Thursday, 31 July 2008

July results

So July has not treated me particularly well. I didn't get in the volume I hoped for and obviously if you don't play much a downswing is really going to hurt.

I played 185 10ers at 6.6%, which is some way below what I'd like to achieve. But over that few tourneys, variance is a killer. Taking the past two months together, it looks a lot better (21%, which is very decent, but still only a small sample size). I felt I played okay but it didn't really run for me.

In August, I plan to go back to turbos mostly. I plan to play on Stars and Tilt. On both I'll play 6.5s, and look to move up soonish. My knowledge of ICM is really not at the point where I feel I can take on the 16s on Stars, but when will it ever be if I don't study? On Tilt, I'm going to use a Kelly bankroll. That basically means I will avoid going bust rather than be a bankroll nit. I'll be moving up when I meet the Kelly criterion for each level, and moving down if I lose enough to drop down to the previous level's Kelly bankroll.

I won't go into how you figure out Kelly (you can google it if you GAF) but I currently have 300 bucks or so on Tilt, and will move up when I'm up to 390, which is what you need for Kelly at the 12s if your ROI is 5%. If my ROI isn't 5%, I need to give up STTs. That doesn't mean I will necessarily run at that next month. It means that that should be attainable in the long term.

Playing with this sort of bankroll management means you risk yoyoing between levels, but I don't mind that so much. I am giving myself a decent chance to play at higher levels by doing this, rather than inching up all the time.

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Lesson: poker principles

Some things about poker are so obvious that once you know them, it seems you always knew them, but they are actually products of experience, so you didn't know them when you started. I'm going to talk about a few in the hope it will be slightly enlightening.

The nature of poker

At first glance, poker seems like chess with a bit of randomness, or bridge, or even backgammon, but it is not. In chess, both players have complete information (can see other guy's pieces and his moves can clearly be interpreted; in bridge, all the luck is at the start, in the deal, and can be easily overcome by skill, so that skill is the predominant factor (indeed, the point of bridge is that the deal simply sets the initial conditions for the game and from that point, luck doesn't enter into it); backgammon has a random element but also has complete information--it involves short-term luck but not so much that skill doesn't quickly prevail.

But poker is different. It's a game of luck that you use skill to navigate. You don't just learn how to play and win every time you meet weaker opponents, as you can in chess or even in bridge. Your skill is simply a way to make luck work for you. (By "luck", we mean simply "random events that favour you" in this instance.) I liken skill to the air in a lifejacket, which you wear while tossed by the seas of luck.

One problem players have as they learn--and I suffer from this--is that they mistake what they are learning to do. You are learning to inflate your lifejacket, not to smooth the waves. You are still going to be rising and falling with the waves of luck. And sometimes when you're in the trough, you'll be looking up at guys with barely any air in their lifejackets, who are nonetheless enjoying the peaks.

I find that hard to bear, because one thing I have always liked in games is that they reward skill promptly. You bother to learn them and they repay you. They have an internal justice. But poker doesn't, at least not in the short term.

Most learning in poker is learning about losing.

I'll briefly touch on this because it's important to realise that most of what you learn in poker is not how to win, how to overcome villains or how to make the max, although some of it is. No, you mostly learn how not to lose. One of the first things you learn is to fold a lot. You do this because not folding loses you money. You might then learn not to call. Partly, this is because calling can't make anyone fold, removing an avenue of winning, but mostly it's because calling so often loses money. And the question you are often asking yourself is not "will I win if I call here?" but "will I lose?"

You do not know whether what you will do will make you win.

In chess, you can figure out your opponent's moves in advance, and think up countermoves. You can work out strategies that you can be sure--be you skilled enough--will win.

In poker, you can't. You can't see the other guy's cards. This has the curious outcome that even though all spots you are in have outcomes that either favour you or don't, because you do not know what he has, you must find another means of deciding on your strategy.

Good players realise this, and instead of "putting him on a hand", they "put him on a range". It sounds more complicated than it is. If a guy raises 10% of his hands and he has raised in this hand, you can assume he will have a top 10% hand. This may not be super accurate, because he might raise all the top 8% and some bits and pieces for deception, but it's as good as you're likely to get.

The flop comes and now you do not know whether it hit him or what he has. But you can figure out what he would have for each of the hands in his range, and then average it out to see how you stand. Of course, we don't do that at the table. We just think "did that flop likely hit his range?" most of the time. But sometimes--often--we consider our hand, which we know, with his range, which we can figure out, so that our play will be correct against the range, if not the hand he actually holds.

This is the best you can do in poker. The principle is that you will be in the same or similar spots many times, and the best you can do across those spots is to make the play that maximises your outcome on average.

So the guy raises, the flop comes 853 and you hold 99, so you think you may be ahead of him. His range has more unpaired overcards than pairs (I'll explain how you know this another time), so on average you are winning. He bets, you raise and...

Well, obviously, if he has AK or AQ, he folds. Nice. But if he has KK, oh dear. One outcome is wonderful; one horrible, and you can ever know which you are going to get. You will wish you had known when he shows KK!

