Tuesday, 29 March 2011

And The $60k Goes To....

Pogo650 at a 5/10 Limit Table. $102k total. Congrats.

I'm just thankful it's over. These volume promotions always seem to reg infest the tables to no end. I woke up this morning and went to see if the 60 billionth hand had hit yet and they still had 2 million to go, so I quickly fired up the 50NL lobby to see minimum 5 on the waiting list for every table. No problem, I'll just start up my own tables. I play mostly stacked and was pleasantly surprised to find my tables insta-filling.

That is until I actually started playing and realized that it was every reg imaginable filling seats. I play at a lot of different hours so I've seen just about every reg there is and I think just about every one of them from every part of the planet set their alarm clock to get their 0.2% chance at 24 tabling into free money.

This was confirmed by the mass exodus that occurred on hand 60,000,000,001. Within 2 minutes there were literally 25+ tables in the lobby with one reg left on them who hadn't bothered to kill the table yet.

I don't really understand how Stars thinks this is a good promotion. Scratch that, I do know and it's why they've set it in stone for the next 40 billion hands -- note: 40 more billion hands, once completed, will equal about 1/3 of Stars' entire existence to that point in time. That takes quite a bit of confidence and commitment from the marketing department. But what it does is irrationally motivate people like me to fire up 24 tables and play till our ears bleed trying to win the lottery while they rake the shit out of us.

But from an actual promotion point of view in terms of bringing new money to the site, it's just laughable when you constantly see some random fish, after hearing the whole spiel from the moderator, say "WTF does this mean? zzzzzzz.... [folds]."

That's kind of counterproductive considering that Stars' stated VIP program goal for this year was to simplify things. A lottery with a payout structure based on VPP rates over the last x hands (including this one), is not simple when one fifth of the table doesn't even know the difference between a VPP and an FPP or how many they're earning or why everyone's shoving or why they're being berated for the next 5 minutes by the railebirds. Deposit bonuses, small instant cash bonuses at Supernova rate, even throwing more money onto the new depositor bonus would all beat this.

This lottery promotion doesn't help improve the poker economy at all. Stars rakes in x times more than usual and redistributes some of it by throwing random token amounts at a very select few. I seriously doubt anyone is making a deposit to try to hit one of these even if they somehow knew what was going on.

Of course this post would be completely different if I wasn't so bitter about not being dealt into the 60B hand...

Monday, 21 March 2011

Stars Milestones: Here We Go Again

Stars just announced the Road to 100 Billion Hands with the first stop at 60 Billion. So far I'm 0/3 with these milestone hand promotions so I thought I'd get up early and be the first one out here in blog-land to post about it and collect the ensuing good karma.

Once again, they are going with a VPP formula that encourages people to stop tables from breaking:

$50 base + ( VPPs earned in last 50 hands x $50 ) = WIN!

This means on average, most players sitting for 50 hands at a 50NL table would receive about $500 with the winner of the hand doubling that. Would be really awesome if they changed they're minds on this -- and I manage to bink one of course -- and made it the last 60 hands, then 70 hands etc. leading up to the 100 Billionth hand. So the way this is typically going to play out for those of you that haven't witnessed it before is the following:

  • Everyone anxiously watches and waits for the milestone to hit.
  • Milestone #____ is about to be played on Table _____!
  • All 40k cash players converge on that table, spam crashing the chat box.
  • The waitlist, regardless of stakes, irrationally and instantly tops 185 players.
  • 1/3 of the table wonders wtf is going on everyone is shoving! Folds.
  • 1/3 are mass tablers not realizing they are part of the milestone. Folds.
  • Everyone else shoves.
  • Flipfest!
  • Spam chat box is now filled with "LOL nice folds morans!"
  • Repeat
Good luck to everyone else putting in mind numbing volume trying to hit one of these in futility!

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Confirmed: Saturdays Are Rigged

I don't know what it is about Saturdays but the RNG seems to get replaced by the unavoidable minefield that blows up in my face again before I get a chance to catch my breath from the last one. It's like I'm just sweating every hand I shove turn with a set on a 2 tone board and praying to dodge the 4:1 which everyone else apparently knows is coming when they're getting 1.7:1 on a call.

I mean, something is seriously effed up when I flop sets with 20% of my pocket pairs and still manage to finish the day in the negative. Maybe I should be raising to all-in minus 2bb or something to find a way around the doom button.

