Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Warming Up-April Review

Since my last blog post, I didn't log very much volume at the tables but did manage to increase my winnings at 200nl zoom. I continued to study and work on my game and HUD and now I feel comfortable enough to put in a heavy grind come May.

April Results:

I'm happy with how I played over this small sample size...the most important thing I think is how comfortable I felt towards the end of the month. It can always be a bit dicey when you first start playing with a new player pool and you're essentially readless on everyone. I mean, it's tough enough to get reads on players in Zoom obviously so when you don't even have any HUD stats to rely on you just have to try to play a solid fundamental overall game plan. I think that my sample size is too small to draw any hard conclusions but I did feel that once I began to accumulate some stats on the regulars that I also started to feel more confident in my decisions and it became easier to rationalize some of my plays.

I'm actually really stoked for May. Part of the reason why I eased off a bit in terms of volume towards the end of April was because I'm trying to get mentally prepared for May and the rest of the year. Like, I'm still really confident that I'm going to get SNE this year despite being on only 92K VPPs! I'm confident because I know that I have what it takes in terms of logging the heavy hours and I'm averaging a vpp/hand rate of .40 at 200nl zoom, which is a rate that nits such as myself only hear about in mythical fairy tales.

I'm still fairly undecided about what games that I'm going to be playing for the rest of the year. I'm going to start by 4-tabling 200nl Zoom, that much I know, but I'm not sure exactly when I want to try and move up stakes or add more tables or if I want to experiment with regular tables as well. My plan in March was to try and move up to 500nl Zoom aggressively but now that it's essentially taken 2 months to earn enough for a 5-6 buy-in shot, erasing 2 months "work" in an hour doesn't sound particularly appealing anymore. There's a lot to be said for taking some pressure off and just grinding away regardless of results so for that reason I'm not sure if I see myself playing higher than 200nl in May but we'll see. Long story short, I'm not sure.

The SCOOP will be happening starting May 4th! I'm very excited for this and am planning on playing all of the L events (hopefully do well on the overall leader board :)) and basically all of the NLHE M events. I'll probably post my full schedule before the series starts once I print it off. I'm not exactly confident in my MTT game or my chances of shipping one of these but I always enjoy playing in these tournament series and look forward to grinding a few tournaments on the side of my cash games.

In non-poker news, I got some good news from the doctor about my ankle yesterday. I saw the x-rays and it looks like my fractured fibula is completely healed! The bone looked great and I got the green light to do some physical activity. I've been itching to get back to the gym but I'm not sure exactly when I'll start doing stuff again because my ankle is still fairly sore...the doc said that ligament damage can lag behind the bone healing so that seems to be the case with me. Regardless, I was happy to learn that walking on it while broken for 5 days and then throwing some shapes at the wedding in Mexico didn't seem to leave any permanent damage.

I'm going to take of the rest of the day off to relax and watch a boatload of sports tonight. I think that there's THREE game 7's tonight in the NHL playoffs, as well as game 5 in the Raptors/Nets series. My couch and I will be getting to know one another very well...

Alright, that's about it for now. The alarm will be dusted off and put to work tomorrow...get ready to see a whole lot of frosty012 at the tables!

gl at the tables!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

6-Max Zoom Progress

So far it's been a nice variance-free month at 200nl zoom ;)

Ok, not so much. Obviously the sample size is so small that I'm just posting that more or less as a joke since the results don't mean a heck of a lot over 13Kish hands. On a serious note though, the time for learning 6-max is almost over and the SNE grind basically starts for me in May. I don't feel totally adjusted to the 200nl Zoom games as much as I did to the 100nl games before I moved up but I do feel confident enough in my overall game plan to put my head down and start grinding hard. I made some solid adjustments near the end of March (well not so much adjustments...more like put a plan in place that originally wasn't there) and am pretty happy with my opening ranges from all positions and am ok with my defending strategy. Here are my results since I started playing 6max at the end of Feb:

So you can clearly see that just after hand 100K things started to take off as I found a better understanding for the game. I was still playing breakeven poker before that, according to EV, but things still felt pretty messy. Currently, I still don't feel like I've got 6-max all figured out (not even close lol) but I feel that at least I have a more solid foundation in place in terms of an overall game plan.

My SB game plan vs. late position is fairly straightforward but I'm happy with it...basically I have no flatting range so I 3bet a linear/merged range against steals. I think this is the way to go since the games seem so aggro that by flatting you're going to open yourself up to getting squeezed quite a bit and playing OOP just sucks in general. Also, people are opening LP so wide that I want to try and exploit that by either getting immediate folds or by playing a range that has good board coverage since players defend 3bets quite loose. Like maybe a while ago it would make less sense to 3bet a hand like AJo or KQo because you'd have to fold to a 4bet and players would just fold all worse hands. Today, however, people seem to be defending the CO/BTN with a range that includes all kinds of dominated hands. There will still be times when I'll flat the SB but usually that will be a vacuum play if there's a weaker player in the BB or if we start to get quite deep.

