Poker Coaching

I’ve done a little bit of poker coaching here and there, mostly from people who approach me on ITH. The biggest problem with coaching is that the people that I could help the most easily have a hard time justifying what I need to charge them. I’m still running 3 bb/100 at 15/30 over a pretty big sample, so I can’t justify charging less than $50/hour. My preferred model of coaching has been to review pokertracker data and hand histories. A detailed review of someone’s PokerTracker database seems like the most useful thing I do, but I can’t see how someone playing 1/2 or 2/4 can justify paying $250 for that and I can’t do a decent job for less than five hours work. I have done some sessions where I review 100 hand histories and comment on every marginal decision and I can usually do that in an hour or so, but I think it is a lot less useful. My most recent experiment was where I watched someone play for a couple of hours and gave him advice on the phone in real time while he played. In some ways it seems wasteful, because there is lots of folding in good limit play. I have to say that I enjoyed it a great deal, mostly just chatting on the phone with another good poker player. I don’t know if it will be a good model, but it was fun.

I turned away a number of people who asked for coaching in the old days because I thought it would be hard to do well and that I wouldn’t like it that much. Curiously, I think it has actually improved my game as I try to see life through their eyes and figure out what plays will work for the kind of player that they are. I still find that it is hard to do well and I’ve had one student who I really thought just lacked the required skills to be a good player. I couldn’t figure out a good way to tell him that, but I tried. I don’t think he’s telling his friends to use me now.

Now that I’ve started my own site, I’ve been trying to think if there might be a way that I can have people sign up using me as an affilliate and if that could earn enough to justify providing some coaching to them. If I make them good, then they will keep playing, earn me some kickbacks and win money for themselves. It could be a win-win situation, if I can work it out.

poker sportsbetting

A slack weekend with just a little gambling in the mix

I’ve been dealing with one of those colds that isn’t really a real cold. Its been just enough to keep me feeling a bit off my game, but not enough to really bring things to a halt. It has sapped my energy a bit.

I did make a number of sports bets on the playoffs and made my second mistake. I was in a hurry to get a decent arb established and I didn’t check carefully to make sure I was getting the numbers right and I made a mistake and wound up risking $200 instead of having everything in balance. It turned out that the right team won and I won the money, but I’m mad at myself for doing something dumb like that. I’ve started a winning streak at Hollywood and losing my huge balance at CRIS. I really thought I could never lose the whole CRIS amount, but it looks like I might. The bad thing is that I am going to have cleared my wagering requirement there, so I’d really rather lose at Hollywood. Trying to get bets laid down that will move all money into one book has really slowed down my bonus hunting and my bankroll has actually drifted slightly south of its peak. I’m now up $2,800 and am resigned to losing a bit more as I work my money free so that I can add on some more bonus money.

I found what appears to be a major arb on the Candian election. It looks like -500 at CRIS (on the conservatives) and +1182 at Pinny (on the liberals). The lines are so far off I wonder if they haven’t defined their terms differently. It would work out to a sure win of about $50 on a $550 bet. They limit these types of bets to relatively small amounts. I haven’t pulled the trigger yet while I try to figure out the catch.

Poker has been good when I’ve managed to play. I’m up another $365, bringing the Party total to $722 in five days or so. I’ve not played very much, but I’m pleased with my game. I had one of those funny guys who has a VP$IP of 80%, yet he insists on berating the other players for bad play. I just felt like I really had a great read on him. This is a good example of a hand where I was pleased with the value I got from him:

Party Poker
Limit holdem Ring game
Limit: $15/$30
8 players

Pre-flop: (8 players) Hero is BB with 8â?  Jâ?¦
4 folds, CO raises, Button folds, SB calls, Hero calls.

Flop: Tâ?  Aâ?¦ Jâ?  (6SB, 3 players)
SB checks, Hero checks, CO bets, SB folds, Hero calls.

Turn: Aâ?¥ (4BB, 2 players)
Hero checks, CO bets, Hero raises, CO calls.

River: 7â?¦ (8BB, 2 players)
Hero bets, CO calls.

