Tuesday, February 22, 2005

I'm Back

So, I got back from Texas today, were I've been for the last 5 days and I think it was exactly the break I need to get me back into the swing of things. February to this point has been......, well, pathetic. If I'm going to get off telling people that I'm a professional poker player, I better start playing some poker. My bankroll is sitting at 3k after a car, airfare, various other bills and some miscellanous purchases and I'm not pleased with how I've been doing playing wise.

I'm thinking about starting some kind of goals/rewards for myself to encourage putting in the hands. I'm going to come up with a few items that I would really like to purchase and decide how many weeks in a row I need to meet my hands goals to be able to buy myself the item. At the same time however I need to focus on building the bankroll so that sometime in the next few months I can move up to $10/20 and get comfortable. Realistically, every dollar I take out now is costing me twice as much because it's holding me back from the higher levels. I need to figure out some sort of budget and stick to it. Let me tell everyone right now, the hardest thing about being a poker pro is not the cards, that's the easy part. Money management, emotional control, and motivation are far harder than deciding whether to raise the flop or wait for the turn.

All that being said, I've sat down and come up with a preliminary budget/goals for the rest of February and March. For February I have another three or four hundred needed to get me through the month (including March's rent/bills though) so financially I should be fine. My goals are to play another 7500 hands by the end of the month, (just over 1k hands/day). I'd like to finish the month with $550 in rakeback at least (should be automatic if I hit my hand goals). I'd like to also play in at least one more WSOP qualifier, and get in a live session at Soaring Eagle by the end of the month.

My goals for March are similar, I want to spend less than 1k on bills/April's rent/food/etc. Hands-wise I'd like to get in 5k hands/wk and an extra 10 hours of Pot Limit Omaha play throughout the month. I'd like to play in 4 WSOP qualifiers (unless I win a seat, then I'll settle for less), and get in 2 live sessions. I'd also like to have a bankroll of $7500 by the end of the month and be within a stone's throw of 10/20. To keep myself on track I'm re-committing to posting 2 times a week. Sunday's will be my week's end post again and Wednesday's will be a mid-week unstructured post.

Is all this possible? Yes. Would I bet on myself here? No. In the past I've done the same thing over and over again, set goals, follow them to the letter for a couple of weeks and then start slacking off. I was talking to a mentor of mine and he said the best thing to do was keep setting goals and trying hard to not slack off. The more times you do it, the more likely you are to suceed at accomplishing your goals.

Anyway, until Sunday.


Sunday, February 06, 2005

So Close, Yet So Far Away

I plan on posting the update for the last two weeks later tonight or sometime tomorrow, but I thought I'd give an update on how last nights WSOP qualifier went. There were 129 players and 1 seat, plus 3 payouts up to $960 for second. I started out real well, coasting through the first two breaks sitting at 2x the average stacks, flirting with and eventually taking the chip lead when I was around 10k.

I hit a run of poor cards and was treading water for a while when I picked up queens in EP. I made a raise to 3x and was re-raised by one of the blinds, an aggressive player who had seen this move work a couple times recently. So I pushed, he had KK and I'm down to 5600. I wait a while, lose a couple more pots, finally get down to 2400 with a 600 Blind coming around, and push with T9 of spades (live unders). I beat AKo and double up. A couple rounds later I manage to pull it off again (T9 of spades against AKo) and am sitting pretty at 15k with 7 players left. Chip leader has 40k and a couple others have 25k stacks. Then the hand that will live in infamy.

An EP player min-raises and I am looking at JJ, I'm not to worried about the raise because he's done it before and folded to pressure, I re-raise to 5k (original was 1600), and get pushed on by the large stack, another 8k to me. I think about it for a second, decide the pot odds are right (thank you harrington) and call, he shows 99.

At this point I pumped my fist and said "yes" until I saw the 9 hit the turn. I'm out. The sucky thing is I know I was the best player at that table, the others were nothing amazing, and I feel like I lost 12k to one card. Ugh. I will however be playing in these qualifiers every Saturday.

Till tonight,

Monday, January 31, 2005

Bad Beat

I'm not a big "Bad Beat" guy, but this one was just too good. I've been pushing this guy around the whole night, no way he calls here normally. All of this happened right after my bankroll peaked $5500 (the point at which I'm withdrawing 3k for a car). This and a couple others put me down a bit.

I disregarded QJ as a possibility, as I figured he'd raise the turn with the flush draw on the board. little did I know.

Dealt to kingofghetto [ Kh Kc ]
mjjz60 folds.
kingofghetto raises [$10].
pnathanson folds.
GoAlJ folds.
buckI46 calls [$5].
** Dealing Flop ** [ Ts, Ac, Ks ]
buckI46 checks.
kingofghetto bets [$5].
buckI46 calls [$5].
** Dealing Turn ** [ 6h ]
buckI46 checks.
kingofghetto bets [$10].
buckI46 calls [$10].
** Dealing River ** [ 7h ]
buckI46 checks.
kingofghetto bets [$10].
>You have options at Table 10708 (6 max) Table!.
buckI46 raises [$20].
kingofghetto raises [$20].
buckI46 calls [$10].
kingofghetto shows [ Kh, Kc ] three of a kind, kings.
buckI46 shows [ 9h, 8h ] a straight, six to ten.
buckI46 wins $110 from the main pot with a straight, six to ten.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

I think my biggest leak is...

