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February Recap

Well, February ended in much the same way it began - pretty crappy. After barely scraping out a third place finish in a $5 PokerStars SNG earlier this evening, I went against my instinct and played a bit more at both Interpoker and PokerStars. Boy, did that hurt.

My month ended with two costly river suckouts, my cowboys busted twice (once when I was all-in pre-flop against AA...I'm 0 for 6 in that match up this month...), and one tilty hand where I decided to show the donkeys how it was done. Oh well, once a blonkey, always a blonkey.

Let's take a look at the numbers:


  • $10 NL: $46.06

  • $25 NL: $36.03

  • $0.50/$1 FL: -$9.88

  • $1/$2 FL: -$63.75

  • $5 SNGs: $43.50

  • $10 SNGs: -$4.00

  • Feb. Winnings: $40.95

  • Feb. Bankroll: $1340.66

So, another winning month - I guess I can't complain. I did manage to move from the $10 NL to the $25 NL tables which isn't all that bad.

I've left myself some room for improvement. And I've still got quite a ways to go in order to hit my $5000 bankroll goal for the year.

So if you're up for it, looks like it'll be another month of mediocre poker for me.

Keep reading "February Recap"

Crazy Days

Well, I'm back to work today. And things couldn't be busier! I apologize but this will be another crappy little post. However, I wanted to give a quick update on my (long)weekend play.

Friday night was MrVercetti's b-day party, so no poker was played until both he and I were good and drunk and the rest of the guests had left for the evening. It was just after midnight when my wife, MrVercetti, and I sat down to play some SNGs.

I hit PokerStars and MrV hit TigerGaming and we schooled some fishy players until about 3 in the morning.

I'd like to write-up the poker happenings this weekend in a little more detail, but I've only got a few minutes before I have to get back upstairs to monitor the release of a new application.

So, without further ado, here are the numbers for the four day period of Friday Feb. 24 to Monday Feb. 27:


As you can see, a pretty good weekend for me. Trust me, if you haven't tried Interpoker's NL games, do yourself a favour and click on my Interpoker affiliate banner and sign-up. Not only did I win $84 this weekend at the NL tables, but I also cleared $30 in bonus money. Damn, I like that site.

I wish I had more time, but I don't. I've got all sorts of insightful things to say but they'll have to wait for another day.

Always leave 'em wanting more, I guess.

Keep reading "Crazy Days"

Sick day!

Sorry for the late post - I'm home sick today. So no real post from me today.

Suffice it to say that I'm at home, watching TV and playing some $25 NL at Interpoker (not too sick to pimp my affiliates, I guess).

I actually had a pretty good weekend, poker-wise, as you can see from my side-menu.

I'll be back to my usual shenanigans tomorrow. But until then, you'll have to keep yourselves busy. I recommmend poker, but that's just me.

Keep reading "Sick day!"

The Thursday Night Grind

The good news: I had a winning night at the $25 NL tables at Interpoker. The bad news: my win rate was a paltry 2 BB/100. My question to you, my loyal readers, is this: what the f*ck am I doing wrong?

Maybe I'm being greedy and trying to do too much too quickly. Reading through the myriad assortment of poker blogs that I read on an almost daily basis, I've noticed that there are still a lot of bloggers out there playing the $25 NL ring games and $5 and $10 SNGs. Although I still haven't played a year of "real money" poker, it's hard to settle into the grind when I read about the tremendous successes of some of the select few out there (e.g. here, here, and here).

I'm not a poker protege and my recent numbers confirm that fact. I guess I was just hoping that my skill level would increase proportionally with my bankroll. But this just isn't the case and the reasons are obvious.

When a friend inquired as to how much of my bankroll came from winnings and how much came from bonuses, I estimated about 50/50. In fact, my winning from ring games probably account for far less than 50% of my total bankroll. I would actually place that number at about 25%.

As I've sat at the $25 NL tables lately, my inexperience has really shown. Folding the best hand on occasion, overplaying the worst hand on many occasions, and putting myself in difficult situations over and over again.

I have found that tightening up my NL play really helps. When you flop top set with your pocket queens, there are no tough decisions. I may have to think of how I can extract the maximum payday from my opponent but that's it.

I've also discovered that I really hate AK (s00ted or otherwise). Like any "good" poker player, I realize that AK is a hand that affords me all sorts of extra EV in a short-handed pot. However, probe bets and continuation bets really start to add up on missed flops.

And when someone pushes all when you do hit top pair, you're faced with a difficult decision as well. Do you call the all-in and hope that the player is just a donkey trying to make a move? Or do you play the role of nut-peddler and fold it? These are all tough decisions that only experience can answer (or maybe one of the books I bought yesterday).

Last night, I was actually doing quite well for a while. Raising pre-flop when I was supposed to, making good bets when I was ahead, folding hands when I was behind - all in all, pretty ok.

Then I lost all my profit and jumped back into the red on a single hand.

A maniac raises from MP to 4xBB. The only thing that worried me is that this guy had not raised once pre-flop since I'd been watching him.

With KK in the SB, I raise it up to $2 to see where we're at and the maniac in MP quickly raises to $5. This was a warning sign that I picked up on, but I can't be worried that someone is holding aces any time I have cowboys. I've seen people make this re-raise with AK or even a medium pocket pair, but never from someone who has a PFR of about 1%.

I call the pre-flop raise and the flop comes down J J 5. We both check the flop. The turn is another blank, so I bet out $4 into the $10 pot. Well, MP re-raises to $8.

At this point, an experienced player can make one of two moves: push or fold. A blonkey has one of two moves: push or call. I chose to blonk-call the raise and then wisely folded on the river when MP bet again.

He showed me the rockets that I suspected he held and I said nothing about the cowboys that I'd just mucked. Sure, I should've made the laydown on the turn and saved myself the extra $4, but that's the price of my education. At least by calling on the turn, I could safely make the laydown on the river knowing for sure that I was behind. Had MP been a more conservative player, I guess I could've bought myself a free showdown by calling the extra $4 on the turn.

I truly think that making the right moves at the right time has everything to do with confidence and conviction and these things cannot be taught. I think reading books can help you take fuller advantage of the information gained through experience, but experience is still the true determinant of poker ability (excluding the certain "je-ne-sais-quoi" that the world's best players have).

Luckily, Interpoker's reload bonus is keeping me afloat during these dark days. And I managed to pull out a win by the end of my session last night by virtue of a last minute full boat on my second-to-last hand.

So I guess the money is out there if you're patient enough to pay your dues, put in the work to learn the game, and confident enough to put it all on the line when most players would run.

Have a good weekend! Enjoy the grind...

Keep reading "The Thursday Night Grind"

Who wants money?

The answer is me, of course. But I do like to share!

If anyone out there is interested in picking up a rakeback deal, please do us both a favour and sign up through Rake The Rake.

I've been dealing with them for 6 months now and they are great. I've never had any problems with getting my payments. The have online rake tracking that's easy to use (and is usually accessible through workplace firewalls...). And they constantly offer freeroll tournaments with big prizes, WSOP seats, and other stuff.

If you do want to sign up with them, I only ask that you let them know that I referred you. When you send them the e-mail to let them know that you're all set to start receiving rakeback, simply tell them:

I was referred to Rake The Rake by account number RTR03302.

That's it! You can do this with every site that you sign up with through Rake The Rake.

What's in it for you? First, you'll get a sweet rakeback deal with a trusted site. Secondly, you'll get my undying gratitude. Most importantly, you'll get a special "I was referred" cash bonus for doing it.

Tell your friends, tell your family, tell your children (if they're of legal age to gamble in your state and/or country): it's time to get rich (or at least come close to breaking even) the Klopzi way!

Oh, and there is one last thing that you'll get: free pimping for your blog right here on Klopzi's Mediocre Poker. I get at least 20 hits a day now, so do the math: I can guarantee probably 10 hits for your site plus a few extra hits here and there from readers pouring through my archives! It worked for Drewspop of Hometown Poker fame and it can work for you too!

I'm shameless, I know...but c'mon, it's free money!

--

All kidding aside, Rake The Rake is the real deal. Enjoy.

Keep reading "Who wants money?"

I am a blonkey...

What's a blonkey? Blogger donkey, that's what. And I am one. I'm a donk who blogs about his donk-tastic play making me the blonkiest blonk there is. Looking back at the Stages of a Poker Blogger, there's only one thing a blonkey can do to fix things: read some more!

That's right! It's time to open my wallet and buy some wins. Time to study hard and hit the books again. Actually, I've been hitting the books everyday but it's obviously not sticking.

I've built up quite a little library at home and as my library grows, so too should my skills. That's in theory, of course. I'm just glad I have the bankroll to absorb these hits I've been taking.

First off, let me give a quick review of the books I picked up last time:


  • Winning Texas Hold'em (Maroon)
    If you don't own this book, you really should get it. Great advice delivered in one easy to read package. This book is a great complement to Miller's SSH. Read both or lose money, plain and simple. Before you get on my case, I know that I've read both AND lost money - I'm just a slow learner, I guess.

