Tuesday, June 26, 2012


Humbling experience are never few and far between when you play poker for a living. Especially at the lowest of low stakes. However I experienced one of my most humbling experiences last Wednesday when I actually booked a win of over $660. I hit 3 sets vs. top pair and got paid off each time and also flopped quads vs. a guy who rivered a full house. Lets just say things went my way.

The humbleness came the next day when I lost about $360. I thought back to my win the day before and realized I didn’t really earn it. Or did I? This game is so confusing. On one hand I was a serious luckbox. However I was able to maximize my earnings in all of my big hands and stay out of hot water the rest of the day. Those 2 things are skills, arent they? I guess theres some days where the cards just play themselves and its our jobs to maximize the wins and keep the losses to a low. That’s most days actually.

Last week started with high hopes and ended abruptly due to some personal things I had to get done. After a small loss followed by my $660 session I played 12hrs Thursday and lost about $360. As I’ve stated before I really have trouble when my sessions go past the 6 or 7 hour mark. Its funny because I really wanna stick to 6hr sessions maximum but then again I need to start putting in more hours to maximize my earnings. Somethings got to give.

I’ve also had trouble playing evening and night hours lately. Thursday I found myself against a wreckless night crowd and It didn’t end well for me. I need more balance and consistency in my schedule and heres what I’m going with for the time ahead….

I’m hoping to play everyday from tomorrow Wed June 27 thru Thursday July 5th. I may possibly take 1 day off. Monday I booked a room so I’m back to putting double Monday sessions into my routine with a break in between. I’m seriously poised for a big week because I’m dying to get up to 2/5 and also play some tourneys. Hopefully all goes well.

On a sidenote I've been watching a ton of poker stuff on YouTube lately. I found this funny Interview with Durrr from 2009 where hes clearly uncomfortable with something. Either being on camera or talking to a girl...I dunno. But aside from the sillyness one thing he said really stuck out and that was "It's really easy to fold". Its so basic yet Its so true. Think about it. I myself am guilty of folding too often. I've told myself that you can't win at this game without folding the best hand often...which is true. But maybe what I think of as one of my biggest skills, is just me taking the easy way out.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Back to the Nitty Gritty

The past 4 or 5 weeks have been a roller coaster ride for me. Just when I string a couple small winning sessions together I’m hit with a $400 loss. I’ve spent countless hours working on my game the past few weeks and have felt great while playing but the results just haven’t been there. That is until last Wednesday when everything turned around for me (hopefully for the long run).

Between Wednesday-Friday of last week I played 3 winning sessions at 1/2 equaling only 16.5 hrs but ending up $1300+ to the good. I got back to playing ABC poker, table selected well, and most importantly ran good. I never really got put in a spot at all where I had to make a tough decision and that’s the nuts IMO.

If you’re an aspiring live NL player I highly suggest you start listening to Deuce Plays Podcast hosted by Bart Hanson. Its subscription based now on Deuces Cracked training site but theres about 2 or 3 years of free episodes available online. At first I found his stuff really advanced because he’s crushing 5/10 NL but more often then not I’ll pick up something worthwhile from listening. His Hands From A Live Cash Game episodes are great. His best episodes feature a California pro named “Limon”. I think theres 4 different episodes with Limon on there. One great thing Limon pointed out is that some players focus a ton on creating a table image when they should be focusing more on table selection. Table image is something I’ve been focusing on tremendously in the past few weeks but have not been very successful with. It was nice to hear an established pro say its totally overrated. I think his little advice helped me to fall back in my ABC mode the last few days and just crush the game against inferior players at weaker tables.