I think the worst area of my game or the part that causes me the most trouble still is my defending strategy from the BB against CO-SB steals. This is tricky for me because unlike being in the SB, flatting from the BB becomes much more appealing for a number of reasons. You're still going to be OOP vs. CO/BTN but you don't have to worry about being squeezed and you already have 1 BB invested. Also, a large portion of my range doesn't want to start building a 3bet pot (ie small pairs, QTo etc) because it's difficult to play post-flop and puts us in a lot of bad spots when called. From the SB, I still think that 3betting this portion of my range is fine because the threat of being squeezed or even just giving the BB a good price to complete the action makes it much harder for us to win pots. However, because steal sizes are so small and ranges are so wide I've found myself probably flatting too often and losing too many pots just because I have to c/f a lot being OOP post-flop. Even being IP vs the SB, it's tough to decide exactly what hands I want to be 3betting and what hands I want to be flatting with since ideally I'd like to be balanced with both plays. It seems that I'm either going to be flatting or 3betting way too much and I'm not sure which side I'd rather error on. Anyways, I have a lot of ironing out to do but I think my general line of thinking about these spots is decent enough overall.

My plan is to finish out the rest of the month at 200nl Zoom barring no big downswing. I'm stoked on the VPP/hand rate that I've been getting (about .4) but I'm not sure if sticking to the zoom games will be more profitable than regular tables. I might decide to try out normal tables since unlike before, I would now be very comfortable playing a mix of 6-max and full-ring. We'll see how things shape up over the next week or so before I gear up for a heavy month in May.

gl at the tables!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


So I ended up getting my passport in time to go to Mexico. There were many visits to the passport office involved and many problems that surfaced between submitting my application and actually receiving my passport in my hand. Rather than go into all of the details of my passport situation I'd rather just try to forget the whole experience and try my best to NEVER WASH MY PASSPORT AGAIN (did it 3 times in 4 years...hence all of the hassle). I'm not quite sure why or how I always seem to make the same mistake but I do know that I was extra careful to check every pocket of my clothes before turning on the laundry when I got back from Mexico a few days ago.

The trip was great and I am indeed very glad that my passport showed up before my flight was scheduled to leave. The main purpose for the trip was to attend the wedding of my girlfriend's best friend, who she has known since kindergarten and is still very close with. We stayed in an all-inclusive resort near Playa Del Carmen and it was pretty fantastic. The food from the buffets was pretty mediocre but the dinners at the restaurants were all very solid and even the buffet had a few gems (favorite was the hot omelet stations for breaky). Along with the food, the drinks were all free and most of the time I chose different drinks off of the cocktail menu since you can easily get away with ordering fruity drinks at a tropical destination (also the beer wasn't great). Mojito's and Miami Vices (half strawberry daiquiri/half pina colada) were two of my go-to choices during the trip. On our last night my gf and I splurged on a nice $22 bottle of wine with our fondue dinner (which was amazing) since the free wine was described to us as "gasolina" by our waiter as he poured it. I'm not sure if he realized that the Spanish word for gasoline is only 1 letter different than from English but either way I was able to crack his code after tasting the wine. Needless to say that it was $22 well spent on the upgraded wine.

So we arrived a few days before the wedding was supposed to take place, which turned out to be really nice because it gave everyone a bit of time to get to know each other (probably 30+ people came down) and adjust to the time difference/climate (only 2 hrs ahead). One of the guys that was with the group was actually one of my gf's ex-boyfriends that she broke up with like 5+ years ago so that had some potential to be pretty awkward but fortunately it wasn't. He was a nice guy and their past relationship was never even brought up for discussion, which was especially good because she ended things and he seemed completely moved on with a new gf who wasn't on the trip. On the last day of the vaca, I played in a massive 16 person double-knockout beer pong tournament and the ex-bf took me out in the semi-finals! It was quite devastating but I guess I'll give him that ;)


I only left the resort once during my stay in Mexico and that was to go into town one night to check out the CoCo Bongo nightclub. If you haven't heard of this club you should google it or check out some videos on YouTube. It's kind of hard to describe but the club is basically a gigantic 3-5 story venue that packs in several thousand people for music, dancing and entertainment. There's a mix of Hollywood acts and singer impersonators all accompanied by confetti, fog blasts and balloon guns. The place is crazy. We had a standing table for our group and a waiter would emerge from between the crowds every so often to bring us fresh drinks all night long. Also, throughout the night girls are being pulled up on the center bar to girlfriend was pulled up early in the night but managed to escape rather quickly. All in all I had a pretty great time and thought the place was a cool experience. If crowds aren't your thing though you won't like this place at all-I was even feeling a bit claustrophobic and annoyed at times. You will be spilled on.

The weather was very nice for the vast majority of the trip. Unfortunately, the one day that a big storm flew in was on the day of the wedding! The ceremony was supposed to be on the beach but had to be diverted to dryer land. The bride seemed 100% cool with plan B though so that was great to see. My girlfriend volunteered me to be in charge of video recording everything at the wedding since she was in the wedding party. I don't have much experience with filming anything but aside from zooming in/out wayyy too much I think I did a decent job, especially recording the speeches. It was fun to be involved and after recording the ceremony, toasts, cake cutting, speeches and other random scenes it was time to put the camera away and break out the dance moves. At first the camera actually didn't go away even though the battery had died. Instead, I brought it with me onto the dance floor and pretended to be filming people to see their reaction. Unfortunately, that didn't last too long because what I thought was "funny" turned out to be "creepy" to my gf and the vast majority of people that were throwing shapes on the dance floor. I was definitely getting quite drunk by the time the dancing had started and I also remember taking a fork full of wedding cake onto the floor and trying to feed it to a girl (unsuccessfully).

