Scrabbling In The Gutter - A post-FT rebuilding blog.

    • Salivanth
      Salivanth
      Bronze
      Joined: 01.01.2011 Posts: 587
      Hi PokerStrategy! I doubt anyone remembers me, but I had a cash game / SNG blog. Was doing kinda well, had about 300 bucks in the bankroll when FT closed. So I kind of quit Poker for a while. Now I'm back, and playing with the small amount of money I have left on PokerStars while I anxiously wait for September 19.

      Here's my intro, most of it copy-pasted from my old blog.

      I'll rush through the obligatory Poker history. Started playing at PokerStrategy.com, then played BSS, found it boring, SSS, nearly shot myself from boredom, SNG's, played for a while then got bored, MTT's, couldn't keep that up, HU, played for a while, won back most of the money I donked away then got bored, deposited a hundred bucks and started playing SNG's again, tried MTT's again, then went back to cash games. Whew. It sounds even dumber when I write it. Remember, this was over a few months. I've played about 6k hands on NL2 now, and am running 37c over EV according to HEM. This is because I multitable. A lot. This is part of my problem.

      How I got into Poker

      Now, on to a much more interesting story, which is how I actually got into Poker to start with. I figure a blog should share a bit of personality, so if you'd rather not hear about that stuff, just skip the next few paragraphs. I basically got into Poker as a result of my uncle dying. Yeah, this may seem weird, but there is method to my madness.

      My uncle was always such a mathematical person, such a logical person. He was a lot like me actually, everyone tells me I'm just like him. At some point or another, he got into the NPL, a series of live MTT's run at various pubs and clubs across Australia, where I live. He actually won one, receiving a winner's chip to let him attend Nationals. Sadly, he died before he could attend, and his best friend, also a Poker player, got the chip.

      So as part of his stuff (he died young, no real will) we got 2 NPL caps, and me and my Dad got to talking about Poker. He told me I should get into it, but I was never interested in it. I occasionally thought about it, but for the most part, I didn't care.

      Enter PokerStrategy.com

      I got into Starcraft 2 instead, a real-time strategy game. The objective is to control bases that gain resources that they spend to produce military units and technology upgrades, and to eventually defeat your opponent in a tactical battle that requires quick thinking and reacting to your opponent's moves. (Sound like any games you know?)

      I got into a strategy site called Team Liquid, was never very good, but soaked up the wisdom of the masters anyway, and then one day, a big Starcraft 2 tournament came up, and it was sponsored by PokerStrategy.com. I suddenly remembered what my Dad had always wanted, and what I had thought. "If I ever knew the strategy of Poker in depth I'd probably be way more interested in playing it." So I clicked the link.

      I was skeptical. Why would anyone give me 50 bucks for nothing. Oh, I have to pass a quiz. Even so. For this, I must offer INCREDIBLE kudos to PokerStrategy here. They laid their entire business model out, easily accessible. I went through it, thought it was awesome, completed my quiz, and got my 50 bucks. And I've been channeling my competitive urges into it ever since.

      So I began learning cash games, before switching back to my old standby, SNG's. I grinded the 2.25 Turbos on Full Tilt with decent success, tried the 5.50's, got owned, moved back down, played some ROD's as a side-game, and came 2nd in one for about 70 bucks. Ended up at a little over 300 dollars, and then Full Tilt closed down. I decided to swap sites, but sort of gave up, waiting for news.

      But recently, the urge to play Poker has overcome me again, hence this blog. I'll be starting off with what little money I have on PokerStars. If I bust that, I shall probably deposit some more. Hopefully September 19 brings good news.

      First session

      So, my first session back. The first hand, I got it in with AK, and three people called my shove, with K6, T9, and 98. It was hilarious, even though I lost the hand. I'm playing the 10c 360-mans, and I also played in a 25c $100 added tournament, which had no rake, so was very +EV. I cashed thrice, getting I think 71c from the 25c tournament, and a couple of mincashes at the 10c tournaments.

