Thursday, December 24, 2009

A Lucky Misclick

My Streak of $1,000+ wins came to an end at 6. But I did win two more days before I took a moderate loss. In the days following that, I booked three wins and only one loss, with one $1,000+ win. In short I've still been doing really well, but haven't been unilaterally slaughtering everyone who gets dealt in against me.

Here is hand in which I got really lucky in an unconventional way.

Stage #1810643687: Holdem Normal $10/$20 - 2009-12-21 16:11:39.000 (ET) [ 2009-12-21 16:11:39 ]
Table: Lodi.16 (Real Money) Seat #3 is the dealer
Seat 3 - PADDY516 ($2,548.50 in chips)
Seat 4 - ACESSEDAI ($787 in chips)
Seat 5 - MRFUSSY ($1,204 in chips)
Seat 1 - SCOTT86 ($169 in chips)
Seat 2 - BILLYBEANE ($726 in chips)
ACESSEDAI - Posts small blind $5
MRFUSSY - Posts big blind $10
*** POCKET CARDS ***
Dealt to ACESSEDAI [Ah Ac]
SCOTT86 - Raises $20 to $20
BILLYBEANE - Folds
PADDY516 - Calls $20
ACESSEDAI - Folds
MRFUSSY - Folds
*** FLOP *** [6s 4s Jh]
SCOTT86 - Bets $10
PADDY516 - Calls $10
*** TURN *** [6s 4s Jh] [5c]
SCOTT86 - Bets $20
PADDY516 - Raises $40 to $40
SCOTT86 - Calls $20
*** RIVER *** [6s 4s Jh 5c] [7s]
SCOTT86 - Checks
PADDY516 - Bets $20
SCOTT86 - Calls $20
*** SHOW DOWN ***
PADDY516 - Shows [8s 10s] (Flush, ten high)
SCOTT86 - Mucks
PADDY516 Collects $192 from main pot
*** SUMMARY ***
Total Pot($195) | Rake ($3)
Board [6s 4s Jh 5c 7s]
Seat 1: SCOTT86 HI: [Mucked] [Qh Js]
Seat 2: BILLYBEANE Folded on the POCKET CARDS
Seat 3: PADDY516 (dealer) won Total ($192) HI:($192) with Flush, ten high [8s 10s - P:10s,P:8s,B:7s,B:6s,B:4s]
Seat 4: ACESSEDAI (small blind) Folded on the POCKET CARDS
Seat 5: MRFUSSY (big blind) Folded on the POCKET CARDS

Every now and then when you're playing online you click a button that you don't mean to. On this hand I had AA and I accidentally clicked fold before the flop! AHHHHHHHH! If I haven't been doing well this type of thing will make me totally bananas.

Imagine what it feels like as you watch the pot build and someone else take it down profiting hundreds of dollars that should have been yours. It's one thing to make an error of judgement that costs you or bad break fueled by the deck, but having a flinch of your finger cost you can be too much to handle. It's like realizing that you gave a toll collector two c-notes instead of two singles or having ten $20 bills blow out of your hand in a strong wind and go rocketing across a busy street never to be seen again.

Happily this hand was the exact opposite. It turns out I would have been against one player with top pair and another who flopped a flush draw. No doubt we would have had heavy action on the flop. On the turn the player with the flush draw picked up a straight draw too and raised with it. On the river he made the flush which would have squashed my AA. I'm guessing I saved $110-$150 by accidentally folding and perhaps equally importantly my state of mind was effected positively which allowed me to keep playing my A game.

Right now I'm on vacation, but expect to put in 500-1,000 hands a day at my in laws house. Holiday weekends are almost always the best times to play so for those of you who play, you might want to put in a few more hours this Saturday and Sunday. It should be worth it.

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The First Time I Ever Won $1,000

The first time I ever played a poker tournament I was the first one out. But the second time I had much more success.

Back in 2001 the Oaks Club ran a limit tournament with a $60 buy-in and a $50 rebuy. It ran every Wednesday night at 6:30 and usually drew about 50 players which is a microscopic field by today's standards. I strolled into the Oaks around 3 p.m. ignoring the fact that I had a 4 o’clock class and saw that the tournament would be running later that night. I decided to play $6-$12 and if I could win more than $110 I would use it to get into the tournament.

After a nice, straight forward 3 hour session picked up almost two racks of grey $2 chips and headed to the cage. I’d won about $180 and even though my plan was play the tournament with my winnings I started to have second thoughts. $180 was a solid win for me and I knew it would sour the day for me if I blew back almost half my profits in the tournament. I headed to the Oaks restaurant to have a burger and think things through. In the end I decided I probably wouldn’t have too many chances to play the tournament and still leave a solid winner for the day even if I didn’t cash. I paid my entry fee and hesitantly awaited the start of the tournament.