  • Championship No Limit & Pot Limit Hold'em (Cloutier & McEvoy)
    This one's ok for general interest reading but will probably not help more experienced players at all. I also think it applies more to tournament play than cash games, although Cloutier's "play tight" strategy really applies to cash games. There are some good stories in the book and it is interesting: just don't plan on becoming the next WSOP champion reading it.

  • Pot-Limit & No-Limit Poker (Ciaffone)
    This one was a little dry and poorly organized. Ideas are presented in a large number of tiny chapters that cover a large variety of topics covered in more detail in other books. The extra stuff in there about Omaha, Stud, and London Lowball (wtf?) detract from it's usefulness for those of us who can only focus on two hole cards per hand.

    I'm sure Ciaffone's a good player in real life but it doesn't seem to translate well on paper. There is a lot of good information in the book, but it's scattered all over the place. Maybe when I tackle the book again, I'll take a highlighter to it. That may be a good idea for all my books actually. Highlighters and sticky tags...yep, that's what I'll do...

Anyway, here's a list of books that I've just ordered from Amazon.ca. They should arrive next week sometime. By next Friday, I'm sure I'll have read enough to make me the greatest player in the world.












Although I've already read HoH V1, I don't own my own copy and I can't keep borrowing it from friends.

So there you have it - three more books, two of which are classics and a third being highly recommended.

Let's see if these help because after last night's session, I know they can't hurt.

That's enough blonking for now...

Keep reading "I am a blonkey..."

The hits keep comin'!

Another night, another disheartening loss of a bunch of my hard-earned bankroll. The tables have not been kind to me lately, but I guess I'm partly to blame. If only I had the discipline to play every hand, call to the river with everything, and never ever raise unless I'm holding the stone-cold nuts...

If you look at my side-menu, you'll see that I'm not doing so well in all three of my challenges right now.

I dropped $27 in about an hour and a half at the $1/$2 tables at Interpoker last night. I didn't play poorly at all. Just some missed flops and some lucky hits by my opponents on the turn and the river.

I actually forced myself to lay down top pair when I had a funny feeling that one of my opponents had hit an unlikely straight. I was right and saved myself at least $4 in that hand.

Still, I played my game and lost. I'll make that back soon though.

The real kick in the junk happened at the $25 NL tables. If you read my previous post, you'll know that I've extended my $250 NL Challenge to include the tables at Interpoker.

I loaded up a couple tables and started playing. The players at these tables all had VP$IPs in the range of 30% - 60%, low aggression factors, and pre-flop raise percentages hovering around 3%! After about 20 minutes, I was up about $5 on one table and $10 on the other table. So far, so good.

Then I pick up 99 and raise it up from MP and get one caller. The flop is all unders with two clubs, so I bet close to the pot just trying to take it down there. Nope - my opponent wants to play.

Turn is a 4c. At this point, I'm not putting my opponent on a flush since I didn't think that anyone would call a pot-sized bet heads up with only a draw. I guess that limit poker thinking (stupid implied odds!).

I decide to bet to find out what my opponent's up to and I bet close to the pot again. In hindsight, a little on the large side but I was trying to get him to fold. My opponent calls.

Looking back now, I totally should have played the river passively. There are three to a flush on the board, 4 to a straight, and my opponent has shown that he does not want to fold. I can't possibly think that my overpair is good.

When the river shows Jd, I bet out again even though an overcard has hit. My opponent immediately raises to $11. At this point, I'm losing to any hand containing a five, any hand containing a jack, any two pair, and two clubs. So I fold, right?

If you see me playing and this situation pops up, find a way to save me from myself. Instead of folding, I called the raise and lost to my opponent's nut flush. At first I was pissed off that he got lucky hitting the flush. However, he could've hand any one of the numerous hands that had me beat.

I lost $22 on a hand where I should not have lost any more than $6 to $10. Awful...

Now, some other bloggers out there might change the facts of a hand in order to save face. Others might simply avoid posting their shame. Not me - I need to let everyone know how bad I am at the NL tables right now so that I'll have the drive to get better at this game.

Anyway, I managed to pull it together after that. I pull back to even at the NL tables until I pick up a 67s in the CO. Some limpers come in so I limp as well.

When the flop comes 8 9 T, I'm ecstatic! The guy to my right bets and I make a pot-sized bet in order to deter others from staying in the pot. I want this guy all to myself.

When the player on the button pushes all in for his last $7, I instantly call as does the original flop bettor.

Anyway, the button had QJo and took the pot with his nut straight. Don't you hate it when you flop a made straight and another player has flopped the nut straight? I do.

Eight minutes later and at the same table, I limp from late MP with a J8s. The average pre-flop raise percentage for the table was 3% so I figured I'd be able to see a cheap flop.

Six players to the flop and it comes down 2h 7h 8s. I've picked up top pair with a flush draw! Sweet! SB min bets, one player calls and I put in a pot-sized bet.

Three of us see the turn and I pick up my flush! SB checks, guy to my right goes all in for $8. At this point, I have two options - call the bet and hope for the overcall from the SB or raise and shut out the SB. I decide to call and the SB raises it to $16.

Sweet! I push in for my last $6.50 and the SB insta-calls showing the nut flush. Damn! Strangely enough, this is the same guy who hit the nut flush on me when I had the overpair. I guess he had my number last night.

I don't know if there's much I could've done in this hand. I guess I could've raised the flop a little more in order to drive out my opponents. But I'd won a number of pots where a pot-sized bet on the flop was forcing all my opponents to fold. This time, they both had something they wanted to play it out.

As always, let me know what you think about any of this. I'm sure most would play these hands differently, myself included.

Drewspop sat down at one of my tables and we played for a little while. Thankfully, he was sitting at the table where I wasn't playing the role of donkey. I guess it'd be more exciting to play at a table where I get crushed but that's the luck of the draw, I guess.

Have a good one everyone - lots o' work to do today...

--

Update: After speaking with some friends, it was determined that my table image at the $25 NL table would've been ruined after calling the $11 river bet with only my overpair. This basically ensured that I'd get played with on most hands due to the implied odds everyone would be getting by playing with the donkey.

Playing low suited cards out of position or raising with middle pocket pairs with very little hope of taking the blinds or getting the raise respected are all bad moves.

Guess I'll tighten it up a bit and see how that changes the numbers. Pretty sweet though: I've never been a loose player until now. I guess I am a fish...

Keep reading "The hits keep comin'!"

Challenge Update: $250 NL Challenge

A quick update to my $250 Eurobet NL Challenge:

After taking a look at some numbers last night, I've decided to broaden my horizons while attempting to win 10 buy-ins at the $25 NL tables. Instead of playing solely at Eurobet, I've decided to start playing at Interpoker (and possibly other sites as well).

The reasoning for starting to play a bit more at Interpoker is due to the fact that I have almost endless reload bonuses that need constant clearing. And my rakeback is slightly higher at Interpoker than it is at Eurobet. However, it is the bonuses that count here since I don't play high enough stakes for rakeback to become a deciding factor.

Also, I get to play against Drewspop at Interpoker, so I've got that going for me too. He took about 50 cents off me last night but I think I'll live. It's the guy who $50 off me that I need to really worry about...

So, the $250 Eurobet NL Challenge has been officially renamed to the $250 NL Challenge.

All I need to do now is learn how to play poker. I clearly demonstrated that need last night...

Keep reading "Challenge Update: $250 NL Challenge"

New Challenge: Back in Black Challenge

*** UPDATE ***
Due to a Poker Tracker mishap on Sunday, April 9th, the Back in Black Challenge is being redefined as of Monday, April 10th.

The challenge will be considered PASSED once I've won $300 ( or 150 BBs).

Alternatively, the challenge will be considered FAILED if I lose $300 (or 150 BBs).


*** END UPDATE ***

With a new SNG challenge posted and eagerly awaiting completion, I thought I'd complicate matters by throwing in a new $1/$2 challenge. Unlike my other challenges, this challenge simply sees me trying to regain what is now lost. Drive? No. Desire? No. Money? You betcha!

If I take a peek at my PokerTracker numbers, I can't help but notice a disheartening ($240.00) sitting in the $$ won column for $1/$2 fixed limit. This just won't do.

Sure, I cleared a $25 bonus at Interpoker by playing 1/2. But I lost money in the process. At some point, I have to become a winning player again. And to become a winning player, I'll have to first change that ($240.00) into a nice, round $0.

The challenge: play enough $1/$2 limit poker at any or all sites of my choosing (although Interpoker's constant bonuses and fishy players - myself included - are great motivators) to get myself back in the black again.

How long should this challenge take and how much could I be ahead afterwards?

Let's say that I manage to pull in a whoppping 1.0 BB/100 at the tables. I'd be looking at 12,000 hands total to win back my $240 (or 120 BB).

I play about 100 hands/hr when I multi-table the 1/2 tables at Interpoker; so, 120 hours.

If I also clear $25 worth of bonus for every 600 hands I play, I could potentially clear $500 in bonus money in that 120 hours.

I can't see me finishing this challenge anytime soon. If the cards start to cut me a little slack, I may be able to get a return higher than 1 BB/100. And if I actually become a better player, my return rate should increase as well.

