A journal of my adventures in learning and growing personally and professionally
Sunday, May 30, 2004
Poker, Beer, & BBQ
So as I mentioned previously, I'm here in Amarillo visiting my side of the family. Playing a little poker and doing ok, my bankroll is at least moving in the right direction, even if it is not doing it at a hares pace. Reading the various posts about folks adventures at the WSOP this last week was both entertaining and motivating. I've done a fair amount of traveling but one place I've not managed to get to is Vegas, despite numerous attempts. Then again, at the moment it's kind of nice to live vicariously through the exploits of others since the reality of getting away right now are slim and none. I just heard that slim left town. :(
Anyway, hanging with the family has been great. Being back in Texas has been pretty relaxing and oddly enough I can drink some Shiner again. I asked once, shortly after I moved to Chicago from El Paso, why the good folks at the Spotzel Brewery
don't ship to Chicago. It seems due to some sort of licensing arrangement, the farthest north they can distribute it is to Missouri. I'm not quite desperate enough to road trip to St. Louis for my favorite beer, but there are times when it wouldn't take much to put me over the edge and do it. Those nice folks need to start a Shiner of the week club and just send me a case of the Bock or Hefeweizen each week. Ah well, enough dreaming, I'll just have to enjoy as much as I can while I'm here.
This evening the whole family went out to one of the best BBQ spots in Amarillo. It's basically a hole in the wall place just north of town, but man they've got a spicy sauce and a juicy brisket that just makes you want to eat till you die..... I would have except the natives were restless so I only got two helpings. The sad part is that, each time I get down here, it just makes me want to stay even more. Don't get me wrong, I like living in Chicago. All things being equal though, I'd rather live in Austin.
Friday, May 28, 2004
Poker: Trash talking
So I got a game in during some down time this evening and I'm playing a SNG on paradise when I recognize someone I've played against before because he starts talking trash after I push him out of a hand. I must be out of karma points because the guy busted me out a little later. I'm a big boy and can handle the ribbing, no problem there, but it got me to thinking. I've been a witness to quite a bit of trash talking during games and have to wonder how much of that comes from the fact that the anonymous twit at the giving end doesn't have to look their target in the face. It seems silly to me to exert that kind of energy to a faceless person just to try and get under their skin or anything like that. It's much too easy to just turn off the player dialog. I just have to wonder what someone like that thinks they're going to get out it besides the ego masturbation. *shrug* Ah well, just one of those random thoughts I had.
Wednesday, May 26, 2004
So I'm off to spend a week in Amarillo first thing in the morning so I'm probably going to miss a day or two of posting just in all the confusion. I'm headed down to meet up with my folks so everyone can finally meet the baby boy. I guess I'll have to shell out money to T-mobile and find a hot spot for a couple of hours to be able to blog and play some cards. Class wrapped up last night relatively well and quickly so I'm done with school until August. I think I'll enjoy my summer break with the vacations away from work and everything else. I can't wait to get away from it all. Now I know you're probably thinking to yourself, "Sloe, Amarillo is hardly what I would call getting away from it all." Heck, a week down there and I'll get my accent back, it should be a hoot coming back to work. The thing I'm looking forward to the most though is hanging with the family. I don't get to see them nearly as much as I would like and with the grandfolks getting on in years I'll take every opportunity I can get. I'll get back to the poker posts later tonight. I'm thinking of starting a new challenge on 30+3. I think I need one more 3rd or better placing in 20+2 before I start that though.
Tuesday, May 25, 2004
I tried playing some cards last night while I was working but while it helped pass the time I couldn't give it my full focus so from an entertainment perspective it was good but cost me a little of my bankroll. Tonight is my final presentation for my current course at school so it'll be good to get this class behind me. Funny how the school puts a big emphasis on team learning and at first things seem to be going along really well. Everyone is motivated and pulling their weight.... 20 weeks later no one else seems to want to do their part and the motivation is gone. Needless to say that it's been a tough 5 weeks dragging my team along and I think I'll take a strategic break here to spend more time with my family, vacation a little, and coincidently end up on a different team when I start classes back up in August. Ah well, enough drama, I'm off to school.
Monday, May 24, 2004
So there's this photoblogging add-on called Hello
that seems pretty cool so I fired it up to play with it. This is a picture of my son, he's a pretty nifty fellow and it seemed like a great opportunity to test this thing with.
