PhoenixPhreak

    • PhoenixPhreak
      PhoenixPhreak
      Bronze
      Joined: 15.04.2011 Posts: 335
      Hi all,
      I'm an American living in Hokkaido, Japan. I am from California originally, but am teaching English to mostly High School students now.

      I've played poker since college, though that only consisted of a couple random extremely cheap buy ins with friends. But after graduating in 2006 I've been much more infatuated with Poker. I've only ever deposited about $400 online (all on PokerStars), and the last time I deposited was at least 4 years ago. I have about $45 on PSs and have accepted that my current level (last 3 years) is relatively break-even.

      I've read most of the big poker books from Super System and Harrington on Hold'em to Small Stakes Holde'em and several others. When I play homegames with my friends I clean up, unless I'm drinking a lot. My friends usually encouraged me to do so, that way I didn't take all their (low buy-in ~$5 each) money.

      I love Vegas and have played numerous hours both in Vegas (always low low limits) and at LA casinos like Commerce and the Bike.

      Every year I get into a strong poker phase again and say I will really learn the game and become disciplined. I sometimes wonder if I just have had bad variance and that has kept me down, or if I really am too Attention Deficit to really be good. Anyways, I enjoy the game and am trying to at least make a small profit. A few bucks a month in consistent increase in my online accounts would be a huge ego boost.

      I currently have $45 on PS (as I said before).
      But I am more playing with the sites I have linked through Poker Strategy right now. Namely 888 poker, where I have about $11 (up from the free 8) and Poker 770, where I have $15 from the free $20 (I'll be getting another $10 per week for 3 weeks with the current promotion).
      Also, on FT I have $60 if that ever ever is freed up (this is from my original Poker Strategy $50 starting bankroll).

      I play Poker Stars on my MacBook, which also has PokerTracker3. But to easily play on 888 and 770, I am using an old Dell which is a bit slow but does the job enough.

      I am currently sticking closely to the MSS on this site and I learned about this course through a Coaching Session I watched last night.

      Sorry for all the info, whether too much or not enough. I'm looking forward to actually being part of a poker community. My friends who like poker only like it enough for at-home recreation (and they are all back home in America anyways). I'll be in Japan til at least July 2013, though I will be going home for the first time in two years this August for a 3 week vacation.

      Thanks again,
      PhoenixPhreak
  • 51 replies
    • William340
      William340
      Bronze
      Joined: 10.02.2012 Posts: 170
      welcome!

      what do your PT stats look like for vpip/pfr/AF/3B ?
      how many hands do you have in your database?

      you should pull some recent hands that you had trouble with and post them in the hand evaluation forum. you will get input from the expert hand judge as well as other community members (sometimes).

      very useful in looking over hands where you had a sizable loss to see where you went wrong, or in hands where you just didn't know what to do (like you got check-raised on the flop & folded, but weren't sure if you should have called)
    • PhoenixPhreak
      PhoenixPhreak
      Bronze
      Joined: 15.04.2011 Posts: 335
      Recently, since the beginning of May, I am at 2483 hands.
      For vpip/pfr/AF/3B my stats are:
      7.81/7.65/6.68/6.36

      Lifetime (recorded):
      99k
      16.78/11.78/3.57/6.45

      PokerStars is the only site that works well on my Mac. I only have Pokertracker for my Mac... Though I think I should try to move my history from the PC to the mac somehow for analysis...

      I am playing very strictly now on the MSS with 888poker, but I need to figure out how to get my hands to PokerTracker. As soon as I get those, I'll post a couple hands.

      I'll be trying to do the first homework/lesson tonight too.
    • veriz
      veriz
      Black
      Joined: 20.07.2008 Posts: 65,504
      Welcome to the Course and Best of Luck PhoenixPhreak,

      Nice story! How do you like Japan? Was it difficult to learn the language?

      One advice for you, try rather to learn the game not concentrate either you are running bad or not. I am pretty sure that most of the players who start with poker will not play very good game and to analyze their game for that they have to post hands and of course watch videos and read articles. Great that you started with this course, might help you out.

      Hopefully you will enjoy around here. If you have any questions don't hesitate to ask, we will be around for you. Meanwhile good luck on tables, we will be waiting for your homework.

      You can now start with your 1st Lesson:
      Lesson #1

      The whole course plan:
      Overview of Beginners Course

      Best Regards.
    • veriz
      veriz
      Black
      Joined: 20.07.2008 Posts: 65,504
      Oh, and forgot... about your stats.