It gets worse. Say you are considering pushing a hand, say AQ. You think the other guy will call with 20% of his hands and you are taking it that he will call the top 20%. This is an approximation, of course, because most players do not know what the top 20% does or doesn't include.

So sometimes you will get it wrong because he'll call with J7 (not top 20%), making your shove bad, and sometimes you will get it right because he'll call with AK, but oh shit, that's towards the top end of his range, and your play, good against the range, is horrible against AK.

It's almost never worth chasing.

"Chasing" is calling bets trying to hit a draw. It's not to be confused with betting a draw. In most forms of poker, particularly in cash games, you can call bets when you have the odds to do so.

What? Well, remember, we are trying to make the plays that have positive EV. If you are offered 3 to 1 by the pot and your hand is 2 to 1 to make, you will make money by calling the bet. Two out of three times you will miss your draw, but the other time you will hit and win enough money to make up for the times you miss.

No limit complicates matters because you can often get higher "implied odds" (IOW, the pot may offer you 3 to 1, but that's not all you hope to win because there will be further betting, which you hope to have the best of).

But two things should be kept firmly in mind. Effective odds--the odds you can get now--are fixed and can be counted on. Implied odds--even the improvement in your odds brought by a call from someone you are certain will call--cannot be counted on. Sometimes the other guy just doesn't pay off your set or your flush.

Setmining is the key example of a spot where you hope to have implied odds. It's t20 and some guy raises to 60. You hold a pair and call. You will hit your set about one in nine times, so you are definitely not getting the odds for your call. But you hope to be "paid off" enough the times you do to make up for all the times you don't.

If the other guy is tight though, you may not. Most raising ranges have more unpaired than paired cards, and most times the other guy has nothing after the flop. So he might cbet, and you can take that, but a tight player just won't keep throwing money your way, particularly if he realises you are also tight.

So you have to be realistic about implied odds. And on the whole that means, particulary in STTs, that you shouldn't chase draws. You'll end up regretting it, particularly because hitting doesn't improve your position as much as you hoped all that often.

This can be the one time.

Fish chase all the time. We don't mind that they do. (We only mind their hitting!) We offer them bad odds and let them try to beat us. They like to chase because they remember the time they stacked some guy with a flush, and don't remember all the missed draws (see "Salience is your enemy" below).

But when they are 4 to 1 to hit a draw, you should not forget that this can be the one. And it hurts when it is. You forget all the times they didn't get there (largely because you do not know for sure that they were calling with a draw until they hit it). But each time, this can be the one time.

Remembering this really helps you stop tilting when you lose longshot bets. It does all work out but that means that you have to lose some. A 70/30 seems like a really strong shot for you: KK vs AJ for instance. But you have to lose the 30 to win the 70, and that's a lot of losses.

Salience is your enemy.

Say you have a boyfriend. You see him every day and you get on well most of the time. Most days you meet up, have dinner and fuck, and it's all cool. But every now and then, you have a big row.

Sometimes people split up because of the big row. They forget all the cool nights and remember only the fight. That's salience. In general terms, change is salient for humans.

In poker, the times you win are not very salient, because you expect to win if you are a good player. What sticks are the times you lose horribly. For bad players, it's pretty much the other way round. They remember how great it was to have a flush, so they call bets with their sooooooted cards and chase their flushes every time.

Either way, salience is your enemy. You need to learn to play hand by hand. I remember a great post by Gigabet in which he stressed this approach, and it's only recently I've realised what he meant by it. Abandon expectations and play the hand as it is.

Actually, this is great advice for the whole of poker, and I wish I could follow it: abandon expectations and just play. You have to trust yourself to do the right thing and let the results take care of themselves.

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

I am beginning to lose the will to live. I mean, wtf. Here I'm on the bubble with a guy sitting out.

PokerStars Game #19008054802: Tournament #97205515, $10+$1 Hold'em No Limit - Level VI (100/200) - 2008/07/22 - 04:12:24 (ET)
Table '97205515 1' 9-max Seat #7 is the button
Seat 1: FR Vessant (2790 in chips)
Seat 7: nolimitaa (7690 in chips)
Seat 8: Grizzly68 (2030 in chips)
Seat 9: 1382oracle (990 in chips) is sitting out
Grizzly68: posts small blind 100
1382oracle: posts big blind 200
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to FR Vessant [As Kh]
FR Vessant: raises 400 to 600
nolimitaa: folds
Grizzly68: calls 500

Wow, he must have a very decent hand, right? Because he only needs to sit out three orbits and he makes the money.

1382oracle: folds
*** FLOP *** [6h Tc 7d]
Grizzly68: checks
FR Vessant: checks

I am not cbetting in this spot.

*** TURN *** [6h Tc 7d] [Kc]

There's my king.

Grizzly68: bets 200
FR Vessant: calls 200

Keep the pot small, just in case he has KT or a set.

