Sunday, 27 February 2011

Things are looking up!

Games have remained relatively good since the changes on Stars. Weekends have been incredibly good. It's nice to see the 60/5's coming out of the woodwork again at 50NL and 100NL. I'm back to my 3 stake range of what I consider to be my home stakes: 25NL to 100NL. I thought I'd give a quick update on each for this post.

25NL has become extremely easy and very transparent.
Nits and TAGs play their hand straightforwardly typically in a weak-tight or obviously strong way.
LAGs and maniacs over-do everything and c/c down 3 streets with 2nd pair is most likely profitable.
Everyone's showdown value+ range is extremely inelastic so go ahead and exploit the shit out of your bet sizing depending on what you want to accomplish. Note that SDV is overrated by most of 25NL.

50NL is back to not being a huge nitfest.
Nits are still set mining nits.
Some TAGs are somewhat more floaty and better postflop but they pick the most obvious spots to apply the latest epic strategy concept post.
Ranges are generally inelastic early in the hand or when the pot is small. Tops of absolute strength ranges are inelastic. Mid and bottoms of ranges are extremely elastic in large pots and on later streets.

100NL is much more of a gradual step up in terms of skill level from 50NL for the first time in recent memory. This is encouraging in that perhaps some new money is being deposited there from the former 20-50 players and hopefully money is already starting to move up.
Plays very similar to 50NL with two caveats: More preflop aggression in the obvious light 3bet and squeeze spots and regs playing stickier postflop and most likely outleveling themselves a ton.

I'm still pretty wary of the effects of the rampant preflop aggression going on even though games have improved a ton since the changes. I'm all too aware that I'm most likely wrecking the enjoyability of the game for that 30/15 20% fold to 3bet guy when I value 3bet wide with KQs and he would rather just see cheap flops to quad mine J6o and c/c down postflop to see what's going to happen with his sooted hand. I imagine this game is much more enjoyable if you can do all that fun stuff without having to stack off constantly and busto your account in a relatively small number of hands. There has to be some $/hour or $/hand value involved here and if I were them I'd be fealing kind of ripped off and frustrated in terms of entertainment value if I'm a standard fish.

In some awesome life-news, I am going to get to play pretty much full time poker for 9 months total this year. Stars is looking good again so I'm going to be putting in 95% volume there with Rush on the backburner when I want to change it up.

I'm fairly confident now that the disaster that was 2010 was:
a) instigated by the Stars changes.
b) my unwillingness to leave terrible games.
c) mounting frustration leading to perma-tilt and steady rate of spew.
d) eventually realize that in the 2010 state of the game and my 2010 progressing state of mind, I could not win at small stakes.
e) lesson: it's kind of silly to get upset and then attack people by throwing fistfuls of cash at them.

I'm back to 2 winning months in a row now. Note that before June 2010 when the Stars lobby settled down into it's rut, I had never had a losing month pre-rakeback. Between June and the end of the year, I had 4 small losing months and 2 breakeven months post-rakeback.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Post Feb 10th / Pre Server Restart

20-50 is dying off slowly but surely. At stakes where it still remains, the waitlists are huge with regs trying to keep them going. At 50NL and 100NL the 100bb+ games are making up a good 60-67% of tables compared to CAP and remaining 20-50 combined. This is a very good sign as it shows a huge influx of the 20-50 crowd moving towards 40-100.

I would estimate that pre Feb 10th, it was a 3:2 ratio in favour of 20-50. It appears that would mean if the current dilution of the 20-50 player pool continues, fullstack tables should end up as a 3:1 favourite in the lobby over CAP. And CAP is still new and exciting as of right now 3 days later, that will wear off. It's also being mass tabled by a bunch of mediocre SSers who are just not going to be able to make it unless they find breakeven after rakeback enjoyable. When it's all said and done and the lobby settles down after a couple months, I'm optimistic that fullstack poker will outnumber CAP by at least 4:1 if not better. And then there's the possibility of moving CAP off into it's own tab on top of all that.

There's really only one way for me to fully describe the state of the games as of this moment. EA Sports NHL 95. That is, in a medium length memory sense relatively amazing. I've been playing 25NL and 50NL since the change waiting to get back into 100NL once things finish reorganizing and realizing winrates of 14 bb/100 and 8 bb/100. Granted small sample over only a couple days.

But the games just plain feel different. So what does my old Sega Genesis addiction have to do with describing this? I literally played NHL 95 every day after school with a passion for running a 2.5 goal per minute average because the goalies were just not programmed fast enough and wrap around to the far side using a backhand shot or sending a pass + one time shot from the crease line to my slightly far side centre were 95% sure things. I literally ran up 12k goal seasons like it was my job and was disappointed at games with less than 120 goals and non-shutouts were unthinkable.

