It's a start, how to continue? (long story)

    • ratje2000
      ratje2000
      Bronze
      Joined: 23.06.2010 Posts: 36
      Ok, so this is my first time posting on this forum, so I'm not really sure how to handle this, so I'm just going to try and explain my current situation as well as possible, and see what kinds of advice you guys have for me. Sorry if it's going to be a long story, but well, I figure you guys would get me better advice with the more you know, soo...

      I started playing poker as a 18 year old kiddo with no clue what he was doing whatsoever. Just the fun tables stuff. I played at Fulltiltpoker mostly. When I heard of PokerStrategy and it's $50 dollar quiz promotion, I was like: Yay, playing for real money!!!!! As you can guess, I never read any articles or whatsoever, and I lost it all in about 6 playing hours time. I kinda quit playing, and although I used to play poker with friends at school (and win nearly 90% of the time) for a few euro's, I didn't really do any more poker than that.

      Now, 2 years later, I receive e-mail from PokerStrategy that they were giving out another $50,- free play starting cash at 770 poker, providing me with the option of giving poker a second shot without investing any money in it. I got the first 10 free dollars, and basically, I lost them again within 2 days time. Still, I hadn't tried to learn anything from my mistakes. At this point, I decided that if I was to play poker, I was going to give it my best. I quit college last year (had nothing to do with poker) and am currently unemployed, so I have a lot of spare time on my hands atm. Although I'm not (yet?) looking to make poker my profession or whatsoever, I feel like it might be a nice little side income for a game I like to play anyways.

      I started reading strategy articles, watch video's, talking to well-earning pokerplayers I know in RL, and since yesterday, reading this forum for abit. I deposited €25,- euro to 770 poker, and started playing again, this time, better prepared. At start I would still slowly lose, and my bankroll dropped again, at the lowest point even to €6,30. But as I kept studying the game more, and testing out the strategies in the Bronze section of the guides, I started to raise my bankroll again. At this moment, my bankroll is back to €22,12 (which I'm quite proud of, considering it was a huge effort I made to study the game basics for about 12 hours a day the past week), and I'm very close to 2 more bonusses coming up (the first 5-dollar bonus for first depositors will fall free after just $4 more rake, and the second $10 dollar of my first 50 dollar deposit that will fall free in 2 days).

      So now that you guys know my background a bit, I'm here with €22,12 and I'm looking to improve that. I'm not looking back to my earlier losses, I'm merely looking to the future to see what I still can learn. I made enough strategy points to get to the Silver rank yesterday, so I will be trying to study the newly available strategy articles this and next week to further improve my game, but now I have a few questions that I decided to just throw in the deep and see if anyone's willing to read this entire story and give me some good advice.

      1. I made my way up from €6,30 back to €22,12 in a slow and steady way. Does this sound like I'm on the right way to becoming a poker player that might even make a little profit in the long run, or does this sound like I've just had a lucky upswing, and I'll lose it all soon enough again?

      2. The games I tend to play (and enjoy) most are NL cashgames $0,01/$0,02 on a full table, and Superturbo Double or Nothing SnG's $1,00+$0,10 with 6 players. I've been checking my cashtable history and tournament history, and done some calculations. I've played 27 of these Double or Nothing SnG's, winning 15 of them. Most of the time I was bigstack when ending the tourney as well. Although I've won more than 50% of these tourneys, the rake makes my final profit on these a mere $0,30 which is a rather little profit for playing 27 tourneys. It is a netto profit though. My cashgames-adventures are a little more complicated. They are which lost me my first 50 dollars, and 10 dollars, when I did not know anything at all about poker (I feel like not much's really changed to that either btw). Yet the past 2000 cashgame hands, I made my way back up from €6,30 to €22,12, with in my opinion steady and well-evaluated play. The real question is here: Which play should give me more future options? The SnG's which made me a netto profit, although small, or the cashgames that made me a netto loss so far, but I seem to be growing at it.

      3. How do I handle bankrollmanagement at cashgames, when I have such a low Bankroll? For example: When I was down to little over €8,- there was no brm strategy that would really work out for me, since there are minimum amounts of money you must play with. How would I go about with these situations best in the future?