So all in all I feel like I’m back and hopefully I’ve still got some run-good left in me for this upcoming week. I had to take the weekend off for Fathers Day plus today to watch my daughter but hopefully I can get a solid 30hrs+ in this week. After squaring away my finances over the weekend My bankrolls just under $4,900. I’m only a big week or 2 away from being able to take shots at 2/5. Im requiring myself a $6k roll to take periodic $600 buyin shots at 2/5 only if the game looks soft. Other than that Im still a 1/2 player until my roll reaches at least 10K. Also when I square up my money every other week Im beginning to put 1% of my winnings aside towards future live tournaments. I just feel like If I want to take shots at tourneys in the next year I better make an organized plan to do so. If I don’t I’ll either just miss out altogether or spew some of my hard earned cash game money on some spur of the moment tourney im not prepared for. This way I can emotionally detach myself from the money before I buy in with it. We'll see what happens.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Sick Laydowns

Despite every bone in my body itching to go the poker room today I’m taking a well needed day off. Maybe even more than 1 day. I just really need to re-energize myself right now. I’ve been having a ton of mental fatigue the last few days and the run of cards I’ve been getting hasn’t done much to help.

After last weeks huge memorial day loss of almost $600 I was down over $900 8 days into my 2 week pay period span. After 2 weeks I take all my profits and divide them into bills…pocket money…and 30% goes back into my bankroll. More often than not Im up after 2 weeks so im comfortable doing this. Well, after being down $900+ last Monday I was able to grind my way back even by Saturday which was pretty remarkable. 5 winning sessions in a row to cap off the period. But since I had no profit I’ve been picking at my bankroll little by little this week. Which is OK but I need to get something going on the felt so I can get moving on up to 2/5. And so I can live comfortably between now and then.

This week has been a nightmare. Losing less than 2 buy ins in 2 days shouldn’t be considered a total travesty but the way its been happening is just wrong. I’ve been positioning myself on tables with truly incompetent players and I’ve been playing my A Game and I’m still not coming out ahead. Monday I squandered a session in which I was up over $200 to being stuck over $100 at a table with 2 complete fish. I raised in position every time with superior hands to these guys and got out flopped over and over and over and over again. Wednesday was more of the same. Key hands included me raising preflop with AQ and getting called by a donkey with a deuce in his hand and the flop was Q22. And also Aces all in on the flop getting cracked by a flush draw. 2wice that day I either turned or rivered a 1 outer that completed my gutshot straight and gave another guy a flush. It just hurts when you work on your game as much as I do and these totally novice recreational players end up winning your money. I understand who wins in the long run but it definitely weighs on you when your trying to make a living off of this game.

Yesterday I found myself at what I call a low variance table which I was happy to be at due to mental reasons. In other words I really couldn't afford a big losing day so I played it safe. The table was a mix of nitty regs and a couple unknowns that were all pretty shortstacked. The deck of cards tried its hardest to set me up for defeat but I would not let it happen. These are the folds I made:

Fold 1

Older reg who never raises pre pops it to $10 utg. Im in UTG+2 with QQ. He only has $150 behind so if I 3 bet hes gonna shove Aces or kings and fold everything worse except maybe jacks. But that’s a maybe. I have a solid image remember. So I just call. I put him on a rang of big PP’s and AK maybe AQ. Flop is J66 he bets about ½ pot and I min raise figuring he’ll fold or flat with hands that I beat or re-pop with all hands that beat me. Hes a guy that just plays the strength of his hand, nothing tricky. Well, without hesitation he raises me about half his stack just begging for a call so I fold my QQ. I guess its plausible that he has AJ there and just puts me on a worse jack but I feel its more likely im beat…especially when I didn’t really have AJ in his range initially. He doesn’t show.


Fold 2

After 2 limpers I pop it to $12 with AT in the cutoff. Ive got a tight image I’d be fine taking down the blinds and dead money here with this hand but I actually end up with 3 callers. Flop comes AJT with 2 diamonds and the sb who is a well known reg I always play with donks an overbet into the pot. The other 2 fold. I play with this guy enough to know hes protecting his BIG made hand against the draws. He has anything from 2 pair to a straight which leaves one hand I beat. So after grinding for the last 3 hrs without a hand I have to fold two pair on a flop. The reg shows me pocket tens for a nice laydown by me.