      First part is pretty tight I'd say but the lifetime seems to be more realistic but maybe it's mixed with different variant?
    • PhoenixPhreak
      PhoenixPhreak
      Bronze
      Joined: 15.04.2011 Posts: 335
      Yeah, That first sample wasn't too big. And the lifetime was mixed over all games (limit and nl) and includes when I was playing seriously and loosely for fun. I am reevaluating now.

      I've finally learned how to do a review session. I know I should have been reviewing hands, but it was always too difficult seeming. But now I have reviewed my last few sessions. Seeing that I can ignore all the hands I folded, and the hands with blinds are pretty much the same, I can just concentrate on the hands I actually played. It is enlightening for sure! That said, I think a ridiculously clear (for dummies) article on how to review a database would be extremely helpful.

      My updated stats (for 888 poker only):
      for 949 hands
      9.06/8.96/9.00/7.08

      These are just for the hands I have been able to transfer to my Mac for review. It is just missing the first 3500 hands I played before getting PokerTracker on the PC too.

      About Japan, It is fun. I do enjoy it. My Japanese is okay, improving everyday, but very slowly. I realize I need to take advantage of my time here to get good at poker and hopefully build a roll before returning to the US. Hopefully by August 2013 there will be online poker back in the States!

      頑張ります!
    • PhoenixPhreak
      PhoenixPhreak
      Bronze
      Joined: 15.04.2011 Posts: 335
      Homework 1
      Question 1: What is your motivation for playing poker?

      I love games, especially strategy games. I enjoy the mental competition, and the gamble mixed in to poker is exciting. It is fun to put money out there in a big bet, hoping to be paid off. The anguish felt during a bluff is an amazing feeling too. But now, I want to win. It is a fun game, but with worth. I can't really make money playing Settlers of Cataan, or Hearts. Even the remote possibility of growing a large bankroll is motivating in itself.


      Question 2: What are your weaknesses when playing poker?

      I know that I am not disciplined. I enjoy the game, but I need to practice tight starting hands and really focus on the action at hand. I can get bored and want to waste time reading news or Facebook. More than anything I need to think through all the possible steps to take, and consider future actions as well.
      I used to feel tilted easier, but recently I have been much more passive and fine with the badbeats I occasionally get.
      I often play tired, due to a busy real life work schedule, so I should probably be more disciplined with sleep in general.
      I often know the correct decision to make, but like to justify making the wrong move (betting/calling when I shouldn't) chalking it up to psychology of knowing my opponent or some BS.

      Question 3: What does it mean to play tight aggressive?

      Tight aggressive means waiting for truly good hands and positive situations and getting the money in. It is understanding that KJs is not that great of a hand, even for drawing to. It is understanding that a passive 'correct odds' call, can still be quite painful when stack-size and other information isn't correctly considered.



      I feel I am finally implementing the knowledge I know. By using the training-wheels of the MidStackStrategy charts, I am forcing myself to get good ABC poker habits for that stack range. Though it will be much more important in my poker career to move on to BSS, this is a useful step in discipline and having a starting point for evaluating hands against unknown opponents in an average (no extra information) situation.
    • veriz
      veriz
      Black
      Joined: 20.07.2008 Posts: 65,504
      Welcome to the Course and Best of Luck. Good job! Homework #1 Done!

      I hope the same that US will allow online poker but I assume it will be between US players only as for example with Spanish/Italian people. Gonna also add some language into my list, planning to learn Spanish. I guess you know it already being from US? :D

      Discipline is common problem for a lot of players. Few things you could set up for yourself is that you can put a plan which you follow. How long sessions you have, when you play and not only about poker but could even set up some other schedule as well like doing some sports. But keep in mind that forcing yourself and getting used to the schedule is kind of must. At first it might be difficult but after time you adjust. :) The same goes for distractions what are common to happen when you ain't disciplined enough, try to remind yourself what you are doing on the table! Focusing enough is the key.

      Easiest way to fight against tilt is to set up stop-loss technique. Which means if you for example have lost more than 3BIs for a session then you just stop the session for some time. The BI amount is set up from your own results. Some may put it higher, some lower. Also after the stop you can spend some time with evaluation part to become better.

      Most of the weakness you wrote can easily be fixed by posting hands (analyzing your session). We will start writing feedback to your play. Usually negative feedback will put you into thinking phase and trying to fix all those leaks. It's almost the same as you lose money, you will remember it more than winning part. By this situation it's gonna be that negative feedback you gonna remember and try to avoid them next time.

