Paul's Micro Stakes Cash Adventure

    • pauln
      pauln
      Bronze
      Joined: 15.03.2010 Posts: 191
      Hi all,

      I'm Paul, I'm 23 and from the UK.

      I started playing poker in 2010 whilst at university. Playing in the weekly university league really inspired me to study poker. I started playing 3-4 nights a week at various pubs around the city, applying what I was studying and becoming more solid. Although much of the opposition were fishy, it taught me valuable lessons on dealing with ridiculous aggression and being patient. The most important skill I gained from it is being 99.9% immune to tilt.

      Up until this point my goal has always been to break even but learn as much as possible. I originally started playing poker for the intellectual stimulation rather than the $, whilst this is still definitely a factor, I want to start showing some return for the time I'm putting into poker.

      Until late 2014 I played SNGs and got up to the $7 level. I met loads of great people and enjoyed SNGs but eventually needed something different and switched to cash.

      Time for some new goals

      Long Term Poker Goals

      :club: Firm up my 6 max fundamentals. Get to NL10

      :club: Meet some 6 max cash players.

      :club: Become a poker coach - I have been coaching multiple SNG players for the last couple of months. I find the process improves my own game and I find the experience very rewarding. I'd like to offer basic SNG coaching and move over to cash coaching when I have the knowledge. Eventually I'd like to do this publicly along side playing.

      I am balancing poker alongside starting a business as a freelance web consultant/designer.
      I am an aspiring musician and producer.
      I am in the first stages of becoming a football coach with the dream goal of becoming a manager.


      Thanks for reading. Tips and constructive criticism are always welcome and never taken the wrong way. Also if anyone wants to chat poker, feel free to add me on here and we can exchange contact details.

      Thanks :)
  • 176 replies
    • ratje2000
      ratje2000
      Bronze
      Joined: 23.06.2010 Posts: 36
      Good luck on your pokey journey. I'm a pretty new player at this site myself, and looking to improve myself mostly. I will be following this blog to see how you develop yourself as a player. Good luck at the tables!
    • Salivanth
      Salivanth
      Bronze
      Joined: 01.01.2011 Posts: 587
      Biggest piece of advice: Check the rake. For the love of all that is holy if you are religious, or all that is good if you are not, check the rake on those SNG's. If it's 20%+, just withdraw if you can and go to another site. Many sites have TERRIBLE rake for the lowest limit of SNG's.
    • pauln
      pauln
      Bronze
      Joined: 15.03.2010 Posts: 191
      Originally posted by Salivanth
      Biggest piece of advice: Check the rake. For the love of all that is holy if you are religious, or all that is good if you are not, check the rake on those SNG's. If it's 20%+, just withdraw if you can and go to another site. Many sites have TERRIBLE rake for the lowest limit of SNG's.
      Thanks for this, I did a quick comparison of the sites i've played before at $1 and comparative buyins.

      Pokerstars $1.29+0.21 - rake = 14%
      Party $0.85+0.15 - rake = 15%
      Titan $1+0.20 - rake = 16.7%

      Out of interest, would most people look at $1+0.20 as 20% rake or 16.7% rake. Not particularly important as long as you're consistent when comparing I guess.

      I'm playing party at the moment 35% through unlocking my $20 starting capital from this site.. at this rate I should have it unlocked by the end of the week.

      I suppose my first goal should be to move up to a level with less rake.. party has a silly jump from $1 to $3 and i'm not sure whether the rake % actually decreases. If anyone knows any $2 SNGs with under 15% rake.. do let me know. As it stands I'll either be jumping up to $3 on party or $3.50 on stars when my BR allows it. This is not a short time goal however as I suspect grinding to $300-350 is going to be a mighty struggle.
    • ratje2000
      ratje2000
      Bronze
      Joined: 23.06.2010 Posts: 36
      Out of interest, would most people look at $1+0.20 as 20% rake or 16.7% rake. Not particularly important as long as you're consistent when comparing I guess.
      This is 20% rake. You see which percentage it is from the original buy-in (being $1)

      100%
      20% +
      120%

      100 = Buy in.
      20 = Rake
      120 = total amount you pay. I think this should make it clear.
    • pauln
      pauln
      Bronze
      Joined: 15.03.2010 Posts: 191
      Originally posted by ratje2000
      Out of interest, would most people look at $1+0.20 as 20% rake or 16.7% rake. Not particularly important as long as you're consistent when comparing I guess.
      This is 20% rake. You see which percentage it is from the original buy-in (being $1)

      100%
      20% +
      120%

      100 = Buy in.
      20 = Rake
      120 = total amount you pay. I think this should make it clear.
      Yeah, I looked into this a bit more and apparently people see it either way.. depending on whether you look at it as a 120 buyin of which 20 is rake, or 100 buyin + 20 rake.. it doesn't matter hugely.. i'll use the latter for ease.


