Poker Ramblings of cmitch

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$50K Challenge Update

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

I am very busy at work and also pretty sick, so I'll make this a quick update and post a detailed update with a lot of stats at the end of the month (sometime in the next few days.)

Starting Bankroll (1/1/06) - $2,592
NL Short Handed Cash Games (YTD) - Profit of $11,053
SNGs, MTTs, Donations, Misc. (YTD) - Loss of $224
Bonus (YTD) - Profit of $483 (plus a lot of Pokerstars FPPs)
Live Games - Profit of $250
Total Profit (YTD) - $11,563

Loss since last update (1 week) - $2,245

Current Standing in $50K Challenge - $14,155
Withdrawals - $700
Online Bankroll - $13,455

Jan - $4,100
Feb - $5,700
Mar - $7,300
Apr - $9,800
May - $12,400
June - $16,200

As you can see I had a rough week. I think there are several things that lead to my poor results, but it basically boils down to the fact that I started trying different things. I have never played four tables at one time before. I played four short handed tables at Party Poker at the same time on my laptop because of the new resizing software. NL Shorthanded games require a lot more attention than I was able to give while playing four tables at once. From now on, only 2 tables for me.

I, also, played quite a bit of heads up against some very very aggressive players. I would have sessions where I was up or down 2 buy-ins within 15 minutes. My new rule of thumb will be to drop down 1 level if I am going to play heads up.

Let me know if there are any particular stats that you would like to see when I post my end of the month results.


Party Poker gets in wrong twice

Sunday, February 26, 2006

I signed up for the $109 NL tourney on Friday night at 9 PM on Party Poker. Since they upgraded the software all tourneys now start with 3,000 chips and a new higher blind structure. When our tourney started everyone had 1,000 chips (all 396 players). I think some of the people didn't even notice. I immediately emailed Party Poker asking them to refund the $109 and remove me from the tourney since this was not the tourney that I signed up for. Below is the intial email that I recieved from them about 45 minutes later:

Dear xxx,

We apologize for the inconvenience caused.

Your issue has already been escalated to the department concerned and we assure you that some decision would be taken keeping all the players in mind. The department concerned have been intimated and they are working on it to resolve it as soon as possible.

As this point of time, I request you to continue playing in the tournament as it is not possible for us to remove you from the tournament. The reason behind telling you to play is that all the players have been given equal amount of chips to start with and you are not at any disadvantage at this point of time.

However, as I mentioned above, we are working on this issue to decide on the best course of action, until then we request you to continue playing in the tournament.

Your understanding, patience and co-operation is appreciated in this matter.

Thank you for choosing us as your online gaming site!

Poker Customer Care

I particularlly like the part where they say, "The reason behind telling you to play is that all the players have been given equal amount of chips to start with and you are not at any disadvantage at this point of time." No we all started short stacked.

The blinds were at 100/200 before the end of the first hour with a starting stack of 1,000. At the first break there were 106 of the original 394 remaining.

Yeah, no unfair advantage for anyone. This tourney is played no different. It is exactly what we signed up for. What were they thinking?

I managed to finish 31st for a profit just after the 2nd break. For the entire 2nd hour everyone was pretty much all-in or fold.

If I hadn't finished ITM, I would have been relentless about getting my money back for the tourney. I am not sure what happened to the rest of the field that finished out of the money, but I think anything less than fully refunding everyone that finished out of the money is wrong.

Fast Forward to Saturday Night. The same tourney started with 1,000 chips (9PM $109) and they cancelled it after a little less than 1 hour.

It is about 8 PM on Sunday Night and I will check the 9 PM tourney and see if Party is finally able to figure things out after 3 days. I'm guessing probably not.

They had a huge influx of capital after going public, you would think they could beef up the technical department and nip things like this in the bud very quickly.


$50k Challenge

Things are very crazy at work this week. I don't think I will have a chance today to update all my pokertracker info and $50K Challenge Spreadsheets. If I don't get a chance to update the stats today, I will definitely provide a complete end of the month update on Wednesday/Thursday.

I had my first losing week of the year and was down around $2,500, so I think I stand somewhere around $14k in the challenge - a bad week but still well ahead of pace.


Stop Playing and Go to Bed

Friday, February 24, 2006

I had my worst night in a long time last night. I was playing at a couple of very aggressive short handed tables and was playing very fast. I wound up getting stacked on both tables in about a 15 minute period towards the end of the night. One was KK vs. AA and the other was middle two pair against top two pair. It might seem crazy to lose all your money on either of those hands, but they were both monsters based on the context of the table.

A voice in my head said, "Stop playing and go to bed. Sure you're down about $1,800 on the night but look how much you are up for the month and year. It is one long game that isn't measured in how you do in one night or one week. You are tired and aren't playing your best, go to bed."

Did I listen to that voice and go to bed? Of course not. We rarely do, even though we should.

I ran into Loopy at the tables and he wasn't having a good night either. He is just getting into playing cash games a little more than he has in the past. I reassured him that he will have losing nights and it isn't any big deal because it is all about the long term.

The funny thing is - It took me telling Loopy this to realize it myself. I needed to Stop Playing and Go to Bed and finally did after talking to Loopy. I was telling him to quit for the night and win it back later instead of trying to win it all back in one night. Maybe, I was just talking to myself.

