$3k or Bust graph

$1k or Bust graph

Cake Challenge II graph

Friday, November 12, 2010

$3k or Bust Challenge Interrupted

Following Poker Stars' lead, FTP announced this morning that it is suspending real money play in Washington state. What a total drag......especially because now I'm forced to stare at that ugly progress chart for eternity......

Monday, November 8, 2010

$1k Goal Reached; Next Goal $3k

The goal was to turn $300 into $1000 in one year (July 1 to July 1). Got there.....in four months and eight days.

Sushi Cowboy's ST SNG recommendation accounts for the good returns here. Played 521 ST SNGs (ranging in buy-in from $2.15 to $20.90), and netted $499.25, for an ROI of 12.0%. I played comparatively few ring games, and my returns were blah. In a little over 14,000 hands, I earned a whopping $85.08, for an ROI of 2.2%. Earned another $149.57 in rakeback/bonuses...and voila.....$300 is now $1120 or so.

Now that I've basked in the glory of a goal met, it's time for a new goal. $1k to $3k by November 1, 2011. Assuming it'll be considerably tougher, given that the play will likely be better. Time will tell.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Three Months In: Thank G-d for Rakeback/Bonus

Five weeks since my last confession. Extreme turbulence, resulting in no actual overall movement from the actual playing of actual poker. Over the past five weeks, climbed from $550 to $596. Of that $46 climb, -$1 is attributable to playing poker, and $47 is attributable to rakeback and bonuses. As the graph indicates, I went into a major slump, dropping from $550 (at last update) as low as the $380s. A nice 10 day SNG run has propped be back to decency. At the 3-month pole (1/4 of the way), I should be at $475 to be on pace to reach $1000 by June 30, 2011. Significantly ahead of that, at least.

As far as the actual play goes, my SNG-vs-ring game splits have remained somewhat constant. I have fared much better at the ST SNGs. Over the past five weeks, I played 169 SNGs, earning $53.15 on an investment of $1,246. My SNG ROI dropped to 4.27%, which is probably much more realistic than earlier ROIs. Overall (since July 1), my ROI for the ST SNGs is 10.55% (325 total ST SNGs). I'll take it.

My ring game play continued to suck a**. In about 1800 hands (focused much more on the ST SNGs), I dropped about $54, for an ROI of -12.70%.

So why so much (relative) success with the SNGs and so little with ring games? A couple of theories, as discussed with Senor Sushi.

First, the ST SNGs are super easy to play. Practically every decision (95% plus) is an all-in or fold decision. Not a ton of nuance to the play. Those who try to play a nuanced (small ball) game are chum. Simply not enough chips in play to justify limping or raising small. So, while my overall poker skill is probably average'ish, my lack of superior skill is offset by the simplicity of the strategy. All-in....or fold. Not rocket science. As long as there are at least 1 or 2 fellow SNG'rs who call too light or bet wrong, I'm in good shape.

Second, while I generally think of myself as having a pretty decent attention span, sometimes not so much when playing poker, especially when tired (which is often). The ST SNGs last 10-15 minutes max, denying me an opportunity to make a "I'm tired, f** it, I'm all in" move that creeps into my ring game play from time to time. Playing the ST SNGs is liking reading a book of very short stories. They're designed so that you can make it through a couple tourneys/chapters without risking too much and losing concentration. When I play ring games, I'm generally fine for quite a while (playing a relatively small % of pots), and then sometimes the brain goes goofy, I lose focus and bammo, I drop my stack. Not too often, but it certainly happens.

Anywho, that's my theory as to why the ST SNGs have been so much more profitable than my ring game play during this Challenge. I have mixed feelings about them, however. On the one hand, my goal is to turn $300 into $1000, and the ST SNGs appear to be a decent vehicle for making that so. But, on the other hand, I'm not feeling like they're in any way improving my poker playing. "All in or fold" poker is very infrequently the decision facing me in ring games. Perhaps I should play more short-stacked games....but again I'm not sure that's helping me in my overall play. Anywho, that's my rambling for today.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Eight Weeks In: Slipped a Bit

Not a good week in Eeyore land. Played a bunch (2200 hands, including 52 ST SNGs and 1225 hands of ring games, mostly $.10-$.25 NLHE). Including the $11+ of rakeback, I dropped from $555 to $550. Obviously not a devastating blow, but frustrating to retreat despite all the play (and rakeback). Also frustrating because I hit an intraweek high of $615 before going in the shitter.

In the ST SNGs (49 $5+$.30's and 3 $10+$.50's), I still had a positive ROI, albeit a much more pedestrian (realistic) 10% rate.

In the live play, I had a negative ROI, losing 9% of every cent I bought in for. I really felt like I played acceptably, and suffered two memorable beats. (I've bored a few with them already, and I planned to drop links here....only to learn that I never checked the "save hand history" box on FTP. Thought it was automatic. Damn!!!) My "favorite" beat of the weak was losing $70+ pot with AA against K4o and JJ when an A hit the flop.....along with two freakin J's. Ouch.

Will continue to plug away, and will try very hard to get above $600 by this time next week.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Seven Weeks In: Choppy Progress

Bottom line, the 7th week in was a good one, climbing from $482 to $555. From one perspective, that's more than a month's worth of gain in a week, so right on (typed with Good Times inflection). [To reach my stated goal of climbing from $300 to $1000 in a year, the stack needs to increase $58/month.]

That said, my progress this week was mega choppy. Reached an intra-day peak of $587, but then dropped down to $550ish, and sat in that neighborhood for the rest of the week.

