Saturday, 29 September 2007
Here’s one of my favorite quotes (I keep telling myself this when I run bad):
“Everybody will eventually run worse than they thought is was possible. The difference between the winner and a loser is that the latter thinks they do not deserve it.” – Craig Hartman
So what can we do when running bad? Firstly, we have to avoid the pitfalls: playing to get even, or even moving up a level; losing confidence, becoming depressed; making radical changes to our game, or going on tilt!
Obviously tilting is the worst thing a player can do, but avoiding tilt is not the only thing we can do. Dedicating yourself to improving your game is crucial!
Here’s my favorite, most inspirational poker quote:
“I have spent a lot of time playing poker in the past year. I completely immersed myself in poker. I have read every poker book, spent countless hours browsing and reading forums, spent even more hours analyzing my play and my opponents’ plays. And then beyond this I have played endless hours. I really enjoy playing and I think if you don't you will never reach your fullest potential. You really have to love to play the game.” – Brian Townsend
I’ve not had any good tourney results in a while so the Stars account has been slowly diminishing. I’ve never played cash games there before; mostly because of rakeback. Anyway they have the FPP and VIP program, so it’s not all bad. There’s a lot of cool stuff you can buy with the points.
The other good thing is that I can 6-table there quite easily; At OnGame I can only do 4. I played 1500 hands today in about 3 hours and ran pretty hot. Hopefully it’s the start of a good month! The only thing I don’t really like is the notes and it’s harder to do good table selection. At OnGame I’ve got all the fish labelled so I can find them in a jiffy!
Anyway, new things are always good. I think I was getting kind of stale at OnGame. I really like 6-tabling for a change too.
I’m quite tired today; its 2:47 and I really should get to bed. I was out for a few drinks last night so didn’t get much sleep. I’m actually quite surprised that I played so many hands today!
Thursday, 27 September 2007
When is my luck going to change? Is it luck or am I just bad?
I’ve busted my ass this week playing online and all for nothing. I ran good, hit a downswing; ran good again, and then BAM! The worst downswing of all.
I’m just plain fed up.
Whenever I seem to be playing well and running hot; I run into the most terrible of luck – every time! Just take a look at my luck graph. Bad luck has cost me $2,800 in profit:
Other than cash games I was really disappointed with the $1,000 WCOOP event. Out of 3,500 entrants I finished 500th. Just out of the money! I played for 7 hours and just another 10 minutes or so, I would’ve been in the money for at least $1,300. First place in that tourney was $580,000! Anyway, having an average stack I thought for sure I’d make it into the money. That was until I made a stand with QQ, only for villain to hit a king on the flop with his big slick. Sick. Seriously when will I ever get a break?
Friday, 21 September 2007
Man, I was delighted after the first few minutes to see that I had a total fish as an opponent! I mean this guy was call, call, call. Hardly ever raising. If only he wasn’t hitting everything!
The hand I went out on was KK v T8. Flop 8 high and we get it all-in (I was shortish after a few previous bad-beats). Well, you’ll never guess what? Turn a ten! $%!”$%^
Oh well, I’ve already played 1,000 online hands today so I think it’s time to go play some live. We get some right fish in my local game at the weekends!
I really enjoy playing live but running bad can be a bitch! I mean you only get about 40 hands an hour live compared to 400/hr online! That means I’m only getting aces and kings once every 5 hours or so! I play between 1-2 pot-limit and 5-5 pot-limit, but it’s in British pounds - so good games when you convert it to dollars! And like I said most the players are extreme donkeys so it’s lots of fun!
Monday, 17 September 2007
The basic principle is:
“If you aren’t committed, don’t build a big pot.”
They go on to say that if you find yourself all-in and have negative expectation, you probably made a serious mistake. I think that is very important to remember!
Therefore when deciding to make or call a bet that will commit you to the pot, the question is: “Will I be ahead of his range if we get all-in?”
The general rule of thumb can be summed up as:
“Don’t put in one-third or more of the smaller stating stack and then fold.”Okay so I emphasized that this is only a rule of thumb. THERE ARE MANY EXCEPTIONS! I’ll list the exceptions later.
So now we get to the “Commitment Threshold.” You reach this threshold when the pot becomes one-fourth of the remaining money. An easier way to remember it is:
“Once you put in 10 percent of your stack, you’re at or beyond the commitment
Remember, you’re NOT committed at 10 percent! It’s just a warning that any other big bets made before the river create the threat of a subsequent bet. So basically being at the commitment threshold is the time to decide if you are willing to play a big pot. You make your commitment decision now – before one third of your stack goes in.
“You should never put a third of our chips into the pot without knowing your commitment plan. Make your commitment decision and commitment plan at 10 percent.”
Also worth mentioning here is that against knowledgeable opponents, a sizable bet at the commitment threshold can be a powerful way to bluff them. You’re asking them, “are you read to play for stacks?”
So at the commitment threshold you decide your commitment plan. “Am I committed or am I not?” Your basic strategy is then very simple:
“If you are at the commitment threshold and not committed, don’t make or call a big bet.”
“If you are at the commitment threshold and you want to get all-in, usually bet at least two-thirds the pot.”
Finally, we get to the EXCEPTIONS:
1) You might make a large bet if you bluffing/semi-bluffing.
2) You might make a large bet if your opponent has predictable playing tendencies.
3) You might call a large bet on a draw if the pot odds/implied odds justify the call.
4) You might call a large bet if it closes the action on the river.
5) You might make or call a small bet.
6) You might be committed and put in one-third of your stack, but then new information emerges that changes your decision.