Fold 3

I finally get my best starting hand since QQ when Im dealt TT UTG. I raise $12 and get insta called by tight old lady to my left which already has me thinking I might be behind. Then a SUPER tight old man reg 3 bets to about $50. I fold and the old lady actually folds KK face up…hilarious as the 3 bettor shows QQ.

Fold 4

I 3 bet a loose utg raiser who opened $7 to $25 with QQ in mid pos and get 4 bet by the reg from before who had the set of tens. He would NEVER 4 bet without the goods. Especially against me. I fold and he shows KK.

Fold 5

I raise UTG with AK to $13. My buddy from last hand 3 bets. This is clearly QQ+. Then a newbie in the blinds 4 bets. I fold and the two players get it all in with AA and KK. How am I dealt AK here? How is this happening?

So see what I mean when I say the deck was stacked against me. Would you believe after all of that I ended up $74? I actually made a lot of money folding. Yesterday could and should have been a big loss for me. I would’ve never folded those big hands to a wreckless Friday night crowd but when you play with the same opponents a lot and know their tendencies those folds aren’t really as hard as they seem. With that being said I think at least 1 day off to relax and take my mind off things might be in order.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Holiday Weekend Guy

I wrote a blog entry last week addressing weekend warrior poker guy. This week I’m taking aim at Holiday Weekend poker guy. Weekend warrior poker guy specializes in knowing how to NOT win. Holiday weekend poker guy specializes in making sure I don’t win. They just do things that are so puzzling and there are so many of them to be accounted for….let me explain.

Not to sound Helmuthian but Its just impossible for me to beat a table full of Donkeys on a regular basis. I guess I’m just not good enough. 3 or 4 crappy players are fine by me but trying to navigate a minefield of 8 brain deads is just suicide. This Memorial Day I found myself on 1 such table. I don’t want to go on a rant about how bad I ran, (which was pretty awful) or how they call any size bet preflop with any hand, or how they chase with bad odds constantly and don’t know how to get paid off when the hit, and…well the list goes on and on and on and on. What I do want to talk about is their flawed mentality…and how ridiculous the things they actually think are.

I enter a happy go lucky limpfest around 10AM. No regs. Everyones seeing flops, playing crappy and loving life. Fine by me. After about an hour of me adhering to the status quo yet playing sneakily tight I raise a limped pot to $15 out of the blinds and get 2 callers. One was an older guy who limp called UTG with a stack of about $150. At this point I assume his limp call of $15 is tight especially since he must put me on a big hand. Right? He must put me on something good…right…am I crazy by thinking this?

Any way I bet $35 into a Qjx flop and he called and the other donkey folded. The turn was a brick and due to many factors I decided to just check the turn as did he. The river was another brick and I decided to make a value bet of $45. He folded and loudly announced “nice move” to which I quietly shrugged off. Then he and his neighbors continued to overevalute the hand won by the “young whippersnapper” who suddenly decided it was time to build a pot preflop so he could run a bluff on an old man. The guy claimed he flopped an open ender. So at best he had King high but is accusing me of making a move. Even if I had Ace high I had the best hand. Either way I’m now public enemy number 1 as far as the other side of the table is concerned.

By playing tight ABC poker I’ve once again earned the title of table maniac. All eyes on me for the 2nd weekend in a row. It just completely blows my mind that people think this way. I love it when people get mad that you raise it to so much preflop but they’ll call every time anyways. They don’t realize that if they just stopped calling so much with crap hands my preflop opens would be considerably less. Sometimes it seems like they don’t realize that if they fold the dealer will just deal us another hand 10 seconds later. Anyway…this brings me to dunce-o number 2.