You have to remember, you can have losing nights. It is OK. You are not a bad player. You may be playing bad though. (I was.) Pick it up the next day and don't worry about it.

I think this is probably the biggest leak in my game right now - playing when tired and down for the night. I have to learn to call it quits for the night when I'm not playing my best. No telling how much I would have lost last night if I hadn't run across Loopy.

How do you deal with being down for the night? Do you chase your losses? Do you just go to bed and pick it up the next day with a clean slate?

Today I know I wasn't playing my best last night, but last night I thought I was playing great and just getting unlucky.


Wednesday Night at UPC

Thursday, February 23, 2006

I don't get to play live as often as I would like, so getting to play the Wednesday Night game at UPC was a nice change of pace from the online poker world. We played a $150 tourney with 17 players. The top 3 got paid.

I made up for my poor showing at UPC a couple of weeks ago by taking the tourney down last night. When it got down to heads up I offered an even chop with Dan. The blinds were 5k/10k and we were about 10 minutes away from blinds of 10k/20k. I had 110k to his 160k. He thought that he had the advantage because he had more chips, but with the blinds it was either of ours to win. First paid $1k+ and second paid $600+. We each took $750 and played it out for the remaining $130. I managed to trap Dan when we were heads up when I flopped middle pair and turned Aces up and then a couple of hands later I pushed all in with the nut flush and he finally called me with 2nd pair because he thought I was full of it. So I netted a $700 profit after the win and tipping out. Woohoo!! Back in the positive for live play.

Interesting hand of the night:

When we were still playing two tables with 6 at each table, I get dealt AA UTG and make a standard 3xBB raise. A short stacked Damian goes all-in for not many more chips with 66. My AA hold up.

The very next hand, I get dealt KK in the BB. Blinds 300/600. RJ, in the SB, raises to 1800. RJ was playing a lot of hands and had gotten a big stack by pushing all his chips in with a flush draw and catching. I figured that I could play him pretty straight forward and still wind up with getting a lot of his chips. I raise to 4,000. He re-raises me to 8,000. I immediately (probably too fast) went all-in for another 25k+ chips. RJ thought and debated with himself for like 10 minutes. I really thought he had AK or AQ at first. He then started saying that he knew I had two big cards and finally called with.......... 55. WTF?! This hand vaulted me up to being chip leader and is probably the reason that I won. Sometimes, you have to wonder what goes through someone's mind in that situation. He said something along the lines of, "I didn't think that there was any possible way for you to have a big pair. You just had Aces last hand. I thought for sure you just had a couple of big cards."

Anyway, it was fun to play live again.


A Look Back

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

I am honored that yesterday TripJax posted our blog as a "Blogger Spotlight." It helps to know that people are reading the blog and actually think that it might be at least a little interesting. I stumbled across his blog shortly after I started blogging and read it almost every day now. I'm pretty sure just about everyone reading my blog has been to TripJax's Blog before, but if you haven't it is definitely worth reading.

Our blog was also linked in a post by WillWonka yesterday after he beat me in the DADIII Heads Up Tourney on Pokerstars. He is also one of the blogs that I read on a daily basis - go check it out.

Somehow my posts on the JJProdigy/ABlackCar situation made our blog show up on the first page of Google searches for "JJProdigy & ABlackCar" which seemed to create a lot of traffic.

There are several blogs that I read that don't show up on the links on the right. I am going to try to fix that this week. (I'm not the most computer literate.) Drop me a comment if you wish to exchange links. (I already need to add LittleAcornMan and Poker4Peace for sure - along with several others)

Because of the links from TripJax and WillWonka and the additional traffic through the Google searches, I figured there might be a few new readers. I was thinking of doing a post looking back at previous posts when we hit 100 posts (just a few posts ago) and decided now is probably the best time.

The contributors to the blog are cmitch (me - post regulary) and Loopy (he posts about once every month)


$50K Challenge Outline - Turn $2,500 into $50,000 in 2006 by playing part time

$50K Challenge - Current Status. I will be updating the Challenge weekly on Mondays and will update it monthly with very detailed stats. Let me know what stats you would like to see.


GG Variance - An article that I posted while in the middle of a very good run. It was also published on

Some NLHE Short Handed Observations - An article that I wrote at the beginning of the $50K Challenge. I will probably revisit it in a few months and see if I still feel the same way.

Newborn Babies and Online Poker - It was hard to play many tourneys just after our son was born. This is the reason that I started playing cash games a lot more often.


Heads Up Step Challenge - I had the idea of doing a Heads Up Step Challenge based on a progressive Blackjack betting system and the Party Step SNGS. It never really panned out for me, but some people thought it was an interesting idea.

Heads Up Step Challenge Spreadsheet - Win 3 in a row and you will show a profit.

That should do it for today.

Again thanks to TripJax for thinking enough of our blog to put us in the "Blogger Spotlight" and send a few new readers our way.


What better time than now!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Well, it's been nearly 3 months since I last posted but now is as good a time as any to break the silence!

Since last Thursday night I've played three $22/180 Sit & Go's on PokerStars:

1. 2/16/06 @ 21:46 ET : 3 way chop for $726
2. 2/19/06 @ 18:40 ET : 5th place for $234
3. 2/20/06 @ 22:35 ET : 2nd place for $720

I actually finished 9th in the one previous to that as I was unable to put on the brakes going into the final table.