      On an entirely different note.. I've noticed a strange result so far, HEM2 shows me as being -$EV whenever I have +Net Winnings on a tournament and +$EV whenever I am -Net Winnings on a tournament there are only 3 (4.9%) exceptions where i'm both +$EV and +Net Winnings on a tournament. Could anyone explain this to me other than coincidence?
    • Salivanth
      Salivanth
      Bronze
      Joined: 01.01.2011 Posts: 587
      Seems coincidence to me: I can't imagine why this would be the case over a larger sample.
    • muumionu
      muumionu
      Bronze
      Joined: 25.07.2012 Posts: 816
      good luck with your poker adventures :)
    • pauln
      pauln
      Bronze
      Joined: 15.03.2010 Posts: 191
      Firstly I want to say thanks for all the support so far.

      Here's my graph for today.. i'm pretty much breaking even, it's quite frustrating but I'm ITM 37.7% of the time and this is a number I think I can improve.



      After reviewing some sessions I realised that I'm losing a lot of money when in the big/small blinds, getting unstuck by some of my opponents low VPIP%. With the amount of multiway pots at this level, i'm learning to pick the spots to get into such hands.

      I've also learnt to pass on opportunities with bad multiway hands even when I have immediate pot odds. My reasoning being that until I can get more comfortable with my ranging at this level, I'm giving myself very bad reverse implied odds, potentially winning a little but potentially losing a lot. I'd appreciate some opinions on this as I'm aware there's a lot of potential value I'm missing out by not getting into much post flop action with high VPIP players.

      Time for some goals:

      Short Term Goals:

      :heart: Clear the points to unlock the starting capital and start work on the next $30 plus deposit bonus

      :heart: Maintain my rate of 5 game per day per table (at the moment, I'm 4 tabling so I'm doing 20 games a day average).

      :heart: Start getting comfortable with 5 and then 6 tables

      :heart: Meet some people to share hands with and do some group sessions via skype.


      Long Term Goals:

      :diamond: Build my bankroll up enough to move to either $2's or $3s

      :diamond: Start playing MTTs at weekends with enough BR to support it
    • pauln
      pauln
      Bronze
      Joined: 15.03.2010 Posts: 191
      A low volume day, only played 9 games and wasn't a particularly good session.
      Went to a local pub for some more relaxing poker in my new city. I was expecting a standard league deal with a £1-2 fee to play.. (perfectly reasonable for a good nights entertainment) instead it was a £5 buyin with £2 fee.. not cool when this comes from bankroll and i'm looking to help my girlfriend improve at poker (in part so that living in a room with me playing and talking about poker won't entirely resemble living hell for her).

      Spent more time reading up instead, have finished reading the theory of poker, about to start reading moshman. If anyone has any suggestions for me would be appreciated, I'll put up a graph tomorrow with some significant volume.
    • pauln
      pauln
      Bronze
      Joined: 15.03.2010 Posts: 191
      I took a couple days out from playing poker to read more.
      I was having a mini slump playing turbos and decided to do some analysis of why I was finishing where I was. I found I had a healthy ITM% but a very large proportion of 3rd places to 1st/2nd places. I then started looking into games where I came 3rd and found myself sneaking into 3rd place with very little chips 80% of the time.

      Partypoker turbo blinds always felt fast but I had no idea it was that fast. I decided to play some regular SNGs and the results were astonishing. Now I'm aware that I don't have a big enough sample size to come to any long term conclusions, but as soon as I started playing them my ROI shot up (we're talking about me doing around 3-4% on turbos to 65% on regulars). I've played 20 regular SNGs and my ITM% is 65%, again this is too early to draw any statistical conclusions but there are 4 main direct factors allowing me to succeed in regulars where I couldn't in turbos.

      :diamond: Waaaay fishier - 1$ turbos on partypoker being weak is a myth. There are large numbers of players with a good understanding of ICM and plenty of regulars with very good yearly earnings. (via various poker ranking websites).

      :diamond: The terrible players (playing on a saturday during prime time, most tables were comprised of 50% gamblers/calling stations, 30% nits, 20% decent TAG'ers). Pushing each other all in way before any substantial blind pressure.

      :diamond: More hand data on people at the bubble - I was really able to exploit people based on their data, I've simply not had many opportunities to do so to such a degree on turbos.

      :diamond: Way more opportunities to outplay opponents postflop - Very rarely had to react to a steal when in the big/small blind and therefore got a tonne of post flop action and was therefore able to build a low risk stack without having to rely on coinflip races at the bubble due to being a shortstack.


