Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Non-poker books

I think I'm going to start getting back into reading some books. There's a bunch of classic books out there that I've always wanted to read and now with all my extra time off I'm going to start reading a bunch of them. I seem to be biased towards the dystopian books for some reason or another - I really enjoyed Orwell's 1984 and Animal Farm.  Besides good classics, I'm a huge fan of Stephen King-ish type novels.

Currently reading:
Under the Dome: Stephen King

Reading list in no particular order:
20,000 Leauges Under the Sea
Brave New World
Fahrenheit 451
Catcher in the Rye
Catch 22

... oh and of course playing poker when I'm not reading...

Ship the +8 buyins today. SessionLog.doc FTW.

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Back in the black!

Quick update:

Caught up on a ton of sleep
Feeling really good
Trying out a session journal to record goals and results (not $)
Got out of my poker funk.
Huge day at 50nl 6max: 10 buyins in 6k hands by 4pm
Maintained A game state of mind for 4 one hour sessions
Going to have 5 days off of work per week until November as opposed to 2 with full salary (bink!)

Had a big opportunity for tilt and ended up joking about it with the other player in chat instead. Hand History:

Stars 50nl 6max

Preflop: Hero has JTs as PFRer, c/r happy Villain calls in SB

Flop: Tc5d4s, checks through
Turn: 5s with the flushdraw out now, Hero bets 2/3 pot, villain c/r almost pot, Hero soul-reads that Villain has squadoosh and calls to induce river bluffs
River: 2c and Villain leads for 3/4 pot, Hero snapcalls and gets shown 22

Hero says: "nh"
Villain says: "that's generally my strategy, make stupid plays and then get there"

So hopefully you guys won't have to listen to me whine for a while :)

Thursday, 25 March 2010

gg March

March can diagf afaic.

My month in a nutshell (over and over and over and over.............. again):

Poker Stars $0.25/$0.50 No Limit Hold'em - 9 players - View hand 607219
The Official Hand History Converter

MP1: $82.10
MP2: $29.25
CO: $53.45
BTN: $45.25
SB: $63.25
BB: $67.65
UTG: $116.00
Hero (UTG+1): $50.00
UTG+2: $50.00

Pre Flop: ($0.75) Hero is UTG+1 with 8 of spades 8 of clubs
UTG raises to $1.50, Hero calls $1.50, 5 folds, SB calls $1.25, BB calls $1

Flop: ($6.00) 6 of diamonds 8 of hearts 9 of spades (4 players)
SB checks, BB checks, UTG checks, Hero bets $4.50, SB folds, BB calls $4.50, UTG folds

Turn: ($15.00) 4 of clubs (2 players)
BB checks, Hero bets $11, BB raises to $61.65 all in, Hero calls $33 all in

River: ($103.00) T of diamonds (2 players - 2 are all in)

Final Pot: $103.00

BB shows Q of clubs J of hearts (a straight, Eight to Queen)
Hero shows 8 of spades 8 of clubs (three of a kind, Eights)
BB wins $100.00
(Rake: $3.00)
villain says "that's poker at its best!"

Added up every pot > 50bb and it's 2/3 this shit and 1/3 bad play due to tilt from this shit (if you count shoving 30%+ equity for 0EV bad play when you know they're never folding). Possibly my first losing month ever if things don't turn around fast. I think I've hit the "worse than you ever thought possible" because it's not possible to run worse than this imo - and I've had more than a few gross runs. $2k+ under EV plus unbelievable amounts of KK vs AA and set vs weird straight coolers between 2/3 50nl and 1/3 100nl for the month in only 75k hands.

Everyone on the forums wants to talk about ranges and playing peoples' ranges but I have a new improved plan: take your absolute hand strength and just +1 it to find out what they have. Oh and FYI people don't fold hands when they don't beat anything when I shove because they have an under pa--ooooohhhh shiny over there! ie. bottom-pair-no-draw is +1 of nut flush draw. Don't think about making that NFD either because they get their cards swapped out for a set that boats up when you hit your NFD.