I was giving some thought to this today as I was browsing through PT. I think I call down far more frequently than is typical for a solid 5/10 player. Over the first month or so of play I had great sucess with this, winning enough showdowns to make these marginal calls correct. However, I've been struggling in the last couple weeks. Once again, Geo pointed something out.

I'm playing during the day more frequently. Now, the games aren't bad during the day, they are actually relatively soft. But not unbelievably soft. If they were toilet paper, they'd be 2 ply off-brand. Now at night as Geo said, people are just giving their money away. Not only is this a better situation, but combined with the fact that I call down more frequently, the looser play makes it more correct to call down in marginal situations.

So I played during the night last night, and hit a nice run. I don't think by any means that this is the cure all/end all to my downswings, but it's a start.

On the subject of leaks, here's an amazing post on two+two by Ed Miller (author of Small Stakes Hold'em) about the severity of leaks.

I also played some Pot Limit Omaha today, look for a post later.


Monday, January 24, 2005

My Year as a Poker Pro - Week 3

This week qualifies easily as the first frustrating week of the year poker-wise. I managed to put together a few winning sessions and played a ton of hands (clearing a bonus at Party in the meantime), but still finished with only a mediocre profit. So much of the weeks results are going to depend on what days I have my good/bad swings on, if I finish on a day with a somewhat large downswing I'm going to have a bad result for the week, I'm going to have to learn to accept that I guess.

Also, all hands are 5/10 6-max played at empire/party unless otherwise noted. My Blog also is up and running, it has this cross-posted as well as other random postings (2-4 times weekly).

Monday, January 17th

My week started off well, making a steady profit on Monday. My sleep schedule was so screwy from the overnighter I went to on Friday that I was up all night Sunday night and "started" Monday at 9 am. I slept that day, and put in another session that night. I mentioned last week that my endurance is going up and playing longer and longer sessions is becoming the norm. I managed, between the two sessions to get off 1,001 hands and set myself up for a nice pace on the week.

After I logged off for the night, I turned my attention to my new desk. The thing may not look that complicated, but man alive there were like 500 pieces. It's nice and sturdy though (and thankfully Mac-free). I managed somehow to get the Gorilla Glue that I was using in my hair. Not necessarily a good thing when you are referring to a product that calls itself "The Toughest Glue on Planet Earth." A good 25 minutes would be spent the next morning removing all traces of that from my locks. I managed to assemble the desk in just under two and a half hours and fell asleep, exhausted.

Tuesday, January 18th

I spent a considerable amount of time today sleeping, when I finally woke up (around 2:30 in the afternoon), I saw my friend Chuck had called. I gave him a ring and found out he and my friend who is leaving for Florida were hitting up the local cinaplex to see Coach Carter, Samuel L. Jackson is a good enough reason for me to see any movie, so I went and checked it out. Overall a pretty good flick, SLJ was the best part of the movie, although the story is outstanding as well. We hit up my Aunt's house (where Merhawi has been staying) and had some dinner, hung out and then I came home. I debated playing some hands, but decided I'd put in a few extra on Wednesday as payment for an early bed-time.

Wednesday, January 19th

I woke up and checked the forum per-routine and saw some exciting news. Party is having another reload bonus, 20% up to $200. I withdrew $1000 into Neteller and sat down to work some hands off at Empire. I managed to get through just about 500 before the grand showed up in my account. I deposited into Party, ate some lunch, watched a couple of my Netflix movies. (Quick Rating: Troy = Good, "Made" = Watch "Swingers" instead) Then I got to business. I put in 613 hands starting out with a pretty nasty downswing (to the point where I was worried I might not have enough at Party to keep 2-tabling) and went on a rush at the end to finish $2.50 in the red for Party. With the morning session that put me at -$354 for the day. An unfortunate, but reasonable swing.

Thursday, January 20th

I did pretty much nothing else except play today, I was a bonus clearing machine. I made it a goal to play until the bonus was clear and I finished it off with another 1300 hands. Like I did with my last Party bonus I went on a huge run and finished up $1149 (not including bonus). I cashed out and transferred back to Empire before hitting the sack again.

Friday, January 21st

Not much out of the ordinary today either, except for some nasty beats and some all too frequent second best hands. I played a ton of hands again, finishing of 1238 during the course of the day, including a 750 hand session. I kept my head about me today, which is marked improvement over losses in the past, didn't help much with the results however, I lost $561.00 over the course of the day.

Saturday, January 22nd

My friend Tim and his girlfriend stopped by today, they were on the way to check out their new apartment and wanted to know if I wanted to come along. I'm kind of glad I did as I think I found out where a home game I got a line on is at. There's a bar that's about 4 miles from my house that has cards on it's sign and the four suits in the window. The name rung a bell, so I called up a friend from the area and he confirmed that their was a few games their, some NL and a 10-20, as well as a few smaller games. He gave me the name of a friend who plays, so hopefully I'll have some live action close enough to drive to regularly once I get my car.