      I signed up for every 360 man that started, as they took a few minutes to start and were quite fast paced. This ensured a constant 3-8 (Usually 4-6) tables to play. Not sure exactly how many I played, but I went from 11.49 to 9.66. As I earned a bit over a dollar, I think I played around 30 tournaments in total, over a few hours. It felt good to get back into the game, though I forgot how huge variance was in MTT's! I'll be using the following BRM, which is for recreational players:

      MTT's: 100 BI's
      45-mans: 64 BI's
      90-mans: 75 BI's

      I shall also be taking shots up to 55c for particularly juicy tournaments, like the $100 added 25c one.

      So the next milestone is to reach 16 bucks, allowing me to play the 25c 45-mans as an addition to my regime. At 18.75 I can add the 25c 90-mans too, and shall then probably transition purely into 25c+ tournaments. (Like a true baller)

      Thanks for reading this insanely long post. If you got through it all, I commend you :P
  • 15 replies
    • gordy1957
      gordy1957
      Bronze
      Joined: 01.04.2010 Posts: 325
      Hi Sal,welcome back.
      I too am starting again on stars.I put $100 there and am playing 45man 50c turbos.
      The play there is horredous and the variance is a killer,after 45 games I was up $35 and thinking I had this game crushed,then someone flicked the doomswitch and I went all the way down again.Yesterday was a good day and I am ahead so far today and my BR stands at $121 after 245 games,not as good as it was but not bad either.
      Good luck at the tables.
      Cheers Gordy
    • jbpatzer
      jbpatzer
      Bronze
      Joined: 22.11.2009 Posts: 6,944
      Where's 5CD in this plan??
    • Salivanth
      Salivanth
      Bronze
      Joined: 01.01.2011 Posts: 587
      @Gordy: Yeah. I played 30 tournaments, cashed twice, and made like, 4 BI for my 30 BI investment. If it weren't for the 25c tourney I'd be much worse off. In STT's, this would be horrible, crushing variance, but in MTT's, it's just par for the course.

      @jbpatzer On Stars, 5CD is 0.1/0.2 and up, so if I don't change my mind by then, I shall begin playing some of that at 40 bucks. (And Silver status, for the all-important articles) I think 200 big bets is the recommendation according to PS. Taking it 1 step at a time atm, since a lot of it is dependent on what happens to Full Tilt. Also, glad to see the legendary jb has posted in my blog :P

      EDIT: Although, considering my aggressive BRM due to the fact that I don't really care about this amount of money, 100 Big Bets would work, so I could start at 20 bucks. (If I can get Silver status) So might happen sooner than originally thought.
    • Salivanth
      Salivanth
      Bronze
      Joined: 01.01.2011 Posts: 587
      Had another session today where I played about 15-20 tournaments. (Traffic wasn't as good today) Last time I lost a bunch of buyins, but this time...well, let's just say MTT's are very, very swingy. Yesterday, I went from 11.49 to 9.66, dropping 18 buyins. Today, I went from 9.66 to 16.01, gaining SEVENTY THREE buyins.

      It was near the end of the session, I was running good, and then got knocked out of my last deep run, so I thought "Okay, I'll finish these last three tournaments." And then the rungood hit. I ended up getting to two final tables simultaneously, coming 2nd in one and 4th in the other.

      So I can now move directly to the 25c 45-mans. Awesome.

      One thing I have discovered is that playing continuously rather than in sets encourages me to play longer sessions. If FT comes back and I go back to SNG's, I believe I will start 6-8 tabling continuously rather than 8-10 tabling sets. Longer sessions and more tourneys per hour (And thus, more $ per hour!) will lead to much more volume and faster BR growth.

      Well, that's probably all the Poker I'm going to play today, so I shall have another post up in a day or two.

      Thanks for reading!
    • Salivanth
      Salivanth
      Bronze
      Joined: 01.01.2011 Posts: 587
      Played ten 25c tournaments today. (Unfortunately, more than that are required to get a strategy point!) Only cashed once, but that cash was a 1st place, for $3.23, about 13 buyins, so I ended up with a decent profit.

