Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Ending this blog

Hi all. I am not playing quite as much poker anymore - and don't post enough to blog on it consistently. I will still post occasional poker thoughts, and will post on my recent big tourney win, but will now just do it on my professional blog - (The benefit of teaching game theory is I can post about poker topics and it still fits my work :) )

Thanks to all who followed this over the past couple years.


Sunday, March 01, 2009

I am not good at quitting :)

So, I was planning to basically quit and only play tourneys and only once a week. That basically lasted two weeks. I played cash games along with tourneys during those first couple days I devoted to tourneys, I also played an extra hour session of just cash games a couple times during the first half of February. The last two weeks, however, I started playing more. I wanted to play, I was winning, therefore I played a bit more. However, through Wednesday, Feb 25th, I had played enough to earn (only) about 5600 FPPs, and had not played any on any other site. I had played a lot less than before, but still a decent amount. My spring break started Friday, so I decided on the Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, I would try to get to 10K FPPs so I am supernova at least one more month. I was successful, although it was a drag, even though I had a nice couple days in terms of profitability. Saturday I earned about 2800 FPPs in a day. I don't want to do that again.

Overall, on cash tables I had a great month - far exceeding my average monthly profitability for 2008 (which I was happy with). Also, for fun, I spent about $200 buying into step 1s and step 2s on pokerstars. I turned that into three step 4 entries (each worth $215). I already had two - so now I have five step 4 entries. I will start playing those this week. Once the WSOP sats start, I will try to play step 6s since I could just keep the cash if I win the satellite.

I don't think I will be making a trip to this years WSOP - although big satellite wins could change my mind. :) Will post if I win big.

I still don't intend to play too much, although since this is my spring break week, perhaps I can put in a few hours on some of these days to build a lot of FPPs early and then perhaps maintain supernova for another month. The dollar value of the FPPs I get is pretty sizable once stars adds their supernova multiplier, so it is certainly nice to have.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Thinking of making a big shift in priorities ...

I am thinking of (almost) giving up poker. I have a couple new ideas for where to take my professional life. I am very excited about them. However, I think poker is going to get in the way if I don' make major life change. The problem is that when I have a free 40 minutes (sometimes less), I often fire up some games. Combine the times where I play for longer, with all the 20-50 minute sessions, and that is a lot of time I play poker. It isn't wasted time, since I earn money, but I fear that if I don't make a big change, I will struggle to get anywhere with my new ideas.

My initial plan:

1. Finish getting 10K FPPs this month. I only have 2500 to go - that won't take too many hours.

2. Quit poker, except for Saturday afternoons. I have supernova until March 31st if get to 10K fpps this month. I get a freerole tourney on Saturdays that is a nice value.

3. After March 31st, only play one night a week - and focus on tourneys. I like tourneys much more, so I should play them more, right? I could have a couple cash game tables going, or some SNGs going, but I think the big thing is to only play one night a week.

It is a bit scary for me to commit to this, since it is a big change. However, I think I have to do this. I need that time to work on my new ideas.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

A bit of redemption

In my last post, I noted how I felt bad about making an error in the $10 buyin, $30K guarantee on Saturday, Jan 10th. Well, I entered again this week.

I did OK early, doubling up with good hands and chipping up nicely. I then hit a couple monster hands and once in the money, I found myself chip leader with about 500 left. When that happened, I was telling myself how I was going to play better and make this one count.

I did.

I used a lot of small (about 2.25x the bb) raises PF to steal pots - they worked about half the time. I also had a few hands and when I got played back at, won some nicer pots. I played pretty aggressive most of the time, and from the time I had the chip lead until the final table (which was going from over 500 to 9), I was only all in once, with AJ vs. KJ, to get to about 1.9 million chips when starting the final table. That was 3rd in chips, and the mean chip count was 1.75 million.

At the final table, I was in the sb with AK and about 2 million chips. The short stack was on the button and pushed for about 400K. I reraised and the bb called for about 1 million chips with JJ. The short stack had 97. The JJ held, and we were 7 handed, but I was now one of the shorter stacks.

I pushed A6s in teh hijack with just under 1 million chips and an M=4, but was called by AK to cripple me, and I was out a couple hands later. I ended up 7th, for just over a $1,000 cash. I have had bigger tourney cashes, but $1,000 is nice, and it is pretty cool to finish in the final 7 out of a 5,000+ player field. I just wish I would have won the coinflip with AK. Maybe next time. :)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Tournament Blow Up

I played in the Supernova freerole on Saturday. When I play that, I often join the pokerstars $30K guaranteed, which has an $11 buyin. I got bounced early in the supernova freerole, but did well in the 30K. I was actually chip leader with 240 or so left, but this tourney has 10 minute blinds, so the chip lead does not afford you as much leeway as in other tourneys.

