Trying to make it....my blog revewing my progress

    • TheBrokenChip
      TheBrokenChip
      Basic
      Joined: 20.09.2012 Posts: 18
      In 2005, I was a senior in high school, a competitive athlete in three sports, and an honor roll student with a 85% average with an aspiration to one day be a top level executive at a major consulting firm. Until I met poker. Not to say that poker caused me to give up my goals, aspirations, or activities, but it certainly reshaped what I enjoy in life. To me, poker had it all. It was a socialable game with friends, extremely competitive, and after all the chips were racked up, there was potential to leave with some money.

      From 2005 to 2008, my poker playing was carried out in friend’s dorm rooms where no one knew anything about hand ranges, expected value, and some were even still forgetting if a flush beat a straight. But in 2008, my local casino in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada opened a poker room. With the few hundred dollars I had won off my friends, I went to the casino one Friday evening expecting to crush a much larger game and return to my friends with stories of great riches to be made.

      Since my first session, I’m sure I’ve sat down at a poker table thousands of times and have forgotten the details of countless hands. But I can remember my very first session ever playing poker in a casino as if it were yesterday. I was completely lost. Players were incredibly aggressive and ready to gamble. It wasn’t as socialable as my home game with friends, and the pace of the game was much faster. After sitting at the table for 3 hours and folding, I finally was dealt 9♥9♠ and bet the AT8 flop, J turn and 8 river, effectively turning my hand into a bluff. As a novice player, I was surprised when my opponent flipped over his AQ and collected the remainder of my chips. Other players at the table smirked at me as they witnessed, yet again, a novice player losing all their money at the poker table. As I was walking away, I heard the player who won my chips comment to his friend, “I don’t know what he was thinking.”

      I went home that night with my tail between my legs, but that experience lit a competitive fire deep within me. I hated the way the experienced players labeled me a class below them and I was determined to get better. I spent the next few months reading up on poker literature and experimenting with what I had learned online. I began crushing my regular home games to the point I began actively seeking out other games to get invited to. Needless to say, my grades in University fell to around a C+ average where it remained for the rest of my University career. But that didn’t matter. School wasn’t my passion – it certainly wasn’t something I enjoyed – playing poker was what I wanted to do.

      I eventually went back to the casino and combined my newly acquired knowledge with a bit of run good, I was able to win consecutive sessions. Jump to three years later and I am graduating University with a Bachelor of Commerce degree with a concentration in Managing People and Organizations, I have a steady part-time job, travelled around many parts of North America to play poker (currently have played over 65 different casinos), and have established myself as an aggressive, winning player at 1/2NL and more recently 2/5NL.

      But while poker afforded me luxuries most students do without – always having money to buy beer, to party, to go out to expensive dinners or to travel – being a student also gave me an excuse. Whenever people asked me what I was doing with my life, I’d just reply I was a student, and then my friend, relative, or acquaintance would smile, nod, and wish me luck with my studies. But now, I’m stuck at a crossroads and don’t know what I want to do. When people now ask me what I am doing, should I reply that I’m a part-time sales employee who is making no use of their recently attained degree? Or do I reply that I am barely supporting myself through low stakes poker? Neither answer impresses anyone, nor myself. So I knew something needed to change, I either need to drop poker and focus more on my profession, or to rise up in the stakes I am playing in order to supplement my income enough that I am satisfied with my lifestyle.
      Queue Stu and “Sad Panda”, two friends of mine who were starting a gambling website detailing their adventures and discussing their day-to-day gambling successes (or failures). They mentioned this site to me and I saw it as an opportunity to become more accountable, more focused, and more successful at what I was doing. I would begin blogging once or twice a week with how I am doing in poker and how much closer I am to reaching my goal of eventually making 5/10NL my main game before hopefully taking shots at even higher stakes. Knowing that other people are reading and hopefully rooting for me will help me stay clear of the many vices that face poker players – playing games like blackjack when on tilt, spewing away chips when too aggressive, or playing poker when tired, unfocused, or inebriated.

