Friday, December 30, 2005

Bad beat stories

"9 out of 10 people don't care, and the 10th wishes you had lost more". Enough said...

(This quote was made by a law school student who is half heartedly finishing his degree while successful grinding up the online hold'em tables)

Monday, December 26, 2005

temporary RSI relief

Recently I have been having discomfort in my hand when using the mouse. I may be developing something like Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, and I have been stupidly procrastinating from going to see the doctor.

In the interim, I installed and modified an autohotkey script from This is a very welcome relief to my mouse hand. I modified the sample scripts they provided to use the F1-F12 keys. (F1-F4 for betting actions, F5-F12 for 8 tabling). I didn't like using any of the numeric keys or arrow keys because of the necessity to type numbers when playing no limit and the occasional need for arrow keys when typing comments. Multitabling is substantially easier with this new setup.

Speaking of multitabling....


I didn't succumb to the lure of attempting to win a Party Cruise package this weekend from the monthly VIP promo (1st 30 VIPs to earn 25k Party Points are awarded a $12k package), but I was pretty intrigued reading the exploits of MicroBob's and TheMetetron's attempts. I have to say that TheMet is truly sick.... with all the vigor and enthusiam of youth...

Reading that kind of a post really makes me wary of attempting such a marathon. Clearly it is essential to have Gold Status, and the most obvious effective tactic is to use a team. I'd rather attempt the marathon (from the probability-of-success point of view) with a team having a razor-thin $3/$6 bankroll (BBJ) than solo with no bankroll limitations.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Party till u cruise

Well it seems that Party has kicked off the promos to give out cruise packages for the Party PPM V for playing a ridiculous amount of hands in a very short period of time.

The current promo is for the first 30 VIP members who accumulate 25000 regular party points starting from midnight December 24. I strongly suspect that 30 people will hit this goal by Wednesday at the latest.

I'm not going to take a shot at this promotion simply because my status at Party is BLUE. I will have GOLD status on January 1st, and the GOLD level status of accumulating regular party points at double the normal rate is an absolute must for this kind of promotion. I would be shocked if any BLUE level member was able to obtain a seat from this promo.

Unfortunately, there are likely to be a substantial number of online pros that will also transition from BLUE to GOLD status on Jan 1.

The timing for this current promo would have been perfect for me as my wife is away visiting her family this week. I'm kicking myself for not bothering to at least have put my status to SILVER in the last quarter. On the other hand, if I had SILVER status I would probably squander time trying to accumulate enough points in a wasted effort. Oh well, I guess I can keep the MTT thing going.

It seems prudent to be ready for this type of promotion to be repeated fairly soon, and the preparations are probably:
1) keep at least 25k party points in your account
2) keep a sufficient bankroll available in your party account/neteller to safely 8 table $10/$20 6 max (600BB??)
3) pay attention since a promotion could start at any time (Party is absolutely terrible about making these annoucements widely known in a timely fashion)

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Get it while you can...

Party is one of the few sites that provides for automated access to observed hand histories. The ability to have 10 simultaneously open tables provides access for a massive amount of data mining. I data mine from Party 24/7, and although I only started doing this seriously relatively recently, I have imported well over a million hands in the last few months.

There are some indications that in the very near future Party will be dropping support for observed hand histories.

The short-term implication for me is that I will give more thought to the types of games that I am spending my data mining time on. I think my database is light in the $15/$30 and $2/$4 games, very light in the $20/$40 and $30/$60, and somewhat light in the MTTs and $10/$20 6max. So I need to carefully consider which games are most important for me to mine before Party closes the door.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Sleepless in San Jose

I didn't sleep well this weekend mostly due to disappointing poker results. That is not a good sign. I am not good at clearing my mood - good or bad - after finishing any late night session. I ended up needing to watch the boob tube or to read a novel to wind down. Quite a time waster.


Anyways, how about the poker?

My weekend poker exploits primarily consisted of 7 online MTTs and a very small amount of $10/$20 6 max - essentially another MTT weekend.