      4. Am I investing too much time in poker? I am currently spending about 8 to 10 hours a day playing and studying poker, with an approximate rate of 2 hours playing = 1 hour studying. Since I'm currently unemployed and have no study/girlfriend to attend with, I figured I could spend more time on this, but do you guys think it's overkill?

      5. Since I've given you about as much information as I could about my history and plays, is there any other advice you would be able to provide me with? Anything might help. (But please don't bother telling me I was stupid for losing my 50+10 dollars so quickly by not knowing what I was doing. I have learned that lesson by now.)

      I'm really sorry for the long story, but I figured I would give as much info as possible so there's less you'd still need to ask me later on, making it easier for both myself and you guys.

      So yeah, thanks in advance.

      Ps: Please don't mind me if my English makes no sense sometimes, I'm not from an English-speaking country.
  • 14 replies
    • DrDunne
      DrDunne
      Bronze
      Joined: 29.12.2010 Posts: 3,338
      Hello ratje2000

      1. Its hard to say if you were just getting lucky. If you use tracking software like Holdem Manager or PokerTracker (which is definitely not necessary at nl2 [no-limit 2; cashgames where the buy-in is $2 - it's where you are at the moment]) then you will be able to see how many hands you've played. Typical sample sizes are around the 40,000 hand mark, however it's by no means a benchmark and EVERYONE is different. The best advice I can give you is to play, play and keep playing - don't worry about number of hands or winrate or even the cashier. If you play okay these things will look after themselves.

      2. Firstly, I suggest you pick one format to focus all of your study on. Cash games have their own complex dynamic which is fundamentally different to any tournament-type games. Many people climb the limits with SnGs or tourneys and others with cash - it's just down to personal preference. Tourneys have high statistical variance, so I prefer cash :D

      3. I suppose if you are still releasing bonuses then your bankroll is bigger than it looks - provided you are capable of putting in the time to release it. But if depositing isn't an option for you then I think you'll just have to take that risk. 25 stacks are recommended but I know a few coaches recommend even 30 stacks nowadays.

      4. It's good that you are studying that much. I was just like you this time last year. I didn't study, I spewed my $50 bonus, I genuinely sucked at poker. The hardest part was being truthful with myself and realising that I suck. After then I just spent most of my days studying and playing. Your outlook is good and the study you put in now will save you money in the future. And actually I'm unemployed with no study or girlfriend and I figured it's an awesome time for me to put in some effort with poker while I have the chance. As for it being overkill, what do you think? :D

      5. The bottom line is that poker is HARD! If it were an easy venture, don't you think many people would be making a killing from it? The point is that you will not make money from poker until you have climbed the stakes. If you manage to grind your way out of the micros, your bankroll will be big enough to cash out the odd few $$$ for spending or whatever. I've yet to reach that stage :( but basically, you are at the lowest limits to learn and make mistakes and grow as a player. Use it - don't move up! if you can't beat nl2 you won't beat nl4/5, you won't beat nl10 and you definitely won't beat nl25. You'll just go busto quicker! So learn low, make mistakes, become better, build your bankroll and shoot for the next limit......

      My advice is to learn No Limit BSS and to make a start with the No Limit Beginners course and to read and make notes as much as you can. The more time and effort you spend studying the more things will make sense. However, you will only really get a feel for the game (properly) by playing hundreds of thousands of hands - literally. Attend the coachings regularly, do that course, read the articles, play some poker, but most importantly - don't lie to yourself about your abilities. The second your ego gets in the way (maybe you're running hot and winning loads) your standard will drop and so willl your bankroll. Finally, start a blog in the blogging section! It will let you keep track of your progress and you might even get into some interesting discussions. Oh and don't be a stranger to the forums ;) there are many helpful people about.

      I guess that's as much as I can say!

      Good luck and I hope to see you around.
      Lewis.

      P.s. I can write long stories too!!
    • cufc37
      cufc37
      Bronze
      Joined: 06.04.2012 Posts: 129
      Well, have only really started playing properly in the last few months, so I'm not the best qualified out there, but I'll give you the opinions I've formed from the studying that I've done.

