Registration code: 7330476
Welcome to May, everyone. I lost $192.98 on April 30, so that’s casting a cloud over the whole month. There’s really no reason for it, though.
That loss doesn’t even wipe out the gains from the previous six days. It’s a smaller loss than the gain on my best poker day of all time, which came on the 18th this month. About the only thing it did was turn my +$1000 into a +$800 month.
Those are insane figures for someone who got into this a year ago, with $100. I’ve never been down more than $250 into the online game, and I was playing at a level completely cool with my bankroll.
So, the stats, then.
- $1/$2 Limit: 6600 hands, 2.6 BB/100
- $50NL (mostly 6-handed, but some full table): 3000 hands, 2.18 BB/100
- $25NL (full table): 1000 hands, 9 BB/100
- $2/$4 Limit: 923 hands, -1.48 BB/100 (down about $50)
I played in about 10 tournaments, for a loss of about $50. The rest has to be bonuses, I’m thinking. (I joined UB for rakeback, but they’ve offered a reload bonus every two weeks, and always right after I withdraw to play somewhere else, so I keep reloading.)
Yeah, almost all limit. I initially did that to maximize the rakeback / bonus calculations, but it’s much easier to multi-table, and it’s a little easier for me to analyze where the mistakes are. (One of my tendencies is to freeze up and call down in pots I might be winning: limit makes it cheap to check-call without attracting attention, and with looser players, I find I’m frequently ahead anyway.)
$1600 is the line where I start playing $2/$4, and it hasn’t gone well so far. I have more to learn at the $1/$2 level, really.
Dell’s trying to get rid of these 2100FP’s, man. There’s a bunch of coupons you can stack on top of each other to get them for $381, shipped, as long as you don’t live in a communist state that charges sales tax on Dell stuff. (Like I do.)
I pulled $400 out of online poker to do it. Well worth it, I think, and if it all goes to crap tomorrow, then at least I got a sweet monitor out of the deal. I was actually tapping on the door of moving up to $2/$4 limit, but didn’t feel comfortable, so staying at $1/$2 for a while will be good for me.
For those not aware, the 2100FP is the monitor for the poker kids that hang out on 2+2 forums. It’s a 1600×1200 display, so for as long as there are 800×600 poker clients, you’ll be able to fit four of whatever tables you like with no overlap. (I four-tabled at 1280×1024, and actually found overlap sort of useful, since screens pop up anyway when they need attention, but your results may very. I know many good poker players who couldn’t or wouldn’t multi-table in a million years.)
February: wasn’t bad. Turned $400 into almost $800, with 23 good days and 5 bad days. I started a new account at UltimateBet for rakeback (my first rakeback account). Their bonuses have been good.
March: Took it almost to $1000, but that’s only a gain of $200, which is kind of slow growth. UltimateBet’s bonuses are insane: they’ve been offering crazy reloads non-stop.
I realized at the beginning of March that I had two weeks to burn off my FTP initial deposit bonus. They pay off you bonus in 10% chunks, but at a very slow rate, and I think most players give up before their four months is up. I burned it off playing .05/.10 NL, mostly because I have a better winrate there than .10/.25 NL, and because they rake double at the .05/.10 level. (Nasty.) I actually lost $80 to recoup my last $20. That happens.
Leaving FTP for UB, I was still thinking about maxmizing the rake to get the bonuses burned off. At the same time, I was getting a little burned out on .05/.10 NL after four-tabling it for a week straight. So I took up limit. UB has kill games, which seem to me to be one more way to play poker bingo, but I don’t know enough about that game to really say. Maybe it’s a nuanced and subtle way to play poker bingo.
I reread Small Stakes Hold’em, and seriously used the starting hand chart in the middle. My first couple of hours were unreal: with three tables open, it seems like there’s very little variance, and my win rate seems pretty generous. I’ll have more to say at the end of April, but at the end of March, it was my new favorite.
Getting better at limit meant I could play more solidly at Canterbury, and I did, picking up $60 in about 90 minutes out there on a Friday afternoon. That’s another story, but I think live $2/$4 might be enough to live on professionally if I ever had to do it.
I am getting real bad about updating here, so I have a new system (yay!) and I’ll try to keep in touch better. Thanks for reading, whoever you are.
