Wednesday, 31 December 2008


Ship the Supernova and the 3.5x multiplier and conceirge. Yay! I put in a massive session yesterday and another today to get it done. Well I guess it's actually the 31st now, but I'm putting it down as the 30th.

Yesterday went very very well for the first 75% of the session and I was on the verge of having my first $1k day. I made it all the way up to $980 for the day 24 tabling 100NL, then had a bit of a downswing and dropped nearly $400 back. Today was a rollercoaster of tilt and exhaustion but I finished the day at +$14 after 9k hands, lol.

I am taking the day off tomorrow, and maybe the weekend too, and meet up with some friends for the evening. It'll feel really good getting back to playing fun, comfortable poker. This last week especially felt like a job with the crazy amount of hours I put in.

One thing I would like to know is how I manage to put in 35 hours 24 tabling since the 24th and manage to not get dealt into any of the milestone hands Stars had going this week. That would have been a real nice boost. I guess that's only 55k hands, but I should have had a relatively good shot at it. Who knows.

Happy New Year everyone!

Thursday, 25 December 2008

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you're all having a great holiday and, if you live anywhere like I do, trying to stay warm =) I'm finally done work for the year and it's time to put in hardcore hours to get my Supernova in.

I worked the night shift this week and it was actually kind of nice for a change. I did a ton of thinking about my game and my thought process over the past 3 nights while I was working away and made some pretty significant changes to it after running a bunch of math and reading some interesting thoughts by a few different people.

I think what my problem was for the past few weeks has been that at 100NL, the days of stacking top pair or even 2 pair by some random like I did at 25NL are over, which means I have to find a way to exploit and adjust to that. I had been getting pushed around a ton with my 25NL game and it just wasn't working out. But I can't really stop people from trying to push me around because it's going to be a bigger risk than it's worth to do it and they might just not stop anyways, so I just let them take it to the extreme and make mistakes. I find that's the best way to exploit people - find their most likely characteristic and let them go too far with it while having a counterstrategy to fight back at the right times.

And I've come to the realization that CRAI is not the strongest line possible in this game. c/f is.

So the only times I was getting my money in decently were coinflip situations for the most part where it was monster draw vs. top pair or 2 pair - and we all know I am the worst person for flipping - and this resulted in some whacked out variance. I have since begun to get my money in as a 60%+ favorite again and I'm enjoying the results!

I did have the worst suckout I've ever laid out on anyone happen last night though, lol. Villain's a 57/20 superdonk and shoves something like every 6th flop he sees and 3bets/squeezes every 5th hand. Turns out he actually has something this time and I have 3% equity on the flop:

Poker Stars $0.50/$1 No Limit Hold'em - 9 players
The Official Hand History Converter

MP1: $108.50
MP2: $38.50
CO: $36.60
BTN: $70.65
SB: $60.30
BB: $18.15
UTG: $92.80
UTG+1: $98.45
Hero (UTG+2): $101.50

Pre Flop: ($1.50) Hero is UTG+2 with K K
UTG raises to $4, 1 fold, Hero calls $4, MP1 calls $4, 5 folds

Flop: ($13.50) 3 5 2 (3 players)
UTG bets $12, Hero calls $12, MP1 raises to $104.50 all in, UTG folds, Hero calls $85.50 all in

Turn: ($220.50) 2 (2 players - 2 are all in)

River: ($220.50) K (2 players - 2 are all in)
Hero: Merry Christmas to me!

Final Pot: $220.50
MP1 mucks 4 6
Hero shows K K (a full house, Kings full of Deuces)
Hero wins $217.50
(Rake: $3.00)

Wednesday, 17 December 2008


I haven't posted in a week. I had a massive cooler/beat induced downswing and ended about $800 below equity. $300 of this was at 100NL and the rest was at 50NL. I've never run this bad in my life, but eventually you run worse than you ever thought possible. I'll probably run worse at some point in the future, but it's amazing how terrible it feels. And don't think it's impossible for it to happen to you. I am totally convinced after reviewing my database for the week that I was playing my A+ game (A+ since it's the best I've ever played, ever) approximately 90% of the time and during 100% of those beats. There is just nothing you can do.

I should have been running pretty decent except that spewing made my equity flatline - which is good to know that I can run breakeven when I feel spewy. Granted I wouldn't feel spewy if it were not for the beats =)

Anyways, I think I hit the bottom of the trough. I'm playing a bit tighter to lower variance and it's working out so far and I've recovered a little.

I almost gave up on Supernova. I'm going to have my work cut out for me after "giving up" and playing 25NL for 2 days on the weekend. I just have to keep reminding myself that if I can get the points in, it's $3k in my pocket, so I can actually stand to lose quite a bit and end up ahead. I'm still up something like $450 for the month. I need to get over losing money that I've won. It makes me feel like every 5+ downswing is a tragedy. But I really shouldn't complain because my entire poker career has been a freeroll.