      1) I'm in the same position and it could be either! The best players in the world can lose over a small sample size, and it works the other way around, too! From what I've heard 100k hands is what you need to have played in order to have even a slight idea of how you are doing.

      I guess you don't have a tracking software like Poker Tracker or Holdem Manager (you can get a month trial of each), but these would help you to review your hands. In the meantime you should probably note down hand numbers as and when you are unsure and then after the session go and find it in your hand history and post it on the Hand Evaluation board, where the judges will tell you if you played it correctly or not. This will give you a much better indication of how your game is progressing than looking at whether you're up or down a few dollars over a couple of thousand hands.

      2) Play what you enjoy most. Pick one, study it and play it. Once you're good you can add new things to your game. I made the mistake of changing from SNGs to DoN SNGs to MSS to BSS, which has meant starting from scratch and learning a new game each time, which is time I could have spent getting much better at one of them. I personally don't find Double or Nothings very profitably because of the rake. In order to make any progress with them you either have to be really good or mass multitable them.

      3) I guess you can play the smallest SNGs with that bankroll, but rake at the micros is going to kill you unless you have enough of an edge. From what I've heard, 20% rake is beatable but very difficult for beginners. Although it goes a little against what I said above, you could try MSS for a while to build up your roll and then revert to BSS when you have more $. That would give you a couple more buy ins and shouldn't have quite as much variance as BSS.

      4) I think that depends on you as a person. The important thing is that the study time isn't wasted. By that I mean, if you've lost concentration or are too tired to take everything in then it's not time well spent. I guess if you take enough breaks and do something else for an hour or so then it could be ok.

      5) My one tip is to be really honest with yourself about tilt. I'm really good a telling myself I'm not on tilt, when I am in fact making a load of ridonkulous decisions and playing hands I shouldn't be playing. It's really annoying to spend a week building some profits and then see that you've wiped them off in a couple of hundred hands (damn you Zoom!). This kind of relates to the last question...if you're tired or frustrated or just not 100% then your game and your bankroll suffers. Probably obvious, but I think many of us do it and regret it afterwards and it's something you can ill-afford with your bankroll at the moment!

      That's the best I can do. I'm sure others will be able to offer more or better advice.

      Anyways, good luck at the tables and hope to hear at some point in the near future that you've got your bankroll up and out of the danger zone!


      Ps: Please don't mind me if my English makes no sense sometimes, I'm not from an English-speaking country.


      Nothing to mind! Your English is really good mate!
    • cufc37
      cufc37
      Bronze
      Joined: 06.04.2012 Posts: 129
      P.s. I can write long stories too!!


      Looks like I can too...but you can write yours faster! :D
    • ratje2000
      ratje2000
      Bronze
      Joined: 23.06.2010 Posts: 36
      Hello Lewis,

      First of all thank you for taking the time to read my post and come up with such a long reply as well. I appreciate the time you're taking to help me. I'll just keep going step-wise like you did in your reply:

      1. I am not yet using any tracking software. So far the only software (except for the Poker Room software of course) I've used is ICM trainer, used at full random mode. Spent 2 hours training on it, and my average of correct answers there has improved in these 2 hours from 86 percent to 92 percent, so I'll be sure to keep using it until I average no less than a 100% there. As for a 40.000 hand mark, geez I must say I've barely played 5000 hands since I restarted :( . Oh well, I guess that shouldn't concern me. I will keep playing as long as my bankroll doesn't say €0,00 and I intend to not let it say that at all.

      2. I can't really seem to make out which suits me best. Currently, I'm studying all material about the Cashgames SSS/MSS thoroughly, so perhaps I should stick to that for a while. In think I'm just worried I might fall back into my old habit of losing everything in a few hours time :f_frown:

      3. Hmm, I never thought of seeing my bonusses as bankroll as well. Not really sure if it's a good idea to do so either, but that's another story. You're right, I guess I'll just have to take that risk, since depositing is indeed not an option to me.

      4. Point taken! :f_biggrin:

      5. I never came here thinking poker was easy. I did come here thinking poker is fun, and every euro I make out of it is pure hobby profit. I'm not planning to move up the stakes in the near future. I know that with the stakes, the experience of my opponents grow as well, and I am realistic enough to know that I am nowhere near ready for that.