It was April 6th, 2005 when I first stuffed money into Neteller and hoped for the best. Once that $50 cleared, I deposited it to Planet Poker (I didn’t know any better at the time) and played a little bit of everything. Of course, people were playing limit and no-limit hold ‘em, and I really didn’t know that much about the game. (I would eventually print off a sheet that reminded me: flushes beat straights.)
Exactly a year later, with about $300 invested in poker books, online “school” and software tools, I’m ahead almost a thousand dollars. (I frequently think about what I should do with this money, but I know, of course, that I want to keep playing.)
One could check the date of the first entry on this site to see when exactly I realized that there was an awesome poker blogging community (I should have known: there’s a good-sized Jonathan Taylor Thomas blogging community), and I’ve only sat at a table with them once, but they’ve been consistently encouraging and enlightening. Good friends, I suppose, if I had ever had any meaningful human interaction with them.
Getting turned on to PokerStars and Party Poker two weeks after I switch from Planet (ick) to Empire (eh) was a big favor, one I haven’t thanked anyone for. Winning a tournament at a friends house in my third month playing was huge. Busting through “profitable” in month 6 was great. I’m proud of starting over then, and pulling out my initial stake in month 9. This past month has been about learning new things and pushing the edges: I love this hobby, and I get to do it basically for free, as long as I want.
After reading The Grind last week, I decided that an appropriate poker birthday present would be a subscription to CardRunners. I’m loving it so far. (If you want to sign up under me, my name is dnordquist.) If they’re serious about putting new content on almost every day, it could be exactly what I’ve been looking for: a very current guide to the way that internet players play on the internet, in cash games and tournaments. (They don’t cover limit there very much, but they don’t cover Omaha or backgammon, either.)
Took second in a home tournament tonight (always with the rebuy tournaments that I don’t rebuy into: with a ton of extra entries, somehow I manage to keep my cool). There was a hand that I’m pretty proud of:
We’re at 500/1000 blinds, and I’m big blind. Button pushes all-in for 1050, and small blind reraises all-in for 500 more. These are the smallest stacks at the table, and I’m well ahead of them (although first place has me well covered, he’s folded). I don’t need to play the hand, unless I think I have something that plays well in a three-way pot. And then I look down at… 7d 4d.
Gorgeous. Live cards. Getting 8-1 on my 500, I am jumping to get money in.
Small blind shows me AKo and says "I have a bad feeling about this."
Button confirms his worst suspicions: AA. One of them is the diamond, so I need three of those and not four. And the board comes made to order: two diamonds on the flop, one on the turn, none on the river, and I’m set. (Oddly enough, since the small blind started the hand with more money, his third-place AK got him paid, the AA went out in fourth.)
How could I be so confident? Sure, AA had me a little nervous when I saw it (I’d be 32% against AKo and AQs, and I was only 21% against AKo and AA), but I’m having a hard time concocting a situation in Poker Stove where I don’t have the odds to call all-in. I knew it was right, I did it, and it paid.
12/31, 1/1, and 1/2 were all all-time highs for my bankroll. I went to bed on the 2nd fifty-six cents away from $800. Five of the next seven days would be losing ones, three more than $100, and so I gave up a couple months’ progress. Not a huge deal: variance had been very good to me for a while, and payback is inevitable.
Here’s the good news: dropping below $500 meant leaving $50NL for $25NL, and I’m a better player than I was when I left $25NL the first time, so sessions have been more positive more often. I’m still up in the air on my tournament play: I redeposited at Party just to play their $10+1s, but 800 chips and killer blinds in the fourth round just put in me bad situations more often than I would like. I did have one memorable tournament (out in fourth) where I’d been pushing my 5BB stack with every A, K, or pair that came my way. I survived for a long time doing this, but when I finally got caught (with T9s vs. 77 - a matchup I’ll take any day shortstacked), the table just lit up: they were so glad I was gone… it’s such an effective strategy. When they’re glad you’re leaving, you’re doing something right.
I read the NL chapter of Super System, and it didn’t really move me that much. I guess it brought some of the value of draws into perspective, but I don’t play that many drawing hands to begin with. (Of course, if you’re going to start, you learn a lot about position, and a lot about post-flop play, but I think there’s also a reason people don’t use his system as the foundation of their game.) He likes to get all-in with crazy draws and have people fold. I suppose that works for some people, but at the low levels, you’re putting your crazy draws up against other crazy draws, and people don’t fold.
