Sunday, December 31, 2006

New Year - Poker Resolutions Time!

Always been a big fan of new years resolutions, just enjoy the excuse to get motivated for new things / changes etc. One has always over ridden them all, kind of a meta-resolution! Here it is;

- Make 2007 my best year yet!

My poker resolutions are more specific this year;

- Play less, but better (and more profitable) poker.
- Grind out at least 500 SNGs each month (no more than 20 hours per week for this)
- Learning, complete a self-development plan and execute this (will publish!), ensure that I spend at least 5 hours a week learning / analysing away from the tables.
- Get better at MTTs, too tight at the moment so I need to improve these, this will be measured in terms of beating my all time biggest cash ($3K) during '07.
- Take on an apprentice for SNGs!!! This idea is to help me learn too, and will provide content for this blog. Plan to start around Feb as other business comittments are keeping me busy for the time being.
- Keep Plan3tgong poker up to date and (hopefully) worth reading!!

Quite a list, also have a bunch of personal, travel and business resolutions. Not in the scope of this blog.

Will start the bank at zero from tomorrow morning so my progress in 07 can be easily tracked.

Cheers, Mark

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Sit and Go - Multi-Tabling and a late Xmas Gift

Poker Stars 'roll up to $2640 - Have included the $40 as this was in the form of a late Xmas present from an opponent...

My BB and dealt J4o, BB = 400 and my stack a miserable 1500ish, 5 opponents. Limper from EP and I check, fully intending to push any non-ace flop. His stack is slightly smaller than mine. So with the pot at just over 2k chips we see a flop of AK3 with 2 hearts... Oh well, check - fold time, GG me unless I get lucky soon. So I check, the guy thinks for about 20 seconds and then folds! Not even a check behind... his connection was at 100% and the 'checking is free - are you sure?' box would have come up. Amazing - my stack now over 2000 again - Fold Equity!!! The joy of fold equity for any thinking player is your cards become so much less important, 5 minutes later and I take 2nd.

Would like to add more tables and have been experimenting with different ways of doing this, comfortable up to 6 at once but usually play 4. Not sure if I want to add more tables at regular intervals or move to 8 and play them until the end. Ideally like to play 12 per hour, doing them in sets means that the longest game dictates when the set ends (40 to 45 minutes) so it makes sense to add some more.

Over the next couple of days I will try the following;

- Sets of 8 to the end
- Set of 8 then 4 more at BB200
- 4 to start then 4 more at BB=100 then add more as I bust / game finishes up to 40 minutes.
- 3 / 3 / 3 / 3 each 12 or so minutes.

Will report the results here, anyone out there a multitabler? I'm on 1 screen for the moment but would appreciate any thoughts!

Cheers, Mark

Friday, December 29, 2006

Sit and Go - Blind Stealing #1

Picked up a small 'move' this year that is now an established part of my SNG game. Originally came from the MTT world but works for Sit and Go too. Here it is;

- A good time to steal blinds from someone is when they just won a big pot!

Try it... you will be suprised! Sure they could get a premium hand, but hey what we are talking about is the reduced % that they play back at you without one, this makes the difference between a profitable and break-even move.

What I have been wondering (and not yet fully tested) is whether the reverse is also true... is it more risky to attempt to take blinds from people who have just lost a chunk of their stack?

Will check this out over the next few days and report the results here - if anyone has any thoughts on this then please feel free to drop me a comment or send a mail.

Cheers!

Mark

Thursday, December 28, 2006

The Joy of Misclicks!

Major misclick last night in the Titan $10k gtd!! About half way through, I had a relatively small stack 4000ish with an average of 6k. My BB dealt Q9off, 2 limpers and I checked, flop A47 rainbow, first limper raises 2000 and I fold.... perfectly normal hand there. Except that I did not fold, I flat called by accident and was put all in when a K hit on the turn... doh! Managed a small comeback but to no avail just did not have the chips to fight with!!

Not my worst misclick ever, that was on the bubble of a SNG, I had a full house on the turn - Jacks full of Kings and was content to let my opponent keep betting into me... until I accidently folded the river for his last 100 chips in a 4000 chip pot - leaving me 300ish. Now that is a misclick!!

Quick table update, Stars roll down a bit to $2.2k, nothing to report really - easily within the bounds of normal varience, people keep selfishly getting good hands when I push into them on the bubble!!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Titan Jackpot SNGs - Worth the extra rake??