MTT results
Net $ results: -$1195
Events entered: 7
Total entry fees: $1195, plus 20k Party points for the $100k freeroll
In the money (ITM) finishes: 0
ITM %: 0%
Return on investment: -100%
Avg buy-in per event: $170.71
Total time consumed: 10.5 hours
Hourly rate: -$113.81

Ring game results $10/$20 6 max
Net $ results: -$48.76 (2.4BB)
Total time consumed: 1 hour
Hourly rate: -$48.76

I'm not unhappy about the ring game results. There were only 2 short sessions, and towards the end of the second session I lost a huge pot when I flopped a smaller boat. My opponent was fairly solid, so I probably lost 2BB more than I should of, perhaps 1BB.

The only good thing I can say about the MTTs was that I did follow through on the high level plan of attempting to go deep. I absolutely did not play to make it into the money. In 4 of the 7 events, I busted with less than 20% of the field remaining. In 2 of the 5 events, I had an above average stack at the start of my final hand.


My last hand of the $600+$40 Party Million Guaranteed event, level 9 $200/$400 blinds, ~530/1735 players remaining, 180 players paid, avg chips ~T$4900:
- preflop: Hero is dealt TT UTG with a $10600 stack (2x avg , ~26.5x bb). Hero raises 3.5x bb, folded to MP who flat calls with ~$14600 behind (~36.5x bb) , everyone else folds. (2 players, pot size 8.5x bb)
- flop: 832 rainbow, hero bets 8x bb, immediately MP pushes for 36.5x bb.

I used up my time bank on this one though I obviously called since it was my last hand. I had not seen this player get caught out of line. He had come over the top of an opponent twice in the last 3 orbits where the opponent mucked (once preflop and once on the flop), though his raises were not all in.

At the time, I put him on one of 4 hands: 77, 99, TT, JJ. I don't know if this is a reasonable estimation of his range. I'm offered 2.6:1 odds, and my lame assessment says my hand is good over 60% of the time, so I call. Villain has JJ, turn and river are bricks, I throw my stress ball across the living room and am thankful that my wife is out doing Christmas shopping.

Again the primary thing about this hand is whether or not I understand MP's range of hands. When the JJ was turned up, I felt like the donk of the day. I think I need a better model for calcuating my opponent's range of hands.

The way I thought about it at the time was:
- he has 6 ways of being dealt 77, 99 and JJ and 1 way of being dealt TT; so I'm ahead 12/19 times, tied 1/19 times, and behind 6/19 of the rest.

A simple but probably effective way to define the situation is consider what the probability is that MP would push with a worse hand than TT on this dry board at this stage of the tournament when MP has close to a 3x avg chip stack vs. an opponent who has 2/3 of his chip stack and has already fired 2 bullets. (preflop there was 1 bigger stack than MP in CO)

Given infinite time, I think I should have modelled it more like this:
- for each hand possibility, estimate the probability that the opponent would have played the hand in the manner he did, and then factor in the number of ways that hand could be dealt, and then factor in my EV against each hand and then sum them all up:
- My EV for folding is 0. If I call, I get +39.5x bb for winning, -15xbb for losing, and +12.25xbb for chopping.
- AA, KK: 20%, 12 ways
- QQ: 10%, 6 ways
- JJ: 50%, 6 ways
- TT: 50%, 1 way
- 99, 77: 50%, 12 ways
- 88: 10%, 3 ways
- AKo, AQs, AJs, KQs: 10%, 28 ways
Using poker stove and excel, I come up with a EV of +13.7xbb for calling (the weighted avg gives me the best hand 56% of the time). The dominating effect is made from the inclusion of the 77 possibility. If I completely drop the 77 hand, the EV drops to +8.7xbb. What EV should I call with given I can muck and have still have an above avg chip stack?

Naturally, the assumptions can be way off. If I changed AA, KK to 25%, QQ to 20%, JJ to 75%, drop 77, KQs, AJs from the picture, the EV drops to +3.7xbb. It doesn't take much more tweaking of assumptions to make it a -EV call. Clearly this is a garbage in garbage out type model.


Anyways, this is excessive analysis for 1 stinkin stupid hand. There were 2 other hands (1 in level 3 and 1 in level 4) that I did not get maximum value for my medium strength hand against a bad player. At the time, I was only a little upset with myself. On further reflection, I think that in the long run, these kinds of mistakes are just as bad as my play in the TT hand.