I made an awful, ill-timed move after I drifted down in chips. I was probably 12th in chips out of 160, but I was in the bb vs. the sb who had more chips. I am going off memory here, so the numbers could be slightly off, but they are close: I had about 190K chips when the average was 110. The sb raised my bb from 6K to 16K. I called the extra 10K with 54 suited.

The flop was K73 (all different suits). The sb led for 20K into the approx 40 K pot. Now it is on me. I think he is going to CB this always. He was very aggressive in the 3 or so orbits I had played with him. So, if he raises 1/2 the hands from the sb, then continuation bets always, his range is super-wide and he usually does not have a king here. Because I have a gutshot straight draw behind in case he does have something, I decided to raise. Up until now, I think my decisions are smart. The next move is where I think I screwed up. I could have raised to 50K. That opened me up to be bluff-3-bet all in and I fold, but it would be very tough for him to 3-bet there without a king. Note that even his bluff has me beat.

If I push, I likely only get called with good kings, a pair of aces, and a set. I decided to almost push - raising to 110 K. This was dumb. He reraised, and I could have folded and left myself with about 65K. Given the odds of a gutshot, I should have done this. I called, however, and busted to his AK. I should have either pushed (which makes my later decision easy), or bet smaller.

In a normal structure tourney, I don't even consider gambling like this. But these have 10 minute levels, and it almost plays like a turbo. Still, I am bummed about the way I played that hand.

Cash Games and Sit-and-Goes

I had a good January, mainly with cash games. I am buying in for 30 big blinds at full ring games, mostly 1/2 NL and 2/4 NL, and usually leaving if I hit over 50 big blinds. I had just been crushing the games, but have had a downswing since Sunday night, down between 10-15 buyins. I am still up 10-15 buyins for the month, which is good, but it feels less noteworthy since I was up so much more 5 days ago.

In SNGs, I am still playing super-turbos, and doing pretty well this month (year). I seem to do better on the full tilt ones than on stars, but I think that is probably just short-term variance.

I will likely be playing the stars $50K freerole again Saturday afternoon. I will try to be in IRC for anyone who wants to stop by to chat.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Thinking about goals for 2009

ITH had a thread on poker goals for the year. I posted there, but figured I would list them here also.

1. Enjoy poker.

2. Don't use poker as a default way to spend the extra 20/30/40 minutes if I don't want to play.

3. Maintain supernova on stars (not sure if the first two are compatable with putting in the 20-hours per month I need to make supernova, but hopefully ...).

4. Earn money. I would be thrilled if I came close to earning what I made in 2008 (I would like more, naturally, but if I made what I did in 2008, I would be one happy potato).

Reviewing last years goals:

1. Continue to make some side-money for my family. I would love to make enough to finish our basement and fully-fund my roth IRA and my wife's roth and conventional IRA. (I know - saving for retirement - pretty exciting thing to do with poker winnings.)

Well, this was mostly a success. We finished our basement and did contribute quite a bit to savings.

2. Play a few more tourneys. Related to this, I would love to play a major live tourney or two, but I am not sure when/where I will get the opportunity.

Online, I did not play too many tourneys. So this would be a failure. But, I did play and cash in the $1500 WSOP event #2., so this was a partial success.

3. Work my way up to 5/10 NL holdem.

I came nowhere close. I played a bit of 5/10 from time to time, but losing one massive pot was enough to send me back down the limits. I still mostly grind 1/2 NL, but I do play some 2/4 and 3/6.

4. Begin Poker-Coaching.

I did a bit of this. I enjoyed it, but I don't really have much time for this.

Monday, January 05, 2009

New Year

I took a short break at the end of 2008 from poker, and I am still assessing how much I want to play in 2009. I have been feeling like I am playing too much, and I should slow down. The problem is, poker is a way I earn money, which makes me think I should play whenever I have free time.

I am supernova on stars still. I get 2 months free at supernova, but it will extend until July if I get 10K base FPPs per month. Unfortunately, I have not been interested in playing too many cash games. I have been much more focused on SNGs, which I earn far fewer FPPs playing. Also, some of the games I have been playing on stars are their "hyper turbos", which are even sicker than tilt's hyper-turbos. They have no rake, however, which means no FPPs. The players on stars are worse, however, since their hyper turbo SNGs are all for satellites. Even the regulars who multi-table make some awful mistakes. On Saturday night, I won one without playing a hand. It was a 6-max SNG, with 2 seats. On the first 4 hands, two players doubled up. Then these two geniuses, who could coast and get at least 3rd (which is your money back), get all in with KJ vs. QT. One player now has 3000 chips, I have 650, and another player has 850. The player with 850 gets all in to the big stack a couple hands later and loses, and I win my seat with a VPIP of 0.

I really would like to get my butt in gear and get the 10K base FPPs, however. I like being supernova. I get a greater rate of FPPs, which works to a nice rakeback. I have also played the 50K weekly freerole most weeks, which has the value of a $35 buyin tourney. I have had little luck there, but the play is far weaker than a typical $35 buyin tourney, so it is a good tourney.