Titan poker have been running their 'Jackpot Sit and Go' promotions for a while now. The concept is simple - win 6 in a row and get a huge bonus! There are actually 3 levels;

Fort Knox $50+9 - 6 players - Win 6 consecutively get $50k.
Rio $20+3.5 - 6 players - win 6 consecutively get $25k.
Maui - $5+1 - 10 players - win 5 consecutively get $15k

The good news is that if you play SNGs anyway you have an extra chance to win some big money... on the other hand the entry fee for each is higher than the equivilant
non-jackpot sit and go. I thought that it was time to do some analysis and ask whether it might be worth spending the extra in fees for the chance of a jackpot.

There are a couple of significant differences to include with the 6-Man SNGs, they
actually pay 3 places rather than 2! We also need to take into account the standard of play in these games as the experience level of the participants tends to be less than that for the equivalent buy-in non-jackpot games.

Let me start with some really simple probablilities and work from there; All else being equal you have a 16.7% chance of winning a 6-man SNG... so taking nothing more into account an 'average' player could win 6 in a row 0.002% of the time - or 1 in 500 sets of 6. Put another way if Mr Average plays 3000 jackpot SNGs he could expect, on average, to win the jackpot once!

Lets look at the fee vs the prize for the fort Knox; (3000 * $9) - $50000 = $23000

Ok, so it looks like there is some value here!

The complicating factor comes when we look at the same figures for a winning player.
Lets take the following assumption for 'Mrs Winner'; 25% 1st / 15% 2nd place / 10% 3rd place finish distribution.

After 3000 'non-jackpot' 6-man sngs;
750 1st ($210) = $157500
450 2nd ($90) = $40500
Total = (157500 + 40500) - (3000* $55) = +$33000

After 3000 jackpot Titain 6-man sngs;
750 1st (150) = $112500
450 2nd (90) = $40500
300 3rd (60) = $18000
Total = ($112500 + $40500 + $18000) - (3000 * $59) = -$6000

Interesting swing, over 3000 games there is a difference of $39000 - a strong suggestion that the winning player should stick to the lower-rake non-jackpot SNGs... but wait, in saying that 'Mrs Winner' has 25% winning chances we need to recalculate the probability of 6 in a row - this is now 0.019%, almost 1 in 50!!

Well, came into this analysis expecting the increased rake to make these unplayable, and am pleasantly suprised that there is some potential value in these. I already mentioned that they fill with less experienced players, let me elaborate - they fill with fish!! This, of course, makes things difficult in its own way - but I think I'm experienced enough by now to adjust.

I should mention bonuses - itan Poker give 20 'points' for each $1 in tournament fees and 600 points = $5 bonus clearance. Thus if you are playing the Fort Knox while clearing a bonus you are effectively saving almost $2 in fees.

One of the deals we had for the now defunct PP UK was an increased sign-up bonus for Titon poker, if you use the code 'POKERPOINT' when you sign up the initial bonus is a 100% match up to $500 (usually 25% up to $250 so a significent increase). You can use this link;

Titan Poker


My user name there is 'MFTPG' look forward to seeing you at the tables.

Cheers, Mark

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Bot or Not-a-Bot?

I'm impressed with Poker Stars Support, they looked into my mail about the Ukrainian 5-Draw Bots and came back with an explanation. Turns out that there are a group of 'pro' Pot-Limit 5-Draw players from Kiev, and they avoid each other at the tables. Now that I'm assured of this a new plan has developed... going to set aside an hour to watch these guys and see if I can pick up some tips! Should keep me amused when not grinding out the 16s at least.

Going to shift the focus of this blog forward over the next few days, have some exciting business plans for 2007.

My idea for 2006 is now officially dropped... Poker Point UK - will be scrapped and replaced with something far far better.... I am man enough to admit that my concept "ahhh, there must be room for just one more PSO out there" was not thought through, badly executed, badly designed and not marketed at all... basically mis-managed from the start (oops). Fortunately one of the reasons I did well in corporate life was that I put my hand up to admit errors, learned from mistakes and came up with something far better - thus the plans for 2007! (ok, being totally honest I also blamed others, fired people and made complicated spreadsheets showing that I did just fine after all!!!).

The fish-soup xmas dinner was just fine, not missed Turkey + Sprouts at all... got a few blank looks from the Hungarians when explaining what xmas-crackers are and the fact that we like to wear the paper hats for xmas dinner... actually missed my hat a little....

