Sunday, February 28, 2010

Expanding my knowledge

Before I get to the gist of the title, I wanna talk about the night on the town my wife and I had last night which ended w/ a short session of $5-10nl live at the Bellagio. We went to see "Valentine's Day" which I actually enjoyed. I liked Garry Marshall's other hit, "Pretty Woman" so I wasn't surprised I ended up liking this film as well. Sure are a lot of A list actors in this movie. Anyway Jeannie and I decided to head over to the Bellagio to play some poker. She played $15-30 limit hold'em and won a couple hundred while I played $5-10nl and promptly dropped $1k.

I buy in for $1500 which is the max in this game and I get dealt TT in the bb. Ep limps, mp limps, I raise to $60, both call. Flop AK2r, I lead for $110, ep calls, mp folds. Turn 8 I reach an inflection pt and decide to barrel off barring the board pairing the riv...after all, the flop should hit my range harder than his considering I was the preflop raiser oop. I lead for $250 on turn, he thinks for a couple secs. and calls. Riv 5, no flush, I bet $700 which puts his last $650 all in and before I can get all my money in (some were benjamins cuz I didn't have all my cash exchanged yet) he has his money in. I squeamishly turn over my hand and he proudly turns over... KJ. I hear a couple of "sick call" comments and I roll my eyes. I won't say how bad he played the hand. You can't be results oriented when playing for a living, so if we run that scenario many times, I'll have most of if not all his money so I don't feel bad at all about barreling off that hand. Also, I didn't give off any tells cuz I have plenty of live poker background, so I know that didn't factor into him calling multiple streets w/ mp.

The worst part about the hand was not losing the $1k. After the hand, I thought, well I can play off my image now and get paid off on all my made hands. After 5 hands, they move the guy. Turns out the table was a must move table that feeds into the main games. After a couple more laps they move me into a table w/ unknowns, so I can't even take advantage of my play of that TT hand. I did crush the table terms of playing good. Managed to get about $600 up on the new table w/o showing a hand then got a guy all in on a K65 fl w/ AK vs his KJ for a $1300 pot and lost to a riv J. I didn't feel bad though...cuz I felt good about how well I played overall...and that's all that matters in the long run.

So in the online poker front, I've been falling really behind on hrs played. I don't feel that bad about it cuz I've been spending a lot of time reading poker materials, watching vids, and just thinking about the game. I should've been doing this last year instead of wasting hrs playing video games (WOW anyone?) and spending too much time managing all my fantasy league teams, esp. fantasy football (couple friends and I did manage to beat Eric Lindgren aka Edog for a hefty sum in one league, although it's hefty for us, prob. chump change to him... # is around mid 5 figures). Anyway, the lacking aspect of my poker game is just the fundamental/technical aspects and I'm just trying to understand all of it. If I can acquire all of that knowledge, I think I can succeed at higher stakes, cuz I have the mental, awareness, hand reading skills, and discipline part down pat (along w/ whatever else it takes to succeed in poker).

Also I've been expanding my game by playing some hu (heads up). It's funny cuz I tried to sit down on some 2-4 tables on ftp and stars and almost everyone sits out when I sit. Obv. they must be ptr'ing me and don't want to play a winner (I guess this is bumhunting). I don't want to start playing too big since hu is somewhat new to me, but I think I got a decent grasp of it already. I do want to play anyone at 2-4, even the good regs, so I can get better, but it's not easy to get any matches going. I literally had to note everyone that didn't want to play so I remember not to sit down on their tables in the future. I think I got about 4-5 guys to play me after sitting down on over 80 tables total from both sites, and among the 5 guys, 3 of'em sat out after a few mins. So props to the 2 guys that gave me action, and lost. Here's my HEM in hu play this month... there may be a few hands where we were hu on a 6max table (inc all the 3-6 hands)....small sample size I know, but I think I can eventually pad my ptbb/100 stat playing more hu.....
Well, there is 1 more day this month and I'm not sure how much nl cash I will be grinding tomorrow, seeing that it's sunday and I love to play the mtts. I think my total this month is around +$40k which I really can't complain about, esp. considering that I am gonna fall under 100hrs grinding online nl cash game, which is my bread and butter. I will post exact #s within the next couple of days....hopefully I can have a big score or 2 tomorrow!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Fixing leaks online and irl

