sports psychology. Originally the bulk of the videos were fixed limit, but have since shifted to 6-max NLHE. Myself being a full ring player, it actually makes little difference. Most of the concepts apply to any form of NLHE anyways.

The videos are the real reason I signed up to stoxpoker, and the real reason I'm staying there. The forums and other smaller features are great, but the videos are the meat of the site in my opinion.

Forums - 8/10

For those of you coming from cardschat, I think you'll like these forums. They have a great community feel, but also have some very high quality posters who are mid-limit regulars. Like I mentioned in the CC thread I linked to at the top, it's like 2+2 without the assholes. Obviously since the 'good' section of the forums is for paid members only, the traffic isn't as high as 2+2 or cardschat, but the quality makes up for it. The coaches frequent the forums as well, giving advice in the occasional HA thread, and once in a while posting high-limit hands themselves.

The content can sometimes be absolute gold, other times it can resemble 2+2's "qft" or "." posts. That, plus the fact that the traffic is a little low (I've posted several threads on what I thought were pretty good subjects and got zero responses) are the only reason why I haven't scored 9 or 10/10.

Support - 7/10

I had a hard time deciding a score on this one. I *think* they only really have a few people hired to deal with support, and as such the support you get is pretty inconsistent. For example, soon after I signed up, I had a problem with the DRM (the security measure they use to protect their videos from getting shared). I contacted support, he gave me his skype name, and I talked to him directly to get the problem fixed. 10/10. Then more recently, I was looking through their new stoxshop trying to see how much a certain book costed, and accidentally checked out. I got a confirmation email saying it would be shipped soon. I replied back saying I hadn't even paid for it and asked how I could do so, but never got a reply. That was nearly a month ago, and I've since just forgotten about it.

They're very honourable people though - any time they actually find a problem or read about a complaint, they are happy to compensate members with subscription add-ons, or whatever else it takes to satisfy the customer.

My advice to them would be to hire some more people in support, and pay them full-time :)

Design, function - 7/10

The site needs a little bit of an overhaul. For one, certain pages (like the videos page) load really slowly. Other problems like the articles section posting every article as a massive brick of text, hardly legible, can really take away from the presentability of the site. I think they need to hire another new techie full-time to deal with all the problems. I manage to download my videos and post in the forums absolutely fine, but it can be a little off-putting for someone looking to sign up for the site.

Other features - 7.5/10

I guess you can call this the 'everything else' section. Blogs, articles, member blogs, member videos, etc.

The coaches regularly post in blogs, with most of the content being actually very interesting. I'd suggest Dusty's and Kyle's blogs being at the top of your list.

As mentioned before, the articles section is just brutal. To be %100 honest I haven't even bothered reading them as the BRICKTEXT format they're in is just unreadable.

Member blogs are a nice feature, but unfortunately the format in which they present them is also bunk. They essentially have one page where they post the more recent entries for everyone. You don't get your own page; they basically stuff everything together.

They have another feature that seems nice on the surface, the member videos. Send support the link to your video of a certain length and format, and they'll host it for you. The problem (my guess is due to marginal support) is that the videos often take a LONG time to actually be posted. The feature seems nice, but you might as well host the video on megaupload and post the link in the forums.

The hand converter works great, plus it has the added feature of converting multiple hands at a time. The stoxshop is also another nice feature for the site; they sell everything from books to software to subscription add-ons to stoxpoker hats.

The price is well worth it. See here for pricing. When you consider just how much content you get for the price, really the price is a steal. These are guys who would charge hundreds or 1k+ hourly for personal coaching, but they're in effect doing group coaching for $25/month. They have all types of deals and bonuses for first-time subscribers too, so look around their site to see what you can find (free PT3, free books, sign up at a site and get 6 months free, etc etc). I myself paid for 3 months in December, and have since gotten enough referrals from friends to have my subscription expanded to next November.

Overall - 8.5/10

I'm satisfied as a customer, but that may be because I only use the 'better' features on the site and ignore the others. Even with that said, the videos alone are enough to make my subscription more than worth the money I pay. I guess that's easy to say now that I'm getting free months for the occasional referral, but believe me when I say the $25/month you'll be paying will be more than made up for in profits. It's a little hard to gauge my progress as a player since joining stox. I joined at exactly the same time I decided to take a serious plunge in ring games (from my marginal success in tourneys), but I've made an average of $1,000 monthly since doing so in Dec, and already this month I'm on pace to crush that total. Y'know what, just check my monthly summaries on the right to see how I've done since December. That'll give you a nice idea.

If you're serious about your game, go and take a look at their free videos at the bottom of their home page and tell me that 10 of those weekly on top of the other content isn't worth the monthly fee.

-ChuckTs, satisfied customer.

Friday, June 6, 2008

3,105 hands, -$259 profit

What a day

Well I've figured out how to motivate myself to play more than 1,000 hands in a day! Run like shit, then desperately try to get back! Today's low point was the worst it has ever been in a single day for me - I got down to -$750 at one point. I ran cold as ice, and tilted worse than ever.