He's almost 7 month's old and growing like a weed. Can't convince him to crawl, he likes to stand all the time so we suspect that he'll be walking first. He's starting to get a little more vocal so it shouldn't be too long before he's starting to spout the random word/noise that he can mimic.
Sunday, May 23, 2004
So my obligatory daily post. I played a some SNGs and a $5 multi-table. The multi-table was a waste of time, I couldn't get cards, and the ones I did get I couldn't capitalize on. The SNGs were ok, I won the first one, placed 2nd in the 3rd one, and had the toughest fight for fourth place ever in the 4th one. Not once but twice did my stronger hand get beat out because someone caught granny teeth and paired/tripped/housed on their all-ins. *sigh* I'm +45 for today so I've started clawing back from last nights nightmare.
Saturday, May 22, 2004
Poker: SNG vs Ring
So I've continued my reading today as well as got a quick, yet unspectacular, SNG game in this morning. The thing I got to thinking about today is determining as a player what type of Holdem game is the best one to play. There's limit and no limit holdem and they can be played in ring, mini-tournament/sit-n-go, or multi-table tournament style. To help organize my thoughts on the subject I thought I'd put to electron my thoughts on each one to help me examine if I'm really spending my poker time playing the right type and style of game.
Limit Holdem on Paradise can be played for stakes from $0.02/$0.04 to $40/$80. The recommended bankroll to play limit holdem ring tables is 300 times the BB so you'd want $12 up to $24000 depending on your situation. This would seem to be the best type to play because you're never really put to a significant decision like you are in no limit, or are you? I'd say that the play has to be tighter in this type of game because it seems like many people are on the straight or flush draw so you have to be willing occasionally to see it to the end. Now this may not be true at the higher limit games, but my experience with the low limit ones reflects this. As a matter of fact, I sat down at the $0.50/$1 today and walked away +$1.25 after doing a yo-yo for awhile being up as much as ~$10. For the most part it was interesting, but it definitely appears to require some time to put in and some patience for the other players. I have an uber Monster hand during this session that was just stunning so I've got to break out the highlight reel for posterity.
I'm one behind the button and the dealer tosses me Ah Jc, there's one caller by the time it gets to me so I call (I probably should have raised here), the button folds, SB calls, and BB checks. Now you could have tipped me over with a feather when this flop hits, I mean I had to do a double take just to make sure I wasn't dreaming. The flop is Ad Ac As. Those jackpot bells I heard yesterday were nothing compared to the church bells heralding the return of the king baby! I'm thinking that the only way to maximize this pot is to play it low key and let everyone else bet it, if I even glance at it the wrong way I figure they'll bail. Fortunately the person to my left bets $0.50 and I call, SB calls, and BB folds (this fellow was playing multiple tables so I'm assuming he had no pocket pair for this one). Not that it really matters what the turn and river brought but it was 2s and 4c respectively. I could only hope it would be something that would pair someone up but it's unlikely with that garbage. It goes check, check on the turn so I bet and both players call, yay! It goes check, check on the river so I bet again hoping they'll both call again thinking maybe high-card will win with the trip As on the board. SB folds, but I do get one last call so it wasn't a wasted bet. Sure enough, the caller did have a pocket pair for the house.
Something I noticed while playing was that at least two or three of the other players were playing other tables and very slow to act. Mostly this makes me somewhat grumpy because that slows down my game. On the flip side, if these same people are in a pot through the turn you can bet they have something, so you need to have a better something if you're there. I'm sure there are some dissenting opinions on this, but I think that people who play multiple tables, especially against anyone who's paying attention are hurting themselves. They'll miss getting paid off on good hands just from wearing the big sign on their head that screams "I only play premium hands because I'm not paying attention!" Ok, enough of that rant, the fact is you'll get this type on any ring table, it's just the facts of life in online poker.
No limit Holdem can be played at stakes of $2 up to $500 on Paradise. I've personally never had any consistent play with this because like limit, it requires time to play so that you can manage the swings. I think that you have more options with NL in terms of the cards you play because half the table being on flush or straight draws is somewhat less likely, and even if they are, you have the ability to punish them for chasing in NL that you don't really have the opportunity to do in limit. I played about 3 hours of NL this evening on top of the hour or so I played the limit game. Of course it was my mistake, BIG mistake to have not gotten up sooner. I was just about to get up from the table and I'm dealt KK. Well hell, I have to stay and play this. Let's show the instant replay of how NOT to play shall we?
