Poker, novel-in-progress, and updates from rainy PDX.

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

-20,000th Hand Update-

I'm going to crosspost this on Two Plus Two, and I hope to get some feedback.

I just played my 20,000th hand of online poker (since I bought Poker Tracker, anyway), and I figured now is as good a time as ever to revisit ALL my stats across ALL levels, however painful or embarassing.

Some quick background: I learned how to play Hold 'Em last year from my brother, who's now a pro. He gave me some good advice, and I knew a few basics, but I ran hot right away and overestimated my abilities. I built $50 into almost $300 playing $25 NL on Party Poker, then came crashing back to Earth and went bust.

Since then, I've read Theory of Poker and Cloutier's book on Hold 'Em tourneys. And I've bought back into both Party and Poker Stars and played many different games at different levels. And for the last couple months I've been reading Two Plus Two quite a bit, and soaking up as much knowledge as I can.

At this point, I'm pretty sure I'm a winning player at lower limit games. But I'm interested to see what comments people might have.

I'm not going to spare myself with these bad hand histories... I'm going to post some of my most embarassing hands. I'll also post one where I got lucky as a skunk.

First, I'll delve into the stats.

Hands: 20,002
VP$IP: 16.17
PFR%: 4.98
Amount won: $459.95

These aren't representative of my most recent game, $0.50/$1.00, in case you were wondering.

Now, here are the levels I've played, how many hands I've played at each level, and how much I've won at each level.

NL $25: 5,825 and $268.60
NL $0.02: 5,520 and $81.43
$0.25/$0.50: 4,573 and -$19.95
$0.50/$1.00: 2,955 and $111.49
$0.05/$0.10: 1,074 and $7.08
PL $25: 39 and $16.80
$1.00/$2.00: 16 and -$5.50

Finally, here are my win rates per 100 hands at the same levels, excluding PL $25 and $1/$2 because the sample sizes are microscopic.

NL $25: 4.61 BB/100
NL $0.02: 36.88 BB/100 (misleading because the blinds are so small)
$0.25/$0.50: -0.87 BB/100
$0.50/$1.00: 3.77 BB/100
$0.05/$0.10: 6.59 BB/100

Although I've made the most money at $25 NL, I now consider myself a limit player. I found that I couldn't handle the swings at NL. When I resumed playing after busting the first time, I once again found myself running hot. But this time I had studied the game, so I was even more confident. Of course, I ran bad for a couple thousand hands and hit some incredible beats. Ultimately, though, the problem wasn't the beats--it was my ability to deal with them.

So I finally took a break, cashed out and went to the micro tables on PokerStars. The $0.01/$0.02 game was easy, but not profitable enough to really pursue, so I decided to teach myself limit. So far, it's been a wise decision.

About that time, I also started reading the micro forum at 2+2 religiously. There were plays I didn't understand that now make perfect sense.

I know I've got a long way to go, but I want to thank everyone on this board for helping me progress as far as I have.

Having said all that, I'm now going to post some of the dumbest moves I've ever made in poker. You can rip me one, but I already know these are stupid.

Hand 1: What the crap was I thinking?

Party Poker No-Limit Hold'em, $0.50 BB (8 handed)

UTG ($27.95)
UTG+1 ($12)
Hero ($20.35)
MP2 ($68.75)
CO ($1.50)
Button ($24)
SB ($28.20)
BB ($7)

[b]Preflop:[/b] Hero is MP1 with 8:club:, 8:diamond:.
UTG folds, UTG+1 folds, Hero calls $0.50, MP2 folds, CO folds, Button folds, SB completes, BB checks.

[b]Flop:[/b] ($1.50) J:club:, 3:diamond:, J:heart: [color:blue](3 players)[/color]
SB checks, BB checks, [color:CC3333]Hero bets $2[/color], SB calls $2, BB folds.

[b]Turn:[/b] ($5.50) 7:heart: [color:blue](2 players)[/color]
SB checks, [color:CC3333]Hero bets $7[/color], SB calls $7.

[b]River:[/b] ($19.50) 4:club: [color:blue](2 players)[/color]
[color:CC3333]SB bets $18.7 (All-In)[/color], Hero calls $10.85 (All-In).