This guy is playing alongside wifey. The 2 biggest calling stations in the game. She’s losing…totally incapable of folding top pair to even the most dangerous of boards…and hes luck boxing his way to about a $600 stack full of reds. I open to $13 from mid with AQ and get a caller and him from the SB. He called $13 with 2 random suited cards cuz that’s what HE does. And of course he flops a flush draw and of course I flop an Ace. I bet…other guy folds…and this guy call. Turn is a brick. I bet about 60% pot…he calls. River completes the flush and he fires out over $150 to which I insta fold. The second I fold he looks at me and says “pocket queens???”. I just love the fact he puts me on 1 exact hand and then bets an absurd amount that I would NEVER call that bet with the hand he put me on. Then when someone suggested to him that I had an ace he was in absolute awe that I would possibly fold an ace in that spot. He congratulated me for 5 minutes saying sick fold. And he was being genuinely honest.

The 3rd offender is the holiday guy I detest the most. Holiday guy who THINKS you’re a mainac so he opens up his preflop calling range to any 2 cards against you. NO…THIS REALLY HAPPENS. A good player might tighten up against a LAG especially out of position while this guys appear to do the complete opposite. Let me explain…

After a grueling 8 hours of playing tight as a rock at this table I attempt 1 river bluff when my open ender and flush draw miss in the river. Standard play in relation to the pot size & my table image IMO. Everybody should still be aware that Im playing like a rock. 5 hands later I get KK utg+1 and raise $15 after 1 limper. I get a call and the limper calls. Flop is Q98. I bet $35 and only UTG calls. Turn is a J and UTG checks in a very suspicious way to me so I check behind. River is an 8 and its checked to me again as UTG turns to me and is staring me in the face hardcore. I take a minute and decide its just not worth it to bet and he shows T4 offsuit for a made straight. Wow. I don’t say 1 thing and he goes into explaining mode. “Well I thought you were making a move preflop…the way you played the hand before made me call” and “I had 2 gutshots before and didn’t hit em”. Awesome mentality. You think a guy is making moves on the table so you decide to fight back out of position with T4 offsuit. You couldn’t make this stuff up.

I don’t know which Holiday guy I enjoy more. The one that chases and overbets his hand or the one that chases and expects me to bet it for him. Either way their bad choices after their hands hit saved me probably over $100. It is kinda depressing though when you find yourself at the softest table you’ve played in weeks and you’re the big loser.

BONUS SIDENOTE: Heres a stupid hand I wasn’t involved in between 3 players who had been at the table for over an hour and should be aware of the flow of the game and what not. I remind you…we were at a very loose passive table with not a lot of preflop raising going down. Standard open was no more than $12 if that. UTG player opens for $15.…UTG +1 passive guy from before whose playing with wifey pops it to $55 ($500ish behind)...NEVER DOES THIS WITH QQ…Its 100% KK or AA no questions asked and this should be blatantly obvious. Button player insta ships for $140ish. Back to utg who has a $400ish stack and stares at his cards for 50 seconds just saying soooo sick over and over. He clearly doesn’t have aces from the way hes acting. Hes not a good player so you could tell his worriment was genuine. He’s definitely not hollywooding with Aces. I put him on QQ/KK at the time. After a minute of fretting he shoves his whole stack in to which the guy who popped it to $55 folds KK face up! Now the guy who shipped $140 shows JJ and the other bonehead shows AK. JJ ends up winning and then the general consensus after the hand was that the guy with JJ had to shove his stack there…It was the only move….and everyone agreed. I actually told the guy next to me that I think JJ is a fold there and he looked at me as if I had 17 heads. And then proceeded to crack my Kings with T4 off. Classic Holiday Weekend Guy.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Week goals

Last week brought a mixed bag of results for me at the 1/2 level. I ended the week in damage control mode and made the best out of a poor situation. I never got to my 35 hours but I did play 31 and put in a lot of time away from the felt. My last 2 sessions brought me back from the dead In which I turned a week in which I was stuck $621 into being down a reasonable $351. Thurdsay I tightened up considerably. I actually widened my opening range in position but I stopped limping with crappy hands. Friday I fell down $140 early. I knew how important it was for me to not have a big loss going into the weekend. For both mental reasons and obvious financial reasons. I dug really deep and played my A Game until I got up and finally left +$190. I actually got AA all in preflop vs. JJ late in my session for over $80 and lost so it could’ve been a bigger day than it actually was.