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Multi-Tabling (or why not to)

Download PDF version of this article

I've had a few requests to write an article on multi-tabling and decided that might be fun so here it is. I'm certainly no expert on the topic but I'll share what I've tried and what works for me. This article is going to be fairly long because I think a lot of people underestimate just how drastic this issue is with regards to the advancement of their poker career (I should know). There's a link to download this as PDF at the top if you'd like to print or view offline.

Know why you're multi-tabling and why you shouldn't be. There are a few factors that go into deciding how many tables you should play. A lot of them are connected and seem to contradict each other in some cases. They also generally boil down to 2 main issues:

Skill and Hourly.

The first thing most people think about when multi-tabling is increasing their hourly rate, which isn't a terrible thing because it is the primary reason to multi-table. Simply factoring winrate on a given number of tables at a certain stake vs another combination of winrate and tables and stakes is one way of deciding.


Your skill level is going to be the first indicator of whether or not you can add more tables. Skill comes from experience and experience in a wide range of situations against a wide range of opponents is going to tell you what the "standard" play is in almost any given situation. This allows you to free up thought process resources for the non-standard situations.

For example: If you are a new player where you know the standard play in 60% of situations and you play 10 tables, you need to think about 4 decisions and autopilot 6 decisions at any given time. Now if you add another 10 tables, you need to think about 8 decisions and autopilot 12 decisions in the same amount of time.

If you are an experienced player (who I'll call the pro) with a million quality hands under your belt and you know the standard in 95% of situations, on 10 tables you need to think about 0.5 decisions at any moment, while 20 tabling you need to think about 1 decision.

At 60 hands/hour the new player will have to think about 240 vs 480 hands when picking between 10 and 20 tables while the pro looks at a range of 30 vs 60 hands. You can clearly see that the increase in tables does not affect the pro nearly as much in regards to decisions per hour compared to the new player. It's still a 100% increase, but in terms of decisions/hour it's a huge difference. In order for the new player to attain the same level of focus as the 10 tabling pro (30 hands requiring thought process per hour), he should be playing no more than 1 table for 24 hands requiring thought process per hour. 2 tables would be about the equivalent of a 20 tabling pro.

Improve and Move Up vs Mass Table Autopilot

But playing a couple million hands and adding tables in the process once you've seen everything there is to see is not all there is to it. There is a point in mass tabling where focus levels drop to the point that it is hard to work on improving and you simply end up autopiloting.

There are 2 types of autopiloting:
a) clicking buttons based on 1st level absolute hand strength
b) making automatic decisions based on experience and a solid grasp of ranges and hand reading.

Option b is obviously the better option. In order to do that however, we need to again work on experience and improving, which means playing less tables to free up thought process.

We also have to consider our poker endgame and opportunity cost. The ultimate goal of the game for any serious player is simply to make money in the most profitable and efficient manner possible. So figure out how much you want to ultimately make per hour and then figure out what kind of winrate, number of tables and stakes will get you there. Everything in between where you are now and that ultimate goal is just a journey and an effort towards the end goal. A lot of players - myself included - fall into the trap of mass tabling now for short term benefit. This is simply an unecessary detour on the path to your ultimate goal.


Lets take two identical players who have the same winrates (4 ptBB/100 on 8 full ring tables for $9.60/hour) and play the same stakes (25NL) and same amount of time (20 hours/week) and send them down different paths.

Player A instantly jumps to 24 tables of 25NL for a 2.5 ptBB/100 winrate and doubles his hourly to $18/hour. He progresses very slowly and finally moves up to 50NL and continues to 24 table there 6 months later and for the rest of the year at 1.5 ptBB/100 and $21.60/hour. After a year he's won $20,592.

Player B continues down the 8 table ($9.60) path and progresses faster, being able to analyze situations and learn. In 3 months he moves up to 50NL and wins at 3 ptBB/100 ($14.40). After another 4 months he moves up to 100NL and wins at 2 ptBB/100 ($19.20). After a year he's won $16,128.

