Wednesday, 29 September 2010


I took a break from cash games the past couple days and played a few more tournaments. Along with the SnGs I had loaded up last night, I entered 4 MTT Guarantees. I min-cashed one of them which was a little disappointing after 3 hours for a 100-ish place out of 1000 but I was still super deep in my other remaining 6max MTT.

Nothing really interesting happened except for the fact that I managed to maintain my mid place position from 200 left down to 15 left before I dropped to 12/15. Oh and also that I limped the very first hand with A7s and checked down 4-way on 875K7 and made a 130 river bet in a 150 pot that got shoved on for 2k chips by T9o; I couldn't force myself to fold. So at 12/15 I loaded up the other tables and was a little frightened to see that while I had 18bb and was in decent shape, nearly everyone else was sitting with 40bb except for a couple 5bb stacks. Despite that, I managed to get down to the final table of 6 by just maintaining my stack through blind stealing while people busted around me.

First hand of the final table I pick up AKo on the button and it folds around to me with 500k for 10bb and the pot is 105k and I'm just hoping to start taking down the ever increasing antes. I get snap-raised by the SB who has 750k - I think he's using the auto action buttons as some sort of meta to get people to fold which kind of backfired on him earlier when he did the same thing with QTo in the BB vs a button steal and I was in between with KK. Anyways, he flips over 44, the board runs out 325ss (oh noes), offsuit A (yay! oh... wait...) and that's it for me.

I don't really like his play at all since he's sitting with about 15bb and has a lot of room to play but he's going to be completely crippled if he loses plus the BB is chip leader and will call this pretty light since it's only 1/4 of his stack. So he's best case flipping against everything when he doesn't need to be and would be better off shoving any two the next time it's folded to him in late position in terms of saving his seat vs needing to make a move.

So close to a decent MTT bink. Finished 6 out of 3673 without using my one time. I already wasted that last week on the 50 billionth hand and according to Isaac Haxton you only get a new one when you get a hair cut. Congrats to tbvle on the $56k, but I don't know what he was doing at 5nl when he's capable of finishing 83 out of 2443 in the WCOOP for another $10k.

It does feel nice to know that I can make these deep runs. I've been reading Timex's blog on Card Runners along with watching some of his videos and I'm pretty happy that I'm understanding what's going on and that I'm actually turning it into some decent runs that I would have never had before. My MTT strat from a couple years ago was to basically survive and wait for monsters and this usually ended up with me busting close to either side of the bubble. I'm a lot more aggressive now and I've noticed a huge difference in being able to chip up in the mid stages and accumulate these 20-30k chip stacks required to make deep runs. I'm fistpumping more as well, with the highest frequency being when I bink the turn after all in preflop as a 40/60 dog and whiffing the flop.

I've also been messing around with a bunch of different SnG formats to figure out which ones I like best. In terms of overall structure, the regular 180s are miles ahead but I just don't have that kind of time to sit and play for 4 hour stretches. I've tried out some of the turbo 180s and 45s and I think the turbo 180s might be where I'll put in a bit of volume when I feel like playing something different.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Promo Tilt and Mass Donkaments

So Stars is coming up to their 50 billionth hand which I estimate should hit sometime after 11am EST on the 22nd. I'm a little tilted that they continue to run these silly milestone hand promos. So far I've played about 20-30k hands 24 tabling each time that they've run them and I'm still batting .000. Considering that they have a massive lobby banner, the play is stopped for 1 to 2 minutes, and the host mod chats it up explaining what's going on and people are still folding pre to the shovefest left and right, it seems like it's not really catching on with either the mass tabling grinders who've stacked their tables and AHK fold as soon as it pops up nor the random recreational who has no clue that there's about 5 buyins worth of overlay on their shove.

Sure it's just sour grapes that I can't for the life of me get in on this awesome payout, but I honestly think that it would be better to take the thousands and thousands given away every hour and run a promo that everyone can be part of. For instance, a decent reload bonus in the 50% $300-$600 range once a year when we hit the next 10 billionth hand would be so much better ainec.

Poker Update:

Still grinding out 50nl 20-50bb tables which have been amazingly good so far. I had been running at 7.5bb/100 until I slashed that in half today with a 5k hand breakeven marathon. Just one of those can't win a coinflip and every overpair runs into perfect perfect c/c c/c. I do think I've got nearly everything back under control and am feeling a ton more confident than the past few months. I'm at 17k hands of 50nl right now and I'm considering moving up again at 20k-25k hands if my next few sessions produce good results. Still sticking to the plan.

180 man turbo mass table attempt TR (somehow tournaments seem worthy of reporting on, don't ask me why):

I tried out the MTT/SnG grind yesterday. Haven't done that in a few years and I was probably 2 tabling them back then. I managed to get Table Ninja set up to continually register me and managed to get twenty $2.20 180 mans going. The play in these is obviously atrocious but I ran fairly bad against dominated top pairs turning 2 pairs a lot. I was actually planning on loading more to see how many I could play before attempting this at higher stakes but decided to cut it short due to the run bad. I think I might be capable of 30 at a time at this point.

I finished about 6 or 7 of them on the bubble with 19-23 players left and 18 cash while getting premiums in and whiffing a lot of AK. Most of those would have put me in top 5 and contention to win so that's a decent amount of confidence boost considering I haven't really played anything resembling these in nearly 2 years. I haven't even read HoH because it felt a little dated on my skim through and a ton of it seemed ldo.I am going to be reading Kill Everyone shortly so I'm excited about that.

