Going for Gold

    • buzzinace
      buzzinace
      Bronze
      Joined: 23.11.2010 Posts: 72
      Here we go. I got my free $50 from PokerStrategy two months ago and deposited it in Full Tilt. I'm currently down to $44; so I'm down just over 10%. I've probably played only a few dozen hands, Texas Hold Em, No Limits, Micro. I have two lifetime strategy points - but currently have none as I haven't played much over the past few weeks.

      The challenge: By July 1 (just under 60 days from now) I want to become a gold member. That means (under the new system) accumulating 500 strategy points in the previous 30 days.

      What I need to do: I need to start playing and winning at poker. Central to that I need to learn how to be a better poker player. Let's see if PokerStrategy can get me there.

      Why I am doing this: If I don't set myself a goal I know I will never become a good poker player. They say it takes 21 days to form a habit. I'm giving myself 60 days to form the habit and get half decent at it. If I'm going to play this game I want to be a net winner and not a net loser - as is currently the case. Finally, this week I started working with PokerStrategy - they didn't hire me for my poker skills - and I want to be able to hold my own in the canteen with all the really ace poker experts there.

      What's going to happen: My plan is to keep this blog and fill you in on what and how I'm doing on a daily basis. This will be warts and all as I've nothing to lose. Wish me luck! :club:
  • 46 replies
    • ExternalUseOnly
      ExternalUseOnly
      Bronze
      Joined: 30.01.2010 Posts: 3,373
      Gl whats ur job title with PS then?
    • buzzinace
      buzzinace
      Bronze
      Joined: 23.11.2010 Posts: 72
      Originally posted by ExternalUseOnly
      Gl whats ur job title with PS then?
      My job title is Head of Regional Business Units. I'm supporting a number of the community teams (the ones who already know how to play). I guess you could call me a fixer - if they've got a problem, I get it fixed for them!
    • buzzinace
      buzzinace
      Bronze
      Joined: 23.11.2010 Posts: 72
      So I went back to basics last night realising that I'd read the first basic articles in order to get my hands on the €50. Now that I've played (and lost) a bit I really appreciate what the guys are saying there.

      The lesson is that initially poker is a game of discipline. Most of the hands I've lost are the ones that were crap to start with and just didn't improve. Essentially I was playing lots of hands that were not even mediocre or speculative - and playing them in early positions too!

      I spent about an hour in FTP after re-reading a few of the articles and still playing in micro-limits stuck fairly rigidly to the starting hands chart. Guess what, I raised my starting buy-in of $7 to $8.43 after playing just a few hands. I'm not playing as many hands as before, but it's far more satisfying to be winning more of the ones I do play!

      In order to earn some extra bonus points I headed over to William Hill and created an account and played for some real money. I was getting tired a this stage and gave up after losing £1 within the space of a few minutes.

      I'm feeling that the stakes are not very interesting but I'm going to stay here for a wee while until I get a little more consistency. Laters.
    • buzzinace
      buzzinace
      Bronze
      Joined: 23.11.2010 Posts: 72
      I'm up to 15 strategy points after a couple of days play. Woo Hoo!

      I'm starting to get my head around the different types of games that are out there. No limits is a bit more fun as you are not restricted in the bets you place on each round; whereas in fixed limits there is little scope for playing more aggressively if you want to. Right?

      Now that I look around ps.com, I cannot actually find a place that easily explains the differences to me. Am I being stupid? Furthermore, I think I've been playing the no limit games on the various poker rooms, but reading the fixed limit articles. Doh!

      The question of limits brings me on to the topic of the level I'm playing at. Watched that video on bankroll management and it makes sense. If you want to grow into this game then you need to play within your limits.

      I've been feeling eager to up the stakes but this note in one of the (right) articles struck a cord:

      "If you join tables of a limit that is too high for your bankroll, you will make yourself an easy target. Higher limit players are just waiting for opponents like you. Without solid bankroll management, it doesn’t matter how well you play, it is simply not possible to make a long-term profit. Even the best players in the world go bust if they don't stick to bankroll management."