Overall, given an average distribution of hands, I suspect I am not playing well enough to build an above average chip stack. I am going to continue to try and adjust for this.


I'm 0/11 in the last week and a half of online MTTs, but I will continue to keep at it.

I've been favoring playing Party MTTs lately because I have a substantial amount of data mined from the larger Party MTTs. Also, my most frequently played event, the $100+9 9pm event, has a $2k overlay.

The structure for larger buy-in Party events is actually quite reasonable. In the Million Dollar guaranteed event I actually dropped below the initial buy-in level on hand #1 and did not climb above this mark again until after the 90 minute mark (late in level 5). There is a lot of room to play, and if I can improve my game, I think I may eventually have some good finishes.


I have a new hero.

Congrats to lordhutty for closing the deal on the $200k guaranteed on Saturday. I see lordhutty in every $100+ NLHE MTT on Party. He is frequently among the top leaders on the Party TLB (In the Monthly Party TLB in 2005, he was in the top 10 3x, top20 2x, and in the top 100 2x). Mixing quantity with quality pays off.

"I'll have whatever that guy is having"


Party's BBJ is in the $300k range again. I've decided my new cut-off point for playing the BBJ tables will be $538k. I'm basing this number on my estimate that at this size the Jackpot EV for playing $2/$4 BBJ tables is $0.10 per hand (all hands, not raked hands). I'm not a good enough player to pass on that kind of EV/hand.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Playing environment

Another common theme that was drilled into my head during the weekend in my conversations with online pros was the subject of concentration while playing online.

My playing environment is rife with distractions. In the background, I'm listening to music and/or the TV and/or chatting with my wife, reading/writing email, IMing, reading blogs, 2+2, news, scanning the web for deals and promotions, tweaking my data mining, running back and forth doing household chores, the list goes on and on.

Again this is something I know better than to do, but these bad habits have just slipped back in gradually and subtly over the last few months. The difference between good results and great results in LHE is 1 lousy BB/100h. How retarded am I to play with so many distractions!!?!!

Some thoughts on combating this issue:
- One thing that I suspect may actually help is to play less. Like a true addict, recently I have been filling up ALL available free time (and more) with table time. This practically forces me to multitask.
- I'm also considering buying a pair of noise cancelling headphones. The $ cost/benefit tradeoff in terms of improved concentration may not be justified, but I've wanted to get a pair for a while now anyways. Kind of silly, since I just bought a new pair of Sony MDR-V600's a few weeks ago, but I can find another use for those...
- When we last switched apartments a couple of months ago, we debated on moving up from a 1 bedroom to a 2 bedroom, but in the end decided to save a few hundred $ a month and stay in a 1 bedroom. The extra space would almost certainly have provided a better environment for focused playing. While I'm not willing to make any changes during this lease, I do regret not more strongly considering taking the 2 bedroom. Every decision is easier in retrospect.


After getting a few decent nights of sleep, I'm starting to feel human again. Still degenerate, yes, but human none-the-less.

In my typical "non-professional" mannerism, after my big wins this weekend, I've been taking it very easy these last few days, and put in very little table time - electing only to play in 1 online MTT and no ring games.

Status from the previous week of online MTTs
Net $ results: -$436
Events entered: 4
Total entry fees: $436
In the money (ITM) finishes: 0
ITM %: 0%
Return on investment: -100%
Avg buy-in per event: $109
Total time consumed: 4.2 hours
Hourly rate: $-103.81

I barely cracked the first hour in any of these last 4 MTTs. I've had no strategy changes, but the way the events played out I basically got substantially involved in exactly one hand in each of the MTTs after allowing myself to shrink to a short stack (8x bb or less). These hands were just push situations that resulted in coin flip scenarios.

Despite the poor showing in these last 4 MTTs, I'm still liking the $100+9 9pm Party event. The field is very soft. I'd rate the typical field to be 30% bad, 30% very bad, 30% avg, 10% good or very good. I constantly see players call (and overcall, and over-overcall) substantial all in over bets or raises in scenarios where they have a moderate chance of being in a coin flip situation, but a large chance of being dominated or drawing dead.

