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Month in Review: February 2008

Over the past three years of playing poker, I've generally done quite well. When someone asked me if I got lucky at the tables, I'd usually respond that I ran about even.

After this past month of poker, I can safely say that I've been running hot. I moved from $.50/$1 NLHE to $1/$2 NLHE and have more than doubled my bankroll in the process. Not too bad for a guy who had all but given up on poker a four short months ago...

According to the plan I set out in January, I wasn't scheduled to start playing $1/$2 NLHE until mid-May. Thankfully, PokerStars and the Poker Gods smiled down on me.

In the first week of February, I put in 23.5 table hours at the $100 NLHE at Stars while trying to clear my $125 WCOOP 2007 bonus. I cleared the bonus after playing 2558 hands. More importantly, my win rate of 43 BB/100 (or 21.7 NOT PTBB/100) put me well past my required bankroll to hit the $200 NLHE tables.

(Running Total at $0.50/$1 NLHE - February 2008)

My luck has continued at the $200 NLHE tables though to a lesser extent. I'm no longer hitting every draw. I'm also getting punished more and more for my general donkery. But things are still going well. I couldn't ask for better results given that I'm still in learning mode. I've really come to appreciate my losses as well as my wins. I'd much rather screw up at $1/$2 than to bring a huge leak in my game up to the higher stake games.

I managed to put in a whopping 48 table hours and log just shy of 5300 hands. I'm currently running at 13 BB/100. I really hope to improve these numbers in March.

(Running Total at $1/$2 NLHE - February 2008)

I've still got about 750 BB to earn at the $1/$2 NLHE games before I can try my hand at the $2/$4 tables. I'd originally planned to start $2/$4 in mid to late November. I hope to be there sooner but I'll not start counting my chickens just yet.

I discussed my good fortune earlier. I thought I'd show my readers just how fortunate I've been.

First off, let's take a look at how well I was doing at flopping sets. If you look at the bell curve below, you'll see that I've faired slightly better than average when taking my pocket pairs to the flop. If you're wondering why I've seen so few flops with pocket pairs, remember that I play quite a bit of short-stack (50 BB) poker. There are many times that I'm forced to lay down my pocket pairs pre-flop due to lack of implied odds.

(Flopped Sets - February 2008)

I've been quite lucky overall. 'm surprised that I'm still in the black given the number of Sklansky Bucks that I've donked off in the last week. Looking at the graph below, you'll see that my expected winnings are about $1200 - $1300 below my actual earnings. Pretty brutal for a "student" of poker. I guess I've got a ways to go before I can call myself a semi-professional poker player.

(Expected Winnings vs. Actual Winnings - February 2008)

I refuse to feel ashamed or embarrassed by my good fortune. I made some bad plays and got lucky. That's poker, right? As long as I realize that luck, as opposed to skill, won the hand, I should be alright. I think the biggest help to my play has been sharing some key hand histories with my readers and with my poker-playing friends. MJ, in particular, has been very good for pointing out the things he thought I did well in some of my hands. He was also quick to point my less-than-stellar hands without making me feel downright stupid.

I'll post again today or tomorrow to discuss my goals for the month of March. In broad terms, I'm simply looking to put in a good amount of time at the tables. I plan to approach each session committed to playing my best. I've got to work on properly assessing my opponents' range and my hand equity. I'm getting my money in as a dog far too often and I have to fix that as soon as possible.

I'm going to start playing some more medium stack (100 BB) poker. I'll continue to buy-in for 50 BB but I plan to top up my stack once I've got a read on the table. I need a lot more practice using and applying the REM process (see Professional No-Limit Hold'em Volume 1) before I can consider myself ready for the $2/$4 games.

I doubt that I'll have the bankroll for $2/$4 NLHE by the end of March. But I won't say it's not possible with a little skill and whole lot of luck!


Alan aka RecessRampage said...

Nice run. If you could maintain 13BB/100 over the course of 20k hands, you're crushing the game. I don't know anyone with winrates like that for a long period.

WillWonka said...

Nice Going... keep it up

Klopzi said...

Alan -

I can guarantee that my win rate's not sustainable. I've gotten really lucky. I'm probably running at 6 BB/100 if I go based on the number of Sklansky Bucks I'm earning.

Still, if I can keep it up a while longer, I might be able to sit down at the $2/$4 tables in a couple months.

Klopzi said...

Thanks Will!

Gnome said...

I believe that graphs showing Sklansky bucks can't possibly be accurate or useful. I need to do more research into this, but it seems like a scam to me. How can a computer program know what your expectation is based on the cards you're dealt? How can it account for all the factors like flop texture, opponent tendencies, betting patterns, etc.?
Even if this graph is accurate, it doesn't seem useful. Every single time I've used it, I'm making less money than I should be according to the graph. And how does this information help you anyway?
Maybe I'm off-base on this one because I haven't done enough research on it. I plan to learn more and then write a post. But I'm telling you, I've seen plenty of these Sklansky bucks grafs, and they always set off alarm bells in my mind.

Klopzi said...

Gnome -

Actually, the graph I posted refers to my all-in luck. A friend of mine told me that I've been mistakenly interchanging all-in luck with Sklansky Bucks. Although the two are somewhat related, all-in luck only refers to how often I expect to win when I've gotten all my money in with cards to come.

As for the Sklansky Bucks, it's true that there are times when a move is correct based on your reads or on your opponents' estimated hand ranges. Sklansky Bucks only care about your actual equity in the hand and not your perceived equity.

I think all-in luck graphs are more of a "hey that's cool" type thing. You can see just how lucky you've been with all the money in the pot.

Sklansky Bucks are a good measure of how good your estimating your pot equity. However, your true pot equity is only one measure that Sklansky Bucks measure. Fold equity and perceived pot equity can't really be measured acurately.

Geez - that was a lot longer than it needed to be. In the future, I'll do my best to stop confusing Sklansky Bucks with All-In Luck.

Gnome said...

Ah, very interesting about the all-in luck. I was obviously confused about it. Thanks.

Klopzi said...

So was I.

But you were probably confused because of my description.

Basically, the graph says that I've been getting all the money in with less than 50% pot equity and winning.

It's good to be lucky!

kurokitty said...

If you rely on Sklansky Bucks, he may require you send him a dirty photo ala Brandi. lol

Seriously though, way to go! You should try Cardrunners videos.

Klopzi said...

kurokitty -

I wouldn't any pictures that Sklansky felt the need to show me.

As for Cardrunners, I'd like to take a look at the videos. I just don't have any time to watch them right now. Given the choice between watching poker or playing it, I'd much rather play. If only they'd allow people to download the videos to their iPods: I could watch the videos during my morning and evening commute.