Something recently clicked regarding MTT play. It's a basic principle I always knew but was usually not able to "pull the trigger" in the right situations until the last few weeks. Everyone has read all the articles and books regarding SELECTIVE AGGRESSION in tourneys, but until you're willing to go broke rather than slipping through the bubble into the money with a short stack it's very difficult to go deep. It truly does not matter what your hole cards are when you have 4x the amount of chips as your opponent... they will usually only call you with BIG CARDS or a pair.

You're probably mumbling something like, "Oh, so Loopy is now the expert on 'going deep' in tourneys." No, far from it... but PUSHING earlier than you have to and putting pressure on your opponents in the right situations gives you a better chance to cash with real money instead of walking away with 3x your buy-in (or less!) for 3+ hours of hard work.

I was able to set players up by firing away time after time near the bubble when they were not willing to make the call without a MONSTER. It paid huge dividends later on when I did the same with a big pair or AK at the final table. As Cmitch mentioned last week, it's just not worth it anymore to eak into the money with a short stack!

One hand that is worth sharing was at the final table of the most recent cash on Stars. Imagine if this one would have held up! Luckily Floyd only had 10k and I ended up making something here... but DAMNNN :)


I keep waiting for everything to come to a crashing halt in the $50K Challenge (click for details), but things have been going better than ever. I never could have imagined that I would be this far ahead of the pace - already at my goal for the end of June. I had my best week so far. Below are my current stats:

Starting Bankroll (1/1/06) - $2,592
NL Short Handed Cash Games (YTD) - Profit of $14,213
SNGs, MTTs, Donations, Misc. (YTD) - Loss of $240 (thanks to 0 for 2 in $200 SNGs and 0 for 2 in $200 tourneys since last update)
Bonus (YTD) - Profit of $293 (plus a lot of Pokerstars FPPs)
Live Games - Loss of $450
Total Profit (YTD) - $13,816

Profit since last update (1 week) - $5,002

Current Bankroll - $16,409

Jan - $4,100
Feb - $5,700
Mar - $7,300
Apr - $9,800
May - $12,400
June - $16,200

I will update the progress with detailed stats at the end of the month. Let me know if there are any stats that you would like to see.


JJProdigy Situation Update

For those that aren't up to speed about the JJProdigy/ Party Poker situation scroll down a few posts.

Party Poker made a decision regarding the JJProdigy tourney win on ABlackCar account. They determined that he had played multiple accounts and had violated their policies. As a result they stripped his account of the $140,000 that he won and moved everyone up 1 spot in prize money. Imagine being the guy that finished second and waking up to an email from Party Poker that $70k (I think that was roughly the diff between 1st and 2nd) has been added to your account.

Some people say that the punishment does not fit the crime. I have thought a lot about this and think that the punishment is correct. If JJProdigy had not played two accounts then he would not have won the $140k. Simple as that - cheating allowed him to win the money so it should not be his.

Party took $140k away from the ABlackCar account and $40k away from the JJProdigy account. I think the taking the $140k away was correct and the $40k should have been reviewed more in depth. Sounds like he may have gotten an added penalty ($40k) because he got caught.

Click here for JJProdigy's Apology and email received from Party Poker that he posted on (At least he finally owned up to what really happened)


DADIII Heads Up Tourney

I played in the DADIII Heads up Tourney put on by Jordan and TripJax. It was fun but I didn't make it past Round 2.

I was able to beat a tough opponent, Maudie, in Round 1 after a little bit of a struggle.

My second round match was against one of the blogs that I read on a regular basis - WillWonka. I am not sure what to say about this match other than I got worked. He was more aggressive than me and I got behind quick. On the final hand I ran my short stacked 99 into his QQ and I was out.

Nice job of destroying me Will. :)

That will have to do it for today.


I have mixed emotions again. I played the Pokerstars $150+$12 last night and wound up finishing 10th out of 528. Overall I am happy with the outcome, but it still stings some to come so close to a big payday. 10th place netted me $709 ($871-$162). 9th place paid $475 more than 10th and the payouts increased dramtically after that with 1st place receiving almost $20k.

I had one big lucky break to make it that far. After we were ITM, I was dealt QJ in late position at a short handed table. I pushed and the small blind called with AJ. The river brought a Q and I a little more than doubled up. So, I guess I can't complain too much. I was pretty much freerolling after that point.

My final hand - I was 10th out of 10 remaining with 3k/6k blinds (i think). Both tables were 5 handed. I had around 24k in chips (barely enough for 10 hands). The 9th place stack had around 45k in chips and was on the button. I needed to do something. I pushed with As3s and the BB called me with A10o. The flop was very good - 2s2c4s. I had 15 outs but didn't catch any of them and I was out on the final table bubble.

After a rough start in tourneys this year, things have started to come around. I have only played 4 tourneys this week and finished high in two. Both of the high finishes were in large fields (800+ and 500+).

I think there are two reasons that I have done well this week in tourneys.

1. I have decided to have an "I don't care if I bubble." approach to the tourneys. I think I had been playing to at least make it to the money in recent weeks and then see what happens from there. Only problem is nothing was happening from there because I had no chips.