I'm going to keep at the 100NL and 50NL to hit Supernova. I'll have to pound away some 6 hour sessions when I'm on holidays next week.

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Back under control

I played a longer session of 25NL than usual today to get myself going and finished up 5 buyins. Now that I'm confident again and playing well I'll head back up to 100NL.

I also read a pooh-bah post on Pot Control by AlexB182 that is the absolute nuts. I realized there were a ton of spots where I was using pot control incorrectly and the way he's got it laid out makes the concept easy to understand and apply - and also know exactly when to not apply it. No more thinking "Is this a pot control spot or not?"

This game gets easier with every "aha!" moment. Thank you Alex! You don't find too many "aha!" moments typed out in plain English.

Between that and Splitsuit's article on bet sizing, I don't know how anyone can go wrong. People say 95% of poker is automatic and 5% is tough decisions. But when you have stuff like this down pat, you can even reduce that to below 5% because you have a plan and stick to it for every hand.

No more sick turn cards where you don't know what to do. No more getting c/r where you don't know what to do. No more spewing.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008


Thank you. Just needed to vent.

23% WtSD. 35% W$SD. 5k hands.

I have been doomswitched.

This might be an interesting spot to talk about doomswitches. I'm at a loss to figure out what to do when you run completely card dead breakeven for 20k hands and get coolered when you finally do catch something every once in a while and get called down by trash the rest of the time because you never have it. It just makes me feel physically ill. Totally helpless.

I mean, there is absolutely not a single thing you can do when you have massive equity preflop/flop and consistently see the worst card in the deck on the turn that makes you take a puke/fold line - or spew.

Sometimes it's the rivered 3rd flush card against a loose-passive. Sometimes it's an A on a ragged board and you know they floated you with A high. It's just so sick.

My instincts/reads have been absolutely killer this month, but all they are doing right now is telling me I'm beat hand after hand. Sometimes I call down anyways out of frustration. But my reads are correct more than 80% of the time.

So the only conclusion then is that there are periods of time where you have no choice at all but to lose money. That's the way the game goes. Just try to lose it as slowly as possible. Don't become a nit, but just try to not spew.

I don't believe taking a break works because future hands are completely independant from past hands and your doomswitch can end at any time. I mean, if you're flipping coins, there's a chance you get heads 40 times in a row, however unlikely. Quitting for the day is not going to change whether or not that coin is going to flip heads another 40 times in a row when you start up again.

There could be something wrong in your game that has doomswitched you, but if you analyze it and find nothing different than when you were winning, then it's just pure variance. I'm a bankroll nit and I hate variance. A site where I get paid my share of equity on every hand that is all-in before the river would be interesting, but it would last about a day before the fish realized just how brutally terrible they are.

I only started playing last year. People say the games are tougher than they used to be. I have no idea. I can't even imagine how rediculously soft the games must have been before. But the doomswitches would have been that much more rediculous, too.

I really need some motivation to keep at the Supernova thing. Doomswitches make me feel like not playing. However much you try to suppress the superstition, you still feel like you are getting ready to donate stacks when you sit down.

Monday, 8 December 2008

Attack of the Limpers..... errr....

My focus this week is going to be on attacking limpers. After reviewing the last few weeks of play, I noticed I had really cut down on doing this and was back to just playing my cards instead of playing the situation optimally.

Since there are no decent 100NL tables (or 50NL for that matter) running this early in the morning I fired up 18 tables of 25NL to see if I could keep up with HUD stats and focus on attacking limpers based on their postflop tendencies. TheZodiac (25NL/50NL reg) had started a bunch of tables so I sat on a lot of them and we waited for the $15 buyin fish to show up.

This led to my really fun loose-TAG/LAGgy game and it helped that I was running really decent. I was about 19/16 and totally ran over the tables for 17 ptBB/100 over 1300 hands. I got into a few really fun reg wars as well. Most of these 25NL regs still have my stats at around 11/7 over enormous samples so their reads have been way off lately and probably will be for a while.

I also watched the Leatherass/Mbolt 400NL 6max video yesterday and picked up a lot of things that I hadn't thought about before regarding postflop play. Definately check it out if you're a Stox member. I think a lot of their thought processes translate very well over to full ring.

I am waiting on Stox to get part 1/4 of SplitSuit's new series up today, too, so I'm looking forward to that.

One reg war from today, he was getting pretty sick of me I think - I was at 6 of his tables and 3betting him a lot before this and he was starting to get pretty aggro. Expert flop call imo. Keep his and my ranges as wide as possible so he can stack off the turn and there isn't a single card I don't mind seeing - except the one that gives him a set if he doesn't have one already, but I don't know which one that is =) I'm only worried about an A or K peeling off and killing my action.