      Total bankroll is $16.74, profit today is 73c.

      Sorry I don't have any hands or anything. This is me today:

    • Salivanth
      Salivanth
      Bronze
      Joined: 01.01.2011 Posts: 587
      The upswing continues. Played a total of 13 tournaments today, 12 45-mans and 1 90-man. I was planning on eking out my 45-mans with 90-mans, but they take so long to finish and fire so rarely that I will only be able to play one per session. I came 4th in one, started it at the beginning of my session, and it was the last one to finish, around 3.5 hours later.

      In total, my profits for the day:

      13 25c buyins: -$3.25
      2x 3rd 45-mans: +$3.40
      1x 4th 90-man: +$1.96

      Total profit: $2.11 (8.44 buyins)

      So yeah. Very little in terms of cash, but in buyins, it's huge. I now have $18.85 in my bankroll. (Not bad, considering I had $11.49 at the start!) The next milestone is gonna be 32 dollars, and then I can start adding 50c tournaments.

      Four days to go until Full Tilt's hearing. I shall await the news while playing Poker and StarCraft II.

      Thanks for reading!
    • Salivanth
      Salivanth
      Bronze
      Joined: 01.01.2011 Posts: 587
      So my StarCraft is shot to hell atm, losing constantly :( But on the plus side, Poker retains it's upswing, yay!

      Played 9 45-mans, a short session, and won $1.60 with a 6th and a 1st. The 1st place was awesome. In the final table, I was getting aggressive with blind stealing and c-betting, as I do shorthanded, so somebody else decided to get in on it. We ended up with quite a dynamic, and had a very aggro HU when we finally met up, with 3-bets and flop re-raises with air pretty frequently, before I eventually took it down with pocket tens. Very enjoyable. And profitable!

      PokerStars No-Limit Hold'em, 0.25 Tournament, 600/1200 Blinds 75 Ante (2 handed) - PokerStars Converter Tool from FlopTurnRiver.com

      BB (t17466)
      Hero (SB) (t50034)

      Hero's M: 25.66

      Preflop: Hero is SB with 10:heart: , 10:club:
      Hero bets t3000, BB raises to t17391 (All-In), Hero calls t14391

      Flop: (t34932) J:spade: , J:heart: , A:spade: (2 players, 1 all-in)

      Turn: (t34932) 9:heart: (2 players, 1 all-in)

      River: (t34932) Q:diamond: (2 players, 1 all-in)

      Total pot: t34932

      Results:
      Hero had 10:heart: , 10:club: (two pair, Jacks and tens).
      BB had 9:club: , K:heart: (two pair, Jacks and nines).
      Outcome: Hero won t34932

      I've read recently that non-showdown winnings are the key to a good tournament player, and I can definitely see why. Blind stealing and c-betting are very necessary to keep your chip stack alive, especially during the ante phase. And it's much lower variance if you don't have to go to showdown! So non-showdown winnings are the key. Winning 10 flips in a row is hard. I'd rather win 6-7 flips and double my stack a few times without showing down.

      I'm enjoying these MTSNG's a lot, which is good, as I'm gonna keep playing them for a while. At the least, I'll need around a hundred bucks to play the $1.50 SNG's, so unless I deposit money, it'll be a long while before I get there. Looking forward to getting to the 50c tournaments though: They fire often and are Turbo at 45 and 90-man, so a lot more $/hour! Hopefully this upswing continues.

      Having gotten my BR from 11.50 to 20.50 in just a few days, I'm pretty happy with myself. Next stop: 32 bucks, and the 50c tournaments.

      Thanks for reading!
    • Salivanth
      Salivanth
      Bronze
      Joined: 01.01.2011 Posts: 587
      Greetings! Haven't posted in a while due to waiting anxiously for FT news, but it now looks like it ain't coming back. Will still wait to deposit, because of the investor rumor. I decided to go ahead and buy 3 months of Silver today so I could learn short-handed NLHE and 5CD, and give those games a shot at the lowest limits.