These exceptions are VERY important because once you understand them you will come to realize that the book doesn’t just say that it is wrong to fold after putting more than one-third of the smallest stack in. It’s a lot more subtle than that! Think of all your commitment decisions as conditional commitment. If you are thinking of betting or raising at the commitment threshold but you’re not committed then you just need good reason to do so.
In part three we get to the real juicy stuff: Stack-To-Pot-Ratios!
Wednesday, 12 September 2007
I read the first 80 pages in a mere 2 hours, but it’s taking me the last two weeks to read the rest of the book! Once past the first two chapters (basics and fundementals), the rest of the book takes considerably longer to read and digest! I probably had to read each subsequent section 3 or 4 times until I had a grasp. The concepts presented in this book have never been written about before!
Now I’m attempting to make notes. Outlining what I’ve learnt the most and reemphasizing those things. This post is basically a list of reminders.
REM (Range – Equity – Maximise):
This chapter wasn’t really so bad to take in.
R is for Range:
I guess the most important point, is that rather than putting opponents on specific hands, you instead put than on a range of hands.
You do this by first eliminating the hands you are fairly sure they don’t have and then you can further narrow their ranges by observing their tendencies.
The more information you can gather on your opponents, the more you can narrow their range and get to perfect information. Observation is key.
E is for Equity:
“Your pot equity is the stake or share you have in a pot, based on the odds of your cards winning at showdown.”
Easy! But how do we calculate equity?
To calculate equity you must first estimate which hand your opponents could have – THEIR RANGES – and how likely each hand in that range is. You can then calculate you equity against each hand individually and determine the weighted average.
An opponent moves all-in preflop and you have AKs. From what you’ve observed you estimate that your opponents RANGE is JJ-AA and AK. Should you call?
You’re have 12% equity against AA, 34% against KK, 46% against QQ, 46% against JJ, 50% against AKs and 52% against AKo.
Overall the weighted average is 42.6%. You should only call if you pot odds are better than 1.35-to-1.
Obviously it’s impractical to do these calculations so quickly at the poker table! In reality you don’t have to be so exact. One of the things I have to help with these calculations is PokerStove software. When reviewing hands I punch in the ranges and let the program tell me the equity. The more of these you do, the better and quicker you’ll estimate you equity at the table.
Also worth mentioning is that you don’t need to have 50% or more equity in the pot to continue. You only need enough to have +EV. So if your equity is 33% against your opponent’s range when he goes all-in, you need pot odds of better than 2-to-1 to call.
Another shortcut is when considering your opponent’s range, think about the hands you are a big favourite over and those hands you are a big underdog to. If there are more hands that you’re a big favourite over, your equity is probably good and vice versa.
Finally, when calculating equity don’t forget to include fold equity! Because few hands make it to showdown, folding equity plays a major roll in most no-limit decisions.
Fold equity varies depending on your opponents’ playing tendencies. Against weak-tight players you have lots of folding equity, whereas against loose calling station you may have virtually none.
Take for example a big draw on the flop where you estimate your equity to be around 50% if you CALL. How much equity might you gain by pushing? That’s why semi-bluffing such a powerful tool. You take the entire pot when your opponents fold and you still have 50% equity when they call.
Using fold equity aggressively can also help when you have a big hand. Say you are very aggressive when you are even-money or a slight underdog. If that aggression leads you to getting a called a few more times when you’re a big favourite, you can gain a lot more positive expectation.
M is for Maximize
Maximizing means choosing the action or series of actions that makes you most money in the long run.
Check, Bet of Fold?
Checking when you are last to act eliminates a round of betting – good it you want to keep the pot small. Check also results in a free card for you or and your opponents – good if you have a weak hand a little folding equity.
Checking also works well when you’re first to act. Say you have top pair and weak kicker against an aggressive opponent who like to steal. By checking the flop, you keep the pot small and let your opponent bet weaker hands.
Whenever you bet or raise, ask yourself: Do you want your opponents in the pot, or do you want them out of the pot?
Value betting is when you think you have the best hand you think you’ll make the most money by betting as oppose to checking.
You goal is to maximize you expectation NOT your chances of being called. Bet the amount that yields the highest average profit!
Bluffing is the opposite of value betting. You bet because you want better hands to fold.
When bluffing bet the smallest amount that will get the job done!
Observing player tendencies is crucial to successful bluffing. You must be able to estimate your opponents range well and know something about how they will play that range. You’re estimating you folding equity.
When maximizing drawing hands, here are the rules of thumb I need to remember most:
If your equity is small (weak draw such as a gutshot), usually avoid semibluff raising. Call if your implied odds are good and fold if they are bad.
If your equity is relatively large, seldom fold. Instead choose between calling and semibluff raising. Call if you implied odds are good and raise if they are bad.
That’s about all. In Part 2 I’ll be making notes on “Commitment Thresholds.”
Sunday, 2 September 2007
It’s that time again.
This month I decided to mix it up. Recently I started playing a few SNG’s on Stars and found them quite easy to endure. I still want to play more cash so set myself a goal I think I can achieve.
1) Play 25,000 hands at 1-2NL (6 Max)
2) Play 100 x 9-man SNG’s turbos on Stars
3) Write one essay each week
4) Finish reading/studying Professional No-Limit Hold ‘em
5) Qualify for as many WCOOP events as possible
6) Cash big in WCOOP (haha, more of a wish than a goal)
In addition to above, I’ll be playing a few live tournaments and about 10 hours of live cash games a week. That’s just by choice and not a goal.
I’m determined to achieve items 1 & 2!