Poker Stars $0.10/$0.25 No Limit Hold'em - 9 players
The Official Hand History Converter

UTG+2: $11.90
Hero (MP1): $25.00
MP2: $31.20
CO: $24.30
BTN: $14.65
SB: $25.95
BB: $38.30
UTG: $27.70
UTG+1: $27.25

Pre Flop: ($0.35) Hero is MP1 with A A
3 folds, Hero raises to $0.75, 3 folds, SB calls $0.65, 1 fold

Flop: ($1.75) 4 6 2 (2 players)
SB checks, Hero bets $1.25, SB raises to $3.75, Hero calls $2.50

Turn: ($9.25) 9 (2 players)
SB bets $8, Hero raises to $20.50 all in, SB calls $12.50

River: ($50.25) Q (2 players - 1 is all in)

Final Pot: $50.25
Hero shows A A (a pair of Aces)
SB shows J J (a pair of Jacks)
Hero wins $47.80
(Rake: $2.45)

Results for today:
Attacking limpers was working very very well. Except for the part about hitting 3 outers on the turn when I had them dominated with top pair to make 2 pair and stack me 3 times in the first 300 hands lol. Oh well, I managed to get back to breakeven and finished the day up 1/2 a buyin. I'm going to keep on focusing on this.

The games this month have been the best I have seen in a very long time. All week has been playing like the weekend regardless of time or day. Good to see the economy has not affected online traffic at all yet and apparently traffic actually increased by 40% as of September. Weird. But I guess it stands to reason. Track betting was the most popular pastime during the 1930s.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

100NL > 25NL imo

I played a long session of 100NL last night and did quite nicely ending up almost 5 buyins.

I played a short session of 25NL this morning and ran trbl ending down almost 5 buyins.

Play 100NL ldo.

People are so trbl this game is going to be good for a long time.

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Supernova Race

As I said, I am attempting to hit Supernova before the year is up. Bankroll wise, I can actually have a -$1500 month and end up +$1500. I would get a $1500 bonus for this month and an extra 100k FPPs on the first 100k VPPs next year for another $1500 bonus. Of course the plan is to actually make some money along the way.

I've been trying to 18 table 100NL for the past week or so every day for 2-3 hours. I've really gotten used to the level, but it requires an intense level of focus for me. I will probably be burned out at the start of January, but the motivation to hit Supernova is really pushing me right now.

I am going to have to adjust my calculations though due to VPP rates dropping in the last few days. Normally 100NL runs at .32 to .36 VPPs/hand and it's at .30 VPPs/hand. 50NL has dropped from .21 to .18. So this is going to require a few more hours than I had anticipated.

I considered 24 tabling and shortstacking but decided against it. The variance is too big and if I went on a large downswing I might give up. The other option may be to pick up another monitor. I don't know if my decision making is fast enough for 24 tables, but I've been trying to keep it fairly simple and play my game. 24 tables is a bit much on a 19" widescreen but it can be done. I won't resort to that until the last week of the month or so if required.

I finish work at 7:00 am on the morning of the 24th and don't go back to work until January 2nd. This is when I really want to put in the bulk of my time and will be putting in 6-8 hours per day for that week and put in maybe 2500 VPPs per day there. If I can do that, I only need to put in about 10k VPPs in the next 2 weeks, but I'm trying to do as much as possible obviously.

100NL has been going alright. I had a bad session last night where I ran card dead and was getting called down a lot. I played some 50NL today to regain some confidence and won back most of what I lost yesterday, then some 100NL with a quick -1/+1 buyin session to end breakeven over a couple hours. I am finding a lot more success in letting people make huge mistakes at 100NL rather than trying to price them out when I don't even know if I'm ahead. A lot of them are overly aggressive so I just let them go ahead and bet.

At 50NL, I again came to the conclusion that helped me figure out how to beat 2NL when I first started out but it takes me a while to rediscover it every time. There's always those one or two guys at the table that you can't figure out how to beat. My brother is just starting out playing some 2NL and I told him, "You know that jerk on the button that you can't beat? Don't try to beat him. You be the jerk."

The solution: Don't try to beat them. Try to be them.

At 50NL, that means I am going to be the floaty, check-raising douchebag that I always get so pissed at. At 100NL, I'm the guy that relentlessly 3bets the weak-tights' obvious steals. And it works.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Canadian "Coalition" Majority

Canadians will be preparing for the hostile takeover of the government that we elected only 7 weeks ago. On October 14th, Canadians elected the Conservative Party to a 2nd minority government.

The trio of parties that lost the election have decided that the voters' decision was not good enough. They don't understand what "no" means. They are claiming that aid to jump-start the Canadian economy will not come fast enough under the Conservative stimulus plan.

Their solution: topple the 7 week old government and lead us down one of two paths.
1. The governor general will dissolve parliament and we will plunge into yet another election campaign.
2. The governor general will accept the unprecedented modern era proposition by the 3 opposition parties to form a majority government.

Option 1 will be the fairest option to Canadian voters although it will be expensive.
Option 2 will end in the largest political crisis this country has ever seen.

The fact that the opposition Liberal Party has decided to join forces with not only the socialist NDP but also the seperatist Bloc will mean that democracy, at least for the time being, is dead in Canada. Liberal voters did not vote for seperatists. NDP did not vote for Liberals. Seperatists, well, what can I say about them?

