The Dao of Poker - MTSNG blog

    • gavinonymous
      Joined: 18.12.2008 Posts: 1,146
      The story so far...

      Some of you remember my award winning blog 'school of fish' where I built a roll big enough for shots at NL50 in a few months (with some ups and downs.) I'm starting a new blog to keep track of my fresh start grinding NLSH. This blog will help me to monitor my progress and make improvements. I also welcome positive feedback from the community.


      I've played for a couple of years now, up and down. I've had some big MTT cashes and lots of (what I think) real bad luck. I've had some great runs building a roll, and some steep crashes to follow. Yes I've even been busto.

      The last downswings almost got me for good. I moved down limits to NL25, then NL10 and even to NL5 - on the worst doomswing of my life.. I had some major leaks, and issues with taking shots. (I'd take a shot and lose, then take forever to come back- rinse, repeat) :f_confused: I almost gave up completely.

      At one point my pokerstars roll was down to <$50! I decided that I really had to get disciplined if I wanted to meet my goal of having a decent steady poker income to support my own ventures.

      So I read, and read, and practiced. I was determined to come back and prove to myself that I have what it takes to make it.

      I read

      The Poker Blueprint (+workbook) - an excellent clearly written book IMO.
      The Poker Mindset - this is a must read for any serious poker player
      Treat Your Poker Like a Business - this one drove home the importance of putting discipline and mindset into practice when grinding/mass tabling.


      - to be able to multitable 9+ tables successfully.
      - put in 4+ solid hours per playing day without distractions
      - employ good table selection while multitabling and leave poor tables
      - work on river play, calling bluffs and folding to value bets
      - work on preflop play and adjusting to player styles.
      - not bluffing fish, playing for value (especially on weekends!)
      - reviewing every session, posting hands and studying/coachings ~20%

      The Road Back to NLSH

      A <$50 roll is barely safe enough for NL5 variance - so I decided to SNG it up to a decent amount. As a bonus I could get used to multitabling.

      I multitabled $1 SNG's, then 3$, and I was doing pretty well (~30%ROI) - made it to $6 and topped out at about $250.

      $6 SNG's are a solid steady way to build a roll, but they are VERY swingy - and psychologically can be tough to take.

      There are also times when it is very hard to table select, and it becomes a battle of regs towards the end. I quickly saw the SNG's as heading to a dead end (endless grinding and not interesting/learing enough along the way for me)

      The big positives were working a lot on HU (I improved a lot) and also being able to 9-12 table competently. 9 tables are about optimal for me for now, considering my tiny monitor.

      Last week I worked a lot on my NL game, reading, analyzing hands and some practice. With 25BI I figured I could NL10SH with a stop loss of $100. I have some experience at this limit and have confidence in beating it soundly. It is a must.

      Doing the calculations I found it IS possible to make a living even at NL10, but barely so. To be comfortable I would prefer to be at NL100, but don't just want to deposit 5k and go.. I need to progress through the limits and naturally work my way up Jumping into NL100 (even rolled) seems risky to me, even with confidence. That brings me to BRM.

      BRM considerations:

      BRM - moderately aggressive - conservative for me.

      20BI base for NL10 = $200
      20BI for NL25 (plus NL10 base) = $500 + $200 = $750
      20BI for NL50 (plus NL25 base) = $1750
      50BI for NL100 = $5000

      Move down if next lowest threshold is hit. At $100 back to SNG's (this can't happen again!!)

      I'm playing on pokerstars where the traffic is best at my hours. I also like their bonus/milestone system.

      Here's the template (not a volume/money goal, more a guideline to my progress/ability)

      9-12 tables
      750-1000 hands/hr
      4k hands per day
      5 days per week
      =20k hands per week

      NL10@10bb/100 = $200/week (+bonus)

      NL10@20bb/100 = $400/week (+bonus)

      NL25@10bb/100 = $500/week (+bonus)

      NL50@5bb/100 = $500/week (+bonus)

      I'll be posting graphs stats and hands in this blog, hopefully some of you will feel free to comment on where I can improve or what I am doing right. This community has to be one of the most supportive in all of poker, and I thank you in advance for your valuable insights.

      For a lark, I've recently added a feature to discuss aspects of poker in relation to the book of changes - the I Ching.

      With that, I'm off to the tables to dance with the fish. Good fortune!
  • 33 replies
    • gavinonymous
      Joined: 18.12.2008 Posts: 1,146
      End of first week grinding 9+ tables at NL10 SH.

      I played a little more than expected, though some hours were one or two tabling while doing other things (reading poker materials mostly)

      I played 32hours at $7.00/hr total of 26000 hands + I still have a girlfriend :)

      Winrate = 9.7bb/100hands
      VPIP = 19.8
      PFR = 16.5
      3bet = 7.9%
      Agg = 1.88

      Total profit was $234.65 + $25 bonus + $50 milestone bonus reached

      = $310 !!

      as per goals.

      [x] to be able to multitable 9+ tables successfully.
      [x] put in 4+ solid hours per playing day without distractions
      [ ] employ good table selection while multitabling and leave poor tables
      [x] work on river play, calling bluffs and folding to value bets
      [x] work on preflop play and adjusting to player styles.
      [ ] not bluffing fish, playing for value (especially on weekends!)
      [x] reviewing every session, posting hands and studying/coachings ~20%

      - I am comfortable with 9 tables now and struggle a bit at 12
      - I manage to leave all distractions out when playing sessions
      - I didn't pay enough attention to table selection, preferring to try and outplay the maniac to my left..(sometimes it worked..)
      - I improved a lot on the river and made good calls most of the time. I am still vulnerable to the overbet on the river - especially when they caught their set or something unpredictable and I have a made hand.
      - I still try to bluff fish. Even a contibet is a bluff against a fish. I remember to delay contibet or just call down more often.
      - I reviewed every session and all tricky hands. I haven't posted many hands yet, but did read some articles and explained some hands to my gf

      My goal for next week is to follow this mantra whenever I bet or raise.

