SuperNova Quest

April wrap-up

April was a bit of a struggle, because I played almost no poker for half the month and had to scramble to get in enough hands by the end of the month. I definitely played badly for several stretches as a result, sometimes making poor table selection decisions and sometimes just missing obvious opportunities. I played virtually no short-handed poker and absolutely no NL poker this month. I fell short of my profit goal for the month (again!), but given the various mistakes I made at different times, I feel happy to book a win at all. Hopefully I will be in a good frame of mind when Stars announces the double VPP promotion, because I’m going to try to push myself to play a lot more hands than usual during that promo. I might go for shortstacking some NL, since I’ve been playing around a bit with the math and I think I could come up with a fairly credible strategy that would at least break even and would let me crank out a ton of hands.

Here is the picture of the month as a graph (click to enlarge):

Somehow, the graph looks bogus, because I had a 20 minute session on the last day that seems to be eaten by the chart.  I’m going to show you a graph of that last session, not so much to “prove” my numbers as to illustrate the variability inherent in playing poker.  This session was just 32 hands long and accounted for a quick spike of almost $900.  Given that my whole month was nearly 8,000 hands, the fact that one can win (or lose!) that much in 32 hands illustrates the risk of looking at short-term results.  To put it in perspective, if I continue to play at this pace for the entire year, I will have played 100,000 hands of poker this year and many people would argue that a winning player could possibly have a downswing over 100,000 hands of play.  I’m not sure I agree with that, but it is absolutely the case that short-term results are somewhat unpredictable.  Here’s the short play while I waited for Suited to finish doing something or another (again, click to see in full-size glory):

Anyhow, I guess I’m happy enough with how the month turned out in the end.  For those of you who work better with numbers than pictures, here is the high level summary in text form:


I’m well ahead of my hands played and FPP goals and just ever so slightly ahead of my profit goal.  As I said last week, I think that the profit goal is going to be difficult to meet, because I expected to play about 50% 30/60 and 50% 15/30, but it isn’t turning out that way at all.  I know I am getting by far the most hands at 15/30 and I’m also playing a fairly high number of 10/20 and 5/10 tables because they are often my only choice when I play.  I probably screwed up this month because the tables were pretty juicy early on with people chasing the bonus who weren’t really regular players, but I couldn’t play that much.  Here is the breakdown by limit:


As I said earlier, I didn’t play No Limit at all and I also took no shots at 50/100 this month.  It is a bit unusual that 15/30 was actually a money-loser for me, since that is usually my bread-and-butter limit.  I don’t think there is any particularly significant reason for that, except that I had one session where I was four tabling 3 15/30 tables and a 10/20 and I played particularly badly that night.  I think I dropped about $1,500 in that session and most of it was bad play.

For the sake of completeness, here is the breakdown of full ring versus short-handed.  Again, I didn’t really intentionally seek out any short-handed tables, just some of my full ring games went short.  The heads-up action was exactly 36 hands, so it wasn’t significant either.


SuperNova Quest

March Wrap-up

March was a month that went more or less to my averages, so I guess I have learned a few things about my goals that I originally set. I expected to be able to get in more hands at my preferred limits, so I expected to play fewer hands than I have. It also twisted my money winning target because I need to run hotter to win the same money at lower limits. For instance, I ran right about 2 bb/100 this month which is pretty much what my target is, Despite playing 7,000 hands (my goal was 5,500) and running at the expected win rate, I actually only won what I expected to win in fewer hands. This was primarily a factor of playing at lower limits that I hoped. The vast majority of my hands were at $15/$30 and I actually had more $10/$20 than $30/$60. The $30/$60 doesn’t run a lot of the time I play and sometimes when it runs, I think my expectation is better at the $15/$30 game. Here is my month in pictures. The massive downswing in the middle was an especially brutal $50/$100 session.

If you would like to see this in a larger and more legible format, click here. To review in detail, we can compare to my original goals and look at my YTD progress:


I was basically right on track for all my goals and remain ahead of schedule in terms of my YTD goals. This is really good, because as I write this post, I have not yet played a single hand of poker in April and we are already one third of the way through the month. If I end up playing no poker at all in April, I should still be on track for SuperNova, although I will fall behind in money. I was a net loser at NL, although I played very few hands. Many of those were experimenting with some NL short-stack strategies. I actually won money with the short stacking and lost money playing “real poker.” I had no more than 1,000 NL hands in total, so the sample sizes are quite small.

Broken down by limit, my month looks like this:


Broken down by short-handed and full ring, it goes like so:


I just bundled heads-up into short-handed. I was a net winner heads-up, but it was against a particularly fishy player who stayed behind at a busted short-handed table. I didn’t play more than 100 or so HU hands this month. As I reported last month, I’m quite happy with my play and confident that I’m a winner in the games I choose. If I had not been unlucky in my one $50/$100 session, I could have had a really great month. I dropped over $2k in just about an hour and a half. It was a good table and I just had a couple of tough breaks. If I break even, I have a $5k month. If I win, even better.

SuperNova Quest

February Wrap-up

On Feb 29th, PokerStars ran a promotion where you earned twice as many points as usual for your play. I heard about it late in the day, but realized that it would be a great opportunity to boost the old point total. In response, I played one table for about 20 minutes. I doubt there are many grinders who can beat that. There are just so many different things pulling me in so many different directions that I had no time for poker.

It was not my best month. I had up and down results for most of the month and there were definitely stretches where I wasn’t playing my best. On the upside, I think I have put in the effort I needed to study my game and identify some of the flaws. In the latter part of the month I am pretty sure I was playing much better than I was at the outset. Once all was said and done, I ended the month with a net loss of $77.90 overall. Technically, I was actually up a little bit, but that includes my brief experiment at Cake, which doesn’t count because PokerTracker won’t import it. If you include that, I’m actually up about $200. They say a picture tells a thousand words, so here is mine for February:

As you can see, there were a couple of fairly ugly stretches in that graph. It is a long way from the beautiful upward diagonal of the January graph.

Let’s review some of the numbers in detail. We’ll start with the key performance metrics from my original goals.


I’m pleased to see that I am well ahead of pace in terms of my hands played and points earned. Given how many hands I’ve played, I think I’m actually earning less than predicted, but under the circumstances I’m happy to just focus on the bottom line. 82% of the hands I played this month were limit hands and 18% were no limit. I won $164.60 playing no limit and lost $242.50 playing limit. Here are the results broken down by game type:

Limit Amount Won
$50/$100 $190.00
$30/$60 $1,163.50
$15/$30 ($650.00)
$10/$20 ($681.00)
$600 NL $673.65
$5/$10 ($265.00)
$400 NL ($509.05)

Once again, I have better results at higher limits. I think there are multiple factors affecting that. One is that my table selection is better at higher limits. I don’t feel that my edge is that large at $30/$60 and I’m even less sure at $50/$100, so I sometimes pass on games that run at those limits. I usually play the $30/$60 no matter who is sitting, but I will not always do so. I only play $50/$100 when I like the line-up. So table selection is one factor in the results. Another is the degree to which I multi-table. I almost always play 4 tables at 10/20 and below and I usually play 2 tables at 15/30 and up. This allows me to concentrate more and make better decisions. Finally, I tend to avoid short-handed games at the higher levels and I’m still erratic at short-handed tables.

Full ring $550.00
short handed ($793)
NL $165

After last month, I avoided playing heads-up. I actually did have 5 hands of heads-up, but I included it in short-handed. All in all, it wasn’t such a hot month, but I’m continuing to get plenty of hands in, which will be good when I have more distractions later. I also am actually pretty happy with my game right now. Let’s hope March works out better!

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.