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Month in Review: September 2009

It's been a long while since I felt it necessary to take a step back and review my past month's play. I find self-reflection much easier when things have gone either incredibly well or rather poorly at the tables; September 2009 falls into the latter category. To chalk up my losses to bad luck alone is ludicrous. We all make mistakes in poker and its these mistakes that have the most effect on our results. This is never more true than when learning a new game.

I'll take the good with the bad. Whether or not I am truly "running bad" means little. I've just got to focus on making correct decisions and the money may eventually come my way. Of course, this truth does little to help my bottom line. All things aside, September could have been much, much worse.

My primary goal for September was to play enough poker to clear my $50 Take 2 bonus at Full Tilt. I also wanted to play enough poker to hang on to a couple bonuses at Titan Poker and Party Poker. I cleared each of these goals without too much effort.

A secondary goal for the month was to focus on PLO. The first couple weeks of September seemed to go well. I played PLO, tried to improve my game, and managed to stay in the black for a little while. But things soon went sour and I started dropping buy-ins. I'm not sure if it was the super-short sessions at Full Tilt, my lack of experience in PLO, or my inability to sit back and wait for good spots: whatever the cause, I lost.

At that point, I shifted my focus back to limit Omaha/8. I have always been a fan of fixed-limit betting in poker. I'm not sure why. I guess I like the simplicity of the decisions: check/fold, bet/call, or raise/re-raise. I don't have to worry about bet sizing. I just need to make the best single-click decision given board texture, hand strength, pot odds, implied odds, and my opponents' tendencies. The reality, of course, is much different. It's so incredibly easy to call of an extra bet or two because I'm getting "great odds" on my call.

Let's start my September re-cap looking at some numbers.

Pot-Limit Omaha (PLO):

  • Stakes Played: $20, $25
  • Hands Played: 1,500
  • Won/Lost: -$113
  • All-In Luck: $10 (expected), -$36 (actual)
  • Sklansky Bucks: $21 earned (-$88 actual)
Not much to say here. I didn't play very many PLO hands in September. I ran a little cold. I'm not a huge fan of applying Sklansky Bucks to big-bet games (NL, PL) but I've listed those numbers for interest's sake. I'll continue to work on my game and give PLO another try when my interests in Omaha/8 start to wane.

Fixed-Limit Omaha/8 (O/8):
  • Stakes Played: $0.50/$1, $1/$2
  • Hands Played: 570 ($0.50/$1), 700 ($1/$2)
  • Won/Lost: $9 ($0.50/$1), -$180 ($1/$2)
  • Sklansky Bucks: $81 earned (-$175 actual)
I definitely ran into my fair share of coolers and horrific river cards in Omaha/8. But my sample size is still quite small. I'm sure that there are a number of spots where some tighter or more aggressive play could have increased my "luck" at the tables. I'll continue to work on my game and try improve my results and decision-making skills in October.

Before I continue with my "goals" for October, I thought I'd list the best and worst hands that I played in both PLO and Omaha/8 this past month. These are standard hands but I've decided to immortalize them nonetheless by posting them for all to ad admire or ridicule.

Worst Hand (PLO): Overpair and second nut-flush redraw not good...

Full Tilt Poker $0.10/$0.25 Pot Limit Omaha Hi - 9 players - View hand 281504
The Official DeucesCracked.com Hand History Converter

SB: $9.75
BB: $12.81
Hero (UTG): $25.00
UTG+1: $57.34
UTG+2: $21.64
MP1: $30.79
MP2: $30.12
CO: $23.09
BTN: $11.37

Pre Flop: ($0.35) Hero is UTG with K of clubs 4 of diamonds K of diamonds T of clubs
Hero calls $0.25, UTG+1 calls $0.25, 3 folds, CO raises to $1.35, 3 folds, Hero calls $1.10, UTG+1 calls $1.10

Flop: ($4.40) 5 of diamonds 8 of clubs 7 of clubs (3 players)
Hero checks, UTG+1 checks, CO bets $4.40, Hero raises to $17.60, UTG+1 folds, CO raises to $21.74 all in, Hero calls $4.14

Turn: ($47.88) Q of hearts (2 players - 1 is all in)

River: ($47.88) 5 of spades (2 players - 1 is all in)

Final Pot: $47.88
Hero shows K of clubs 4 of diamonds K of diamonds T of clubs (two pair, Kings and Fives)
CO shows J of clubs 9 of hearts 6 of diamonds T of diamonds (a straight, Nine high)
CO wins $45.49
(Rake: $2.39)

Best Hand (PLO): Set over set works just as well in PLO as it does in hold'em...