Cheers, Mark

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Review of 2006 - Part #3 - Some Lessons Learned

Firstly thanks for the positive feedback both in comments and via e-mail, I very much appreciate this... strange thing about blogging is that there is always a nagging doubt nobody is out there!!

Learned some important poker lessons this year here are a couple, in places 1 through 100 is the same concept, can not recall exactly when it clicked into place for me... anyway "there is no magic bullet" was the big one for me this year... before then I was seeking for some elusive secret, known only to the 'pros', some concept so strong and powerful that it would immediately turn me from fish to shark... peversely the real secret was admitting to myself that no such secret existed!! This is what allowed me to break down my game, analyse more, think through hands and situations, work out which areas I should look into in more depth etc etc. Admitting that the magic bullet did not exist got me on the road to winning $$$.

2nd lesson; More mundane really, something well known but only personally conceptualised it this year.... "your profit comes from your opponents mistakes", sure that this can be viewed in the Sklansky view of playing hands differently than if you knew your opponents cards... I prefer to look at it more generally. If my opponents made no mistakes I would lose money (man enough to admit that I make plently of them!!). If I make less mistakes than my opponents I will win over time... Now this one opens many doors for further discussion (such as whether playing 'unexploitably' is in fact the most profitable play?), however the main thing it has enabled me to do is to ask - What mistakes are my opponents making? and secondly think through ways in which I can profit from these! I am currently working on an e-book, provisionally titled "A Comedy of Errors", which looks at low-level SNG mistakes and how to ajust your strategy to profit from these. I hereby promise to make this freely available to Plan3t Gong readers as soon as it is completed (estimate 1st week of Jan).

Finally, joined PokerXfactor half way through this year and would recommend this site as a valuable resource, as well as their regulars (Sheets and JohnyBax) they have videos from other online pros such as Rizen and BelowAbove (+ my personal favourite BR Savage) who go through tourneys they have won discussing key hands... great stuff and have certainly put a couple of new thoughts into my game as a result.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Quick Table Update + Possible Bots!

Off to the south of Hungary shortly for familiy xmas (fish soup rather than turkey but otherwise same as back home). Should be able to update from there.

Table update; SNGs going fine, Poker Stars Bankroll up to $2400 - tried the $25+2s, standard is very similar to the 16s but I still do not feel comfortable there... got to be psychological as the step in money is relatively small. Will have a think about this one.... also managed an MTT final table over on VC Poker coming in 4th, but for trying to stop-and-go a calling station over on Titan I may have been reporting another decent cash (he called with Q2o after raising his button with a 2 on the flop... I smooth-called and then pushed flop with 77... only to see another 2 on the turn - ah well - I should have had more chips!)

Have become suspicious that there may be some bots on the PL 5-Card Draw. Here is my evidence;
- Each PL Table up to $1/2 has one (and only one) of 3 Ids on it.
- All are from Kiev
- They each play 7-8 tables and play them very fast, too fast.
- They were all at the tables in the morning and still there when I checked before bed (2am).

Not conclusive but I have written to Stars support to have them look into it... so far have a standard 'we take bots seriously' form letter back... do not see them at the tables this morning though, we will see.

Cheers, Mark

Friday, December 22, 2006

Hand Reading Practice - 5 Card Draw Style

Originally started playing a little 5 card Draw over on Stars as a simple bit of variation... however thinking it through this game has become a good exercise in hand reading. Been playing the Pot Limit version which has the happy medium of giving max information without the huge overbets of the No Limit game.

The information you get is this;

- Bet size before the draw
- Number of cards drawn
- Bet size after the draw

Not much, no community cards, no opportunity to semi-bluff a scare card turn etc. The thing is that when you combine this information with a players known tendancies from previous hands it is actually pretty easy to narrow their range significantly enough to make some $$$.

First thing I do is categorise each player at the table into these 3 traits, Tight vs Loose / Passive vs Aggressive / Tricky vs Straightforward.

At the extremes of each trait the players are giving away their money, someone who only ever raises trips or better will never be called by a worse hand (actually they will be called regularly - just not by me!) someone who raises any pair will be trapped for a big pot eventually. The very best opponents call raises pre draw with draws then bet only when they hit, spot one of these and he becomes your ATM.