I played one of my worst hands in recent memory last night.
No-Limit Hold'em, $4.00 BB (6 handed) - Hold'em Manager Converter Tool from

Hero (BB) ($438.80)

UTG ($844.70)

MP ($1281.50)

CO ($406)

Button ($551)

SB ($561.40)

Preflop: Hero is BB with A, 5

4 folds, SB bets $10, Hero raises $32, SB calls $24

Flop: ($72) J, A, 6 (2 players)

SB checks, Hero bets $44, SB calls $44

Turn: ($160) 4 (2 players)

SB checks, Hero checks

River: ($160) Q (2 players)

SB bets $95, Hero raises $358.80 (All-In), SB calls $263.80

Total pot: $877.60


SB had J, Q (two pair, Queens and Jacks).

Hero had A, 5 (one pair, Aces).

Outcome: SB won $874.60

My riv shove is absolutely bar none horrible. I am repping only 2 possible hands, KT and QQ and there are very few combos of both. Also I should bet the turn. I was prob. a little frustrated in the fact that I was up $3500 right off the bat and slowly gave it all back, w/ this hand at the end of my downswing. I am guilty of tilting from time to time, although I tend to do so less often than most. Also, I have been thinking about certain hands where I lost more than I should have. I think within the past 3-4 days, I have lost at least $1000 when I should have known better, whether it was spewing or paying off when I was obv. beat. I beat myself up over those mistakes cuz those are the mistakes that I can control and try my best to not make the same mistakes in the future.

Tilting is prob. one of the biggest leaks for any poker player. I remember reading a 2+2 thread in the hsnl section and the topic was, "What is the single most important attribute to be a successful poker player" (or something of that nature). You have choices like hand reading skills, mathematical ability, etc. Most of the successful high stakes guys said mental approach to the game was the most important, and I tend to agree. This inc. self awareness and tilting (or ability to not tilt). If you can get a firm handle on your mental approach to poker, you are on the right path. Anyway, after going up $3500, I went on a $4500 downswing, but managed to gather myself before I went monkey crazy and ended up $1300 winner. Also, I have started to mix in a $5-10 table or 2, so I am slowly moving up stakes (I'll be raising Ivey and Antonius in no time :) )

In real life news, I went to see my doctor the other day and the news wasn't that great. Turns out I am prediabetic, as well as on the verge of having high cholesterol. It wasn't that much of a surprise to me though, w/ my lifestyle the past 10 yrs. Just sitting on your ass all day playing poker while not getting much physical activity will do that I guess. Also, living in Vegas, you're just surrounded by temptations everywhere, good and bad. There are numerous good restaurants and buffets around. Don't get me wrong though, my family and I love living in Vegas. We live in a great area relative to the Vegas strip...not too close, but not too far, and also in a very family oriented neighborhood (brag: also on a golf course). Snapshots of views from my home, starting w/ my setup..

From the 3rd floor..yes, the 3rd floor...

From the balcony, over my backyard..

Master bathtub, overlooking hole #10 I believe, w/ our cat in the corner...

Growing up I was very much into sports and still am a big sports fan (NO winning the SB was great, inc. monetary wise for me). As the years passed, and I started playing more poker, I ended up getting lazier and getting less and less inv. in any kind of physical activity. It's prob. one of the pitfalls of playing poker professionally. You don't have a set schedule and no one telling you what to do (unless you have a gf or wife) and you end up getting lackadaisical. That's why I advocate having a great balance in your life if you are pursuing poker fulltime..and by balance, I don't mean going out to party every other night. I mean stuff like exercising, finding a hobby or two (golfing, skiing, etc.), spending time w/ gf or spouse, etc.

W/ that said, I have made some changes to my lifestyle this year and have started exercising on a regular basis and recently have started to watch what I eat (believe me, that's very difficult...growing up w/ a sweet tooth and all). Not only is it great for my health and well being, but it will help my overall poker results. It'll give me a clearer mind more often, and energy while I grind, which will keep me sharp and motivated. Also I look for every opportunity to go skiing w/ friends or family, and I almost never turn down an opportunity to get on the golf course (although my game leaves a lot to be desired, but I'm working on that as well). So along w/ poker, I'm hoping this year is a step forward in the right direction in all aspects of my life!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Grinding online mtts (multitable tournaments)

So I decided to play a full slate of mtts today..take a break from cash games. I ended up playing about 14 and spent about $1800 in buyins. This may seem like a lot, until you look at the pure pro mtt grinders, who play anywhere from 20-40 mtts on a given day (esp. on sundays). I've given my thoughts on playing mtts for a living already, so I won't dwell into that. Couple of notables today... the sunday mil on stars had a $4 mil guaranteed, w over $1mil for 1st place, which is sick considering the buyin is only $215. Lets just say you pretty much needed to have a horseshoe stuck up your ass to win that baby (besting 36k entrants or whatever the staggering # was). Also, the FTOPs had their main event. I played them both but did nothing.

