Archive for November, 2006|Monthly archive page

let me hold those chips for you

My writing muscles are rusty but here goes… For the past week I’ve been doing okay. A couple of big ups and downs, but overall I’m still profitable. The day after Thanksgiving I made about $125 in six hours (about 20 BB/100) playing $50 NL. Then the next day I lost most of my profit. Today I salvaged a mediocre day.

· 250 hands of micro stakes ($0.05/$0.10 and $0.10/$0.20) Limit; won 7.98 BB/100 for a whopping profit of $1.18.

· 230 hands of 6-max No Limit and Pot Limit ($5 up to $50); won .31 BB/100 and $68.13.

· What? How’s that? Well, I lost two buy-ins at $10 NL, got mad and moved up to $50 NL (I don’t recommend doing that… most experts suggest dropping down a level, not moving up two after suffering a major loss). There I found another player even more on tilt than I was and literally took him for $85 (161.17 BB/100).

Here are the two most profitable hands…

I had played about 20 minutes with opelastra and had noticed that he was extremely aggressive, so I made a mental note to wait patiently for a good spot to get his stack. In this hand I’m on the button, so my range of raising hands is a lot looser. I decide to reraise him here and hope for a good flop. Bingo! I flop trip sevens and I’m thinking that it’s no way he puts me on a seven. He raises and I pop him back. I’m not even surprised when he calls. On the turn he decides to push and I am absolutely loving this guy.

** Game ID 1057534209 starting – 2006-11-27 17:19:13
** Donetsk [ Hold ’em ] (0.25|0.50 No Limit – Cash Game) Real Money

– 21dec sitting in seat 2 with $49 .50
– opelastra sitting in seat 3 with $75 .54
– TwinFives sitting in seat 4 with $66 .20
– speedchaser sitting in seat 5 with $51 .00 [ Dealer ]
– RJ0204 sitting in seat 6 with $23 .00

RJ0204 posted the small blind – $0.25
21dec posted the big blind – $0.50

** Dealing card to speedchaser:
opelastra raised – $1.00
TwinFives folded
speedchaser raised – $4.00
RJ0204 folded
21dec folded
opelastra called – $4.00

** Dealing the flop:
opelastra bet – $5.50
speedchaser raised – $15.00
opelastra called – $15.00

** Dealing the turn:
opelastra bet – $53.50
speedchaser went all-in – $32.00

** Dealing the river:
speedchaser shows:
opelastra mucks:
speedchaser wins $100.75 from the main pot

By the time I play this next hand, I just don’t give the guy any respect now, he is basically a maniac. Again, I have position on him. So, on the flop I figure I have a good chance of out drawing him with my two overcards. I’m playing No Limit Hold ‘em, he’s just playing No Fold ‘em. (Ha ha ha! Boy, I slay me!)

** Game ID 1057552540 starting – 2006-11-27 17:27:57
** Donetsk [ Hold ’em ] (0.25|0.50 No Limit – Cash Game) Real Money

– 21dec sitting in seat 2 with $39 .16
– opelastra sitting in seat 3 with $41 .17
– TwinFives sitting in seat 4 with $65 .20
– speedchaser sitting in seat 5 with $98 .90 [ Dealer ]
– RJ0204 sitting in seat 6 with $53 .60

RJ0204 posted the small blind – $0.25
21dec posted the big blind – $0.50

** Dealing card to speedchaser:
opelastra called – $0.50
TwinFives folded
speedchaser raised – $2.50
RJ0204 folded
21dec folded
opelastra called – $2.50

** Dealing the flop:
opelastra bet – $0.50
speedchaser raised – $3.50
opelastra called – $3.50

** Dealing the turn:
opelastra bet – $4.50
speedchaser raised – $16.00
opelastra called – $16.00

** Dealing the river:
opelastra checked
speedchaser checked
opelastra shows:
speedchaser shows:
speedchaser wins $42.75 from the main pot

I must say here that I didn’t get too full of myself. I believe more than ever that poker is a game in which the best player is the one who makes the fewest mistakes. On any given day, under the right circumstances, our positions could have been switched. Watching him play I just kept saying to myself, “Man, that’s me.” He was playing too many hands, raising preflop, making big bets attempting to bluff. I say attempting to bluff because according to Ed Miller, “For a bet to be a bluff, there must be some chance that a player with a better hand than yours will fold.” This guy was just building the pot.