Tim's apartment is pretty nice, although it's somewhat in the ghetto. It's located above a pawnshop and the landlord told him that they can just put rent in an envelope and drop it off at the pawnshop. This struck me as funny, although Tim didn't quite see it that way. We hit up a local pizza place for delivery and for the 3rd time in 2 weeks it's taken a half an hour more than the estimated time for delivery to show up. The first time I gave the guy a large tip ($4+) as I wanted to establish that my pizza gets delivered first in the guys mind. The second time when it took that long I was getting a little upset and was planning on questioning the driver, until she showed up.

I've never seen a hot girl deliver pizza's before. I wasn't expecting to see one that day either, I ended up tipping like $5 again just because she caught me off guard. The third time it wasn't from the same place but it took almost an hour and a half to get the pizza, which unsettled me quite a bit. I let my friend tip him as I had picked up the tab for the pizza, I think the guy got a dollar and change. The pizza was good though, almost worth waiting for.

On the poker front, nothing real exciting, did play some heads up today, although not at a private table. A third person almost always jumps in within the first 10 hands, making it hard to get utilize any long term strategy against your opponent. I do find that a few weaker players tend to play the shorthanded games (3-4 players) and I'll probably be paying more attention to them in the future.

Overall, 763 hands winning a tidy $431 in the process.

Sunday, January 23rd

I should have taken today off, it was a horrible day for poker. The comment I made about taking beats better was just wrong, as my opponents hit 3 outter after 3 outer. All my bluffs got called down, and I missed most of my draws. I also made a few unfortunate second best hands, a couple being against a maniac who I figured was pushing with a worse hand. Just all around a case of right move, wrong time all day long. I dropped $705, took a break and came back after watching some CSI: Miami and playing some Tetris with my new roomate. I decided I was done with 5/10 for the night and sat down for some PL Omaha, finishing off a couple of bucks ahead.

I then sat down at the $100 NL table, which would prove to be costly. I was playing well, and got my money in with the best hand on both of the big hands that I played, true to form however, my opponents draws came in and I lost somewhere in the range of $150.

It was frustrating to have my whole weeks profits almost entirely wiped out on the last day of the week, but there's nothing to do except refocus on playing well and get in some more hands. Only time will make all things equal.

Week Totals:

Hands Goal: 5,000 Hands
Hands Actual: 6,649 (92 NL)
Total Won: $74.40 +$200 Bonus
Overall $5/$10 BB/100: 1.89
Bankroll Total: $4670

Friday, January 21, 2005

Party $200 Reload

So there's a reload at party, BONUSJAN, 20% up to $200. There's something about bonus chasing that just makes my tolerance for pain skyrocket and I just play constantly until they are clear. I cleared this one in the last two days, taking just over 2k hands to put it down. The same thing happened as last time and I finished way up at the end of the bonus withdrawing almost $2300 after a $1000 deposit.

Winning that much money in a day when I have more hands to get in for the week frustrates me sometimes. It's hard to put in hands when you are losing, but it's definitely not easy when you are winning either. With the amount of hands I play, I should clear 1k, maybe $1250 a week. Once I've won that, I feel like I'm done for the week. Unfortunately that's not the way things work, I gotta play the hands every week or my winnings are not going to be what I want them to be. So, I've just gotta push through it and get my 5,000 hands in every week.

Surprisingly, when I was trying to explain this to my non-poker friends they didn't feel sorry for me. Something about complaining about winning a grand in a day just didn't sit right with them. I don't think they understood my point.

Here's a great post started by Geo (geormiet.com) It's a rating system from 1-10 in several different categories.

My ratings:

Shorthanded: 8
Limit Holdem: 7
No Limit Holdem: 6
Tournaments: 4
Cash Games: 8
Multitabling: 7
Focus/Concentration: 4
Tilt Control: 5
Discipline/Patience: 7
Endurance: 9
Table Selection: 7
Live Play: 6

Hmmm, maybe I'll re-assess in a couple months see how I'm doing.

All for now,

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Online Poker is So Rigged

So I had my first dream about poker last night, at least the first that I remember. I was tossing and turning and I managed to finally fall asleep when I found myself playing cards on some new site. I apparently was playing NL and managed to get all in with a set of jacks after the flop only to have the other guy show: a set of jacks???

I started screaming at the computer, there were 5 jacks! Online poker is so rigged, and then I remember saying "I am so writing a letter." I am such a wuss, I can't even be a tough guy in my dreams.

I also got a chance yesterday to see Phil Hellmouth's Masters of Poker DVD which came as one of my netflix choices. I actually planned on it being so bad that I only got the second DVD, bluffing and tells. Phil is a great player (he'd be better without the ego, and I don't just mean more bearable) and his greatest skill is reading people. There were a few tips in the movie (which was a disappointing 40 minutes long), but nothing not covered by Caro. Overall not highly reccomended.

I apologize in advance for any who read this when I'm working on my blog, it will be changing over the next couple of days to include a blogroll and hopefully not look so much like Ammbo's Site. For the record, I named mine first, although I may change the name today.