Attitude in poker

I’ve said before that I think one of my biggest strengths is that I don’t tilt. Sometimes when I tell people this they don’t understand what it really means. It doesn’t mean that bad beats aren’t aggravating or that I never curse at showdown to myself. It just means that the results of one hand don’t carry over to my play of the next one. This was literally the first hand I played tonight:

PokerStars 15/30 Hold’em (8 handed)

Preflop: Hero is BB with :Ks, :Kd. MP1 posts a blind of $15.
UTG calls, UTG+1 calls, MP1 (poster) checks, 3 folds, SB completes, Hero raises, UTG 3-bets, UTG+1 calls, MP1 calls, SB calls, Hero caps, UTG calls, UTG+1 calls, MP1 calls, SB calls.
Capped five ways with KK. This is like the old microlimit days. UTG did limp-raise, but he’s pretty lame — could be a wide range.

Flop: (20 SB) :8d, :Jd, :Kc (5 players)
SB checks, Hero bets, UTG raises, UTG+1 calls, MP1 calls, SB folds, Hero 3-bets, UTG caps, UTG+1 calls, MP1 calls, Hero calls.
Top set! Bingo time! I lead and the damn UTG raises, suggesting AK or AA now. I’m a bit bummed because this should thin the field. To my astonishment, 4 of the 5 call four bets.

Turn: (18 BB) :Ac (4 players)
Hero bets, UTG raises, UTG+1 calls, MP1 calls, Hero 3-bets, UTG calls, UTG+1 calls, MP1 calls.
The Ace isn’t ideal. If UTG was on AA, he passed me. However, it could be AK so I gotta test him. When he doesn’t cap, I’m pretty sure I’m still good.

River: (30 BB) :5c (4 players)
Hero bets, UTG calls, UTG+1 raises, MP1 calls, Hero calls, UTG calls $9 (All-In).
I’m hoping that the backdoor flush didn’t hit, but when I get raised that pretty much means ut did. I’m pretty sure I’m dead, but I can’t fold in a 36 bet pot.

Now check out the hands and reflect on the action.

Final Pot: 37.30 BB
Results below:
Hero has :Ks :Kd (three of a kind, kings).
UTG has :Ad :Qd (one pair, aces).
UTG+1 has :Jc :Qc (flush, ace high).
MP1 has :Ah :Th (OMFG!).
Outcome: UTG+1 wins 37.30 BB.

The eventual winner of the pot called four bets on the flop with second pair in a pot where clearly that was no good. Two pair wasn’t good either. Trips wasn’t good either. His only outs were to runner-runner flush. So he hit them. UTG actually played OK, he has a gutshot and the nut flush draw on the flop, so I’d jam there too. He maybe shouldn’t raise the turn, but no real quibble there. MP1 was quite optimistic there. Maybe AT is good for two more on the river there.

Now I was unhappy that I dropped 9 big bets instead of winning 28 on a bad beat, but it didn’t change my approach to the next hand. I just shrugged and kept playing my game. An hour or two later, I hit a suckout against a regular. It was a pretty standard hand for me, I defended my blind with QT, check-raised a JTx flop, he three bet with KK. I check-called the turn and check-raised the river when I hit another T. He ranted in the chat box and began to tilt off money right and left. Whenever I raised, he tried to get in the pot. He three bet me super-light and raised every hand I limped. Needless to say, this approach of trying to play every pot he could with his “enemy” didn’t turn out well for him. I didn’t get all his money, but he gave it all up to someone at the table. This kind of emotional response will kill you. I know a number of good players who turn into bad players when they are tilting. Don’t let it happen to you.

Here’s one more hand. This is one where you sometimes take a chance that defies the odds.

PokerStars 15/30 Hold’em (10 handed)

Preflop: Hero is Button with :5d, :Jh.
7 folds, Button raises, SB 3-bets, 1 fold, Hero calls.
I’ll admit that Jackson Five is a bit loose to be blind stealing with, but I felt like I was really being allowed to run over the table, so I was going to keep pushing until they fought back. The SB had apparently had enough. He probably had a decent hand, since he had let me crush him for a while prior to this one.