The tricky but bad player is another good opponent to spot. Some people will call or limp pre draw and then discard 2. Now assuming that raising trips is a +ev play they are usually discarding their 2 lowest non-paired cards (ie keeping JJK and discarding 2), this narrows the chances of trips + by 1/3rd and can lead to making a second best 2 pair fairly easily.

The same players will often discard less than their opponents to represent a stronger hand... daft! imagine someone who calls pre draw with KK, sees 2 opponents discard 1 (so they may be on draws or have 2 small pair if no raises pre draw), they also discard 1 so as not to look weak, now their chances of improving to KKK have gone down by 66%.... I would rather discard 3 here, especially in position - assuming your opponents will only bet when they hit you can safely check behind if you do not improve and bet out when you do. Lose a small pot / win a big one.

Anyhow, here are a couple of things I look out for;

- Opponents who always bet small when they hit a monster
- Opponents who flat call raises then stand pat when opponent draws 2, more likely to be bluffing with 2 pair.
- Opponents who raise with any pair pre draw then bet out after draw, easy reraise with Kings-up or better... optional reraise with less depending on opponent.
- Opponents who will always bet their 2 small pairs on the end, once you have a read then calling / folding becomes easy.

Another aspect of this game comes from Sklansky's theory of poker. Optimal bluffing strategy and the stuff about not betting when you will only ever be called by a better hand... post is already long enough though!

Recommend this game for a bit of hand reading practice.

Cheers, Mark

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Happy Birthday to...

me!

Just a shorty today, I'm another year (or is it day?) older and intend to celebrate with a few glasses of my favourite tipple (that'll be JD then).

Read an interesting post over on poker player magazine about motivations for people making bad calls (thesis was about feeling good). Made me think about the weaknesses of 'ego' players in the SNG / MTT environment. Plan on thinking this through and starting a discussion tomorrow.

What i'd really like for my birthday is a link! If you have a blog / site and would like to exchange then drop me a comment.

Cheers, Mark

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Review of 2006 - Part #2 - Poker Highlight of the Year!

My poker highlight happened by accident while on the road, we were in Jaco on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica one rainy weekday night... Mrs mftpg was tired and resting so I decided to venture out to a local internet Cafe with my Laptop to play a few hands...

Joined a couple of SNGs and one MTT - a $5 rebuy on Pokerstars. Not too much experience with rebuys at this point in time so although suprised when the number of participants went over 2000 it was not unduly worrying. Anyway, things went well, slowly but steadily chipped up for the first few hours with the occasional big pot coming my way too. Mrs mftpg arrived after a few hours to find out where I had got to.... we were soon deep in the money and heading for the final few tables....

Then a problem, we were the last customers in the net cafe and the owner (a friendly enough guy) wanted to close... oops, by this time I was 5th in chips with 3 or 4 tables left.... what to do? We remembered a bar with wireless access not far away and headed there, except they were closing! I rejoined the game while Mrs mftpg managed to get us some drinks (in plastic glasses as they wanted to wash up the glass ones). 45ish minutes later we made the final table... just us, the increasingly restless staff and the band packing up for the night and now a new problem, my laptop saying '20 minutes of power to go' (never was too good at keeping it topped up).

10 more minutes and we have been asked to leave again, band almost done and staff wanting to go home (fair enough).... 2 or 3 gone from final table and I have an average stack... pick up 77 in the cutoff, nothing for it really - got to shove. Button calls (AJ and missed) BB calls too with JJ....
GG me, out in 6th for $2.6k.... laptop now saying 6 minutes to go...

Could have done better but a fun experience none the less!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Sit and Go - Playing vs Multitablers...

Anyone playing SNGs at the bigger sites has come across them right? the players who are at every table at your level... and signed up for all the games to come, there are people out there playing 12, 16 even 24 tables at once. The question is; how to play against these people in such a way as to get an edge??

Will start by thinking about the game from the perspective of the 16-tabler;

- Very small likelihood of reads on other players or even the table, they are playing the cards.
- Post-flop play would make matters complicated, they are looking for easy decisions.
- They are playing to a set of pre-determined rules depending on cards / blinds / position.
- They are likely to understand bubble play and be able to push / fold with a certain degree of accuracy (again via preset rules - no adjustment for their opponents).

Here are my top 10 thoughts on how to get an edge; comments / feedback welcome!

1 - Assigning hand ranges early, if this guy raises or reraises early on he has a good hand. Your job is to determine the range of hands for each action. It is worth spending the time to do this if you come across this player often.