I would also like to play more $150->$200 buy in events where there will be more satellite qualifiers. Unfortunately my day-job schedule prevents me from playing in events like the Super Weekdays or Friday special.

I'm on the fence on whether or not to be mixing in cheap $3-$10 satellites to the weekend ~$200 events in my multitabling. In the past I have found I make questionable decisions when I have more than 2 different types of games running at a time. (This assumes that I'm playing a few LHE ring games and a $100 MTT. If I was just playing a couple of LHE ring games, then simultaneously playing a couple of $3 supers should be fine). The ROI for playing in these types of sats is very high, but I am sufficiently bankrolled for $100-$300 MTTs, so my hourly rate considerations may favor direct buyins.

I think I am going to make a slight increase on the number of hands I limp in on during the first two rounds. The reasoning is simply to increase my oppontunities to double up from scenarios where I flop a made hand.

I've also been doing more data mining from $100+ Party MTTs, so hopefully this data will occasionally help me to make better decisions.

I know that a lot of very successful players swear by sticking to the ring games. Perhaps after a few more weeks of playing MTTs I may raise the white flag, but for now, I'm going to keep at them.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Vegas trip summary

Initially, I was going to entitle this post "Vegas trip report", but after further reflection I don't feel comfortable writing much detail in this forum. This was my 5th trip to Vegas this year, and, like the others, the experience unfolded in unexpected ways. What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. Hence, I'm just going to post a few summary details.

- resultswise, this was my 2nd best weekend this year and my 3rd best weekend ever
- put in a decent amount of table hours at $15/$30 -> $30/$60 LHE at Bellagio, but unfortunately spent 0 hours in any type of mixed game anywhere. No MTTs (except for the WPBT thing), SNGs or Supers on this trip.
- finished 7th/107 in the bloggers tournament. Built up an above average stack during the middle 3rd of the tournament, but made a couple of decisions with roughly 30 people left that left me with a below average stack. From there I played a very unimaginative short stack game until I was busted by the Aussie. Ironically, I had to muck ~80% of my very best hands in the last hour and ~80% of my actual pushing hands were complete crap.
- by far, the most fruitful experiences of the trip (from the long term perspective) were the conversations I had. I spoke at length with some very successful midstakes pros, a couple of NY Times best selling poker book authors, and a couple of TV pros. These discussions mainly just reiterated things that I already know, but sometimes I just need a little reminder to set me on the right path.

- sleep management before and during road trips
- never, never forget to ask for a comp! I had more comps than I could use on this trip such that my out-of-pocket costs were simply transportation and tips. However, as I have so often done in the past, there were several occasions that I did not remember to ask for some kind of comp when I was likely to get one. Poker players are supposed to have a good memory, and the only excuse I can come up with is mental fatigue due to the previous point. (weak! weak!)
- maximize learning opportunities - I was much better in this area than I have been on past trips, but missing out on mixed games was a notable hole.
- drink more water in Vegas


Thankfully someone hit the Party BBJ early this morning, so my plans for the week are going to be $3/$6->$10/$20 SH LHE online and $100->$200 MTTs online. It is quite coincidental that some bloggers have been recently writing about SH play, but suffice it to say that pursuing the SH game is something that was very much beat into my head this weekend.


Luke Kim is getting to be one of my favorite poker bloggers. He had a funny post today about Parking Meter analysis.

Friday, December 09, 2005

time management

I've been reviewing my results for the last few weeks, and overall I've been pretty stagnant. I could probably group my play into 5 categories:
i) live mid stakes LHE ($20/$40 -> $40/$80)
ii) live small stakes NLHE MTTs ($100 rebuy MTTs)
iii) online small stakes LHE ($2/$4 and $3/$6 Jackpot tables - speaking of which, the Party BBJ has crossed into that +EV range again so if it is not hit by the time I get back from Vegas, it will be BBJ madness again...)
iv) online mid stakes LHE (currently $10/$20)
v) online medium stakes NLHE MTTs ($100->$200 non-rebuy MTTs)

Gains and losses in one category are just being offset by gains and losses in other categories. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I would have had a down month in November had it not been for bonuses.