      So I started with 5 Card Draw. It's an interesting game, very different to NLHE, and I think I'm going to enjoy learning it. I was 1-tabling today, trying to pick up the game. Here's what I learnt:


      Two-pair is nowhere near as good as I thought it was.

      Check-calling postdraw with two-pair seems the standard line at 10c/20c.

      I sorta suck at 5CD. Probably due to overvaluing my hands. Repeat several times: Two pair is an acceptable hand. Not a good one. It seems equal to about TPGK-TPNK in NLHE.

      No idea about straights/flushes yet: They would seem like the nuts, but what really stacks off with a straight or a flush? Would AAA be willing to cap postdraw? What about a low straight? I should probably have at least a Q-high straight if I'm willing to cap: QJT98 has 50% equity vs. AAA+.

      I need to re-read the 5 Card Draw articles, to find out 3-bet and capping ranges, and get experience + theory in postdraw situations. Apparently capping the pot with trips is standard, according to one of the example hands. So I guess I should 3-bet median hands according to the range of my opponent (assuming my own range against an unknown) and cap with trips. That's predraw down at least.

      I managed to lose about three bucks out of my meagre bankroll, but I'm okay with that, as I really don't care if I lose the whole 20 bucks. Ideally I'll keep it for a while though, because I don't want to deposit more money til I know if FT is coming back. So if I lose it all it's a brief enforced break from Poker.

      I'll have to read some of jb's blog to get more of an idea of how to play 5CD...but he's a self-proclaimed spewer so that might not go down well :P

      Thanks for reading!
    • jbpatzer
      jbpatzer
      Bronze
      Joined: 22.11.2009 Posts: 6,944
      Originally posted by Salivanth

      I'll have to read some of jb's blog to get more of an idea of how to play 5CD...but he's a self-proclaimed spewer so that might not go down well :P
      Hmmmmm. I'm trying to cut out the spew. Want to do a 5CD sweat session?
    • Salivanth
      Salivanth
      Bronze
      Joined: 01.01.2011 Posts: 587
      I'm new to 5CD, so it would be less a "Two people exchange ideas and decide how best to play a hand" session and more a "One person tells the other how much of a donk he is being" session. So basically, it's like your sessions with TwiceT but you get to be TwiceT :) I'm happy to do it of course, but you should know what you're getting into so you don't expect me to be able to elevate your game or anything. If you'd rather not do it due to that, I understand.

      I'm Salivanth on Skype if you're still interested, and it's Friday morning here in Australia, so I'm free basically all weekend unless I'm sleeping so we should be able to work out a time.
    • jbpatzer
      jbpatzer
      Bronze
      Joined: 22.11.2009 Posts: 6,944
      Originally posted by Salivanth
      I'm new to 5CD, so it would be less a "Two people exchange ideas and decide how best to play a hand" session and more a "One person tells the other how much of a donk he is being" session. So basically, it's like your sessions with TwiceT but you get to be TwiceT :) I'm happy to do it of course, but you should know what you're getting into so you don't expect me to be able to elevate your game or anything. If you'd rather not do it due to that, I understand.

      I'm Salivanth on Skype if you're still interested, and it's Friday morning here in Australia, so I'm free basically all weekend unless I'm sleeping so we should be able to work out a time.
      I've been playing 5CD for almost exactly one month, so I don't think I'm going to 'be TwiceT' any time soon.

      Australia? Hmmmmm. I forsee timezone difficulties. I'll talk to you on Skype later.
    • Salivanth
      Salivanth
      Bronze
      Joined: 01.01.2011 Posts: 587
      Originally posted by jbpatzer

      I've been playing 5CD for almost exactly one month, so I don't think I'm going to 'be TwiceT' any time soon.
      In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. :f_cool:
    • jbpatzer
      jbpatzer
      Bronze
      Joined: 22.11.2009 Posts: 6,944
      Originally posted by Salivanth
      Originally posted by jbpatzer

      I've been playing 5CD for almost exactly one month, so I don't think I'm going to 'be TwiceT' any time soon.
      In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. :f_cool:
      One squinting eye looking in the wrong direction, but point taken.
    • Salivanth
      Salivanth
      Bronze
      Joined: 01.01.2011 Posts: 587
      Played some SNG's and NL2 SH over the last few days. I'm really enjoying SH. It's quite a different game to FR, and I can really let loose and exercise my postflop muscles. Since it's NL2, I'm profiting pretty well. So over the last couple of days, I've been working on a decision. When I deposit some money, do I want to play SNG's, or cash games? So I went over the pros and cons. (Warning: Long post ahead!)