This obviously looks like an argument for mass tabling. But lets take a closer look at Player B's situation. He's still only playing 8 tables at higher stakes and making less per hour. But he's primed to play higher stakes on more tables now. What happens if he decides to increase to 12 tables at 1.8 ptBB/100 ($25.92) or 18 tables at 1.5 ptBB/100 ($32.40) or 24 tables at 1.3 ptBB/100 ($37.44)? Maybe he continues to improve to the point where he can 24 table at 2 ptBB/100 ($57.60)

Or continues to move up and then add tables? Or a combination of both? He has a lot of options as to how he wants to increase his hourly rate, whereas Player A has artificially capped his hourly rate because he hasn't developed the skillset to play higher stakes and he's maxed out on tables.

Player A has also played more hands, which one would think means more experience. But the value in that experience is going to be drastically diminished due to less focus. Experience therefore is defined as a qualitative term rather than quantitative.

Adding Tables

Player B now wants to start adding tables. The best way I've found to do this is to add 25% to your table load. If you play 4 tables, add 1. If you play 8 tables, add 2. 12 tables, add 3. A good indicator of too many tables is timing out. If you start timing out, scale it back a table or two.

I strongly suggest that this is fluid (just as I believe many things in poker should be) because your focus is going to be better for some sessions than others and if you normally play 12 but are feeling rushed or taking longer for decisions there's nothing wrong with cutting it back to 8 for today.


Belok has already done a great post on 24 tabling like a pro so I won't go much into this.

Here's the 6x2 layout I generally use. I can have up to 4 layers stacked on top of this for 24 tables. I have a 25" widescreen at 1920x1080 that I play on, and I use a second 21" widescreen for the lobby and HEM, which helps for table selection while playing so your lobby doesn't constantly have tables popping over top. A 30" would be ideal for less overlap.

I also use a stacked layout with an AHK table mover if I'm mass tabling. Typically, tiled tables are better for note taking but I find if you have a way of moving tables out of the stack to focus on them, this method is better for notes because the note should never get covered by another table popping up.

So don't be Player A - aka me. Play fewer tables, work on your game and move up. Once you've reached a stake where your ultimate hourly rate is possible, start thinking about mass tabling. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to cut this short... my 24 tables keep stealing keyboard focus from this post and that annoying timer alarm is going again.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Whine ITP

** Warning: Beat Post ** Cliffnotes for those that don't like reading about beats

ugh. You can basically take my last post and invert it (graph and all) over the past 5 days.

There's something to be said about spiralling downswings. Beats + Tilt leads to Bad Play. Bad Play means not picking up enough value to outweigh the Beats. So the solution then, is to cut out the Tilt so that the equation can not be completed and perpetuated.

The first 2 days were pure monkey tilt. Sets and AA/KK/QQ (always running into 1 pair bigger -- for those that do not know: KK>QQ, AA>KK, 22>AA) were my biggest losers and I was sum-negative with all of these. Big Pots = Big Variance. The 3rd day was just plain slow-bleed frustration. The last 2 days have been no better variance-wise, but my thought process is right back on track and I'm theoretically crushing again in an alternate universe where Sklansky runs the FED. It is encouraging to know that my bad play game is EV neutral so that's a positive.

The bet/bet/check-fold trend continues vs everyone from 10/8 to 72/5 as the most innocuous boards continue to run out 4 flush/straight. I'm all for a rule change stating flushes must use both holecards aside from the fact that when fish call off their stack vs my flop shove with As4h on AhKs3h9hQh and think they've made a brilliant psychic play which is apparent by my "nh" followed by a simple "ty" -- they are typically still level 0 even after cards are flipped up.

Standard runbad in big pots
Nominate Sklansky to chair the FED
4 flush is the bane of my existence
Brilliant psychic fish

Sorry for the whine, I hope it was at least entertaining. Here's to hoping the long run pops his head in here any minute now...