      'Which worse hands will they call? Which better hands could they fold?"

      I learned a lot playing 26000 hands in one week. It taught me a bit about variance. I had big upswings, long breakeven stretches, streaks of great luck, and streaks of the worst luck. I learned that 10000 hands is NOTHING. Even 26000 hands I don't think is a good sample size, but I'll take some solace from the graph. The redline is really pleasing.

      At the beginning of the week I had a little upswing followed by a breakeven period. I felt that I was playing too weak tight during this time (redline was tanking and aggression was low), so I started to 3bet more preflop, and call less 3bets - rather 4bet or fold and turned it around. Still I call some 3bets in position and have been getting good practice with 3bet pots.

      I'm also picking up on a lot of micro players doing the 3bet preflop from button or blinds. When I notice this I'll either 4bet, or sometimes call light and check/raise or float the flop. It is very successful, I figure they don't have much of a hand anyway when they 3bet. Of course sometimes I am wrong and they turn over KK or AA! I caught one 'reg' player 5 bet all in with A9o, another with KQ.. (only one sucked out on me)

      I'm not using a HUD at the moment, but I do check it, and make notes on the players. I find I do a lot worse with a HUD (I think it distracts me and I rely on it too much - especially considering sample size)

      Next post.. some interesting hands from the week. Thanks for reading and good fortune on the tables.
    • gavinonymous
      Joined: 18.12.2008 Posts: 1,146
      Poker Stars $0.05/$0.10 No Limit Hold'em - 5 players

      BB: $10.22
      Hero (UTG): $23.12
      CO: $7.86
      BTN: $10.00
      SB: $10.00

      Pre Flop: ($0.15) Hero is UTG with 2:heart: 2:diamond:
      Hero raises to $0.30, 3 folds, BB raises to $0.90, Hero calls $0.60

      I'm occasionally playing small pockets from early position, this time I'm 3bet and I call the TAG in position HU. He probably has a decent hand (seeing as I raised from MP) I think I have implied odds to call and can get away easy on the flop.

      Flop: ($1.85) 4:club: 2:spade: 7:club: (2 players)
      BB bets $1.30, Hero calls $1.30

      If I raise he might fold a worse hand, and if he calls my raise it could be a float, a draw and all the money is going in anyway so I play pot control. I also think I represent a flush draw by just calling - deception

      Turn: ($4.45) 2:club: (2 players)
      BB bets $3, Hero calls $3

      Again, which worse hand would he call, and which better hand could fold? I just call. I'm thinking the club just killed my action though.. maybe I should have raised the flop?

      River: ($10.45) 8:spade: (2 players)
      BB bets $5.02 all in, Hero calls $5.02

      I'm surprised he bets out here - what could they think I'm folding? I will only call with a better hand. still, I think the player would have called any bet so they are going for fold equity?

      Final Pot: $20.49
      BB shows Q:club: Q:diamond: (two pair, Queens and Deuces)
      Hero shows 2:heart: 2:diamond: (four of a kind, Deuces)
      Hero wins $19.50
      (Rake: $0.99)


      Poker Stars $0.05/$0.10 No Limit Hold'em - 5 players

      Hero (SB): $12.72
      BB: $6.87 (fish)
      UTG: $10.05
      CO: $4.23
      BTN: $10.16

      Pre Flop: ($0.15) Hero is SB with 8:diamond: 8:spade:
      3 folds, Hero raises to $0.30, BB calls $0.20

      Flop: ($0.60) 8:heart: 3:club: A:spade: (2 players)
      Hero bets $0.50, BB calls $0.50

      I bet out in case a worse hand like Ax or even 33 could call.

      Turn: ($1.60) 7:heart: (2 players)
      Hero checks, BB bets $0.50, Hero raises to $1.50, BB calls $1

      He has something so I check intending to check raise and get all the money in by the river. This leaves him a pot size bet.

      River: ($4.60) 8:club: (2 players)
      Hero bets $3.60, BB raises to $4.57 all in, Hero calls $0.97

      I still don't understand what the fish is thinking other than 'I have the nuts top pair top kicker so go all in' - maybe they think I am bluffing a busted flush draw? Maybe not thinking about my hand at all. Could you fold AK here? Would you fold AK to the 3bet on the turn against a tricky player?

      Final Pot: $13.74
      Hero shows 8:diamond: 8:spade: (four of a kind, Eights)
      BB shows A:heart: K:club: (two pair, Aces and Eights)
      Hero wins $13.07
      (Rake: $0.67)


      I played 71 preflop 4bet/5bet hands last week. I had $94 profit in those hands ($45 above EV) so I think I'm getting the hang of it. 4 and 5-betting netted me $41 without seeing a flop. Also it induces the lagtard to my left to leave the table or stop 3betting me light/take me a little more seriously.

      Poker Stars $0.05/$0.10 No Limit Hold'em - 5 players

      BB: $10.15
      UTG: $12.73
      CO: $10.00
      BTN: $18.57 (lagtard)
      Hero (SB): $19.04

      Pre Flop: ($0.15) Hero is SB with T:heart: T:diamond:
      2 folds, BTN raises to $0.40, Hero raises to $1.20, 1 fold, BTN raises to $4.70, Hero raises to $14.20, BTN calls $9.50

      The new betpot buttons on stars tricked me a bit, I also didn't pay much attention to his stack and thought it would put him all in.. oh well, at least the flop play is easy :)

      Flop: ($28.50) 5:diamond: J:heart: K:diamond: (2 players)
      Hero bets $4.84 all in, BTN calls $4.37 all in

      Turn: ($37.24) 6:diamond: (2 players - 2 are all in)

      River: ($37.24) 2:spade: (2 players - 2 are all in)

      Final Pot: $37.24
      BTN shows A:heart: 4:heart: (high card Ace)
      Hero shows T:heart: T:diamond: (a pair of Tens)
      Hero wins $35.45
      (Rake: $1.79)


      Similar hand, this time I'm the lagtard with A4s

      Poker Stars $0.05/$0.10 No Limit Hold'em - 4 players

      BB: $6.80
      Hero (CO): $10.00
      BTN: $10.00
      SB: $7.90

      Pre Flop: ($0.15) Hero is CO with A:spade: 4:spade:
      Hero raises to $0.30, BTN raises to $0.90, 2 folds, Hero raises to $2.30, BTN calls $1.40

      I don't want to call A4s in position, and I don't want to keep folding to 3bets from this player so I 4bet bluff. I have to call a 5bet but BTN just flats.. ok. Flatting pp's? I would think AA and KK would shove and I'm blocking some combos of AK that might flat. Still, I don't think much about his hand except he doesn't have a very strong one.