Economic aid will actually end up taking longer if we do wind up with either an election or a coup and between campaigns and transition of government, the earliest we would see any stimulus package from the coalition would be by the end of February. The Conservatives plan to roll out their plan shortly after seeing what the new Obama administration is going to do and would be in full effect by the last week of January. This renders the coalition raison d'ĂȘtre moot.

Bloc Quebecois
The thing that has me madder than hell is that this deal will put the seperatist traitors of this country in charge of my government and really shows what kind of power hungry maniacs we have working the opposition benches. They'll do whatever it takes to get that power including aligning themselves with the people who's purpose in life is to destroy this country.

The sole purpose of this party is to seperate the province of Quebec from Canada and now they want to run the country? They haven't been able to seperate yet so they have been intent on sucking every tax penny they can get and morsel of political power away from the rest of us that live in this country. This must be the only country in the world where we would even hesitate to throw treasonous POSs in front of the firing squad nevermind allow them to be voted into government.

Enough is enough. It's time to decide Canada. Are we going to keep putting up with this blackmail and hostage taking that these traitors have put us through for decades? Are we now going to allow this group to control our country? We've put up with "gimmegimmegimme or else" since 1982 and now they are going to be able to give themselves whatever they want. How is this in Canada's best interest?

I for one would be in favor of having our own Canada-wide referendum asking if we want to kick Quebec out of the country - and I do realize the severe economic consequences if that were to actually happen. It would still be better than having these guys run my country. I don't know why we all worked so hard to stop them from seperating last time they voted on it.

The 62% of Quebecors that did not vote Bloc in the last election would be more than welcome in the rest of this country. Let them have their Quebecois Nation as long as I don't have to kowtow to whatever they want anymore.

If we put up with this, we might as well refer to ourselves as the Banana Republic of Canada from now on.

Political Rant Imminent

Warning: Canadian Political Rant will be incoming in the next few hours. I will gather my thoughts on this "coalition" government and will be posting when I get home.

On a poker related note: 100NL is off to a good start for the month with 4 buyins.

Monday, 1 December 2008

November Results

My goals for November were simple: Have fun, Stay motivated, and Move up... in that order. I accomplished all 3 of those and had my best month ever. So my December goals are going to be the same - well, I probably won't be moving to 200NL this month or any time soon. I want to put in a good 100k to 200k hands of 100NL first.

And I'm adding a goal of getting Supernova. I have 29,703 points to go. That's approximately 2.5 hours of 100NL per day. It's going to be awfully close, but I am off of work from the 24th until the end of the year and should be able to put in the extra volume.

I haven't posted a graph in a while, so here's November:

Saturday, 29 November 2008

Article: Moving Up

I’m not an expert poker player. But I have had a lot of experience with moving up – and down – in stakes. I started out like most clueless poker hopefuls and played extremely high for the size of my bankroll. After winning a few freerolls and floating around in the micro SnGs, I moved over to cash games. And there I sat with my $20 at a couple of 10NL full ring tables. After nearly busting my roll more than a few times I decided that there must be a more sensible way of managing my poker money. This article is from the perspective of a part-time full ring NL player that has managed to never make a single deposit out of pocket in the first 2 years of his poker “career.”

Before we get started, keep in mind that Bankroll Management is for winning players. If you are not a winning player, I encourage you to stop reading now, bookmark this article for future reference and read up on some good strategy to get you started in the right direction. Until then, following the advice in this article will not help you, and the stakes you choose to play at will only determine how fast you lose money.

The ideas contained in this article are not sourced as I could not possibly compile a list. Many of these ideas have become common knowledge in the 2p2 community and have been repeated in countless threads. Several people that come to mind from which I have drawn ideas regarding this topic are: Fimbulwinter, Phzon, WCG|rider, Alan Schoonmaker and of course Mason Malmuth.

We have an engrained notion in our poker psyche to not be results oriented – at least this is what we strive for. However I assume that most people still have that results oriented mind hiding somewhere no matter how much they try to suppress it.

It is somewhat odd then that we think of winrates with such importance. If we follow the logical conclusion of calculating our winrate, it ultimately ends with the answer to how much money did you make if we apply the use of winrates with our results oriented minds. It’s good to set goals, but setting goals as far as winrates are concerned is not a good idea because you do not have complete control over your results. If you don’t meet those goals you’ll be disappointed in yourself when you shouldn’t necessarily be.

However there are much more useful ways of using winrates, especially to help us when moving up in stakes:

1. Winrates help us compare our performance at different levels in a more relative sense. You will, or should, make more money at 100NL than at 25NL if you are a winning player at both levels. But that doesn’t really tell us anything, because it’s based on dollars won. Winrates throw out the dollar figure and replace it with a Poker Tracker BB per 100 (ptBB/100) figure. Now we can compare apples to apples when comparing our performance at different stakes.