I ran good the entire way through and even though I had plenty of chips and we were playing limit, I was terrified as we approached the money bubble. To say I was nervous at the final table would be an insane understatement. First place was a little over $2,000 and my biggest win to date was $350. I was still at the stage where winning a hundred bucks felt like a strong win and even hitting $500 seemed like so much money that I wouldn't know what to do with myself.

I ended up playing 3 handed with a guy named Simon who was a regular and a young Filipino guy I knew from the $3/$6 game. Even though I’d decided Simon sucked based on how he'd been playing and didn’t think much of my other opponent, I was instantly smitten with the idea of a deal when Simon mentioned it. I was terrified of making a mistake that would cost me many hundreds of dollars and this gave me a chance to lock up my profits.

I had about a quarter of the chips, the other player had slightly less than I did and Simon had a little more than half of the chips in play. His opening proposal was to take $100 off of the $2,100 first place and give it to us which we would then split along with the rest of the prize money.

Although this was only my second tournament and my first deal negotiation I was not born yesterday. I knew this was a shitty deal and when I told him that in so many words he said “but I have twice as many chips as you.” To which I immediately replied “yeah, but I’m twice as good as you.” It’s not like me to razz anyone like that and to me it looked like his head was going to explode.

We played a few more hands and found ourselves in the same chips positions when I proposed that I take second place money [$1,060] (If I had exactly 25% of the chips and we did a deal based on chip count I should have gotten $1,127 so I screwed myself a little if I remember the prizes correctly), Simon take 1st place money less $300 [$1,800] and the other fellow take third place money plus $300 [$975]. After a bunch of hemming and hawing where everyone says “I’ll play if you want, but I guess the deal is ok, what do you guys want to do?” several times, we finally all agreed.

After Simon agreed and our other opponent said “ok let’s do it,” I pounded my fist against the table and said “Yes, Alright!” It wasn’t as thrilling as wining the last hand to claim outright victory, but god damn it I was fired up. I instantly felt bad that I’d told Simon I was twice as good as him, apologized and shook his hand.

I drove home on cloud nine. When I saw my friends I said "guess how much I won today?" Someone said "Five hundred!" and then they all laughed at the absurdity of the suggestion. "More!" I said. "Seven?!?!?" They said. "NO!, $1,130!!!" "Holy shit!"

That was really an amazing day. I'm not sure how much money I'd have to win to be that excited today, but it's a lot. It's very nice new car kind of money.

I was thinking of that day because today was the 6th straight day that I've won over $1,000. I'm sure I've never done that before, and while it doesn't feel mind blowing it still feels pretty good. I hope I can keep the streak alive tomorrow.

Monday, December 14, 2009

A NL Hand, a Comment Respose and a New Streak

While I'm mostly abandoned pokerstars I did jump into a $10/$20 8-game mixed games cash game a few days ago. I bought in for $300 and cashed out with over $1,000 15 minutes later.

Here is one of the key hands I played which I thought was interesting (I'll recap the action after the hand history for those of you who aren't used to reading them).

*********** # 1 **************
PokerStars Game #36600747096: 8-Game (Hold'em No Limit, $2.50/$5.00 USD) - 2009/12/12 15:46:14 ET
Table 'Glaukos IX' 6-max Seat #5 is the button
Seat 1: ACESEDAI ($332 in chips)
Seat 2: bd3109 ($545 in chips)
Seat 3: aikiman ($585.10 in chips)
Seat 5: FisherProker ($421.90 in chips)
Seat 6: -Bay777- ($883.05 in chips)
-Bay777-: posts small blind $2.50
ACESEDAI: posts big blind $5
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to ACESEDAI [Kh Jc]
bd3109: raises $10 to $15
aikiman: folds
FisherProker: folds
-Bay777-: folds
ACESEDAI: calls $10
*** FLOP *** [Js Jd Jh]
ACESEDAI: checks
badabang has returned
bd3109: bets $20
ACESEDAI: raises $35 to $55
bd3109: calls $35
*** TURN *** [Js Jd Jh] [Qs]
ACESEDAI: checks
bd3109: bets $75
ACESEDAI: calls $75
*** RIVER *** [Js Jd Jh Qs] [8d]
ACESEDAI: bets $187 and is all-in
bd3109: calls $187
*** SHOW DOWN ***
ACESEDAI: shows [Kh Jc] (four of a kind, Jacks)
bd3109: shows [8c 8s] (a full house, Jacks full of Eights)
ACESEDAI collected $664.50 from pot
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot $666.50 | Rake $2
Board [Js Jd Jh Qs 8d]
Seat 1: ACESEDAI (big blind) showed [Kh Jc] and won ($664.50) with four of a kind, Jacks
Seat 2: bd3109 showed [8c 8s] and lost with a full house, Jacks full of Eights
Seat 3: aikiman folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 5: FisherProker (button) folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 6: -Bay777- (small blind) folded before Flop


Playing NL hold'em with blinds of $2.50/$5 I called a raise to $15 in the big blind with KJ. This hand can be trouble in no limit since it tends to make second best hands, but since we were playing 5 handed I thought it was too tight to let it go.