Something in me just finally said, "Screw it!! You are eeking into the money with no chips. Gotta do something." Sometimes it is easier said than done. I was pushing a lot more than I ever would as we got close to the bubble and a lot sooner than I normally would. If someone was going to call me, they were going to have to have a monster. Before I would have probably waited until my stack was around 2.5xBB before pushing.

2. Biggest reason I think I have been playing well this week - Harrington on Holdem 2. If you haven't purchased it yet and you play MTTs then you are missing out. Go buy it now!! I haven't finished reading it, but I have read a lot of the key ideas on my trips to the bathroom. Some of the concepts in there really make you think.


An another note - Loopy (the guy that is part of this blog but never posts ;-) ) was playing a $22 180 person tourney on Pokerstars at the same time that I was playing the $150. As I busted out, he was just starting the final table with a chip lead. He wound up chopping it when 3 handed for around $720.

Congrats Loopy!!


DADIII is tonight - a Blogger Heads up tourney on Pokerstars - click here to check it out or go to TripJax's or Jordan's Blogs.

I am probably going to play it tonight. See you all there.

Good luck at the tables,

You Gotta Fight For Your Right to Party...

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Wow!! It looks like Party Poker is making some big changes. Very Cool. More starting chips in SNGs and Tourneys, new blind structures and timed levels in SNGs. The Beta table sizing will now be part of the software - very nice for the multi-tablers. All in all it looks like it is going to be a lot more user friendly.

You can check out all the changes here - Party New Features.


I am sure most of you reading this have probably heard about the controversy surronding the use of multiple accounts in big field tourneys. For those that haven't heard, it was brought into focus big time this past weekend. A well known tourney player, JJProdigy, that is ranked #5 in list of top online tourney players won the Party Poker Guarantee tourney this weekend for $140,000. The only problem is that the player "JJProdigy" on Party Poker didn't win the tourney, a player named "ablackcar" or something very similar won the tourney. The player "JJProdigy" was entered in the tourney but did not finish high. Below was JJProdigy's explanation of what happened:

"To understand my scenario, you must first understand my day. I picked up my brand new expensive computer from a computer store today (I tried to build it, without knowing anything abotu CPUs, I suck!). I got home about an hour before the MTTs start, and it was very hectic, and I was stressing out a ton. My Grandparents come to the house every weekend. My Grandma is an absolute poker fanatic, and I try to teach her how to play just due to her sheer enthusiasm. I stake her occasionaly, as much -EV as it is. I'll be honest, I do not conserve money the best. I staked her to play the 500k at Party. A few hours later, I bust out of Party, and am only playing 1 MTT. Finally, I am relaxed. I see that she has amassed a decent stack. I start coaching her every hand. Once she got to aobut 10k in chips, I took over, still talking to her. When I got to 100k (tripled from 33k), I asked her to leave the room, and she could watch me on the laptop. I do get nervous and emotional when I get deep, and I figured I had a real shot at it. Of course, my grandma being the kind soul that she is obliged. Before I know it, I won the thing. I am thinking of buying her a new car, but I haven't put much thought to it.

I didn't really realize people would make that big of a deal of it until 10 people started IMing me telling me to prepare for shit. Curse at me, hate me, flame me. I can't say that I do expect less.

But, I just won 140k! Not even all this flaming can take away the amazing feeling I have right now."

He was pretty much saying that he took over for his grandmother after he busted out of the tourney. This brought to light the whole idea of playing multiple accounts. There was heated discussion in a lot of the forums, especially since he is a regular. People chimed in on both sides of the issue, but I think the overwhelming theme was it was cheating.

The grandmother story is hard to believe, but even if it is true it was cheating.

Why should anyone be able to play in the same tourney with multiple accounts? Even if there is only a slim chance of the multiple accounts being placed at the same table, there are still other big issues.

I think it was Gank, aka Brett Jungblut, that said the it would hurt online poker in general because it creates a very unfair advantage for the top online tourney players. It is comparable to letting Tiger Woods enter the same Golf Tourney several times or having him take over for a player that shot a low score after the first two days if Tiger missed the cut. Or maybe, letting Johny Chan, Phil Ivey, etc. take over for big stack at a live event once they bust out.

The bottom line is Playing/Having Multiple online poker accounts on the same site is cheating. I don't know how it can be justified. The poker sites need to police it a lot harder or things will start to spiral out of control very quickly. Anyone saying that it is OK doesn't have a full understanding of it's ramifications.

Where should the line be drawn if not here?


My experiment with Shorthanded 5/10NL

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

I know my bankroll is nowhere near big enough to be playing 5/10 NL yet. Since I am well ahead of the pace in my $50k Challenge, I decided to experiment with it a little this weekend and gave myself a stop loss of 2.5 buy-ins or $2,500. I managed to come out ahead and actually averaged 8.26PTBB/100 over the small sample of hands that I played. One thing that I discovered is that I am not ready for the swings associated with 5/10NL. It is a lot harder to shake off getting stacked for $1,000 than $400 at 2/4 or even $600 at 3/6.

I will be sticking to the 2/4 NL and 3/6 NL until I have the proper bankroll to move up.

Below are some hands that show some of the crazy swings at that level:

AA loses to 57 - All chips go in on a 7 high flop, turn is another 7

Flopped a straight and other guy turns a higher straight

And on the other side - Flopped a set vs. 2 pair and won a big pot

Flopped an opened ended straight flush draw - Hit the straight on the turn, all the money goes in. Other guy has a set. The river gives him a boat but also gives me the straight flush. (Had to do a double take)

These are just a few of the hands that I encountered at the 5/10NL level. They are also the reason why I won't be playing 5/10NL until I have the proper bankroll.