Final pot: 10BB
Hero shows 8s Jd
CO doesn’t show Tc Qd
I really thought he would show just a King or a Queen, but I was sure that was a good value bet on the river.
I feel much more confident about playing maniacs these days, although the swings can still be brutal. I think I used to fall back in my shell too much and missed some good chances to take them down while I waited for good hands. I’m doing a much better job of taking it to them now. I still think I’ve made a few too many “clever” folds. I was reviewing my river folds tonight and i think 2 of the 7 folds on the river in the last five days were a mistake.

It looks like I should have a few protege updates coming next week. I should have qualified for the top 100, 500 and 1,000 as well as the round 2 for Seat 1.


Brief poker update

I spent the night grinding it out at Party 15/30. I ended up about $365, although it was very much up and down. My prediliction for playing small pocket pairs from any position almost got me in big trouble on this hand:

Party Poker
Limit holdem Ring game
Limit: $15/$30
8 players

Pre-flop: (8 players) Hero is UTG with 4â?  4â?£
Hero calls, 5 folds, SB raises, BB calls, Hero calls.

Flop: 4â?¦ 9â?£ Qâ?  (6SB, 3 players)
SB checks, BB checks, Hero bets, SB calls, BB calls.

Turn: 5â?  (4.5BB, 3 players)
SB checks, BB checks, Hero bets, SB raises, BB folds, Hero 3-bets, SB Caps, Hero calls.

River: 4â?¥ (12.5BB, 2 players)
SB bets, Hero raises, SB calls.

Final pot: 16.5BB
Hero shows 4s 4c
SB doesn’t show Qd Qh

The SB wasn’t that amused to have top set snapped off in such a fashion. If our positions were reversed, I’d have lost more than he did.

I’m feeling like I have no problems winning at 15/30, but I have so much cash tied up in sports betting that I don’t want to play too much higher and get short.

I had to cut the session short because there was finally a new Lost episode to watch.


Protégé seat 1 round 1 freeroll

I went ahead and entered the freeroll last night based on my theory that it would be relatively easy to advance due to a smaller field. There were a number of last minute signups, but it was still only a field of about 250. I needed to make the top 40, so it seemed like pretty good odds.

I usually play very tight in the opening stages, but lately I’ve been experimenting with a slightly looser style. I still think I’m tighter than most people, but I’ll raise first-in with a wider range of hands and limp in family pots a lot more now. The goal is to find a big hand where I can take advantage of other people’s mistakes. I played only hand in Level 1, but it was a great one. I raised ATs from MP3 first-in and got flat called by the button and the BB. I flopped top two pair and bet out about 1/3 the pot. I was hoping to entice someone to come over the top and to my delight the button did. The BB folded and I just called the Button’s raise. The turn was a rag that made a flush draw possible. I check-raised the button and he called me. I pushed on the river since we only had about half the pot left in our stacks anyhow and he called with AQ and I doubled up very early.

In Level 2, people were playing quite tight so I stole a few blinds and lured a short stack into coming over the top of a raise from me with 88. I had AQs and quickly called him. The flop brought trip Queens and I was the overall chip leader.

In Level 3, I made another blind steal with 99 from EP and got called in one spot. I had an overpair on the flop and turn, where we end up all-in. I’ve got the overpair and he’s got A6s for second pair and no real draw. I think I’m a lock to have twice as many chips as the second place player, but he rivers the Ace. I’m still in the top 10. I make a nice call of a suspiciously large river bet with AT unimproved from the BB to snap off a bluff from KJ at the end of the level. I’m proud of this one because it was just an instinct play. I was sure he was bluffing, but I usually couldn’t call there even when I knew that.

Level 4 marked the start of a bad card-dead period. I might have won the blinds once and I had to let go on the flop once. Mostly I just folded and drifted down to 19th or so.

Level 5 continued the dry spell. I fall all the way to 42nd without seeing more than one flop. Finally at the end of the level, I use the fact that I’ve been folding for orbit after orbit to steal an away player’s blind from EP with air. Three hands later, I find AK on the SB and reraise someone who tried to steal from late position. He decides not to tangle with me and I’ve squeaked back up to 22nd with 69 remaining at the break. Since 40 players will make it through to the next level, I’m already feeling better about my chances.

