Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Poker Journal, day 3: Slow day

I was pretty busy for the day and only managed to put in three 1$ + 0,20$ sit and go tournaments. I guess its a bad thing I was so busy, because dollar for dollar this was my most profitable day yet. Earlier in the day I only got to join one tournament under the Happy Hour which was a bummer, but I cannot complain too much about the results. I reached the top 3 with rather ease in a big chip lead because of people calling my uber raises with KK and QQ. What I wasn't prepared for was the crazy end game. Everybody was calling everything and I basically went from the mega three times bigger than the next stack to the short stack and up again. I couldn't get my first 1st place finish in the end after losing to a guy outdrawing me with 2 flushes back to back.

At about 9 pm in the evening I found a clear two hours for some more poker. I bombed out of a game so fast I couldn't even believe it myself after raising with AQs out of position, hitting nothing, getting raised and folding out. I still got about 900 chips left, but my exit came soon after I went all in on a bad hand and got called on it. Do not bet heavily with an unmade hand out of position in the early game.

I thought about not joining another game at all after busting out of one in such a tilty and irresponsible way, but my ego won over my senses. This time it paid off. I played slow in the early goings as I usually do and didn't get paid off when I hit AKo. With my stack slowly dwindling away and reaching top 5 I called a big raise with J7o. I'm not sure really why I did it in hindsight, but I figured the guy with the raise might had been just trying to steal the blinds. Still I don't think its ever a good move to do so with a bad bad hand like mine was. What was funny was my opponent did the raise with AKo and lost to me. I looked up on poker stove and my winning chance before the flop was 35%. I guess you got to get lucky sometimes to win, but that percentage was way higher than I thought it would have been. Somehow I got into another coin flip before the money as I beat KQs with a A5o. I felt like such a lucky son of a gun until I threw the game into Universal Replayer. The program can count how lucky one has been with his hole cards during the tournament by doing calculations based on how good your hole cards hold up in showdown against every other hand. My result was a clear sign of bad luck. I guess its good to finish second with bad luck, but if one wants to make money with poker he has to finish first at some point.

My third day of online poker was a successful one in two ways. I made some money and got experience in getting to the money. The other way was maybe learning not to go into games guns blazing and betting so big early on. I shouldn't have bet so high with AQs from such a bad position because hands like that make very little money and can end up costing a lot.

Total investment: 3 x 1,2$ = 3,6$,
Total winnings: 2 x 2,7$ = 5,4$, + 0,16$ from rake back

Balance for today: +1,96$

Bankroll: 59,00$ + rakeback + 1,09$ deposit bonus


Freerolls sound like a good idea, dont they? Well the reality is vastly different. What happened to me was I joined one like many new players do. I figured a Scandinavian only freeroll wouldn't be a gargantuan undertaking and I'd have a good chance of finishing in the money. Well I did finish in the money, but it came with a 3-4 hour commitment I now regret. Had I not had some catching up to do with Lost, I'd probably have given up mid way and found something better to do with my time.

I found myself advancing in the tournament by mostly luck, I won a lot of head to head situations even when I shouldn't have had. I just didn't have the commitment in me to try to build reads on my opponents with the random nature of freerolls and constantly moving tables. Late at night, after multiple hours of playing, I finally made it through the bubble. Even with coming 26th out of about a thousand I had only gotten 2$ worth of bankroll and learnt nearly nothing.

My point is while freerolls seem like a good idea, they often do not help your game at all. At best you're going to end up with the top dogs and admittedly people will start paying attention to their game if they are nearing the money. Even with this in mind I think its very fortunate of one to ever reach that stage, because many people will force coin flip situations in the middle and early game with random cards. One can waste away hours, get a few pots and end up busting out without any profit both in money and worthy game experience. This is what makes a freerolls a premium waste of time.

I think the only situations where freerolls are profitable and fun are when testing out the software before putting down a deposit (some sites let you join freerolls without one), trying to prove a point with a challenge like some pro players do or if you can manage to find one pretty exclusive one with good prices and proportionally few opponents. Otherwise, stay away from these games.

Poker Journal, day 2: Not so great

I started the day early. By the end of the sit and go happy hour at Full Tilt Poker I had already played 6 SNGs and managed to get to the money once. The early morning happy our ends 2pm European time. I seem to be starting to get a habit of finishing third or busting out in the first 15 minutes. I need to correct this sooner rather than later, but I'm a bit stumped. I probably need to tighten up my game in the early goings a lot and hope to win a coin flip in the middle stages against a loose player instead of investing too much at the start. Another bad habit of mine has been trying to steal from the stealer. Two times in these five games I have raised with a smaller pair than the original raiser.. I know I'm probably behind the other guys hand yet I still find myself being aggressive.

I found myself double clicking the poker software again more closer to the night time in Europe and managed to finish the last tournament for the night in the money. I got very, very lucky multiple times in the tournament and still managed to only finish third. This was due mostly to my stupid and costly mistakes. I found myself pushing too far with little to nothing after gaining by far the largest stack. During the game I turned both QTs and T7o to full houses and even managed to outdraw a flush with the latter. It's not fun to only finish third when you know you got very lucky and still blew it in the end. I re-raised a bigger pair twice during one game, how can that happen? I should just learn not to assume everybody is bluffing all the time, it just isn't working. My final demise came with a rare case of poetic justice when I went all in with A6o against 63 and got outdrawn.