      So, essentially I need to keep playing at NL2 (0.01/0.02) until I have at least $100 in my bankroll. The macho in me is going to learn to tame itself for a wee while until I've played a few hundred more hands!

      Go fish somewhere else Mr. Shark!

      :f_confused:
    • shehanshah
      shehanshah
      Bronze
      Joined: 02.12.2010 Posts: 385
      Basically it means "knowing your boundaries" to play a certain limit that u r playing, which in ur case is (0.1/.2). If u simply go to higher stakes without the proper bankroll and skill, u will just go busto, people are just more experienced than you are, so u will have hard time to beat them. 'Experience'-It's as simple as that.

      It says that u need to play enuf hands within ur bankroll so that u actually gain experience and money and then u can move up stakes. By doin this u can keep on moving up stakes if u keep on winning and also u can move down limits when u lose in a certain limit and then assess ur game and build ur bankroll again to move up limits without goin busto.

      $100 for (.1/.2) = 50 buyins (50 buyins is generally a safer approach for any stakes).

      Fixed limit and no-limit games have totally different strategies. If u go to the strategy section, u can clearly see different sections for both of these. What i can't get is hw r u reading limit articles n playin no-limit when both sections are clearly visible under the strategy section??

      BTW Gud Gud Luckk. :D
    • buzzinace
      buzzinace
      Bronze
      Joined: 23.11.2010 Posts: 72
      Thanks for the tips.

      Originally posted by shehanshah
      Fixed limit and no-limit games have totally different strategies. If u go to the strategy section, u can clearly see different sections for both of these.
      True, but there is not easy guide to the differences between them. You have to actually start reading the different articles to see what is different about each. I'm struggling to see which one is most appropriate for someone like me starting out. No Limit? Fixed Limit? Big Stack? Short Stack? :)

      What i can't get is hw r u reading limit articles n playin no-limit when both sections are clearly visible under the strategy section??
      Me too!! I think I started out studying the fixed-limit articles but ended up selecting the no limit when I went to play. I was wondering why the betting behaviours were different to what I was reading in the articles - now I know why!
    • buzzinace
      buzzinace
      Bronze
      Joined: 23.11.2010 Posts: 72
      Just realised that I meant to post this update as a reply to my blog, but posted it as a new thread instead.

      Anyone know if there's a way to move it?
    • buzzinace
      buzzinace
      Bronze
      Joined: 23.11.2010 Posts: 72
      Today's update is mistakenly posted over here...

      Not sure if I can move it back here??
    • TiciBoy
      TiciBoy
      Bronze
      Joined: 13.01.2010 Posts: 1,235
      Originally posted by shehanshah
      Basically it means "knowing your boundaries" to play a certain limit that u r playing, which in ur case is (0.1/.2). If u simply go to higher stakes without the proper bankroll and skill, u will just go busto, people are just more experienced than you are, so u will have hard time to beat them. 'Experience'-It's as simple as that.
      Actually it is not about experience (well it also is, but it is not the main thing behing bankroll managment). In the long term poker is a game of skill, but in the short run it is a game of luck.

      Let me give you an expample why you have to use BRM. You get AA and get it all in preflop against AK. The board comes TJQ...you loose even if you were way ahead when you went all in. Now if you have 50$ and you play NL2, you have 25 buy-ins, so you only loose small part of your bankroll. But if you play NL50 you loose a large part of your bankroll. It is quite possible you will loose 5 times in a row with better hand an you will bust your bankroll. If you have 25 BIs you probably won't go bust, because it is very unlikely you will loose 25 straight hands when you are ahead.
    • buzzinace
      buzzinace
      Bronze
      Joined: 23.11.2010 Posts: 72
      [quote]Originally posted by TiciBoy
      Originally posted by shehanshah
      In the long term poker is a game of skill, but in the short run it is a game of luck.
      Spot on I think, even though I like to believe that I am rapidly learning the skill. The experience guys are presumably less interested in the low stakes, so I am less likely to be targeted as a 'fish' in the low stakes games... hence I will suffer less from my inexperience. Makes sense. I've been told that I need to 'grind' for a long time yet, so back to my 'grinding'...
    • buzzinace
      buzzinace
      Bronze
      Joined: 23.11.2010 Posts: 72
      I went down to the casino here in Gibraltar last night with a few friends and bought into a 50p/£1 NL table with £30. A few hours and several dozen hands later and I walked out with £123.50!