Still, I'm going to take it slow and try to let it happen. Any bonuses I clear will help, but I'm not going to slow down my play just to take advantage of further reload bonuses. However, I'll clear at least $287.50 (I have $187.50 in uncleared bonuses right now and will get another $100 on March 1st) in bonuses over the course of this challenge, I'm sure.

I'll consider this challenge 100% complete when my $1/$2 winnings have reached $0. In the unfortunate event that I can't seem to win at all, this challenge will be cancelled if my winnings hit ($350) (meaning that I'd lost 150 BB at this level since starting the $25 High Stakes Challenge).

I'll post my numbers from time to time and will welcome any comments. I had a few good comments when I finished off the $25 High Stakes Challenge with respect to my PokerTracker numbers and welcome more of these comments where appropriate.

--

Quick update: I did play some $25 NL at Eurobet again last night. Unfortunately, I found myself too tired to really play all that well. With GSN's High Stakes Poker playing on the TV and my wife pointing out various items in a catalogue, I found it too hard to concentrate and to enjoy the game given my overall fatigue level.

Although I dropped about $14 during the course of my play, I can't really fault myself too much for those results (I feel like a donkey whenever I say that...). One guy made some pretty good calls when I first tried to take the pot on flop, and then later on the turn and river as well. Damn you AKs! I didn't have the table image to induce a fold, but calling with a pocket pair with three overcards on the boards is pretty ballsy.

[Update: After reviewing the AK hand above and after having some friends review it, I'll sheepishly admit that I definitely played the role of donkey in that hand. Betting out on the flop with my AK is ok, but when called I've got to get ready to drop the hand. When I pick up the draw on the turn, I can still check-call if getting the right price. That way, if I pick up my flush on the river, I'll most likely get paid off if I make a bet since my flop bet may disguise the flush. And if I miss the flush, then I can simply drop the hand only down a few bucks instead of being down $9.

Here's one for DuggleBogey: You know you're a donkey when you complain about other players not folding their made hands to your out-of-position, one-third-pot-sized bluff bets.]


Other than that, I was pretty card dead.
60 hands.
1 pocket pair (KK - folded on flop when an ace came and opponent bet big)
3 suited connectors (folded one pre-flop to large raise)
1 Axs (missed flop)
2 big card hands (AKo and QJo - won two small pots)

And in case I haven't mentioned it yet, I hate guys who raise pre-flop on every hand! Seriously, if I wanted to play $100 NL, I would. But I don't - so stop raising it by 4xBB every damned hand, you stupid prick!!

That's all! Have a great day everyone!

Keep reading "New Challenge: Back in Black Challenge"

Challenge Completed: $25 High-Stakes Challenge

Done! This challenge is the scariest I've done to date. $1/$2 has always kicked my ass, but I had to prove to myself that I could do it. Well, as of 7:40 PM last night, I've officially cleared my $25 bonus at Interpoker and am looking forward to more $1/$2 play.

I've collected a number of statistics outlining my play at Interpoker for this challenge. Let me know if any of you see anything fascinating, strange, or flat out stupid.

  • $$ Won: -$37.50

  • Adjusted Winnings (bonus,rakeback): -$8.20

  • Time to Complete: 8h 19m

  • Number of Sessions: 11

  • Number of Hands: 598

  • Best Session: $31

  • Worst Session: -44.75

  • Biggest Win: $29.25 (JJ)

  • Biggest Loss: -13.00 (AKo)

  • Best Hand: JJ (16.75 BB/hand)

  • Worst Hand: 88 (-2.75 BB/hand)

  • Most Common Hands: 93o (x12), T3o (x11), T4o (x10)

PokerTracker Stats

  • VP$IP: 12.04%

  • PF Raise: 9.20%

  • Aggression Factor (AF): 2.85

  • Won $ When Seeing Flop (W$WSF): 30.68%

  • Went to Showdown (WtS): 23.86%

  • Won $ At Showdown (W$SD): 47.62%

One thing you'll notice about my game at the $1/$2 level is that I play pretty tight. Actually, squeaky tight.

I overplayed a few hands, I'm very careful about releasing hands that I don't think can win. Although I folded the best hand twice on the turn, the betting by the other players really left me no options. Sometimes you have to play it safe when you've only got one pair and it's a few bets back to you.

However, of the 70 or so hands that I voluntarily played, you'll notice that I came in with a raise on about 55 of those hands.

The lesson: play tight but play hard. If your hand's good enough to play, it's good enough for a raise. If you're not comfortable raising with your hand, chances are pretty good that you should be folding it.

Although I find myself down 19 BB, I hope to erase the deficit as I get more comfortable at the levels I'm currently playing. The 1/2 tables are a little scarier than what I'm used to, but I am enjoying the extra challenge.

Sure, the bad beats hurt but they are a part of the game. But the pots won can start to make up for the tough losses. And if I keep playing my game, I'm sure that I'll start logging some better numbers in the long run.

--

Quick apologies: I may not have time to recap all of last night's festivities. I'm getting my ass kicked at work again.

Suffice it to say that I was up $31 at Interpoker's 1/2 tables, up $15 at Eurobet's $25 NL tables, and down $11 after two PokerStars $5 SNGs.

Hope everyone's having a more peaceful day than I am...

Keep reading "Challenge Completed: $25 High-Stakes Challenge"

Double or Nothing PokerStars SNG Challenge

Given my propensity for bleeding money in ring games like a stuck-donkey, I thought it best to add a new SNG challenge. This will provide another outlet for me to lose money at a much subdued pace.

For this new challenge, I will take the $61 that I currently have at PokerStars and double it through SNG play. Unlike the previous SNG challenge, this one will involve playing in SNGs at various buy-in levels.

The basic strategy will be as follows:

  • After placing first in an SNG, the next SNG will be played at the next buy-in level.
  • After placing second or third in an SNG, the next SNG will be played at the current buy-in level.
  • After placing out of the money, the next SNG will be played at the previous buy-in level.
  • No SNGs will be played at a level lower than the $5 level.
  • The challenge is completed when my PokerStars bankroll hits $122 or $0.

Seems simple enough, huh? I'm hoping that this will give me the opportunity to spread my wings a bit in the SNG arena without risking too much of my bankroll. The losses at the higher levels will be padded by my wins at the lower levels.

I anticipate that the bulk of my SNG play will be at the $5 buy-in. I will most likely play a few times at the $10 buy-in, although I anticipate these games to be few and far between. And while I think it'd be cool to catch a hot streak and play a $20 or $50 SNG, I think that's just a pipe dream.

At an ROI of about 10% at the $5 SNG limit, this challenge will most likely take upwards of 100 SNGs to complete. And as always, I'm not in a rush here so I'll just sit back and savour the slow grind that is my mediocre poker career.

Keep reading "Double or Nothing PokerStars SNG Challenge"

Again?! Damn it!

If you're reading this post directly from my site, take a look to the right and you'll see the damage that my bankroll suffered this weekend. If you're reading this through bloglines or some other reader, it's probably best that way. Seeing the carnage of this past weekend sure ain't pretty and is best avoided by all but hardiest of poker players.

You see, after a couple mediocre sessions of 1/2 at Interpoker, the Poker Gods decided to give me the proverbial "Fuck you!" and drain the excess monies from my bankroll. And strangely enough, thoughts of giving up the game or taking a break from poker are far from my mind.

Those thoughts get reserved for those times when I've truly pissed away my fortunes with bad play. Although I may have lost an extra bet or two along the way, I can only blame variance for the never-ending string of suckouts.

I won't go into detail about the "bad beats" (they weren't really bad beats but I'll use the terminology for lack of better words). Suffice it to say that each time I picked up a big hand, someone had me beat.

I have an overpair? I'm behind to a garbage two-pair or miracle straight. Who are these people who'll cold-call three bets pre-flop with an 82o? Then call when the flop is capped holding only bottom pair and filling out to two pair on the turn? Yuck...

If I hit top set, someone hit the straight. If I flopped the nut straight, someone hit their full boat on the turn.

The downside of playing the "tight-aggressive" game is that you'll pump a lot of money into any pot where you have an edge. Remember, an opponent's lost EV is your gained EV. So you push your edge on the flop and on the turn. But if your opponent catches his or her 4 outer on the river, you are going to feel the sting.

Needless to say, my opponents were all paid off for taking some extreme pre-flop and flop gambles. It happens and I can only push forwards and upwards.

On a positive note, I've almost cleared the $25 bonus at Interpoker. The numbers at the side are not 100% accurate right now because I turned off my laptop in disgust after a couple short sessions on Saturday and have not played since then. Time heals all wounds, right?

Though I am down 40 big bets at 1/2, I told myself that I would allow myself to lose a full 150 big bets before I moved back down to 0.50/1. I do not want to make that jump backwards and I will strive to improve my game and my luck in any way that I can to guarantee my future success.

I will be posting a bit later regarding a new challenge that I've designed for myself. More details to follow, however this will be another SNG challenge focusing on playing at the $10 SNG tables.

So, that's it for right now. I may be down, but I'm not out. I knew that poker was going to be a real bitch at times when I started playing and I'll take the good with the bad. The most important thing I can do right now is to constantly improve and not give up.

However, if anyone out there wants to help out, please sign up with one of my affiliates. I think I'll probably need the help...