WARNING! - You are about to witness a train wreck.
The board flops granny teeth and I potted it. Everyone folds except for one guy who re-raises. Not one fucking warning bell went off like it should have. I'll chalk that up to being tired and letting my focus slip. I shove back and he re-shoves and at this point I'm thinking to myself that this is a little crazy, doesn't he know I have KK? I call. The turn brings more garbage, I rationalize to myself that maybe he's sitting on a 4 flush but the turn didn't help so maybe he'll go away now, I push more chips into the middle and he calls. The river brings yet more garbage and by now the pots at about $240 and he's got $40 left. I check and he bets the $40. Way too late I see that the light at the end of the tunnel is the train coming to hit me as I call. His bullets took down my cowboys and we're looking at a glorious -$300 for NL ring. Bad Sloejack, back to the SNGs for you. The worst part is that beyond calling down with a beat hand, I also missed the subtle change in the table that went from passive to aggressive and didn't adjust my playing to keep up.
Multi-table tournaments can be extremely challenging. The toughest part for me seems to be post break. I do ok and even occasionally lead into the break when I play these but something happens and it's a rapid downward spiral shortly after we resume. I honestly haven't played enough of these to really figure out what's going wrong there but that will be for far future exploration. The only thing that I keep in mind here is that multi-table tournaments seem to come in two flavors. The standard single fee and the re-buy + add-on tournaments. The pots and pay off places are generally larger in the R+A tournaments but the caveat here is that in order to be competitive you have to plan on at least one re-buy and an add-on at the break which makes the entry fee a little misleading for some. The last note about these tournaments is that they require a time investment. Since I've never finished one (well that's not true entirely, I won a seat at a bigger tournament through a satellite once) I can't really say exactly how long these last but it appears to be 2 - 3 hours at a minimum if you make it to the end.
Sit and Goes are single table, 10 player, tournaments. They pay out 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place finishes at 50%, 30%, and 20% respectively. A first place finish returns almost 4x your buy-in. On paradise the best value for your money is going to be on the 10+1 tables and up. The 5+1 might be more in your budget, but the house clip on the fee is obviously a tad more here. In my experience these tournaments are generally over in approximately an hour and rarely play more than 80 hands from beginning to end. My 20+2 tournament this morning that I took 1st in was 76 hands and lasted 60 minutes and 12 seconds.
I started writing this bit this morning just after the SNG tournament. After writing, reading, and doing "research"; it's been a long day so I'm going to wrap it up here. For me, SNGs are the best value for the time I have to play and monetary investment. I think if I had more time to invest the high limit games like the $200 NL or maybe the $1/$2 Limit could be more profitable but even thinking about that for any period of time leads me back to the same conclusion. If I play a consistently strong game for the same amount of time I would invest in the ring games to make them pay off, I could probably (and historically) make more money playing SNGs. I'm not going to make any recommendations but maybe you'll find my opinions useful in helping you decide how to spend your time playing online.
Friday, May 21, 2004
Poker: Off to the races
First I guess I should put this in perspective. I don't get to play that many hands at any given time so I don't feel I ever really get the chance to let the bad beats catch up with the wins. On top of that, I primarily play SNGs so a bad beat is generally catastrophic. This can lead to some frustrating periods of time where it appears that I just can't win. I think yesterdays post pretty well highlighted that. On the upside though, there's some proof that I'm not just writing to myself. Iggy
(I hope he doesn't mind me calling him that, everyone else seems to) at the Poker Blog stumbled upon me and paid me a generous compliment. Thanks!
I got my books from Amazon yesterday and ripped through about half of "The Theory of Poker." A lot of the information in here was pretty straight forward common sense. The part that I really got a lot out of was Chapter 13, "Loose and Tight Play" because aside from the obvious description of what the concepts were it provided enough of a hint about when and how you should move your game around to meet the need. Following on the heels of this was Chapter 14, "Position" which is an area of knowledge I knew I was weak in. The overview of the strengths and weaknesses of the positions along with some hints of how to play from various positions was just what the doctor ordered.