      Tight style is usually called playing selected hands. Like following the Starting Hand Chart. Aggressive should be also pretty clear that already the word says how you should be playing. But the problem playing aggressively is that you have to watch that you don't play too aggressive. Find good spots, find good targets. About The tight-aggressive strategy you can read in this article: "What is the Big Stack Strategy?"

      Hopefully you will enjoy the Course.
    • PhoenixPhreak
      PhoenixPhreak
      Bronze
      Joined: 15.04.2011 Posts: 335
      First, I am working through the Homework 2 readings and videos. I'm hoping to do the real 'homework' part later today.

      I have been successful at 888poker and with 8677hands, I have made $23.74, or 6.26bb/100hands. I think some of this is definitely running good. But I am sticking tightly to the MSS and have started to play some .03/.06 ($6NL).

      I also have added together my accounts for PokerStars, 888, 770, and Party Poker. My current online bankroll (not counting FullTilt of course) is :s_cool: :P $137. I am playing $1+.10 6max Double Up SNGs at 770 to meet the qualifications for the free bonus. I have $10 coming next week to max out the free $50.

      Update on 888 Full Ring NL stats:
      Hands VPIP PFR AF 3B
      8677 8.63 8.33 7.21 6.76

      I'll post some hands later today plus answers for the HW Questions.
    • veriz
      veriz
      Black
      Joined: 20.07.2008 Posts: 65,504
      I will be waiting for your 2nd homework. Feels great when BR goes up? :) I am pretty sure that you are able to go even higher and maybe some day earn some nice extra salary. But till that concentrate on improving and getting your game better.
    • PhoenixPhreak
      PhoenixPhreak
      Bronze
      Joined: 15.04.2011 Posts: 335
      Current BR (all sites): $137

      Question 1: What do you think you could play differently than suggested in the BSS Starting Hands Chart and why? (Are there any hands you would play differently? Do you have a problem or question about how a specific hand or hands should be played?)

      I think it would be more appropriate to call it the BSS Starting Starting Hands Chart. But that is a bit more of a mouth full. But basically the starting hands chart is a way of looking at all starting hands and making a basic +EV decision. But it doesn't take into consideration many many other complexities of the game. Though it says to fold or call after certain raises, it doesn't take into consideration what size the raise is (except for the call20 of course). If someone minraises and 5 people call after that, some hands might be profitable still like Axs. With that much money in the pot it is a good chance to look for a solid flush.
      The chart also doesn't consider stack sizes, player tendencies and history, number of people that call ahead and so on.
      If, through using a HUD I know that a certain player is ridiculously rocky, I should open my range for blind stealing against them.

      Really, I could go on, but I will only if asked to.

      The most important thing I've learned recently now though is to NOT overthink these 'other' situations. Getting used to a strong ABC poker model is very important as a foundation and a place to go back to. It is very important when playing against unknowns, or when a player recognizes that their 'otherwise' judgement may be off. I really want to have a strong starting place that only diverges later down the line and for very specific thought-out reasons.

      Question 2: Do you have questions about your preflop play? Post your hand for evaluation. ( Post your hand in the Hand evaluation forums and provide a link to your hand in your private thread in the Locker Room.)

      NL2 MSS AK pf

      This is just a simple hand. I do hope to post a few more hands this week. Unfortunately for the MSS, it is relatively simple and I haven't had too many hands that seem extra complicated, (except for mis clicks and such, and I've already learned my lessons from those).

      Question 3: What is the equity of AKo against the top 5% range? 5% means 88+, AJs+, KQs, AKo. ( You can either calculate this yourself or use an equity calculator such as the PokerStrategy.com Equilab.)

      The equity, if I am entering it properly is 46-54.
      I am using Slice by ev++ to calculate this.
    • PhoenixPhreak
      PhoenixPhreak
      Bronze
      Joined: 15.04.2011 Posts: 335
      Current BR: $137

      I have been filling in some bus commuting time by playing 888 on my android phone. I decided I'd try .05/.10 and honestly felt the difference in blinds wasn't a big deal. But I varied from the Start Hand Chart because the player behind me was a complete nut as far as going in with nothing again and again (usually making the bizarre best hand). I lost two quick $3 buy ins, and it kinda tilted me a bit.
      It was a clear mistake to vary from the starting chart, especially since I didn't have position and had only mediocre cards. Also, until I really get my ABC game down, I shouldn't mess with those 'I can vary my play for X reason'.