      SNG Pros:

      I know I can beat them for a decent ROI. 8-tabling sets, I can earn myself a buy-in every hour, or even better.

      I've grinded them before. I know I can put in good volume and make good money.

      SNG's can transition into MTT's later on, and I've always dreamed about a big score in a big MTT. Irrational I know, I should focus on ROI, but the dream dies hard.

      Obvious study. Study ICM, get better.

      SNG Cons:

      Hard to really improve. The only two areas I can see myself improving at is ICM and postflop play, which would involve playing cash games to improve postflop anyway. So my study would be playing cash games and going over ICM. Not exactly fun and exciting stuff.

      ICM itself. It's just memorisation. Pretty dull, though I can do it.

      Higher variance than cash games. Admittedly, I can deal with variance.

      Cash game pros:

      Exciting. Maybe it's just the new variant, but I really like SH. I can get involved in a lot of postflop hands. I miss that. I really do.

      Lots to learn. From the Concepts of the Week at 2+2 (I'm sure many of the concepts can apply to SH) to the large amount of articles at PS (I can't watch videos, unfortunately) it seems that cash games have a lot more literature and such about them, and the stuff to learn is more interesting than ICM. I'd much rather learn how to resteal than what range to shove when 5-handed in the CO with a short stack.

      Cash game cons:

      Might get bored. I got bored of cash before, though that was FR, whereas SH is far more dynamic.

      Lower $/hour. It makes sense that I'd make less money 4-tabling a game and limit I haven't played before than 8-tabling SNG's at a lower limit than the limit I was crushing on FT.

      In the end, I figured the cons I had for cash were all speculative, and I enjoy cash more right now. I'm at the micros: $/hour is not an important factor. Learning and fun is, and I can get more of both playing cash games. So when I get some advice on what site to play on from Marc (who is awesome btw) I shall deposit 150 bucks or so and start playing NL5. I'll have to make some sort of schedule, and slowly try to move my number of tables up. If any experienced SH grinders read this, what's a good number of tables to aim to be able to play near 100% of one's skill on at once? 8? 12?

      Sorry for the long post, and thanks for reading!
    • Salivanth
      Salivanth
      Bronze
      Joined: 01.01.2011 Posts: 587
      So, on the advice of MarcPS, I deposited 150 bucks on PartyPoker and began grinding. Dear lord, I forgot how horrific it is to play on a platform without having gone through the options beforehand and painstakingly turned things on and off. Yes, I am a snob. But once I was able to get the stupid "Congratulations" banner to go away (You get this every time you win a hand. I hope this crap attracts the fish!) and a myriad of other changes, I found it quite enjoyable. Even table selecting I got 4 tables rather quickly, and the players do seem very soft. Lots of limping, overbetting, and ignoring pot odds. Won a few big pots, lost a couple, and ended up $6.75 up after a little over an hour. Not bad.

      I would have liked to share a hand today, but I can't due to my internet sucking. Can't load the hand converter, and won't be able to for another week or so. So no hands for a while, unfortunately.

      When it comes to setting my goals at the start of next month, volume is gonna be less of a factor than study. I want to post plenty of hand evaluations and read plenty of cash game articles. The volume will take care of itself, though I will probably set a volume goal anyway. Maybe aim to get to 6 tables. Dunno yet.

      I could keep writing a lot more, but I've probably wrote enough already. I'm gonna head to bed. Hoping for another prosperous day tomorrow.

      Thanks for reading!