Monday, April 18, 2011

No Comment

I'm sure that almost everyone that reads this blog is now aware of the current online poker developments taking place in the US. If you're not, the gist of what happened is that the US government banned their own citizens from playing online poker for real money on any of the major poker sites on Friday, April 15th. The situation still remains very muddy and PokerStars has understandably requested that I do not make any comments on the issue. To be honest, I don't know anything more than the information that's been made public anyways, although I do have my own opinions on the matter at hand/the future of online poker that I'm sure I'll be able to express in a short period of time. For now, I would recommend watching a good interview with Ryan "The__D__RY" on PokerTube, as he rationalizes the irrational situation very well (should be easy to find on the front page).

My volume is once again lacking a little bit this month, not because of the frenzy that took place on April 15th but because my days have often been cut short due to the NHL playoffs!! The Canucks are on fire right now and took a 3-0 lead in the series last night against the former Stanley Cup champions the Chicago Blackhawks. The Hawks are no match this year as their team was decimated by the salary cap and they've lost 1/3rd of their squad from last year. Before the series started I predicted that the 'Nucks would win in 5 games but at this point I think a sweep tomorrow night is more probable given how good the team is playing. However, the Canucks have a bit of a bad habit of making it to round 2 every year and then losing so the true test will come next round...if the 'Nucks make it to round 3 they will undoubtedly experience a huge confidence boost after shaking the monkey off their back and will have a very legitimate shot at the Cup. Let's just take it one step at a time.

Like my hockey team, I've been unbeatable at the tables so far this month, as my heater has continued. I haven't had a single losing day after playing about 14 days this month and have almost averaged winning $1K a day even before rakeback. As is often the case when I'm running well, my volume usually decreases. I haven't played over 6K hands on any given day and the average number of hands has probably been around 3.5K (currently sitting around 28K VPP's). Now that I've made this post, I fully expect things to take a drastic turn for the worse but I'll hope for the best!

Here's an interesting hand from yesterday where I make a non-standard call pre-flop hoping to win a big pot with the button involved, who had already shown signs of being a weaker player (61/35). Thoughts on the hand can be found below:

No-Limit Hold'em, $2.00 BB (9 handed)
UTG+1 ($270)
MP1 ($205.85)
MP2 ($217.65)
MP3 ($362.70)
CO ($200)
Button ($300.30)
Hero (SB) ($201)
BB ($53)
UTG ($100)

Preflop: Hero is SB with 3, 5
3 folds, MP2 bets $6, 2 folds, Button calls $6, Hero calls $5, 1 fold

Flop: ($20) 4, A, Q (3 players)
Hero checks, MP2 checks, Button bets $9, Hero raises $28, 1 fold, Button calls $19

Turn: ($76) 5 (2 players)
Hero bets $48, Button calls $48

River: ($172) 4 (2 players)
Hero checks, Button bets $75, Hero calls $75

Total pot: $322

Button had 7, J (one pair, fours).
Hero had 3, 5 (two pair, fives and fours).
Outcome: Hero won $319

I didn't have to think too long before calling the river bet with 3rd pair given that there are many draws in his range and more importantly there are very few hands that would just call the flop/turn and then value bet the river. If he had a hand like A4+ he would very likely just go with it on the flop, or at the very least the turn. I think that AK or 4x would be pretty much the only hands that would take the line of call-call-bet in this spot and given the pre-flop action I think that AK needs to be discounted because even some recreational players know to 3bet AK.

So, what was my plan for the hand? Well, with my flush draw + gutshot I check-raised the flop with the intention of stacking off. Given his call pre-flop and his loose style, his flop bet is going to be weighted to a lot of pretty bad hands (ie. a naked 4, a Q with a decent kicker, medium pocket pairs, Ax, broadway cards that have a gutshot). I'm happy to take the pot down right there with my C/R and even if he has a real hand we still have a decent amount of equity assuming we're not up against bigger spades.