Flop: (7 SB) :Ah, :Qc, :4d (2 players)
SB bets, Button raises, SB folds.
This is a terrible flop for me, of course. If we assume that he is pretty tight (I do), his range is very heavily weighted towards Aces. Thereis an extremely good chance he has one. The only thing is that when he doesn’t have one, he is going to hate this flop more than me. He figures I’m an any-Ace raising maniac, so he is probably already thinking “Great, this idiot hit another one” I’m risking two bets to win eight. I need to get a fold 25% of the time. I think I probably do.

So I had a pretty good day after I recovered from the initial beat down. I think I was up a bit more than $600 on the day and I’m back in the black for the month. 5,600 VPPs and counting.


Poker Sucks!

That was the mantra of our little band when we were all ejected from the main event on day one last year.  We all felt that we were playing better than most of our tables, but for various reasons things didn’t go our way and we all ended up drinking heavily and clinking glasses to hearty toasts of “poker sucks!”  Its a bit like that for me today.  I had another losing day with a fairly substantial number of hands and I ended up dropping about $400 on the day.  I’ve actually entered into negative territory for the month now, which is somewhat grim.  In the big picture, I’m still ahead of expectation earn rate wise for the year, but this month has been mostly ugly.  I got stacked at NL in a short session in a hand where the stacks weren’t deep enough to get away from AA and a set cleaned me out.  I was up and down at 30/60 and ended up losing a bit there in the late night shift.  I’m up to 5,200 VPPs, so well ahead of plan there.

I don’t even feel like posting hands.  I will be doing some hand history review later, so if I see some kind of systemic error I’ll post about it next time.

Suited and I spent the day researching appliances and kitchen remodel stuff.  My brain is swimming.  I have feigned opinions on wood stains and cabinet styles for long enough that I’m actually starting to think I have some.


Lots of hands today, lighting money on fire.

I have no one to blame for today’s debacle but PokerElmo.  I was sailing along at $400 NL, crushing it to death for 16 ptbb/100.  He pops up in the comments and says “not sustainable” and “5 ptbb/100 is probably more realistic.”  As today drew to a close, my $400 NL earn rate is now 4.87 ptbb/100.  I need dumber friends.

I dropped four buy-ins in an astonishingly short period of time.  Sadly, only one was a bad beat.  I lost two flips, once with AK and the other time with QQ.  No Ace when I need it and two of them when he needed one.  C’est la vie.  The fourth one was a poker embarrassment.  Remember the rule that the fourth raise pre-flop is always Aces?  I didn’t and got stacked with JJ when I somehow wishful thinkinged myself into a braindead call.  Such a fish play.  I was disgusted and went back to limit.  I actually recovered all the $1,200 I was down at one point on the limit tables and then eventually gave most all of it back.  It was a miserable day results-wise where I ended up down over $1,000 again.

However, I am quite sure I played pretty well.  Big pairs went down in flames over and over and sets lost to runner-runner crap, so I’m not troubled about that.  I did win a satellite into the big weekly VIP freeroll and I played a lot of hands.  My VPP count is now 4,800, so almost halfway to the monthly goal.


The psychology of NL cash games

NL cash games are such a completely different mindset than the other forms of poker that I play most often. In limit poker, the best players aggressively pursue very small edges. As a result, the things we do sometimes look insane to the outside observer. One of the very worst things that you can do as a limit player is to imagine the worst case hand that the other guy can hold. On the forum, we call it “monsters under the bed” syndrome. You can’t be that worried about the big hand the other guy might hold when you have a medium strong hand because you can’t ever lose that much when he does. If the pot has ten bets in it on the river, you have to bet pretty many hands because the worst case is you lose two bets, so you just need to get called twice as often as you get sandbagged. In NL, you have to be very careful because the penalty for betting could be getting raised for your whole stack. Pushing hard with medium strength hands is rare. At the relatively modest level I’m playing ($400 NL), there are often long, long stretches of time without any big pots and then one or two monster pots and then long periods of quiet. There seem to be two main types of players, those who play relatively few hands (usually on a bunch of tables) and wait to hit big. They usually make one or maybe two continuation bets with their overpairs and trap with their sets. Once the pots get big, they are capable of big bluffs, but usually they don’t contest the smaller pots. A lot of these guys love the small blocking/probe bets, especially on the flop and turn. The other main school are fewer in number, but much more interesting. They play a ton more flops, especially in position and they thrive on the pots that no one else wants to pick up. They look for signs that a board is scary or people are weak and try to claim all the orphan pots. They float the pre-flop raisers who make one c-bet and give up a lot. They bluff raise scare cards and I think they are making more money on average than the other guys. I’m more of a guy from the former camp, but I have a few elements of the second style in my soul. I don’t play so many pots and I don’t steal as many pots, but I try to find spots to get more than my share of the big ones. I’d love to watch a true LAG play NL ring. From what I have seen so far, he could do pretty well if he knew how to smell out the traps.  It also plays a lot differently than MTT poker, where you see a lot more aggression, especially pre-flop.  I suspect that the bigger games play more aggressively.