      Playing hundreds of thousands of hands sounds somewhat funny to me, considering I've probably not played 10.000 hands in my life :tongue: . But yeah, I know it's gonna take some effort and time to get there. About attending coachings, there's a little problem though. It seems like there's never any coachings on the poker room I'm using? Or at least, I haven't seen one so far. Might be just coïncidence of course.

      but most importantly - don't lie to yourself about your abilities.


      Hehe, I read this quote recently that seems applicable here:

      "Besides lovemaking and singing in the shower, men's biggest delusional ability is poker."

      As for making a blog, I'm not really sure if I should do that already, considering I've been playing for such a short amount of time. Who would want to read about a newb playing NL2 games with a horribly low stack, with barely any experience? =)

      Either way, thank you loads for your response!


      Jeroen
    • ratje2000
      ratje2000
      Bronze
      Joined: 23.06.2010 Posts: 36
      Hmm, seems like another reply came while I was writing. Gonna read that now, and reply after I've had some breakfast :D
    • DrDunne
      DrDunne
      Bronze
      Joined: 29.12.2010 Posts: 3,338
      :D good point cufc37 - MSS is great for starting out imo. when i told myself i started fresh last year i printed out all the MSS articles, read them and then played a few tables with the MSS charts at hand. i just played according to them and didn't deviate and that was the first time i saw my graph going up over a (small) sample. it felt so good to see my graph actually going up for once.

      raatje2000 i meant to say about your br, if it's that small then check out the MSS. its surprisingly simple and it will really teach you about how "tight is right". just make sure you use the auto-topup to the required 40big blinds!!!

      strategies change drastically according to stack sizes and a 100bb stack (BSS) is a lot different to 40bb (MSS). but MSS will give you the chance to get a feel for tight play preflop and a basic understanding of why position is important.

      about the coachings, it doesn't matter if it's not on a room you play on. basically you click the button to join and you get a pop up. in the popup you will hear the coach speaking and you will be able to write instant messages to the coach and to the other users. you can ask direct coach questions, answer his questions, and discuss the material with others. they last about 1-2 hours. most of the time there will be use of software called 'join-me', which allows remote viewing of the coach's desktop and you can watch him play. so basically, you watch him play on the site and he will be talking about the different situations you get into. coachings are really interesting and i definitely recommend them! the coachings that are on tomorrow with veriz will be very good for you as a beginner!

      and yeah, sample sizes are one of the least understood concepts of beginning players. often people create new threads posting a graph or complaining about losing over like 10k hands and they don't really get taken seriously purely because the sample sizes are just too small. so don't go thinking you suck at poker if you lose over 10k hands - and dont go thinking you're god if you win over 10k :D just play your game :)
    • ratje2000
      ratje2000
      Bronze
      Joined: 23.06.2010 Posts: 36
      Originally posted by cufc37
      Well, have only really started playing properly in the last few months, so I'm not the best qualified out there, but I'll give you the opinions I've formed from the studying that I've done.
      Any advise will help, and if it is nonsense, I'm sure someone else will reply telling you it is. :)

      Originally posted by cufc37
      1) I'm in the same position and it could be either! The best players in the world can lose over a small sample size, and it works the other way around, too! From what I've heard 100k hands is what you need to have played in order to have even a slight idea of how you are doing.
      Yeah well, I think I'll go with the advice of DrDunne and not worry about bankroll, profit rates, etc, but just focus on my play.

      Originally posted by cufc37
      I guess you don't have a tracking software like Poker Tracker or Holdem Manager (you can get a month trial of each), but these would help you to review your hands. In the meantime you should probably note down hand numbers as and when you are unsure and then after the session go and find it in your hand history and post it on the Hand Evaluation board, where the judges will tell you if you played it correctly or not. This will give you a much better indication of how your game is progressing than looking at whether you're up or down a few dollars over a couple of thousand hands.
      Yeah, I found a problem with that. There was a hand which I wanted to see reviewed. So I went to the cashier, to find that I could only look back to the last hand on that table. All other hands give me no information, basically saying the hand was never played, $0,00 was played in that hand, and nobody got dealt cards. Very odd. You guessed correctly that I'm not using any tracking software (nor would I know how to use it to my advantage). I'd love to hear how I solve the problem with my hand-review though!