Now don't get me wrong, there's still a lot for me to learn but I've been gradually tightening up my game for the last month and this was just another step in the right direction. The essay on May 17th at The Cards Speak called "A year in the making: the development of a poker player" about the evolution of a poker player hits it pretty dead on. That was probably one of the best reads in a long time since it was good reinforcement to recognize that as an individual I've come a long way in my playing skills and that I still have a ways to go yet.
Ok, so with the preamble out of the way lets go to the highlight reel...
Armed with some peace and quiet (the wife and baby were off at grandma's house) and some newly absorbed knowledge I made the bold move to 30+3 at the SNG on Paradise. The thinking here was that I know I have a hard time dealing with maniacs, especially multiples (something to try and improve on). I've got the scratch to at least give it one shot and if I find myself horribly outclassed, I can always go back to 20+2. I'm hoping that at 30+3 I won't have to deal with multiple maniacs like I did yesterday.
The short story is that I took home the win in 1st place pushing my bankroll up +$117. :)
I think my best play of the game came on the last hand of the first orbit. The blinds are 5/10 and I was just behind the button. I'm dealt Qd Qh and feeling pretty good. There are two callers when it comes to me and I raise it to 30 picking up the SB, BB, and the original callers. The flop comes 7c 7d Qs. Fortunately on the Internet, no one can see you jump up and down screaming hallelujah. Ok I didn't really do that, but the heart was pumping and there were jackpot bells going off in my head. I'm last to act and since I raised, it checks around. Fortunately it's easy to play it cool when you're looking at the nut so I check. I think this was the right play here, but knowing what I know now a small/modest bet would have netted me more chips on this one. The turn brings 5h, no help. UTG bets 35 which drops two of the 4 other players, I call. I'm thinking to myself that this was a feeler bet, the best I could hope for is someone with a 7 in the hole. The river brings As and I'm thinking that A7 isn't too much of a stretch, I hope someone has got that too. UTG bets 55, the next fellow raises to 350, I raise to 745 (All-In). UTG Calls, and the other guy raises bringing UTG All-In. UTG shows Js 7s, The other guy shows 7h Ac and I scrape 2490 of the pot, the other 525 goes to A7.
Five hands later I got the ladies again but they didn't do so well for me this time.
The other day I was talking about betting patterns being a feel sort of thing, I think this hand (same tournament) best illustrates what I was trying to describe.
We're on game 6 of the 4th orbit and I'm sitting on 1915 in chips leading the #2 chip guy by just shy of 300. The blinds are 30/60 and I am the button. I'm dealt 7d 7c. #2 calls as do 3 others, I double it with a raise to 120 managing to keep the SB and the other 4. The pot is at 720 and the flop brings Kd 7s 3s. It checks around to me and I bet what I think is a modest 220. Everyone folds except for #2 who calls. The turn brings 4c, no help. #2 goes All-in UTG and he's put me to one hell of a decision. One card to go and I've got trip 7s. Does he have KK? Thinking back to the way he had bet in previous hands I couldn't recall a bet larger than 200, including the pots that he won at SD or folded everyone out of. If he had KK, wouldn't he want me to bet? Throw out something modest to get me to call so he can suck some more money out of me with his nut? By this point the dealer is getting grumpy and with a few seconds left to act, I call. Honestly, I wasn't sure if it was the right play or not, all I knew for sure is that his bet didn't feel right and it was way over the top if he did have KK. He shows 8s 9s and I only partially let my breath out. He put it all on the line for a flush draw and periodically the river seems to favor the underdog. Not being a religious person, I don't often find cause to pray. However the only thing running through my mind at this moment was that if the dealer was going to grant #2s wish for a spade that it be the K or 4 of spades. The river comes with 6c and I start breathing again. Many of the other players also thought #2 was on KK, but the way it was bet, it just didn't seem right. I'm glad I called, it was obviously the right thing to do at the end of it but it could have gone the other way.
What a great way to start the weekend, I hope I can stay focused and apply the lessons I've learned consistently.
Thursday, May 20, 2004
Poker: Pocket 6s are the Devils Playground
Game 1: I'd first like to say that if this were a ring game, I would have gotten up and walked away 30 hands before I finally busted out at the 6th orbit with 8 other people still at the table. I tried to take advantage of this table and was able to just once, all other times the flop was just not kind to me. So here's the run down. Blinds are 50/100 and I'm dealt 6h-6c.