These are just the games that can have any substantial bankroll influences. I didn't include the very small stakes Omaha 8, 2-7 TD, Stud, and Razz games that I want to pick up. (both the table time and the reading time)

Do I have a lack of focus? By spreading my poker time over a large number of categories, it takes even more calender time to reach the "long term" in any particular area. I don't know if I'm been an honest evaluator of my poker skills, so long term results are something I am very anxious to see.
The main benefit of the diversity is to keep the games interesting. It is definitely a trade off though.

The only thing I can say for sure at this point is, there just aren't enough hours in the day for my poker hobby.


Just another 22 hours before I'm sipping a Strawberry Julius in the Bellagio poker room. Woo hoo!

Monday, December 05, 2005

MTT weekend report

Executive summary

Net $ results: +$976.11
Events entered: 16
Total entry fees: $902.30
In the money (ITM) finishes: 4 (0/12 in first 12, 4/4 in final 4)
ITM %: 25%
Return on investment: 108%
Avg buy-in per event: $56.39
Total time consumed: 12 hours
Hourly rate: $81.34
High point of the weekend: simultaneously finishing in the 70s (out of 3545 entrants) in the Stars $500k guaranteed and in the 220s (out of 3155) in the Party $500k
Low point of the weekend: simultaneously finishing in the 70s (out of 3545 entrants) in the Stars $500k guaranteed and in the 220s (out of 3155) in the Party $500k (outlasting 6400+ entrants but not cashing for any significant $)

"No battle plan survives first contact with the enemy"

It turned out to be a bad joke that I was planning on playing a "massive" number of online MTTs this weekend. I started suspecting from the first set that I am not well suited to be playing in multiple simultaneous MTTs. The first set of MTTs was intended to be 4, but it quickly became six since the first 2 MTTs lasted a grand total of 5 hands:
1st MTT, 1st hand: folded to MP who raises 4x bb, fold, hero raises to 12x bb w KK, folded back to MP who reraises to 20x bb, hero jams for 75bb, MP thinks until clock has 2 seconds remaining and calls w 88. 8 on the flop. wait, it gets better...
2nd MTT, 4th hand: UTG raises 3x bb, fold, UTG+2 flat calls, hero in MP who reraises 16x BB in MP w QQ, folded through BB, UTG and UTG+2 call. Flop comes KQ2 with 2 suited cards. check, check, hero pushes for ~50x bb, UTG calls, UTG+2 folds. turn comes 4, river comes 4, UTG shows 44.

No, neither MTT was a rebuy tournament.

In the remaining 4 MTTs, I made some bad decisions:
1) called pot size all in bet on turn when 3rd flush card came and I had an overpair.
2) blinded out in turbo satellite (I should ~never~ just blind out in any MTT. I'd rather go down in flames jamming 4x bb with any two cards).
3) called ~1.8x pot size all in bet on turn w K high flush draw and bottom pair against an opponent that I had not seen get out of line. He, of course, had a set and I missed my 7 outer.
4) called all in on river getting 3:1 with 2nd pair

One thing that I repeatedly slipped up on mentally was forgetting which buy-in stakes applied to which table. The hand ranges of typical opponents varies immensely when playing in a $3 rebuy satellite compared to a $100 non-rebuy.

The way I had my windows organized was to have the 4 tournament tables open across the bottom of 2 screens, and the corresponding tournament lobby windows above them. Thus, I would only need to glance up at the tourney window to recall which tourney was which. There were still several occasions when I made a decision at a table not realizing the buy in level.

I had the windows such that they were opened chronologically from left to right with the leftmost being the most newly started tournament. In retrospect, this is a stupid ordering. I should have them ordered by buy-in stakes to aid in the "context recall" speed.

So I was batting 0.000 from my first 6 MTTs. At the time, I was partially blaming my poor multitabling MTT skills but also blaming myself for playing tired. I resolved to start another set when I was well rested. In a testament to discipline, I then proceeded to play 6 hours of 2-4 tabling $10/$20 9 and 10 max. By the time I hit the sack, the sun was already shining.


