HUSnG Self Challenge Blog

    • Verre
      Verre
      Bronze
      Joined: 24.02.2009 Posts: 708
      Hello all,

      I've been on and off with online poker for a while, having never found a niche I could enjoy enough to master.

      See, I always liked poker. Some of my income comes from full ring live poker. The problem with poker, specifically cash game poker is that there are never any clear winners and losers. I have always been extremely competative with other sports and games and winning sessions or losing sessions do not give me what I need from poker. Most of the time when I played poker online I just splashed around for fun.

      My venture into heads up started one night after a massive losing session. I just got sick of playing multiple people and figured it'd be easier just to play one person (lol).

      I ended up making a solid profit. More importantly I found the type of compotition I craved. I played for the next few weeks with great results mixed with some very obvious tilt. I could win 3-4 games in a row easy, but then went on winners tilt and blew 1-2 buyings back on a flip in the first hand against players I had a clear edge on.

      With this realization I started looking for an answer. I needed a goal to shoot for. I needed something to achieve. I found the answer. The answer was to set win/loss goals. Before you start telling me I'm a complete idiot for setting goals for a win rate, let me explain.

      Setting winrate goals is rather hard to do for cash game poker. Its even harder to do for tournaments. Heads up SnGs edges can be more reliable it seems. They become even more valuable to me when they keep me motivated. I have never followed through with an online poker goal before. I have set many, but never a win/loss goal. In fact I did not create this post until I finished my first challenge to myself!

      With that said, here is the results to my first challenge I set for myself. I started on April 27 and gave myself a week to play 100 HUSnGs. I started with $11.50 turbos on Pokerstars. My goal was to win 60 of 100 SnGs. With this goal set I honestly thought it would be a bit difficult. I was sure I had the talent, but unsure I could keep myself in line when it came to tilt.

      I started off for the first 30 games on track, but barely. then I went on a 5-15 streak that erased my winrate and put me in the red. I had a massive sitdown with myself and realized that alot of those loses came from what I set out to avoid in the first place. At this point I went on a 7-0 run.

      With 25 games to go I had to go 19-6. The crazy part is I believed I could. From there I played 15 games, going 12-3 with a 8 game win streak (my biggest streak to date). It was all set up to be an easy ride in after I won the next two and only needed to go 3-4.

      I sat down to play my last 7 games tonight. It started off with 3 legit losses. I got outplayed once and bluffed into trips. The two other games I got it in great and lost. Thats poker. Now I have to go 3-1. A game came out and won 2 straight. Then I lost another game and it was down to my last game to make my goal. A loss and my goal has been for not. A win and I achieved what I set out to do.

      My last hand I set up my trip Aces to have my bluffy opponent bluff shove. It was a perfect river when it completed a back door flush draw he obviously didn't have. I snap called and won.

      I finished a perfect 60-40. Well, not so perfect. But the goal I set out to hit. It seems like challenges like this are like golf scores. You can slowly work on a better score with lots of work.

      So what to do now? Set a new goal of course. My goal for my next 100 SnG challenge is 61-39. I know that seems like not a big jump, but from a RoI stand point its rather large.

      I dont know how this blog will contain. It might have some hand histories, challenge updates, or other stuff. Some ideas would be much appreciated. Thanks alot and thanks for reading.
  • 17 replies
    • makrelion
      makrelion
      Bronze
      Joined: 16.12.2009 Posts: 44
      Good luck on your challenge ;) . I'm gonna follow your blog and track your road to success.
    • konkey
      konkey
      Bronze
      Joined: 29.12.2009 Posts: 385
      Gool luck, but be prepared for big swings. Yes, your edge may be bigger in HU, but even against a bad fish you will be hardly winning more than 75%. And in turbos, your edge is smaller because of less time to outplay him postflop. Most people say that in turbos, ROI over 10% is impossible in long run.

      And propably learn ICM as soon as possible, and as precise as possible. Many of those "regs" play somewhat ok early, but do not have a clue what an ICM is and once you start pushing him, he'll fold way too much and thus enables you push even wider range than ICM suggests. And that's really nuts.
    • Verre
      Verre
      Bronze
      Joined: 24.02.2009 Posts: 708
      Thanks for the replys guys.

