Saturday, March 31, 2007

April Goals

I came down to earth a little bit yesterday when I booked my first loss over $500 since February 19th. It was the first time I decided to forget about the $1/$2 NL games games and jump into six $2/$4 NL games and I can't help wondering if I made a mistake by changing something in a system that was working so nicely.

Even with a little dip at the end March was a still success and now I'm looking ahead to April. I have a short trip to Vegas from April 15th through the 18th, (for fun, not for work) but other than that my schedule looks clear for the whole month. My goal is to play 30,000 hands of $1/$2 and 30,000 hands of $2/$4.

It still blows my mind a little when I think about how many hands I'm able to play compared to how many you can play in person. If you can make 20 cents a hand playing 6 games at a time on the Internet you're well into a six figure income. If you make 20 cents a hand in person you're making minimum wage. I've been getting in about 475 hands an hour which means in 3 hours I'm playing as many hands as you'd get in a 40 hour week. If I jumped into 8 games, which isn't crazy, I could play as many hands in a day as you'd get in a month playing full time in person.

I'll be shooting for 10 cents a hand in the $1/$2 and 20 cents a hand in the $2/$4. If I make these goals I'll pick up $9,000 plus $1,700 in FPP's. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

A Confusing, But Good Problem to Have

Over the past week I've continued my experiment with playing no limit cash games on pokerstars. So far my results have exceeded my expectations. After a few days of playing the $1/$2 blinds games I felt like I was doing a lot of breaking even with a little progress in the positive direction. So I decided to split the six games I was playing into three $1/$2 games and three $2/$4 games. Right away I made a few big hands in the $2/$4 games which made it easy to feel comfortable at the higher level (this is actually 1/5 the size of the biggest games I've played in, but that was over a year ago and it certainly wasn't while playing 6 games at a time).

It seemed like this was a good system so over the past several days I've been playing 3 games of each level. What's confusing to me is while I'm killing the $2/$4 games I'm breaking even in the $1/$2 games. When you double the stakes you're always going to have better players at the higher level so it doesn't make much sense that I should be winning WAY more than twice as much money against tougher players.

I have four theories, however, that might explain the disparity. The first is that while I feel I'm paying equal attention to all the games, I'm actually much more focused on the bigger games and thus able to make better decisions. The second is that the players at the higher level play much more how I'd expect them to. Perhaps at the lower level the players are playing so poorly that I'm having trouble figuring out what they have or I'm unable to manipulate them as well as better players who are thinking more. The third possibility is I might be unconsciously making riskier plays in the smaller games because the amount of money involved is less so I don't care as much if I lose. My fourth theory is that I've just been running really good in the bigger games and facing some short term bad luck in the smaller games. I suspect it's actually a combination of all of these aspects, but it still seems a little strange to me.

So how exactly have I been doing? Well over the course of 13,099 hands at the $1/$2 level I've lost $87. But, over the course of 4,373 hands of $2/$4 I've won $2,722 which is 62 cents a hand! I'm almost certain I can't keep that level of winning up in the long run, but if I could do even half that, I could make $4,500 a week. During the 17,000 plus hands I've played in the past 8 days I've also picked up about 40,000 FPP's which are worth $635 and I made a brief stop at the Oaks which netted me $375. All in all in the past 8 days I've won $3,732. SWEET!

The most important part is I've made a fundamental change in what I'm doing and that's what's bringing in all the money. If I'd just started winning more in the SNG's I wouldn't feel as good. It's the potential for future profits here that is so exciting.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

NL Cash games

Over the past few days I've been playing some $1/$2 blinds no limit cash games. Some of you might be thinking "Wait a minute! Aren't you supposed to be some sort of super poker stud? What the hell are you doing playing anything that involves $1 or $2 anything?"

The size of NL cash games can be a little deceiving. What happens is you start with blinds of $1 and $2, but things escalate quickly because the size of the bets you make is tied to the size of the pot. For example, let's say you're playing in a $1/$2 blinds game, you raise to $6 and get called by both of the blinds. Now there's $18 in the pot when you see the flop. At this stage if anyone is going to bet it will be somewhere in the $10-$20 range (in most cases) because if they bet much more then that they're risking too much to win the $18 in the pot and if they but much less they're making it too cheap for their opponents to continue. So let's say you bet $15 and one of the other players calls. Now we've got $48 in the pot. If you bet $40 on the turn and get called you'll have $128 in the pot. On the river if you still like your hand you might bet $75. If you get called one of you is dragging a $278 pot which all started from a grand total of $3 in blinds in a hand that didn't even have any raising after the flop.

When I played the $10/$20 blinds no limit game at the Bellagio (which is 10 times the size of the game in the example) I bought in for $1,000 and had less in front of me than any of the other players (I ended up winning $2,000 in about 4 hours but almost had a heart attack every time I played a hand). Clearly these games are a little bigger then they sound.

Anyway over the past few days I've played 7112 hands and won $584 which is 8.2 cents per hand. I'm also earning FPP's at the rate of about 2.7 cents per hand so my net profit has been about 11 cents per hand. This sure doesn't sound like much, but if you do the math it's a nice living. I've found I can play 3,000 hands a day (playing six games at a time) in about 6.5 or 7 hours of playing time. Which means at 11 cents a hand I can make $330 a day. $330 a day times 20 days a month is $6,600 a month which is $79,200 a year.

Of course the end result gets REALLY interesting when you consider that I think my actual expectation might be in the 15-20 cent per hand range instead of 11 cents per hand. Last year in January I had a streak that lasted about 3 weeks where I was playing $3/$6 blinds games (four at a time) where I made over SEVENTY cents a hand. It was like money was falling from the sky.