Played 52 ST SNGs (all $5 + $.30), and won $102.40 overall, with an ROI of 37%....more than twice my ROI for the prior period. [For the uninitiated, the ST SNGs I play are 6-handed; everyone starts with T300; the blinds start up at 15/30 and increase every 3 minutes; only 1st ($19.50 on a $5 + $.30 SNG) and 2nd ($10.50) are paid] With that likely-unsustainable ROI, the SNGs saved my bacon. Why so much success? I don't know, but my strategy is very, very simple. Depending of course on my remaining stack and where we are relative to the $ bubble, I break the universe of playable hands into "pushing" hands and "calling" hands, with the latter range being much narrower. Bet sizing is almost irrelevant, as I'd say upwards of 90% of bets in these SNGs are of the all-in variety. I focus primarily on just making the final two (the $). I have a fair amount of confidence in my heads up play, and once in the $, I always feel like I have at least a good chance of taking down 1st. I'm interested in Sushi's and take on my (and his) strategy in these. Others' input too please.

My cash game play was really blah. Only played 826 hands, and dropped $33, for an ROI of -9%. I moved up from $.05/$.10 NLHE to $.10/$.25 (all 6-max, deep stack and generally with an ante). While playing $.10, I always seek out the deep-stack tables. At those stakes, I had no problem buying in deep (with my bankroll, I can easily buy in for 200 BBs). Unthinkingly, I continued to buy in at deep stack tables at the $.25 levels, but I don't have the bankroll to buy in deep. Buying in at $25 at a table where others are typically buying in for twice that felt disadvantageous, although I'm unsure exactly why. May be psychological, because with 100 BBs I obviously have plenty of play. I'm interested on any input here. If you can only buy in 100 BBs (the max at normal tables), does it make sense to buy in "short" at a deep stack table or to buy in for the max at a normal table? It's always nice to lots of money on the table to be able to go after (suggesting a deep stack table makes the most sense), but it's also somewhat damaging to one's image to be the short stack. Very interested in input, and to any suggestions on how to alter my play when I sit with a max of 100 BBs at a table where the average stack is 150-200 BBs. This feels like one of those super basic questions I should definitely know the answer to, but alas I don't. Maybe just my own psychology that's getting in the way. None of this is to say that my indecision had much influence on the results over the last week. Super small sample size (typed with obligatory lisp), but I felt uneasy about it.

Also, any thoughts as to when it makes sense to move up from $.10 to $.25? Sitting at $550, it seemed fine, but there was no great science that went into the decision. Premature at $550? Seems in line with what I remember hearing earlier. During Cake Challenge II, I recall Marsh indicating that he'd migrate from $.02/$.04 to $.05/$.10 at a bankroll of $200. I never discussed with him if 100 BBs (assuming buying in at 5% of 'roll) was the trigger, and if so why. Interested on anyone's take on the proper time to move up.

Overall, pleased with the results of Week 7, but need to ground myself a bit more in my ring game play....

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Six Weeks In: Back on Track

After a very quick start to the $1k or Bustathon (see Week 1 post, below), I spiraled into the abyss. Lesson clear: don't f****n play online poker when exhausted and stressed out. My nosedive (which took me from the $380's to the $270's in 2500 hands) coincided with my 18 hour a day stressout in preparation for a trial in Denver. (I experienced a similar nosedive during the 3rd month of the Cake Challenge, during a week that my daughter was in the hospital and life was a bit out of control. Wanted to play a little poker to unwind, but ended up spewing chips left and right).

Once that trial passed, I got some rest and my stress level returned to my baseline, my play (and the results) headed back in the right direction. In the past 2900 hands, the 'roll has climbed from $270 to $482.

During "the run," I've played a mess of the ST SNGs recommended by Senor Sushi. Earned $33.25 in profit in 58 SNGs off of an investment of $203.45. A 16% ROI seems pretty decent. My cash game ROI has been crazier, climbing $154 in 1600 hands with a unlikely-to-hold ROI of 36%. All for now......hopefully things will keep on pace.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Two Weeks In: I Miss Week One

This last week has been dreadful in the $1k challenge. Started the week at $351.90, and while I temporarily climbed as high as $380, the 'roll went crashing down. At my nadir, I hit $287. A run-good, play-against-giant-donks 45 minute session that just ended salvaged the week a bit, and the 'roll is back "up" to $338.03, with rakeback.

Honestly unsure that I played too poorly this last week. Had a couple tilt sessions, but predominantly I had experiences like this. $.05-$.10 6-max NLHE. Effective stacks $10. I wake up UTG with AA and open to $.30. Dude to my 3-bets to $.90, button calls, and I raise to $2. I considered flat calling, but decided that I wouldn't mind scaring one of them off. My 3-better calls, and the btn folds. I like that. Flop is QJ4, two diamonds. A little over $5 in the pot, and I have $8 left. I have the lead and the board is wet, so I bet $3.75. Villain obliges by shoving all in. I call, and he turns over 22. WTF? A 2 hits the turn and I toss my laptop across the room (in spirit, at least).

Had a few of those, and only recall doing that once to somebody once myself. So, the Fates owe me a couple.

I also played a bit of Rush Poker. I adopted a quasi-Sushi Cowboy approach. Narrow pre-flop range. While I earned lots of FTPs, I was upside down about $11 in ~ 1200 hands dealt. The variance is, um, high, and while I'm sure that Martin and others can do well by exploiting the natural Rush Poker junkies, I'm not fond of how it changes my poker perspective. Given that my primary goal here is to learn to play better, I'll stick to the regular old boring ring games.

Back to a question I asked before, but didn't see a response to ----> is there anyway to make a URL of FTP hands so that I can post them??? Marty? I'm looking at you....