      Again I'm aware this is very early days, however the fundemental differences support the statistical increase (albeit not to the extent of the increase) and I'm really enjoying playing poker again.

    • gordy1957
      gordy1957
      Bronze
      Joined: 01.04.2010 Posts: 325
      Hi Paul,welcome to the blogs.
      As far the +/- EV on HEM it is because you either win or lose 100% of a pot.but your equity is never that high or low,so if you win a pot when you have 80% your $EV will show -20% of the pot and if you lose a pot when you have 20% the column will show +20% of the pot.
      Good luck at the tables.
      Gordy
    • sirilidion
      sirilidion
      Gold
      Joined: 15.04.2008 Posts: 1,648
      It is buy-in + rake so you need to put buy-in as 100 %. So $ 1 + 0.2 is 20 % of the buy-in as rake

      $ 0.85 + 0.15 = 17.64 % rake

      $ 1.29 + 0.21 = 16.27 % rake

      So looking at rake your better of at pokerstars but, I wouldn't worry to much these games are still easily beatable even with the high rake ;)
    • pauln
      pauln
      Bronze
      Joined: 15.03.2010 Posts: 191
      Originally posted by gordy1957
      Hi Paul,welcome to the blogs.
      As far the +/- EV on HEM it is because you either win or lose 100% of a pot.but your equity is never that high or low,so if you win a pot when you have 80% your $EV will show -20% of the pot and if you lose a pot when you have 20% the column will show +20% of the pot.
      Good luck at the tables.
      Gordy
      Thanks!

      This makes a lot of sense, I guess the use of it is to project a kind of midway trend allowing one to attempt to see through small sample upswings and downswings.

      I've also had an issue with the luck adjusted winnings line on the net winnings chart, historical datapoints seem to change over time (ie the data point on 3.8.2012 may be -4$ then, but this can change when you view it at a later date). At one point it was at -40$ which made no sense to me as I hadn't even played 40x 1$ games by the point it was showing it at. Now at the same date it shows it at something like -4$ so I don't know what to think. (I'm doing a bad job explaining this, but it's quite a strange problem).

      I'll have another update in the next couple of days when I've had a few more sessions.
    • pauln
      pauln
      Bronze
      Joined: 15.03.2010 Posts: 191
      A quick update from me, less playing recently and more studying. I've worked a lot learning and analysing my post flop game, being much more aggressive postflop but getting better at getting out before I lose much (small ball-esque).

      I've looked at the combined results of my play so far first for turbo and then regular. Despite showing some consistent bad luck on both, I'd be at just over 7% ROI without rake (at $EV i'd be 17.8% ROI). The sample size isn't big enough (~150 games) to draw any conclusion to my actual ROI but I wanted to explore some options for getting out of these partypoker 1$s. I've read a lot of people complaining about them (not just due to the high rake). Just from a rake perspective, would the playing level really increase a huge deal from $1 to $3 (there are no $2 SNGs at party unfortunately).

      A decrease of 15% rake to 10% rake would be substantial, however my bankroll is currently only enough for 50x $3 buyins..

      Should I:

      A: Continue playing $1s to build up enough bankroll.
      B: Move up to $3s disregarding BR but profiting from the smaller rake.
      C: Move up to $3s, perhaps playing until bankroll is reduced to $100 and then switch back to $1s to rebuild bankroll.. a kind of hybrid BR management.
      D: Learn to adapt to ring games.
      E: Get a full time job and stop being a difficult little s**t.

      All opinions welcome.
    • sirilidion
      sirilidion
      Gold
      Joined: 15.04.2008 Posts: 1,648
      I would go with C at least if losing that $ 50 if you hit a downswing woudn't effect you too much. If it does stick to the $ 1 for now till you have the 50 bi's to move up. Also getting a job at least on the side isn't the worse thing. You probably won't make the amount you can at a normal job for quite some time and you can always play when your not working. It would probably even make bad result in poker less stressful as you have some solid funds you know you can rely on.
    • pauln
      pauln
      Bronze
      Joined: 15.03.2010 Posts: 191
      An update:



      I'm going to try and move up to $3s tomorrow (I'll have just over 50 buyins).

      I've been playing MTTs on titan the last day or two, taking a break from the grind.

      I have a learning goal at the moment to get really accurate at converting VP$IP% and PFR% to actual ranges I can remember.

      I do a lot of thinking about poker and was wondering if anyone could either answer or point me in the right direction for some of these things:

      Microstakes players are more irrational on average than players on higher stakes. There are a lot of irrational concepts (particularly mathematically related concepts) that don't seem to be accounted for as far in writing on poker strategy. In particular the huge gap between PFR% and All In% amongst fishy players. Whilst it's incorrect to call a certain range in a certain position at a certain SBR, that doesn't necessarily take into account that the range of someone raising and shoving are completely detached (bad example maybe, but assume any statement that relies on PFR% as a rational linear scale).