The "next day" I ran errands for a couple of hours and played a 1 hour session of $10/$20. It was fitting since my planned theme of the weekend was MTTs.

I managed to start my second batch of MTTs early on Saturday evening but was not terribly comfortable multitabling this batch either. I don't recall the specifics of these events too well, but I see from my notes how I finished in a few of the events:
i) got remaining 2/3 of my stack in postflop w AA after my lone opponent flopped trip 2s.
ii) got all in preflop w QQ vs JJ when JJ proceeded to make a straight on the river
iii) flopped set ~under~ set, got all in on the flop.
I have no notes on the next 2.
At that point, I was down to 2 MTTs, and had decided to stop entering any subsequent ones and concentrate on these last 2 (and also not start any ring games). I finished pretty close to the bubble in one event and cashed about half way through the money place finishers in the second. While there is definitely a huge amount of short term luck involved in any given MTT, I felt that I made much better decisions when it came down to just 2 simultaneous MTTs.

After checking on the schedule of the major $200 events, I decided that I would focus on just 2 events for Sunday, the Party $500k and the Stars $500k which both started at the same time on Sunday afternoon.


I woke up a couple of hours before the start of the $500k events and instead of jumping into some ring games, I used the time to reorganize and clean up our apartment. (I hope my wife likes it) I also hooked up the massage chair, that we had not used since we moved a couple of months ago. During the last half hour before the MTTs began, I sat through a nice relaxing massage to start the tournaments fresh.

Well, it turns out that watching the early parts of 2 MTTs is unbelievably boring. So after about 5 tedius minutes, I tried searching for some of the popular bloggers and also the leaders of the PocketFives tournament leader board (savemyskin, jacksup, shumoney, zeejustin, johnnybax, samenole, etc...). Turns out I would have done quite well in a last longer pool with this gang since the majority of them busted out of both events fairly early. SamEnole was good to watch. He got fairly lucky a couple of times, but I admired all the decisions that he made (from what I could see).

In an MTT, there are frequently times that you'll be discarding hands like TT or JJ preflop with a medium size stack seeing too much action in front of you, but then call all in bets from the BB from very short stacks for a non-trivial amount of your own chip stack with a hand like 94o. Such are the paradoxes of MTTs.

Notable things from the $500k events

- The Party tables play MUCH faster than the Stars tables (at least for the first few hours). I averaged 1.5 hands per minute at Party, and 1.0 hpm at Stars.
- Structure for the Stars tournament is brutal. I've read people complaining about this in the past, but I never really appreciated it until I sat down and played the Party and Stars events side by side. The much faster structure just mows down the field at Stars. There was a ~10% larger field at Stars, but the money bubble was burst well more than half an hour faster at Stars.
- the stalling isn't too bad at Stars, and it was not too noticable at Party compared to the regular Party $100+$9 (9pm PST) that I have been playing. At Stars they only institute hand for hand at 1 player before each bubble level.
- fold equity is unbelivably critical at the short-stack-all-in-post-bubble stage.
- during 3rd hour of both MTTs, I had 3x avg chip stack, but was unable to "close the deal". BOO!!!
- Blind and ante stealing near the bubble and even after then bubble burst was noticibly more successful at the Stars $200 event than I am used to. I only have this 1 sample to make this observation from, but at any rate I stole an unreal number of times. During the 3rd hour I managed to get a very large stack (somewhere in top 30 overall chip leaders) by winning a coin flip with the chip leader at my table with 539 players remaining (money bubble was 378). From between 500 players remaining well through 300 players remaining (particularly at the ~400 mark) I was attempting to steal the blinds on average ~2 times per orbit with a success rate that felt like close to 95% (this has to be a short term aberation). Note that this actually worked out to close to 50% of the time that it was folded to me. It was quite strange because each time I had to convince myself to try to steal again. It felt so much like Doyle Brunson's comments on No Limit Hold'em aggression in Super System when he said that he stole so frequently that he thought there is ~no way~ they would fold this time, but still forced himself to be aggressive.
Anyway, this was extremely convenient because it corresponded to the period of time in the tournament that I picked up very few legitimate hands. I was electing to open for 3x bb. I'm not sure if this is the ideal number. The blinds and ante's totalled ~2x bb, so the steal has to work 67% of the time to be profitable.
- I was happy with virtually every decision I made in both MTTs, including one that turned out to be actually wrong, but theoretically correct:
hand #1
- preflop: folded to hero in MP who looks down and finds KQs, hero raises 3x bb (with more than 20x bb behind), folded to CO who jams for 10x bb, everyone else folds. CO is neither very loose nor very tight. Hero calls getting 2:1, CO has AKs and it holds up.
I believe that CO's range is 77+, AK, AQs which Poker Stove tells me that I have 37% pot equity against. I would be happy with myself if I make these kind of decisions every time.