I did have a small cash before final tabling the $22 double deuce (I won this one last year for $32k). This one had a 1st place payout of $37k and 12k entrants! I was in prime position to do well, when this hand went down 8handed....
Full Tilt No-Limit Hold'em, t120000.00 BB (8 handed) - Full-Tilt Converter Tool from

UTG+1 (t8196759)

MP1 (t2357771)

MP2 (t3038896)

CO (t3222288)

Hero (Button) (t4045196)

SB (t10542115)

BB (t4514987)

UTG (t2548108)

Preflop: Hero is Button with K, K

3 folds, MP2 bets t240000, 1 fold, Hero raises to t540000, 2 folds, MP2 raises to t3023896 (All-In), Hero calls t2483896

Flop: (t6347792) 7, 2, 2 (2 players, 1 all-in)

Turn: (t6347792) J (2 players, 1 all-in)

River: (t6347792) 5 (2 players, 1 all-in)

Total pot: t6347792 | Rake: t0


Hero had K, K (two pair, Kings and twos).

MP2 had J, J (full house, Jacks over twos).

Outcome: MP2 won t6347792

Obv. this hand sucks cuz I would've been one of the biggest stacks w/ 8 players left and prob. the fave to win it again. Instead I got crippled, but managed to hold on to a 6th place finish which paid $6600, so overall not a bad day. I'm always content when I break even after playing a full slate of mtts (as I mentioned before, they don't pay the bills, just for nicer cars). On a related note, one of my Vegas buddies finished 8th in this same mtt. Quite an accomplishment considering the # of entrants.

Well, w/ about 1 week left this month, I'm gonna make an effort to log in as many hrs as I can just grinding nl cash games...shooting for 40hrs this week. If I finish w/ more, I'll be very happy. Obv. I hope to win, but I know if I play my A game consistently, the results will be there over the long run, and that's enough to get me to sleep better at nights.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Hi msnl FTP Regs Thread!

So one of my friends tells me that the msnl FTP Regs thread on 2+2 have turned into a conversation on whether I'm good or not. I don't care much about what's said about me online, cuz I don't know them, and they don't know me. Also, 2+2, esp. the regs threads, is just a dickwaving contest...mostly kids in their 20s talking about how big their games are, esp. vs others. I've tried to get involved once, before PTR came out, when a certain poster was datamining all the midstakes games on FTP and posting it online. I was showing up as biggest winner at $5-10 most of the time and a conversation ensued about how good/bad I was. At the time (this was about 1.5 yrs ago) I thought I'd chime in and quiet the talk down and just say that I'm just out to make the most money I can, not to show that I'm the best at any particular game/stakes. Most were receptive of it, but again, 2+2 brings out the self proclaimed "God's gifts to poker" kids, and these 4-5 guys (you guys know who you are :) ) kept pointing out how bad/avg I was. Interestingly enough, they did point out some leaks I was making (so thanks guys!) and have since corrected them.

Since then, I've thought about contributing more on 2+2 and other forums...just giving back as they say. Ultimately I decided that most are kids in their 20s and the ones I prob. want to associate w/ are kind of arrogant (these being the biggest winners at midstakes) and I'd rather not be associated w/ those type of guys (in fairness, since there is some anonymity being online, their real life personalities could be a lot different than their online personalities). I'm sure there are winners that are humble, and I'd like to think I belong in this group (granted this year posting my results can be considered a long brag, but I have my reasons to do so, and it's def. not to brag). What some of these kids don't realize is (or maybe they have already experienced this) that it's not smooth sailing year in year out in poker. Most of these guys have been playing for 1-3 yrs and maybe have gone thru the ups and downs of playing for a living, but most will face some tougher times ahead, esp. if they don't have the right mentality. I've been around the poker scene for over 12 yrs now, and I've seen numerous guys fail, even guys w/ more poker talent than me. Anyway, instead of posting on 2+2 daily, I just decided to make one long post about my career to show one can make a successful living at it while having a productive family life (link in 1st blog post).