I played for two hours (more or less) last night and did pretty well. My biggest hand was flopping bottom set against top two pair, which pretty much played itself (all in on the flop, quads on the turn). I also won a big pot with top two against an overpair. This hand was my biggest loser, which I think I misplayed in hindsight:

PokerStars No-Limit Hold’em, $4 BB (9 handed)
saw flop|saw showdown
SB ($414)
BB ($439)
UTG ($84)
UTG+1 ($82.05)
MP1 ($543)
MP2 ($897.60)
MP3 ($936.45)
CO ($287.20)
Hero – Button ($422)

Preflop: Hero is Button with :Tc, :Qh.
1 fold, UTG+1 calls $4, 3 folds, CO calls $4, Hero calls $4, SB completes, BB checks.
In position on a limped hand, I like to see flops. Maybe unwise with such a weak hand.

Flop: ($20) :Ts, :Qs, :7c (5 players)
SB checks, BB bets $12, UTG+1 folds, CO calls $12, Button raises to $56, SB folds, BB raises to $180, CO folds, Button raises to $418, BB calls $238.
I think the first raise is manditory, but the push might have been wrong? Maybe I can push a non-spade turn and fold some hands? But I can’t fold to a spade, can I? Maybe I was fated to get stacked regardless. As it turns out, with :Ks :Js, he has a massive draw and is a favorite on the flop.

Turn: ($868) :8h (2 players)
I’m temporarily a big favorite now!

River: ($868) :7s (2 players)

Final Pot: $868
Results below:
BB has Js Ks (flush, king high).
Hero has Tc Qh (two pair, queens and tens).
Outcome: BB wins $868.

This next hand was actually my favorite hand of the session. I felt like I really smelled out what was going on very well here and extracted the most value from my read. This guy was of the tight, trappy school which should have made his move more effective. Either I’m a calling station or have good instincts. Since it is my blog, I won’t show you the hands where I look stupid and I’ll say it is the latter.

PokerStars No-Limit Hold’em, $4 BB (8 handed)

saw flop|saw showdown
MP2 ($409.40)
CO ($684.70)
Hero – Button ($495.20)
SB ($396)
BB ($400)
UTG ($395.60)
UTG+1 ($244.50)
MP1 ($122.70)

Preflop: Hero is Button with :8c, :8s.
1 fold, UTG+1 raises to $12, MP1 calls $12, 2 folds, Hero calls $12, 2 folds.
UTG+1 had been getting a bit frisky with his raises, plus I had position

Flop: ($42) :5d, :Qh, :7h (3 players)
UTG+1 checks, MP1 checks, Button bets $24, UTG+1 calls $24, MP1 folds.
I probably should have bet a bit bigger, but I figured him for overcards here.

Turn: ($90) :3d (2 players)
UTG+1 bets $40, Hero calls $40.
This bet threw me for a loop. It didn’t make any sense to me. If he just caught a set, he is going to try to check-raise me (or maybe bet more). If he is bluffing, which seemed likely, he is hoping to get raised and fold if I am strong. If he has QJ or KQ, he probably just check-calls. Nothing but a bluff made sense to me, so I called.

River: ($170) :Tc (2 players)
UTG+1 bets $80, Hero calls $80.
Nothing really changed. No way to raise here, so call or fold.

Final Pot: $330
Results in white below:
UTG+1 has As 7d (one pair, sevens).
Hero has 8c 8s (one pair, eights).
Outcome: Hero wins $330.

“nc” says he. I love when they say that!

So, at the end of the day, I was up $475 and I am now sitting on 3,333 VPPs and I’m one third of the way to my monthly 10k VPP goal and am comfortably on pace. I’ll probably stick with my NL experiment for a few days until I lose too many big pots or the big limit game looks too juicy to resist.