      In the discussion following yesterday's blog update I agreed that in the beginning winning at poker is mostly luck and just a little skill. Today however I'm claiming that it is all skill!!

      The lesson I learned from last night was about playing 'tight' - playing very few but strong hands. There were a couple of guys who were playing very loose and for big money and I did certainly feel that I was in a little over my head.

      However I learned quickly that because I was playing tight, when I did play a hand aggressively most people at the table read that I was not bluffing. The guys who were playing loose went against me each time, but because they had checked I knew that they had weak hands.

      There was very little subtlety in my game, so I wouldn't be assured of repeating the success just yet. Back to grind.

      Challenge for today is to read another couple of articles and then to play two or three tables simultaneously on FTP in order to build up some experience. I find that just playing one table can be rather slow; so a bit more concentration required today.
    • ExternalUseOnly
      ExternalUseOnly
      Bronze
      Joined: 30.01.2010 Posts: 3,373
      nice result was that your first time playing live?

      Don't forget to watch videos too actually seeing the strategy articles being used to good effect by good winning players only helps strengthen the view that poker isnt just a game of luck and the live coachings too but im sure you know about all this already :f_biggrin:
    • buzzinace
      buzzinace
      Bronze
      Joined: 23.11.2010 Posts: 72
      yes, that was my first time playing live... hopefully not just beginner's luck... :)

      I hear you on the videos. I've read a few articles now so will watch a couple of vids before I play some more.
    • buzzinace
      buzzinace
      Bronze
      Joined: 23.11.2010 Posts: 72
      Have been playing 5c/10c NL. Now at 27 strategy points and my capital is down to €36. After quite a lot of play I'm satisfied with that result - i.e. I haven't been cleaned out yet. It has been a case of win some, lose more! But each time I lose, I learn a little more.

      I'm really getting to grips with the psychological aspects of playing poker. In particular with no limits, aggression is a central component. How you demonstrate aggression is an important part of the play;

      "Whenever you raise before the flop and get called, you are the so-called aggressor in the following betting rounds. By raising pre-flop, you represented a strong hand, and can now more credibly make your opponents believe that you also have a strong hand on the flop. This means you now have the option of continuing your pre-flop aggression and making a so-called continuation bet."

      The one thing I'm struggling with a little is playing multiple games at one time:


      I'm doing this in order to intensify my learning and frankly I find playing a single game too slow. However you have less time to make a decision and so the decisions you do make are not always great. So for example, as I look at the image of that table selection from last night I can see this morning that (top right) playing pre-flop with 7 :club: 9 :spade: was a bit stupid. I had won the previous hand with a pair of 8s, so was probably a little over confident.

      BTW, I must figure out how to start making use of the hand evaluation forums. People seem to think that they are the ultimate in learning how to improve your game. Task for today...
    • buzzinace
      buzzinace
      Bronze
      Joined: 23.11.2010 Posts: 72
      I always knew that poker was a game of maths. I studied maths in college (way back) and my only regret is that the teachers didn't apply it so something useful, like poker.

      I downloaded the elephant-thingy and can see that I've been playing "very loose" pre-flop. I had thought I was doing my maths right, but clearly not. I'm also still losing more than I'm winning but did have a couple of nice wins that I'm happy about. I'm still on my free $50 which I'm happy about as that means I must be doing something right.