The flop came down J J J! Talk about monster flops! I had a little over $300 in front of me and my goal was to get as much of it in the pot as possible without losing my opponent.

Step 1 was check raising the flop which was a no brainer. I figured my opponent would bet no matter what he had and sure enough he fired out $20 into the $30 pot. My options were to raise now, call with the plan of betting out on the turn, or call with the plan of check raising the turn. I almost never call and then bet out on the turn so I threw that option out of the window.

In the end I decided that check raising the flop would look a little weaker than calling the flop and check raising the turn. I was also worried that if I waited for the turn to try and check raise again my opponent would check behind me which would be a minor disaster. When you have a huge hand like this it's important to build to pot early so your opponents get tied to it and you can make bigger bets on later betting rounds.

I made it $55 to go. I picked this amount because it was enough that my opponent could put me on a bluff (if I made it $40 it would surely look like I had a big hand), but it wasn't so much that he would be forced to fold a hand like KQ or AT. I wanted those hands calling because if they hit I'd be sure to get paid off.

My opponent called and the turn was a Q. This was a great card for me. If my opponent had a Q I would probably double up on the hand no matter what I did on the turn. But I didn't want to scare away a small pair or two big cards that might get there on the river. So I decided to check and make it look like I was scared of the queen or just bailing out on a bluff.

My opponent bet $75 much to my delight. If I moved all in here I would be raising him $187 above and beyond the $75 he'd put in the pot. At this point I felt like he had something, but I wasn't sure it was enough to call that big of a check raise. Instead I opted to just call the turn and bet out all in on the river.

An all in bet out of position after just calling the turn tends to look like a desperation bluff. The river was an 8 which didn't improve my opponent's hand since he had 88, but happily he called me anyway probably hoping I had a pair below 8.

There were a lot of ways to go with this hand, but it is a great example of planning your hand and setting up moves you're going to make on later betting rounds. I'm not sure I would have made the maximum had I played it more straight forwardly.

Shifting gears, Adam from Vegas recently posted a comment saying: "I really feel that online poker has went downhill so much in the last 2 years that its tough for it to be profitable anymore."

I agree. It's much, much tougher than it used to be. A big part of it is it's so much harder to get money into the websites these days and casual players aren't willing to jump through all the hoops or pay the fees that it takes to get money in.

Another part is the access to strategic information. When I first started playing poker in 9 years ago if you went to the book store there would be about 10 books on poker and half of them were total garbage. Now there are hundreds. On top of that there are better articles, online forums and software to help you with your game.

When I first started playing online anyone could be a winner if they read a book or two. Now it takes a ton of experience and a ton of study to win even at the lower stakes.

It's not impossible though. I've only had one losing month this year. I read in carplayer this week that congress did a study that full legalization and regulation of online poker would result in 41.8 BILLION dollars in tax revenue over the next ten years. That's the kind of money that's hard to ignore. Hopefully those ass holes will finally do something and we'll have a huge influx of new players. I'd guess that the first year that any American can deposit with a credit card I'll make half a million dollars.

For now I'm on a good run. I've won the last 4 days that I've played and the worst of those wins was over $1,000. Hopefully I can keep up this good run into the holidays.

Friday, December 11, 2009

More Good News from the Smaller Websites

AP has started running a promotion where they offer double absolute points between the hours of 10 and 1 (pacific), during both the morning and night hours. As I looked at the points I was racking up I started to think about the percentage of rakeback I was getting during those hours. Playing 10/20 on average I'm paying about 25 cents per hand in rake. If I play 1,000 hands the website gets $250 from me personally.

But I get 30% of that money back in straight rakeback which is $75 for those same 1,000 hands. Also I'm constantly clearing reload bonuses at the rate of about 5 cents a hand so that's another $50. I've estimated that I'm making about 2.5 cents per hand in value as far as the monthly rake race goes so that's another $25. Lastly during double AP points hours I'm making about 9 AP points per hand which is worth about 6.5 cents or another $65 for 1,000 hands. Put all together and I'm actually getting 86% of my rake back! This is totally absurd! It's $100 an hour for breaking even in the games! I have to start working harder.