*** RIVER *** [6h Tc 7d Kc] [5h]
Grizzly68: bets 600
FR Vessant: calls 600

Nothing to do but call that.

*** SHOW DOWN ***
Grizzly68: shows [Ks 7s] (two pair, Kings and Sevens)

WTF? How can you even consider calling pre with that? To be OOP with it for the whole hand? And of course he not only hits but so do I, so I can't even get away from it.

Here is a genuinely tough decision though, two hands later:

PokerStars Game #19008062829: Tournament #97205515, $10+$1 Hold'em No Limit - Level VI (100/200) - 2008/07/22 - 04:13:16 (ET)
Table '97205515 1' 9-max Seat #9 is the button
Seat 1: FR Vessant (1190 in chips)
Seat 7: nolimitaa (7990 in chips)
Seat 8: Grizzly68 (3630 in chips)
Seat 9: 1382oracle (690 in chips) is sitting out
FR Vessant: posts small blind 100
nolimitaa: posts big blind 200
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to FR Vessant [Ks Kh]

That's a very very strong hand. But I can just wait out the small stack. Believe me, this is the weakest hand I play here.

Grizzly68: folds
1382oracle: folds
FR Vessant: raises 990 to 1190 and is all-in
nolimitaa: calls 990

Oh noes. He has Ah2h though. So I have him crushed, 70/30. Come on one time!

*** FLOP *** [Jh 4c 5c]

OMG. He picks up draw, so he now has 7 outs.

*** TURN *** [Jh 4c 5c] [8h]

My heart is in my shoes. Now he has the FD. I know a heart is coming.

*** RIVER *** [Jh 4c 5c 8h] [7h]


Saturday, 12 July 2008

Lesson: Questions and answers

Okay, here are some answers to Father Luke's questions. It's easier to make a post out of them.

1. ICM

That's one way to understand ICM. Basically, it's like this. If the winner took the whole prizepool, your chips would have a linear value: in a $10 tourney, 1500 chips would be worth $10 and 13500 would be worth $900. You could evaluate actions simply by asking whether they increased your chips on average. But we don't play winner-take-all tourneys very often; we play tourneys that pay three prizes. The key point is that the top prize is only half the prizepool, so the guy who gets all the chips, he only gets half the money. So the relationship between chips and money is not linear, and we need a model of our chips' value.

What the ICM does is figure out what the stack you currently have, in relation to the other stacks, is worth. So what it does is assume that everyone has the same skill and will be affected equally by the vagaries of luck (which has the effect of making the tourney a lottery, in which bigger stacks have better chances of winning and smaller stacks worse, simply because on average the luck will even out, so having more chips will directly mean winning more). For each stack, the ICM works out how often it will win, and then how often it will be second in the case of each other player winning, and then how often it will be third in the case of each other combination of first and second. (This is why you need a computer program to figure it out: that's a hella lot of calculations.) Actually, it's calculated by taking out the winning stack and then calculating your chances of winning what is in effect a new tourney for a new prize.

Each hand affects your stack's value. It will change even if everyone folds, because the BB will gain the small blind's halfbet, making him slightly more likely to win, and changing your equity because every change in others' stacks affects how often you place. Even a change of one chip will affect you in a tiny way!

To help you understand, use this site:

a. Give Player 1 through Player 9 1500 chips.
b. Hit calculate ICM. You can see that everyone's equity is 0.1111. This is 1/9, and if you look under each player, you can see why: everyone has an equal chance of filling every spot (this isn't true in a real tourney of course, because you don't have equal skill).
c. Give Player 9 0 chips and increase Player 1 to 3000 chips. This is what happens when Player 1 doubles up through Player 9.
d. Hit calculate ICM. Now Player 1's chances of winning are double. (Look underneath his name and it says 0.222 for first, which is 2/9. He takes Player 2's chance of winning. But look at his ICM equity. It is not .222. Why? Because he is not twice as likely to be second! There are now eight players, and he is 2/9 to finish first. When he finishes first, someone else must come second. Do you see? The other players share Player 1's surplus minor places. In a winner-take-all tourney, Player 1 doubles the value of his stack, because there are no other prize places to be filled. But in a normal STT, he cannot double his chances of winning all three places, because someone else has to come second and third. He has taken all Player 9's chances of winning (his chances of first go from .111 to .222, but he can't take all his chances of coming second.

2. Push/fold at <10BB

The BB is the big blind, the forced bet that one player makes each round. You begin at t20, which means that the player in the big blind pays 20 chips. Your stack is 1350, so you have 67.5BB.

As the game progresses, the blinds rise. With luck, your stack gets bigger, but even if does, you will have fewer BBs each time the blinds rise. If it's t50, and you still have 1350 chips, you have 27BB. If it's t100, and you have 1350 chips, you have 13.5BB. You have the same chips, and if everyone was still in, and still had the same stack, you'd have the same dollar equity too. But the rising blinds change everything quickly. Each orbit (round of everyone paying the blinds) costs 1.5BB (more when the antes are introduced). That's not too painful when you have 67.5BB, making only tiny changes in your equity, but it hurts when you have few BB, because the amount you are losing not only costs you a lot of equity but brings you closer to being "blinded out"--reaching the point at which paying the blinds leaves you with no chips at all.