      Lesson learned...
    • PhoenixPhreak
      PhoenixPhreak
      Bronze
      Joined: 15.04.2011 Posts: 335
      Current Bankroll: $144

      I have started playing .05/.10 and am becoming comfortable with it. I need to continue to ingrain the correct ABC rules for MSS, but I am becoming more confident in making these basic decisions.

      My 888 account has $38 so I am 'under-rolled' for this limit, but I am basing my limit level by my overall BR. If I drop below $20 on any site, I will play the lowest limit at that site.
    • veriz
      veriz
      Black
      Joined: 20.07.2008 Posts: 65,504
      Good job! Homework #2 Done!

      Your thoughts are very good and you are getting the understanding what for we can use the chart and even when we can ignore the chart. With time you will adjust to your own ranges anyways and you wont even be following the chart. For example starting from the stealing/isolating.

      Totally agree with you about the stealing ranges. Against specific opponents we adjust, either wider range or tighter range. Against some shorties you can even steal with smaller raise, for example 3xBB. But don't overdo the stealing situations. Sometimes you might just put yourself into too many difficult spots if opening with marginal hands. As for example stealing too many hands from SB and being out of position.

      About Question #3:

             Equity     Win     Tie
      UTG    46.32%  37.92%   8.41% { AKo }
      UTG+1  53.68%  45.27%   8.41% { 88+, AJs+, KQs, AKo }


      Seems like you having already some progress, keep going. :)

      Hopefully you enjoy the Course so far.
    • PhoenixPhreak
      PhoenixPhreak
      Bronze
      Joined: 15.04.2011 Posts: 335
      So, recently I have been very inconsistent. I must truly become a diligent student of the game. I like playing too much and get distracted from actually improving my game.
      I have continued to stay a break-even player, and a lot of that is from trying to follow good bankroll management, but I could also be much more careful.

      I have gotten a little bored with MidStackStrategy, so I've considered playing regular BSS, but I don't know if this is wise or not.

      My other recent 'revelation' is that I am a donk for trying to be a superhuman bluff catcher. I call down crazy large raises with good hands (that are clearly not great hands). This completely negates any/all good play and keeps me in the same place.

      Here is an example hand that I should really use to learn more discipline:
      Nl2 Tt

      I must remember that the fish will call me down with nothing, but agression USUALLY means they have the goods. I need to stop thinking everyone is bluffing. This is probably my biggest flaw as a player right now.

      Oh, and Current BR: $144.55
    • Tomaloc
      Tomaloc
      Bronze
      Joined: 17.01.2011 Posts: 6,858
      yeah that's the golden unwritten rule of micros.

      when they shove big $$$ into the pot, they ALWAYS have it, no matter how little sense it makes or how little they rep. :f_biggrin:
      i ignored this rule for today and as a result had a EV-breakeven day (actually i luckboxed and so winnings are tons above EV, but that should not be the point)
    • PhoenixPhreak
      PhoenixPhreak
      Bronze
      Joined: 15.04.2011 Posts: 335
      It's incredibly heartening to hear I'm not the only one doing this.
      What goes through your mind when you are in those situations? I feel like I need to automatically repeat in my head, "they aren't bluffing" x 20.
    • Tomaloc
      Tomaloc
      Bronze
      Joined: 17.01.2011 Posts: 6,858
      aha, some things like "they are only repping like 3 to 6 combos here" or "it's a 3bet pot" or "this makes no sense" or "he must he spazzing with a draw"... which ends up in "i call"

      so guess what - it doesn't matter. they DO have it. just believe them and fold.


      on the flip side of the coin, overbet shoving the river with the nuts is a move that i like a lot. :f_biggrin:
    • PhoenixPhreak
      PhoenixPhreak
      Bronze
      Joined: 15.04.2011 Posts: 335
      Here's another bad choice on my part:
      Hand Evaluation
    • veriz
      veriz
      Black
      Joined: 20.07.2008 Posts: 65,504
      One of the very common problems, people trying to do those bluff-catch-calls which are very likely to be rather losing hands. You can try to start calculating them and put on piece of paper and see how often you win or loose. I can guarantee you that you will be down. Try to always remind yourself that you ain't there to hero-call but rather bet for value! Don't be the sheriff on the table but rather be clever and abuse the bad players. ;) We don't want to win all the pots.