      Originally posted by cufc37
      2) Play what you enjoy most. Pick one, study it and play it. Once you're good you can add new things to your game. I made the mistake of changing from SNGs to DoN SNGs to MSS to BSS, which has meant starting from scratch and learning a new game each time, which is time I could have spent getting much better at one of them. I personally don't find Double or Nothings very profitably because of the rake. In order to make any progress with them you either have to be really good or mass multitable them.
      I suppose I'd better drop on the Double or Nothing's then, and focus on the cashgames. I think I've made up my mind on that.

      Originally posted by cufc37
      3) I guess you can play the smallest SNGs with that bankroll, but rake at the micros is going to kill you unless you have enough of an edge. From what I've heard, 20% rake is beatable but very difficult for beginners. Although it goes a little against what I said above, you could try MSS for a while to build up your roll and then revert to BSS when you have more $. That would give you a couple more buy ins and shouldn't have quite as much variance as BSS.
      I've seen some strategy articles about switching from MSS/SSS to BSS so I suppose that should be do-able. Sounds like good advice. I've been MSS'ing up to now and I've preferred it up to now as well.

      Originally posted by cufc37
      4) I think that depends on you as a person. The important thing is that the study time isn't wasted. By that I mean, if you've lost concentration or are too tired to take everything in then it's not time well spent. I guess if you take enough breaks and do something else for an hour or so then it could be ok.
      No worries, I can't focus for longer than 1.5 hours, so I take more than enough breaks. Besides, a man's gotta eat from time to time (or a bit more often than that :D )

      Originally posted by cufc37
      5) My one tip is to be really honest with yourself about tilt. I'm really good a telling myself I'm not on tilt, when I am in fact making a load of ridonkulous decisions and playing hands I shouldn't be playing. It's really annoying to spend a week building some profits and then see that you've wiped them off in a couple of hundred hands (damn you Zoom!). This kind of relates to the last question...if you're tired or frustrated or just not 100% then your game and your bankroll suffers. Probably obvious, but I think many of us do it and regret it afterwards and it's something you can ill-afford with your bankroll at the moment!
      Yes, i've seen the results of tilt in the past. A friend who deposited $100 dollar, played for over 2 years and made that into $6500 dollar, yet then lost it all in 1 night of tilting...

      Originally posted by cufc37
      That's the best I can do. I'm sure others will be able to offer more or better advice.

      Anyways, good luck at the tables and hope to hear at some point in the near future that you've got your bankroll up and out of the danger zone!
      Thank you very much, I hope to be able to let you hear such news as well! =)

      Originally posted by cufc37
      Ps: Please don't mind me if my English makes no sense sometimes, I'm not from an English-speaking country.


      Nothing to mind! Your English is really good mate!
      Thank you!
    • cufc37
      cufc37
      Bronze
      Joined: 06.04.2012 Posts: 129
      Yeah, I found a problem with that. There was a hand which I wanted to see reviewed. So I went to the cashier, to find that I could only look back to the last hand on that table. All other hands give me no information, basically saying the hand was never played, $0,00 was played in that hand, and nobody got dealt cards. Very odd. You guessed correctly that I'm not using any tracking software (nor would I know how to use it to my advantage). I'd love to hear how I solve the problem with my hand-review though!


      On Poker 770, go to Settings/System and then tick the 'Store hands locally' option. This should them store them in the C:/ Poker/Poker 770/History folders by default.

      Dr Dunne's advice is definitely good! Especially the part about ego...sometimes I'm like 'how dare he donk bet me? that's play makes no sense and it's definitely not worthy of knocking me off my good starting hand, I'll call him and push him off his hand on the turn!' Turns out that almost never works and when I think about it, I realise that I've called with very little equity and have to fold. Who was the fish in that hand? Not saying that you do this, but sometimes it is an issue for me, so thought I'd highlight it in case.

      Dr Dunne was also right when he said you should start a blog...am sure it would make very interesting reading...I'd definitely read!