[b]Final Pot:[/b] $49.05
[color:green]Main Pot: $41.20, between Hero and SB.[/color] > [color:white]Pot won by SB ($41.20).[/color]
[color:green]Pot 2: $7.84, returned to SB.[/color]

Results in white below: [color:white]
Hero shows 8c 8d (two pair, jacks and eights).
SB shows 7c Jd (full house, jacks full of sevens).
Outcome: SB wins $49.04. [/color]

Hand 2: Just fold!

Party Poker No-Limit Hold'em, $0.50 BB (9 handed)

MP2 ($45.55)
Hero ($21)
CO ($10.55)
Button ($30.05)
SB ($49.40)
BB ($26.70)
UTG ($15.25)
UTG+1 ($10.33)
MP1 ($25.55)

[b]Preflop:[/b] Hero is MP3 with Q:diamond:, A:club:.
UTG folds, UTG+1 folds, MP1 folds, MP2 folds, [color:CC3333]Hero raises to $3[/color], CO folds, Button calls $3, SB folds, [color:CC3333]BB raises to $7[/color], [color:CC3333]Hero raises to $21 (All-In)[/color], Button folds, BB calls $14.

[b]Flop:[/b] ($45.25) 5:club:, J:diamond:, 8:heart: [color:blue](2 players, 1 all-in)[/color]

[b]Turn:[/b] ($45.25) 6:diamond: [color:blue](2 players, 1 all-in)[/color]

[b]River:[/b] ($45.25) 9:diamond: [color:blue](2 players, 1 all-in)[/color]

[b]Final Pot:[/b] $45.25
[color:green]Main Pot: $45.25, between Hero and BB.[/color] > [color:white]Pot won by BB ($45.25).[/color]

Results in white below: [color:white]
BB shows Td Ts (one pair, tens).
Hero shows Qd Ac (high card, ace).
Outcome: BB wins $45.25. [/color]

Hand 3: This is why I quit NL

Party Poker No-Limit Hold'em, $0.50 BB (10 handed)

UTG ($7.60)
UTG+1 ($55.20)
UTG+2 ($20.40)
MP1 ($71.38)
Hero ($24.25)
MP3 ($33.20)
CO ($26.75)
Button ($20.90)
SB ($55.55)
BB ($20)

[b]Preflop:[/b] Hero is MP2 with K:spade:, Q:spade:.
UTG calls $0.50, UTG+1 folds, UTG+2 calls $0.50, MP1 folds, Hero calls $0.50, MP3 calls $0.50, CO folds, Button calls $0.50, SB folds, BB checks.

[b]Flop:[/b] ($3.25) J:diamond:, 8:heart:, Q:diamond: [color:blue](6 players)[/color]
BB checks, UTG folds, [color:CC3333]UTG+2 bets $0.5[/color], [color:CC3333]Hero raises to $6[/color], MP3 folds, Button folds, BB folds, UTG+2 calls $5.50.

[b]Turn:[/b] ($15.25) 8:diamond: [color:blue](2 players)[/color]
[color:CC3333]UTG+2 bets $0.5[/color], [color:CC3333]Hero raises to $13.9[/color], UTG+2 calls $13.40 (All-In).

[b]River:[/b] ($43.05) 7:club: [color:blue](2 players, 1 all-in)[/color]

[b]Final Pot:[/b] $43.05
[color:green]Main Pot: $43.05, between UTG+2 and Hero.[/color] > [color:white]Pot won by UTG+2 ($43.05).[/color]

Results in white below: [color:white]
UTG+2 shows 9d 5d (flush, queen high).
Hero shows Ks Qs (two pair, queens and eights).
Outcome: UTG+2 wins $43.05. [/color]

Hand 4: Too aggressive!!!

Party Poker No-Limit Hold'em, $0.50 BB (8 handed)

UTG+1 ($57.40)
MP1 ($21.05)
Hero ($34.10)
CO ($69.30)
Button ($29.95)
SB ($20.25)
BB ($33.50)
UTG ($20.95)

[b]Preflop:[/b] Hero is MP2 with J:club:, A:club:.
UTG calls $0.50, UTG+1 folds, MP1 folds, [color:CC3333]Hero raises to $1[/color], CO calls $1, Button folds, SB folds, BB folds, UTG calls $0.50.