GAME #1828103322: Omaha PL $0.10/$0.20 2009-09-07 20:45:04
Table Rasps (No DP 50 bb min)
Seat 1: TeroVirtanen ($43.64 in chips)
Seat 3: athor84 ($11.48 in chips)
Seat 5: kvds68 ($72.37 in chips) DEALER
Seat 6: Laajm ($8.56 in chips)
Seat 8: DrKlopzi ($24.25 in chips)
Seat 10: jennafromhell ($20.95 in chips)
Laajm: Post SB $0.10
DrKlopzi: Post BB $0.20
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to TeroVirtanen [H8 DJ D9 S8]
Dealt to DrKlopzi [SK CK SQ H10]
jennafromhell: Fold
TeroVirtanen: Raise (NF) $0.40
athor84: Fold
kvds68: Fold
Laajm: Call $0.30
DrKlopzi: Call $0.20
*** FLOP *** [DK C3 D8]
Laajm: Check
DrKlopzi: Check
TeroVirtanen: Bet $1.00
Laajm: Fold
DrKlopzi: Raise (NF) $4.20
TeroVirtanen: Raise (NF) $13.80
DrKlopzi: Raise (NF) $23.85
TeroVirtanen: Call $10.05
*** TURN *** [DA]
*** RIVER *** [HA]
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot $46.46 Rake $2.44
DrKlopzi: wins $46.46

Worst Hand (O/8): Runner-runner quads > Queens Full...

PokerStars $1/$2 Limit Omaha Hi/Lo - 10 players - View hand 304647
The Official DeucesCracked.com Hand History Converter

CO posts a big blind (1 SB)

Pre Flop: (2.5 SB) Hero is UTG+2 with Q of clubs 7 of clubs Q of spades A of clubs
2 folds, Hero calls, 2 folds, MP3 calls, CO checks, 2 folds, BB checks

Flop: (4.5 SB) Q of diamonds 5 of clubs 6 of spades (4 players)
BB checks, Hero bets, MP3 folds, CO raises, BB folds, Hero calls

Turn: (4.25 BB) 5 of hearts (2 players)
Hero bets, CO raises, Hero 3-bets, CO calls

River: (10.25 BB) 5 of diamonds (2 players)
Hero bets, CO raises, Hero calls

Final Pot: 14.25 BB
Hero mucks Q of clubs 7 of clubs Q of spades A of clubs
CO shows Q of hearts 5 of spades 4 of diamonds 6 of diamonds (HI: four of a kind, Fives)
CO wins 13.75 BB
(Rake: $1.00)

Best Hand (O/8): I'm amazed that I scooped here...

PokerStars $0.50/$1.00 Limit Omaha Hi/Lo - 10 players - View hand 304648
The Official DeucesCracked.com Hand History Converter

Pre Flop: (1.5 SB) Hero is MP3 with 2 of diamonds 7 of clubs J of spades A of diamonds
UTG calls, UTG+1 calls, 1 fold, MP1 calls, 1 fold, Hero calls, 2 folds, SB calls, BB checks

Flop: (6 SB) 7 of diamonds 8 of spades J of diamonds (6 players)
SB checks, BB checks, UTG checks, UTG+1 checks, MP1 checks, Hero bets, SB calls, BB calls, UTG folds, UTG+1 calls, MP1 folds

Turn: (5 BB) T of clubs (4 players)
SB checks, BB bets, UTG+1 calls, Hero calls, SB calls

River: (9 BB) 6 of diamonds (4 players)
SB bets, BB calls, UTG+1 folds, Hero raises, SB calls, BB calls

Final Pot: 15 BB
Hero shows 2 of diamonds 7 of clubs J of spades A of diamonds (HI: a flush, Ace high; LO: 8,7,6,2,A)
SB mucks K of diamonds T of diamonds 5 of clubs A of spades
BB mucks 9 of hearts A of hearts 5 of spades 8 of hearts
Hero wins 7.25 BB
Hero wins 7.25 BB
(Rake: $0.50)

I have a few mini-goals for October. First and foremost, I'm going to work on reducing the frequency of some mistakes I'm making in Omaha/8:
  1. I'm playing for only half the pot far too often. The goal of O/8 is to scoop and I need to keep that in mind when blindly calling to a likely quarter.
  2. Avoid going to showdown with marginal one-way holdings. For example, second nut-low with top two-pair is pretty marginal in a multiway pot on the river. I'm also unsure of relative hand strengths in heads-up pots. I'll learn.
  3. I've got to stop the loose calls on the river after I've bricked or been counterfeited.
  4. I'm playing too loose/tricky with some marginal holdings.
  5. I'm not playing aggressively enough with solid hands where it might be correct to bet/raise to protect my holding or charge opponents' one-way drawing hands.
  6. My overall strategy at the low-stakes should come down to two simple words: nut peddle. Anything trickier than playing for the nuts is just not worth it at the stakes I play.
I'd also like to clear the first $100 chunk of my PokerStars WCOOP bonus. I took a look at the VPP I earned in September. I seem to be clearing about 70 VPP/hour playing four tables of Omaha/8 (roughly 177 hands/hour). At this rate, it will take me 29.5 hours to clear my bonus. I should be able to make a second deposit at PokerStars for an additional $100 WCOOP bonus and clear both bonuses before the February 2010 expiry date.

If I don't clear my Stars bonus this month, I'll get it next month. My goal over the next few months is to play as much Omaha/8 as I can stand to get a better feel for the game. If I continue to lose money at an alarming rate, I may have to re-evaluate my goals. For now, I'll just focus on making good decisions and letting my bankroll and win rates sort themselves out.

I'm taking the night off from poker tonight. It's my youngest son's birthday and we're having a party!

Have a good one!


Memphis MOJO said...

Nice write-uP -- sounds like you have a grip on what's happening and what needs to be done.

Enjoy the BD party.

Klopzi said...

Memphis -

In theory - yes, I've got a pretty good grip on my current play and the realities of poker...

...in theory...