      Determined to start winning I've focused a bit more on the maths. Here's my take so far.

      ODDS
      Odds are essentially the likelihood of achieving a certain outcome by combining my dealt hole cards with the community cards. The more cards that could make a really strong hand, the better my odds.

      The odds are worked out as the ratio between the number of unhelpful cards to the number of cards that could help complete my hand. After the flop I've seen 5 cards. There are 47 cards left. Let's say that my two hole cards are hearts and two of the community cards are hearts. There are nine possible cards that could give me a flushdraw. So the ratio of unhelpful to helpful is 38:9 (which works out at around 4:1)

      This means that for every five hands played, my desired card will show up once, and an unhelpful card will show up four times.

      The chart over at BSS maths article is particularly useful as it saves a little time in having to do the maths yourself.

      POT ODDS
      If I had 4:1 odds on a hand I'd probably play it. Right? Well, the next thing that needs to be considered in conjunction with the odds, is the cost of staying in the hand. If there is $10 in the pot and the cost of staying in is $3 then I might need to think about it. I stand to win $10 only once in every five hands. So for every five hands played I will lose four $3's ($12) and make one $10. I'm going to be a net loser here.

      The ratio for pot odds is Amount to be Won:Cost of Staying in Hand. In this instance it is 10:3 or about 3:1.

      In order to stay in the hand my pot odds should be greater than the odds against me. Pot odds of 3:1 is worse than 4:1 so I fold on this occasion.

      DISCOUNTED OUTS
      So far we've only being thinking about the cards that are helpful to me (my 'outs') in completing my hand. However it is clear that some of the cards that could help me could also help my opponents. Depending on the community cards dealt the same cards that could help make my flush could also help complete someone else's hand.

      This is where it gets tricky. I need to be able to read my opponent's play so far to see if there is a chance that this could be the case. This is why it is better to be later in the hand when playing because you have all the information possible to help make a good decision.

      Because I don't actually know his cards, I have to make assumptions about what he could have based on his behaviour. He could always be bluffing, but I've learnt already that it's not worth trying to flush out a bluffer, annoying and all as it may be.

      When presented with community cards; I need to discount cards that would not give me a truly stronger hand than I assume my opponent could have. What are the cards that could help complete a hand that is stronger than mine? Take this number away from the total number of helpful cards in order to adjust the odds - discounted odds.

      Right, that's enough maths for one day...
    • buzzinace
      buzzinace
      Bronze
      Joined: 23.11.2010 Posts: 72
      After doing some study earlier today I played a few hands over on FTP. Here is my chart - the first half was yesterday's play and the second half was today's play:


      I got a bit tired towards the end of the session and the numbers weren't so hot. But a big lesson learned.

      Also, I shifted from playing BSS to MSS.
    • buzzinace
      buzzinace
      Bronze
      Joined: 23.11.2010 Posts: 72
      Crashed out on William Hill last night. Made a couple of reckless decisions.

      Big lesson is that one pair is never worth taking a big risk on. I thought I would shove on the flop with top pair (QQ) and high over card (A), but was beaten by a 4 and a 2. WFT!

      Known players:
      Position
      BB
      UTG2
      MP2
      BU

      0.05/0.1 No-Limit Hold'em (10 handed)
      Hand recorder used for this poker hand: Elephant.Base 0.99 by www.pokerstrategy.com.

      Preflop: Hero is UTG1 with A:club: , Q:club:
      UTG folds, Hero raises to $0.20, UTG2 calls $0.20, MP1 folds, MP2 calls $0.20, 2 folds, BU calls $0.20, SB folds, BB calls $0.10.

      Flop: ($1.05) Q:diamond: , 4:spade: , 2:diamond: (5 players)
      BB bets $0.52, Hero raises to $1.04, UTG2 calls $1.04, 2 folds, BB raises to $2.60 (All-In), Hero calls $1.56, UTG2 calls $1.56.

