November 30, 2009

November results

Yeah, well, everyone wants to see everyone elses' graph, so here is mine.

I havn't been able to get the volume I want due to other things going on. Really not much point in posting a graph with less than 20k hands but.......

Actually quite happy with most of my decisions though, 1 or 2 silly mistakes but less and less as I carry on at 6max. Rakeback and bonuses take it to around $1100 at 4ptbb/100.

Really want to get 25k hands minimum in for the last month of the year if I possibly can.

November 28, 2009

Calling all-ins v Pushing all-in

We had an interesting discussion regarding All-in EV in my post a few days ago here, and that it doesn't take account of fold equity. I played a relevant hand today where I thought some of the ideas may make my own thinking a little clearer of how I act in these pots, with regard to FE.

Villian is a standard aggrodonk running at 35/25 with 11%3bet, and (naturally) a big loser at both 50nl and 100nl over a large sample.

$0.50/$1 No Limit Hold'em Cash Game, 5 Players
Poker Tools by Stoxpoker - Hand Details

Hero (MP): $133.20 (133.2 bb)
CO: $25.70 (25.7 bb)
BTN: $17.50 (17.5 bb)
SB: $103.45 (103.5 bb)
BB: $135.80 (135.8 bb)

Pre-Flop: Hero is MP with 6 of hearts 6 of diamonds
Hero raises to $3.50, CO folds, BTN calls $3.50, SB folds, BB calls $2.50

Flop: ($11) 3 of hearts 7 of clubs 6 of clubs (3 players)
BB checks, Hero bets $8, BTN folds, BB raises to $25, Hero raises to $129.70 and is all-in, BB calls $104.70

When he raises, I think he thinks he is committing himself to the hand. No preflop 3bet from him seems to me almost certainly to be either an unlikely set, or much more likely, a draw, due to the nature of the board. So lets think about things from his scenario for 1 moment. What could I have, that I shove over his check raise? Well I am going to be generous to him and include in my range overpairs from AA-JJ, which, on a bad day for me, I may indeed shove here. I could also have 77-66,33,AcJc,AcTc,9c8c,5c4c. Against this range he is 36% (see the spoiler below if you want to know what he had) and the pot odds are offering him 39%. But we were 135bb deep at the start of the hand. Similarly, and usually, I may be just folding the overpairs, which only gives him 26% equity. Would you call here?

Now lets switch that around. Lets say he donk bets 8bb, I raise 25bb, and he shoves 104bb over the top. Now factoring in the fold equity it becomes a far more reasonable play. Because I must include all sorts of mega combo draws and the 77 that crushes me in his range, making me only 54%. I still always call here against this particular opponent, but I am feeling sick.

But back to the scenario, him calling the allin with such mediocre equity, especially at these limits, seems pretty spewy, especially when you take account of the type of opponent I am (a shove from me usually means something, especially to even aggro-donk regs such as him)

Finally, by building the pot with the CR, when he is deep, he is just setting himself up for difficult decisions on later streets.

Turn: ($270.40) 5 of clubs (2 players, 1 is all-in)
River: ($270.40) 5 of hearts (2 players, 1 is all-in)
Results: $270.40 pot ($3 rake)
Final Board: 3 of hearts 7 of clubs 6 of clubs 5 of clubs 5 of hearts
Hero showed 6 of hearts 6 of diamonds (a full house, Sixes full of Fives) and won $267.40 ($134.20 net)
BB showed Q of clubs K of clubs (a flush, King high) and lost (-$133.20 net)

November 23, 2009

Nothing wrong with being a calling station sometimes

I wanted to post an example of where 3betting is sub optimal. and where you should always try to make a strategy for how you want to play the hand, based on reads and situation. So here we wake up with QQ from BB versus a TAG player on the tight/nit side of things. Now I guess the vast majority of regs 3bet here. Personally I think they do this for 2 reasons, a) they can't hand read very well, and they know it and b) they have read everywhere that you cannot play out of position without the lead.

So with QQ here, the mouse hovers over the 3bet pot button (if it exists) in auto mode. But we really need to think. Villain is 18/14 and raising 3bb from cutoff. He has a 100%cbet. He's 4betting AK, AA-KK for sure which, as a range, crushes us, and MAYBE flatting JJ-TT but he might even fold these. All other hands he is folding. Why on earth therefore would you want to 3bet him therefore???