You'll become adept at working out how many BB you have (it's important to us), and it's easy enough. If it's t100, you can take the last two figures off your stack and that's basically how many BB you have: 1400 chips is 14BB. If it's t200, you can do the same and halve the result. The same stack would be 7BB.

There are two technical reasons for saying your only play is shove or fold under 10BB. The first is that you want to increase your "fold equity". If you raise, everyone will fold some of the time, and you will win the blinds. Which is cool. We're always happy to increase our stack with no risk of being busted. If you shove, there is more chance everyone folds. Your fold equity is (increase in equity if everyone folds) x (chance everyone folds). It's usually increased if you shove because there's more chance of everyone's folding. Sometimes, you have to do the "wrong" thing because when it works it will preserve your fold equity. (The kind of thing I mean is to take a shove when it's -EV because if you don't, you will in the next couple of hands have to pay the blinds, diminishing your chances of folding everyone out next time you shove).

The other reason is that if you make a standard raise, and someone shoves, you will be priced in to call. Say you have 10BB in the cutoff. You raise to 3BB and the BB puts you all in. You are now asked to call a bet of 7BB to win 13.5BB (the 3BB you've already put in plus the 10BB the BB has put in plus the 0.5BB the SB paid). That's nearly 2 to 1. It's pretty unlikely you have a hand that isn't better than 2 to 1 against the BB's range, so folding would be a mathematical mistake. We try to avoid them. But we don't want to call for all our chips if we can help it. In an STT, we want to avoid confrontation.

3. When to call shoves

No. If the EV is more than the EV for folding, you should call. But it's the EV in dollars, not chips. You should be calling shoves very rarely because of your strong awareness that the chips you win are not worth the same as the chips you lose.

4. Ranges and equity

Say your opponent shoves. What does he have? Well, you know he has a particular hand but you cannot know which one. So what can you do? Well, you can work out which hands he might have. (Figuring this out is one of the hardest skills to acquire in STTs, and it's very valuable.) The hands someone might have given any particular action are his "range". Because we are maximising our wins over the long run, we try to make the correct play in each spot, because that will give us the greatest win when we average out how we did over the long run. So this time he as 87s, and we have a certain amount of equity against that, but next time he might have ATo, and we have a different amount of equity against that. But we make the play that makes most money against both. It might make more against 87s and less against ATo and another play might make more against ATo and less against 87s, but we don't know which he has. So we play against the whole range.

What do I mean by "equity"? It's just a fancy word for your chances. We analyse poker hands with "point in time" calculations, so we give hands a value at the point of decision. The guy shoves. You have a certain hand. If you call, you're going to either win or lose. Say he covers you. You will either double up or be busted. Your probabilities for this hand are of course 1 and 0 (1 = you win, 0 = you lose). It depends what you both have and how the board runs out. But you can't read the future, so you don't know which probability you have. What you can do is work out, if you ran it a billion times, what your chances are. A billion is probably enough to work out your "real" chances (as the number of trials increases, you get ever closer, so that at infinity trials, you'd know exactly what your chances are). You aren't going to be in this spot a billion times, but you play as though you were. (If you've read boots' comments, you'll perhaps see that this is what he disparages in my method: he focuses on the truth that I am making a decision that has only two outcomes as though it had a billion. I say that without knowledge which of the two outcomes will occur, I must make my decision according to which is most likely, and risk the bad outcome when the likelihood is that I increase the value of my stack, even though with any given decision, I will not increase it by the average amount I consider, but by either of the two extremes. Such is probability though.)

So when I say "You have to put your opponent on a range of hands (. . .) calculate your equity against (that range)", I mean:

a. Decide which hands your opponent is likely to have pushed. These generally form a range, and mostly for convenience we count them from the top down in percentiles. We say "he's pushing the top 10%" to mean he pushes the strong hands that on average do the best against a "random hand".
b. Work out how you fare against that whole range, rather than against any particular hand in it, over enough trials (running out of the board) to approximate your "real" chances.

We do this using software, because calculating it is very difficult. You can use lookup tables to figure out your chances against percentage ranges. (I have one that a friend gave me, which saved me the work I was doing on figuring it out with PokerStove.)

PokerStove is useful for calculating your chances against ranges. SNG Wiz calculates how your dollar equity will change against ranges.

The bottom line is, you do it against ranges because poker is a game of incomplete information: you don't know what cards your villain has. But you can use your skill at assembling information to figure out what cards he might have. It's the same at any point in a game. You interpret bets and calls according to the player. Each is conveying information, which you hope to be able to use.

5. Shoving vs calling

This is how a "pushbot" strategy works. Grasp this and you are on the road to becoming good at STTs.

When you push, three things can happen. Either everyone folds, or someone calls and you win, or someone calls and you lose.