I've got T354 and I'm about frustrated with this game and shove. I pick up one caller who has 5d-5s. After a brief thought of the flop including two 5s, the flop comes 6-4-A, followed by A and 7. yay I finally got a hand to pay off! The frightening thing is that 66 was the best hand I got in this game, I think it would have been an easy game to beat with this crowd if I had some cards to play.
Game 2: Who stays on a T120 bet the 3rd hand into the SNG with 58s pre-flop? Unfortunately the winner but I mean come on! I've got 66 and the flop is 6h-9h-7c. My mistake here was calling a T440 bet with my trip sixes thinking the other folks staying were on big pairs (TT..AA) I mean really, who stays on 5-8 with a preflop bet 12x the blind? Now to be fair to the first fool, the one who bet T440 after the flop putting himself all-in, was sitting on Q9 (top pair). As it turns out the 3rd fellow who also called the bet (bringing himself all in) had the pocket rockets. So there's four of us in on this thing and here comes the turn, 3s, no help. Two guys are all in, it's me vs. the SB and I had 10 more chips than he did so I shoved. He called. Now at this point I guess I can see this call, he's got the straight and it's damn near a straight flush because he's holding 8h 5h. I'm still stunned that he stayed in for the flop. Now, I'm praying for a 6, 9, 7, or 3. No such luck the river brings more garbage, Ts. I'm down to T10 and a predictable end follows 3 hands later. :(
Game 3: I must have some super secret note on my account that gets broadcast to every player that says the game will deal them the winning hand if I'm in the pot. Nothing spectacular except for some garbage and some second best hands during this game. The final blow comes during the 5th orbit with AKo. I raise preflop to 200 (bb is 100) and I get 2 callers. The flop is kind to me with 2-K-T. It goes check, bet T100, I raise to T200. Followed by fold, call. Now, knowing what he's holding as I do now, I'm absolutely convinced of this secret note. The pot is 1050 and the turn is a 2. This fellow is bigger stacked than me and shoves. For this guy given how he's bet and played previously this screams bluff... or maybe it screamed "GET OUT!"
and I heard bluff. Anyway I call, show my A-K and start looking for this note when I see him turn over 24o. Of course at this point unless a K comes on the river I'm beat by the trip 2s. River comes and it's another T, a house for the opponent. Game over, good night Lucy, -$66 for the night.
Poker: SNG Strategy
I don't own any poker books. Everything I know about the game I learned through trial and error as well as picking up hints and advice from those kind enough to provide it. Now this is not necessarily a bad thing but there are some possible weaknesses in my game because of it. I don't understand how to quickly
determine the number of outs I have after the flop and turn. This limits me to either folding if I'm not sure about my hand, playing my strong hand, or (semi?)bluffing drawing hands. As I've mentioned before I'm also trying to learn the dynamics of position and betting. So, I took the plunge and bought a couple of books. I believe they're both written by Sklansky and Mason with one being on Advanced Holdem and the other being on Tournament Holdem. However since they have not arrived yet, I thought I should put some real thought towards what my existing strategy is before I start filling my head with new ideas. This should help me understand where I deviate from the recommended and better understand why I play the way I do.
I think the fundamental bit of knowledge that drives everything else is that SNG is a game of elimination. Because the money you make playing this type of game only comes if you place 1st - 3rd, the goal is to not be eliminated before that stage of the game.
To meet this goal I've adopted the following betting strategy. Almost never raise pre-flop. This means that if the cards in my hand are not AA, KK, or QQ I call or fold. Avoid if possible, calling any bet that would soak up 1/3 or more of my stack unless I know/feel I have the nut hand. Watch how everyone else bets, I'll need to have a feel for the style of the players by the time the table shrinks from 10 to 4 or 5. Typically SNG tables get very tight when it gets to 4 or 5 players because no one wants to get so close to the money just to be knocked out. Using the information I've collected on how they bet and what they bet on I try (cards willing) to be more aggressive at this stage but still don't slide too far from the hands that I will PFR which I would classify at this point as 99 or better. At the point I make it into the money I tend to loosen up quite a bit more and PFR every time I've got what I consider a playable hand which is any pocket pair, broadway, Axs, and Kxs.