      Yeah I'm expecting lots of swings. In fact I just had one ;)

      So i played 29 games tonight. Its a work night so that is relatively tons for me. I played one guy 14 games. We went 7-7. I kept replaying him because he was so so bad. He claimed he was from latin pokerstrategy but he was terrible. I have never seen someone get it in with 3 outs so many times to win. By the end everytime he got it in with 3 outs he always said "nuts" in the chat. He was a nice guy though.

      Overall I played well. Twice I had to calm myself after making questionable calls for my tournament life (losing both). Aside from those 2 games I played well but results do not show this as in total I was 14-15.

      Holdem Manager shows me being 5 BI above EV for whatever thats worth. It seems like sometimes HM's sng EV is a little off, but maybe my feel for the game EV wise over a session is off.

      As for the ICM, I know quite good. For about a year I short stacked live NL300 and 500 so I'm rather good with thin push/fold values. I know that its obvious in cash games that the chip value is always the same, but the push/fold ranges create somewhat the same dynamic. I also dabbled for a while in FT super turbos with some success. With that said, the quality of players at $11.5 limit are not that great, and alot of my wins come in the first 3 blind structures. I dont like letting it get late where luck becomes a much bigger factor.

      Anyways I should get to bed as tomorrow I work again.

      Challenge Update/14-15 in 29 SnGs :f_frown:
    • Verre
      Verre
      Bronze
      Joined: 24.02.2009 Posts: 708
      Well, I played a sort session after work today.

      I made one glaring mistake, paying off a 4 straight on the river with turned trips. I couldn't imagine someone would call off half his stack with a gutshot but I completely missread his abilities (or lack there of).

      Anyways that same game went 5 blind levels deep and with even stacks I got it in with J8s on a T96 two spades after a preflop raise. He called my pfr with 87o and obviously called my ai reraise with the nuts, only to fade all of my outs.

      Overall in this short session I was 3-2. Better but not great. If i didn't call off the straight with those trips I would probubly be 4-1 but thats the way it goes.

      Last night I slept on my session and realized I was pushing the pace too much in games. I was subconciously playing for volume and not for quality, which is always a mistake in my opinion. I'll be working on keeping my mind set away from the quantity mindset.

      Challenge Update/ 17-17 In 34 SnGs

      PS. Its not a good feeling to be this far behind my goal pace, but this should be all the more motivation to slow down my pace pushing and really put quality into each match.
    • Verre
      Verre
      Bronze
      Joined: 24.02.2009 Posts: 708
      So tonight I stuck to my goals of putting in quality and not quantity. I played for about 2 hours and only played 10 matches.

      Over the whole session I cant off the top of my head remember a horrible play, but there is one hand that sticks out to me. Since I'm having problems with the hand replayer for this site I'm going to type it out as accurately as possible in hopes I can get some opinions on my play.

      I'm in the bb with A :spade: K :heart:

      I raise to 50 (my standard 2.5bb for the first 2 levels)
      Villain raises to 150
      I call. My thinking here is that if he has worse than me hes not going to put any more money into the pot. Its the very first hand of the match and I do not know this opponent but I hate to raise to 450, be flatted, and then be pushed on a T high board.

      Flop:K :diamond: 2 :spade: 3 :heart:
      Villain bets 300. At this point I'm basically behind nothing except the outside chance of 22-33. I dont believe he would play AA or KK this way, but quite possibly QQ or JJ are in his range and hes trying to blow out weak kings.
      I call. I call because once again, my thinking is if i raise he will snap fold everything but AK,KQ, and possibly QQ. If he does happen to have a bigger hand I'm screwed anyways.

      Turn: 5 :heart:
      Villain bets 450. His range is still the same from what I can gather. A4 just got there at this point I'm commited to the hand. If I bet he folds any hand that does not beat me. The backdoor heart flush is not of a concern.
      I call.

      River: 4 :spade:
      Villain goes all in for 600. At this point I figure I'm either splitting or I'm way ahead. His line has the perfect strong means weak feel to it. Besides at this point I'm pot commited anyways
      I call.