2. Winrates help us think in terms of big blinds rather than dollars, as stated above. It would be wonderful if poker clients would allow us to display big blinds in our stack and the pot rather than dollars. It would make moving up much easier by letting us play our regular game, not playing scared because your stack is now double the size in dollar amount, and not have to adjust to new bet sizes. I have yet to find a client that does this, but thinking in those terms instead of dollars won is a huge step towards moving up in stakes.

Sample Size
It is important to ensure that you are in fact a winner at a certain level before moving up. Most people underestimate the required sample size that is needed to even start analyzing their game. In my experience, you can really only start to analyze your game after 20k hands, and after 50k hands your analysis can start to become quite solid. But those 2k and 5k hand samples are not going to do it. Keep in mind that most multi-tablers out there can put in that many hands in a single sitting. And at the same time, 50k+ hand breakeven, heater and downswing samples are very possible.

That said, once you are confident in your sample size and your accomplishments over that sample size, you are on your way to moving up. You can now be confident that if things don’t go well at the next level, you can always come back down, re-tool your game, make some money, and rebuild your confidence for another shot. You essentially have the data to back up the fact that says you should never go busto if you are able to move back down when necessary.

Playing Your Game
After successfully beating one level and taking a shot at the next, do not change anything. Play the same game. Play it cautiously and focused, but not scared. A lot of us have made the mistake of playing differently based on our inexperienced perceptions of the new level. The only major difference between the old level and the new level is that there are a few less fish and a few more regs so don’t mess with what’s working.

You’ll also need to keep buying in for the same number of big blinds. You can’t play your game if you try to play it safe and buyin short to protect your bankroll. If you normally buyin for 100BB but want to take a shot with 60BB, your hand values are going to change drastically and your style could become a losing one solely based on the new math behind your stack size.

Be observant and take notice of anything different in the general table dynamics that you haven’t seen before. Is this level tighter, looser, more aggressive, more passive, 3bets more, squeezes more, etc?

You might look at your stats after a significant sample size and realize that there is a big difference in your stats between the old and new levels. If you are sure that you aren’t playing scared and haven’t changed anything, it may just be that you are not being allowed the same opportunities that you were previously although you are still playing the same game. For example, your VPIP/PFR could drop from 15/12 at 25NL to 13/10 at 50NL without changing a single thing in your game. If the new level has better players that are not limping as much, and there’s more 3betting going on, those are just two of many possible reasons that you haven’t had as many opportunities to enter the pot where you did before. There are potential variables like this for all sorts of stats.

Figure out what those differences in table dynamics are and come up with a strategy to try to exploit them. There are going to be adjustments that you’ll need to make to improve as a player and to achieve success at the new level. It’s part of growing as a player. But don’t change anything drastically. Ease in with one adjustment at a time, if it doesn’t work, forget about it and go back to your default style until you find something that works better than your default.

Variance is going to seem huge when you take a shot – mostly because you will feel like you are playing with 2 buyins or deepstacked. This is another reason why it’s important to think in big blinds rather than dollars. Taking a shot and running good feels awesome. But all too often taking a shot ends up in running bad and/or playing bad and this will be devastating.

As I stated in the intro, Bankroll Management is for winning players. The problem with taking a shot is that you do not yet know if you are a winning player at the new level, so you need to follow the rule that losing players should follow. You need to decide how much you can afford to lose and consider that money to be dead and gone. An added bonus to thinking like this is that the money shouldn’t matter as much to you and you will be better able to play your game optimally.

It is always important to review your hands, but especially so when you are attempting to move up. If you have hit a bad run, review every hand where you put money in the pot and see if you actually played well and just got a bit of negative variance, played poorly, played scared, or did not maximize value in spots you could have – you’ll need to review every hand for this last one, not just your largest winners and losers.

Be Flexible
If your shot at moving up is successful you should try to play at the new level as much as possible. But don’t force it. If the games are not good at certain times of the day for the new level, the old level probably has more good games running. Don’t ever hesitate to sit in a good game. Table selection is key to moving up as well as to building confidence.

Some people are able to table select across multiple levels and it works very well for them. A super fishy 25NL game is way more profitable than a table of 50NL regs any day so if you want to fire up more tables but there’s no good 50NL tables left to waitlist, play that 25NL table. I can’t personally play multiple levels because it messes with my bet sizing – I need to continue to work on thinking in big blinds – but you should certainly give it a try.

Monetary Bankroll
You will find people that say there is a standard bankroll size that you should have, usually in the 20 to 30 buyin range. Everything in poker “depends” on many variables, and bankroll is no exception.

There is a mathematical formula for calculating a bankroll plan for your individual needs that includes the most important variables (and also shows the need for significant sample sizes, as stated previously):

Bankroll = Comfort x Standard Deviation^2 / Winrate

Comfort is the only variable that you get to decide on in this equation, and it’s your own personal choice. It has been suggested that a comfort level of 2 allows an aggressive, high risk bankroll while a comfort level of 4 is more of a conservative, low risk bankroll. This is essentially a risk of ruin formula.