Over the most recent collection of SNG games, I tried to change that formula up by being a little looser earlier on (when it's cheaper, yeah right) or betting good hands more aggressively pre-flop to reduce the number of opponents at the flop. With various combinations of this, I've met little success. I can't imagine that this is because I'm not betting strong enough, especially when it's 10x the BB usually. Perhaps it's just poor timing that I get a good hand and so do a bunch of other people. I'm not 100% sure yet, but I do know that until I better understand what's going on I'll go back to the style I described above.
My goal is to more consistently be in the money going from an average of <45% up to ~60% of the time. Right now things seem very streaky and I'm not sure if it is me, or something else.
Wednesday, May 19, 2004
Poker: Good Cards = Bad Beats
I think all the recent rash of beatings being posted to various blogs is contagious. I just wrapped up my 20+2 10 SNG series and got slaughtered 4 times in a row. I'd like to thank the maniacs in the first SNG. The first 2 were gone after the very first hand of which I tried to stay in on with AKs but got too expensive with multiple all-ins. The other two were gone soon after leaving 4 empty seats before the first orbit completed and me wounded (~T450) after trying to defend pocket 10s pre-flop against the second set of maniacs. On the upside in both of those cases I would have been beat by the guy that had a real hand (house and flush respectively). While the next three games didn't have a rash of maniacs I'm convinced the dealer was unhappy with me. AK, AQ, QQ, TT, KJ, and AT were all met with granny teeth flops that tripped someone else up or was just plain second best after the flop. The net from tonight's foray into the card rooms resulted in a -$88 loss. Pretty pathetic but I can only blame myself. I tried adjusting my betting habits pre-flop and bet pretty strongly (5-10x the BB), and was still attracting 3+ callers a lot of the time. I think I'm going to go sleep it off now and try again tomorrow.
Ok, not quite to bed yet. I pulled all the info into poker tracker and while the series wasn't spectacular, again I finished up.
# of tournaments: 10
Total Buy-In: $220
Amount Won: $260 (2 1st place and 1 2nd place finish)
Net Amount Won: $40
Finished in the money: 30%
Average Finish: 5.6
Total Hands dealt to me: 377
Folded SB to attempted steal: 75%
Folded BB to attempted steal: 50%
Attempted to steal blinds: 44%
Won when Flop seen: 40%
Went to showdown: 36%
Won showdowns: 48%
Pre-flop raises: 17%
Well that's the stats from the series. Figuring out what needs to be changed so that I move that finishing in the money percentage. Finishing 1st obviously helps take some of the sting out of the series and keep the bankroll moving upward (slowly).
Tuesday, May 18, 2004
Poker: Online Holdem Inspector
Still looking for ways to improve my online play. I wonder if anyone has used this Online Holdem Inspector
and found it to be a truly useful tool. I've seen a number of references to Poker Tracker
and I've found it to be a nice tool for at least tracking my wins and losses, as well as the players I play against. One of the things that was hinted at was that it could help determine the 'type' of players I was up against but I have yet to figure out how to do this properly. I'm not sure knowing with 'programmatic certainty' the types of players I'm up against is really all that valuable since most people seem to fall into one of 3 categories for me... Rock, Solid, or Maniac. Maybe that's too much of a generalization and could help my play if I understood them better. I'll keep playing with the different tools I run across to find the things that work.
No poker for me last night, and tonight will be devoid of it again. School sucks. Aw well, one more week and this course will be done. I think a nice break is in order at this point. Going to school from 6-10 every Tuesday on top of dragging my but to work at 6am and home by 5:30pm makes for very long Tuesdays. On top of that there's homework and team meetings. This class makes my 4th and only 1/10th of what I need to complete for my degree but what started out as a high energy and committed team at school (everyone is grouped into learning teams and at least half your grade depends on the output of that team) has deteriorated into me pulling all the weight in assembling presentation outlines and the actual presentations themselves that the team mates can't seem to find time to meet so that we can practice. All of this has lead to a particularly poor experience this last course and I'm not ashamed to admit that it has left me a little burned out.