I think my number 1 strength as a poker player is that losing makes me better. When you only have a bankroll in the $4k range you cant really afford a prolonged downswing. Plus Im so anxious to get up to 2/5 that I cant lose any big chunks of change right now. Nothing gets me more focused on improving my game than a few losing sessions do. This weeks losing sessions got me to subscribe to stack em coaching, something I would of otherwise never considered.

Stackem coaching is a poker training website with subscription based audio coaching material. A lot of their instruction is geared towards live play at the lower stakes which to my knowledge you can’t find anywhere else. Plus some podcasts are basically recorded sessions between a student and an instructor. I find listening to anything poker related on the way to a session extremely motivating. Im in the car for an hour…mise well fill my brain with poker stuff. Its quality stuff too. I love Bart Hansons podcast but a lot of what he talks about doesn’t apply to the 1/2 level. So far what I’ve heard from stack em is right up my alley. I highly recommend you check em out.

On a goals standpoint, I feel poised for a winning week. That’s all I care about right now. Im erasing the slate on last week and starting fresh. I’ve been goin bad on Saturdays so I took the weekend off so I can build off my back to back winning sessions when I return on Monday. Im gonna aim once again for about 35 hrs…but this weeks all about winning, whether I play 20 hours or 90. Lets go.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Awful day

Looking over my stats from the last year I would’ve thought I lost over $450 in a session more often. But no, today was only the 4th time since Thanksgiving that I’ve spilled over a buy in and a half at the 1/2 tables. Usually I go home from my big losses kicking myself. Wondering why I chose that 1 time out of a hundred to limp aces. Or why I didn’t switch tables after having a losing image in a tough game for quite some time. But today I had no regrets. I didn’t play TOO bad. I wasn’t OVERLY card dead. I didn’t try to pull off an ill timed bluff, And I never ran into any coolers. How the hell did I lose so much freaking money(-$453 to be exact).

Lets flashback to Monday which was supposed to be my rebound session after Saturdays debacle. Monday was a day in which I was TRULY card dead. 7 hours of nothing to the point I became unfocused and passive to a fault. A key hand came hours into my session in which my passiveness led me to limp UTG with AK. Everyone limped to the button who pops it to a measly $7. Blinds call and I miss an opportunity to re-pop it to try to take down all the preflop money and maybe get heads up. Instead I just call inviting the string of callers along for the ride in the bloated pot. Flop is K44 (2 hearts). SB donks for like $30 and I have to raise for value and to protect my hand against the flushes. Also someone having a 4 is slightly unlikely but if he repops me I’m folding. So of course I get another caller whos a short stack and the sb folds KQ. Of course with the pot size and the turn being a total brick I have to get it in for his last about $45 or so and lose to his 47 offsuit. That session ended with me down near -$250 with plans of an early Tuesday session to make it up the next day.

I woke up Tuesday hoping to just get a winning session in for 2nd half of my overnight trip. I knew not to chase my $250 from the day before. I had to treat this as its own session and hopefully come out ahead. One thing I told myself was that I was going to be more assertive. If I was going to go down today I was going to go down with a fight….be aggressive and force the action at times. Quickly my strategy paid off and I was up to the tune of +$225 about 2 hrs into my session…but then the card deadness hit again. I ended up right where I was the day before folding hand after hand and slowly bleeding money to missed draws and missed flops. I finally got outta there up $83 when I realized nothing was going my way for the better part of 4 hrs. Probably a wise choice.

Which brings us to Wednesday.

We opened up a new table at about 10:30AM and like the day before I decided I was going to be aggressive. Especially in position opening a lot of pots. It worked out for me early when I opened 85s on the button and got a street of value out of flopping middle pair to pick up a small pot. That was the highlight of my day.