      Villain shows 6 :club: 8 :heart: for a 6 high straight.

      Now obviously I got unlucky with this hand. That is undisputable. I feel somewhat comfortable with my play, as aside from the river call I would have played the hand the same way if all hole cards where turned up.

      With that said I want some opinions from other HU players. Should I have bet to protect my hand from the unlikely case I can be drawn out on on a dry board? Does not using the safe reraise line make my play -EV from a tournament life perspective? All of these things I had to consider after the hand was over, and yet I cannot come to any solid conclusions.

      On the bright side, I was able to shake it off and continue on playing great poker.

      This session I went 7-3.

      Once again, thanks for reading :)

      Challenge Update/ 24-20 After 44 Matches.

      After Nearly half way its clear that I'm far off the pace. In fact I'm even farther off the pace than I was at this point in the last challenge I set for myself. This is going to require a lot of hard work and focus to even get close to my goal.
    • makrelion
      makrelion
      Bronze
      Joined: 16.12.2009 Posts: 44
      Well, since we know the showdown outcome, we ca definitely say, that you encountered extremely loose and aggressive opponent aKa maniac.

      If this wasn't you first hand and you knew who are you dealing with, then your play would have been the best possible option, since such players just throw their chips at you and hope that you'll get scared and run away.

      However, since you didn't know your opponent was a maniac, a reraise on flop or maybe even turn would probably have made him fold. Of course there is quite a high chance that such player would just go all-in after reraise. In that case I am not really sure if I would dare to risk my tournament with TPTK.
    • Verre
      Verre
      Bronze
      Joined: 24.02.2009 Posts: 708
      Thanks for the reply mak.

      The more I think about that hand the more i wish i reraised on the turn for protection. He would of folded at that point but at least I'm giving him the wrong price to draw to his 4 outs instead of letting him get there for free.
    • Verre
      Verre
      Bronze
      Joined: 24.02.2009 Posts: 708
      Today I did not work so I played about 4 hours.

      Today I had an interesting opponent. At this time I was 3-0 and I matched up against a Russian guy who seemed rather bad. He would min raise every street with random hands or he would go all in preflop. This sounds like such an easy strat to counter, but he did a good job of doing both strats with all kinda of hands.

      My strat was to call down made hands, and mix reraises and calls with strong hands. Unfortunately for me I played this guy 3 games and all 3 games I do not think I ever had a lead. It was one of those things where I percieved my edge to be large, where it may have been small or non existant mixed with me catching no cards. I can honestly say I lost three legitimate games against this guy.

      During this session I won 7 straight games, I also lost alot of games straight. I will fully admit I made some serious mistakes that could have been avoided, but nothing too outragious that I feel I need to post. I also lost three games against one guy that I completely dominated. I lost all in with overpair vs underpair, overpair vs two undercards, and AK vs AQ all aipf. I'm glad I did not tilt from these games. If there is one thing I can take away from this session is that I didn't tilt and I'm very proud of that fact.

      In the end I finished the day with a sober 10-8 record. Nothing to write home about. In fact I wasn't even going to post but I feel if I'm going to blog this time I need to respect myself enough to put everything up.

      Challenge Update/ 34-28 After 62 Matches
    • tiltadmisil
      tiltadmisil
      Silver
      Joined: 13.02.2011 Posts: 442
      hmm, this was interesting. By accident i stumbled accross this blog and thought it was me that had written it :)

      I have a similiar challenge, but i didnt put in a win/loss just a 250 game in may to see if i can be a winner. I have played almost everything but never figured out what to be my GAME. I'm right now almost addicted to HU SnG. It must be the man to man match thing that gets me going :) I just moved up to the $10-11 stakes and are finding my way thru it. So far 10-8 or something, nothing to brag about.

      Didnt mean to spam in here, i'm from the swedish side of the ps.
      We will probarly meet at the tables soon.

      good luck with the challenge
    • Verre
      Verre
      Bronze
      Joined: 24.02.2009 Posts: 708
      Nice to meet you tilt. I wish you all the best (except against me :P ).