      Turn: ($8.85) 7:spade: (2 players)
      Hero checks, UTG2 checks.

      River: ($8.85) 4:diamond: (3 players)
      Hero checks, UTG2 checks.

      Final Pot: $8.85

      Results follow (highlight to see):
      Hero shows (Ac Qc)
      UTG2 shows (3h 2h)
      BB shows a full-house, fours full of deuces (4c 2c)

      BB wins with a full-house, fours full of deuces (4c 2c)


      On the other hand, with this AQ I came away with a nice win. In this instance I really didn't have anything until the River and so was luck that my opponent didn't have much either.


      Known players:
      Position
      UTG2
      CO

      0.01/0.02 No-Limit Hold'em (8 handed)
      Hand recorder used for this poker hand: Elephant.Base 0.99 by www.pokerstrategy.com.

      Preflop: Hero is MP3 with A:diamond: , Q:spade:
      UTG2 calls $0.02, 2 folds, Hero raises to $0.04, CO calls $0.04, 3 folds, UTG2 calls $0.02.

      Flop: ($0.15) 6:heart: , 5:heart: , 4:diamond: (3 players)
      UTG2 checks, Hero checks, CO checks.

      Turn: ($0.15) 4:spade: (3 players)
      UTG2 checks, Hero checks, CO checks.

      River: ($0.15) Q:club: (3 players)
      UTG2 checks, Hero bets $0.1, CO calls $0.10, UTG2 folds.

      Final Pot: $0.35

      Results follow (highlight to see):
      Hero shows two-pair, queens and fours (Ad Qs)
      CO shows (Qd Td)

      Hero wins with two-pair, queens and fours (Ad Qs)

      What would you have done differently? :f_cry:
    • MarcPS
      MarcPS
      Moderator
      Moderator
      Joined: 09.11.2010 Posts: 1,077
      I think the first hand is pretty standard.

      when you're playing an MSS strategy, just be happy enough to stick TPTK in his eye on that board. People at 10NL are just as happy to go broke with any random Queen or flushdraw, as they are 42, and there are more combinations of those hands in his range than there are two pair combos (it's hard to make 2pr, right?)

      However, I would play the hand entirely differently.

      There's just no way I'm min-raising with basically any hand from UTG+1, it just doesn't make sense. You have a great hand, but it's not invincible and by inviting more people into the pot (each time one person calls your min-raise, it becomes more attractive for other players to call!) which can lead to tricky situations.

      I also don't like the min-raise on the flop. You can't fold when the guy shoves anyway (because of the great odds..) so you should just shove it in if you're going to raise. I think it's close between shoving flop or calling flop and shoving any turn, but I think I prefer shoving the flop.

      Rule of thumb: Whenever you raise and you won't have a pot sized bet left if you get called, just shove.

      In the second hand, I really like the check on the flop, you can get check-raised off the best hand here a lot, so checking back is perfect.

      On the turn, you can't really have anything so betting makes no sense (nobody folds anything that you can't beat) so I like the check again. If the turn was a King or something, I'd be betting, though.

      On the river you have the best hand like 100000% of the time, so it's time to get some value. Usually though, your opponant doesn't have anything either, but I like the bet size to extract value from other Queens and random stubborn bottom pairs. Nice hand.

      Nice blog sir, I'll be following with interest! Glglglgl with your goals!
    • buzzinace
      buzzinace
      Bronze
      Joined: 23.11.2010 Posts: 72
      Thanks for the feedback MarcPS. You're spot on about min-raising in UTG+1 and I should be more assertive early on to not invite others to stay involved. Shoving the flop does seem like a better strategy than shoving later. I've been watching a lot of people stealing on the flop and it seems like a very effective strategy most of the time.

      The question I ask myself is; if I shove would I have enough confidence in my hand to re-raise if I'm raised. I tend to play very loose, and asking this question helps me play a bit tighter.