low limit adventures through the mire of the online poker world.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

back from the dead

I've started playing poker again. I took an Hiatus as work and family commitments took precedence. I withdrew my bankroll to pay for stuff I needed (wedding rings, sofa's, dive equipment, etc) and stopped. After 6 months I've deposited $200 into my account and started playing again.

I decided just to have fun this time and play what I wanted. No more grinding away at limit. I've been playing a lot of NL and SnGs (major leak on funds) as well as trying to learn a few other forms of pokr (Omaha and Razz being 2 of the main ones).

I've also been reading again. I'll post a few reviews of the new Sklansky and Miller book as well as HoH3. I've also got a copy of Stacked - the new poker game from Daniel Negreanu and MTV so I'll post a review for that as well soon.

So lots to come and it feels good to be back!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Daniel Negreanu

I've been floating around the internet looking for poker related material to read in my idle moments and have been reading Daniel Negreanu's blog over at full contact poker. I have to say it's a good read, not all poker focused but then given his output for various magazines and playing schedule I'm not surprised. His recent entries include his winning of the Tunica Grand's WSOP Circuit Championship.

I've also just finished reading the Harrington on Holdem books. And all I can say is if you want to play no limit holdem buy this book. I'm already starting to re-read the first volume and can't wait for the third volume with all the hand quiz's and examples (this is the bit that sets this book apart). I've found the advice invaluable since switching to no limit from limit and it's helped me get a grasp on the concepts of bet size, reading peoples hands, pre flop and post flop play and the strategic and tactical aspects of the game. Add this to the forums at LLHSAT and 2+2 i've had my largest month in regards to money won. I've been playing at the $25 max buyin tables on UB and feel that I might make a move up to the $50NL tables as my bankroll I set aside for the NL games has grown enough to play here and I want to see if my skills will merit the transition.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Gutshot Poker Club

I visited (and joined) Gutshot Poker Club in London last night. It was my first B&M experience other than a few home games a few years ago when I didn't know a flush from a set. I wasn't too sure what to expect really but when I arrived outside it looked more like an internet cafe than a poker club. I went in and asked about the details. They explained to play I had to join the club, this was a very simple process and then they said well now you can play.

They showed me around the place. Upstairs there are a few card tables, a large bar area for drinks and food and, as mentioned earlier, a bunch of computers so that people could play poker online while waiting for a game.

There were a bunch of people already playing but this turned out to be an Omaha £5 rebuy tournament. I asked if there would be any cash games and they said that they would organise a table so that I could start, this would be what they called their "beginner" table, basically a £25 buyin pot limit hold'em game. They also run other cash games from £25 min/£50 max buyin PL games and £50 min buyin no max NL, PL, Omaha, a round of each, Dealers choice, etc, etc. They said though that these would probably start after the main tournament of the night and that the game they were going to get going for me would last an hour as they would need the table for the tournament.

I sat down with 9 other people, they were mostly waiting to start the tournament. I got my £25 chips, got told what the house rules were, the blinds (25p/50p) and started playing. The games were self dealt and after a few hands I was getting into the swing of things. I had trouble getting used to the pot limit betting structure and made a few mistakes but people were really helpful in making sure I did what I wanted to do and explain everything. Maybe they thought I was some kinda of fish or something. I decided to play tight and see what was happening. To say that peoples play was loose was an understatement and folding AJo to an early position raised seemed to be too tight. People were calling and raising with hands like 53o and 96s and chasing and raising with middle pairs and draws. I just sat and waited for a good hand.

My first big hand was AKo UTG, I raised the pot and got 5 callers! flop was rags and I bet £1 for information, a few people folded and 1 called. turn was a rag and was checked and the river brought a A, the BB bet £3 and i called. We split the pot as he also had AK. So not too bad a hand to get my feet wet with.

I then had nothing but bad cards and watched people call and raise like before. Just before the table broke up I got AJo on the button. We had the usual 4 callers and the the BB raised it to £4. i called an so did 3 others. The river didn't help much apart from a gutshot draw and I let the hand go as the BB raised it £10. 2 people called and the pot grew to around £90, the BB turned over QQ and the other 2 had nothing but bluffs!