No Limit or Limit

I’m always a bit conflicted about the choice between playing NoLimit or Limit games. On the one hand, I clearly understand limit strategy better. On the other hand, most of the serious donks seem to be playing NL these days. Every time I play some NL, I seem to do well. I’m up about 16 ptbb/100 at 400NL and 600NL, which equates to about $100 an hour which is actually better than my limit earn when you consider that I can pretty comfortably 4 table NL tables. At 2 bb/100 on two tables of 30/60, I’m not pulling $400 a hour. I played a bit of NL today and maintained my earn rate. I would have done better but top set fell to an overpair when he went runner-runner straight. All the money went in on the flop. My net was about $450 today and I’m up to 3,000 VPPs, comfortably ahead of pace now.

I think I might try to play NL ring games exclusively for a few days to see how it goes.

Doing the math on VPP earn rates, it looks like I will earn about 236 VPP/hour by 4 tabling 400NL.  When I 2 table 10/20, I earn 232 VPP/hour.  My most common game is 2 tabling 15/30, which earns 258 VPP/hour.  At the moment, I’m earning almost exactly 2 bb/100 at 15/30 which works out to about $100/hour two tabling.  I’m actually earnig $430/hour at 30/60 right now when I two table, but the problem is that two tables of 30/60 don’t run very often and my current earn rate of 3.5 bb/100 is probably not sustainable in the long run.


Sometimes you’re the windshield, sometimes you’re the bug.

Today, poker was mucho ugly. My PokerStars balance is now $1,250 lower than it was yesterday. I won a little bit at 50/100 or it would have been even worse. At one point, I was probably down $3,000, which would have been grim. On the plus side, I’m now at 2,000 VPPs for the month, which puts me pretty much exactly on pace. My net results for the month are right about where they should be, but not as beefy as they were yesterday. I think I’m still up $650 or so for the month, which is actually exactly on goal.

My “favorite” hand was five to the flop against my :Qc :Qs. The flop came down :Jd :5c :3s, everyone calls my bet. The turn is the :4d, again all four call my bet. The river is the :6d putting the four card straight and the possible flush on board. The SB leads at the flop and every single player calls. As it turns out, they all passed me on the river. What are the odds of that? 22, 66, T2! and K2s for the win.

I also made some mistakes. I talked about playing semi-weak hands OOP on ITH and several people suggested playing more passively (check-call, check-call, check-call). This worked like ass. I gave cheap suckouts a couple of times and lost value a few more. I haven’t reviewed my session yet, but I’m willing to bet that the check-call/check-call/check-call line won’t become a favorite tool. It also makes my check-raise bluffs suffer, because observant opponents (assuming there is a such a thing) will eventually catch on when I play my made hands much differently than my bluffs. I also ended up peeling flops and having to fold the turn way too often. Not check-raising flops where I catch a pair just throws off my whole balance for the flop. If I’m going to switch to a check-call approach more often, I have to think through the other cases better.


Back to the grind

I wound up sleeping a shocking amount, so I didn’t get too much play in yesterday. Most of my play was two tabling 15/30, where I ran into my old friend RocketPlayer. I had a weird session at his table where nothing was working and the table was good. There was one guy in particular who seemed pretty bad. Despite sitting next to each other, Rocket and I mostly stayed out of each other’s way. The one time I did three bet him, he got the best of me. This hand pretty much illustrates the respect that the table paid to me and my raises:

PokerStars 15/30 Hold’em (10 handed) Poker Stars Converter Tool from (Format: HTML)

Preflop: Hero is UTG+2 with :Ac, :Ah. MP1 posts a blind of $15.
UTG calls, 1 fold, Hero raises, MP1 (poster) calls, 1 fold, MP3 calls, 2 folds, SB calls, BB calls, UTG calls.
I know I’m a bit aggro with old raises, but 5 callers to an EP raise is a bit much even for me.

Flop: (12 SB) :3s, :5d, :6s (6 players)
SB bets, BB folds, UTG calls, Hero raises, MP1 calls, MP3 calls, SB calls, UTG calls.
One guy folds to the donk bet from the SB, no one folds to my raise. Of course.