A first for me

In Sunday's 9pm Party $100+$9, there was an interesting hand right on the money bubble. It was a first for me.

hand #2
- preflop: folded to hero in CO who looks down and finds TT, hero pushes for 6x bb, folded to BB who has 5.5x bb. BB sits and thinks and thinks and with 1 second remaining BB calls with AA.
- flop: comes T high, and BB does not improve.

BB is the bubble boy.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Weekend challenge

My wife is going to be out of town this weekend, so I'm looking at a nice block of completely uninterupted time to partake in degenerate poker activity.

I've been brooding for most of the day in my cube (by the way, PokerSweetHome wrote a great post on the life of a full-time-corporate-worker-part-time-poker-player) about how best to utilize this opportunity, and I'm considering 2 primary choices.

1. Travel to Commerce, CA to play for 48 hours in the biggest poker room in the world.
2. Play in a massive number of online MTTs at home in my underwear.

I initially was heavily in favor of option #1, but the more and more I think about it, option #2 is actually more of a unique opportunity for me.

I'm going to budget a maximum of $2500 to play a continuous stream of between 4-6 simultaneous NLHE MTTs. I intend to play in all the $200 Sunday events at the major sites, and pretty much any NLHE events between the $3 - $50 range (including plenty of satellites) such that I can be continuously in 4-6 events. If I have trouble staying in the targetted number of events, I will fill the gap with $10/$20 LHE at Party.

I really have no feel for how much of the $2500 I am likely to blow through since I've never tried anything like this before.

I also don't have any particular goals. However, my theme as it always is in MTTs is that I will play to finish deep and not to finish in the money. I will bear no shame in being the bubble boy. Okay, okay my exception is going to be if I am a very short stacked on the bubble which I will roughly define as having all of the following conditions:
- my chip stack is less than 25% of average chips and less than 10x bb
- my chip ranking is slightly better than 'n' where 'n' is the number of places being paid
- the # remaining players is less than 105% of 'n'.
No sense throwing money away if I'm not in decent chip shape anyways.

Given my typical tendency to bury my head in a hole when things aren't going my way or to brag brag brag if things are going well, I will either post a mid-weekend update or wait until Monday morning to post the results of all the damage.

Yo yo

Today was a down and up day. I dropped another 20BB in the live $20/$40 game. The game conditions were good but worse than yesterday. I was involved in only 2 large pots which I both lost.

I had a couple of short but decent $10/$20 sessions at Party which bounced me back a fair amount for the day.

I noticed that Party has been adding $2000 to the $100+$9 9pm (PST) NLHE MTT, so I signed up tonight. With over 500 entrants, the overlay turned out to be worth less than $4 (way to find that value Dave!). I was able to cash in the mid 30's. No coin flip situations, no bad beats given or taken. Amazing.
Anyway, I have yet to make it very deep in this event. However, the field is so much softer than comparable MTTs at Stars, so I would like to continue playing more of these $109 9pm weekday events.


I finally got around to updating my spreadsheet. I finished in the black for the month of November only due to bonuses. Yuck.

Summary for satellite entries (since 10/29):
$ spent: $627 out of max $3000
$ returned to general poker bankroll: $2150
Net W$ or $T: W$29 (spent W$621 on $33 PCA supers)
Other: $10k Bay 101 WPT seat

I really didn't put in the time I intended for online supers in the later half of the month. I finished a few times in the low 20s in the $33 PCA supers, but with only 1 seat being typically awarded, I've got to do a better job of building a stack in the early - mid parts of the tournament.