Monday, May 17, 2004
Poker - Betting Patterns in Online poker
I was reading a few posts in various places today and I came across someone recounting his experience at some online poker room. One of the comments he made was that his decision to bet/raise was based on betting patterns. This is something I've definitely noticed and taken advantage of (much to the lamentation of the poor fools who were bluffing) but I've not really stumbled across any source of information on the net that discusses it. Since you can't look someone in the eye online, it seems to me that betting patterns is the only true source of a tell. Granted you can try to use the speed (or lack of speed) someone responds to decisions but with lag, or just plane slow play I've found that it is not as reliable a source of information.
I wish I could quantify more about betting patterns into some cohesive strategy, but it seems to me that it's more of a feel thing than it is a rule or guideline. Either way, it's definitely something I watch for when playing, and it's made my home game play a bit stronger since it's now become second nature to watch how people bet more than trying to look for some sort of body tell.
Weekend Poker Review
This weekend had some mixed results. I played a couple of 20+2 sit and go games on Friday morning and took 1st in both. Yay! I'm up $156 two hours after rolling out of bed. Family commitments kept me away from playing Friday night and most of Saturday. I got in another 20+2 on Saturday and came in second. (+194).
Sunday on the other hand was not so good to me. Two wicked bad beats first thing in the morning at 20+2 (-44) the most memorable was my pocket 4s against some fellows 89s. The table was pretty weak all around so I doubled the blind pre-flop. I tripped on the flop and potted it, he calls. The turn comes and it's no real apparent help so I pot it again and he calls. The river comes and again, nothing serious no flush opportunity out there, and all the cards are low enough I didn't expect the straight, who would stay on low crap with strong bets fronting a made hand? But sure enough I push the rest of my stack in and up comes this fellow's straight that he caught on the river. I think what slays me most is that suited connectors just don't seem to be the thing to draw to, especially if the flop doesn't give you your suit. However I see people playing these things all day long and me wishing to myself, if only I had a hand to pummel these fools with. My friend keeps telling me that the law of large numbers and odds and all that nonsense will work in my favor. My problem with that is that I don't think there's enough time in a tournament, especially a sit and go, for those things to work out. So idiots who for nothing but luck knock me out or grind me out when I’m not catching or improving my strong hand.
Anyway, finishing off the weekend, I play a 10+1, a 5+1, and a 20+2 sit and go, lost all three (-39), putting my bankroll at about $513. I figure why not one more 10+1 sit and go for the night, the worst that can happen is that I leave myself at ~$500 which was my goal to reach by this weekend. I placed 3rd (+9) which puts me +120 for the weekend.
I'm setting a new goal to work up to $1k over the next couple of weeks. I think I have to work on my betting and understanding the dynamics of pre-flop betting. I think at this point I've tightened up my card playing to the point that I'm generally only playing hands that have a better than average chance to win, or that I get to play for free as an un-raised big blind. I think the longer team goal for me is to reach $1500 and then cash out half, which repays my initial investment into the game. From there I'm not sure what the next step will be.
Saturday, May 15, 2004
So I just got back from my brother-in-laws graduation at Bradley. Funny, their commencement speaker wasn't really anyone uber famous but he was a historian, and apparently was the head of a number of presidential libraries. His speech above anything else, truly outlined the generation gap between me (30) and the kids graduating from college today. I'd like to think I'm a bit wiser now than I was 10 years ago... some days I'm not so sure. The point of this fellows speech, to me, was that he wanted the graduating class to be a collection of leaders as opposed to spectators of life and the events around them. This is of course something that many (not all) people learn over time once they've existed in the real world for awhile and decided they really want to get somewhere. It made me sad to think that his speech will languish in the alcohol addled brains of the graduates for 5 or so years before they've been kicked around by life enough to remember it.