Turn: (11 BB) :9s (5 players)
SB checks, UTG checks, Hero bets, MP1 calls, MP3 calls, SB calls, UTG calls.
In the back of my mind, I think they are sandbagging with a made flush. I mean with 5 players on a flush board, one of them has to have the flush draw, right?

River: (16 BB) :Jd (5 players)
SB checks, UTG checks, Hero bets, MP1 calls, MP3 calls, SB folds, UTG folds.
I admit that this bet might well be a mistake, but when you see the showdown, you might change your mind about that.

Final Pot: 19 BB
Results in white below:
Hero has Ac Ah (one pair, aces).
MP1 shows Kd Js.
MP3 shows Kc 6c.
Outcome: Hero wins 19 BB.

K6s? Are you kidding me? I note that Rocket folded pre-flop from UTG+1, so I’m not saying anything bad about him.

Anyhow, I ended up just over +$400 and my VPP count stands at 1,117 which is still well behind pace (I should be at 1,785). However, given that I’ve only played 2 days out of 5, I think I’m fine.

poker Strategy

A tip that might help you improve your game

Suited had the idea for me to write this particular blog entry.  I was telling her about an experience I had last night where someone started to berate me for being such a bad player.  This happens to me fairly often because I seem to play a bit different than anyone else I see.  I make fairly outrageous bluffs that sometimes backfire or I will call down with fairly weak hands or I will three bet with 33 or whatever and people think that my play is atrocious.  Sometimes it probably is, but more often there is a method to my madness that the other player doesn’t understand.  In this particular case, the other player went into a fairly extended rant about how badly I play and included a line similar to “I don’t know how you always seem to win, you are such a moron.”  I was telling Suited that this should be a red flag for any thinking player.  If you see someone regularly beating a game and you think they are making stupid plays, you should give careful thought to what they are doing because there is a very good chance that they know something that you don’t.

When I was a beginning player building up my bankroll at the low limit tables, I used to railbird icfishies, who was at the time the highest stakes player at ITH.  I watched often and I saw a lot of plays from him and others that made no sense to me.  They certainly weren’t going to be found in the pages of any of the poker books I had read at that point.  I slowly started to build an opinion of who was a great player and who was merely good or average.  At the 100/200 game, the merely good were losing money in those days.  I learned which players were winning over time and I paid more attention to what they did.  I realized that the winning players shared a number of characteristics.  They won a lot more pots without showdown than other players did.  They made plays that I had previously scoffed at and labeled as “calling station” plays in other situations.  When I would see them make big failed bluffs, I realized that a lot of the other pots where they took the same line were also often bluffs and tried to understand why they picked those particular spots to bluff.

When I saw that a particular player at my levels was winning or was causing me problems or making me uncomfortable at the table, I tried to figure out what they were doing and how I could adopt their tactics into my play.  When a player that I respected did something that seemed dumb, I made sure to give it some extra thought to try to figure out if it really was a mistake that they made or if it might be something that made them better that I didn’t understand yet.

I often see people post about what a fish their opponent was when I actually think that their play made sense.  Certainly, some people are fish, but you should make sure that this guy you think is a fish isn’t really a shark in fish’s clothing.  Spend some time in poker tracker looking at the hands of the big winners in your database to figure out if they know something you don’t.  Rail some of the 100/200 or 200/400 games and see if you don’t learn something.  I like to watch a guy named “PapaWarbucks” on stars.  He is one of the high stakes posters from 2+2 (I forget which one now) and I’ve picked up a number of cool tricks from him.  Unfortunately, he doesn’t play all that often.


18-1 never felt so bad.

I have been a lifelong Patriots fan. I suffered through so many years when we were terrible that I can hardly tell you about them. You know, when their logo looked like this:

The only real joy you got in those days was when Jim Plunkett would somehow manage to heave the ball a million yards and actually hit someone. Steve Grogan, Sam the Bam Cunningham, these were my boyhood football idols. Not that long ago we were just like the Giants of this year, capping an improbable season by getting hot at the right time and taking a wildcard berth all the way to the Super Bowl against the mighty Bears. However, our story ended much, much differently. We scored one touchdown and then got absolutely waxed by the Bears. It took me nearly a decade to stop feeling bad about that game. Now the shoe is on the other foot and we are the dominant team, but somehow we can’t seal the deal with the Giants. A team with a legitimate claim to be the best football team ever is just a footnote one game later. I honestly felt sick (although a hangover may well be part of that). I don’t know how sports teams get into our collective psyche in this way. It doesn’t seem like it could actually affect my life in any way, but yet I feel gutted. That insane play where David Tyree caught the ball on his head after Eli fricken Manning somehow escaped a certain sack was the real crippling blow to my dreams. How that scrub is the SuperBowl MVP is a mystery to me. It is a rip-off anyhow, because anyone with a clue about football knows that the defensive line won that game. They held the mighty Pats offense to 14 points and simply dominated the line of scrimmage completely and totally. The one small source of comfort was knowing that there was one person in the world who completely understood. I knew my brother Tim was certain to be even more morose and angry than I am. Somehow, that makes me feel just a little bit better.

It was quite a weekend in sharkville. We hosted a poker night to end all poker nights. My good friend Paul (of Pauli and the Mexicans fame) arrived Friday night from Jolly Old England and was the vanguard of ITH friends from far and wide. Taz and Tara arrived from the frozen tundra of Edmonton, with Tyler sporting his “Sunday Million Champion” jacket. Mark the “Nutjob” flew in from Florida, Becky and her husband Kim flew up from Austin, Bill drove up from Atlanta, Albert made the long trip from Georgia and Matthew Hilger himself arrived to join the festivities. I think it is safe to say that it was the strongest field in a three table home game you could ever imagine. Fortunately, most of us began drinking at 2:00 in the afternoon and didn’t stop until 4:00 or 5:00 in the morning, so that tended to level the field pretty dramatically.

Part of the celebration revolved around the occasion of my 20,000th post to ITH, which is a truly absurd amount of posts. Everyone made such a fuss over it that I actually feel a bit of a drama queen. They created a hidden section of the forum where they staged a series of ego-stroking posts and I’ve been deluged with people saying the most flattering things about me and my contributions to the forum. I’m somewhat embarrassed by the extraordinary amount of love passed around the mutual admiration society, but I really do find that many of these folks have become my best friends anywhere. Matthew arrived with a most generous gift. They had a set of commemorative poker chips with a printed “Sharkapalooza” logo complete with cartoon shark created to honor the occasion. They even decided the stock poker chip case was inadequate and replaced it with an awesome leather one.

It was a drunken blowout on a staggering scale. Literal mountains of empty bottles litter my trash area. There may be a poker player under there somewhere. We considered making some special shots for the occasion, but decided that would just lead to passed out people and didn’t even break out the shot glasses. That plan lasted exactly 12 minutes. Jaegerbombs hit the table right off the bat. Torch was surprised that Tanya Peck was not ready for her dial-a-shot at 11:00 AM Vegas time. I initially laughed at Torch and his expectation that she would up for shots at was it is essentially dawn in poker player terms. Later I agreed with him that Tanya wimped out on us, just because she was actually driving was a pretty poor excuse, in my opinion.

We played only tourneys instead of the usual cash game/tourney mix. I don’t remember a whole lot of poker events, except busting Matthew from one of the events when I called his pre-flop raise with AT and floated his c-bet on a raggy flop. The turn was a ten, he shoved, I snap called and his AQ was no good. He expressed astonishment that I flatted the flop, saying he expected me to raise and he was going to shove the flop. On one level, I think I really believed he would raise about 70% of his hands there and that he would c-bet about half of them, so I was willing to flat call a lot of hands hoping to either catch or bully on the turn. On the other level, I was just kind of pleasantly drunk and probably would have called with two undercards. Soon thereafter I was bad-beated by Nutjob who had ten different pre-flop speeches, all of which ended with him shoving any two cards. He was delivering brutal suckout after brutal suckout on everyone and I was no exception. His 100/100 hyper-maniacal style finally caught up to him and he lost the massive stack he took into the event at the final table. He cashed in 4th place for $22, but somehow managed to rebuy twice for $60 in a freezeout, so he actually lost money. I think I dropped about $50 in buy-ins without a single cash, but I won the big ticket event of the night when Nutjob challenged me to a $100 heads-up event. I convinced him to go all-in dark on the second hand and of course I had 99 and he had no chance. The entire night was a freeroll on Nut’s money. Here is the usual winner posing with the cash victory photo:

Yeah, he was a bit drunk. Maybe a lot drunk. He was not alone. Torch’s long suffering wife (Victim) had to win a tourney while Torch’s body rejected some of the alcohol he had forced on it. Soon later, he was back to belting out musical numbers, so I think he was OK. Becky is the best drunk ever, whose main routine involves hugs, declarations of love and invitations to her house. There may be 10 or 12 of us there next weekend.