2 - Draws, especially out of position are far less likely as this would involve post flop play. If there is a straight or flush draw on the flop you should be continuation betting most of the time.

3 - Conversely small pairs from mid to late position are more likely - especially for a limp, they are easy to play on the flop (no set no bet!).

4 - Expect continuation bets on most flops, in my experience these guys will almost always fire a 2nd barrel. If you hit your hand then push it hard, they are looking for the simple decisions and will not be likely to make any complex moves on you.

5 - If a multi-tabler raises 3 or 4 bb from early position in the 'middle' blind levels they are more likely to call a push or push over a reraise, their opening criteria are strict and they need easy decisions. Do not attempt a resteal at this stage unless you have a hand =ev to their likely range.

6 - Again in the mid-stages the multitabler is less likely to call a raise from the blinds, keep your raises small each time, they will play back with top 10% ish and you can fold with a clear conscience!

7 - Keep an eye on the others at your table, have they adjusted to cope with this guy? If the others are attempting tricky multi-street 'moves' on him then stay out of the way and let them get on with it... your best bet is to find out where you are in the hand quickly and let go of your hand if you encounter resistance.

8 - Bubble time, again you should be raising ahead of the m-tabler most times, it is even more important to do this here as they will usually know that their calling range must be strict.

9 - Bubble #2, calling ranges, the m-tabler will know that it is often profitable to push any 2 when folded to and the blinds are high. You need to adjust your calling range downwards to take account of this - not too far though! What I do here is to call when ICM says I have a +ev situation against top 70%

10 - Heads up on the end, again look for their 'rules' and adjust to them, in my experience these guys are pushing very wide (assuming the blinds are high), top 60% or even higher - if you do not know what hands to call against this range then look it up fast! Again a personal rule of thumb is that they are calling top 25%, again find out what this means you can profitably push!


Thoughts / Comments welcome!

Cheers, Mark

Monday, December 18, 2006

Review of 2006 - Part #1

Thought it would be a nice idea to have a review of 2006, the lessons I have learned and development as a player... 2006 has been an amazing year in many ways, as we appproach the new year the focus will be shifted forward.... today a backward summary only;

Back in time - Dec 2005.

This time last year I quit my job as Operations Manager at IBM Hungary, it was the last job in a career of 9 years, one that had seen me go from the graduate looking after the telephones(!) through various supply chain re-engineering projects, into the 'outsourcing' arena and eventually to being 'number 2' in an organisation of over 1000 people... I was good at my job, relatively young and had some (as my boss put it) 'serious prospects'.

But I handed back the keys to my beautiful turbo-injection Saab, ditched my suits and my big fat expenses account and quit.... not to play poker - to travel the world.

And what a trip, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Mexico, Honduras, Costa-Rica and Peru. Not in the scope of this blog to talk about the details so just a couple of words - there is a fantastic wealth of cultural / natural and culinary beauty out there... go experience it!

By July we became road weary and headed back to Europe, finding ourselves in Budapest. This is when I took the decision that Poker could be more lucrative than just a passtime and where my focus shifted towards plugging my leaks, learning as much as possible and making some nice $$$ from the tables.

Will go through the lessons learned over the next couple of weeks. I do not intend poker to become my sole source of income, instead putting some of my business experience to good use. There are many projects in the pipeline, some poker-related and others not which, in theory at least should enable me to avoid having to go back to corporate life... we will see!!!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Moving on Up...

Well, ok then tomorrow!

Been grinding out a good number of the Poker Stars 16s this weekend and have managed to reach my short-term goal of breaking the 2k bankroll barrier. Time to relax with a nice glass of Jack Daniels for now - then tomorrow up to the 27's.

Plan is to mix in half and half 16s and 27s for the time being, if my roll drops down to $1600 then it is back to the 16s for a while, once I get to $2700 then it will (finally!) be time to say goodbye 16s for ever!

Cheers, Mark

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Sit and Go - Tricky Hands

Did some 'research' over at 2+2 to find out which hands get the most posts looking for advice, these numbers came from 30 pages of posts on the 'One table Tournements' board and relate only to the 9 / 10 person sit and go format.