On other news - I submitted my article, "GG Variance," to and it is on the front page of the site.


Full Tilt is going to start running a lot of satellites to the WSOP at several buy-in levels. It is pretty cool that a lot of the sites are starting to compete by offering larger buy-in sats to the WSOP. You can check out all their options at Full Tilt WSOP stuff.


$50K Challenge Weekly Update

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Below is a quick weekly update on the $50k Challenge.

Everything is still progressing very well. I have been playing mostly 2/4 NL Cash games and have experimented a little with 3/6NL and 5/10NL. The plan has been to move up to the next level as I reach 20x Max Buy-in. The only problem I see with the move to the 3/6 NL tables is the lack of players at that level. Pokerstars usually has only 1 or 2 tables of short handed 3/6 NL running as compared to 12-20 at the 2/4 NL. This doesn't lend itself to picking the optimum table. I may have to start playing some at Party where the selection should be a lot better.

Starting Bankroll - $2,592 (1/1/06)
NL Short Handed Cash Games (YTD) - Profit of $8,808
SNGs, MTTs, Donations, Misc. (YTD) - Profit of $184
Bonus (YTD) - Profit of $273
Live Games (YTD) - Loss of $450
Total Profit - $8,815
Profit since last update (1 week) - $2,124

Current Bankroll - $11,407

I'll post detailed stats at the end of the month. Let me know if there are any particular stats that you would like to see.


Thanks for everyone's comments yesterday on my finish in the Paradise $150k guarantee tourney. I have to say that I had mixed emotions when I busted out of the tourney. On the glass half full side - I finished 20th for $1,100 on a $20 investment (not too bad). On the glass half empty side - The payouts increased drastically for the final 10 players with 1st place getting over $40k. It stung to get so close to the big payouts - escpecially since I don't play a lot of tourneys.

Paradise's blind structure made the tourney a little difficult torwards the end. At one point the biggest stack at my table was around $50,000 with the blinds at 2k/4k plus antes and about to go up to 3k/6k plus antes. The biggest stack bascially had a M of 5.5. (Stack as compared to pot).

As the blinds went up to 3k/6k, I only had 31k in chips and it was almost my Big Blind. The bubble had just burst between 20th and 21st and it was time to make a move again. I pushed with KJ while the table was still shorthanded and the BB with $41k thought for a while and then finally called with A9s. KJ didn't improve and I was out in 20th.

A railbird criticized me for the push, which I thought was pretty funny. I only had 2.3x the pot. It is a key advantage to be the first to act with the added fold equity. I had pushed several times over the last 100 hands and was only called a few times. The three times that I was called I had a hand (AK, AJ, JJ), so it gave the impression that I was only pushing with good hands. The BB had to have a very good hand to call my bet because the call pretty much meant his tourney life. All the factors lead to my push. I am pretty sure that if we hadn't just gone from 21 to 20 remaining that the BB would have folded.

OK - back to work.

Good luck at the tables,

Paradise $150k Guarantee - 20th out of 883

Sunday, February 12, 2006

I'll try to post a tourney report tomorrow. I'm not sure I'll have time, but I'll try. I finished 20th out of 883 for $1,124 from a $20 satellite. Not too bad considering I haven't been playing many tourneys and never am able to play the Sunday tourneys. I owe my wife big time. She watched the kids, made dinner and put them to bed while I played poker.

Which reminds me, my 4 year old daughter keeps asking about the "game" that I play on my computer. When should I teach her how to play? J/K.


GG Variance

Friday, February 10, 2006

Variance is a funny thing. It can be an easy scapegoat or a shiny horseshoe. It is a magical term that explains our winnning streaks and our losing streaks. Our stats tell us that we should make $X/hr, xBB/100 or xxROI% in sngs/tourneys. It is all there in pokertracker and our spreadsheets. Over the xxx,000 hands, I made xBB/100, so I should continue to make xBB/100. It all seems so simple. Anything that doesn't fit into this stats generated world has to be variance, right? Maybe not.

I had been running extemely well lately and kept waiting for it to slow down. I had a losing session last night. It was my first online losing night in 9 days. No problem. I am still up considerably more than should be expected based on previous pokertracker stats. My bad run last night was just the negative side of variance. That is what I kept telling myself last night. I had ups and downs at the tables last night and wound up down a little less than 1 full buy-in at NL cash games.

On my drive into work this morning I got to thinking a lot about how I played last night. I didn't play well. I only slept 4 hours the night before and was pretty tired. This is no excuse for my poor play, just one of the factors that helped feed it. I got sucked out on the river early in the night and I let it affect my play. I guess you could say playing poorly is one of the components of variance - but does it have to be? I don't think so.

Before the losses last night, I had been on fire over the last month. Was it just variance? I had a few great hands that held up. The key factors in my good run had more to do with how well I was playing. I was getting my money in with the best hand, creating big pots when I had a monster, making some calls/lay downs (calling a bluff/folding 2nd best hand) that I might not have made in the past, and bluffing at the right times. Of course, the win rate I was having was not sustainable, it was all just positive variance. Some of it might have been, but I think a lot of it had to do with how I was playing.

