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I like this NL thing!

I'm sure that this post will be followed by a "I hate this NL thing!" down the road, but that's ok. I'll savour the fact that I picked up some great hands and it all worked out for me. It's akin to finding an oasis in the middle of the desert. I just hope this doesn't turn out to be a mirage.

I sat down at Eurobet last night at around 8:30 last night to play some $10 NL. Challenges to clear, money to make, etc.

I'm pretty card dead for about a half-hour, picking up few small pocket pairs and suited connectors. I miss the flop with each hand I try and am soon down to about $9. Then, the Poker Gods decide to throw me a bone (the first of many for the evening).

I pick up AA in the BB. When an early player raises it to $1 pre-flop, I'm already starting to count the money. There are a few callers (cold-calling is an awful, awful play) to me and I pop it up to $3. The early player pushes the last of his money in and I call. My Rockets hold up against his Hiltons and I'm off to the races.

Over the course of the next few hours, I pick up AA a couple more times, cowboys twice and QQ once. I managed to grab another $8 off a guy with my cowboys (or was it the rockets...?), but having the big stack at the table gave me a lot more leeway to be creative. I don't believe in betting or raising with nothing, but it's much easier to get a pot heads-up when you're betting 5x or 10x the big blind pre-flop. Also helps disguise your hands.

I can't give away all my tricks, but suffice it to say that at one point I was as high as $52 (+$42 from my buy-in). I considered calling it quits at that point since that would put my Eurobet Challenge at 100% completed.

However, I'm not one to stop when I'm ahead, much to my wife's frustration. For any newer players out there, this is a good lesson: you should only stop playing when you feel your game is not at the level where it should be.

  • If you're down and you know that you've been playing well and can easily make it back given the current table conditions and your state of mind, then keep playing!
  • If you're way up and controlling the table, keep playing!
  • If you're way up and you find yourself dropping chips like a crazy person, stop playing!!
  • If you've dropped 30 BBs and you're afraid of losing more, if you're convinced that your aces are going to get cracked, or if you're chasing every hand you play in an attempt to get back to even, stop playing!!

Anyway, back to the story at hand. I'm at $52 when I pick up KQo on the button and with only one the UTG player in the pot so far, I raise to 4xBB. He re-raises to 0.80. Checking his stats, I see his PF raise % to be at 35% and his VP$IP at 67% - so I call his bet. Flop come 4 8 Q rainbow. UTG pushes.

I've got top pair, good kicker. UTG plays garbage. UTG is aggressive. And if UTG had a good hand, why overbet the $1.65 pot by $3? My guess was that he had Ax or a pocket pair so I call. It ends up he had pocket sixes and I lost the pot when he hit his two-outer on the river. I can't complain - I'd had my share of good cards for the night, so it was only fair to share the wealth.

Anyway, I finished at $45 - up $35 in just a few hours. I attribute this to my somewhat aggressive play and the quality of my cards. It was nice that I won all but a few situations where I was the heavy pre-flop favourite or all-in. Last night's play was similar to when I take first in an SNG: no all-ins required unless I'm the heavy favourite and I know what others are holding.

I've got another $5 to win at Eurobet before I move up. This may take me one more session or it may take me five. My results last night are atypical and I can't expect that kind of return every night. However, if the cards run even for me, I should be able to make $5 no problem (Poker Gods - I am not bragging so please do not strike me down).

Starting next Monday, I will begin the Interpoker $25 High-Stakes Challenge. This challenge will see me trying to clear a $25 bonus at Interpoker by playing only $1/$2 fixed limit. I call it high-stakes because I'm trying to make myself so nervous that I shimmy-shake my way to dropping 150 BBs overnight. That challenge will probably be listed on my site by the time you read this.

Lastly, once I've cleared the $50 Eurobet NL Challenge, I'll start up the $300 Eurobet NL Challenge. Basically, I'll task myself with winning a total of 12 buy-ins at the $25 NL tables. This may take quite a while, but I want to really work on my NL game and this is the place to do it. I know others who've had success at these limits and I'm anxious to join their ranks.

Most importantly, it will be a big step forward in my poker career. My face is pressed against the glass ceiling of the micro-limits and I'm sick of it. Time to break through and get on with it.

Maybe the "glass ceiling" is a fitting metaphor. You can break through and be all the better for it - but you're gonna get cut in the process.

Time to find out if I'm a bleeder...


Falstaff said...

I had one of those frustrating NL nights last night, blowing through a quick 2 buy-ins at the $10NL tables on Stars before breaking even and then a little on Full Tilt. I stuck to that adage you posted today - if you're stuck, but playing well, keep going, you can get it all back and more.

Then went to $1/2 Razz. I heart Razz. A Lot.

drewspop said...

Good showing Klopzi. Thanks for the info on the challenges too.

Klopzi said...

Falstaff - I'd like to learn how to play Razz. Any suggestions on where to pick up tips? I played it last week but I don't think we were doing it right. If we were, I really need help with it...

As for dropping 2 buy-ins, it happens. I've dropped as many as four at the $5 tables and fought my way back up. When the other guys keep rivering sets, there's not much you can do except rebuy.

Klopzi said...

drewspop - Thank you and no problem. One new challenge today and one more coming up soon. These ones should prove more telling and more interesting.

huma said...

It definitely is a big jump up in your career. I foresee you clearing your new challenge in a month and within 2-3 months you'll be posting regularly about your wins at 50-100NL!

You'll be happy to know that my spamming of boring poker links back to my site in blog comments has now pushed me to #1 on google for "boring poker" and #2 for boring+poker! woohoo!

Klopzi said...

Huma - nice of you to give me the optimistic outlook for my upcoming jump.

I don't know what this jump will entail or how I'll end up. Regardless, I'll keep hammering away at the tables no matter the limit.

Anonymous said...

Klopzi, regarding your challenges. For my own challenges I try to make sure they end on a downswing. For example, I'll challenge myself to win 10 buy ins at 25NL before moving to 50NL, but I'd only be done after I dropped two buy ins. So, yeah, that means winning 12 buy ins (or more). Reason is that I found that having my run end on a downswing before I moved up the next level was good for my state of mind. Don't want to be too cocky, and even after dropping two buy ins, I can look back, reflect, and realize what I've accomplished.

Klopzi said...

For me, I like to end on the upswing. I don't have to worry about being overconfident or cocky. I'm just confident enough to put my money on the line, but I'm not the type to piss it all away.

Were I on a losing streak before moving up, I think I'd play even more scared than I do now.

Still, it is an interesting point of view and I think there are some players out there who would benefit from your advice.