When you call, only two things can happen. You either win or you lose.

So when you shove, so long as all the players have a range that is smaller than any two cards, sometimes you will win the blinds without contest. That increases your equity without risk. When called, you will then put your hand up against his hand, and you will have some chance of doubling up and increasing your equity that way.

Let's say we are in the small blind and we are shoving 10BB into the big blind. He also has about 10BB. He will call with the top 20% of hands (for our purposes here, we're assuming we know exactly what his calling range is--20% is on the loose side and most players will call a bit tighter, but this guy has told us that he will call with the top 20%). If we ran it a hundred times, 80 of those times, we would simply win the blinds. The other 20, we would be up against a top 20% hand. But whatever we hold, we have some chance of winning. Even 72o, the worst hand, has equity against AA, the best, simply because there are boards like K7743 and 8725Q.

As it happens, you should shove 72 in that spot, because the 80 times he folds increase your equity enough to make up for the 20 times you are called and mostly lose. If you had 20BB, you would have to fold, because you have more at stake and do not win enough when he folds.

But if you call a shove, you gain no risk-free chips. So you must beat his range sufficiently to make the EV of calling greater than your EV would have been if you had just folded. (Again, your actual equity will either increase by up to 1.8x or be reduced to 0, but you don't know which will happen. In effect, you work this out by solving this equation: (chances of winning x equity when you win) - (equity if you just fold). If it's greater than 0, you should call. But you need to be a pretty big favourite, usually, for it to be greater than 0.)

So don't think of it as "gambling" on shoves, because it's completely the opposite. When you shove you have fold equity: remember, the increase in your equity times the chance that everyone folds, as well as hand equity if called. Getting others to fold doesn't require gambling. It's risk-free gain the times they fold. If you call a shove, you cannot gain fold equity.

Friday, 11 July 2008


So I made a video, and after much cuntsing around, I've managed to make it small enough to upload:

It's not always easy to see the bet sizes or stacks, but you can at least hear me droning on and can laugh along with me as I suck out time and again. Trust me, the best lesson you're ever going to learn in poker is how to win when you're miles behind.


This is now getting beyond a joke.

PokerStars Game #18730633755: Tournament #95246525, $10+$1 Hold'em No Limit - Level III (25/50) - 2008/07/10 - 22:06:45 (ET)
Table '95246525 1' 9-max Seat #8 is the button
Seat 1: mrdrew34 (1230 in chips)
Seat 2: Theire (2065 in chips)
Seat 3: goalbyrick (1825 in chips)
Seat 4: Tiagostuve (990 in chips)
Seat 5: Reb3186 (1370 in chips)
Seat 6: fgrthodds (1675 in chips)
Seat 7: FR Vessant (1335 in chips)
Seat 8: garsand (1425 in chips)
Seat 9: alain97228 (1585 in chips)
alain97228: posts small blind 25
mrdrew34: posts big blind 50
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to FR Vessant [Qd Qh]
Theire: calls 50
goalbyrick: folds
Tiagostuve: folds
Reb3186: folds
fgrthodds: raises 200 to 250
FR Vessant: raises 1085 to 1335 and is all-in
garsand: folds
alain97228: folds
mrdrew34: folds
Theire: folds
fgrthodds: calls 1085
*** FLOP *** [2h Kd 5h]
*** TURN *** [2h Kd 5h] [Ac]
*** RIVER *** [2h Kd 5h Ac] [9c]
*** SHOW DOWN ***
fgrthodds: shows [Ad Ks] (two pair, Aces and Kings)
FR Vessant: shows [Qd Qh] (a pair of Queens)
fgrthodds collected 2795 from pot
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 2795 | Rake 0
Board [2h Kd 5h Ac 9c]
Seat 1: mrdrew34 (big blind) folded before Flop
Seat 2: Theire folded before Flop
Seat 3: goalbyrick folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 4: Tiagostuve folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 5: Reb3186 folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 6: fgrthodds showed [Ad Ks] and won (2795) with two pair, Aces and Kings
Seat 7: FR Vessant showed [Qd Qh] and lost with a pair of Queens
Seat 8: garsand (button) folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 9: alain97228 (small blind) folded before Flop


This is what you have to guard against when you take a few bad beats. You start just not wanting to be beat.

PokerStars Game #18730142035: Tournament #95246525, $10+$1 Hold'em No Limit - Level I (10/20) - 2008/07/10 - 21:42:26 (ET)
Table '95246525 1' 9-max Seat #1 is the button
Seat 1: mrdrew34 (1500 in chips)
Seat 2: Theire (1500 in chips)
Seat 3: goalbyrick (1500 in chips)
Seat 4: Tiagostuve (1500 in chips)
Seat 5: Reb3186 (1500 in chips)
Seat 6: fgrthodds (1500 in chips)
Seat 7: FR Vessant (1500 in chips)
Seat 8: garsand (1500 in chips)
Seat 9: alain97228 (1500 in chips)
Theire: posts small blind 10
goalbyrick: posts big blind 20
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to FR Vessant [Jd Js]
Tiagostuve: folds
Reb3186: folds
fgrthodds: folds
FR Vessant: raises 60 to 80

Standard raise with JJ early.

garsand: folds
alain97228: folds
mrdrew34: folds
Theire: calls 70
goalbyrick: folds
*** FLOP *** [6d 2h 4h]
Theire: checks
FR Vessant: bets 120
Theire: calls 120

I don't mind being called because he's pretty unlikely to have me beat here, and quite likely to have hit the flop in some way.