Level 6 starts with a couple of playable hands. No one calls my KK raise and a continuation bet on the flop with 88 takes down the pot and I’m back up to 16th. I do nothing but fold for the rest of the level and end the level in 27th.

Level 7 gives me 77 in the BB where I call a raise from the big stack. I flop a set on a King high board. He bets the pot on the flop and I just call. The turn is a blank and I check-raise another pot-sized bet all-in. He thinks for a long time and mucks. He claims to have mucked AK, which would be a hell of a fold if true. I doubt it seriously. I’m now all the way up to 8th and pretty much assured of winning a ticket to the next round.

Levels 8-9 I only play one hand. It is a flat payout event, so there is no reason for me to get involved with any hand and I fold into the money. There was one interesting hand where the table short stack was trying to squeak past the bubble. He winds up all-in on the BB. The first four players fold (making me grumpy about people having no clue) and I limp with Kx. Four of us wind up seeing the flop of K99. I check and the player to my left pushes all-in. I have him well-covered. I grumble in chat that I’m going to fold a King and if he is stupid I’m going to be annoyed. I fold and he rolls quad nines. I’ve been wondering what he should have done. No one will call his push without a nine (or KK) and he has all of the nines. Maybe he should have bet smaller and hoped to build a side-pot?


Protégé quest update

It looks like I’m going to stay on the top 100 list for the first period without playing any more at Full Contact. There are five days left and I’m still at 45th place. I was 40th when I stopped playing five days ago, so it doesn’t look like I will have to play any more. I don’t know when the top 100/500/1000 freerolls will be scheduled, but I think they may be my best chance to qualify, so I’ll stay focused on that.

The series of 10 freerolls which are step one for Seat 1 have been going on for five days and have five days left. It seems that interest is going down a bit mid-week, so I’ll probably take a shot at that one soon. The good news is that 40 players from each round qualify for the next step. The bad news is that the next step then has 400 entrants. Then the top 40 from that one advance to the “final” qualifier. Of course, once you win that you still have only qualified for one more Sit-N-Go.

I used to ignore this silly freerolls, but then I had a nice cash in one and that changed my opinion a bit. I’m also turning my focus to MTTs a bit in hopes of making some kind of WSOP appearance this year. So, this never-ending protégé quest gives me a chance to build up my tourney skills at no risk to my bankroll (which is increasingly tied up in sports books anyhow).

poker sportsbetting

Update on this weekend’s action

I have been concentrating on my sports betting action. I put a few more dollars into play and I’m currently up $3,000 exactly. This is slightly misleading because I have unmet wagering requirements at some of the sites. I had won six bets in a row into CRIS and was getting closer to meeting the wagering requirements to cashout there. Now that I’ve decided that would be a good outcome to end up with all my money in CRIS, I’ve been losing at CRIS again. Instead of busting out at Hollywood and meeting my WR at CRIS, I’m now about even at Hollywood. This is bad because my WR at Hollywood is even bigger. I joined BetWWTS and deposited the full $2,500 to max out the bonus. I bet the whole thing against CRIS on the Redskins ML and promptly doubled up at WWTS. Since I haven’t been finding that many arbs (or the arbs are on bets that limit my bet size), I haven’t been able to get all my money in play as nicely as I’d like. This is also a bit of a problem because arbs are harder to find at some books than others and so far these three haven’t given me many good plays.

I took a big risk by picking one side of a bet on Monday and waiting to close the other side until game time on Saturday. I was convinced I knew which way the line was going to move. I was correct, but it didn’t move as far as I had hoped, so when I placed the offsetting bet I took a small loss. If I had the nerve to hold on until five minutes before game time, I would have got the arbitrage, but I lost my nerve. I don’t know if I’m willing to make these kind of speculations often.

So far, I’ve joined five books and busted quickly out of two. Three of the remaining books are above what I deposited to start with. Since two of them are close in value, I’m seriously considering making one huge bet pitting them against each other. That way, I’m sure to bust one of them. Even if I lock in a small loss, I may consider the escape from the WR worth the loss.