      Flop: ($4.75) 6:spade: A:diamond: 7:heart: (2 players)
      Hero checks, BTN bets $2.50, Hero raises to $7.70 all in, BTN calls $5.20 all in

      I don't know what I'm thinking here, maybe that he doesn't have an A and might bet out with QQ, KK or a bluff. If I raise he is practically committed to call with a worse hand, but would never fold a better folding the flop was out of the question for me, and I think I shoved for value...

      Turn: ($20.15) T:spade: (2 players - 2 are all in)

      River: ($20.15) 5:spade: (2 players - 2 are all in)

      Final Pot: $20.15
      Hero shows A:spade: 4:spade: (a flush, Ace high)
      BTN shows K:diamond: A:heart: (a pair of Aces)
      Hero wins $19.16
      (Rake: $0.99)

      19% is still equity....


      I used to dread playing against maniacs. Now I love it, even when this happens.

      Poker Stars $0.05/$0.10 No Limit Hold'em - 4 players

      BTN: $20.04
      SB: $11.50 (maniac)
      BB: $10.00
      Hero (CO): $10.00

      Pre Flop: ($0.15) Hero is CO with 8:club: 8:heart:
      Hero raises to $0.30, 1 fold, SB raises to $1.10, 1 fold, Hero raises to $2.80, SB raises to $11.50 all in, Hero calls $7.20 all in

      This has been going on for some hands, and I know he's a maniac by now. He tanks after my 4bet and I can't fold here with what I think is at least a small favourite to win?

      Flop: ($20.10) 9:heart: 6:club: 6:diamond: (2 players - 2 are all in)

      Turn: ($20.10) J:heart: (2 players - 2 are all in)

      River: ($20.10) A:spade: (2 players - 2 are all in)

      Final Pot: $20.10
      SB shows A:club: 9:diamond: (two pair, Aces and Nines)
      Hero shows 8:club: 8:heart: (two pair, Eights and Sixes)
      SB wins $19.10
      (Rake: $1.00)

      I actually fist pumped when I saw his hand and laughed off the beat. Next time..
    • palante88
      Joined: 22.02.2008 Posts: 386
      Nice blog ;)
      Hope you are going to achieve your goals...

      Gl to you, I am going to read reguliarly this blog ...
    • gavinonymous
      Joined: 18.12.2008 Posts: 1,146
      Originally posted by gavinonymous

      Move down if next lowest threshold is hit. At $100 back to SNG's (this can't happen again!!)

      I've been really bad at updating. I withdrew a big portion of my BR on stars to bonus whore on WPT, which isn't really as pleasant as I liked, but it keeps my status good here. I will probably try to whore out a bit more, but to make much progress I have to play about 30BI and I'm money scared after going down a few buyins.

      I left a small roll on stars to donk around with, which is good because the traffic on WPT was horrible, the cash tables weren't so fun (maybe I should have played more jackpot tables) and the SNG/MTT traffic was pathetic. I also had some difficulty with the software network resources, that i don't have with stars.

      So Zoom came out on stars and I donked around a bit and lost a chunk. I had a few $ left only and deposited for the sunday storm, and get some volume/make some money?

      I like the zoom PLO on stars but I know I can grind SNG's for a positive ROI. I started at 3$ 18 mans, because the 9mans were full of multitable nits, but the 18 mans were only slightly better.

      I watched a lot of videos, and practiced ICM again - I'm still at 95%-96% so my skills aren't rusty. I got a trial version of SNG wizard.

      Since last week I've played 350 odd games, and I'm happy with the volume. games are starting every few minutes - faster on weekends. I'm still making mistakes so there's room for improvement, but the results are really showing on my MTT rankings!

      Year 2012 96.88% ITM 21% 19,517 of 624,850
      Year 2011 61.67% ITM 10% 424,536 of 1,107,513

      I'm now 8-9 tabling the 45 man $3.50s, and not sure whether to move up to $7 or move to larger field MTT's where the rewards are bigger for about the same buyins.

      I'm also trying to find out optimal ranges using SNG wizard.. using chip EV seems way too loose in some spots (such as any two on button shoves) but $EV is much too tight in the same situations. I'm trying to use the two ranges as limits and adjust according to the opponents left to act. with 8-9 tables this is a challenge for me.

      Volume-wise, I'm trying to play as much as I'm motivated to do. 50 tourneys is a very good day for me, I'll be back and post graphs, and this time try not to take so long.

      take care and good fortune.
    • gavinonymous
      Joined: 18.12.2008 Posts: 1,146
      I'm doing some work using SNG wiz in 180 man sng's.

      When I'm near the bubble ranges must change and sng wizard doesn't know how many players are left and doesn't calculate your $EV by default.

      More, it doesn't seem to factor in the mini bubble at 18 players, or the bubble when you are on 2nd to final table, it only switches to $EV mode at the final table.. using $EV mode earlier it thinks you are at the final table.