1 - AK with 24 requests
2 - KK with 14
3 = QQ with 13
3 = AQ with 13
5 = AA with 11
5 = JJ with 11
7 - 10 10 with erm 10!
8 - A-Rag with 9
9 - 99 with 8
10 - Suited Connectors 7

No suprise in the number one spot really, at least from my experience at the Poker Stars 16s there are a variety of suitations which lead AK to be played in different ways... At the bubble it is an easy push to open a pot but should mostly be folded if someone else pushes first. Early position with low blinds it is usually a raise + cbet most flops, late position it may be better to call a raise and use that positional advantage to get away / extract the most post-flop...

KK in #2 suprised me a little, many of the posts concerned what to do if an Ace flops. Aces in equal 5th spot too... seems that there is a 'could you have got away from these here' theme and also questions on how to extract the most.

Ace-Rag in 8th - come on folks, if you folded them pre flop more often you would not be in difficult spots and need to ask questions!!!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Psychology on the Forums and a Quick Table Update

Posted over on PokerXfactor about 'what is stopping you....' some interesting responses, will link to it for now and plan to talk about this more over the weekend. You need to sign up for the free membership first;

http://www.pokerxfactor.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=5181

There is also a debate going on over at 2+2 on the '1 table tournements' board, some of the posts are the usual unfriendly pointless gripes that you get over there - but also some interesting discussion on Tilt and Downswings;

http://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/showflat.php?Cat=0&Number=8427873&an=0&page=1&vc=1

For those not familiar with 2+2 I recommend this board - some really great discussion of you can overlook some of the less friendly responses.

Table update; A quiet week for me, have joined 4 MTTs, cashed in 2 but did not go particularly deep. Have played a few more SNGs too, looking to get my Stars FPPs up another 500ish this weekend to order 'Ace on the River' by Barry Greenstein which I have been recommened. Also donking around with some Pot Limit 5 - Card Draw, interesting game in which peoples mistakes are often exaggerated. Will save the analysis for another day.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

How can *you* become a better player?

Does this sound familiar? You are not unhappy with your play per se, you make a decent return on your money in whichever game(s) you play, you improve incrementally each week, month and year.... Yet you look at the *really* successful people, those people who have gone from grinding out their dollars at low limits to being professionals, or cashing a WSOP / WPT even and think - what have they got that I have not??!?

My thoughts are that these individuals are no different from you and me, on average no 'smarter' or naturally talented. The door is open for every single one of us to become the next Ben Grundy, Johnny Bax or Chris Moneymaker.

Over the next couple of weeks I will be posting thoughts and questions on this subject - if you would like to join in the debate please feel free to drop a comment or send me a mail (mail address now in my profile).

Cheers, Mark

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Thinking About Tilt Part#1

Its time for this UK Poker Blog to get a little more international, today I will be submitting to some worldwide directories - a warm welcome and a nice hot cup of tea to visitors from North America and the rest of the globe!

Today my thoughts are on Tilt, the subject came to mind after watching the latest Sheets video over at PokerXFactor.com , he was in a kind of funny mood - expecting to lose, making marginal plays even while explaining that he should really fold. The video was amusing and *fairly* instructional... what it go me thinking about was the different kinds of Tilt. Tried starting a thread over at 2+2 on the subject but no replies at the time of blogging.

ANGRY TILT; I am sure every poker player knows of this one, you get sucked out on the river in a pot you were 95% to win, you go from tournament chip lead to a small stack in one horrible moment, the red mist rises up in front of your eyes, you just can not believe how that fish made the call... boom - Tilt time, pushing marginal hands, calling all ins just to spite your opponent, convincing yourself that your opponent is bluffing to justify a dumb call of your own. 10 hands later you are out of your tourney... right I'll go to the cash tables and really show 'em... etc etc etc

I strongly believe that this is just the obvious form of tilt, that the more dangerous kinds are far more subtle - you may not even realise you are tilting until it is too late... I propose the following categories and would love to hear others opinions on this subject.

FRUSTRATED TILT; This is one that builds up incrementally, you wait patiently for a decent hand and get dealt a nice pair of Kings, an Ace on the flop followed by a check-raise all in from an opponent force you to fold. No problem, You get AK, a nice rainbow K high flop, end up losing to bottom 2 pair... well stuff happens. Cold decks, suck outs and unlucky breaks mount up and before you know it the frustration starts to bite. Not in an angry 'red-mist' way but more subtly. You start to come into pots with those Ace-Rag hands hoping to hit, you raise up with small to meduim pairs hoping to take down the pot with a Continuation Bet if you miss and end up committing more chips than the hand is worth... your play changes from a solid tight / aggressive format into a raise-em-up and hope to get lucky style. Half an hour later your chips are gone...