By the way, I am still reading Mr. Miller’s book, Getting Started in Hold ‘Em. And so far it is helping me identify and correct some of my biggest leaks. Some of these are playing too many hands, staying in a hand too long, going on tilt, and playing more loosely with a short stack (as in, hell I only got half a buy in left, I’ll just call his raise here and hope to get lucky).

One important idea that I have learned so far is that I need to think more in terms of the number of bets won or loss rather than the amount of money. This helps me get a better idea of my actual performance, especially across different game stakes.

A few parting shots… I just moved most of my money over to BetOnBet, a Prima site that offers rakeback (I went through RakeBrain). So far, so good. The customer service seems decent. I needed help with my deposit and got it immediately using the online chat feature. I still have a bonus to clear at PokerShare, another Prima site but I am wary about them now. The customer service sucks donkey private parts and it took me five days to receive my cashout to NETeller.

Well, good luck all, and I hope you flop the nuts (except, of course, against me).

mama in the sky with diamonds

It’s been almost a month since I posted. Wow. Well, a lot has been going on in my life. I got another regular job, which is a big factor on my time and energy, but it’s good because it forces me to get out of the house and away from the computer.

The other major thing is that my mom passed away last month from resulting complications after suffering a stroke. She was a great lady, a good mother, and although she never really had any interest in poker, she played the cards life dealt her the best way she could. I learned a lot from my mom and I miss her so much. I pray that she has peace and comfort now. For anyone who cares, you can check out a clip of the video memorial I made for her here.

I took a little bit of a break from online poker after my mother’s death while preparing for her memorial service for about a week. Finally, I gradually eased back into playing. I’ve been doing pretty good recently, mainly playing on UltimateBet and the Prima network (I used to play on the Pacific Poker site but after its parent company, 888.com, decided to stop accepting U.S. players, I switched to Grand Bay Poker, and today I just moved my money over to Golden Riviera to get a $40 bonus, see details here. After I finish bonus whoring Prima, I will probably play at BetOnBet to get rakeback).

Just last week I made my first deposit at World Poker Exchange (WorldPX.com), the only rake-free online poker room. And folks, I’m here to say that it is the real deal. I got my first 100% rakeback payment yesterday (the rake is taken as normal and paid back into your poker account once a week). The traffic is still rather light but I am usually able to find one or two tables for the game I like to play, which is $10 to $50 6-max No Limit. And the games are fairly soft. I think the higher limit tables may have a bit more traffic, and you can always find a full ring game as well.

I’ve been getting a little bored with my game. I kinda feel like I’ve hit a plateau. I’m a slightly profitable player (over the past three months or so) and I probably would be even more so if I had more discipline to play according to the limited poker knowledge I already possess. But sometimes I do silly things, like get bored with tables that are playing tightly and end up losing a big chunk of chips due to poor, loose aggressive play. I still go on tilt. A lot. But even with all this I still manage to stay profitable.

I’ve decided to take my game to the next level. Most of the stuff that I know about poker is basic strategy and techniques. I know stuff like starting hands rankings, what hands to raise or call with. I know how to reraise with certain hands and how much to reraise. I know how to identify certain types of players… tight aggressive, loose passive, solid, weak, fish, etc. I know how to check-fold certain flops, and how to make continuation bets, I know how to count outs and calculate pot odds, stuff like that. I don’t think I have much of a grasp of the theory behind all that. And I don’t feel confident in how to extract the most money from players when I have the nuts or how to play a decent hand on a dangerous board.