I’ve not played much poker. Real life got in the way and I didn’t play the Weekend at Daniel’s freeroll. I played a bit of 15/30 at Party and finished up $220 on the weekend. I had a lot of fun sweating Tanya at the Stars 500K. She was in the chip lead pretty deep into the money, but she decided to take a coin flip for a huge chunk of her chips and flipped wrong. Had she won that one, she would have had such a dominating chiplead that she probably would have won the whole thing. It was fun to watch.


Wrapping up my Full Contact bonus hunt

I had a boring session where I drifted down $71, mostly by trying to get too cute and bluff with people who weren’t going to fold if I had a neon sign proclaiming “Rockets” flashing over my avatar.  Speaking of which, the PokerRoom avatars are really stupid.  My first order of business on any new skin is to set up my four colored deck and turn off the stupid avatars and cutesy animations.  I ended this chase up $248 and I cleared $403 in bonus.  At least I think I cleared $403 in bonus.  FCP is lame and won’t tell me if I really cleared it until sometime tomorrow.  I won’t be back here unless I need to crank out some more points to stay in the top 100 on the leaderboard.

Full Contact also has the most freerolls I’ve ever seen.  I was in one last weekend, where I donked off my chips with JJ against KK near the bubble.  I was getting short-stacked and bored and figured it was put up or shut up time.  I don’t even think that one got me any closer to the big protege thing anyhow.  I got an email tonight inviting me to some freerolls for Seat One.  I have to finish in the top 40 of any one of ten freerolls to advance to stage 2.  They start Friday.  I have no idea how many people will enter.  I should also be in the Seat 3 freeroll and the Seats 8, 9 and 10 freerolls.  There is also a play-money Seat 4 freeroll, but I don’t think I can handle that one because it would make six freerolls.

They also sent me an invitation to a “Weekend at Daniel’s Freeroll” which apparently will send 8 people to Vegas for SuperBowl weekend for some poker and a private party to watch the game.  I never know to value these freerolls, but after I won big in the CheckNRaise one I don’t just ignore them any more.


My quest to be Daniel Negreanu’s protégé

I have been something of a poker slacker so far this shiny new year. My only play has been on Full Contact (a PokerRoom skin), chasing a $400 bonus. The clearance rate isn’t nearly as good as the previous PokerRoom romps I did, but it is going well enough. I’ve been really concentrating on my multi-tabling and have been running 4 tables of full-ring 5/10 whenever there is enough action to justify it. I’m up $318 on the chase so far, which is not bad but pales next to the $1,068 I was up before I got savaged on the 25/50 tables. I normally eat the 25/50 tables up and this was a typical soft lineup, but everything seemed to go the wrong way. C’est la vie!

I’m paying some attention to the protégé promotion. The method of deciding who will get to be the protégé is the most Byzantine arrangement you ever saw (1,500 years later and those guys still get credit for being schemers — they must have been something!) The intermediate target is to qualify for a seat in a 10 person sit-n-go on some all-expenses paid casino boondoggle. It seems like the easiest seats to get are the ones that limit the field to a small number. I’m currently looking to qualify for the top 100 on the points leaderboard seat. The points are earned per dollar paid in rake and I’m currently sitting in 39th position. I have another 700 points or so that they haven’t given me credit for yet so I’m almost 4,000 points above the 100th person. I intend to complete the bonus chase tonight and have enough points to stay in the top 100 by the end of this period (January 15th).

I’ve been following the Negreanu/Dreamclown heads-up matches on fullcontact and he doesn’t seem like the same affable goof in the chat there he does on TV. He’s clearly a very ego-driven, competitive guy and he gives at least as good as he gets in the chat. Some of the chest-thumping is clearly silly, but it does show another side to the guy. However, I’ve played in a few ring games and SNGs with him and he was just as friendly and laid back as he could be.

If I won, I don’t know how much the interaction with Daniel is worth, but having someone pick up $40,000 in buy-ins and possibly getting staked to some higher limit games seems pretty cool. I’m probably more likely to become an astronaut, but the odds have got to better than the lottery.

Once I wrap this chase up, I’ll have to decide what I’m doing poker-wise. I may just go back to looting and sacking the Party 15/30 and 30/60 tables. I’m pretty sure nothing else I do is as lucrative in terms of dollars per hour.