I think I have another epic Pauli story, but I have to figure out how to tell it. Tara crushed Tyler with a great story about him offending her by giggling about an ITH thread during a love making session. I’m pretty sure he has a new nickname coming. The only possible downer of the evening was the friends who could not make it for some reason or another, but we had the most amazing time.

As a result of all the hoopla surrounding the Sharkapalooza (both the planning and the aftermath), I really haven’t been able to make much progress on my SuperNova quest this month. Tonight was the first night I got any real amount of hands in and really didn’t have a whole lot of tables running tonight. The 30/60 game was good, at least, so I got to play in that for a few hours. I ended up +$1,500 over 600 hands or so (there was some 10/20 and 5/10 mixed in there) and I’m at about 750 VPPs for February. I should be at 1,700 to be on pace to maintain Platinum status, so I’ll have to get some longer sessions in later in the month. I usually get the most points on the weekend, so the party put me in a small hole. On the plus side, at the end of tonight’s session I was four tabling for a while and I felt more comfortable than ever before.

poker SuperNova Quest

January SuperNova Quest Results

Well, the first month is in the bag and the final results are in. I’m very pleased with the results and feel as if I’m playing almost as well as I did when I stopped six months ago. You’ll recall that my goals were to make SuperNova, which requires 100,000 VPPs and I also set a profit target of $40,000 in poker winnings for the year. To be on pace, I’d need to have 8,333 VPPs and $3,333 in profit. Realistically, though, I really want to earn 10,000 VPPs a month, because that maximizes my earn of bonus money. I feel like I need to load a drumroll sound to the post. At the end of January, I’ve accumulated 14,454 VPPs which is 45% above the stretch goal of 10,000 and I’ve booked $8,756.40 in profit for the month which is 263% above goal. If I could maintain that pace, I’d actually earn over $100,000 for the year. Of course, that is very unlikely to happen. Here is a graph of my dollar results for the month:

January Results

If you like, you can click here to see the graph in full screen mode.

I hope I can maintain my focus and motivation, which is probably the most difficult problem. I played for a while tonight and it was clear to me that I was not playing my “A” game. I missed value bets on the river at least three times and I’m pretty sure they would have called every one, so that was $90 left on the table. I won $254, but it should have been $344. I didn’t need to review my sessions to see the mistakes, either. I knew as soon as I clicked check that it was a mistake. I decided to stop playing and start preparing this post instead. I thought it might be fun to look at the data a couple of different ways. For instance, here are my results broken down by limit:

$50/$100 $744.00
$30/$60 $1,948.50
$15/$30 $3,898.00
$10/$20 $1,292.00
$5/$10 ($655.00)
$600 NL $491.00
$400 NL $1,098.80
$200 NL ($60.90)

So, apparently I can’t beat lower limits. Probably they don’t respect my raises. I think it is primarily a function of the fact that I’ve been trying to play $5/$10 four tables at a time and I don’t seem to be able to do that very well. Interestingly, I play NL four tables at a time and have no problem. This is mostly because I don’t get involved as often and subtle reads don’t make that much difference. Later I might go back an analyze it on a dollar per hand basis, because NL might be pretty solid for me. I also looked at things by number of players. I’m calling any table with six or fewer players “short handed” even though some number of those hands took place at full ring tables that just lost a few people.

Full Table $7,505.90
Short Handed $2,858.00
Head Up ($1,607.50)

Clearly, heads-up was a mistake for me. This makes sense because I have very little experience at the form. You also have to take some of the data with a grain of salt, because some of them have very little data. I believe that I only have 23 hands of $50/$100 (of course, this results in a very lofty bb/100). In fact, I only have around 11,000 hands at all levels, so even my bottom line total is quite insignificant. There are some guys online who play considerably more hands than that in one day. But it has been interesting to take some time to review these results. Honestly, I thought I had done worse short-handed than I did. In fact, in bb/100 it is probably my most profitable discipline right now.