For example, if your comfort level is 2 with a standard deviation of 80 big blinds / 100 hands and your winrate is 8 big blinds / 100 hands your bankroll would need to be: BR = 2 x 80^2 / 8 = 1600 big blinds, or 16 buyins at 100 big blinds per buyin. With the same standard deviation and winrate, someone with a conservative comfort level of 4 would require a bankroll of 32 buyins.

As you move up in stakes, you are going to find two definite trends. Your opponents will be progressively more aggressive and make fewer mistakes. More aggressive games will result in higher variance and a higher standard deviation, while tougher opponents making less mistakes will result in a lower winrate. Therefore the risk of ruin formula will show that you will require more buyins at higher stakes than you would at lower stakes.

Of course this does not take into account the shear dollar amount that is required to mass multitable. You may have a monetary requirement of 20 buyins for your level, but you are going to need more than that if you are playing 18 tables or more for the simple reason that you have to have money left over to reload your stacks.

That said, you do not need to increase the size of your bankroll requirements just because you are multitabling in regards to variance – 1000 hands played over 1 hour will yield the same variance as 1000 hands played over 10 hours – but you may need to increase the size of your bankroll requirements in regards to a drop in your winrate if playing multiple tables causes you to lose focus somewhat.

Psychological Bankroll
There is another level of bankroll management that most people overlook. That is their psychological bankroll. Many bankrolls have been destroyed by playing beyond psychological bankroll limits. You may have the monetary bankroll to play in a game that you can beat. But you have to figure out and get beyond what that money means to you.

When I started at 25NL I played extremely scared because $25 was more than my hourly wage at my day job and the thought of losing $25 petrified me. There are a whole gamut of ways to perceive the value of money: what it can buy, your salary, your rent, your groceries, etc. But if we continue to perceive our bankrolls in this way, it will hinder our progress.

"At the poker table chips are money, but money is nothing. Think of chips only as a tool to extract other chips from other players" – SplitSuit

Playing above psychological bankroll limits can be devastating. If you hear someone talking about “moving up to where they respect my raises” or getting rostucko by moving up to win back losses faster, these are people that are playing above their psychological limits. They are most likely playing tilted and the money matters a lot to them. Bankrolls can disappear within minutes if they hit a bad run or let their tilt overwhelm them.

The comfort level in the bankroll requirements formula is a measure that can be used to quantify your psychological bankroll. We can rearrange the formula to figure out exactly what your minimum comfort level is.

Comfort = Bankroll / Standard Deviation^2 x Winrate

To use the rearranged formula, think about your current regular game. Use the standard deviation and winrate numbers that you have data for, but instead of your current bankroll, use the minimum bankroll size that you would be comfortable playing your regular game with. This calculation will tell you what your baseline comfort level is, which can be compared to your monetary bankroll requirements. It is a good idea to make sure that both psychological and monetary bankroll requirements are met to be able to play your game optimally.

The best way that I’ve found to get over the value of money when taking a shot at moving up is to actually play one level higher than the level I’m attempting to move up to, and then move back down to the level I’m taking shots at. You do not want to do this if a lost buyin at the higher level will adversely affect your bankroll. When you come back down, the money will not seem to be as much when you’ve been watching pots that are twice as big.

Another psychological factor that influences moving up is downswings while taking shots. Most people will refuse to set a stop loss, saying it’s a bad idea. They say that if the games are good and you are making correct decisions, there is no reason to leave. If that applies to you, then good for you for not letting tilt affect you. But for most of us, we can not honestly say this is true. We may say we’ve lost 3 buyins as a favorite and that we made the correct choices so we should keep playing, but we need to take this one step further and ask ourselves if we will be able to continue to make correct choices after losing x number of buyins and set stop losses if necessary, especially when taking shots.

There is also no reason to stay at your regular game if you are on a downswing. If you are insistent on playing through it, it would make more sense to move down a level and minimize losses, because minimizing losses is exactly the same as maximizing profits. This concept applies to both individual hands and your bankroll management as a whole.

Setting Goals
It’s a good idea to figure out exactly what your purpose for playing poker is. If it’s just for enjoyment, you can treat your bankroll as a budget. There aren’t too many hobbies out there where you can have a good time and actually make money, too.

If you want to play poker on a more serious level it is a good idea to progress goals. These goals may be anything from learning about specific strategies that you are seeing as you move up to learning about table selection.

A lot of people also like to set monetary goals if they plan to withdraw funds from their bankroll to purchase something they would otherwise not buy. Maybe a new car or a surround sound system. These can be good goals for helping you work towards something, too.

It is also extremely important to set an end goal. What is the specific final goal you are working towards? It might be to be a 200NL pro, or a 50NL semi-pro to supplement your income or anything in between or beyond. Once you’ve reached these goals, always set new ones to work towards. This will help your continued growth as a player.