Anyway for now I'm going to shoot for 10 cents a hand plus the 2.7 cents a hand in FPP's. While it may sound like a lot 7,000 hands isn't a big sample and I'll need to play more to come any remotely firm conclusions. I'm planning on taking tomorrow off, but between Saturday and next Friday I'm hoping to knock out close to 20,000 hands.

In other good and interesting news I got the following e-mail from pokerstars yesterday:

Hello,

PokerStars has become aware of two players who were working together in our Sit & Go tournaments to the detriment of other players. You were involved in at least one tournament with these players and as a result you may have been adversely affected.

The players' accounts were closed and their funds frozen pending a thorough investigation, which is now complete. Fortunately the problem was identified quickly and they had only played in a few tournaments before the accounts were closed.In a case such as this it is our policy to confiscate the colluders' winnings or balances and to distribute them to the players affected by their actions in as fair a way as possible.

I regret that we will be unable to answer questions as to how your specific credit amount was calculated. Likewise, we are not at liberty to identify the specific games or players in question. Suffice to say that they have been barred from the site and you will not encounter them again.

The integrity of the games at PokerStars is of paramount importance to us and we will not abide cheating or collusion in our games. We work hard to police our games and prevent such instances. In the rare cases where collusion has actually occurred, we make sure that any players affected are compensated appropriately.


After reading this I thought "Wow I hope those bastards really screwed me over! I might really cash in here!" My dreams of huge riches were dashed when I looked at my balance. But, while not a whopping sum, the $68 I got back was certainly as splash of icing on an altogether pleasant day.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Welcome Home! Here's a Kick in the Nuts!

Jen and I spent Friday through Monday in Mexico City for our friend Matt's Wedding. It was the most insane wedding that I've ever been too. You can read all about it in out family blog at http://www.thehuffs.wordpress.com/ (I'll get that post up today or tomorrow).

Today I got back to work with plans to kick ass through the end of March and into April. Unfortunately I had a terrible morning. I dropped about $800 in 3 hours over the course of 40 SNGs. At one point I had a streak of 19 straight tournaments out of the money! (my second longest streak ever). It felt like a kick in the nuts.

I had lunch and I thought "Maybe I should shift gears for a while." I decided to play 1000 hands of no limit cash games and see what happened. I jumped into six $1/$2 blinds ($200 buy-in) games. A few hours later after 1100 hands I cashed out up $500 for the afternoon and had my loss for the day down to a manageable amount. Everyone loses from time to time, but one of the keys to professional poker is not taking HUGE losses.

I can't quite recall why I haven't given the NL cash games another serious go. Last year I had my second and third best month ever playing these type of games. Of course, I followed those up with my worst month ever, but I think that was because I moved up limits too far too fast. I'm planning on playing 7500 hands in the next two days and hoping to make at least 10 cents a hand. I'll attempt to let you know what happens (the last time I promised to tell you what happened was my last post - the short version is the Sunday tournaments did not go well, sorry Matt).

In other news, my articles are up and you can read them at:
http://www.cardschat.com/poker-tells-advantage.php
http://www.cardschat.com/false-poker-tells.php

Some of you will notice the story in the second one (as well as a few other snippets) ripped off directly from this blog. I'll let you know when further writings of mine appear anywhere on the web.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Why haven't you posted is so long?

It's been over a month since my last post on this blog and I have a few good reasons. First and foremost I haven't had much exciting or good news to share. The first two months of 2007 have been a bit of a struggle and while I haven't been losing I haven't been winning as much as I'd like either.

This Monday I had an ephiney. I used to be better at this. I used to dominate. I used to kick everyone's ass every time I logged on. How did I used to play? Once I had this thought process I realized that over the past 6 months or so I've made too many adjustments and it's thrown me off. So I went back to the philosophies and strategies that worked so well for so many years and BING, I won $1900 in 4 days. When you throw in the $1500 FPP bonus that I'm going to unlock tomorrow it's going to be a good week.

Another reason why I haven't been posting is I've used my blogging time to write a few posts on our baby/family blog www.thehuffs.wordpress.com and I've written a few actual poker articles. After hearing for a few people that I should try to get something published I did a search for "poker articles wanted" on Yahoo. This lead me to contact a fellow who runs a website www.cardschat.com. After a little back and forth we agreed that I would write something about tells and send it to him. So after all of about 2 hours I cranked out 1,200 words (almost two pages single spaced) about tells. And then the next day for good measure I wrote another similarly sized article about using and avoiding false tells. I sent them in and Nick, the guy who runs the website paid me $35 for each one. Not a mind boggling amount of money, but being able to actually get paid for something I wrote is a very satisfying feeling.

My articles are not actually on the website yet for some reason, but I have my $70 so I'm not sweating it. Also writing so much so quickly makes me wonder why in high school and college I would have to struggle for hours and hours to write 500 words. I guess writing about literature or history or whatever isn't as easy as writing about something you enjoy and know plenty about.

Poker wise I have something of interest coming up. This Sunday my good friend Matt (who is getting married in Mexico on St. Patrick's day with both E.B. and I as groomsmen) has made the offer that for the day he'll put up all the money (and pay for any loss) for me to play a myriad of tournaments and I'll take 25% of any profits (if there are profits to be had). I plan to make him regret the moment that he made the offer and blow off a few thousand of his dollars! Not really. But, I will be playing in 15-20 multitable tournaments including three $215 buy in events, one of which should have over 7,500 entrants! Hopefully I'll make at least one final table. I'll write a post about what happened sometime on Monday.