I was worried that I would wake up the next day and my ankle would be throbbing with pain. I had it taped up for most of the trip and to my pleasant surprise I awoke the next morning feeling no more pain than usual and little hangover. I actually didn't feel hungover much at all the whole trip. I wasn't drinking a massive amount (even on the wedding day, I've drank far more in my day) and all of the drinks are filled with a lot of ice to keep you hydrated. It was great. Getting back to my ankle though, it actually was bothering me a bit until after the wedding night and then it started to feel much better (not really sure how/why). I almost re-injured it on the last day though. A few of us were just sitting on the grass while waiting for our ride to the airport and a girl walked by and dropped her wallet and didn't notice. I announced to the group that I was going to "make her day" and then sprung up to get the wallet, took one step on the wet cement and my foot shot forward and I fell backwards on the ground. I got a couple of scrapes but nothing as bad as the embarrassment felt. To make matters worse, when I got up and hobbled to catch up with the girl she was like "thanks but there's nothing in there anyways." Awesome.

Anyways, I'm back now and ready to grind. I've been taking care of a big to-do list over the past couple of days but now that's taken care of. I have no vacations planned for the rest of the year aside from maybe a couple small getaways in the summer. I'm going to resume grinding 200nl zoom tomorrow and hope to work heavy hours for the rest of the month and gear up for a big May. My initial thoughts on 200nl is that it's going to be quite a bit harder than 100nl but the VPP rate is massively better (avg .22 at 100nl and .38 at 200nl over a 3k sample). Hopefully I can run well at 200nl so that I don't have to drop back to 100nl. Also, I'm probably a bit rusty but we shall see. Time to start chasing down SNE!

gl at the tables!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Movin' on Up- March Recap

Well, all of the work that I've been putting into my 6-max game finally started to pay off in March! I've finally nailed down what I think are near optimal opening ranges from every position, although I could be slightly off for sure and also think that the ranges are probably different at various stakes. At 100nl anyways, I feel comfortable with my opening frequencies for now though. I haven't come up with anything groundbreaking by any means and my strategy falls right in line with the standard tight from EP/MP and loosen up in later positions. It does get quite complicated, particularly in late position, when you have to decide not only with what percentage of your opening range that you want to defend with but also how you want to defend (ie calling or 4betting and what hands to do what with). Again, mainly through trial and error, I think that I'm more or less comfortable with my defending strategy and it seems to be working well so far. I don't want to get into the specifics of my opening percentages, defending %'s and defending strategy...I mean it's pretty unexploitable anyways but at least for now I'd rather keep the finer details to myself for obvious reasons.

With that said, I didn't make very much money overall in March but I'm hoping that what I learned will be valuable in the coming months of 2014. Also, considering things went so poorly for most of the month it feels good to end the month on a 25 buy-in upswing, consequently right after I made a couple of key changes to my opening ranges. I did also just flat out run way better in pretty much every way possible. Here is the month graph:

Session by day: 9 winning days after said changes
Alright, well my plan was always to move up stakes aggressively so I see no reason why I should deviate from the plan at this point. I'm going to start April off at 200nl 6-max zoom on a 10 buy-in shot. It's not much and even the very best players can rip through 10 buy-ins in a day but if that does happen, Plan B will be to drop to 100nl again until I pull back to even and then take a 5 buy-in shot at 200nl, rinse and repeat. That's obviously the worst outcome and while it is fairly likely, there are 2 other outcomes that boast very well for me. 1) obviously I win from the start and never look back and 2) I break even or stay within the 10 buy-in range for a while and earn much more VPPs in the process. This is basically how I approach moving up stakes in games that I'm not very confident in...I find a game that I'm quite confident that I can beat to fall back on (100nl) and then take a fairly low-risk shot in terms of dollars at the next level.

Volume-wise, March was decent in terms of hours and hands played but lame in terms of VPPs. I earned just around 23K, which puts me about 150K VPPs behind SNE pace at this point. Obviously, I'm hoping to make up for this in later months by playing higher stakes games :)

I'm going to not bother with a March profit tally since I'm treating April almost as a continuation of March and the $1k+ table winnings is funding my 200nl shot, more or less.

Volume will be important in April but is still not a top priority (that would be results and learning). In May, that will change as volume will most likely be my main point of focus not only for that month but the remainder of the year as I try to chase down SNE.

At this point, I may or may not be going to Mexico for a week in April. The trip is booked but I'm waiting for my passport to arrive before my flight...dealing with the passport office is one of the most tilting things that can be done so we'll see if it arrives in the mail as it's supposed to. Alright, have a great April everyone!

gl at the tables!