[b]Flop:[/b] ($3.75) 4:heart:, 2:heart:, A:diamond: [color:blue](3 players)[/color]
[color:CC3333]UTG bets $1[/color], [color:CC3333]Hero raises to $6[/color], CO calls $6, UTG folds.

[b]Turn:[/b] ($16.75) 8:club: [color:blue](2 players)[/color]
[color:CC3333]Hero bets $20[/color], CO calls $20.

[b]River:[/b] ($56.75) K:heart: [color:blue](2 players)[/color]
[color:CC3333]Hero bets $7.1 (All-In)[/color], CO calls $7.10.

[b]Final Pot:[/b] $70.95
[color:green]Main Pot: $70.95, between Hero and CO.[/color] > [color:white]Pot won by CO ($70.95).[/color]

Results in white below: [color:white]
Hero shows Jc Ac (one pair, aces).
CO shows 4c Ah (two pair, aces and fours).
Outcome: CO wins $70.95. [/color]

Hand 5: Here's one where I got lucky. On the river, I tried to push, but accidentally clicked the minimum bet. It worked out okay.

Party Poker No-Limit Hold'em, $0.50 BB (10 handed)

CO ($98.85)
Button ($31.96)
SB ($13)
Hero ($31.80)
UTG ($39.20)
UTG+1 ($19.50)
UTG+2 ($9.50)
MP1 ($20.40)
MP2 ($23.03)
MP3 ($32.09)

[b]Preflop:[/b] Hero is BB with 4:spade:, 7:club:.
UTG calls $0.50, UTG+1 folds, UTG+2 folds, MP1 calls $0.50, MP2 calls $0.50, MP3 calls $0.50, CO calls $0.50, Button calls $0.50, SB completes, Hero checks.

[b]Flop:[/b] ($4) 5:diamond:, 4:diamond:, 4:club: [color:blue](8 players)[/color]
SB checks, [color:CC3333]Hero bets $4[/color], [color:CC3333]UTG raises to $8[/color], MP1 folds, MP2 folds, MP3 calls $8, CO folds, Button folds, SB folds, Hero calls $4.

[b]Turn:[/b] ($28) 4:heart: [color:blue](3 players)[/color]
Hero checks, [color:CC3333]UTG bets $5[/color], MP3 folds, Hero calls $5.

[b]River:[/b] ($38) A:spade: [color:blue](2 players)[/color]
[color:CC3333]Hero bets $0.5[/color], [color:CC3333]UTG raises to $25.7 (All-In)[/color], Hero calls $17.80 (All-In).

[b]Final Pot:[/b] $82
[color:green]Main Pot: $74.60, between Hero and UTG.[/color] > [color:white]Pot won by Hero ($74.60).[/color]
[color:green]Pot 2: $7.40, returned to UTG.[/color]

Results in white below: [color:white]
Hero shows 4s 7c (four of a kind, fours).
UTG shows 5c 6c (full house, fours full of fives).
Outcome: Hero wins $74.60. UTG wins $7.40. [/color]

Friday, June 25, 2004

Unbelievable. This game is so wild. I've been on such a horrific slide--I lost 86BB probably in the last 500 to 600 hands... then I sit down tonight and win 40BB in 94 hands.

I was making "Sklansky Bucks," as they say, during the losing streak. Which means that my winning hands were getting drawn out by suckers.

Well, as long as the value returns to me in the end, I'm happy.

My current stats on Party since the re-buy.

Hands: 1,755
VP$IP: 17.21 (very high for me... but appropriate for this level)
PFR: 7.12 (getting better all the time)
BB/100: 2.82 (not too shabby)

This was an amazing session. Had AA 3 times on one table in probably 30 hands and they all held up. Also had QQ, but that lost!

I'm considering becoming a "bonus whore." Seems like I might actually be able to make some pretty good bucks that way, since I have proven to be a solid player after nearly 20,000 hands.

However, I'm somewhat loathe to jump from site to site--and I won't play anywhere that doesn't support PokerTracker.

Have you read that the Blogfather is taking a sabbatical? Well, in the meantime, you can certainly check out my humble blog for some poker content, albeit not as interesting.