      Another related issue is with any range deduced stat such as VP$IP or PFR). A selection of cards can only be determined from a statistic like VP$IP or PFR on the basis that the player is intimately aware of relative hand rankings (I don't believe many players at micro levels are). For example, a player may include in their range A5o but not Q9s against multiple opponents. In order for us to draw accurate and reasonably precise conclusions from these statistics, the conditions of the statistics need to be satisfied and at microlimits I don't believe they are much of the time. Imagine a hypothetical player that completely misunderstood the rules of poker, they only play 32o-T2o, 43o-93o. 74o-94o and will raise with 32o-82o, they are VP$IP:15% PFR:5%. This is a extreme hypothetical example, but it shows that there is no inherit native value to your PFR% being the best X% of cards unless you are aware of the comparative hand rankings. Perhaps this is largely academic, I'm not sure.

      A completely separate issue is raising on the flop out of position. I see lots of mentions on the merits of having position on your opponent and the merits of c-betting.
      Something I have experienced that I've not yet seen well documented, are the merits of an earlier position than that of your opponent.
      Now I understand the benefits of having positions and that in general I'd prefer to have position, but in some cases I believe there are some pros to earlier position. Knowing the majority of the time the flop misses an opponent in a two way pot, this can make an out of position raise very profitable (at the stakes I'm playing at anyway). Obviously when playing against a tight opponent this isn't a good idea on a flop like KQ5 but even on a single broadway flop, there's still a large chance the opponent misses. Even if the opponent hits, the immediate aggression at them results either in a re raise (or later substantial aggression) or at the very least a slight slowing down in the aggression, allowing you to draw to a better hand usually getting to see a free or cheap card on the river, possibly a bluff. That's not to say this should be done all the time and pot control is vitally important, but I've not seen much written about the advantage of early position to seize the initiative on aggression (masked by the fact that people understand later position is better than therefore pay more respect to aggression from early positions).

      A lot of text. sorry about that. If anyone can point me towards anything or suggest anything I'd love to here it. On the other hand please feel free to inform me if I'm talking shi*t, I'd be as interested to understand why that is :)
    • Jimanyjerk
      Jimanyjerk
      Bronze
      Joined: 29.12.2010 Posts: 366
      Hello Pauln,

      I'm playing SNG and I saw you were interested in a skype study group earlier. The OP obviously died or went into a coma but I'm trying to see if there is still some residual interest in a group.

      I'm putting in some serious volume (for a fish) and I'd enjoy having the opportunity to sweat/discuss hands available.

      Also, following your blog. Hope I see some updates!
    • pauln
      pauln
      Bronze
      Joined: 15.03.2010 Posts: 191
      So i've not posted here for a while. I took a break and also played a fair bit of cash games. Didn't go terribly but there's something about the changing of gears in SNGs that i really missed. I actually found myself missing ICM based decisions.

      I've gotten back to playing 1$ SNGs on party and I'm enjoying it.



      I'm running above EV (although it really doesn't feel like it) at 10.5% ROI.
      My bonus is about to expire so I'm considering moving to another site. Issue is finding somewhere (other than pokerstars, titan, williamhill) that runs regular blind SNGs with low rake (15%>) with decent volume...

      I'll probably end up staying at party, although 15% rake (rather than 10% under bonus) kinda sucks.


      I'm treating 2012 as the first year in which I properly started playing poker (playing a game solidly rather than trying out loads of stuff and finding my feet). Hopefully 2013 is the year i'll start properly growing my bankroll.

      Some goals for January:

      :diamond: Keep plugging holes in my game. Spend some time each day before playing.
      :diamond: Read some more moshman
      :diamond: Improve my postflop game. Spend time reading on postflop and do some practice in ranging (I'm still not very good at this, although I made a chart to help me).
      :diamond: Play 150 games at least.

      Here's the chart I made to help me range people (Part of the issue is figuring out what VPIP:20 actually equates to in terms of cards.) Let me know if this is inaccurate, it's meant as a quick reference guide.



      Anyway that's all from me.

      Jimanyjerk, i'd love to discuss hands, same goes for anyone else playing SNGs at a similar level.. i really want a group or a couple of people to work with, I love chatting about poker (as you've probably worked out).
    • sirilidion
      sirilidion
      Gold
      Joined: 15.04.2008 Posts: 1,648
      nice colorful chart :) . you do know that not everyone that has a VPIP of 20 % is paying the same range, right :) ?

      I am only playing regular speed SnG's but if you want to discuss strategy, help you with analysing your game or sweat sessions I would love to help.