$0.50/$1 No Limit Hold'em Cash Game, 6 Players
Poker Tools by Stoxpoker - Hand Details
MP: $124.90 (124.9 bb)
CO: $140.90 (140.9 bb)
BTN: $34.50 (34.5 bb)
SB: $50.35 (50.4 bb)
Hero (BB): $101.50 (101.5 bb)
UTG: $66.50 (66.5 bb)

Pre-Flop: Hero is BB with Q of spades Q of clubs
2 folds, CO raises to $3, 2 folds, Hero calls $2
We make a decision at the start of the hand how we want to play it (extracting max value through opponents mistakes after concealing our strength), and we stick to that throughout the hand without info to suggest we should be beat.

Flop: ($6.50) 6 of hearts 5 of clubs J of spades (2 players)
Hero checks, CO bets $4, Hero calls $4
Plan is to check call all streets, as villain spazzes once he is in the pot, as previously mentioned with cbet. If he checks the turn, we bet all cards on the river no matter what. (I would even bet if an A rivers, but I leave that to you to decide why I would do that)

Turn: ($14.50) 7 of clubs (2 players)
Hero checks, CO bets $10, Hero calls $10
Keeping to the plan. 8-9 beats us now, as do the sets, and absolutely no reason on Gods earth to raise therefore.

River: ($34.50) 8 of diamonds (2 players)
Hero checks, CO bets $42, Hero calls $42
So the mother of all scare cards comes, and he overbets the pot. Would YOU bet like that if you made the straight? Or would you value bet to get a call from a weaker hand such as 2pair? 9-10 is the nuts, and if he does have this, then it's a very, very advanced play. I don't often see a tighty raising mid connecting cards from the cut-off, and he is always checking those on the river to such a draw/set heavy board, if by chance he has indeed made 2 pair. Meanwhile our plan was to check call to extract max value using his spazzy betting, and nothing indicates that we should deviate from that. We beat 22-44, 8-9, 99,TT, all broadway and any Ax hand, as well factoring in our suspicion on his overbet, so I have to carry on with the hand.

Results: $118.50 pot ($3 rake)
Final Board: 6 of hearts 5 of clubs J of spades 7 of clubs 8 of diamonds
CO showed K of diamonds T of spades (high card King) and lost (-$59 net)
Hero showed Q of spades Q of clubs (a pair of Queens) and won $115.50 ($56.50 net)

Sure sometimes they draw out on you, and sometimes you need to re-evaluate post flop, but you will not learn to play cards and start to become able to hand read if you cannot stop auto-3betting and learning post flop strategy. And so you'll never move up.

November 20, 2009

The EV Graph-Line, Losers, Whiners and Winners

Hi there
I really never understand people posting their boring whines about running below EV. The EV line in tracking software such as PT and HEM indicates when you get your money in good, as a favourite. It’s like posting all your AA hands that were crushed by KK all-in pre-flop. Yawn…....

Anyone that whines about being unlucky has "loser" written all over them in my mind, and who probably persuades themselves eventually into seeing monsters under the bed, gorging on their bad-beat-jackpot stories and continuing their boring downward spiralling vicious circle and compounding their bad luck.

Lets just think about it for a second…….

Conversely, of course you can only run above EV when you consistently get your money in bad....makes sense no? getting your money in bad is baaaaad. Getting your money in good (ie at least 51%, but usually at least 68% upwards) means you can only be sucked out on. You can’t give the bad beat.

If you want to whine about running below EV you should see my graph, it is mouth-watering how much I should have won, a healthy 4-figure sum over the past 50k hands at my little micro limits. But I am still winning. And I still consistently get my money in good.

That’s poker is it not? And I am happy with it that way. Because I think I have an edge in poker, and that horrid EV line proves it, as does the upward winnings line over a healthy hand sample.

And you should be happy too.

I have no problems saying I think I am an excellent player, who can progress far in the game by the way. Because I believe that. And if I didn’t, I wouldn’t be playing No-Limit. Especially No-Limit, self-belief is everything, as you can’t hide behind the maths as much as you can in Limit (unless you short-stack, and you know my thoughts on that fucked-up strategy). In order to beat the psychology of the game, knowing you have an edge on even the better players is part of avoiding fear and instead making them fear you. I aspire to become better at No-limit because I honestly believe it makes me a better, stronger person.

So forget about the EV line. And Instead........?

Hate them, kill them off. And you’ll win. No friends at the tables.

November 15, 2009

Key to success at micros: part 2

I spoke about the importance at microstakes of winning the maximum from your strong hands by value betting (discussed in part 1 here), but the other essential thing for a winning player at 100nl and below is losing the minimum with your second best (yet still strong) hands. Of course these concepts are relevant at all stakes, but simply being aware of these 2 ideas alone will shoot up your winrate massively, even if you ignore everything else, at microstakes.