Keep reading "Again?! Damn it!"

Muddled thoughts and boring recaps

In my previous post, I went over some of the details of finishing off the 100 SNG Challenge. However, I decided to leave out the recap of my play from last night because I wanted to keep the "challenge-y" type talk separate from the other boring stuff that I like to write about.

And so now, here's the boring stuff that I didn't feel was worth posting earlier.

After playing, and losing, three straight SNGs, I thought it'd be a good idea to play some more $25 NL at Eurobet. I was pretty sure I wasn't tilting or anything after having lost all 3 SNGs on sound plays: all-in with AJs on the bubble and ran into 88, all-in with TT on the button and ran into AA, and all in on the flop with set of tens and lost to chip leader's open-ended straight draw (who calls a big pre-flop raise with Q9o out of position?). Back to the NL...

I first sat down at a table that just happened to have a few players who enjoyed the finesse inherent to a great game of poker. I'm lying - these guys simply raised it up to 10xBB or more pre-flop on every hand. After losing $2 with a couple missed flops, I decided to leave the pissing contest to the pros and move on.

I quickly found another table that presented me with a far nicer setting: 40% average VP$IP, 7% pre-flop raise percentage, and very little aggression after the flop. Since I was already down about $18 on the night if you count the SNG bankroll drain, I was hoping this table would turn it around.

And lo and behold, it did. Although I didn't pick up any of the big hands early (AA-TT, AK), I still managed to push my weight around a bit and take down some small-ish pots. In fact, for the first hour and a half at the tables, I showed down exactly 0 hands. Each pot was won on the flop when no one had anything and couldn't call my big bets.

By the way, if you ever do happen to play with me, keep track of how many hands I show down. I guarantee that it ain't many and if the pot is big and I do choose to show it, I've normally got a hand. Unless you slowplayed me, in which case all I can say is "Screw you!!".

I find success at NL comes down to two things:

  1. Going with the flow when your cards are running bad.
  2. Picking up one big hand every hour or two to build up your stack.

Because the blinds are very low compared to the stack sizes, it is very easy to just sit back and choose your moments. Feel like your getting blinded to death? Don't worry about it - just sit tight.

I like to frequently top my stack up as high as it needs to be in order to maximize how much I can make if I double up. This means keeping my stack either at the max buy-in or a couple bucks more than the big stack at the table if no one is playing with the max buy-in.

As your session progresses, do your best to pick up the small pots that come your way. And when you do catch a monster pre-flop or on the flop, put your money where your mouth is and go for broke.

This is exactly what I did. I was up about $2 after the first hour and a half of play. I'd won some small pots, lost some small pots, but was poised to make a move if I had to.

My whole night came together in three hands. In one, I flopped a full house. I slowplayed it as best I could but only managed to take down an $6 pot. The problem with flopping the boat is that I had all the cards. Even though my opponent had raised pre-flop, unless he had a big pocket pair, he was not going to play the hand. Well, he didn't have as big a hand as I was hoping and nothing panned out. My opponent folded to my river bet and I walked away with next to nothing.

Another hand, I picked up QQ and gave it my standard PF raise. One opponent comes back over the top of me. I'm instantly putting him on AA-JJ or AK. The flop comes down J J 5. I have to try and win the pot here because I definitely do not want to see an ace fall. With the pot at $6.40, I bet $5: this is in line with my standard bet that I put on on every flop. My opponent calls.

Hmmmm...I can now narrow his hand down a bit. Since I was not reraised on the flop, I'm thinking AK, QQ, TT, or a slowplayed JJ.

When the turn comes down A, I'm pretty well done with the hand. I check it but my opponent checks as well. Now I'm guessing he's got QQ or TT based on his play. If he has an AA, KK or Ax, he's done everything he can to not make money with his hand.

Then my money card hit on the river: Q. Sweet! I'd hit the full boat and unless my opponent had AA or JJ, I was golden. Now the question was: how much could I bet and get him to call? I had a feeling that a big bet would scare him off, so I bet $5 into the $16 pot and he called.

I'm lucky that the Q hit the river because I was drawing dead to two outs. My opponent quietly mucked his cowboys and immediately left the table. Although I got lucky by hitting my Q on the river, my opponent gave me the opportunity by playing his hand too passively on the flop. He should've pushed on the flop and taken his chances. I guess he was worried that I might have raised with an AK, AQ, or AJ. Had he pushed all-in on the flop, I would've had a very difficult decision to make...

The other hand that made me some money occurred just before I called it a night. A small pre-flop raise from late MP and I call on the button with pocket 4s. The flop comes down A 4 x. Money! Opponent bet half the pot and I smooth called.

When the turn came down with my case 4, I had the hand won barring another A falling on the river. I had to hope that my opponent would decide to take another stab at the pot. He checked it as did I: I needed to let him catch a card.

At that point, I wondered if he even had an ace. Honestly, how could the 4 on the turn have scared him? I'd played tight the whole game, so there was no way he could've put me on any hands containing a 4.

When the river came down with a 9 of hearts, I knew I was going to make some money. I was hoping that he'd put me on a busted flush draw. When he bet out $2 into the pot, I pause for about 10 seconds then came back over the top for $5. He instantly called, then instantly mucked his AK.

He complained that he should've raised more pre-flop. His pre-flop bet was alright; he should, however, have bet more on the flop and the turn. He should have bet the flop harder than he did to prevent me from drawing to the potential flush and he should have bet the turn when no scare card hit. Sure, he would've lost more money in this particular hand. But that still doesn't excuse playing a made hand that passively post-flop. What if I'd had pocket nines? He would have really been kicking himself.

After that hand, two of the fish at the table (who seemed nice enough) really tore into the guy, calling him all sorts of names. At first, I thought they were talking about me since I'd slowplayed the monster hand. Nope - they wanted a piece of Mr. AK.

Anyway, long story short: my winnings at NL put me at +$1 on the night. Not great, but as always, I'll take it.

That's all for today. Have a great weekend everyone! I'll see you at the tables...

--

Time well wasted? Thank you Sir and Iamhoff for helping me with my overall productivity...


You scored as Pocket Kings. Home, home on the range you are Pocket Cowboys, pardner. Love may be a force of nature, but you are a force of your own. You're brash, bold area rarely in error and won't hestitate to push the little guy out of the way.



What starting Hold 'Em hand are you?
created with QuizFarm.com

Keep reading "Muddled thoughts and boring recaps"

Challenge Completed: 100 SNG Challenge

Well, it ended up only taking me 72 days to finish off the 100 SNGs in 100 Days Challenge. I don't whether this is a good or bad thing. All I can say for now is that I don't want to play another SNG for a little while.

It was a real grind and though I may be a bit better at the $5 SNGs after the time I spent playing, my results seem to confirm my suspicions that:


  1. I am not very good at SNGs.

  2. The $$/hr earned while playing SNGs is well below what I can make playing cash games.

  3. My ability to read players is piss poor resulting in too many folds when I should call, too many calls when I should fold, and too many suckouts when I correctly call.

It was a fun little experiment though. And for those interested, I'll break down some numbers because that's what poker's all about, right?

Overall
SNGs Played:  100
Return:  $39.45
Time Spent:  71.5 hrs
$$/hr:  $0.55/hr
ITM %:  43%
ROI %:  7.2%

Finishes
1st place: 10
2nd place: 17
3rd place: 16
On-the-bubble: 17
Craptastic: 40

Site Rankings

  1. Eurobet: $45.00 (10)

  2. PartyPoker: $17.00 (33)

  3. InterPoker: -$1.00 (11)

  4. TigerGaming: -$1.05 (11)

  5. Pacific Poker: -$3.00 (1)

  6. Absolute Poker: -$7.00 (1)

  7. PokerStars: -$10.50 (33)

As you can see, Eurobet and PartyPoker were my two biggest payers. In fact, PokerStars was sitting pretty until yesterday when I dropped 3 straight due to various suckouts and unlucky draws.

Strangely enough, the TigerGaming $3 SNGs were awful for me. MrVercetti has an ITM of 50% on these things and has made a pretty penny playing them. For me, though, they are a money pit better left to others.

I didn't place any ROI conditions on the success or failure of this challenge. Honestly, I knew from the get-go that once you get into the top 3 in an SNG, you're pretty well gambling to win the thing unless you've got a good chip lead. My SNG style is one of outlasting the others at the table then taking on the chip leader for the win.

Sure, my style results in many more 2nd, 3rd and 4th place finishes; however, it also puts me in a good spot to actually make money playing poker. And as we all know, being in the black is a good thing for a poker player.

So that's it - challenge completed. It was a long road and I'm glad it's behind me. Now I'll have more time to really focus on my ring game play.

Keep reading "Challenge Completed: 100 SNG Challenge"

Excuse me - I didn't order the waffles...

Sitting at 91% completion on my 100 SNGs in 100 Days Challenge, I decided to start multi-tabling the SNGs at PokerStars in order to speed things up. And, in all honesty, I think I've played enough of these things to be able to handle two at a time. I did, however, learn one lesson: playing two games at once doesn't work when there's a crazy blogger sitting at your table.