      I'm trying to set up custom tourney structures to approximate the bubbles, e.g 50,10,10,10,10,10,0 at a table with 7 players on a table nearing the first bubble.

      the trick using SNG wizard is how to know when we are on the bubble.. even with HEM I can't see how many tables are left at the time, the hand history doesn't show any clues.

      what I end up using is how many people are left on the table and the average stack size.

      for MTT 180's, at 20 players, there should be 180 x 1500 / 20 = 13500 chip average, and there will start to appear gaps so 7 people at 3 tables, 6 people at 3 tables..when it switches back to 9 players you know the bubble is burst and there are 18 left, with chipstacks around 15k average. The FT bubble should be easier to recognize there will be only 4 or 5 people at the table

      If I see that I am getting closer to the bubble I can switch SNG wiz to one custom mode where everybody gets paid but one or two players.. you can see as you get closer to the bubble sng wizard will tighten your range.

      It's telling me to push much tighter in MP on the bubble, only 3.5% when 1 player doesn't get paid, 7% when 2 don't get paid, and 12% when 3 don't get paid, instead of the ~30% range it gives me using cEV only. I think this is a more realistic - but not perfect range.. there's also game flow and meta game considerations.

      If you consider a bubble factor of when 3 don't get paid, the range of 12% is a bubble factor of about 2.2, which can't be far off, considering I'm pushing into larger stacks.

      I'll mess around with this a bit more and see how I do. I like the idea of using a cEV structure for earlier on, but slightly tighter. I'd be interested in anyone using anything similar to approximate bubble ranges, and 180MTT ranges in general.

      This is a marginal shove HU.. SNG Wizard says 66+ depending on his range, 77, but he has to be raising K9o+, K6s+, JTs+ for 55 to be good. Villain could also have raised tighter, but would have to only call some of those hands to a shove, something I didn't expect. I think I'd shove against the same opponent. I had not many reads to his raising range, he had raised a few times in about 10 HU hands by then so I put him on the wider range..

      Poker Stars, $2.28 Buy-in (3,000/6,000 blinds, 600 ante) No Limit Hold'em Tournament, 2 Players

      Hero (BB): 103,280 (17.2 bb)
      SB: 166,720 (27.8 bb)

      Preflop: Hero is BB with 5 5
      SB raises to 12,000, Hero raises to 102,680 and is all-in, SB calls 90,680

      Flop: (206,560) A T K (2 players, 1 is all-in)
      Turn: (206,560) K (2 players, 1 is all-in)
      River: (206,560) K (2 players, 1 is all-in)

      Results: 206,560 pot
      Final Board: A T K K K
      Hero showed 5 5 and lost (-103,280 net)
      SB showed A T and won 206,560 (103,280 net)
    • gavinonymous
      Joined: 18.12.2008 Posts: 1,146
      update - here's my first 500 or so tourneys from this month. I started out with the $3.50 18-man sng's, and had decent ROI, but figured I could win more with 45-mans.. I played these from 200 to 500 tourney mark, at which point I shot some 7$ (won one) but the traffic was slow (even at pokerstars) so I decided to give a shot at 180-mans, which were starting much more often.

      I'm off to a great start, I'd say upswing if I didn't feel I was getting shafted by every possible bad beat, suckout and cooler at the worst times.

      I did have a 40 tourney cashless streak - which would have tilted me, but I managed to stay sane, and win back 20 or so buyins. A few days later that streak was a distant memory.

      I've been exercising, studying lots, meditating and yoga. I watched a few dozen videos and built a spreadsheet in excel for reshoving equity calculations. I played around with that to get a better feel for how much fold equity and equity I need depending on dead money and opponent ranges.

      Results for $3.50 18-man, $3.50 45-man, $7 45-man, $2.50 180-man (all turbos)

      posting this graph is good luck. you want me to win even more.

      I'll be playing the 180 mans for a bit - I had some very good luck cashing in 5 of my first 20. Hopefully I make only profitable mistakes while I improve my game.

      Good luck at the tables - except on mine ofc. :s_cool:
    • Targetme
      Joined: 04.05.2009 Posts: 1,888
      I think you should completely ignore the bubble its way too small. You shouldn't change your play at all except maybe at 19
    • gavinonymous
      Joined: 18.12.2008 Posts: 1,146
      I agree it's small, but not insignificant. Getting the right range in some spots is very difficult for me. for example when 2 shorter stacks are all in and I have them well covered. I can call very wide with cEV, but if we're 20-24 left, it's not so clear whether to take the sure spot or accumulate chips. I'll post hands that come up when they do.

      Here's one.

      Poker Stars, $2.28 Buy-in (400/800 blinds, 75 ante) No Limit Hold'em Tournament, 8 Players

      Not sure, but I think about 28-32 left.

      MP3: 5,764 (7.2 bb)
      CO: 11,328 (14.2 bb)
      BTN: 9,158 (11.4 bb)
      SB: 4,388 (5.5 bb)
      Hero (BB): 8,556 (10.7 bb)
      UTG+2: 12,152 (15.2 bb)
      MP1: 5,060 (6.3 bb)
      MP2: 3,888 (4.9 bb)

      Preflop: Hero is BB with 8 7
      3 folds, MP3 raises to 2,000, 3 folds, Hero raises to 8,481 and is all-in

      SNG wiz says to push any two cards if I have any fold equity at all, or his range is wide enough, or any combination of.. for example, a 35% open/call range or a 25/15 range is a very wide shove with cEV, with bubble factor it's much closer.

      I tried several combinations of ranges. Here's one.

      Eff. Stack 5689
      Dead money 1800
      Won when called 7489
      Lost when called 5689
      % Open 20.1
      % Call Shove 12
      FE 0.402985075
      EQ 0.34

      EV 3.892537313

      I need 34% equity against the range with some fold equity. It's not an any two shove with cEV My range needs to be:

      A2s+, K4s+, Q8s+, J9s+, T8s+, 97s+, 86s+, 76s, 65s, 54s
      A2o+, KTo+, QJo

      I'm there in this case, but a slight change in stack size, dead money and several tables going makes it a tough choice. As I get closer to the bubble, I notice a big difference in the cEV vs. pseudo-bubble EV. I think I saw Colin post in a thread that there's no easy answer.
    • gavinonymous
      Joined: 18.12.2008 Posts: 1,146
      Here's another hand near the bubble, 12 left. cEV says go with 16% A8o, but using a 60/10/10/10/10/0 model it's a shove with a wider 25% A4o range.