In other news, I decided to forego the $5k NAPT main event at the Venetian today. Originally I planned on playing it, w/ it being a televised event and all, but I decided to take my wife and kid to the movies instead (about to go see Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief...greek mythology grabs my attention), and help my kid bake a cake (don't she's gotten hooked on baking cakes after watching Cake Boss on tv). I do have pieces of a couple guys in it, so hopefully they can do well in it. Played a really long sesh last night. Lost about $1300 in nl, and another $700 in mix games so whatever.

So I figured out how to post hands.. one of my hands this month (I run good :) )

No-Limit Hold'em, $4.00 BB (6 handed) - Hold'em Manager Converter Tool from

BB ($313.70)

UTG ($1121.40)

MP ($400)

CO ($428)

Button ($400)

Hero (SB) ($681.50)

Preflop: Hero is SB with 6, 6

1 fold, MP bets $10, 2 folds, Hero calls $8, 1 fold

Flop: ($24) 7, 7, 4 (2 players)

Hero checks, MP bets $12, Hero calls $12

Turn: ($48) 3 (2 players)

Hero checks, MP bets $24, Hero calls $24

River: ($96) 5 (2 players)

Hero checks, MP bets $68, Hero raises $635.50 (All-In), MP calls $286 (All-In)

Total pot: $804


Hero had 6, 6 (straight flush, seven high).

MP had 7, 7 (four of a kind, sevens).

Outcome: Hero won $1082.50

Obv. this falls under the worst beat one can give/take. I think it's around 990-1 against him losing, so it sucks to be him here. Ensuing chat went like this.. Villian: Omg, SO SICK
Me: Yeah, that sucks..sorry
Me (actual thoughts).. not really sorry, glad it happened..that's poker buddy.

This hand I think is one of my favorites of the month so far..will explain at bottom...

No-Limit Hold'em, $4.00 BB (6 handed) - Hold'em Manager Converter Tool from

MP ($839)

CO ($426.10)

Button ($782.50)

SB ($1218.30)

Hero (BB) ($406)

UTG ($292.50)

Preflop: Hero is BB with 8, 8

4 folds, SB bets $10, Hero raises $32, SB calls $24

Flop: ($72) Q, 9, 9 (2 players)

SB checks, Hero checks

Turn: ($72) A (2 players)

SB bets $54, Hero calls $54

River: ($180) K (2 players)

SB checks, Hero bets $200, SB calls $200

Total pot: $580


SB had A, J (two pair, Aces and nines).

Hero had 8, 8 (two pair, nines and eights).

Outcome: SB won $577

So this hand is interesting in a few different ways and def. one to file under thinking outside the box, or in other words, bluff gone horribly wrong! Villian is a laggy semi-reg multitabler and I incorrectly assumed he had a brain. Preflop is standard and was willing to stack off if need be. Flop I elected to try to get to showdown as cheaply as possible, as this is a very wet board and my hand can't stand a checkraise. Turn gets interesting...when he bets, I put his range as air, maybe 9x, but weighted toward Ax hands (but not AK, AQ, AA, KK, QQ as he would've 4betted preflop w/ these) so I call his bet intending to take the pot at the riv when he checks (which I assumed was a good possibility considering his range is weighted toward AJ or worse). He checks, and I overbet the pot (which for me works cuz I overbet from time to time w/ my bluffs and for value) to give him a bad price if he just has AJ or worse. Here's where I was wrong about him having a brain...(let the leveling wars begin!)... My range should be narrow here after I 3bet and flat turn and bet riv (almost always narrow here, obv. I will show up w air like now to balance)...down to AK, QQ, 99, and Ax (drawing hands are nonexistent cuz I'd cbet flop, as would most 9x combos). So basically he calls off $200 to win $380 when the most likely scenario is a chop or lose. I can break down the #s, but for timesake, just take my word for it that his call is not a good one if you're calling an overbet to try to chop the pot at best (well, except for this Or maybe he made a soul read and he's the next "God's gift to poker" guy :)