      Anyways, I have clearly fallen behind my challenge goal. This is a shame but not out of the ordinary when it comes to common winrates at this level. Unfortunately I feel I am above ordinary but my last 80 results show the standard 10% RoI. SCOOP reload bonus is also nice feeding me 4 bis back in the last 10 days.

      I'm still going to shoot for my goal, but there is something else I'd like to achieve within the next week or two. At current I'm sitting at 44 BI's for $23 HUSnGs. I am going to be strict about having 50 BI's for each level I move too. Hopefully by the end of next week I will have enough and will be able to do my next challenge at that limit (with a revised challenge goal to reflect the better compotition).

      Anyways I'll do an update in a few hours about how todays games are going (very average so far :f_mad: ).
    • Verre
      Verre
      Bronze
      Joined: 24.02.2009 Posts: 708
      FAIL!

      Well folks, I could not pull out this challenge. Unfortunately I ran bad and played very average and couldn't get anything going. All of this is somewhat acceptable, but I must use it as a learning experience.

      This puts the challenge count at 1-1

      As for today...

      I decided since I had the whole day available I would use it to play my last 38 games. The day was anything but spectacular as I went 19-19. All day long I had problems finishing off opponents. I also had many issues running into monsters with my big hands. 3 times I had a set over set, 2 times nut straight vs called down flush, and 1 full house over full house. As you might imagine all 6 of those games where loses.

      I also had problems getting momentum against some players. A lot of my edge comes from the big chip leads I can get before blinds are big enough to start flipping for stacks. If i can get a 2-1 chip lead before we ever get all in then flipping is very desirable. This was not getting done today. The times it was getting done I was losing.

      I also ran 5.5 BI under EV today. It was a very frustrating day.

      As for the challenge......

      The total end result was 53-47. Yes, still profitable. Yes, some may say I should be happy. Am I happy? I'm very disappointed. I ran almost 13 BI under EV for the challenge. This is no great excuse as I ran almost 6 BI under for my last challenge, but it does make me think I'm still on the right course in my play.

      The next challenge............

      With the downswing I'm on, my main goal is to get on the winning path again. I actually feel good that this last challenge is over as I started off so bad I felt I was fighting an uphill battle. This did not change my play whatsoever but it did weigh on my competitive subconscious.

      With that said the next challenge is going to go back to the roots of HUSNGs ROI. The goal is 55-45 over 100 matches. This is much more attainable than both my previous challenges, but being able to get back on track and start working towards a goal I know I can hit with solid A game poker is important for me.

      Once again, thank you very much for reading. If you have any other idea for challenges to give me I'm all ears. Also I'm looking for 3-5 good blogs to follow on here to keep me more in tune with the community.
    • Verre
      Verre
      Bronze
      Joined: 24.02.2009 Posts: 708
      So before bed I decided to play myself a little 2 hour session.

      I did some things different in this session. Usually when I play I do not have the tv on or anything to distract me. I changed this. I wanted background noise. When I'm at the casino there is always background noise and things that can vie for my attention. Some people say this is bad and I understand that it can be horrible during multi-tabling but I'm one tabling.

      The other thing I decided on was that I'd wish every opponent "gg" at the start of each match. I find when I do many opponents will play softer. I crush weak tight and weak loose players much harder than I do strong loose or tight players. I also decided I wouldn't call people out on their horrible play.

      Well, my first match I got up against Beat666ru from the Russian Pokerstrategy. He played well as did I, and we had even stacks going into the 75/150 level when this hand came up :s_mad: . I had K7 and raised from the button. He called and the flop came AKx. He checked and I bet large, more than half my stack. He called. I know if he had a A he would have reraised preflop. If he had a K he would reraise now. He flatted leaving 600 behind for both. I put him on a smaller PP. Turn in a Q and he snap pushes. At this point I have to call anyways since I've already put 900 into the pot. He shows JTo. At this point I proceed to break my second rule I set for myself :f_biggrin: Anyways, thanks for playing Beat666ru. PS, your one lucky S.O.B lol.