Of course we are talking about reading the board texture v your opponents range when facing a raise with our premium pair/TPTK type holding on a wet flop, and that has been discussed to death elsewhere. Instead I would discuss situations where getting it all in when you have the nuts, or near to it, would hold little value as you simply fold out hands that you crush. But when you have a very very strong yet non nut hand when facing action, yes you are going to lose some money sometimes, it's inevitable, but hand reading and common sense can at least save you losing your whole stack.

As usual an example to discuss: Villain is 18/14 straightforward tagnit with unbernit tendencies.
$0.50/$1 No Limit Hold'em Cash Game, 6 Players
Poker Tools by Stoxpoker - Hand Details

UTG: $100 (100 bb)
MP: $109.90 (109.9 bb)
Hero (CO): $100 (100 bb)
BTN: $36.10 (36.1 bb)
SB: $100 (100 bb)
BB: $194.30 (194.3 bb)

Pre-Flop: Hero is CO with J of clubs T of clubs
UTG folds, MP raises to $3.50, Hero calls $3.50, 3 folds
Silly to 3bet here, as the only hands that call have me beat, as do those that 4bet. His range is skewed toward AK AQ and big pairs, which JTs does well against.

Flop: ($8.50) Q of hearts 2 of clubs 9 of diamonds (2 players)
MP bets $6.50, Hero calls $6.50
We flop the draw. Based on his range, he could have TPTK, air (with AK) or a set. If a K flops and he has AK we are stacking him, with his ubernit tendencies. So I figure I have the odds to call.

Turn: ($21.50) 8 of hearts (2 players)
MP bets $14, Hero calls $14
We hit, and he keeps betting. Here is where we really need to re-examine what he could actually have here. Figures to be a combo draw with the FD, one of the other JT hands, or even naked AQ. A raise here on the turn would be correct, except this type of player stacks off lightly I think. So as he is likely to fire a final barrel, he will have to call my min raise on the river.

River: ($49.50) 2 of hearts (2 players)
MP bets $42, Hero calls $42
And here is where the point of the post really kicks in. A bad river card and a big bet from him looks like its either a set filled up or a flush. So our raising the river turns into a call.

Results: $133.50 pot ($3 rake)
Final Board: Q of hearts 2 of clubs 9 of diamonds 8 of hearts 2 of hearts
MP showed J of hearts T of hearts (a flush, Queen high) and won $130.50 ($64.50 net)
Hero mucked J of clubs T of clubs (a straight, Eight to Queen) and lost (-$66 net)

Although he had the same hand as me, I saved myself 30bb by not shoving the nuts (folding out his weaker hands and losing value) on the flop, instead with a view to getting it all in by the river, based on his betting patterns. When the unlikely flush/fullhouse card came, if we raise on the river, we only get called by hands that beat us, so we call, and lose the minimum. You can see by his stupid river bet that he was definitely going broke, had I had a set which had filled up, which was entirely possible. I should also consider a fold here, but I think it was more than 30% likely that he could have just an overpair.TP hand. I agree that a fold should be argued here and I could have found it. My real excuse was that I only noticed the backdoor flush card, and not the board pairing as well, A truly terrible card.

Finally, I would not have played a set like this. I would certainly have raised his flop cont bet to get the money in as an 75% favourite v his range, as I am more vulnerable and there are more scare cards for him too on such a wet board with 2 cards to come.

November 02, 2009

October results

Only 12k hands this month and that wasn't enough to even out the variance. A truly awful single day over 2 sessions saw me losing 14buyins. Every horror under the sun hit me that day, and it was truly amazing just how bad you can run sometimes. I got it back to 3buyins below even over the next 8k hands playing nitty ( minimise-tilt) poker before another 2 bad sessions at the weekend left me 8buyins down for the end of the month. Add back rakeback and some weird (but welcome) bonuses that FT ran and I guess I am 4buyins down for the month.

There is no point in posting the graph, its too few hands and its just one massive vertical down line followed by a steady upward and then a small downer at the end. I have been very busy with work projects and next few months is going to be as busy. I need to be getting +30k hands per month minimum to start to get a true reflection of win rate (or loss rate) or start aiming for 3month reviews instead of monthly ones if I only manage circa 10k. God, though, I really want at least 25k to get at least some momentum....

What to take from it? 14 buyins? Looking through the HHs of the session, I just not sure if I would have done much different. I dont want this blog to turn into the typical micro-whine=bad beat-i-run-sooo-bad-blog. Prob need some second opinion from a friendly patient soul. And...well, I have few losing sessions, but I occasionally have a big losing sessions followed by lots of smaller winning ones. I never have massive (ie +5buyin type) winning sessions.

My second losing month at poker since starting this heavenly game. Yuk.