The tournament started and I didn't choose to play as I felt that £50 buyin was a bit too much for me. I went and had a drink (or 3), talked to a couple of Swedish blokes who were visiting London. We put our names down to play on the same table once it was available. We didn't have to wait too long before we sat down with a new group of people. I still had my chips from earlier (£23) so used these. Again, I sat tight, waiting for hands and watched as people played, gambled and basically wanting action. At least this time the bluffs weren't as bad and people were mainly chasing draws and loosing to top pair hands.

I decided to loosen up a bit but be careful when there were a lot of early callers. I limped into a few pots and nothing much happened. Then I started a roll, I got TT UTG, raised the pot got 4 callers. Flop came 4J8 rainbow, I immediately raised the pot and everyone folded.

Next hand I played was UTG again and this time I got AQo, I raised the pot and got 2 callers. I hit a Q on the flop, raised the pot, got 1 caller. I was thinking about what he might have to call me. The turn brought a blank and was checked and so was the river. I bet £3 to see if I could get any value out of the pot and he called with A high.

The night followed a similar pattern of me playing tight, I mixed up my play a little and limped in from EP with hands like AQ and AJ which all paid off well in either getting action on the flop or being to fold when totally missed. People commented on my tightness, my play and some of the moves I made but it didn't stop people trying to play with me. I didn't play or show one bad hand or bluff and people would call my value bets.

As the tournament progresses people were looking for games and people left our game to go and chat, smoke upstairs, play at other limits or go home and new people joined in. The dynamics changed a bit and the table tightened up. My cards started running a little code and I wanted to make sure I stopped before I was either too drunk (well I thought after 5 pints I should stop playing), too tired or too hooked in and still there playing at 8 in the morning and trying to work out how to get to work.

After paying for drinks, food, taxi home and the table rake (on the lower table there was a £3 charge, on the higher limit tables there is a rake of 5% (£10 max)) I had turned my original £25 into £135, which I felt very happy about. I'm looking forward to my next visit and hopefully I can go on a night when there is a lower buyin tournament. One of the managers said that they have on average 2 tournaments a day, it's open 24 hours and sometimes run freerolls and satellites for big tournaments and this Sunday a freeroll WSOP qualifier with £10 rebuys (I might have to make that one).

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Will the winner of this event be the true Poker World Champion?

I read a recent news article on the Cardplayer site about this years WSOP. It appears that they are adding a $50,000 buy-in HORSE event. Now my question is will the winner of this be the true world champion?

If none of you know what HORSE is it's a where you play no-limit hold’em, Omaha, razz, stud, and stud 8-or-better. It is considered the hardest of poker games as you need to be such a all round player.

Also, will the $50,000 buy-in restrict the numbers entering to the elite players and thus mean that the best player will win. A lot of the top pro's have complained over the last few years that the large entry field to the $10,000 buy in No Limit Hold'em world championship has been made into a "crap shot" and that you need to rely on luck and not skill to win it.

I also think that this event, if given the right TV exposure will create a rush in players trying other forms of poker other than hold'em. i have set myself the goal this year of learning how to play Omaha and 7 card stud. maybe now I should add to the list Razz and Stud.

Monday, January 09, 2006

happy belated new year

Well it’s been a bit of time, what with the festive break, family commitments and work I have had little time to write up my thoughts and happenings in the world of poker.

I guess I have a lot to catch up on. The main news was that I had a good month last month even though I only played seriously for half the month. I finally turned things around at the $1/$2 and $2/$4 limits to build up the bank roll to a place I can comfortably experiment with a few things. I have now set aside a chunk for limit and it’s enough to start playing $3/$6 but I have also got a small bankroll with which to learn no limit.

Now I started getting a little taste for no limit after playing in the LLHSAT forum freeroll. Even though I busted out quickly I really enjoyed the little bit of research I did before playing. This was basically looking at a few sites for advice (2+2 and flopturnriver) and reading Doyle Brunsons NL section in Super System. Now I know I’m no Doyle and I was shocked at how loose his game seemed to be in that book, but none the less I was grabbed by the differences in strategy between limit and NL. I also read the NL section to Ed Millers great introduction book “Getting Started in Hold’em”.