I cashed out of everything to collect a Party bonus I’d heard about, but BonusWhores.com decided not to tell me when Party withdrew the bonus, so it was all for naught. I did just deposit my bankroll at Paradise to do their Super Bowl weekend bonus, and if the Seahawks win, I go to the freeroll tournament. Go SEAHAWKS+4!
Went home thinking I should try $1/$2 limit yesterday. I don’t play limit that much, but I was eager for a new challenge. Couldn’t get started there, so I switched over to my standard $50NL. I had a few opponents call continuation bets with beaten hands, only to hit on the turn or river, and stick me for a bet on the end.
Well, your hero fights donk play with donk play. I loosened up considerably, didn’t back down when I was beaten, pushed all in when I knew any hand but an overpair would fold (overpairs… funny, they call), ignored reasonable bets from reasonable players… ahh, anyone else would describe it as tilt. I had never gone through anything like it in my short playing career. Actually, I had a lot of these runs right before I got "good": just trying to make something happen, pushing edges that didn’t exist.
Home audience, I donked off almost a quarter of my bankroll: maybe $150 all told. I told myself that everything I have online right now is house money (which is true), that I’m only back about a week’s progress (also true), and that with my tremendous upswing lately, I was way overdue for a dose of variance. It didn’t feel much better.
Then I moved from Party to Full Tilt, and picked up three or four nice pots, almost doubling up. For some reason, that bought back all my self-confidence. With your own swings, it’s important to have a short memory.
I read Phil Gordon’s book (I have to get caught up on the sidebar, I know), and he doesn’t exactly say "call with pairs for bigger pay". What he says is that any pair is worth calling with, up to about 5xBB, as long as you know how to get away from the hand if you miss. The implied odds, especially at low limits, are staggering. You can miss on the 90% or whatever the odds are that you don’t pick up a set and still be comfortably ahead.
One other thing: the "raise to narrow the field" theory is sort of small-minded. It maximizes your chance to win that hand (ie, pick up the blinds) and ignores the long-term implied odds of getting paid with a set. However, it’s probably still robably valid with TT, JJ, and QQ. Maybe 88 and 99, but it’s really only limited by your ability to fold your pairs after an unfavorable flop (and, obviously, there are more unfavorable flops to QQ than there are to 88).
I have just pushed freebird1980, who has about half as many chips as I do, all-in, sensing weakness and hoping he’ll fold. I wouldn’t try this with a hand much weaker than ATs, but as it is, that’s what I’m holding. He flips up QQ, and I flop an Ace (and a ten!) to take his stack.
freebird1980: what the %#$% was that crap??? A,10??
Erok420: thats not crap
YSR420: i agree
freebird1980: it is for that kind of money
Erok420: Kten there
freebird1980: you agree it is or is not crap YSR?
dannordquist: I’m sorry I sucked out on you
DAYTRADE: would you have felt better if he had AK
YSR420: that it is not crap
dannordquist: but I’ve seen that kind of action with 55, 77, 99
Erok420: A tne suited is a good hand
YSR420: that’s poker in case u didnt know
dannordquist: KQ, KTs, whatever
dannordquist: besides, you thought about folding QQ
dannordquist: and that was the whole point
dannordquist: cmon, rebuy and I’ll probably give it back to you
freebird1980: you are smoking crack, AT is not even close to worth putting
half your stack at stake when you got 80-100 x bb for a stack
dannordquist: I do like smoking crack…
I was literally thinking "gap concept" when he raised from the button. It was folded around to him. He needed almost nothing to raise from there, so my reraise was a way to tell him "nice steal attempt, but I’m keeping this". His reraise to half his stack could certainly have meant "I’m not messing around" or "I watch too much TV and that move was totally supposed to work."
I put him on a high ace, which means I’m behind, but pushing him all-in for the other half of his chips is academic. At that point, he’s got to fold any goofy steal-attempting hands, a lot of lower pairs, and maybe even AJ or AQ (but probably not). When he thought about it for more than ten seconds, I switched my read to small pair: coinflip which I don’t mind playing for $10. And I was way wrong: actually down like 66-34 or something. It worked out in the end.