BLACK CLOUD TILT; This describes the situation where there is a black doom-laden cloud hovering over your head, when you go into a game just 'knowing' you are going to lose. This kind is not triggered by a single event, rather a series of losing sessions or bad-beats. It puts you into the mood where you are reluctant to raise up your Kings because you just *know* that someone will call with Ace-rag and get lucky against you. You become hesitant about value betting your small straight and check behind on the end, losing the price of a bet. You start to play hands more weakly than is correct to avoid losing, even though you *know* that weak play is unlikely to win back your money...

Ah well, thats it for now - of course the only real solution to any form of Tilt is to take a break from the tables.

Be great to have some feedback, you can either leave a comment or mail me at Q351 (at sign) yahoo (dot) co (dot) uk

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Love / Hate and SNGs

Anyone else get this? One minute you are really enjoying grinding out those SNGs, the next you can not stand to even think about them! No big trigger, lost a few but only about 3 buy-ins which is perfectly normal varience... was about to spark up another set of 4 when I decided that they are the most lothesome invention of the last 600 years. Ah well, maybe time to stop playing for a while!

Just one more thing today - recently made an effort to swap links with some of the blogs I read, with some success - links on the top right of this blog... if you are passing by and would like your link added then drop me a 'comment' or send a quick mail to Q351 (at sign) Yahoo (dot) co (dot) uk

Cheers,

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Satellites and a New Site...

Been a good weekend of Pokering... Friday evening I played with a few virtual 'friends' from among the great people at the motley fool (www.fool.co.uk - then find the 'Poker School' message board). Managed to win a seat in the Sunday warm up for $9.30c ($3r turbo sat), Saturday daytime I won 2 more sats, another 3r for the Sunday Million and a $5r for the PCA double shootout. Unregistered for all 3 (had to sell the PCA seat money tp Cashmanbrian as its only for use in sats) the rest I used to play SNGs and have brought the bankroll up by a heathy $500 (now $1500) in a couple of days!

Today I gave Full Tilt a bash, since Party pulled out of the US this has become the new number #2 (the old Stars if you like). First impressions very good indeed, like the interface, especially the icons. SNGs at all levels (well I only checked up to about $30) were going off all the time. They have a 100% bonus up to $600 for the first deposit. I put the full amount in, would have to stop Stars for a while to clear it quickly so will probably do half and half for a month or two. Check it out via the link below and let me know what you think...

play online poker
Play
Online Poker

Friday, December 08, 2006

Budapest and SNGs

I'm an Englishman abroad, came over to Hungary with IBM to set up an international service centre and kind of stayed. Funny place Hungary, great place, great people, fine wine and beautiful women... here are a few of the lesser known facts about the place;

- Don't expect customer service, oh no no no - in fact think yourself bloody lucky you are being served at all, when the server feels like finishing their phone call, or book or vacation...
- The water is so 'hard' you can actually eat it. boiling a kettle produces enough limescale to fill numerous small cracks in the plastering.
- People look at you. How wierd is that, takes some getting used to after the UK where looking in someones general direction can cause a fight. Here they just look, no harm meant, no problems anticipated. Takes a bit of getting used to, after 2 years I have *almost* started to look back.
- The lingo, incomprehensable gibberish, most people <25 can get by in English, if you go out of the major cities this goes down to almost zero... the Hungarians are proud of the difficulty of their language. They are also very proud of their dubbing industry, which is apparently the best in the world.

Ahhhah Poker, Have decided to play 500 SNGs this month, up to 50 in the last 2 days, exclusively the $15+1 Turbos on Stars at the moment. ROI is OK and bankroll heading upwards. Realise I am supposed to move up, about $1000 in the roll at the mo, plan to move to the $25+2s turbos once this reached 2K. Have played them before but with a small roll found I was playing 'scared', in the pushy / foldy world of SNGs this meant very little chance of a good ROI... next time will have a roll that is comfotable enough not to have to worry about the money!

www.pokerpointuk.com is on hold for a couple of days - realised that I did not have anything to 'grab' the attention of viewers right from the start. Was planning on sending info on the freeroll in an eMail, no good. Have asked my IT guy to add some scrolling text to the frontpage saying 'Sign up in December for free entry into our freeroll on Jan 14th' should be good - going to put up $300 for the prize pool, hope it is worthwhile!!