      By the way, where are you from?
    • DrDunne
      DrDunne
      Bronze
      Joined: 29.12.2010 Posts: 3,338
      yeah, there arent many blogs started by people who are as new as you. so it would be good to see the development :) i'd read! im sure others would too.
    • ratje2000
      ratje2000
      Bronze
      Joined: 23.06.2010 Posts: 36
      Originally posted by cufc37
      Yeah, I found a problem with that. There was a hand which I wanted to see reviewed. So I went to the cashier, to find that I could only look back to the last hand on that table. All other hands give me no information, basically saying the hand was never played, $0,00 was played in that hand, and nobody got dealt cards. Very odd. You guessed correctly that I'm not using any tracking software (nor would I know how to use it to my advantage). I'd love to hear how I solve the problem with my hand-review though!


      On Poker 770, go to Settings/System and then tick the 'Store hands locally' option. This should them store them in the C:/ Poker/Poker 770/History folders by default.

      Dr Dunne's advice is definitely good! Especially the part about ego...sometimes I'm like 'how dare he donk bet me? that's play makes no sense and it's definitely not worthy of knocking me off my good starting hand, I'll call him and push him off his hand on the turn!' Turns out that almost never works and when I think about it, I realise that I've called with very little equity and have to fold. Who was the fish in that hand? Not saying that you do this, but sometimes it is an issue for me, so thought I'd highlight it in case.

      Dr Dunne was also right when he said you should start a blog...am sure it would make very interesting reading...I'd definitely read!

      By the way, where are you from?
      I'm proud to call myself a Dutchy :s_cool:

      Anyways, as for the Store hands locally: That's some great advice! Although I do wonder why it saves all the last hands I played on a table, but not any other hands. I've contacter their online support, and on their advice I've contacted technical support, so I have good hopes they'll come with a solution as well. For now I'll try your solution!

      I guess I'ma start a blog then, when I find the time (shouldn't worry, plenty time on my hands :D ). But curse you if you won't read!!! :tongue:
      I must say that so far I haven't faced any ego-problems yet. But I guess, since I haven't been playing for that long, that doesn't say all that much at all.

      Thank you for your reply!
    • cufc37
      cufc37
      Bronze
      Joined: 06.04.2012 Posts: 129
      Graag gedaan!

      I guess I'ma start a blog then, when I find the time (shouldn't worry, plenty time on my hands ). But curse you if you won't read!!!


      No curses necessary...will keep my eye out for it!

      In the meantime, best of luck!
    • ratje2000
      ratje2000
      Bronze
      Joined: 23.06.2010 Posts: 36
      Originally posted by cufc37
      Graag gedaan!
      Yikes, a Dutchylander? :f_eek:

      Anyways, the past 8 all-in's were all bad beats, where in every occasion I was ahead in statistics, except for that one time I thought I had the nut full house but ran into quads. So basically, my bankroll is back down to 17,32 euro's. It's a nice thought to not worry about bankroll or profit rates, but I find it to be rather hard when losing 25% of my bankroll in less than an hour time :(

      Don't think I'm tilting or anything, but just in case I'ma take a little break, perhaps start that blog of yours :tongue:
    • cufc37
      cufc37
      Bronze
      Joined: 06.04.2012 Posts: 129
      No mate, I'm English, but spent a year at uni in Amsterdam! Good times!

      Good idea taking the break! Better safe than sorry. For me it's also impossible to not worry about the bankroll (especially when reloading isn't an option). It's easy to say don't do it, but that's another major part of poker. Mentally it's very difficult.

      Most of us know that it's possible to lose over a a small sample size and still be a good player. The hardest thing (I still haven't overcome it) is to put this thinking into practice and not get concerned about potentially being crap whenever the balance in the cashier is going in the wrong direction. The important thing is that when you're at the table that you make the right decisions without fear for the bankroll.

      I think you're wise is choosing the MSS, because if you're following the charts, at least you know you're playing profitably, even if it's not max. EV.
    • ratje2000
      ratje2000
      Bronze
      Joined: 23.06.2010 Posts: 36
      Thank you very much for your advice.

      Also: Amsterdam, beautiful place to study. <3