Yep, I sat down with the craziest blogger I know - SirFWALGMan (aka Sir Waffles, Waffle Guy, Wiffle-Waffle, etc.). I actually did pretty good in that SNG considering the fact that I donked about $2000 in chips to Sir over the course of the SNG.

Sir Waffles, let this be a warning to you: the next time I find myself in the lead with only three of us left at the table, I won't take it so easy on you. And on that note, I hope I never sit with Sir again. Reading his blog, you may not believe it, but he's actually quite good at this poker thing (when he plays within his bankroll, that is). Anyway SirFWALGMan, thanks for the lesson - I'm sure we'll cross paths again.

Other than that one SNG, I played five others over a 3 hour period. I came in 2nd twice and 3rd once. An ITM of 50% and ROI of 10% isn't too bad for me considering I was playing two of these things at a time.

I've got another three SNGs to play before this 100 SNG Challenge is done and I can't wait. Although it seems that these challenges I make for myself are solely for the purpose of increasing my self-importance or entertaining my readers (11 of them now - thanks guys), they actually serve a higher purpose.

I'm not one of those people who believe that work is it's own reward. Work sucks. Always. Period. And since luck is a factor in poker, you can't base your poker prowess on the size of your bankroll. The only way that I can keep my head in the game and push myself to improve is by coming up with funny little challenges.

Take last night, for example. I played six SNGs, didn't win any of them, and made a whopping $3 profit. I don't know about you, but that doesn't make me want to run back to the tables, giddily peeing my pants with the excitement of it all. But throw in the fact that I cleared another 6% of my SNG Challenge and I'm content to keep slaving away.

Much like free coffee at a job where you're expected to put in free overtime, my challenges keep me going when many others would simply say "F*ck it!" and turn on the TV.

I'll wrap it up here for now. There's some things I need to attend to (stuff to test, people to yell at, etc.).

I'll see you at the tables...

Keep reading "Excuse me - I didn't order the waffles..."

Top O' The Morning, Drewspop!

I was checking out Hometown Poker the other day (as I do everyday) and noticed something odd. In his writings, Drewspop made reference to depositing $100 at Interpoker. Not only did he sign up at one of the better poker sites on the 'Net today - he did it using my affiliate code!

For his efforts, he gets the 100% deposit bonus. And he'll get the recurring 100% monthly reload bonuses up to $100. In my opinion, Interpoker is one of the best sites for the newer players out there trying to build their bankrolls. I think the bonuses that I've cleared there account for about half my bankroll.

So, go check out Drewspop's site, will ya? Not only does he play the game we all love to hate, but he's also nice enough to take pity on an affiliate junkie like me.

So, Drewspop, enjoy that Interpoker goodness that I've come to appreciate over the past 6 months. I'll probably bump into you from time to time. If I find you, I'll take a seat and let you have a crack at busting me (it's not hard - just ask around).

I play at Interpoker mainly on weekends because I like the free money that comes with playing against some of the fishiest fish out there. Although I've been known to donate to those fish from time to time, it's still a nice, easy game.

So, to re-iterate: Interpoker is good, Hometown Poker is great, and Drewspop is king of the world.

Keep reading "Top O' The Morning, Drewspop!"

Another night off...

In honour of Valentine's Day, I didn't play any poker last night. However, that's not to say the the night was poker free. My wife suggested that we watch Rounders and I agreed after checking that she was sure about her decision.

We've watched that movie three times in the last few months. I did end up skipping some of the "talking" scenes as our evening started to wind down.

All in all, my wife and I had a nice, relaxing evening.

--

Since I have no poker to report, I'll follow SirFWALGMan's lead again and post some quiz results.





I am nerdier than 24% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!


I am 11% loser. What about you? Click here to find out!



The Stupid Quiz said I am "Pretty Smart!" How stupid are you? Click here to find out!



--

I'll be surprised if I have any readers left after today's post. I do promise to improve the writing in the days to come given the chance.

--

As predicted, not many visits today. I guess when you post crap, no one wants to read it - go figure!

I just got off the phone with my wife and we're going out for Chinese food. That's gonna hurt the diet - back on the wagon tomorrow, I guess. Actually, the wagon's probably a few miles up the road right now. I jumped off two weeks ago when the wagon driver wouldn't pull into the McDonald's drive-thru. Stupid diets with their stupid fruits, vegetables and whole grains...

I'll also be playing poker tonight. That's right - back to the tables. I'm going to push and finish off the 100 SNG challenge. I'll multi-table the SNGs and see how that treats me. Even if I drop the nine remaining challenges, I'll still be up with an ROI in the area of about 1%.

Still, up is up!

Have a great night everyone! Tomorrow's gonna be a busy f*cker too, so the post may have to wait until the afternoon. Just letting you know.

And there will most likely be a shout-out to a fellow blogger who's gone and performed a self-less act for the better good of Klopzi. Who is this blogger? Find out tomorrow.

Keep reading "Another night off..."

Stealing content

Am I complaining that people are stealing my content? Hell no! I'd feel strangely honoured if that actually happened.

Actually, this title refers to me stealing someone else's content. The only problem is that I'm too lazy to type anything, so instead, here are some links to some funny content that I've found in blogdom.

--

DuggleBogey has come up with some comics on his site. I'm going to link to some of the ones that I find funny.

I didn't find the first one funny so didn't have high hopes for the rest in the series. But alas, I was proven wrong as I've actually laughed out loud for a couple of them.

Before checking these comics out, be aware that you may not get the joke if you are not a poker-player-wannabe like the rest of us who waste our time writing online diaries that no one wants to read:


  • Poker Comic #4:
    I saw this happen last night...

  • Poker Comic #8:
    There is wisdom to be found in this one: bluffing in limit poker is useless! If you like your money, try a different strategy.

  • Poker Comic #9:
    When I see hands like this, I get pissed off that I folded my TPTK when faced with a bet and raise to me. It's happened to me a few times and it stung each time.

  • Poker Comic #11:
    These could've been some of the players I was sitting with last night. A3o is not the f*cking nuts, a-hole! Stop pushing all-in! Man, I really hate the fish from time to time...

  • Poker Comic #13:
    I've been guilty of this type of logic from time to time.

  • Poker Comic #16:
    I've actually heard Daniel Negreanu joke about this very thing. He said his favourite hand is the T7o because you'll win big if you hit with it and you have a chance to make two flushes with it. Funny...

  • Poker Comic #18:
    How clever is "Klopzi"?

  • Poker Comic #58:
    Nothing like a little Peter Pan Syndrome to smooth out life's rough edges...

Thanks for the laughs DuggleBogey...

--

Much like SirFWALGMan, I too can waste time...



You scored as Serenity (Firefly). You like to live your own way and don't enjoy when anyone but a friend tries to tell you should do different. Now if only the Reavers would quit trying to skin you.

Your Ultimate Sci-Fi Profile II: which sci-fi crew would you best fit in? (pics)
created with QuizFarm.com

--

For some reason, I forgot to list doubleuwhy's blog, Freeroll 2 Bankroll, on my blog list.

Sorry Doubleuwhy - you're now listed, for what it's worth.

By the way, check this guy's site out if your interested in reading about someone really trying to grind it out from the bottom. I thought I was good about only playing 10c/20c ring games. Doubleuwhy is grinding it out by playing freerolls and 2c/4c games.

What is even more impressive than Doubleuwhy's patience are the results he's getting: he's cleared more this month that I have. What the hell am I doing wrong?

Keep reading "Stealing content"

Love is in the air

Ahhh, Valentine's Day...It's a shame it comes so closely on the heels of my one year wedding anniversary, but so be it. I guess my wife will just have to live with that short 1 week period every February where she gets showered with gifts and affection.

Since I am not going to be hitting the tables tonight, I put in a solid four hours at the tables last night. As it turned out, the night turned out both good and bad.

I've been receiving some coaching on my NL game recently. Trying to find the NL groove after spending countless hours at the limit tables is tough. But with a couple friends helping me analyze my play, things are coming along.

As such, I was full of confidence yet again when I sat down at Eurobet's $25 NL tables. I was going to play tight, I was going to play right, and I was gonna bring home the bacon.

Well, the night started off great! After picking up an AA and KK twice, I found myself up $20. I was laughing...until it all when to shit!

From that point on, I won two pots over the next three hours. Both were small pots where I got lucky that no one hit anything and my bottom pair took it home.

In 221 hands played last night, I picked up pocket pairs 19 times (better than average) and suited connectors 4 times (wtf?). I also picked up a handful of suited aces.

I missed the flop with each of my suited Aces - not once did I pick up a draw or hit my ace. That, in itself, cost me about $10. I missed with my suited connectors and dropped another $5. I then lost another $10 to $15 due to blind attrition and by taking various stabs at the pot only to be re-raised at every turn (or flop).

Most players at the table were fish or LAGs. All Ax hands were being raised and played like the nuts. It's hard to play a 44 pre-flop when the pot's already been raised to $10 after 3 people decide it's time to gamble. Crazy...

The only bright spot of the night came in the last hour I spent at the NL tables. I decided to try my hand at a $5 SNG while playing the folding game at the NL tables.