The cards just wouldn’t cooperate with what I wanted to do. I was stuck getting hands like Q2 offsuit all day in position and getting my borderline playable hands like SC’s and Aj off UTG or in the blinds. I called a few preflop raises with the KJ suiteds of the world and small pocket pairs and whiffed miserably every time. Actually called a $12 open which had 3 callers on the button with 98s…which got min raised by old man nit in the blinds and called all around…so now I have to waste $24 on a stupid hand when I know the flop is going to be T52 rainbow. Could old man nit ever ask for a more perfect flop after making such a dangerous move. And of course he takes down the big pot on the flop unscathed.

There were really no terrible players at my table. Nobody to really target. After a few hours stuck for about $200 I realized It was time for a table change…but I had taken the bus to the casino and It was picking up In 2 hrs. 2 hrs just isn’t enough time for me to go to a new table set up an image and get reads on the other players. It would’ve just been 2 hrs of me ferociously trying to get back even. That’s why I hate taking the bus (or 1 or 788 reasons why). I decided to stick it out.

As I said, I had a few playable hands and didn’t really run into coolers. Heres 3 spots where I could’ve easily played more tight and not lose as much but It really could’ve gone either way.

Early in the session I flop am open ended straight draw and call a $6 bet by a seemingly under average player. Then I pick up a flush draw on the turn and the clown bets just $6 again after I check. There are actually 2 flush draws on the board now. I could easily just call but I decide I have TONS of fold equity vs. this weak bet with 2 flushes and straight draws on board so I pop it to $30. Now he shoves and I have to call $60 into a pot of about $85. I call…he flopped a set…I brick.

Same player an hour layer. He limps EP…I have QQ on the button and raise $16 with a few other limps out there. He’s my only caller and the flop is Kxx all clubs. I have the Q of clubs. He donks $20 into me. I hate my options at this point. If I don’t have the club it’s a fold or raise but with the flush draw I decide to just call. Now the turns a red rag and he bets like $30. At this point I call. Rivers a brick and he bets $20 into the $135ish pot. With him having only about a hundred behind I cant really make a river shove here to knock him off his weak king. Hes never playing JJ this way so I know Im beat…but I throw in the $20 anyways just to see how big the King was he called a $16 bet with preflop. It was Kjs.

My other losing hand came in the Hi-Jack with AK in which I opened for $13 and got called by both the blinds. Flop is QJ6 2 diamonds. Both check to me. This is a good flop to check behind because it hit’s a lot of their calling range and I also have outs to a good made hand and 3 outs to the nuts. However I decide a big enough C-bets will knock them off a lot of hands with equity like lower PP’s, Aj and some straight draws. So I pop it to $30. Get 2 calls. Turns a black 6. Checks to BB who goes $40...I begrudgingly call which is probably a mistake and the small blind shoves $200 thus ending the hand and showing pocket jacks.

These seem like average hands from a mediocre session. But when you go 5hrs without winning so much as a $30 pot thes hands are magnified. And thats exactly what happened. On my last hand I raised $12 in MP with ATs and ran into QQ. Suprisingly enough the flop wasnt AQT and I got away only losing $12. Pretty much the norm for the day.

Monday, May 21, 2012

5/21 Bankroll and goals

I wasn’t able to hit my quota for hours played last week but I did work considerably on my game away from the tables. That counts for something and I realize that It might not be super necessary to play 40hrs a week if that’s gonna take away from study time. I feel 35 hrs or so on the felt is more realistic for me and I aim to hit it this week. I’ll start with my Monday/Tuesday overnight stay and try to bang out 20hrs off the bat. After that, 3 days of 5hr sessions will be good enough and anything else is just gravy.

Tomorrow I’m ordering Ed Millers E-book from notedpokerauthority.com. I’m a junkie for anything Miller writes. I plan to do a review on it once I read it, but I’m a slow reader so don’t hold your breath. I'm sure it will be great.

After Saturdays loss I ended up just under +$500 for the week. Adding 30% to my bankroll now has me up to $4,879. I needed a little pocket money so I decided to square up my cash after 1 week instead of 2 this time. Headed to the casino now. Hopefully I’ll bounce back from Saturdays loss.