If you've been reading for a while, you know that my brother and I hosted a little something called the "World Series of Portland" about a month ago. Well, we're having another tourney next Saturday that should be pretty fun. It won't be the "World Series," though. Only one of those a year.

All right, enough for now. Vegas anecdotes coming soon.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Heh. Okay, I knew that even 6.3BB/100 wouldn't last, and it hasn't. I'm back just under 3. If I can keep it at 3 and win 200 BB, I'm moving up to $1/2.

Gotta earn enough $$$ for a motorcycle and a giant TV, after all!

Monday, June 21, 2004

Crazy weekend. Friday I went to a friend's barbecue after work that turned into a poker game. We were playing 9-handed, mostly hold 'em with a bit of stud thrown in for good measure.

Weird rules, though. $0.25 max bet, no check-raises, max 3-bet. $0.05 antes instead of blinds.

In other words, not the best game to try to beat. Those rules really equalize the field. Heck, one girl only folded TWO TIMES the entire night (and I mean seeing every hand to the river!), and she did better than I did.


As I mentioned in the last post, I've been killing the $0.50/$1.00 on Party Poker. Today I played my longest session of this new buy-in yet, though, and lost 23 BB. Here are my stats to date:

Hands: 1,092
VP$IP: 16.85
PFR: 6.96
BB/100: 6.33
Amount Won: $69.11

Not too shabby, but, as I mentioned I was KILLING the game before this last session. Win rate was over 11BB per 100 hands.

Of course, I'd be ecstatic to keep my win rate at 6.33, so I'm not complaining. And this session was ridiculous--I suffered two insane beats with KK, and was beaten by a backdoor two-pair (a first for me, I think) when I had raised preflop with AQ and hit a Q on board!

Just another beat to add to the list... I've been backdoored by a straight from someone who was holding pocket 88, a backdoor straight flush, backdoor quads, and now a backdoor two-pair.

In the words of Iggy, "Oh the humanity!"

Still, like I said, I'm pretty happy overall, especially with my stats. My VP$IP could be a point or two higher, and I'd definitely like to raise the PFR at least a point. But for now, things look good. I was watching my brother-in-law play $5/$10 today, and I would have played almost exactly the way he was playing, so that's encouraging, too. He makes shit-tons of money.

Time for bed. It's going to be another crazy week.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Okay, it's been a long time and I'm sure I've lost my once tremendous readership, but I'm going to post some good content right now anyway.

The long story of the last few weeks made short: My wife and I are very close to buying a house. We should find out tomorrow whether or not we'll get the one we want.

In the meantime, I got my ass kicked at both $0.25/$0.50 and $0.50/$1.00 on Poker Stars. I still have some cash there, but it wasn't pretty.

So, I did what any logical poker player would do--I bought into Party for 300 big bets.

Now, I know what you're thinking. But really, I'm somewhat exaggerating the ass-kicking. I played 5,500 hands of $0.25/$0.50 on Stars, and finished down maybe 30 BB. But check this out: I only was dealt AA 11 times out of those 5,500 hands. I should have gotten it more like 25 times. And of those 11, I lost 5. So as you can see, it was a bad run.

I got slightly more dominated at $0.50/$1.00, but a grip of bad beats and rock-garden-esque tables contributed to that. Even so, it was only about -4 BB/100.

So I bought into Party, and I've been playing $0.50/$1.00. My win rate through 762 hands is 9.1 BB/100.

That's a little ridiculous, and I expect it to come down, but the games really do seem softer on Party.

Check out these stats. The sample sizes aren't big enough to be significant, but they paint a picture.

% of players seeing flop
Stars: 33.43
Party: 42.87

Avg. Pot
Stars: $7.99
Party: $6.09

So, around 10% more players to each flop, and two extra dollars in each pot. It adds up.

Heck, tonight I was playing with a guy who voluntarily puts into the pot 91.3% of the time, and raises pre-flop 30.43% of the time. Needless to say, he lost all his money, some of it to me.

After all this shit-talking about Party, the least I can do is offer you a bonus there. Use the code FOZ when you sign up for a free $25 when you deposit $50 or more.