Long story short, I won. I got unlucky at one point when I tried to knock a guy out . I put him all in after the flop when I hit top pair and he called with second pair. He hit trips on the river and I was in trouble. I was down to just over $1K in chips with the blinds at 75/150.

A few hands later, the blinds have increased to 100/200. I've stolen 3 of the last 5 pots and I'm up to about $1300. I pick up KJs UTG. With my "M" sitting at around 4, I'm out of time and push; only the SB calls and shows AJ. Well, I hit trips on the flop and doubled up.

Sure, I got lucky there. But had "Mr. I'll-call-off-my-whole-stack-with-second-pair" not hit trips on me, I would not have pushed and would have still had a pretty big stack. I guess it does all even out in the long run (or over the course of a few hands).

When it finally got heads up, I was slightly ahead of my opponent. He hit an unlikely straight on the river and knocked me down quite a bit. I was almost out until I doubled up with an AQ.

Once I climbed back into the chip lead, the SNG ended pretty quickly. I slowplayed top pair and my opponent pushed on a bluff. Game over, Klopzi wins $25!

Cool! So my losing night ended up being a winning night!

I wish I had time to provide more insight or thought into today's post, but it's really busy at work. I'll try to post something a little better tomorrow or this afternoon, assuming I can come up with a topic.

I may be back later today, but I can't promise. Have a good one...

Keep reading "Love is in the air"

I should be working but...

Screw it! The database modeling can wait a few minutes. Ran into another blog and so far, so good.

Actually, I've only read one post, but I thought it was funny. It also makes me question my poker abilities if I take my post this morning into consideration. So I guess it's not really funny - more like a kick straight to the balls.

To top that off, his site's banner shows John Malkovich holding up rockets. Damn you, Malkovich! You were the last person I expected to rub my face in this past weekend's shenanigans.

Anyway, go read DuggleBogey's latest post on Go Be Rude.

Keep reading "I should be working but..."

Who turned out the lights?

For those of you who rejoice in others defeat, this will be a good post for you. I'm going to keep this somewhat brief (which doesn't mean much coming from me).

After taking Friday night off from the poker tables, I hit the tables hard on Saturday. Although things started off well, it all went downhill in a hurry.

I sat down Saturday afternoon with the hopes of playing a bunch of 1/2 at Interpoker. Although my session was cut short, I found myself up 3.5 BB after some solid play. Had I played longer, I may have made more - who knows? At least I made some money and cleared another 4% of my $25 High-Stakes Challenge.

A couple hours later, I found myself playing a $5 SNG at PokerStars. After bitching about the fact that I'd won so few of these SNGs lately, I crushed my opponents and took home the gold.

I won this thing without breaking a sweat. I never had all my money in at any point in the SNG. And anytime someone was all-in against me, I had the best hand. It was great. Heads-up lasted 3 or 4 hands. I won when I slowplayed my top pair.

With such a great afternoon under my belt, I hit the $25 NL tables at Eurobet just brimming with confidence.

I found myself up $9 pretty quickly after I hit a few flops, made some good stabs at the pot, and got really lucky with pocket 4s (I rivered a guy).

And then, someone flicked the switch...

I found myself on the button with [Ac Qc]. Two new players had just posted and an MP had just limped in. With my hand, I thought that I'd raise for value - no one had shown strength and my hand would play well against a group. Plus, I'd have position on everyone - this is clearly a raising situation.

Flops comes down Q high with two clubs. Money! Both of my opponents check to me and I min bet - I'm in the driver's seat and I'm laying everyone good odds by betting so small into the raised pot.

Well, the BB calls and MP raises to $2! Cool! At this point, I'm looking at MP's stack and trying to get him all in. If he's got top pair, I'm a huge favourite with my TPTK and nut flush draw. After reading SS2 and some stuff in Phil Gordon's Little Green Book, I was willing to get all my money in with this flop and see what happened.

I raised to $3, the BB folded and MP raised another $0.50. Hmmm...small re-raise, the pot's pretty big, MP has very little $$ left, so I push and he calls.

Well, things weren't as good as I'd hoped but I wasn't lost either. MP turned over a Q8o for two pair. I was now a 45% favourite to win the hand. All I needed was a club, an ace, or I needed running cards on the turn and the river both higher than an eight.

Well, I got nothing and the hand was lost.

From that point on, my play for the rest of the weekend seemed to suffer from some extreme bad luck.

On Sunday, I played in a $10K freeroll at Interpoker, sponsored by RakeTheRake.

In level 3, I pick up 88 in EP. I flat call and an MP raises it to 4xBB. When the BB calls the raise, I'm getting pretty good odds to call here. I'm just hoping to flop a set.

Well, the flop comes down A 8 x. Sweet! This was going to be the pot that would make me one of the chip leader and give me a good shot of making the money. By the way, there were only 134 players in this tournament and the top 40 spots paid (40th paid $50)! Doesn't get any better than that!

BB checks and I check, hoping that MP had a big hand. Well, MP bets 150 and I call after BB folds. When the turn card came down, I didn't even care what it was - I wanted to get it all-in on the turn. I make a small bet of 300 into the 900 pot, hoping to induce a bluff from my opponent. When re-raises to 450, I gladly push all my chips in.

MP insta-calls and shows AA. Oops - cold deck...

I managed to hang around for few more blind levels by stealing some blinds and quadrupling up with KK, but it was not meant to be. I finally went out when I tried to steal the blinds with my AQ from the button. BB pushed all in and I had to call. He showed JJ and although I hit an A on the flop, he also hit a J for his set.

I then played a $5 SNG at PokerStars and took third. I went out in this one when I hit an A on the river with my AK and got it all in, only to be called by the chip leader who'd slowplayed his trip nines.

Then last night, I played a couple more SNGs at PokerStars and got some horrendous luck again. Here are some of the highlights:


  • (SNG #1) Pick up QQ in level 2. A LAG was pretty short stacked and going all-in on almost every hand. I raise to 4xBB and LAG raises to 10xBB. I push and he calls showing AA. Damn rockets...

  • (SNG #1) Very next hand, I pick up AQs. I raise to 4xBB and get called by BB. Flop comes down J 9 9. BB checks, I bet the pot and BB calls. Turn is a J. BB checks. I'm pretty sure I'm ahead and I'm pretty well pot committed so I push. BB calls and shows KTo. WTF?! The call was so bad I knew the K would hit on the river before the RNG did...
  • (SNG #2) Pick up AA in level 2. Get it all in pre-flop against two opponents. One opponent has 44, other has AA. Damn rockets...

  • (SNG #2) Pick up KK in level 3. Get it all in pre-flop against short stack at the table. He turns over AA. Damn rockets...

  • (SNG #2) Pick up KK in level 6. Short stack in SB goes all in for his last T1000, I call with my T1500. He shows...Tc 9c. Flop comes down Qc 8c 5c. Damn you DrunkenOllie!


Okay...that's enough ranting and raving. I just had to get that out of my system. I don't know how many times I'll have to run into rockets before this cold streak is over. Poker Gods, let me just say one word: UNCLE!

As it stands, my ITM% for SNGs is still solid at 43% and my ROI is up to around 7%. Not great but I won't complain.

I'm going to play tonight since I will be away from the tables tomorrow night (Valentine's Day) and Wednesday night.

My goal for tonight is to just play some solid poker at the NL tables. I'm back down to 0% completion for my $250 Eurobet NL challenge. That push with the AQs really killed me. While I would get my money all-in in that situation again, I think next time, I'll just push immediately when faced with a raise. I need to put my opponent in a situation where he has to make a tough call. Having to push your last $4 into a big pot with your top two pair is not a tough call.

Anyway, if you see me tonight at the tables, you will see "Rock Klopzi". No bluffs, no fancy plays, just sitting back and waiting for the nuts. I need to turn it around and get my confidence back.

And as any poker player knows, the best way to do that is with a big, fat win.

Ok, back to work...

Keep reading "Who turned out the lights?"

Rakeback (or How To Cover Your Ace in Online Poker)

It seems like yesterday when I signed up to play at my online poker site. That site was UltimateBet and I signed up there for two reasons:

  1. UB had the lowest limit ring games around at 1c/2c.
  2. The site was endorsed by Phil Hellmuth and the DevilFish.

Unfortunately, it was these types of rash decisions that have put me in a situation where I had to carefully plan my future in online poker.

I started to realize the folly of my ways as the world of bonuses and rakeback opened to me. In the case of rakeback and certain other special deals, if you have an pre-existing account with a poker room, you are ineligible for any deals or bonuses from places such as Poker Source Online.

Currently, I have rakeback deals at a number of sites: Interpoker, Eurobet, IntertopsPoker, and CrazyVegas Poker. Most recently, I added Rakeback Poker to my list of rakeback sites. Why? They are currently offering a 40% rakeback deal for any new sign-ups before February 28th. I signed up for this deal through RakeTheRake because they told me about the deal and because I deal with Rake The Rake on a regular basis.

With the setup I have now, I get rakeback on a number of the prime poker networks: the Party network, the Prima network, the Poker network, and the Cryptologic network.

Now, the rakeback deals right now don't do much for me. I played a ton of hands at Interpoker last month and got $18 in rakeback for my troubles. And if you're a losing player, rakeback will generate very little for you unless you can win some big pots here and there.