If we improve our games, we theoretically could be on the positive side of "variance" for an extended period, because our stats haven't caught up with our improved play. The same could be said for the negative side of variance. There could be some serious leaks in our game. Perhaps the stats are lower than they should be because something needs to be changed.

Whenever you are on a good or bad run, take the time to ask yourself, "What am I doing right/wrong?" Keep doing the things that you are doing right and do them more often. Stop doing the things that are hurting your game. Analyze your game and always try to make sure you are on the positive side of variance. Sometimes the best teachers are found in the mirror.

Variance isn't always as simple as good cards not holding up or getting hit by the deck.


UB WSOP Satellites look like a great deal

Thursday, February 09, 2006 is running a "Super Mega" Satellite to the WSOP on Saturday Night. It is a $1,000+$50 Satellite that awards 1 WSOP package for every 12 entries. As of the time of writing this blog there are 97 people registered for the tourney. UB has been running satellites to the Super Satellite for about a month now and there are several more between now and Saturday Night. They also have another promotion running - If you are one of the first 150 people to win your WSOP seat, you get to play in a VIP package freeroll. The top 3 players win the WSOP VIP Package and 4th-1oth place recieve first class plane tickets to Vegas and the Ultimate Poker Player Pack.

The WSOP VIP package includes:
• First class flight to Las Vegas for the WSOP Main Event
• Deluxe accommodations for the duration of Main Event stay
• $25,000 of buy-in money for use at any other WSOP events of your choice
• Exclusive Ultimate Poker Player Pack including an iPod, Bose headphones & Hellmuth Oakleys
• $5,000 travel allowance for other events

The Sub-Satellites into the $1,050 Super Mega Satellite between now and Sat Night are:

Thursday and Friday - 10:45 PM $50+$5
Saturday - 4:45 PM $100+$9

I will probably try the Friday Night 10:45 PM satellite. Hope to see everyone there.


My run of good luck ran out last night. I played at a home game last night and busted out of the $150 tourney fairly quickly when my flush ran into a higher flush.

I hung around for a while until the cash game started. A few hours later, I left down $300. I kept getting my chips in with the second best hand. I lost with a flush vs. a full house, AQ vs. A9, set vs. flush, and two pair (middle pair and bottom pair) vs. two pair (top pair and bottom pair).

I don't think I was playing my "A" game. I should have been able to get away from some of those hands. Sometimes it is hard to lay a hand down when playing against someone that will make the same call with the nuts or a draw.

I got too impatient last night because we were probably getting 25-30 hands/hour vs. 80 hands/hr/table or 160 hands/hr while two tabling. It is a lot easier to be patient when you are seeing 5 times as many hands over the same time frame. (after all you will see AA or KK about once every 110 hands)

I guess online is my game right now. I'll have to force myself to be more patient next time I play live.

Good luck at the tables,


Think before you bet and other random thoughts

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Sometimes, I just don't understand what is going through someone's mind at the table. I ran across the perfect example of "What was that guy thinking?" last night. I sat down at a Party Poker 2/4 shorthanded NL game with $400 and had been playing fairly tight, especially out of position, trying to get a feel for the table when the following hand occurred:

My stack $425. Button Stack $470. I get dealt AA UTG and raise to 15. The guy on the button immediately goes all-in with KK. What on earth could have been going through his mind? He bet $470 to win a whopping total of $21. The only way he is getting called is if I have AA or KK. He might think someone will call him with AK, but pretty doubtful. I called and thoroughly expected us both to have AA. If he raised a reasonable amount and I re-raised, he could have flat called and worried about AA or possibly even re-raised me all-in at that point if he thought I didn't have it. He had position on me for the rest of the hand. Anything could have happened. He may have been able to get me to lay down my hand. I didn't have the Ace of Spades and the flop contained 3 spades with a 4th spade on the turn. There is a decent chance he may have been able to win with his postflop play. He didn't have the King of spades and I won the monster pot with 1 pair.

I think the main reason this guy lost his entire stack was because he had no confidence in his post-flop play. Why risk so much for such a small pot? It makes sense to think about why you are making a bet before you make it and how the other players will react. Maybe he was sucked out on one too many times, but there was still no reason to risk his whole stack for a $21 pot.


I am deleting the post with the Hand History Animation. I think it has been causing some problems with the blog. If you want to check it out - click here or go to


I am on a serious hot streak. I have made more money the first week of Feb than I made the entire month of Jan. My PTBB/100 is over 23 at short handed NL tables. This brings me to the question - When will I cool off? Hopefully not anytime soon. I won't let it bother me if I do. Very nice to be on the good side of variance.


I am heading to a live game tonight. $150 buyin tourney with 18-22 players. It will be a nice change of pace. There is usually a 1/2 NL cash game afterwards, but I'm not sure I'll be able to stay up late enough for the cash game..

Enough ramblings for now.


I was surfing the internet this morning while working and ran across a good article about leaving the fish alone and a good story about a Big NL Cash Game at the WSOP in 2000.