Planning Your Move
I have created a Bankroll Management Excel sheet for you to download so that you can manage your bankroll and take shots optimally with a concise plan.

The first sheet “BR Requirements” allows you to quickly see possible bankroll requirements by adjusting the variables. It also lets you do a reverse comfort level lookup to see exactly what comfort level you are enjoying right now with your current bankroll and stakes, or to figure out what your baseline comfort level is as discussed earlier. If that comfort level is getting up there, why not take a shot?

The second sheet “BR Plan” allows you to enter your variables for multiple levels. You can start to see what your minimum bankroll requirements are for each level once your sample size is large enough to ensure your variables are accurate. You can then start to estimate standard deviations and winrates based on your past moves up in stakes and what kind of bankroll you will require in the future. It will also tell you that once you reach a bankroll threshold, you should start considering taking shots at moving up.

The white areas are for you to adjust values. The blue areas are formulas. I chose not to lock the formulas so that those of you who want to can adjust these as well if you prefer to work in big blinds per 100 instead of big bets.

You can download my Bankroll Management Excel Sheets here.
If you do not have Excel, you can open and use this spreadsheet using Google Docs.

In Conclusion
I haven’t covered nearly everything that is involved when moving up in stakes and taking shots, but I hope that this article has helped you in some way as it has helped me in figuring out what I need to do to reach my goals in this game.

Success in managing your poker career requires the same skills that are required while playing the game. You need to gather enough information to formulate a plan, act on that plan, and manage your money to meet those goals. Everything will not always work out but you have the tools to figure out what went wrong and you will be better prepared for next time.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Swongs, Heaters and Supernova Dreams

I had another monster downswing session last weekend and it put me way beyond the limits of my psychological bankroll. I was back at the bottom of my graph trough that I was at the previous weekend. On Sunday afternoon I sat down with HEM and went over hand by hand for a couple of hours to try to figure out what was going wrong.

2 things I noticed right away: I was playing too many pots out of position and I was paying off when I knew I was beat (spewing).

So I took my game back down to basics and played a more ABC style for the next couple of days with a little bit of small ball stuff thrown in against certain types of players. Presto: profiting again! I recovered nicely by Monday afternoon.

I was feeling so good about my game by Tuesday that I decided I was going to take a shot at 100NL on Tuesday morning. Best. Session. Ever. Also my best day ever. Unluckily I had a dentist appointment cut my heater short, but I ended up nearly 4.5 buyins in about an hour.

I have been writing an article about moving up in stakes. I think it’s really helped me figure out what was going wrong in my attempts. I hope to have that posted sometime tomorrow or the day after as it’s in the final editing stages, so I’m looking forward to hearing peoples’ opinions on that.

I decided yesterday that I am going to make a serious attempt at hitting Supernova by the end of the year. My recent success at 50NL and 100NL will allow me to do that. I will have about 28k VPPs to go at the start of December, and I think I can do it if I follow my schedule. I figured out I need to play about 1.5 hours on days that I work, and 3.5 hours on days that I don’t at 100NL or the equivalent number of VPP hours at 50NL to make it (approximately 40% more hours iirc). It would be sweet if I could accomplish that. It’s kind of funny how I only made 70k VPPs in 11 months and then try for 30k in one month. Would have been nice if I hadn't busted out of the 2x Tourney to auto-move up to Supernova in July - I think there were only 30 out of 60 left that needed to bust out when I did with over 1k entrants. Oh well, do it the hard way I guess.

So keep an eye out for my article hopefully in the next couple of days. I would really love to get some comments on it. And if it helps someone else who is struggling to move up, all the better.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Recovery... and then some

I managed to win back the money I lost this weekend during the week. I was getting way too aggro and pushing my LAG game way too far. I reeled it back in with great results. I am also looking at making 100NL my new regular game more and more and 50NL as my game when tables are slow - as long as the games are good. I'm feeling exceptionally comfortable at 100NL right now and I've figured out 50NL. You'll probably still see me at 25NL in the early mornings when not much is running.

I also wanted to say Thanks to Stars support for reimbursing me for the system failure yesterday. I can imagine the number of emails they were dealing with after being down for about 3 minutes. I was at 100NL and in some small pots and posted a bunch of blinds when it happened, and I had a no hassle reimbursement within 12 hours. Amazing.

I have run the numbers on Supernova and I don't think I'm going to quite get there this year. I'm fine with that. I assume I will get it in early 2nd quarter next year and it's really only a matter of an extra 100k FPPs to spend or $1500 in bonus. No sense in me doing something detrimental to my game or my bankroll or killing myself grinding crazy hours to get it.