      Poker Stars, $2.28 Buy-in (1,000/2,000 blinds, 200 ante) No Limit Hold'em Tournament, 6 Players

      SB: 35,217 (17.6 bb)
      BB: 8,737 (4.4 bb)
      UTG: 15,959 (8 bb)
      Hero (MP): 51,106 (25.6 bb)
      CO: 20,289 (10.1 bb)
      BTN: 9,268 (4.6 bb)

      Preflop: Hero is MP with A 6
      UTG folds, Hero raises to 4,500, 3 folds, BB raises to 8,537 and is all-in, Hero calls 4,037
    • gavinonymous
      Joined: 18.12.2008 Posts: 1,146
      I just missed a 2nd final table, ended in 12th place in a 5k guaranteed rebuy.. the bigstack fish raised from mp again.. and I had ATs and a shortstack on the button.. he shows up with JJ and no FT for me. If I played it again I might just flat, and have a better chance to raise the Q hi flop.. I should know better with all my bubble calcs..though after 12 hours of MTT play today I'm satisfied with my play and have seen room for improvements.

      the good news is I cashed 2nd in another 2k guaranteed rebuy, and had a 100BI. $400 day, going deep in 3 ~1000 player tourneys overall.

      posting this graph is good luck. you want me to win even more.

      I was sucked out on, but got my own back a few times - obv, it's the only way to survive these huge fields. I played v. solid postflop, where I won most of my chips, and played a bit more from the SB and BB if I had good odds. My work with the calculations equilab and sng wiz is paying dividends, but I have to say I got too nitty in the 5k rebuy, there was a lot of action from the bigstacks and hard to find spots to steal.. when I did I was called down light, or played back at. Kind of frustrating but nice to have consistent success regardless.

      .. long day, but I'll take one of these days any time (results oriented) I have to look at my inflated roll now and decide whether to stick with low buyin MTT's, it seems like a good bet, even though they are swingy, the rewards/edge seem more attractive.

      and Gerv. if you are reading, send me your address on skype and how much you think the dual lands are worth - I can send them by registered mail to you.

      Good luck at the tables. :f_p:
    • gavinonymous
      Joined: 18.12.2008 Posts: 1,146
      A great weekend and a reload bonus at stars. I withdrew 80% of my WPT roll and deposited back on stars (where I withdrew it from originally) for the reload bonus.....

      I had the thought that SCOOP really stands for the money that will be scooped out of your bankroll when chasing bonus..

      I had thoughts of PLO25 zoom and clearing the bonus in a couple of days, but the variance is huge and I don't like the possibility of finding myself down 10 stacks after a couple of hours. PLO10 would be fine and would only take a week to clear.

      If I continue to play sng's, it will take about 2 weeks to clear, and I'm more confident with my sng game than PLO atm.

      The upside of SCOOP reload bonus is the second chance for all the fish, the downside is that I can't bluff as much and should experience even worse suckouts..

      speaking of suckouts.. KK in SB late in a tourney, I'm facing an open raise from a fishy button and instead of shoving I 3bet for value. Stacks are under 15BB.
      The flop is Q hi rainbow I bet he calls. turn comes a 6, I shove pot size and he calls off the rest of his chips with K6o. River is a 6 and I'm crippled.

      But the good news, I cracked the top 10k players in my bracket.
      (posting these stats brings extreme luck, you want me to win even more)
      Year 2012 98.47% $1,926 - 508 19% 9,922 of 646,827

      Last 35k hands in BB

      and in winnings.. I notice that my luck needs to be better timed to the end of the tourney.. maybe I'm shoving too loose, but K4o is a shove in the middle of a tourney from CO if I'm short. Maybe the right half of the graph is more typical for larger MTT play where you rarely end up coming away positive in chips.. (i.e. winning all of them)

      I promised a feature for this blog - something different this time - I'll be trying to apply I Ching readings to poker situations. Should be interesting?

      Today, the I Ching gave 44. Kou. 'Coming to Meet' with judgements for 3rd and 4th lines.


      The maiden is powerful.One should not marry such a maiden.

      The rise of the inferior element is pictured here in the image of a bold girl who lightly surrenders herself and thus seizes power. This would not be possible if the strong and light-giving element had not in turn come halfway. The inferior thing seems so harmless and inviting that a man delights in it; it looks so small and weak that he imagines he may dally with it and come to no harm. The inferior man rises only because the superior man does not regard him as dangerous and so lends him power. If he were resisted from the fist, he could never gain influence.

      Nine in the third place means:
      There is no skin on his thighs, And walking comes hard. If one is mindful of the danger, No great mistake is made.

      There is a temptation to fall in with the evil element offering itself-a very dangerous situation. Fortunately circumstances prevent this; one would like to do it, but cannot. This leads to painful indecision in behavior. But if we gain clear insight into the danger of the situation, we shall at least avoid more serious mistakes.

      Nine in the fourth place means:
      No fish in the tank. This leads to misfortune.

      Insignificant people must be tolerated in order to keep them well disposed. Then we can make use of them if we should need them. If we become alienated from them and do not meet them halfway, they turn their backs on us and are not at our disposal when we need them. But this is our own fault. The time of COMING TO MEET is important in still another way. Although as a general rule the weak should not come to meet the strong, there are times when this has great significance. When heaven and earth come to meet each other, all creatures prosper; when a prince and his official come to meet each other, the world is put in order. It is necessary for elements predestined to be joined and mutually dependent to come to meet one another halfway. But the coming together must be free of dishonest ulterior motives, otherwise harm will result."