Thankfully on the very last 180 I had open I hung on into the money with about 4bb left and decided it was time to take some chips. I doubled up 4x by winning 60/40s and 40/60s to make it to the final table in 8/9. At this point I really got into it considering ranges vs equity vs payout which is weird for me considering it's a $2 donkament and while the pay jumps are large, the actual $ amount isn't. I pretty much sat around taking a few blinds to maintain my stack at 20bb while 4 players knocked each other out. Once we got down to 5 handed I started to cardrack a ton and took down some decent 10-20bb pots to get into 2nd and 3rd place range.

No one adjusted at all throughout the final table and I was just waiting for opportunities to exploit. I was nearly out several times but managed to fight back and win some coinflips to end up 2/3. The guy in 3rd place didn't stand a chance against myself and the overagressive chip leader as he was running about 8/8 over the 50 or so hands that I had seen him and blinded out fairly quickly and eventually getting his 88 in against my KK.

Going into heads up I had about 90k of the 270k chips in play. A couple hands in I managed to pull ahead after getting AK aipf against AJ. At this point I don't think he really adjusted from his 26/20 style except that he now played every hand exactly like how he had been playing the button throughout. His basic strat was to float a ton with any piece (his stack had been extremely volatile the entire FT) and fire at scare cards. He had a standard open at this point of 2.5bb but he was open shoving every 5th hand which makes me think he was shoving any pair, any ace and a couple KQ type broadways.

After a bit of this I offered up a chop with even stacks because I felt that this was going to become a coinflip with no edge pretty fast and it was an 18 buyin difference between 1st and 2nd. I wasn't even sure if it was possible in that format, but he didn't respond anyways. Shortly after, I finally caught him calling my KK in against A6 and holding to put him down to 30k chips.

I thought now I just have to win 1 of 2 all ins to take this down. That didn't happen when AK whiffed against JJ and lost to AT to put us back to even. He really just continued this open shoving concept for a while and I finally called with 44 not wanting to get down past 100k chips with blinds getting up to 5k/10k soon since his style and the blinds were reducing the skill edge pretty fast. He flipped over KJs and spiked a K on the turn to end it and take the $108 while I was left with the $72 consolation. In retrospect I don't really like my call since I'm flipping at best with everything and taking whatever tiny edge I had with 8bb left would have been better than this gamble. Overall I was pretty happy that I ended the day with an 83% ROI, probably not sustainable but I'll take it =)

I don't know if I'll get back into SnGs since they're overrun with DoNs unless you're playing turbos and I'm really not a fan of the DoN. The 50/50 payout is just too flat for my liking since better players should want top heavy structures since they'll win more than their fare share of matches, while imo it keeps the money circulating longer thus being raked off more resulting in lower RIOs for everyone (I haven't done the math on this, just seems logical to me). Regardless, the strategy is more similar to satellites than to real tournaments and it invites too much collusion in being able to chip dump while using the excuse of weird survival techniques wrt the large ITM satellite style structure.

I don't mind the turbos but it would be nice if more stakes were running consistently. It would be extremely difficult for someone to move from the bottom up, for example there's a ton of $2.20s and typically only a handful of $7.70s running, with a huge jump in player pool size again in the $12s forcing people to play 6x higher instead of the normal 2x to 3x stakes.

In other news, I finally met an irl poker player. There are basically zero within a hundred mile radius of my house so this is kind of an anomaly. Hoping to head out to play some live $1/$2 and from stories I've heard, it's definitely beatable =)

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Planned Poker

I decided late last month that I need to do something different to get myself out of this 3 month funk. The eventual plan was to actually plan my next chunk of hands instead of running around stakes and games like a chicken with my head cut off.

So I set up a simple Excel file to implement a plan for my next x amount of hands and I would stick to it until that chunk of hands was completed and keeping a comment section updated with a running dialogue of my mindset and how sessions were turning out.

My first entry: 20k hands while 8 tabling @ 25nl FR. I needed to drop down to regain some confidence and start rebuilding.

Result: I'm at 19k+ hands right now. The first 10k hands went amazingly well and I was running at about 23 bb/100 (big blinds). I went on a sick 10 buyin downswing over the next 4k hands getting coolered left and right and spewed about 2 or 3 stacks. At that point I had color coded nearly 1/3 of the 25nl 40-100 game player pool and it was an overwhelming sea of yellow nits with few green loose-passives to be seen. And the ones I was seeing were of the 30/5 variety.

So I finally resigned myself to the idea of taking a serious look at the 20-50 bb games and sure enough, there's a really decent distribution of yellows and greens and the greens are all shapes and sizes ranging from 30/5 20bb stacks to 80/20 50bb stacks with even some pink 80/60 maniacs showing up once in a while. I ended the last 6k hands on a large upswing winning back the 10 fullstack buyins and finishing at 11 bb/100 over the sample. I did switch back to mass tabling these since there's so few late street decisions and I found myself sitting around a lot playing 8 tables.

This is kind of sad since I thought this structure change was the solution to the shortstack issue which made 20-100 games seem unbearable to me. It sure seemed that it was going to work for the first couple of months. And then the 80/20s voted for the 20-50 games. And I guess I learned my lesson that it's about what the fish want to play, not what I want to play.

I marked about 300 hands over the course of my 20k hand chunk in the last 2 weeks so I'm going to go over those spots and decide what my next 20k hands will entail. Some of them are seemingly mundane 3bet spots that I take down pre or flop raises that end the hand but I think that it's good that I'm actually marking these hands that don't go to showdown for analysis. I certainly felt like I was on top of my game during sessions where I put in a flop bluff raise with AJ on T63 achieving a fold and then had the mental capacity to think about wanting to analyze that spot later.

Right now I'm thinking about either jumping into 20-50 50nl games or potentially doing 10k more at 25nl and then using those profits to move up while becoming more comfortable in this shallow game. Will depend on my analysis of my play in those hands and what I want to work on.