This book also introduced me to the short stack system for playing No Limit cash games. I decided I would experiment with this to 1) learn more about NL by observing other peoples play. 2) to see if I could earn some cash with it. Well this went well to begin with but I have recently had a turn for the worse. I’ll save the details for another post soon.

I have also started playing some SNGs and MTTs at various sites. I have had mixed results with these as well but I’m expecting that as I am a newbie to NL. I’ve got myself armed with a few books, been reading a few websites and I’ll report on the success I have in the future.

So everyone happy new year and good luck in your poker ambitions.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

December Goals

Well here are my goals for December, given that this month will see restricted play due to the festive season and family commitments I haven't set too many targets like playing X hands.

  • Use the LLHSAT Poker Book club to help understand fully the concepts I'm not sure about in "Small Stakes Hold'em"
  • Use Tony's method of remembering starting hand groups
  • Start analyzing my opponents more - looking at hand histories and making notes on playing patterns and starting hand trends
  • Play more NL - SnG's, Tourneys and cash games
  • Use the small stack system while getting to grips with NL cash games
  • Try and value bet more on the river
  • Use Pot Equity to help with decisions while playing at the table
  • Count my outs properly and make sure I discount accordingly
  • make sure I make the right decisions depending on the pot size and also the type of player I am up against
  • make better use of table and seat selection when choosing a game

Thursday, December 01, 2005

It's Been Sometime.

It's been sometime since I last posted. This has been to the fact that I have had to curtail the amount of time I was playing due to family commitments as well as taking a bit of time to work on my game after taking a bit of a caning on the tables and having a bit of a downswing.

With taking better time to play when I felt good and didn't have any distractions helped enormously. I also started selecting tables with greater care and when I managed to get a good seat at the right table (loose players to my right, tight ones to my left) I definitely saw the bankroll move in the right direction. I also drifted between limits ($0.5/$1.0 upto $2/$4) to select the right game and also walk away when the table conditions changed considerably. I think lessons learnt the hard way was time well spent.

As for the goals I set during November well I achieved several of them but unfortunately some are carrying over to this month. I need to sit down and see what I wish to achieve this month but think the list should be shorter due to the festive season approaching. The list of those completed or that I didn’t quite spend enough time on are as follows:

  • Play at least 3000 hands at $2/4 – completed but at 3 different levels (1000 at $2/$4)
  • Finish "Hold'em poker for advanced players" - finished
  • Re-read HEPFAP and focus on parts that will help me in the short term and identify those that will help me in the long term – not finished due to reading “The Psychology of Poker” and starting to read “Small Stakes Hold’em” for a book club that has started on the LLHSAT forums.
  • Take a look at Theory of Poker for future reference – not only looked at but read it, boy was there a lot to grasp in that book but it has meant that my understanding of things are little bit better now and also that I can use it as a reference when I read other poker books to clarify most topics
  • Start analyzing my opponents more - looking at hand histories and making notes on playing patterns and starting hand trends – When I had time I did this but feel it will be an ongoing task for any month that I play
  • Use Tony's method of remembering starting hand groups
  • Use Poker Tracker to identify leaks (eg, WtoSD%, Cold Calling pre-flop, aggression level) – I have started to do this and identified a few things, what they are I’m not going to reveal exactly but I will more than likely include them as future goals to rectify.
  • Play one table and focus on the actual game and the players playing – I did this more than ever and felt that it really paid off. I did though spend a few nights playing two tables at $0.5/$1.0, but this was made easier by using PokerTracker and Gametime+
  • Stop bluffing/semi bluffing too much – I still haven’t eradicated this but it’s definitely getting better
  • Clear bonus at Poker Room and go back to Poker Stars (I know I mentioned no money related goals but, sorry). – cleared the bonus and I have since moved back to Poker Stars for their reload bonus. Given the limited time I have to spend playing I will probably stick around at Poker Stars now (although I might play a few of the cheap $1+0.1c SnG’s at UltimateBet.
  • Continue with my poker blog – well this was sort of a success, wasn’t it?

Until next time, cheers!