      Anyways, I knew I played good and was not phased. I buckled down and it was go time for A game poker. I started destroying games. I was playing like I can, taking massive cheap leads early and riding them to wins with easy calls on strong holdings. I won 1, 2, 3.....7 straight. I was just playing my game. I ran 0.5 BI over EV (Just to divulge all info).

      Anyways, I'm proud of myself. I played well. Not once did I make a bonehead move. It may have been the best poker I've played in (no joke) years. Everyone has their A game, and once in a while you bust of your A+ 110% potential sessions, and this was one of those sessions. If I hadn't been up for a solid 17 hours I would keep playing, but I must admit I'm feeling fatigued from the long session I put in earlier today. I'm going to end it here.
      Take care everyone.

      Challenge Update/ 7-1 in 8 Matches :s_biggrin:
    • Verre
      Verre
      Bronze
      Joined: 24.02.2009 Posts: 708
      Pokerstars made changes to its SNG format today. They lowered the rake on turbo SNGs (which on the surface looks awesome). What you do not notice at first glance is that with the structure changes your playability gets severely cut. Even though there are more blind levels, the levels increase faster. This doesn't seem like a big deal until you realize the exponential growth of the blinds destroys the time you have to maneuver before blinds are so high it becomes necessary to find a good hand and push. The time has been reduced from a reasonable 15 minutes to a very quick 9.

      I cant begin to tell you how much I hate this change. I feel a lot of my edge has been ripped away from me. I played 23 of these tournaments today, only to find I was getting to that push fold phase without being able to accumulate a nice sized advantage. When this happens it becomes a crap shoot, and knowing when to push and having luck becomes much more important than actual poker skill.

      With that said, I went 11-12 today. I feel I played alright, although most of the time I was trying to adjust to the changes they made.

      With this information, I'm switching to regular HUSnGs. the rake is like 12% more, but the poker time you get is 24 minutes. With that said I believe this is too long, but the disadvantages of too much time far outweighs the disadvantages of not enough time. Hopefully there is enough volume to keep me busy.

      Challenge Update/ 18-13
    • Verre
      Verre
      Bronze
      Joined: 24.02.2009 Posts: 708
      So my switch to Regular HUSnGs went well. I needed to adjust a little. With the extra time time available, I need to be extra careful about my spots. I no longer need to push the pace on nearly every hand.

      Aside from that I made some mistakes. I made some ill timed bluffed that where unnecessary to make. These basically cost me three games.

      Overall I went 13-10 in 23 matches.

      Challenge Update/ 31-23 after 54 Matches
    • Verre
      Verre
      Bronze
      Joined: 24.02.2009 Posts: 708
      Hello all,

      I played BAD today. I just couldn't seem to get things rolling. I played lots but it never seemed to be coming easy.

      I played against super over aggro players today. I think it might be because I'm playing on a Saturday. Unfortunately I failed to exploit, and I also got sucked out a lot, although for the 3 suck outs one guy got on me I got 2 back.

      Overall the final tally is 14-12. Not so hot I know.

      Challenge Update/45-35 after 80 Matches
    • Verre
      Verre
      Bronze
      Joined: 24.02.2009 Posts: 708
      Success

      Well, barely. I'm switching back to turbos as the action there seems so much more juicy. With non turbos I sit and wait for games and play against rocks who barely play a hand and seem to always have the nuts when I have close to the nuts. I lose a lot of games this way.

      Anyways I went 10-10 today. Not so great

      Challenge ended at 55-45. This was my "Goal" but I was hoping for much more

      So I'm going back to turbos even though they have a bad blind structure. I need to tweak my game to play these more profitable and that will be part of the next challenge.

      The next goal is 115-85 over 200 games. Wish me luck.
    • ExternalUseOnly
      ExternalUseOnly
      Bronze
      Joined: 30.01.2010 Posts: 3,373
      hey man just had a quick scan over your blog looks like a good read il have a proper look tomorrow when i have more time and aren't as tired.

      Im plaing HUSNGs too. You have skype? If so add me: externaluseonly89 and we can talk about stuff there maybe do some sweat sessions if you want?