*** TURN *** [6d 2h 4h] [7h]

Not a good card for me obviously.

Theire: checks
FR Vessant: checks

I check behind for pot control.

*** RIVER *** [6d 2h 4h 7h] [3s]
Theire: bets 380
FR Vessant: calls 380

And should fold here. I'm obviously beaten. But I don't want to be.

*** SHOW DOWN ***
Theire: shows [5h Ah] (a flush, Ace high)

Awful call preflop. Not so bad on the flop but he should raise mostly.

FR Vessant: mucks hand
Theire collected 1180 from pot


Same player.

PokerStars Game #18730251657: Tournament #95246525, $10+$1 Hold'em No Limit - Level I (10/20) - 2008/07/10 - 21:47:51 (ET)
Table '95246525 1' 9-max Seat #7 is the button
Seat 1: mrdrew34 (1810 in chips)
Seat 2: Theire (1930 in chips)
Seat 3: goalbyrick (1450 in chips)
Seat 4: Tiagostuve (1470 in chips)
Seat 5: Reb3186 (1470 in chips)
Seat 6: fgrthodds (1540 in chips)
Seat 7: FR Vessant (890 in chips)
Seat 8: garsand (1480 in chips)
Seat 9: alain97228 (1460 in chips)
garsand: posts small blind 10
alain97228: posts big blind 20
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to FR Vessant [As 3s]
mrdrew34: folds
Theire: calls 20
goalbyrick: folds
Tiagostuve: calls 20
Reb3186: folds
fgrthodds: folds
FR Vessant: calls 20
garsand: calls 10
alain97228: checks
*** FLOP *** [8c Ad Tc]
garsand: checks
alain97228: checks
Theire: checks
Tiagostuve: checks
FR Vessant: bets 80

Hope to take it down, but basically betting to protect my hand against the draws that are out there.

garsand: folds
alain97228: folds
Theire: calls 80

Fish can have anything though. His range includes tons of draws, so we'll see what turn brings.

Tiagostuve: folds
*** TURN *** [8c Ad Tc] [2d]

That's a pretty safe card.

Theire: bets 40

Oh dear. I'm probably behind whatever the fish is betting here. Maybe Ax?

FR Vessant: calls 40

But the odds are so good I have to call.

*** RIVER *** [8c Ad Tc 2d] [Qc]
Theire: checks
FR Vessant: checks
*** SHOW DOWN ***
Theire: shows [Ac Ah] (three of a kind, Aces)


Absolutely speechless.


PokerStars Game #18730206844: Tournament #95245976, $10+$1 Hold'em No Limit - Level I (10/20) - 2008/07/10 - 21:45:38 (ET)
Table '95245976 1' 9-max Seat #1 is the button
Seat 1: Yatimoviaz (2890 in chips)
Seat 2: PianoPro (1370 in chips)
Seat 3: duval76 (1450 in chips)
Seat 4: Purjus (1330 in chips)
Seat 5: FR Vessant (1450 in chips)
Seat 6: spideylives2 (1440 in chips)
Seat 8: gary319 (2110 in chips)
Seat 9: MagyarSHU (1460 in chips)
PianoPro: posts small blind 10
duval76: posts big blind 20
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to FR Vessant [Qh Ac]
Purjus: calls 20
FR Vessant: calls 20

Purjus is reasonably tight, so I limp behind.

gary319 said, "figured"
spideylives2: raises 20 to 40

Retarded minraise. This guy sucks. I've played him before.

gary319: folds
MagyarSHU: folds
Yatimoviaz: calls 40
PianoPro: folds
duval76: folds
Purjus: calls 20
FR Vessant: calls 20
*** FLOP *** [Tc 2d 6h]

Not a great flop but unlikely to have hit retard.

Purjus: checks
FR Vessant: checks
spideylives2: bets 60

Looks like a cbet, so I'll float.

Yatimoviaz: folds
Purjus: folds
FR Vessant: calls 60
*** TURN *** [Tc 2d 6h] [3s]
FR Vessant: checks
spideylives2: bets 100

Still doesn't look like he has anything.

FR Vessant: calls 100
*** RIVER *** [Tc 2d 6h 3s] [2c]
FR Vessant: checks
spideylives2: bets 260

Erm. Maybe he does though?

FR Vessant: calls 260


*** SHOW DOWN ***
spideylives2: shows [Ah 2h] (three of a kind, Deuces)

I think that if you are going to minraise with that shit, the least the poker gods can do is have a Q come on the flop and let you bust yourself.