When I first started playing I wanted to know just enough to survive a game and be able to play hands. Now I want to know how to crush games and why it is that I crush them. I want to evolve as a player and become a true student, maybe even a scholar, of the game.

So I made another trip to the bookstore. Previously, I had gone to the library and checked out Hold’em Poker for Advanced Players by David Sklansky and Mason Malmuth but it was hard to get into because the authors state in the introduction that the book is written with a focus on medium stakes Limit Hold’em. So, at the bookstore, I looked at Small Stakes Hold’em; Winning Big with Expert Play by Ed Miller, David Sklansky, and Mason Malmuth, but in its introduction it referred me to two other books if I was not familiar with certain, fundamental poker concepts. One was The Theory of Poker; the other was Getting Started in Hold’em by Ed Miller. Mr. Miller’s book seemed a bit more approachable after thumbing through it. So that’s the one I left with. When I finish it I will post a short review. All the books I just mentioned are published by Two Plus Two, which seems like the source when it comes to books on poker and gambling.

I have also started to make a list of goals for my poker life. Here’s a rough draft of what I have so far…

…I am a professional poker player

…I earn $2500 a month playing poker

…I earn $30000 a year playing poker

…My best game is 6-max No Limit

…I have a good understanding of poker theory

…I am a student of the game

…I am well read in the area of poker

…I study under a poker mentor, training and/or forum site

…I maintain balance between my poker play and other areas of my life

…I have mastered my emotions while playing poker

…I practice good bankroll management

One more noteworthy item. I recently played at a private poker club in my area. I had read about such clubs in Poker Nation: A High-Stakes, Low-Life Adventure into the Heart of a Gambling Country by Andy Bellin. Mr. Bellin wrote humorous tales of the underground clubs in New York City and the various characters that frequented them. So I had some idea of what to expect when I finally got inside one myself. Getting inside was the hard part, however. As in New York, playing poker for money in Georgia is technically illegal. So this particular club advertises itself as a “poker school” and hosts “freeroll” tournaments. I have passed this place often, driving by going to and from home.

The first time I walked in, I was abruptly ushered out. A guy informed me that on that particular night it was members only. After repeated calls, I was finally told to come on a Monday night, for the “freeroll.” So I went last Monday. The guy in charge, a large Black man, who I will call “Jack,” asked me who told me about the club. I told him that I just noticed it because I lived in the neighborhood. He sized me up for a few seconds and I guess finally decided that I was cool. “Okay, go talk to Willie, he’ll get you signed up for the tournament.” Willie told me that in order to play in the tournament I had to buy into the cash game that would start afterwards. It was a $1/$2 No Limit game. I was fine with that since the cash game was the real reason I was there anyway.

I ended up having a good time. I got there about 8:45 at night and didn’t leave until around two in the morning. After buying in with $100, I made a profit of about $50. I probably played ten hands the entire night. Many, but not all, of the players were incredibly bad. Extremely loose and aggressive. Countless all-ins and big pots. I felt like I was sitting at a craps table. There were a lot of players that clearly liked to gamble and play speculative hands. They made fun of me when I asked questions like, “How much is in the pot?” and “Who is still in the hand?” It seemed that they gave no consideration to concepts like pot odds, position, and good starting hands. With the right bankroll I could probably clean up.

The main thing that was discouraging was the 10% rake, which I guess is standard. Then on top of that, you are expected to tip the dealer. I probably left 20% of my winnings on the table. That’s a big difference from playing online. Also it’s more difficult to stay focused. I grew impatient with the slow play and only being able to see a fraction of the hands I would if online. If I play two tables on the internet, I’m gonna see between 120 to 200 hands an hour (that’s shorthanded). Playing live, with eight other players, I was lucky to see 15 – 20 hands an hour.

But I enjoyed the poker table banter and “Jack” turned out to be a crazy, funny brother. I liked the aspect of trying to read people and pick up on their body language. That is a facet which is non-existent online. So I will definitely go again, and next time I’ll take more cash.