      - I think some possible insights are here for dealing with fishy players. When you meet a fish in a hand, and you c-bet, the fish calls you. the fish often has something. even if not, and the turn comes, if they continue or bet out, it's best to get out of the way. A fish will not part with a weak pair. On the other hand, when you are strong, the fish will often fold to your strength, but if you bet small, act weaker you can build a pot and commit them to it by the river.

      - It's not so bad that for fish to have some luck in tourneys (they depend on it) If you are constantly attacking and running over fish, you set yourself as a target and misfortune can be the outcome. Another interpretation says the misfortune comes from being aloof.

      - "When heaven and earth come to meet each other, all creatures prosper" or - when a fish makes a minus $EV call to a strong hand in a tourney, everyone else in the tourney not in the hand gains $EV.

      Deep.. ok, I'm back. Good luck at the tables!
    • gavinonymous
      Joined: 18.12.2008 Posts: 1,146
      No fish in the tank. This leads to misfortune.

      another interpretation of this - I recall a bit too late - is that you don't collect any fish in your tank.. the fish are going to slip away.

      slip away they did. I lost 40BI in a row.. luckily I'm on a very conservative BRM, so not much of a blow, still it was amazing to see how many ways there are to get sucked out on and coolered in SNGs.

      ... I took a day off and studied my games, I did make plenty of mistakes, but finding the range in a 45 man when there's still 18 or so left is not just an exercise in ICM or SNG wiz. There's an art to it for sure, and this gives me confidence.

      I know I'm a winning player, at least at $3.50 games lol. I don't have much of a sample of shots at $7.00 but I'm starting to take shots. I want to wait until I'm really happy with my game and consistently winning at the current stakes - not making lots of mistakes, or spewing too much.

      Today the outcome of the I Ching coin toss was:

      2. The Receptive.


      THE RECEPTIVE brings about sublime success, Furthering through the perseverance of a mare. If the superior man undertakes something and tries to lead, He goes astray; But if he follows, he finds guidance. It is favorable to find friends in the west and south, To forego friends in the east and north. Quiet perseverance brings good fortune.

      When playing microstakes, there's no need to push around the weaker players. In fact, leading into them often only provokes them to play at you, and often ends up in the fish suckout or slow play/fancy play beat. (at least in my experience lately)

      But if you follow the action of the table, pick your spots and be receptive to the conditions of the game - opportunities present themselves, and you become more reactive - which means using reads, and the guidance of the actions before you. Position is important. Those to the left of you are not your targets, it is those to the right and top of you that are your friends. Be patient, and quiet - not brash and noticeable. Good fortune will follow.


      The earth's condition is receptive devotion. Thus the superior man who has breadth of character Carries the outer world.

      a solid poker mindset is the key here.


      Six in the fourth place means: A tied-up sack. No blame, no praise.

      "The dark element opens when it moves and closes when at rest. The strictest
      reticence is indicated here. The time is dangerous , because any degree of
      prominence leads either to the enmity of irresistible antagonists if one
      challenges them or to misconceived recognition if one is complaisant.
      Therefore a man ought to maintain reserve, be it in solitude or in the turmoil
      of the world, for there too he can hide himself so well that no one knows

      .. I go into the next session with this in mind. If we take this to refer to the bubble play, the strictest reticence is needed. It is a dangerous time because if you lead out, there are stack sizes perfect for reshoves, and many are prone to take advantage of your apparent weakness or deception. Instead of raise folding and taking the action to the fish, become almost invisible on the table, and pounce when I see my opportunity.

      After 16 tourneys it seems to be working. I cut down on tables a bit to make sure I'm playing solid. I'm avoiding a lot of coolers and ending up on a lot more final tables. It's almost exactly as the reading says.. but again I'm not surprised. I studied quantum physics.

      Good fortune on the tables.
    • gavinonymous
      Joined: 18.12.2008 Posts: 1,146
      The I Ching, so far as I can tell is based on a very simple premise. By throwing coins, or dividing yarrow stalks (the traditional method) - it represents a 'snapshot' of the outcome of chance at that time. If everything in the universe is really connected, as some scientists suspect, then it might actually be plausible that it could work. If there is a perspective or dimension possible where all time is seen at once, then it is certain that a singular outcome would arise from a seemingly chance sequence of events. The I Ching seems to be a sort of way to communicate outside of time, using the element of perceived chance (which isn't really chance at all) to provide guidance according to a template of universal circumstance. It's all much too ingenious for me to fathom.. at least for now. Here's my latest reading and how it could apply to poker.

      8. Holding Together


      HOLDING TOGETHER brings good fortune.
      Inquire of the oracle once again
      Whether you possess sublimity, constancy, and perseverance;
      Then there is no blame.
      Those who are uncertain gradually join.
      Whoever come too late
      Meets with misfortune.

      Implied collusion, group table dynamics all become very important at the latter stages of 45 man sngs. Taking out the shorties with minimal risk to your finishing position is often a most profitable move. Sometimes this means open limping, other times, checking down when you have the best hand. Holding together brings good fortune.When the blinds rise to 100/200 people loosen up quite a lot. I think partly because EV ranges are so wide - especially when antes kick in. many people start minraising and shoving - some calling. Those that wait too long to join the blind stealing party meet with misfortune.


      On the earth is water:
      The image of HOLDING TOGETHER.
      Thus the kings of antiquity
      Bestowed the different states as fiefs
      And cultivated friendly relations
      With the feudal lords.

      Another benefit of cooperative play late in the SNG is that when you play honest, some players give you more credit. For example, I give up some marginal shoves on the SB, and shove from the button instead with only a decent hand. The regs are calling kind of loose only against players that piss them off - constantly stealing their blinds. friendly play pays off.


      Six at the beginning means:
      Hold to him in truth and loyalty;
      This is without blame.
      Truth, like a full earthen bowl"
      Thus in the end
      Good fortune comes from without.