My profits were on the negative side as my total investments totaled up to 8,4$ while my winnings only covered 3,6$ for today. By counting in the rake back deal and the deposit bonus those numbers slightly move closer to each other, but I cannot escape the fact this was my first day on the negative.

I don't think things necessarily went this way because of bad luck, I fully accept there were major flaws in my game. I played too much, too quickly in the early afternoon. I hear the games turn softer towards the night, but even if they don't 7 games in an afternoon is too much. I think overplaying like that is a message from the evil tilt monster and I need to work on being able to stop playing for a while after losing a coin flip and a tournament especially early on.

I have heard from some people it could help to set up a schedule of play. Maybe a game or two during the SNG Happy Hour and a game or two in the night with the fish (I enjoy the company of my own)? I think I might try it starting from tomorrow.

Total investment: 7 x 1,2$ = 8,4$,
Total winnings: 2 x 1,8$ = 3,6$, + 0,38€ from rake back

Balance for today: -4,4$ :((

Monday, April 12, 2010

Poker Journal, day 1: A good start

As I have earlier mentioned I like sit and go tournaments. Somehow I manage to decent in them while bleeding money like a, well, shooting victim in cash games. The lowest turbo stakes possible were 1$ + 0,20$ SNGs on Full Tilt Poker so I managed to join 3 of them during the day. I have learned through the internet it pays off later to start off with playing a single table at a time so I did. I believe this will help me project what kind of hand ranges people use in different situations.

My first 1,2$ Sit-n-go was a success. I played this tournament in the early afternoon in European time and it showed. The play was very tight which was pretty suprising as I was expecting to find guys almost demanding me to take their chips. I managed to stay out of trouble during the early and middle stages of the game, while sometimes stealing the blinds when I saw fit. The bubble play during the tournament was confusing to say the least as people were butting heads all over the place. I managed to find a good spot to eliminate a short stacked player who had just lost a coin flip situation in a grueling fashion. I was able to ride my chips to the top three by changing to a more aggressive strategy, which ultimately ended in a bad result for me after losing two slightly favored coin flips in a row.

My second 1,2$ sit and go ended in a similar way. This was during the night time in Europe, but there were a few American on board too. The start of the tournament was very different from my first one as I could count atleast 3-4 extremely loose players who were very anxious to throw their money around early on. I had a bit of a problem in the early middle game because I wasn't confident in my ability to steal blinds when the few guys next to me were pretty much raising and calling everything. The turning point of this tournament came for me when my A4s turned into a flush against a medium stacks A4o. I managed to be aggressive enough to survive into the top three again, but again I wasn't able to get further than the third place. I think I need help in the money as I always seem to find myself in a duel with a dominated hand.

My third sit and go tournament was a mess from the start. My usual strategy in the early goings is to almost fold everything and wait it out. This time it was different. I managed to squander about 250 chips early by limping in and getting called on my raises after a dangerous flops. My position on the table was disadvantageous as the most aggressive guy on the table sat to my left. He capitalized on my sudden lack of aggressiveness by re-raising my attempts to steal the blind with a KTo. Somehow I didn't figure in just how aggressive the other guy had been through the whole tournament and folded. In retrospect I'm sure I had a good enough hand to call him on it right there and then. I guess missing this play was too much for me. On the next go around I, for some reason, decided to try and steal the blinds again, but this time with T2o even when I was sure the other guy would call me on my all in bet. And he did. With KQo. That was it for me

The first day of online poker was decent for me. Even though my return of investment for the day was 0% it could have been way worse.  This is the beginning of my journey and I cannot expect instant success. On top of not losing money (actually counting in the rake back and the deposit bonus I'm a bit on the positive) I'm pretty sure I learned something during my tables today. Maybe next time I'll not fold to the same re-raise that ended up making me TILT with T2, maybe next time I'll manage to pick my spots a bit better to finish 1st or 2nd instead of the third place finishes.

Total investment 3x 1,2$ = 3,6$
Total winnings 2 x 1,8$ = 3,6$ + 0,16$ from Rake Back

Balance for today: +0,16$ :)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Introduction to poker

I'm a 18 year old aspiring poker player from the cold north of Europe. I have recently immersed myself into internet poker and have come up to the point where I'm going to deposit my first bankroll. I've decided to join Full Tilt Poker through an affiliate to get a rake back deal and the usual 100% deposit bonus. My starting bankroll will be 50$.

I've played some internet poker in the past with not-so-good results, but only recently I've started reading up on the fine game through both the internet and regular books. Still in the end I find online videos of decent players playing poker the most helpful of all learning devices.

The intent of my blog will be to catalog and follow my progression in the world of poker. I don't know which way my bankroll will go, but I'm hoping it will be a learning experience either way. I'll keep this blog mostly private until I have confidence I can keep updating it with consistency. I have something planned for the future in the vein of creating a community for up-and-coming online poker players, but that is long ways away.

Poker Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory