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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Variance or bad plays (or both)?

Things aren't going very well as I am down about 5 buyins at 5NL so far this month.
I am definately running bad: my EV stat tells me I should be up $5 instead of down $25. You know, just the usual bad beats. Also, I played some big combodraws, where I am 50%-40% to win the pot, very aggressive but then missed. Again, I didn't tilt as bad as I used to, but still made some mistakes I shouldn't have, making calls when that little voice in the back of my head told me not to.

In an effort to turn things around, I started playing a bit tighter post-flop even though I'm not all too happy with that, because now I sometimes feel I'm just weak-tight. I also disabled my own stats on the HUD as I noticed I sometimes make decisions based on my own stats, like "I should 3bet here because I haven't 3bet enough".

Even though I show a profit almost every month, I really need some kind of winning streak to build confidence. It's nice to see that bankroll grow slowly but steadily, but 3/4 of all my profits have come from bonusses and rakeback and that just doesn't make me feel like a winning poker player.

I guess I'll just have to keep trying...

Thursday, October 8, 2009

What's the rake like?

Rake is kind of a weird thing (for me): if you loose the pot, you don't have to pay rake and if you win the pot, it's just a tiny peace of it so it doesn't really matter, right?

I had been reading on differences in rake structures across the sites and that you shouldn't play on Full Tilt at 10NL or below or in live games any game below 5-10 is pretty hard to beat because of the rake etc.

So I took a look at my rake and noticed a few interesting points. Anyway, for some of the levels I probably don't have a sufficient sample size, but here are a few numbers and conclusions (all 6max):

2NL: 12.8 bb/100
5NL: 13.2 bb/100
10NL: 15.5 bb/100

Everest Poker: 16.3 bb/100
Party Poker: 12.0 bb/100
Pokerstars: 9.1 bb/100
Full Tilt: 15.3 bb/100
Titan Poker: 15.9 bb/100

Overall: 14.9 bb/100

Obviously, the effective rake is affected by the play: loose tables = more and bigger pots = more rake. I guess that's why Everest has the highest number.
Full Tilt rake > Pokerstars rake: I don't think there's a big difference in looseness here, and you can see the result of a better rake structure at stars (for these levels). Also, and again pretty logical, rake at full ring is less than 6max.

I was surprised to see these numbers to say the least. Being only slightly better than your opponents clearly isn't going to be profitable. I guess this also means that every 100 hands almost and entire stack is taken off the table because of the rake. Hence the huge profits of Stars and company.

Sure, the rake in bb/100 drops down at higher stakes because of the cap, but achievable winrates probably drop down even faster.


Monday, October 5, 2009

September results

September results

Cash games
2NL: 2.2k hands and + $15.28 for 34.4bb/100
10NL: 6k hands and + $17.05 for 2.8bb/100

Bonusses and rakeback
Everest Poker: $50 bonus
Full Tilt Poker: $10 bonus
Full Tilt Poker: $4.56 rakeback

Total + $96

I also cleared the maximum bonus of Take2 at Full Tilt for another $50, which is a nice start for October.

So, result wise, September was a great month. Nevertheless, I'm not that thrilled about my play. I still kept stacking off in spots I should have known I was behind. It seems my mind gets clouded whenever the pot gets big. I didn't have any major tilt sessions though and I feel I have improved in that area at least a bit.

October goals

I'll be playing a mixture of 2NL, 5NL and some 10NL, mostly on Full Tilt to clear some more of my first deposit bonus. I have drawn a little schedule where my number of tables at a given level depends on my winrate at that level. This means I will limit the number of tables to 2 until I achieve my expected winrate. Once, I reach that winrate, I can increase the number of tables to a maximum of 4. Hopefully I'll have the discipline to stick to it and see some better results.

2NL: 1k hands 4-tabling
5NL: 4k hands starting with 2 tables
10NL: 1k hands 2-tabling

So, less volume for (I hope) a better winrate.


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Back to back

I was playing some 2NL on Pokerstars yesterday (I was pretty tired, so I didn't feel like playing 10NL) and after about an hour I was stuck a little as I wasn't getting any good starting hands and was missing a lot of flops.

I was already thinking stars had decided to just give me no cards at all and I figured I was probably going to get cold-decked on my first big hand :)

Then a funny thing happened: I got QQ on one table, AA on another and TT on a third table at the same time.
TT: I raise a bunch of limpers from the BB and take down the pot preflop.

QQ: I openraise from the BTN and take down the blinds.

AA: I raise from MP to 4x and get two callers. Flop comes 347 with two clubs.
Now the BB bets out $0.10 into a $0.25 pot. I really don't like this flop and the donkbet. Sure he'll probably be on a draw, but at these limits, it's going to take a big raise to make him fold his draw, plus I have another player behind me. I decide to play it cautious and just call. The third player now raises to $0.20 and the BB calls. I really don't know what to make of that minreraise, but the pot is getting big already and I decide to fold (very weak play, I know, but I had a bad feeling about this hand.) Anyway, the turn is another 7 and now the guy in LP bets big and takes it down. I guess he had at least top pair on the flop, possibly even a set.

The very next hand on the QQ table I get QQ again, back to back (and take down another small pot).
And... the very next hand on the AA table I get AA again, back to back (just thought that was pretty funny). I raise again, this time to 5x and get one caller. The flop comes Kxx, I bet halfpot, villain reraises and I shove and felt the villain who had, get this, K6o. So, aces and queens back to back at the same time :)

I had another hand from a previous session I'm not sure about how I should have handled it:

10NL, I just sat down at the table (in fact it was my first hand at that table)

Villain with a stack of about 65BB UTG raises to 5x (which is definately more than usual).
I have AKo in the BB and call (a mistake, I probably should have reraised there).
Flop comes Kxx rainbow and I check.
Villain makes a potsized bet that I flatcall. The pot now is $3.
The turn is a low and second club, I check again and now the villain shoves.
I'm almost getting 2 to 1 here and don't know what to do: if he's a good player, he most likely has AA, KK, AK, maybe KQ and once in a blue moon Ax with with a FD. If he's a bad player, he could be doing this with QQ, JJ, TT, figuring my calls are weak. In the back of my mind, I knew I was in trouble, but given my pot odds I couldn't lay down TPTK. He shows AA and takes it down.
Is this an auto-fold or would you call as well?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Never go broke in an unraised pot...

I know!! Still managed to do just that twice this month and even with the same holecards AND even with the same flop.

Hand 1: I'm in the BB with K2o in a limped pot.
Flop comes K92 rainbow, I bet, get raised and soon enough all the money is in the middle. I'm up against K9 and loose.

Hand 2: I'm in the BB with K2o in a limped pot.
Flop comes K82 rainbow, I bet, get raised and ... you get the picture.

Donkey anyone?

At this point, I've got a nice little streak of 5 consecutive loosing sessions going and I'm down 10 buyins overall at 10NL and beginning to accept my future poker career will be spent grinding it out at the 5NL tables. Fortunately, the next sessions have been a lot better and after a monster win of $50 in my last session, I have recovered 9 buyins. Especially that last session, I played my best poker (and was running pretty hot too), so my confidence got a much needed boost.

Anyway, I already cleared my $50 bonus at Everest and I'm still on pace to pick the $50 Take2 bonus on Full Tilt. The rest of the month, I'll be playing a mixture of 2NL, 5NL and 10NL and really focus on my game instead of volume.

I'm also practicing hand reading by recording all hands with a showdown using holdemmanager. I'd be pausing the video to analyze betting, position, stats and trying to narrow down hand ranges.

My game needs some serious work and I'm quite sure I have leaks all over the place.
Exhibit 1: position is very important and good players show a bigger profit in later positions. Right?
Well, not me. Here's my ranking of positions based on profit: UTG, MP, LP, CO, BTN, SB, BB. That's right: my most profitable position is UTG. I have no idea what a decent BB/100 in the BB is, but I'm guessing a whopping -50bb/100 isn't very good.

Exhibit 2: big pots are for big hands. I know this, but still have stacked off 10+ times with just a pair.

I do feel I'm getting better in the stealing and valuebetting stuff though.

Finally, some good news: against all hope, Simbapoker has refunded my $100!
With a little luck, I might see a $250 bankrollboost this month.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Bonus chasing

This month is bonus chasing month as I got a nice bonus offer from Everest and Full Tilt is running another Take2 promotion.

On Everest I get $50 if I reach 600 points by the 16th. Currently, I'm at 230, so I figure another 4k hands at 10NL should do the trick. Because I'm at Base Camp, I'll get another 1200 points extra (200% bonus) and at 1$ per 250 points, that's a few more bucks.

Full Tilt is running a Take2 promotion which actually is a double bonus.
First, you get double points if you multitable. Nice, but not that great...
Secondly, and this is a great bonus, you get cash for playing regularly during this month: $5 if you play 5 days, another $10 for 10 days, another $10 for 15 days and another $25 for 25 days. So that's a potential $50, plus you only have to earn 1 FTP for that day to count. Bottom line for me: play about 10 minutes a day at Full Tilt and pick up $50.

Combined that's over $100 in bonusses to be earned and I'll definately make an effort to pick that up. I just need to make sure I don't drop too much on the tables when chasing these bonusses (as I have done in the past).

At the tables, I'm still struggling, making too many mistakes for sure, but it is sooo hard to put the many fish, playing >50% of the hands, on a hand. Often they really could have anything, from AA to J6...