For those who don't know, here's how rakeback works. In any pot you win, you're paying some of your profits to the casino for giving you the privilege of separating other players from their hard-earned bankrolls. The rake collected helps poker rooms pay their employees, their shareholders, and their CEOs. Raked money also pays for all the special promotions offered by the online poker rooms. Paying rake is a fact of life and if you are a winning player, this shouldn't concern you all that much.

But if you happen to hold a rakeback deal with a site, a portion of the rake you fork over is given back to you. The amount refunded is normally expressed in terms of a percentage and this is determined at the time that you sign up with the poker room and, where applicable, the rakeback affiliate. You'll normally see rakeback values in the range of 20% - 30%. Sometimes, rakeback will be in cold, hard cash and other times, in terms of "funny" money that you can use to buy stuff.

Here's how you determine what you're making in terms of rakeback. Let's say you have a 25% rakeback deal with Eurobet. Over the course of 1 month, you win a total of 100 hands (won solely by you - no split pots) and pay a total of $300 in rake for these 100 wins. Your rakeback payment would be $75. Pretty sweet, huh? That's free money and it's the easiest way to get an edge over the online poker machine and the other players at your table.

Some poker rooms will handle the rakeback themselves and deposit your rakeback directly into your account. Some rooms provide rakeback based on an elapsed period of time (e.g. monthly), others require you to earn a certain amount of rakeback prior to giving you anything (e.g. minimum $50 in rakeback), and still others will give you your rakeback on a daily basis no matter the size (e.g. Rakeback Poker).

One thing to keep in mind though: you can make a lot more money in the short run by using the bonus setups offered by places like Poker Source Online if you are a new player and/or a micro-limit player. The reason is simple: at these limits, you are not paying all that much in rake.

So why sign up for rakeback deals?
  • It's free money.
  • It gives you an overlay to all your poker play at an online poker room.
  • It helps keep you afloat when the cards are running bad.
  • As you become a better player, rakeback payments will increase greatly in size.
  • Every penny counts.

I also believe that rakeback gives you an edge in tougher games at higher limits where your average hourly rate in terms of big bets per hour can take a hit. Let's say that you're playing some $100 NL.

Let's say your runnning bad and clearing 1.5 BB/hr. At 1.5 BB/hr, you're looking at an average win rate of $1.50/hr. You'd be better off working at McDonald's. In fact, most players will beat this win rate playing 0.50/1.

However, this is where rakeback can help out. As your winning and losing pots, the rake you're paying is adding up. You may only be up 1.5 BB after an hour, but you may have paid 3 BB in rake, bumping you up to 2.5 BB/hr. I don't play at the higher limits yet, but it's not unheard of to hear about people getting more than $1K a month in rakeback.

So, down to the nitty gritty. How do you make money playing online poker assuming that you're not the next Daniel Negreanu? Follow these steps:

  1. Don't sign-up with up with new poker rooms on a whim.

    Choose where you want to play carefully based on traffic on the site, skill level of your opponents, size of first-time deposit bonus, size and frequency of reload bonuses, and size and availability of rakeback deals.

    Simply put: make sure you're getting your money's worth.

  2. Always choose rakeback over other bonuses on site with heavy traffic and a large advertising presence.

    These sites will have lots of good games for most hours of the day. And if that's the case, you'll be spending more time playing there. This is the perfect type of online poker room with which to have a rakeback deal.

    Just remember that rakeback is a long-term investment in the future of your online poker career.

    Check out Rake The Rake or the 2+2 Forums Rakeback Review to help guide your decision.

  3. Find out which poker networks allow you to have multiple accounts on different skins.

    On these networks, such as the Prima network, get yourself a rakeback deal with the skin offering the highest rakeback percentage.

    For the rest of the skins, check out places like Poker Source Online and Vegas Poker Pro for other sign-up deals. These deals include such wonderful things as poker books (a necessity if you want to make money playing poker), poker tables, poker chips, and other cool stuff.

    The advantage that these types of deals have over rakeback deals is the instant reward you get for completing the raked hand requirements as set in the bonus agreement.

    For example, Poker Source Online had an Instant Bankroll offer that rewarded new PartyPoker players with $75 up-front and $25 after playing 500 raked hands. Unlike rakeback, I got instant gratification and my bankroll was up and running.

  4. Sign up for one site at a time.

    Give yourself time to clear deposit bonuses. Remember that your poker career should be a marathon and not a sprint.

    Try to sign up with sites that have good deposit bonuses. Just keep in mind that the higher the deposit bonus, the higher the stakes you'll need to play to clear these bonuses at a reasonable pace.

    If you look at the recent effort I put in to clear one of the endless monthly reload bonuses at Interpoker, you'll realize that this is not always best.

    The Prima network skins have some of the easiest deposit and reload bonuses to clear at the micro-limits followed closely by PartyPoker.

    When you're ready, however, the Poker Network sites (such as Eurobet or PokerRoom) and the Cryptologic sites (e.g. Interpoker) have some of the best and biggest deposit bonuses and recurring reload bonuses.

    Other good sites include Full Tilt Poker, offering a 100% up to $600 deposit bonus.

    And Absolute Poker offers so many reload bonuses, it's hard to keep up (although I'm not a big fan of the site myself).

  5. Expand the size of your network of online poker rooms.

    As your network of sites grows, you'll find yourself with a good balance of sites that offer juicy games at different times throughout the day. For example, European-based poker rooms offer good games during the 9-5 EST work day. Between 5pm - 8pm EST, sites that cater to North Americans offer the best games. Late night is a free for all and you'll do best if you stick with the bigger sites (e.g. PartyPoker, PokerStars,Full Tilt, etc.)


It seems like a lot of work to choose your sites as I suggest. In fact, it does take some effort. And some math. And some careful money management.

However, I guarantee that two or three years from now, you may look back and thank me for some of this advice.

In fact, why not thank me right now by signing up with one of my affiliates? You'll get a nice deposit bonus (depending on the site) and I'll get a nice bonus too! It works out for everyone...

...Wait, you want rakeback? You want special sign-up bonuses? You've learned your lesson well, I see...

Keep reading "Rakeback (or How To Cover Your Ace in Online Poker)"

Busy day...

Sorry for the late post...it's been a busy one at work today. I've got two posts to make - this post will recap my play last night. My next post is one that I've been writing in bits and pieces whenever I had time - I just updated it a few minutes ago and will post shortly.

Without further ado...

I'll keep this short and sweet.

Signed up with Rakeback Poker for the 40% rakeback for life. This sweet deal was brought to my attention by the good folks over at RakeTheRake. Basically, I'll get be getting a juicy rakeback deal at Rakeback Poker whenever I play there. And the cool thing is that you can request to have your rakeback deposited directly into your account on a daily basis.

Anyway, I dropped $100 onto the site and played some 0.50/1 limit poker for 25 minutes just to get my account going (it's a rakeback thing). I dropped $10. I'm not playing 0.50/1 anymore...1/2 from this point on.

Most of that loss is actually due to one hand. I raised in EP with an AQ and got two callers (one in MP, the other on the button). Flop comes A 8 7 with two diamonds. I check-raise and both callers are still in it. When the turn comes with a rag, I bet and MP raises me. I call the raise and his river bet only to find myself losing a good-sized pot to his 78o.

Funny, I was under the impression that cold-calling an early position player's raise with junk hands was a recipe for disaster. I'd put him on AJ or AT - I could've put him on a set as well, but it's limit poker and I was feeling bold. Oh well, one more donkey who'll keep playing for at least another week because he's got the game figured out...(question: who was the donkey in the last hand?)

I also played for a few hours at Eurobet's $25 NL tables. Grinded out a $9.50 win, literally. I was card dead for the last one and a half hours at the tables. My VP$IP went from 20% down to 14% in that time. No pairs, no suited aces, and a few suited connectors.

I lost a fairly big pot when I misplayed pocket tens. Rather than play them aggressivly/confidently, I pussed out and took it on the chin when my one opponent pushed all in on the river. I thought for a while but figured I'd fold it, not wanting to call his all-in with my second pair.

The pusher showed an A6o for third or fourth pair. Cheeky bastard...I'll get him next time.

I also got screwed on a hand where I flopped bottom two pair. With two flush cards on the flop, I bet the pot. I got two callers...yuck. When the turn put the third flush card on the board and another over card to my two pair, I was a little worried. I was thinking of going for a check-raise, but the guy to my left pushed all in when I checked it.

I folded because I had no read on him and I was very, very afraid. I did not like my hand at that point...

I also played a quick $5 SNG at PokerStars. I was the chip leader early when I doubled up on a LAG who overplayed his A6o. I'd raised from early position with KK, he re-raised me to half my stack and I pushed. Silly monkey...

One orbit later, he'd built his stack back up to respectable levels by getting lucky on some all-ins. He pushed all in for his last $1300. I was sitting in the BB with JJ and a stack of $3700. I called and he showed KQo. King on the turn sealed it for him...