An interesting hand from yesterday - Induceaments or am I a Station?:
Poker Stars $0.50/$1 No Limit Hold'em - 8 players
The Official Hand History Converter

UTG: $99.50
UTG+1: $106.95
MP1: $119.05
Hero (MP2): $101.50
CO: $157.80
BTN: $100.00
SB: $57.55
BB: $97.85

Pre Flop: ($1.50) Hero is MP2 with J J
UTG calls $1, 2 folds, Hero raises to $4, CO calls $4, 3 folds, UTG calls $3

Flop: ($13.50) 8 6 8 (3 players)
UTG checks, Hero bets $8, CO calls $8, UTG folds

Turn: ($29.50) 6 (2 players)
Hero checks, CO bets $15, Hero calls $15

River: ($59.50) 4 (2 players)
Hero checks, CO bets $30, Hero calls $30

Final Pot: $119.50
Hero shows J J (two pair, Jacks and Eights)
CO shows K Q (two pair, Eights and Sixes)
Hero wins $116.50
(Rake: $3.00)

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Running bad and losing... miserably

IDK if I have the stomach for these swings at 50NL and 100NL. The past few days have been hell after my total demolishing of 25NL to start the month. I have lost that zone that I was in when I started taking shots again. I put in 2 hours of 100NL today. Lost some sick sick hands. Then I said f this and went back to 25NL to regain some confidence. 4 hours later I'm -2 buyins there as well.

Fish were outflopping me and outturning me left and right and paying dearly to do it. But they call and hit every draw possible no matter how retarded or costly it is to miss. I felt absolutely helpless. I shut my tables down as I really started to tilt badly.

I just do not understand what can possibly be going through someone's mind when they call me down like this, there is just a complete lack of thought process in any recognizeable form and makes me wonder if perhaps someone's cat has managed to open the Stars client and is rolling around on the keyboard:

Poker Stars $0.50/$1 No Limit Hold'em - 9 players
The Official Hand History Converter

CO: $88.20 (80/0/1)
Hero (BTN): $100.00
SB: $83.35
BB: $104.30
UTG: $65.50
UTG+1: $163.55
UTG+2: $14.40
MP1: $106.85
MP2: $267.40

Pre Flop: ($1.50) Hero is BTN with Q Q
3 folds, MP1 calls $1, MP2 raises to $5, CO calls $5, Hero raises to $19, 4 folds, CO calls $14

Flop: ($45.50) 7 9 8 (2 players)
CO checks, Hero bets $30, CO calls $30

Turn: ($105.50) 4 (2 players)
CO checks, Hero bets $51 all in, CO calls $39.20 all in

River: ($183.90) A (2 players - 2 are all in)

Final Pot: $183.90
CO shows A K (a pair of Aces)
Hero mucks Q Q
CO wins $180.90
(Rake: $3.00)

I mean... wtf is that? Calling all-in? $88 with A high no draw? And more importantly: if I am able to get my money in this good all the time like I have been consistently, wtf can I not beat this level, or 50NL for that matter like I am beating 25NL? The variance is absolutely killing me. I am just asking if I can win one hand where I get the money in as a huge favorite. I win lots of little pots where no one has anything. But as soon as the pot gets big it doesn't matter how far ahead I am, that pot is not being shipped to me. These are the kinds of hands that I deal with constantly and it is seriously burning me out.

I think this is far above my psychological bankroll even though I am overrolled for 100NL a good deal. This is just too much for me and it tilts me quite badly. I thought I had gotten my tilt under control and haven't tilted at 25NL in quite a while. This is so infuriating. And I'm really tired of the "long run" bullshit. I want my equity. Now. I am a rediculous $900 below equity over 35k hands of 50NL and 100NL (mostly 50NL). I am so tired of running bad constantly as soon as I move up.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

50NL - Running Bad AND Winning

Looks like I am actually going to have a +$ month at 50NL imo. I started off down 4 buyins but have made those back in the past couple of days. I'm still 3 buyins below all-in equity at that level though because I run like ass there to make up for me running uber hot at 25NL.

An example of the shit I have to put up with at this level (standard) against the 30/20/2s:

Poker Stars $0.25/$0.50 No Limit Hold'em - 4 players
The Official Hand History Converter

BTN: $51.15
Hero (SB): $83.70
BB: $16.00
CO: $93.50

Pre Flop: ($0.75) Hero is SB with J A
2 folds, Hero raises to $1.50, BB raises to $4, Hero raises to $18.75, BB calls $12 all in

Flop: ($32.00) Q J K (2 players - 1 is all in)

Turn: ($32.00) K (2 players - 1 is all in)

River: ($32.00) 3 (2 players - 1 is all in)

Final Pot: $32.00
Hero shows J A (two pair, Kings and Jacks)
BB shows A T (a straight, Ten to Ace)
BB wins $30.40
(Rake: $1.60)

Other than that, November is rolling along extremely well and is shaping up to be my best month ever already after the dismal month that was October. 25NL is still holding out at 10 ptBB/100 after nearly 20k hands.

I don't know if I've mentioned that I'm getting some coaching from SplitSuit. I can definately say that between that and his Stox video series on full ring, I have improved my game by approximately 1.6 million % since the 2nd week of October. His blog is in my blogroll just over there on the right side so check it out.