After he calls my small check-raise (my sizing was poor and likely done in a hurry due to being on many tables) I'm left in a bit of an awkward spot with $167 behind and $76 in the pot. I decide to try and use my fold equity again and bet out $48 because I think that he is going to call the flop with a bad ace a lot of the time and now hopefully fold, given that my check-raise on the flop was so small. Even though I have spades, I have to now start to seriously consider that he might have a bigger spade draw since that is the most obvious hand that will be flat calling flop check-raises. The good news is that we've now made a pair and are ahead of every flush draw except the nut flush draw (and that may likely 3bet the flop) and we are almost never going to get raised on the turn given the action unless he has A5. Even if the villain shoves, we're still calling and are going to have some equity in the pot.

As it turns out, we were in pretty much the worst case scenario had the money gone in on the flop. Thankfully, this is what happens when you're on a heater.

I'm going to hope that things continue to go well at the tables for the rest of the month and hope that the American players can run better off of the tables. Obviously this situation affects every poker player but I truly feel sorry for those that have had their livelihood affected immediately. Hopefully things will unfold favourably and in a timely manner and work out for the best. Aside from that, I have no further comments for now.

gl at the tables.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Let's Talk Poker

April is off to a fantastic start on the poker tables. I still haven't fixed my Holdem Manager because to be honest, it's been refreshing to not have to constantly think about what my results are during a session. I think that not being able to check HEM while playing has probably had a positive impact on my game, though any impact likely hasn't been drastic. The drawbacks to having a "broken" HEM are that I'm not getting accurate HUD info on some of my tables (I think the hands that aren't importing properly are isolated to 400nl/600nl tables) and the bigger drag is that I don't have any graphs to show you guys. I've also been recording my results by pen and paper each day and while this is kinda lol it's actually the most accurate way of doing it.

That said, I do plan on fixing my HEM in the near future-likely after I go on my next downswing. For now, things have been going very smoothly online and I've been running exceptionally well having earned over 8 stacks already this month. I put in some fairly heavy volume April 1-5 and averaged over $1K each day and then took a 3 day weekend. I put in around 4K hands on Saturday and then another 4.5K hands today and won a bit over $3k in the process so things are obviously going wayyyy better than normal. I've been playing well but haven't radically changed anything in my game since the start of the year so most of my upswing can just be chalked up to variance and running well. I expect a downer in the near future but hopefully I can ride the heater out a little longer!

I've taken a bunch of ugly beats this month but I've been running pretty "pure" for the most part. Most of my rungood up to this point has just been centered around being on the good end of cooler situations (ie. sets holding vs. draws, draws getting there when they need to, AA vs. KK a lot etc.) Of course, hands like this help!

No-Limit Hold'em, $2.00 BB (8 handed)
UTG+1 ($88)
MP1 ($214)
MP2 ($80)
CO ($216.20)
Button ($155.20)
SB ($201)
Hero (BB) ($200)

Preflop: Hero is BB with A, A
3 folds, MP2 bets $5, CO raises $18, 2 folds, Hero raises $54, MP2 raises $75 (All-In), CO raises $100, Hero raises $144 (All-In), CO calls $82

Flop: ($481) 10, Q, 9 (3 players, 2 all-in)

Turn: ($481) 4 (3 players, 2 all-in)

River: ($481) 8 (3 players, 2 all-in)

Total pot: $481

Hero had A, A (one pair, Aces).
MP2 had K, K (one pair, Kings).
CO had K, K (one pair, Kings).
Outcome: Hero won $478

Always nice to fade the Jack.

Usually, every Sunday I try and play the 2500 FPP VIP satellite to the Sunday Million that runs at 11:30 PT. I'd say I normally wake up on time to play it about 60% of the time and cash in it about 30%-40%. Last week, I also discovered another high value satellite to the "Mill," the 1500 FPP round 4 hyper-turbo satellite that runs around 12:30 PT I think. If you win the round 4 satellite (which pays 1 seat per every 3 entrants) then you move on to the 4500 FPP round 5 satellite, which again grants entry for 1 person to the Sunday Mill for every 3 entrants. Anyways, all I'm getting at is that for 4000 FPP's (valued at $64) you can have a very inexpensive and probable way of playing the Sunday Million (or any Sunday major, for that matter). I would assume that I have about a 50% chance of cashing in at least 1 of these satellites every week, although that number may be a bit high. Regardless, I'm going to try and continue to invest in both of these satellites every week because not only do I enjoy playing in such a potentially life-changing tournament each week, I also think that it will be profitable in the long run. Even though at this point I have a big enough bankroll to be adequately rolled for most tournaments online, I just think that there can always be more value added from satellites. I also find it more exciting to play knowing that even a min-cash will earn me a profit of around $300 instead of around $100 (if I just bought in). Anyhow, I just thought that I'd bring this to the attention of other high volume players that may be interested in dabbling in high-value tournaments for a minimal cost.