That is how I feel right now when playing. I am becoming somewhat disappointed if my winrate for 25NL drops below 12 bb/100 and go into stack a donk mode to get it back up there. It's been a very long time since I could bet/bet/shove my QJ on J76xx for value and find multiple 88/20s on fullstack tables during the same session. We have seemingly stepped through the worm hole leading back to 2007. But all of us average regs are now monsters compared to what a good reg was back then considering what we've had to endure and the amount we've had to learn over the past year just to survive.

My current state of mind: slightly cautious, overly optimistic, feeling like Aaron Rodgers scrimaging with 14 year olds.

Monday, 7 February 2011

February To Do List

OK, time to actually put in some serious work and get things back together. I got my CardRunners renewed this week and started watching a bunch of videos. I downloaded everything iPod compatible that wasn't MTT stuff, sat down at work this weekend and just started watching.

First video I watch because the title sounds like maybe it's about me and I'm a little vain: The New Poker Climate. Topic: The Death of the Lazy Grinder. It is about me!  Discussion centers around running around with the biggest bucket you could find catching money falling from the sky 5 years ago vs 5 regs scrapping over every last dollar in the random fish's account now and how damn hard you better work if you want to stick around.

Second video, 13 Scariest Leaks. It's a Halloween comedy special and has some good back to basic information in it. This is now my go-to video if I feel my mindset starting to slip back into the FPS, they're playing back, general out leveling myself paranoia. I've played 2 rather long sessions after this while being sleep deprived with a total of 7 hours passed out in the last 72 (which is when I monkey tilt super easy), with very little beat induced tilt and the few times I was about to lose it I caught myself, said you better stop or you have to quit. Huge accomplishment.

On Deck, Mount Micro 2011 and A Little R&R.

Some things I want to work on this month so I can feel like I accomplished something:

  • Revamp my colour coding system - colour coding by TAG, LAG, nit, fish etc is redundant to my HUD.
  • Delete notes file and colour coding and actually start taking useful notes. No more auto-pilot.
  • The above is going to require fewer tables - Feb 10th = 6-8 tables of 50NL and 100NL on Stars or 4 Rush tables.
  • Post session review: pick the 2 regs I saw most during my sessions for a day and create battle plans in HEM.
  • Keep watching videos. Minimum of 3 per week. Take the good basic stuff out of them and do not apply the fancy shit unless I am positive it's against a level 2 or 3 reg that actually knows what's going on.
  • Pick up volume pace post-Feb-10th. FTP Black Card is currently on pace. Stars Supernova maintenance is a bit behind.

I've been pretty swingy in both my mindset and my results. Everything seems to be going great and then I run into one of those disaster sessions. That said, if I can manage to keep the tilt monster locked up, I can easily reduce the losses in those < 35% W$SD sessions to about one third of what they are now. And losing less is the same as profiting.

Still sitting on the fence wrt Stars vs FTP right now as I'm enjoying Rush more and more and seeing that it's the best of both mass tabling and focus oriented worlds. Still completely hate that they make me play a set minimum per day and can see myself falling into the having to buy Iron Days trap.

Countdown to Stars Christmas is on.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Stars vs FTP Value Tracker

Note: Those that downloaded before 6:30pm EST today, please re-download as I found a few bugs.

While I'm waiting to decide on whether to go back to Stars or not, I thought I should get a start on Full Tilt's Iron Man and Black Card statuses. I'll make my final decision once I see the layout of Stars' player pool after the 20-50 tables are gone.

So in the meantime I wanted to actually see the differences and made myself a spreadsheet to track my earnings and bonus value on both sites. There are 3 sheets in the excel file: Stars, FTP, and combined with a number of entries to help you track your value. Yes, some of this can be tracked in your HH tracker database, but I think it's interesting to see how your bonus value and effective rakeback % moves based on how much volume you play and which bonuses you receive over time in the Rakeback to Month End column.

 I've highlighted the cells in the screenshot which you'll want to use to enter data. The rest have formulas. I kind of suck at creating a locked working document for download so I've left everything unlocked. I've added my data sans winnings to give you an idea.

It currently calculates FPP value based on your regular bonus -- $1.5k for 100k FPP = $0.015/FPP. I also have a calculation for Full Tilt Point value if you buy Black Card cash bonuses although I assume you would just leave those points blank if you're not BC. I'm not all that familiar with the FTP VIP program yet and there seems to be a lot of variability in the value of medals so I just left a spot to enter direct $ for those under Other Bonuses. I assume you might have to manually adjust the Other Bonus tab to account for MGR hits. I'll hopefully update this as I get a better grasp of the FTP program.