Some of the ugly hands:

That was against a reg, but my image at the table was pretty aggressive. I'm not justifying stacking vs what looks a lot like a set, but I don't think it's absolutely terrible. The guy is definitely the type to ch-r flush draws (ahem) and even his missed baby pairs, so I got it in.

Another marginal-ish one. Against a massive fish this time, and I think he's bad enough to stack with as bad as a naked queen, so I don't think I should worry about that one too much.

No excuse for that one. I did at least think about the hand and thought I could fold out a nine or an UI pocket pair, but I was wrong. Just blind rage there.

So after like 4 of these:

And a couple dozen failed double barrels and c-bets etc, and we have ourselves sitting at -$750. 'SMARTEN UP YOU DUMB F*CK' is what I imagined saying to myself. Then I did.

So I smartened up, played well, and overcame the tilt. Although I still came out almost 3 bills under, I'm actually happy with today because I've learned a few more lessons. I'll finish the post off with some of the 'gentler' hands :)

Was actually expecting a set there, but had to get it in anyways. I mean I was stuck, how am I supposed to fold a set? :)

Just LOL. I'd been setting him up all day, finally it paid off.

Don't slowplay big pairs, kids.

Umm still don't slowplay big pairs, kids.

First hand at the table. Was literally sighing and saying 'let's see the nuts, cmon'. So shitty when you run that bad and start expecting better hands every time you get your money in. Worst feeling in the world.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

2,017 hands, $295 profit [long, sorry]

Midnight snack

Well last night I came back from seeing my buddy who's back yet again from traveling; he's in training to be a firefighter, so basically he can't miss a single exam or job offer. He got one recently, so he's back indefinitely. Anyways we had a few brews, and by the time I got back home I was 1/2 drunk and 1/2 asleep, but in a full state of inebriation. I was beat, but really didn't feel like sleeping yet, so I picked out a HU table and grinded out my longest session yet. Short of 400 hands, and I really was very very happy with my play. Aside from a few pots including this one from HA, I basically didn't have any trouble taking my opponent down. I made sure I didn't go nuts with aggression, and picked my spots perfectly. No doubt I'm still running very good in HU games, so I can't attribute it all to skill, but I'm really very happy with my play and don't really give a shit if it's luck or not.

Beginning of the match he was very timid and basically played his hands for face value. Eventually he started raising his buttons more, 3-betting me more, and by the end of the match was on absolute monkey tilt 3-betting every button raise and just fighting for every single pot. So naturally my strategy was to play fairly aggressive in the early stages, and just pick my spots in the later stages.

The session was actually really long relative to HU play, so I'll just give you some of the more interesting hands:

After he'd started 3-betting me light one too many times:

lol wat?

Something that the Bryce has coined as the 'bastard play'. I have absolutely no idea if I'm doing it correctly or what to do if called. I'll also say that it is probably completely unnecessary against poor players like this guy, but I gave it a shot. It's basically meant to fuck with your opponent's train of thought and just to be something out of line. I mean what the hell do you make of the play if your opponent has never done it before? Weird looking hand, but meh.

The hand from HA. I posted it at both CC and stox, and liked the option of bet-folding the river best.

Probably the biggest losing hand in the session. Even though an intelligent player will know that I can't possibly represent anything other than like sets here (ie a very small and unlikely range), I felt like this guy was basically on a level where he'd be able to fold something like 77 ("ah! big bets! scary! me run!"). Of course I expected ace-high to fold to the river bet, if not the turn, but I was dead wrong.

From then on I whittled down to just under my original buyin, and the guy sat out. I figured the game was done, and was fine with cutting my losses at $2 or whatever it was, but he sat right back in, so naturally I went for the jugular and tried to take him down. Started to get some good reads on the guy and used them to my advantage.

This was when he really started to 3-bet me light, so I started fighting back:

Bluffedy bluff bluff:

Finally, some triple barrel bluffs from him:

...yadda yadda yadda, he started 3-betting me light every hand, I started 4-bet bluffing some hands, 4-betting others for value, eventually I took a flop with 5s:

And he left right after.

More FR swinginess

I got to some FR play early today, took a break, and came back to play when it got dark. I'd been playing up until writing this post, and logged a good chunk of hands. Once again I ran crazy swingy. Early on I made some really questionable plays and I really wasn't happy with myself. I smartened up a little later on, but the swings were just as bad as the tables were just insane today. Some of the bigger pots:

Villain is a tight reg, and basically he has a set here like always, but what am I going to do, fold my GS+FD+overs draw with the dead money on the side? Standard imo, and I got lucky.

A float vs a reg turned nice. This only worked because of the way I balance my play - I'll often float and take stabs at pots with small raises like this, and I think he was just trying to shut me down. He's definitely not donkish enough to think his 5s are good there.

Against another reg; he's basically repping a set or two pair here, so I have to get it in. Standard 'steal' vs float/resteal there.

Against a lagtard, been setting him up all day and he pulls trips out of his ass, meh:

Against another guy who was frequently floating and betting the turn. High-variance, but I liked the play.

Post is already too long, it's 1am, I'm tired, nn folks!