I'm what I'd like to consider a self made man. I didn't know my father growing up (died while I was too young to remember) and the host of substitutes really didn't make any impact until the last one. The sad part about the last one is, he died before he could really know how much I appreciated him. Anyway, so no real proper influence on me until I was pretty much already grown and while my mom tried, she didn't have all the answers either. Needless to say I managed to get myself into college after getting myself thrown out of high-school. I also managed to piss away college in a drinking binge that lasted about 2 years. I must have thought I had it too easy and needed to add some challenges to my life. Fortunately for me I was gifted with the skills to pay the bills. First it was as a temp for Kelly Temporary Services. It makes sense doesn't it? What does a UNIX admin with no college degree do before that whole dot com explosion? Anyway, being a reasonably bright individual (especially after easing up on the sauce) I was able to work my way up from job to job, catching the beginning wave of the dot com rush and riding it past into a respectable job with a respectable company. Now I'm going back to school, of course making sure I have plenty of challenges like a new kid and a demanding job. I guess the point I'm trying to make is that I realized early on that I screwed the pooch pretty good and that the only way back up was to actively go after what I wanted rather than just take the beating and put myself in a downward spiral. A lot of the younger people I deal with, especially those who entered the work force during the peak of the dot com boom, have this sense of entitlement that makes me want to retch. Fresh out of college and no clue how the real world works. They got a job that most people with 10 years in a career could only hope to have in terms of a paycheck and benefits and when things finally burst, they pissed and moaned about the lack of jobs and the fact that no one wanted to pay them six figures a year for barely being able to drive a mouse. I hope that many of these folks got the wake up call they needed. I suspect that there are still some out there that did not. I think I'll end my spew here and go do some homework.
Thursday, May 13, 2004
Well, I finished my 10 game session this evening with poorer results than I had hoped for. I played 10 $20 sit & go tournaments I won $300 but after the buy-in + fees I netted $80. :( I won 20% of my hands out of 526 total hands. That would seem to be pretty good, but apparently not enough. Maybe my expectations are too high right now. Aw well, I'm up even if it's only by a little. I'll take some time to look at my play a little closer and see where I could have done better.
General Commentary / Poker
So now that I've crawled out from under my rock and actually looked around there are a lot of people with something to say about poker. Ok, so maybe that's not such a stretch given that r.g.p has been around for a long time but it has been a refreshing evening and morning to read so many other thoughts and opinions that occasionally match up with things that I've observed about the online poker play. Clearly I'm a newb in the sense that I've really only just begun playing online and just started to develop credible playing skill but I'd like to think that I'm better than average. Presuming I stick with this I'll be able convert some of my mental masturbation to some real analysis as I put thought to keyboard. In the mean time I'll keep playing, read more of the wealth of information that is out there, and maybe come up with some stuff of my own to contribute.
Wednesday, May 12, 2004
Tonight I continued my 10 game evaluation. After five $20 tournament games yesterday I was only up $50, but there were a few bad beats and some poor judgment on my part. This evening didn't seem to start out too much better. Game six was another loss in 5th place after getting pounded with multiple second best hands. Game seven was a major improvement with a 1st place finish. I think I'll call it quits while I'm ahead for tonight, up now $106 for this effort. Something annoying I learned was that you can only retrieve a maximum hand history of the past 100 hands on Paradise Poker. The game that I won went on for more than 100 hands so not all of the hand information is available for me to analyze properly. I've only been collecting my hand history information for two weeks now but in looking at that information I've been able to tighten up my game enough that I'm noticeably placing higher more often if not winning outright.
I used to play a lot of cards as a kid. For all I know, it's how I learned to count and do math. Hanging at the house with nothing better to do? A game or ten of rummy, spades, hearts, may I, etc. The truly fun games though were the penny poker games. I should have seen the warning signs then but lets just say, I've had my gambling demons take me for a spin, fortunately I got past that point in my life with relatively few scrapes and now enjoy the finer aspects of playing poker. I used to only play when I could get to a casino (river boats for where I live) but that amounted to two or three times a year. About two months ago I discovered online poker rooms with the prompting of a friend who had come in from Canada to visit. Now I'm pretty regular on Paradise Poker and enjoy the mini-tournaments the most. Now that I've finally gotten used to not sitting across from my opponent physically where I can look him in the eye I've started to make back some of the money I donated during the first month or so. Anyway, I've started doing more strategy research to refine my game and happened to stumble across this blog, Internet Poker Grinder
, that brings a different perspective to the game since I'm not sure I would every consider trying to make it my lively-hood. More power to him though and there's some useful advice and commentary there that got me to thinking.
One day at a time. That's going to be my motto for this place. I've always wanted to keep a journal of sorts, and every once in awhile I do think of things I'd like to share. The problem with a journal, or anything that requires constant attention is that it's easy to let it slide. There's always something more important to do. With that in mind, I may be setting myself up to fail here. There's work, family, and school not to mention a wicked poker habit and gaming in general. One day at a time.