Project number 2 is also getting some traction - this concerns travel writing, should be something up and running by the end of Jan.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Softness...

A friend referred me to Victor Chandler, suggesting the play was rather soft... well well, a quick 2 night test run revealed this to be an understatement! The sit and goes (up to the $20 level at least) are softer than a baby's posterior, the PLO games are softer than a silk scarf and the NL cash games are softer than belgian chocolate melting in the mouth....

This of course means a strategy change, particularly at the sit and goes... example, bubble - both shorty and big stack fold to me in the SB, I have K9 soooted and have the BB covered, perfect - more than is required for the job of shoving the BB in a situation where I can not possibly be called (shorty has 1.5BBs)... WRONG! The BB has, wait for it... J4 off and makes the call. Wow. Lost the 40/60, no matter as I went on to get 2nd anyway but blimey! This was not an isolated example, playing ace-rag seems to be endemic, seen a missed A9 call bets to the river today - beating a missed A7!!! So its tighten up time, value bet to death time and run away if there is an Ace on the flop. Initial bankroll there already showing some signs of progress.

Had some good feedback about my site www.pokerpointuk.com, need to get the interface looking a little sharper. Also got to work on the freeroll, I have a $300 gtd (will be more if >300 members) on Jan 14th, site undecided but probably Stars. The thing is this was not well publicised for a causual visitor - the change (hopefully up today) will be to put this message on the front page... ie anyone who signs up in December gets free entry etc. Hopefully this converts observers into members!!

Cheers

Monday, December 04, 2006

Review - Sunday MTTs

Ahhha, not a run down of how I ran in the Stars million or other biggies, nope its straight down to earth here my Sunday night entertainment was the TMF monthly and a starts PCA Freeroll!

- TMF stands for 'The Motley Fool' its a finance site www.fool.co.uk mostly but has a small and friendly poker community on the 'poker school' message board. There were 17 entrants putting up the $10 entry fee on Stars for this months tourney. Actually picked up a bunch of good cards mid-game, doubled with Aces, big pot with Kings, aces again but no action... then it kind of fell apart - reraised all in with QQ from a EP raiser (smelt like a medium pair and was indeed 99), 9 on the flop and thats half my stack. Raise JJ from MP, shorty pushes giving me 2.5/1 and an easy call, he shows A5 and spikes the A... oops, desperation mode now and 22 on the button, shove when folded to and run into the SBs 88 - out in 10th, shame - had either of the hands where I was big favourite held up I would have had a nice shot at the money... ah well, thats poker - happy with my play so no worries. Hand history available at PXF

http://www.pokerxfactor.com/HH34415/6111_20061203_172959

- 2nd was thw final of the VIP freeroll on Stars for the PCA (pokerstars carribean adventure) 1200ish entrants and 6 $12000 packages up for grabs.Had been through 2 previous freerolls to qualify (inc a 5.5 hour grind on Sat night). Story of the night is that I played solid, if timid, poker for 1.5 hours then got bored and shoved 10s 8s, called by AK and GG to me! Was kind of disapointed in myself, had enough chips to standard raise / get away. Its a leak really, my concentration lapses, something seems like a really good idea on the spur of the monent and bang, out in a very mediochre 557th place!!

no worries.

If your from the UK please take a look at my website, www.pokerpointuk.com , now fully functional (just waiting on the international visitors piece before I start the advertising).

Cheers

Friday, December 01, 2006

November Review... December Plans

Blimey, don't these here months come and go quickly.

Played far too much poker this month after regaining some enthusiasm after a couple of bad ones. Result is +$3700ish so no complaints.

Highlights;
- 5 final MTT tables between the various sites inc one win
- Won 6 sattelites out of 14 attempts to stars million / PCA
- Enjoyed playing again (for the first half of the month at least)

Lows:
- Sunday millions, i donked out in one, and played horrible weak-tight scared poker in other...
- 3rd in $175 PCA double shootout final table, 2nd biggest stack... lost half getting in with my AK cracked by opponents A4 then the other half in exactly the same way - my AK cracked by AJ. Could so easilly have been on the way to the Bahamas ;o(

December plans;
- Play a little less.
- Focus on MTTs (stop donking around the various games!)
- Spend as much time on learning as playing