Still positive for the month and feeling awesome about my play but it just makes me want to puke when I put in 50k hands by the 3rd week of the month and see a 1.6 bb/100 beside my 4.1 EVbb/100.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Gmail hacked

My gmail account was hacked about 11 hours ago and sent out some random, obvious spam about diplomas. Thankfully they shut down my account after apparently only one email got out. I just reactivated my account now which is why this blog was down most of the day. I'm not sure if any damage was done on this blog yet so please be sure to hover links and double check your status bar to make sure everything looks legit and please let me know if you find anything out of the ordinary.

I suspect this was just a standard bot hack for spam use so most likely there wasn't a real person in my account and therefore wouldn't know I even have a blog, but I was a little freaked out when I tried looking at my blog and it was down thinking it was deleted.

Friday, 11 March 2011

Superstar Showdown: Isildur1 vs DN

Just read about this on the Stars blog. I haven't really ever paid much attention to the promotional matches that FTP set up with the Durrr Challenge or Stars' Superstar Showdown aside from hearing who won while listening to the Pokercast.

This one kind of caught my attention though. Daniel Negreanu taking on Isildur1 over 5k hands on two separate days with stacks carrying over. $150k on four 50/100 tables for 15 buyins. DN has been 'practicing' playing 4 tables to get used to multi-tabling. This is what really blew me away: The face of online poker has no experience playing four cash tables where decisions need to be made 'quickly.'

Needless to say when you consider the cash game multi-tabling inexperience -- if you actually consider 4 tables to be 'multi-tabling,' granted it is HU -- combined with what appears to be a rather large skill level gap, without an extreme amount of card racking on DN's part or Blom going absolutely batshit crazy, this is going to be a bloodbath.

I mean, I like the guy's character and all (except for that rather unfortunate douchebag looking display on The Big Game wrt Robl not straddling) but there has to be some sort of other deal or staking going on here inside the promotion because I really can't see Negreanu being this illogical when it comes to burning his own money.

GL though!

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Sunday Million 5th Anniversary

Think I'm going to put up the cash and play this thing. I literally never play the Sunday Million because it's way outside my buyin level comfort zone but you aren't really ever going to find a $5MM guarantee at $215 so I'm going to jump on it.

{ Edit: I had a Step 2 ticket I decided to run up in the last couple hours. Step 2 was easy peasy when I decide on the 'look-like-a-fish' strat for the first few orbits which worked out nicely when I limp/call an out of nowhere JJ all-in shove with AA my first hand and run 65/20 the first 3 levels. Step 3 I managed a do-over the first time around and the second time I knocked out Stars Pro Dag Palovic to secure my seat in the Million with 3 minutes to spare. Cost me a total of $37.50 to get into the Million. GG Steps. It's looking like 50k+ entries and $10MM at this point. }

I've played one Sunday Million before going the Steps route and managed to bubble out with about 50 people left before the money iirc. Hoping some of my new found run good will carry over. I'm kind of torn on whether I want to give up 30 minutes of the Sunday Million to try to get in through the massive hyper turbo they'll be running although I suppose I could just play both and have an extra ticket if I win that.

I'm always a little amazed at the payout structure of tournaments and how top heavy they are. And these Sunday majors are of course notoriously flat compared to most. I'm quite luck/risk averse so this pretty much explains why I'm not a fan in general. I mean, 50% of the $5MM prizepool in a 25k+ person donkament goes to the final table with 9th place only getting $30k. That's messed up in my world but I suppose that's the whole point and it does bring new fish in hoping for that elusive, impossible huge score just like the corner gas station does with the lottery. My spread the wealth mentality, of course, comes from the viewpoint that my chances of making the final table are realistically 2000:1.

Good luck to everyone else playing this monstrosity!

{ Edit #2: And I'm out. Terrible table draw that just refused to break no matter how many players we went through. 60/15 and 25/20 aggrotards on my left with 3x as many chips as everyone else. And then I get this range of hands dealt to go with it: }

Saturday, 5 March 2011

I need a bigger bucket

Just another quick note: HUUUGE thank you to Stars for the new buyin structure / funneling fish back into my game or whatever you want to call it. I call it happiness.

Here's a snapshot of me grinding along when I get whacked upside the head with a frying pan essentially rendering me unconscious for the next 8 months:

I started a new database for 2011 and here's a graph to date. All of the upswings up until the point of exile were played on Full Tilt. All of the downswings were played on Stars. 100% of volume has been played on Stars since the exile.