      My specific judgement is to play honestly. Raise when I have a hand, fold when I don't. When my fish opponent calls or raises, try to fold.. I know I probably won't be able fold my AA when the fish has 2 pair.. I still have 25% or so to win? I go into the session confident, after 19 games I'm up over 30 buyins. Nice session, short and profitable.

      Good luck at the tables.
    • gavinonymous
      Joined: 18.12.2008 Posts: 1,146
      April was a good month. I started out with some cash play at WPT, but the traffic was so bad there on my schedule - I didn't even bother to complete my bonus.. just some of it, and left some BR to keep up silver status at least here, withdrew the rest and plonked it back on stars for a different, more achievable bonus.

      I started out with $3.50 18 mans, and it was slow going but some progress.

      I then moved to 45 man format, figuring they were more fish infested - with better progress.

      I had a 20BI, and 45BI losing streak and managed to pull out of both quickly, more importantly not tilting, but reviewing admitting mistakes and improving.

      I played some 180man tourneys and did fairly well, both turbo and regular speed.

      I came second in an MTT with over 550 runners, going deep in 3 large MTT's in the same night. I since took a few partly successful shots at $7 and $8 tourneys.

      I studied SNG wiz ranges, made spreadsheets for calculations, watched countless videos, and analyzed almost every game I played. I posted several hands, and submitted a tourney HH which got a live coaching review.. thanks guys it helped a lot.

      I'm told I have MTT leaks for calling too much in BB, and also not being aggressive enough in middle stages, preferring to enter the money and then go back to aggressive game. I understand why I do this, and it will take a bit to get used to busting out more tourneys earlier, but going deeper and winning more should make up for it.

      I improved my tourney ranking to an all time best. I'm ranking 98.5% on OPR in my limits, top 7000 out of >650000 runners. My sharkscope graph is at an all time high, and april is almost a vertical line.

      I played some cash, but not much more than to clear bonus, and try out zoom PLO.

      This is how April went overall for all tourneys (including some hyperturbo 6max I messed around with briefly)

      Overall ROI 28.3%, ITM 22.1%

      posting this graph is extremely lucky, you would like me to win even more.
      here's a graph of the 40k hands I played in BB winnings. It makes the cash player in me envious, 14.7bb/100 indeed.

      I'm feeling good for May. My goals are to improve my routine - playing more regular hours if I can. This is going to be tough because I'm moving at the end of the month.. I'm planning to travel for a good part of the year visiting family, friends in the US and Europe. So between packing up (which isn't that much really) and making plans I'm going to spend as much time with my GF as possible before I go away.

      Hexagram 50. The Pot (ok.. the Cauldron, but it is a type of cooking pot)


      THE CALDRON. Supreme good fortune.


      Fire over wood:
      The image of THE CALDRON.
      Thus the superior man consolidates his fate
      By making his position correct.


      Nine at the top means:
      The ting has rings of jade.
      Great good fortune.
      Nothing that would not act to further.
    • gavinonymous
      Joined: 18.12.2008 Posts: 1,146
      awful start to may. down about 15 BI so far. it's so much harder to move up limits when you run like this. I don't know how much more I can take. Will take a day or two off.

      and in chip losses. so difficult to acknowledge your game is much improved with this kind of performance. I know it's results oriented, but it doesn't make it any less frustrating.

      enjoy my chips you donks.
    • gavinonymous
      Joined: 18.12.2008 Posts: 1,146
      I'm learning how to suck out.. got a 1st in my first set of $7 45's today, and playing sattelites to SCOOP 8L, an 11$ buyin, slightly out of BRM but I figure the value of playing is very high..

      the tourney already started while i'm in the satellite, so I register anyway. I mean, if I win the satellite I get my buy in back (update, I did win a seat :) ), and if not, I was going to enter anyway - I don't want to miss early chances against the weaker part of the field. for example:

      Poker Stars, $10 Buy-in (15/30 blinds) No Limit Hold'em Tournament, 9 Players

      MP3: 2,717 (90.6 bb)
      CO: 5,482 (182.7 bb)
      BTN: 4,543 (151.4 bb)
      SB: 5,085 (169.5 bb)
      BB: 5,045 (168.2 bb)
      UTG+1: 4,390 (146.3 bb)
      UTG+2: 4,717 (157.2 bb)
      MP1: 6,896 (229.9 bb)
      Hero (MP2): 6,215 (207.2 bb)

      Preflop: Hero is MP2 with 7 7
      UTG+1 calls 30, UTG+2 raises to 120, MP1 folds, Hero calls 120, 5 folds, UTG+1 calls 90

      Flop: (405) 9 7 T (3 players)
      UTG+1 bets 405, UTG+2 folds, Hero raises to 1,050, UTG+1 calls 645

      Turn: (2,505) 7 (2 players)
      UTG+1 bets 2,505, Hero calls 2,505

      River: (7,515) 8 (2 players)
      UTG+1 checks, Hero bets 750, UTG+1 calls 715 and is all-in

      Results: 8,945 pot
      Final Board: 9 7 T 7 8
      UTG+1 showed T J and lost (-4,390 net)
      Hero showed 7 7 and won 8,945 (4,555 net)

      more like this please stars :f_biggrin:

      this week I threw the coins two seperate times.. a few days ago the outcome was 56. The Wanderer. I then lost some BI's as I explained earlier. Maybe I didn't pay enough attention to the reading at the time. I tried again today, and the outcome was 56. The Wanderer, with two specific judgements.

      statistically it is rare to get two outcomes in a row the same, and even stranger to me to get specific judgements (illuminated lines) to go with. What the hexagram says, and what I think it might mean.. after the break.
    • gavinonymous
      Joined: 18.12.2008 Posts: 1,146
      56. The Wanderer

      "The mountain, Kên, stands still; above it fire, Li, flames up and does not tarry. Therefore the two trigrams do not stay together. Strange lands and separation are the wanderer's lot. When a man is a wanderer and stranger, he should not be gruff nor overbearing. He has no large circle of acquaintances, therefore he should not give himself airs. He must be cautious and reserved; in this way he protects himself from evil. If he is obliging toward others, he wins success."