I finally went out in fifth spot when the blinds hit 50/100. I raised to 300 UTG with a KJs (a little loose, but the table had tightened up considerably). SB calls as does the BB. Flop comes 4 T K. SB and BB both check to me. The pot is at $1000 and I decide to buy the pot - so I push in my last $1600.

Alas, I was insta-called by both players. SB had flopped a set of 4s (f*cker) and the BB had flopped top pair with his KQ (double f*cker).

Easy come, easy go...did I mess up that badly? I don't think so. Every now and then, fate conspires to take you down a notch. They both checked to me on the flop and any bet from me was going to tie me to this pot.

I went down swingin' and I like that...

Keep reading "Busy day..."

Good afternoon...

Ok - work boring, can't wait to leave...So, in the meantime, a couple more poker blogs for you to read.

When I first discovered poker last year, I was pleasantly surprised to find that people actually wrote about their personal experiences with the game.

I didn't know what the "blog" meant and I'm still not sure I do. I do know that the word "blog" is suitably gay considering the inherent gay-ness of blogging.

In the defense of all us poker bloggers, poker blogs are not quite as gay as some of the other blogs out there: knitting blogs, muffin blogs, hippie blogs, and any other blogs that are meant to be taken seriously or that try to make a "point".

For all bloggers out there: blogs are gay. Live it, love it...

Anyway, today I've added two more gay blogs to my gay blog list (Is it called a blogroll? Stupid Internet lingo and 3l33t speak).

There not really gay - they're quite good actually. I started reading the following two blogs back in June of last year because they were two of three that weren't blocked by the firewall at work. That was meant to sound like a glowing endorsement...


Chris Halverson
is a mainstay in the poker blogging community. He doesn't seem to post that much now, but it's worth going back and reading through his archives. You can read all about his slow and steady climb towards being a Poker ProfessionalTM.

April's blog was also interesting as she played poker, gambled on horses and tried to learn enough to make some real $$ playing poker. I actually stopped reading her blog after her original site had a catastrophic server crash a while back - but I'm going to go check out the site and you should too.

Anyway, check out these two blogs - they've helped shape me into the poker player and blogger I am today (along with the other bloggers listed on my site).

Whether or not you think that's a good thing or a bad thing shouldn't deter you from checking them out.

Keep reading "Good afternoon..."

Excellent...

A couple nights ago, my bankroll took a $15 hit due to my crap-tastic play at the Eurobet $25 NL tables. Yet when I sat down to play last night, my bankroll had replenished itself almost magically, completely erasing the $15 debit and pushing it up an additional $15. It's always nice to make $30 before you've even started playing.

Royal Vegas Poker sent me an e-mail informing me that my $20 reload bonus had been deposited. Cool - I was rich. Had it not taken so long to get there, I might have felt guilty about withdrawing all my money from the site. I'll be back to Royal Vegas...the next time they send me an e-mail asking me to come back and play. Until then, I've got better sites to play.

Absolute Poker also lived up to their word by depositing $10, no questions asked, into my account. And it is at Absolute that my evening began...

First, the boring stuff. I played about 30 minutes of $10 NL at Absolute, seeing if I could quickly double up. Once I was down 50 cents, I decided that I was bored and wanted to move on.

So I took $7 and plunked it into a 9-person SNG. 35 minutes later, I was out in 7th place. Was I outplayed? Nope. Was I card dead? Yep. Out of the 80 or so hands that I saw, two were playable.

A couple of the guys at the table decided that, rather than play the SNG, they'd just push pre-flop on every hand. Don't get me wrong - I like playing small pocket pairs. What I don't like is playing small pocket pairs for all my money in Level 2 of the blinds.

Anyway, this went on for a long while. Finally, I had to start pushing just to stay in it. Blinds were at $100/$200 and my M was sitting at a solid 4. I built up my stack to about $1500 (one guy has less chips than me at this point). I picked up an AT on the button, one limper in the pot. I pushed and the chip leader in the SB called me with his pocket tens. And just like that, Klopzi had left the building...

I wasn't too worried about the loss. Just another notch in the old 100 SNG Challenge belt. I then moved on to Eurobet for some $25 NL action.

Unfortunately, action is too strong a word for what transpired. For the next hour, I played a total of 6 hands (4 from the big blind), winning two of them. At my highest point, my stack was sitting at +$4 on the night. By the end of the hour, I was up a total of about a dollar or so.

Just as I was sitting there complaining that I was card dead, I picked up the good old fish hooks in the CO. The thing I like about jacks (as opposed to kings or aces) is that they're easy to drop if the flop is scary. So I decide to raise it to $1 and two loosey-goosey early limpers call.

The flop comes down J T 9 rainbow. Both players check to me. There's $3.40 in the pot: loose player #1 is sitting there with about $19 in his stack and loose player #2 is sitting pretty with about $11.

Neither of these players had check-raised a flop and both these players (especially loosey #1) had shown the ability to push their stacks in on weak draws.

So I have three options: bet half the pot and see what happens, bet the pot and see what happens, or say f*ck it and push hoping that neither has a made hand and that I'll get at least one caller.

I push all-in and get quickly called by both players. Oops...

I should qualify my push here based on a comment from Mr. V. I pushed here almost 80% confident I was going to get a caller. Based on the reads I had on my opponents, I knew that my push would look like I was trying to buy the pot with an AK or AQ on a missed flop or that I was trying to protect top pair. Against tighter players (which is not too hard considering one had a VP$IP of 36% and the other had a VP$IP of 80%) or better players, I would have bet somewhere in the range of 1/2 pot to 5/4 pot. I was lucky that I got callers, but it was a calculated risk.

Turn is a 5 of hearts, river is a 4 of diamonds...

The thing about Eurobet is that when players are all-in for the hand, hole cards are not shown until the river has been dealt. Although it can be annoying and anti-climactic, it does help to keep the heart rate down a bit.

So, what do you think my opponents held?

Well, Mr. $18.70 was holding an AKo. He made two brutal mistakes in this hand. He didn't raise PF (I should have realized that this meant he had a good hand since he'd pushed all-in pre-flop on about 15 out of the 80 that I'd seen him play). The second mistake was calling off all his chips on a gutshot draw.

Mr. $11.45 had a K8s. He called off all his chips on an open-ended straight draw and a backdoor flush-draw. His call was a little loose, but far better than Loosey #1's call.

When I pushed, I had a 73% chance of winning the pot. I didn't know if my chances would be that good, but I had a very good feeling that I was ahead. There are three reasons that I pushed when I did:

  1. I was pretty sure that one of the players would call with a weaker hand, especially Mr. $19.70 who liked to play "Whose d*ck is bigger?". I hate pissing contests but I've been known to get a good arc every now and then.
  2. I knew that even if someone had flopped the straight, I'd have a number of redraws to win the hand.
  3. I wanted to prove to myself that I could push a lot of money into a pot when I believed that I held the best hand.
Although all three points were important in my decision making process, the last point was of extreme importance. If I could not put my chips in when I felt I was ahead in a hand, I would never be able to play higher stakes NL.

Anyway, I won the pot with my three Jacks and took down a $59 pot. Needless to say, it was the biggest pot I'd ever won in my life and it felt damn good.

After winning that huge pot, I decided I could still play an SNG at PokerStars and be ahead on the night. The last SNG took about 75 minutes and I went out in third place. I played good solid poker.

When I went out, I was sitting in second spot but was gunning for first. I raised one third of my chips from the button with an AQ. The chip leader put me all in and I called, getting 2:1 odds on the call. He showed AK and I was out.

I think I made a good play. The chip leader had put people all-in with hands far worse than AK, so I made the call knowing that I'd already made the money and that I'd have a huge chip lead if I won the hand. Also, the blinds were pretty big at that point - I had 3000 remaining but the blinds were 200/400 with an ante (M=5).

Sure, I could've waited for the 3rd place guy to go. In fact, I had him up against the ropes when I held two pair with my K4s and he had a pair of sixes with his 76o - he hit trips on the river to double up through me. However, if I can't push with an AQ in a three way pot, I shouldn't be playing SNGs. There were only four hands that would've really screwed me in this last all-in situation: AA, KK, QQ and AK. The chip leader got a good hand when he needed it and that's that.

So, there you have it! A good night for the bankroll and for my confidence.

I welcome any suggestions or comments - how would you have played the JJ hand? I know the story would've been different had one of my opponents hit the straight but that's poker, right?

--

On second thought, by pushing all-in on the flop, I'm putting myself in the situation where only a hand that beats me will call.

Against average players, I would get a call by anyone holding a KQ, 78 or JJ-99.

With my flop push, I was taking a chance that neither of my opponents had anything (confident in that one) and that they would call my all-in instead of folding. The second point is important here because I have to determine whether I honestly thought they'd call.

By overbetting the pot by as much as I did, the only way my opponents will call is if they think I'm trying to buy the pot and if they have something. In the case of my opponents at the time, I knew they were weaker players and that (at least) one of them would be likely to call off all his chips on a draw.

Would I make this move against better players? No. Would I make this move against loose players or players who like to take the role of sheriff to extremes? Sure, as long as I knew I had them beat.

I guess I'm trying to say that I know that my push on the flop is not the optimal play, but I had a good feeling it would work this time.

Keep reading "Excellent..."