Software Conglomeration Post

I posted earlier this year that I was planning on doing a bunch of software reviews this year but things have changed and I've decided to write up this conglomeration of my current setup instead.

This stemmed from the fact that I was generally unhappy with my ability to find software out there that does exactly what I wanted it to do without getting something custom written up for me. My biggest issue by far was being able to get rid of bad tables and load up new ones. I wish I was an AHK pro as that would make life a lot easier. Closing tables is quite labor intensive when mass tabling considering that once you sit out next bb on a table it disappears to the bottom of the stack. Stars apparently does not see the logic in adding Sit Out and Close Next BB This Table to their play controls after it's been requested ad nauseum even though they have exactly that function to close all your tables.

I'm also currently trying out Notecaddy and I'm fairly happy with it so far. The biggest thing initially for me was the ability to take "notes" based on actions in a concise way since I basically take zero notes on my own. Up until this point my notes basically consisted of remembering how regs generally play different ranges and feeding off the game dynamic along with stats. I also can't make any sense out of taking notes like most people do by writing up what happened on xyz board with 1/2 PSB when villain was OOP and he turned a back door flush draw. That means nothing to me. Having note caddy quantify the percentage of the time this reg cbet and shutdown or that reg pot controlled a certain hand strength is much more useful to me. This is essentially my custom stat program as HEM does not have the ability to create custom stats like PT3 does. I'm still up in the air about the automatic color coding as I sometimes have to reset my colors in the Stars client and I'm not really completely sure about how I want to classify people - need to do more tweaking in this area since I only have 20% of people falling under an auto-color category.

So back to closing tables... I was obviously using the standard stuff that every grinder out there is using: Table Ninja, HEM, and a table layout manager (SaT in my case). I quite enjoyed the stacking and tiling functionality of Stack and Tile moving tables in and out of the stack based on hands where I vpip. There's also some other nice stuff out there like Placemint and a plethora of useful AHK scripts. But the ability to close specific tables efficiently was just not available.

Along comes Thois with his discontinued Table of Interest and after months and months of everyone pleading with him to sell it to them, he makes it free and unsupported. And guess what! It closes tables where I'm sitting out! Now all I have to do is Table Ninja hotkey sit out next bb target table and ToI closes it for me once that happens solving nearly all of my problems. I grabbed a simple table counter AHK off the forum, modified it to display different background colors based on how many table I have open and now I've got just about everything I need.

The only thing left on my list is something in the HUD that will tell me the quality of the table based on my own rules. Theres a lot of stuff out there that falls just short and right now I'm still relying on the old HEM table vpip/pfr averages and taking a quick look to my right.

The as of now shelved Table Retriever would have been a huge boon to opening/closing and categorizing tables based on user preferences. The beta testing on this software was very exciting in that I could automatically close tables based on number of fish or number of regs or stack sizes (my definitions of each) and their location around the table. Unfortunately it was put on hold indefinitely when Stars made the buyin structure changes and the developer decided that the vast majority of business which was supposed to come from shortstackers using it to rathole rules automatically leaving according to their own stack size and a rathole timer list would be lost. I still see a ton of value in it for automating table and seat selection for the regular grinder.

I tried out Table Scan Turbo which has a small HUD with table information. Very useful in that it has a fish on this table stat as well as a popup displaying a pretty useful table summary with player names, player type symbols and stack sizes. Not quite what I'm looking for though as a table full of bad regs might look bad when it's not. This might be worth another look as I didn't do a ton of customization.

Next I went back to the HEM HUD. Note that you can add the redundant Player Score from the HEM Scanner to the player HUD - I can see someone has a score of 5+ which indicates they're a fish according to my rules, or I could just look at their vpip/pfr which would tell me exactly the same thing. Also note that the HUD displays table vpip/pfr averages. I find it completely illogical that they have not gone ahead and added Table Score alongside table average vpip/pfr. This would actually be the most useful tool out there to gauge table quality according to my specifications. Sure Table Score is visible from the Scanner, but you can't actually close tables from there. That would be another nice feature and combined would make HEM Scanner the nuts.

So overall I'm pretty happy with my current setup and I've seen a marked improvement in my winrate now that I'm regularly table hopping in and out of 3-6 tables every 15 minutes and I feel like I'm 90% of the way towards what would be an optimal mass tabling system for me.