      The Wanderer. Success through smallness.
      Perseverence brings good fortune
      To the wanderer.


      Fire on the mountain:
      The image of THE WANDERER.
      Thus the superior man
      Is clear-minded and cautious
      In imposing penalties,
      And protracts no lawsuits.

      During the recent dowswong moving up in limits, I was playing too much shove fold. On the higher limits, the reg players don't know my ranges yet, also I mightl have not lost so many big hands had I just raised, or called pf instead of shoving.

      Because I'm new on this limit, I'm not getting as much respect as I might have been accustomed to against people with more stats on me on the lower limit. I shouldn't be overbearing and shoving, I should be more acquiescent and pick better spots. Success through smallness.

      (on the consecutive throw, the outcome had two judgements)


      Six at the beginning means:

      If the wanderer busies himself with trivial things,
      He draws down misfortune upon himself.

      i.e. keep it simple, humble and keep down distractions. I have to admit I was very distracted during the recent mini downswing. I have sorted that situation out a bit.

      Nine in the third place means:

      The wanderer's inn burns down.
      He loses the steadfastness of his young servant.

      when you are distracted from your game, not concentrating on every little decision, you lose the benefit of your intuitive knowledge. you become at odds with and question your instincts and decisions. the circumstances of the world outside the current hand obscure your ability to make good decisions. this is a specific warning about tilt. all indications are that the danger will pass, but some lessons need to be taken into hand before I can be successful at the new limits.

      .. interesting. wish me luck.. staying out of tilt, even though I just lost QQ to AA (the BB had 3bet 38% of hands by then and we got it all in pf.) I noticed no instinct to fold at all. Don't think I thought about folding to the 5bet AI.. I might have had odds against a range including AK and JJ and a few bluffs, but that was optimistic. I should pay more attention.
    • gavinonymous
      Joined: 18.12.2008 Posts: 1,146
      My last two short sessions went well. I avoided playing yesterday, the day before was decent, but very few tournaments.

      I only played 20 or so tourneys in the last couple days. doing lots of studying and reviewing every one carefully. I posted a few more interesting (I hope) hands in the forum.

      the 45's are coming nicely now, I've pulled out of the recent hole in $7 games, running hot at almost 300% ROI in the last two sessions. The games flowed well, and I think I'm ready to up the volume - playing 6 tables ATM is going well, but my days are too short - that's ok for now.

      Before today's start I checked out the I Ching. The outcome was

      43. Breakthrough (Resoluteness)

      This hexagram signifies on the one hand a break-through after a long accumulation of tension, as a swollen river breaks through its dikes, or in the manner of a cloudburst. On the other hand, appied to human conditions, it refers to the time when inferior people gradually begin to disappear. Their influence is on the wane; as a result of resolute action, a change in conditions occurs, a break-through. The hexagram is linked with the third month [April-May].


      BREAK-THROUGH. One must resolutely make the matter known
      At the court of the king.
      It must be announced truthfully. Danger.
      It is necessary to notify one’s own city.
      it does not further to resort to arms.
      It furthers one to undertake something.


      The lake has risen up to heaven:
      The image of BREAK-THROUGH.
      Thus the superior man
      Dispenses riches downward
      And refuses from resting on his virtue.


      Nine in the fourth place means:
      There is no skin on his thighs,
      And walking comes hard.
      If a man were to let himself be led like a sheep,
      Remorse would disappear.
      But if these words are heard
      They will not be believed.

      The hexagram change suggests hexagram 5 - which TL/DR seemed to indicate a good session..would it?

      I decided to let the game flow dictate my play. I tried to be more reactive. I ended up with a first, a second and a third place in 8 games.. now to go buy some fish to reward myself.

      Poker Stars, $6.42 Buy-in (150/300 blinds, 25 ante) No Limit Hold'em Tournament, 7 Players

      Hero (MP3): 6,340 (21.1 bb)
      CO: 5,400 (18 bb)
      BTN: 5,243 (17.5 bb)
      SB: 7,000 (23.3 bb)
      BB: 2,935 (9.8 bb)
      MP1: 2,180 (7.3 bb)
      MP2: 3,075 (10.3 bb)

      Preflop: Hero is MP3 with A Q
      2 folds, Hero raises to 675, CO raises to 5,375 and is all-in, 3 folds, Hero calls 4,700

      Flop: (11,375) 7 3 J (2 players, 1 is all-in)
      Turn: (11,375) 6 (2 players, 1 is all-in)
      River: (11,375) 8 (2 players, 1 is all-in)

      Results: 11,375 pot
      Final Board: 7 3 J 6 8
      Hero showed A Q and won 11,375 (5,975 net)
      CO showed 5 A and lost (-5,400 net)

      I know poker hasn't been around as long as the I Ching.. but sometimes it speaks almost directly to your game. Here's another website's take on this hexagram.

      'Act too quickly, without a good plan, without sufficient thought, and you will make mistakes. Be alert, perceptive, and no evil can befall you. Take a firm stand, openly, but not too aggressively - the time is not right for it. Be courteous, not antagonistic. You may be misunderstood at first, but this will pass. Resist the wish to use excessive force. When provoked, you tend to lose control. You must be dedicated if you hope to overcome major obstacles. Success is within reach but you cannot achieve it alone. The same problem you now face will appear again in the future.

      There is danger which must be acknowledged, and actions taken in quiet ways with the support of others. Greater prosperity will follow if you act fairly and with honour, and are cautious in your actions.'

      cool huh?

      good fortune.
    • Andyuk18
      Joined: 06.12.2010 Posts: 527
      Hey man, first time i've seen your blog!

      My own uber disgusting run bad seems to have cooled down a bit too. The one good thing that came out of it was it made me review my plays and question them a lot more so I feel like a much better player than before. Constant learning is the key. :s_biggrin:

      Hope the run good continues for us both. :)
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