UB is having a silly promotion where they are giving away 7 50" Plasma TVs to players for accumulating Ultimate Points. I say it is silly because of their implementation. They are basing the promotion on the % increase in play in December compared to November. It required a minimum of 50 points being earned in the month of November.

I can see the strategy that UB has which is to essentially target the player who has only been giving a small amount of business to the site. However, it provides no incentive to high volume players.

Hence, players who had slightly over 50 points earned are at a huge advantage over players who put in a lot of table time. It is so much easier to have a 1000% increase in points when starting from such a low number.

I myself earned 65 points in November, and this is pretty darn lucky considering the way they structure the promotion. However, I really don't know how interested I am in the prize. In theory, if you win such a prize, you are required to report the value of the item on your tax return. Hence, this will effectively mean that if I win a TV, I will actually be buying the TV for about 60% off MSRP. By searching for a deal online you will likely be able find a decent deal without having to take a specific model (that 50" is way too large for our apartment). Anyway, I'll worry about that if and when I'm on the leader board. :P

Thursday, December 01, 2005


Yesterday I had my first down day in excess of $1k in quite some time. This came from 1.5 hours of live $20/$40 LHE and 5 hours of 2-3 tabling $10/$20 LHE at Party. I am mostly pleased with the way I played, though naturally not with the actual results. I will not whine about the bad beats other than to say that I put in a lot of table hours in some very good games.

I am happy because I felt like I missed very few value bets, paid off far fewer hands on the river (and these are the problems I felt I have been having the most lately), and didn't change my playing style or standards after taking bad beats. The first item is relatively easy to validate, while the second is much trickier because there can be the tendency to fold too much.

My most common mistake in yesterday's sessions (though not necessarily the biggest) was folding too often to flop or turn check raises from frequent bluffers in the blinds (when I was the pre-flop raiser) on ragged or paired boards in the online $10/$20 games. I was probably check raised on the flop or turn in these possible situations on the order of 20 times, and I suspect I laid down the best hand between 20-50% of the time. At one particular table, I had mucked after being check raised so many times that I felt comfortable calling down a flop check raiser with AT high. In general, I need to pay closer attention to identify the players and situations that I am most likely to get pure bluffed check raised (given the history of the session) and also to a lesser extent semibluffed check raised. (I say a lesser extent because this situations are easier to identify and handle).


The only interesting hand for me from the whole day is this one. I made a bad laydown. Am I too weak?

hand #1
Party $10/$20 LHE, 9 seated
- preflop: fold, wild man (55/18/1.8) UTG+1 raises, folded to hero in CO with QQ, hero reraises, button folds, tight agg passive (11/7/1) in SB caps, BB folds, wild man and hero call. (3 players, 13 small bets)
- flop: flop comes A high rainbow with 2 junk cards, SB bets, wild man raises, hero mucks, SB calls. (2 players, 17 small bets)
- turn: K making 1 flush draw. check, check. (2 players, 8.5 big bets)
- river: blank, check, check. SB shows JJ, wild man shows 88.

At the time, I only considered 2 possibilities on the flop, raise or fold. I absolutely did not consider calling. (mistake? since I'm either way ahead or way behind) Wild man had been making absolutely ridiculous flop raises all night long (his PT stats don't reflect the degree to which he was lagging it up in the actual session). His range was any 2 cards, but for the sake of argument I will give him an A 20% of the time. My main concern is the TAP SB. I think that SB's range is (AA-JJ). That puts him ahead only 9/16 56% of the time.

I hate situations where I don't know how much it is going to cost me to see the river. How do I compute my pot equity on the flop if I'm modelling that wild man is ahead of me 20% of the time and SB is ahead 56% of the time? How should I model how many bets it will take to see the river?

I have position here, so should I invest the 3 small bets on the flop (with 16 small bets already in the pot) to test out the waters (with the intention to call a flop cap, and folding unimproved on turn)? Anyway, it seems like if I do continue in the hand my primary goal is to make it to the showdown as cheaply as possible.