Luckily, bad players will always do their best to get you back into it:

PokerStars Game #18730380497: Tournament #95245976, $10+$1 Hold'em No Limit - Level II (15/30) - 2008/07/10 - 21:54:11 (ET)
Table '95245976 1' 9-max Seat #1 is the button
Seat 1: Yatimoviaz (2990 in chips)
Seat 2: PianoPro (1300 in chips)
Seat 3: duval76 (1460 in chips)
Seat 4: Purjus (1245 in chips)
Seat 5: FR Vessant (930 in chips)
Seat 6: spideylives2 (2355 in chips)
Seat 8: gary319 (2230 in chips)
Seat 9: MagyarSHU (990 in chips)
PianoPro: posts small blind 15
duval76: posts big blind 30
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to FR Vessant [Ac Ad]
Purjus: calls 30
FR Vessant: raises 120 to 150

Not my standard raise but I want to deny Purjus setmining odds. I think it's okay anyway, because if they call 120, they won't fold for the other 30.

spideylives2: folds
gary319: folds
MagyarSHU: folds
Yatimoviaz: folds
PianoPro: folds
duval76: folds
Purjus: calls 120
*** FLOP *** [9s Kd 4d]
Purjus: bets 1095 and is all-in

Well, you can do one of two things here. He's a semitight, winning player (although marginally so), so he should have KK/99/44 here, and you could make a hero fold.

Or you can assume that the reason he's not winning all that much is that he makes completely retarded plays (like our friend duval), and snap it off.

Who am I kidding? I am never folding AA when it's an overpair, particularly not on a K high board (which he can have hit) and doubly not when there's a flush draw there. I snapcalled.

He shows 22.

Nice bluff, dude.

FR Vessant: calls 780 and is all-in
Uncalled bet (315) returned to Purjus
*** TURN *** [9s Kd 4d] [Qd]
*** RIVER *** [9s Kd 4d Qd] [3c]
*** SHOW DOWN ***
Purjus: shows [2s 2c] (a pair of Deuces)
FR Vessant: shows [Ac Ad] (a pair of Aces)
FR Vessant collected 1905 from pot

Damn duval

Here's a great start to the day.

PokerStars Game #18729018817: Tournament #95234941, $10+$1 Hold'em No Limit - Level VI (100/200) - 2008/07/10 - 20:46:53 (ET)
Table '95234941 1' 9-max Seat #6 is the button
Seat 3: carl carson (6425 in chips)
Seat 4: duval76 (4260 in chips)
Seat 6: FR Vessant (2815 in chips)
carl carson: posts small blind 100
duval76: posts big blind 200
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to FR Vessant [Jd Qh]
FR Vessant: raises 300 to 500

Reasonable to raise this.

carl carson: calls 400
duval76: calls 300

Oh dear. Don't want to be called in two places.

*** FLOP *** [Qd 6s Jh]

Superb flop though.

carl carson: bets 600

Brilliant. I will obviously be raising. I am looking at the pot, working out whether I should shove, when...

duval76: raises 3160 to 3760 and is all-in
FR Vessant: calls 2315 and is all-in

Snapcall. He shows Q9. Terrible really. He is drawing dead to running cards, two 9s or K, T in either order.
carl carson: folds
Uncalled bet (1445) returned to duval76
*** TURN *** [Qd 6s Jh] [Ks]


*** RIVER *** [Qd 6s Jh Ks] [Th]


Oh well. I was only a 50/1 favourite.

Believe it or not, it gets easier to bear beats like that.


Same guy.

PokerStars Game #18729899960: Tournament #95240601, $10+$1 Hold'em No Limit - Level IV (50/100) - 2008/07/10 - 21:30:18 (ET)
Table '95240601 1' 9-max Seat #1 is the button
Seat 1: leosaye (2090 in chips)
Seat 3: duval76 (1340 in chips)
Seat 4: FR Vessant (1705 in chips)
Seat 5: mago23 (1860 in chips)
Seat 6: Qu├ębecois111 (2155 in chips)
Seat 9: Croustillant (4350 in chips)
duval76: posts small blind 50
FR Vessant: posts big blind 100
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to FR Vessant [8c As]
mago23: folds
Qu├ębecois111: folds
Croustillant: folds
leosaye: folds
duval76: raises 1240 to 1340 and is all-in

I put him on a wide range here.

FR Vessant: calls 1240

So I call.

He has QJ. His play stinks. Again.