On to less statistical, more legitimitastical content. This past weekend, the Vegas crew met up in Moclips, WA for a weekend of debauchery. Only trouble was, I thought it was next weekend, so I was only able to go for one day. Still, I drove my ass out there on Monday night and took Tuesday off.

These are the same guys I've been going to Vegas with every March for the past 5 years. This year, we couldn't go. So this was the makeup trip, and it was pretty damn fun. No Vegas, but still, pretty fun.

Although we were in the middle of nowhere, that didn't stop us from gambling. There was an Indian casino maybe 20 miles from our cabin, so on Monday night we all sat down at one of their $3 blackjack tables.

Now, I generally think blackjack at an Indian casino is pretty worthless. You don't get free (alcoholic) drinks, and there usually aren't any small-limit ($1 or $3) tables. Thankfully, this place had a $3 table, and it wasn't long before we were taking up all the seats. I started with $30 and the idea that I would count cards, but I had already had 4 imperial pints of Guinness, so I didn't do a very good job. A few times I increased my bet size after a ton of small cards came out and won. But I also lost two straight double downs where I had 10 or 11 against 4 and 5 showing. Pff.

I ended the night up $4, as ridiculous as that sounds.

Gotta go to bed now... will post some more stuff this week. Um, more interesting stuff. I need to dig into my Vegas archive for some more high-rollin' stories. Until then...

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

If anyone has been checking in here, I apologize for the lack of content. Things have been insane, so I haven't had much time to play, let alone write about playing.

We're going through a tough situation with real estate right now, and it's really taking up a lot of my time and aggravating me.

I'm hoping things are resolved soon. Until then, check out Cheap Thrills and Guinness and Poker for all your poker blog needs.

Good luck, and don't forget to raise your big pocket pairs.

Monday, June 07, 2004

I gotta say, I am about to go back to No-Limit. I have been running bad at limit for the past 5,000 hands or so, and it's no fun.

This is just the most recent bad beat I've endured.

I'm on the button with AhTh. Normally, I'd limp here, but there was only one other limper, and the $.50/$1.00 tables on Stars are notoriously tight. So I raise, hoping to isolate the limper.

I do so, and the flop is Qh Ad 8s. Limper checks, I bet and she calls.

Turn is 7s. Limper checks, I bet and she calls.

River is Ts. Now, this puts three spades on the board, but it also gives me a two-pair, Aces and Tens. I put the limper on a worse Ace or maybe a Queen. But now I'm thinking, even if she limped and cold called with something like AK, I just beat her kicker with my two pair.

She checks to me, I bet, she raises. I obviously can't fold now, and I suspect that she might be falsely representing the flush. I mean, she could have been chasing the flush even though she only had a 3-flush on the flop, but I didn't think it was likely.

So I re-raise. She caps, and now I have the feeling that I'm going to lose the hand.

Of course, I'm right. She turns over Js 9s for a straight flush. The bitch backdoored a straight flush!

On the flop, she had a gutshot straight against two overcards. The pot was only $2.75, so she certainly wasn't getting pot odds. Of course she calls.

On the turn, she's got a 4-flush, but still doesn't have pot odds for the call.

The river was, well, her lucky day.

For a less depressing story, check out Guinness and Poker right now. There's a great write-up from a guy who sat next to Phil Hellmuth in last week's WSOP. Funny stuff.

In the meantime, I've almost lost all the money I built playing $0.01/$0.02 NL ring games on Stars!

I seriously might need to go back to NL.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Well, it's been 4,000 hands and I'm still around even at the $0.25/$0.50 limit tables on Poker Stars. I can't be too bummed out, though, because my brother moved up to $5/$10, and it took him almost 10,000 hands to get into the black. At one point he was down almost a grand with AQo. Sheesh.

I'd really like to buy into Party and start playing $0.50/$1.00, but I want to prove myself by winning at least 100BB on Stars first. Needless to say, it's taking forever.

In other news, we made an offer on a house today. Ridiculously, we offered $15,000 more than the asking price, and we still may get out-bid! Portland is hot right now, especially entry-level homes. Keep your fingers crossed. Last time I asked the faithful, anonymous blogreaders out there to do so, I got the job I wanted.

So keep 'em crossed tight.

Back to the tables.....