The first article is about not tapping the glass. It's basic theme is don't educate the fish (or the good players at the table as a side effect), no matter how much you want to. "The Professor"

The second article is an account of a session of 200/400 NL Holdem during the 2000 WSOP by one of the participants that was "taking a shot". It is a very interesting read and I reccomend everyone checking it out. 2000 WSOP - The Big Game


I Think I'm a Luckbox

Monday, February 06, 2006

I have been on a great run at the cash game tables as of late. After coming off a better than expected January, February is off to a fast start. I am averaging around 15 PTBB/100 hands on the 2/4 NL Short Handed tables with close to 2,000 hands. I know that it is not sustainable. A lot of it has been thanks to some luck – like hitting top set vs. middle set. Being on the good side of variance is a nice feeling and it has helped pad my stats in the $50k Challenge.

Below is my current status in the $50k Challenge:

Starting Bankroll (1/1/06) - $2,592
NL Short Handed Cash Games (YTD) - Profit of $6,385
SNGs and MTTs (YTD) - Loss of $206
Bonus (YTD) - Profit of $193
Sports Bets (YTD) – Profit of $319

Total Profit (YTD) - $6,690
Profit since last update (5 days) - $2,780

Current Bankroll - $9,283


I still need to work on my multi-table tourney play. I think I need to play tourneys on a more regular basis since a lot of tourney play is based on feel of the table, stage of the tourney, etc.

I played two $109 tourneys on Saturday night.

The first one was on Party Poker. There were 422 entries paying 50 spots. I felt like I was playing great and was cruising along when we broke the money bubble. The short stacks started taking stands and players were dropping fast. I had just under an average stack with 36 remaining when an aggressive player made a standard 3xBB raise from late position and I look down at 77. I called and the flop came AJ7. We got all our chips in and I was in great shape against his Q10. A King on the turn gave him his straight. A blank on the river and I was out 36th for $253. I couldn’t help but think that the payout structure on Party is way too top/final table heavy.

41-50 $220+
31-40 $250+
21-30 $270+
11-20 $290+
1st place - $10k+

The payouts are basically flat from 11-50th, so it encourages a lot of players to gamble. You pretty much need to make the final table for any significant increase and final 3 for the big payday. Seems like they could work it a little differently. I am going to try and compare the payouts on some of the other sites.

The 2nd tourney that I played on Saturday was a $109 on UB. There were 172 players paying 20. I got short stacked late in the tourney and basically was reduced to all-in or fold poker for about 1 ½ hours. I never really got many chips but did manage to eek my way into the money and finish 16th for $172.

On Sunday night I decided to enter the $215 HORSE tourney. Not a good decision after a 12 pack of Miller Lites. I went out fairly early in the stud h/l round when I had a set and 7 high for the low both of which were no good. Note to self – don’t play HORSE while drinking.



I saw an interesting post on one of the forums. Someone said they sent an email to Full Tilt Poker asking about if they are going to run sats to the $50k WSOP HORSE EVENT and the answer was yes. WOW!! It will be interesting to see how these are set up.


I have been having some problems with comments on the blog. Some have been getting deleted and others haven’t shown up. Hopefully everything is working now. Let me know if you tried to post a comment on my last post – that one was driving me crazy.

OK, enough ramblings.


Royal Flush!!!

Friday, February 03, 2006

You have to love it when your Nut Straight turns into a Royal Flush - especially when you are already all in. Too bad it was against a short stack.

Hand #11534217-3672 at North Las Vegas (No Limit Hold'em)
Powered by UltimateBet
Started at 03/Feb/06 13:55:23

a_eddy_21 is at seat 0 with $151.
HoldinHeat is at seat 1 with $797.70.
cbone42 is at seat 2 with $151.
spillestuen is at seat 3 with $327.60.
astewartct is at seat 4 with $215.
cmitch is at seat 5 with $634.
The button is at seat 1.

cbone42 posts the small blind of $2.
spillestuen posts the big blind of $4.

a_eddy_21: -- --
HoldinHeat: -- --
cbone42: -- --
spillestuen: -- --
astewartct: -- --
cmitch: Jh Th


astewartct folds. cmitch calls. a_eddy_21 raises to
$13. HoldinHeat folds. cbone42 folds. spillestuen
calls. cmitch calls.

Flop (board: Ah Kh Qs):

spillestuen bets $4. cmitch calls. a_eddy_21 raises
to $20. spillestuen calls. cmitch re-raises to $36.
a_eddy_21 goes all-in for $138. spillestuen folds.
cmitch calls.

Turn (board: Ah Kh Qs Qh):

(no action in this round)

River (board: Ah Kh Qs Qh 4s):

(no action in this round)


a_eddy_21 shows Ad Qd.
a_eddy_21 has Ad Qd Ah Qs Qh: full house, queens full of aces.
cmitch shows Jh Th.
cmitch has Jh Th Ah Kh Qh: royal flush.

Hand #11534217-3672 Summary:

$3 is raked from a pot of $337.
cmitch wins $334 with royal flush.

QQ vs AK - All your chips preflop?

Thursday, February 02, 2006

I didn't play any cash games last night, but did wind up playing two tourneys. The interesting thing is that I was all with QQ vs. AK at critical times in both tourneys. I found this kind of funny because I was having a conversation a couple of days ago with a friend about how to play QQ preflop in a SNG/tourney. Below are the two scenarios - both tourneys on Paradise that have fast blind structures, which was a key factor in both decisions.