*** FLOP *** [6c 8s Js]


*** TURN *** [6c 8s Js] [4s]
*** RIVER *** [6c 8s Js 4s] [Qh]
*** SHOW DOWN ***
duval76: shows [Jc Qs] (two pair, Queens and Jacks)
FR Vessant: shows [8c As] (a pair of Eights)
FR Vessant said, "sigh"
duval76 collected 2680 from pot
FR Vessant said, "sucked out on me again"


Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Bad bluffs r us

Hilarious. Same guy who had the T6 earlier:

PokerStars Game #18522543165: Tournament #94144547, $10+$1 Hold'em No Limit - Level IV (50/100) - 2008/07/01 - 23:53:48 (ET)
Table '94144547 1' 9-max Seat #7 is the button
Seat 1: FR Vessant (1420 in chips)
Seat 5: schpat (2085 in chips)
Seat 6: ImSlumPappie (4320 in chips)
Seat 7: dELmASTRO (2725 in chips)
Seat 9: cleaner05 (2950 in chips)
cleaner05: posts small blind 50
FR Vessant: posts big blind 100
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to FR Vessant [9c Js]
ImSlumPappie said, "ugggh"
schpat: folds
ImSlumPappie: calls 100
dELmASTRO: folds
cleaner05: folds
FR Vessant: checks
*** FLOP *** [9h 7s 9d]


ImSlumPappie said, "runner runner"
FR Vessant: checks

No need to bet. He's sure to put money in on a paired flop. There are no realistic strong draws here either.

ImSlumPappie: bets 200
FR Vessant: calls 200

Just call and hope he tries again on turn.

*** TURN *** [9h 7s 9d] [3s]
FR Vessant: checks
ImSlumPappie: checks

Nope. Okay, we'll put in one for value on river.

*** RIVER *** [9h 7s 9d 3s] [8d]

Not a great card for us because it makes a straight for JT, but luckily we have a J, so that hand is pretty unlikely. 88 is the only hand he can realistically beat us with. You'd have to consider him unlikely to have slowplayed 33 and I can't see 77 slowing down on the turn.

FR Vessant: bets 400
ImSlumPappie: raises 1300 to 1700
FR Vessant: calls 720 and is all-in
Uncalled bet (580) returned to ImSlumPappie
*** SHOW DOWN ***
ImSlumPappie: shows [Ts Qc] (a pair of Nines)
FR Vessant: shows [9c Js] (three of a kind, Nines)
FR Vessant collected 2890 from pot


Meanwhile, the curse of the bitches strikes again:

PokerStars Game #18522616249: Tournament #94144314, $10+$1 Hold'em No Limit - Level V (75/150) - 2008/07/01 - 23:58:06 (ET)
Table '94144314 1' 9-max Seat #8 is the button
Seat 1: profunds (1100 in chips)
Seat 3: TDSpecial (5955 in chips)
Seat 5: PJ SHARPIE (1620 in chips)
Seat 7: inteloutside (1275 in chips)
Seat 8: IWearPullups (2375 in chips)
Seat 9: FR Vessant (1175 in chips)
FR Vessant: posts small blind 75
profunds: posts big blind 150
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to FR Vessant [Ah Kh]
TDSpecial: folds
inteloutside: raises 150 to 300
IWearPullups: calls 300
FR Vessant: raises 875 to 1175 and is all-in
profunds: folds
inteloutside: raises 100 to 1275 and is all-in
IWearPullups: folds
Uncalled bet (100) returned to inteloutside
*** FLOP *** [4c 7d 8s]
*** TURN *** [4c 7d 8s] [7h]
*** RIVER *** [4c 7d 8s 7h] [Qd]
*** SHOW DOWN ***
FR Vessant: shows [Ah Kh] (a pair of Sevens)
inteloutside: shows [Qc Qh] (a full house, Queens full of Sevens)
inteloutside collected 2800 from pot
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 2800 | Rake 0
Board [4c 7d 8s 7h Qd]
Seat 1: profunds (big blind) folded before Flop
Seat 3: TDSpecial folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 5: PJ SHARPIE folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 7: inteloutside showed [Qc Qh] and won (2800) with a full house, Queens full of Sevens
Seat 8: IWearPullups (button) folded before Flop
Seat 9: FR Vessant (small blind) showed [Ah Kh] and lost with a pair of Sevens

Of course I know that the minraise can be a big hand when a tight player makes it, but even if I knew he had QQ, I wouldn't fold.

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

June results

So a bit of runbad caught up with me towards the end of the month, but June was okay. I played exclusively 10ers, and didn't have as much time for it as I'd hoped. I wanted to get 400 games in, and managed 160

games ROI ITM profit rake hours $/hr
June 2008 160 38.1 54.4 $670.00 $160.00 69.9 $9.59

54.4% is a ton to get in the money, but my results weren't close to as hot as that suggests. A look at my finish distribution shows why (1st to 9th):

13.8 18.8 21.9 9.4 13.8 8.8 6.3 3.1 4.4

A good distribution is 1>3>2=5>4

Mine is 3>2>1=5>4, which tells you that either I snuck into the money a few times with small stacks (true) or played relatively badly ITM and didn't turn decent stacks into firsts often enough (also true). So both.

As with the 5s, I'm looking to play 1K 10ers before drawing conclusions, so I have a way to go.

For July, I am going to aim again for 400, probably 300+ 10s and some 20s and 6.5s in the mix. Given that I aim in the long run to play more than 400 each week, you can see that I still have a mountain to climb.