Today, while I had my 24 cash tables up and running I was also playing in the Sunday Million after gaining entry through the before mentioned round 4, 1500 FPP satellite (and of course winning round 5 as well). Things started out fine and I won a couple of small pots by isolating and then value-betting against a couple of weak players bringing my starting stack up from 10K to 12K. I went pretty card-dead for a while after that until I got my then 10K stack in the middle against my opponents 7K stack holding AQ vs. AT on a Axx board and held. Things went pretty quiet for a while...I called one opponent's small bluff with 4th pair and won a couple of uncontested pots pre-flop moving my stack up to 20K. I eventually doubled up again with KK vs. 67 on a 456 flop and was sitting on 40K. I opened a couple of pots but was met with some 3bets and had to fold, dropping my stack back down to 30K. My tournament ended 195 people away from the money when it folded around to the button and he opened to 6K at 1k/2k blinds and had me covered. I looked down at ATo in the SB and had a decision to make. Even though the button had been playing pretty tight up to this point, re-shoving ATo with 15 bb's here is obviously profitable as it should be well ahead of the btn's opening range. That said, folding here basically locks up $300 for me as I would probably have to wait about 1 more orbit until the money bubble bursts. I think if you have a small bankroll or satty'd into the tournament and the $300 means a lot to you then folding these +EV spots is fine...I couldn't bring myself to do it, however, as losing another orbit of blinds combined with the ever increasing blinds would greatly diminish my chance of a deep run/higher cash in the tournament. Having said that, I shipped my 30K stack and got called by 77 and lost the flip to bust me out of the tournament. There's always next week!

With the SCOOP upcoming in May, now seems as good a time as any to work on my tournament game. I plan on playing in many SCOOP events, although I haven't made a schedule for myself just yet. I'll likely be making a detailed post about the SCOOP in the near future and I'd be interested to hear what you guys are planning on registering in as well...maybe we can get some friendly/low stake last-longer bets or competitions going if there's enough interest.

gl at the tables!

Monday, April 4, 2011

$100K Means That I Can Afford a New Chair

Ahhh, it has finally happened, one hundred thousand dollars earned through playing a card game! Alright, well technically I've earned more than that already in my poker career but not through straight table winnings. Earning $100K is no small feat, especially given the stakes that I play. The fact is that with SNE you can actually earn over $100K a year just by breaking even and cashing in on FPP's but if you're as competitive as I am then that will not be satisfying enough. I would say that it takes a very good player just to break even at mid stake cash games so making a living off of rakeback is certainly nothing to scoff at. It takes an exceptional player to have any sort of decent win-rate at poker and a truly elite player to crush the games while playing 24 tables. I can only think of like, less than 5 people that I would put into this last category (and no, I would not include myself lol). So with all of that in mind, I'm very proud of how I've advanced in my poker career and am pleased with my growth thus far. Variance is a biatch, so who knows how long I'll be staying above that 100K profit floor. Thankfully, I've been through enough at this point that I should know how to claw my way back if and when I dip below it!

Yesterday, disaster struck...I was feverishly doing what I love and my chair collapsed (playin' poker ya pervs). It was a long time coming and she will be deeply missed. She was with me since the early days of my professional poker career and has had a strong impact on the posture bestowed upon my back. Without her, I may fully well be half an inch shorter than I am today.

Given the circumstance, I had to make an unscheduled trip out to IKEA this afternoon. After navigating through more people than at a sold out Vancouver Canucks game, I was able to find a deserving replacement.



I didn't trade up just for looks, this new chair has a few new features that my old chair did not:

1) Comfort
2) It swivels
3) It goes up and down

May my new chair and I see many hands together.

gl at the tables!