$20 Satellite to $200 $150k Guaranteed Sunday (2/11) tourney on Paradise was adding 15 $200 seats to a $20 satellite last night. It was a tourney that seemed too good to pass up, so i signed up. The tourney had around 215 entries and paid 36 seats with some money going to 37th - 39th.

As we got down to 39 players with fairly high blinds, I was near the bottom of the remaining players. I could have probably coasted into winning a seat, but if just one short stack doubled up then there would have been a distinct possibly of me becoming the bubble boy. So in middle to late position, I get dealt QQ. What to do? What to do? I may still be able to fold into the money. I really have only 2 options - all in and hope no one behind me has AA or KK or fold. The table was playing pretty tight because we were on the bubble. I decided to push. A big stack in the small blind called immediately with AK. Oh Crap!! The flop came Queen high and I felt safe. That feeling went away when a Jack came on the turn. A blank on the river and I doubled up, allowing me to coast into winning a seat into the $200 tourney.

$30 Rebuy on Paradise Poker
990+ entries paying around 95. Payouts don't really pick up until the top 20.

I have about 17,000+ chips. Blinds 400/800 plus antes. Blinds about to increase. 215 players remaining. I am around 110th place in chip count.

Dealt QQ in early position. UTG limps. I raise to 3,000. A guy in middle position immediately raises all in. He has me barely covered. I had seen the same guy put all his chips in preflop with KQ and A10. UTG folded. I was 90% sure that the guy that raised all in had AK. There was no way this guy was going all in with AA, based on the way he was playing. I had a critical decision to make.

1. Race for my tourney life. If I lose - gg me. If I win, I have 37k+ chips and am in the top 20 with 200 players remaining. A win puts me in great shape to have a high ITM finish.

2. Fold leaving me 14k in chips. I would have to post the blinds in two hands and the blinds would probably have increased by then. I would almost be at less than 10xBB in a tourney with rapidly increasing blinds. Every decision after that would pretty much just become all in or fold.

I weighed out both options and decided that I had to race - after all I was around a 56% favorite. I called. An ace came on the turne - GG me.

I usually don't mind pushing all my chips in with QQ if I think another guy has AK, but I have a very difficult time calling all my chips off with QQ against AK. If I am the one pushing with QQ vs AK preflop then I have better than a 56% chance to win because I have the added fold equity - believe it or not some people can lay down AK preflop.

I hate QQ vs. AK, but sometimes you have no choice but to race. I won 1 race and lost 1 race - about what should be expected. I would love to hear how everyone else would have played each of these situations - especially the 2nd one.


Since I have a cushion in the $50k Challenge, I am going to concentrate on tourneys for a few days and see if I can improve on my results. I am not happy with my Jan. tourney results and am going to experiment with a few things.

Good luck at the tables,


I don't think I could have asked to get off to much of a better start for the 1st month of the $50k Challenge. For those that haven't read the $50k Challenge Outline, I am trying to turn $2,500 into $50,000 by the end of 2006 by playing mostly Short Handed No Limit Cash Games on a part time basis. I am trying to play an average of 20 hrs/week and have set my monthly goals accordingly.

The bankroll goal milestones for the first three months are as follows:
Jan - $4,100
Feb - $5,700
Mar - $7,300

Listed below is my current status:

Starting Bankroll - $2,592
NL Short Handed Cash Games - Profit of $3,960
SNGs and MTTs - Loss of $179
Bonus - Profit of $130
Total Profit (Month to Date/YTD) - $3,910

Current Bankroll - $6,503

I am close to my target for the end of March. My goals may have been a little conservative, but I am not changing them. I will be excited if I reach the $50k before the end of December, but I am not fooling myself into thinking it will happen sooner. The variance of the higher stake games and tougher opponents will probably level things out as I move up. It is nice to know that I have a cushion to work with now. It, also, feels good to know that I should be able to consistently beat the $1/$2 NL cash games for a nice profit.

I played mostly 1/2 short handed NL cash games during the month and experimented with the 2/4 games a little at the end of the month. Below are some of my stats.

NL Cash Games
Hours Played (accounts for multi-tabling) - 73.2 hrs
Win Rate/Hr - $54.10/hr
Table Hours - 133 hrs
Win Rate/ Table Hr - $29.77/table hr

*NOTE: Below stats are from Pokertracker. There is a descrepancy between my PT stats and my actual stats. I think it is because I closed a table when I got stacked at the end of a session before the Hand History was saved.

NL SH CASH GAMES (some stats may look scewed because of a lot of heads up play)
Total Hand Played - 11,764 hands
PokerTracker BB/Table Hr - 7.23
PokerTracker BB/100 - 8.22
PokerTracker BB is calculated at $4 for 1/2 and $8 for 2/4

VP$P - 35.63%
Went to Showdown - 30.25%
Won $ at SD - 54.19%
Agression Factor - 1.23 (thought I was more aggressive)
PF Raise % - 13.86%

I, also, checked the hands that I won the most with and there weren't many surprises. Sometimes the losses with AA seem to sting a lot. When you look at AA in the long run, it does make you money. I think we tend to remember the big losses when dealt AA a lot better than the big wins with AA.

Hands the won the most with (from most won down)


I will try to get more into the keys hands over the next week and review my strengths and weaknesses. There are definitely a lot of things that I need to work on.

I am interested to hear any thoughts or comments - anything that looks out of line, any stats that I should be posting, or any thoughts in general.

Good Luck at the tables,