In other good news I've been playing $20/$40 on cake poker the past two days. In the past $10/$20 was the highest stakes games that went, but there have been two $20/$40's today and yesterday. What's exciting is not the stakes, but the quality of the play. If you went to the lowliest casino in Reno with a poker room, went to the lowest stakes game and hucked a chip at everyone's head, the last guy to notice that he'd been popped in the noggin would be of the quality of some of the players I've been facing. It's truly astounding.

The only thing working against me is I get too excited. Holy shit! Look at the things these guys are doing! I need to get their money now before it goes to my other opponents who barely have a clue, but who look like Doyle Brunson compared to these other guys!

We've been spending money like it's going out of style lately and I've been taking too much time off so I'm my bankroll isn't exactly where I want it to be, but the future is looking bright.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Testimonials

As some of you may have noticed I've been getting a little bit of spam in the comments section of my blog. Mostly it's been one post telling you how you can get rich quick. I am shocked at how many adds I see on late night TV, in print and on the Internet that use testimonials from "real people" who have made "up to" many thousands of dollars a week or a month "from home!"

If all you have to sell your product is testimonials you're "system" is a "big steaming pile of shit" in my humble opinion.

Let me tell you about a system that blows all of these others out of the water. You have a system where I can make $10,000 a month? That's a pittance! In this system that I know about literally thousands of people from all walks of life, with all educational backgrounds have made millions of dollars. In fact on average these people are not that smart! These people come from all over the country and some of them have made tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars with no effort and only a $1 investment!

A $1 investment?!?!? YES! Invest a buck and make millions! Thousands have already done it! It takes no time at all and you can do it from almost anywhere!

GO BY A LOTTO TICKET YOU SUCKERS!

F-ing testimonials.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Cake in Your Face!

I hope everyone out there had a great Thanksgiving. I spent the week at my in-laws house in Orange County. I ate more than my share of turkey, watched plenty of football, saw a few movies and even took my two year old son to the beach.

But I also spent a fair amount of time working. In fact I did enough that I ended up finishing 2nd in the monthly rake race at rackbacknation.com which was worth $775. I think to some extent everyone else got derailed by the holidays so even thought I didn't put in a first class effort I did enough for a strong result.

I also picked up a few more bucks in the AP daily points races. In total I made $1,050 from that promotion. I did get totally hosed on one occasion though. On that day I started playing relatively late not logging on until 12:30. But my father in law Gerry who has been getting his feet wet in some low stakes limit hold'em games was watching over my shoulder, I was playing well and enjoying myself, and before I knew it I'd played for 6 hours with only one 20 minute break. When I checked the daily points standings I saw that I had a chance to win the race for that day.

After a short break for dinner I logged back on at 7 pacific time which meant there were only two hours left in the race (it ended at midnight eastern). After 45 minutes I had what I would describe as perhaps the most frustrating internet experience of my life.

Problems with my technology not working MAKES ME ABSOLUTELY CRAZY! AHHHHHHHH!!!!

In this instance I was able to connect to the internet, log on to AP, get into games and then it would just lock up. Over the span of an hour or so I tried 4 different computers (two of which required installing the AP software) and multiple reboots of the router and cable modem. A dozen times I logged on got dealts a few hands and then FREEZE! Everything would stop.

If I'd been able to play that last hour I'm not positive I would have won the race and picked up $500, but I would have at least been able to finish 2nd which paid $400. Instead I got $150 for finishing 5th.

I ended up winning over $1,300 that day and I earned a ton of rakeback and points so I should have felt great and I did feel pretty good. But the next day I got stung for $1,800. Right out of the gate I felt tense and I can't help but wonder if the stress from the previous day played a part.

The day after I tried playing in a coffee shop for a little while, but again I didn't have a good mindset. My laptop is 5 years old and is as slow as a dead snail. I had problems with booting and crashing and logging on to the wireless network and it took me 30 minutes from the time I sat down to the time I got my first hand. From hand 1 I was feeling negative and after an hour or so and a small loss I packed it in.

But now I'm back home. Ah home sweet home. I always feel at peace when I sit down in the morning in my usual chair with my lightning quick desktop with my hot cup of coffee. Yesterday I got off to a terrible start and found myself stuck $2,000. But I didn't let it get to me and I came all the way back to have a small win.

Today I smashed a few people right in the face on cake poker picking up $1,800 in only 750 hands of $8/$16. About half of those hands were heads up and I took the entire starting stack of 3 different players who took me on one on one. To make it all the sweeter I picked up another $700 in 1,000 hands on AP.

This is going to be my first full month of non pokerstars play. I have high hopes and lofty goals. Since I have two more weeks of vacation coming in the next 6 weeks I'm going to really need to bust my ass so I can afford to take all that time off!