      So this will be my story from July 2012 until January 1st 2013 when I reevaluate how I have done over the last 6 months and assess if poker should become my sole source of income, or to begin playing the game more recreationally and focusing more on my profession. My goal by the end of this year will be to have played around 10-15 hours a week with an average hourly rate of $25. I’ll be jumping up to 2/5NL when the games look good and thus hopefully greatly exceed my hourly expectation. My secondary goal is to travel more and use poker to finance these excursions. I’ve been to Las Vegas 5 times, Atlantic City twice, and Montreal too many times to count, all with the intention of taking in the sights and sounds during the day, and spending my nights grinding away. Hello, my name is Paul, and this will be my story.

      If you like what you're reading, send me a message and I'll keep posting my updates. This was my first post taken off my blog site from back in July, check out the site if you want to keep up with my progress. I'll keep bringing my past blog posts over to pokerstrategy as well every week :) Enjoy!

      http://www.thebrokenchip.com/author/paul/
  • 23 replies
    • TheBrokenChip
      TheBrokenChip
      Basic
      Joined: 20.09.2012 Posts: 18
      Finally setting some goals made me excited to get back to the tables. It felt almost like a new start at playing poker. With a goal now in mind, I have been thinking about the changes I’ll need to make to attain that goal. Particularly, how I will be able to free up enough time to play 10 – 15 hours of poker a week. With some time spent on getting things ready for the site, and the more than usual amount of time I had to spend at my part-time job, I wasn’t able to play my first session until July 8th. My goal was to keep this session short in order to maximize my results when I am most focused at the table, and thus I arrived at the casino at 11pm ready to play until it closed at 4am. Within the first 20 minutes, I was quickly stuck $200 playing 1/2NL, spewing off chips by bluffing for pots in hands I had no business being part of in the first place; not exactly the start to the month that I was hoping for. Just as I had created my over aggressive image at the table, my name was called for 2/5NL. I normally try not to jump between limits during the same session, but the 2/5NL table looked really good, so I racked up my chips and moved over to the bigger game, glancing back at the 1/2NL players who falsely believed an exploitable player had just walked away.

      I’ve found that playing bigger stakes allows me to play much better poker. I am still aggressive, but pick and choose my spots to bluff much better. I also feel I have a better understanding of what my opponents are thinking at 2/5NL stakes, as the caliber of play greatly differs from the minimum stakes tables. You find far less people calling off large river bets, just because they are “curious” or want to “keep you honest” then at the lower stakes. During my next few hours, I picked up a couple big hands and raised in late position and was able to take down all the pots uncontested with a continuation bet on the flop. This gave me a stack around $800 when the only interesting hand of the night occurred. A new player on my left sat down, and after I limped in with A♠3♠, he bumped it up to $25 and got 2 callers plus myself. The flop fell 2♦, 5♥, 9♠ and when checked to, he led out $55. Both of the other two players folded before it came back to me, and in these spots I usually like to test out new players. More often, the new players aren’t looking to get into big pots just after sitting down as they usually don’t have a feel for the dynamic of the table. I decided to call and to reevaluate the turn. The 8♠ fell and now with a gutshot straight draw and flush draw, I checked to my opponent with the intention of check-raising. My opponent obliged with another bet of $55. A lot of times when amateur players keep their bets the same, it’s a sign of enormous strength but more often complete weakness. Knowing I have outs even if my opponent did fall into a huge hand, I made it $185 and he quickly folded.

      I finished that session with a smallish win of $289 followed by 3 more consecutive wins of $351, $87, and $241. All the wins were small, but they also had another glaring similarity; in each of them I got stuck playing too aggressive, too early. I’m well aware of this leak now and with my new motivation to reach my goal, I decided to correct it on my next session.

      On July 20th, I made it over to a new casino that had just opened up in Ottawa which sported virtual poker tables. For those of you who haven’t tried them, it is almost like playing online, but with the enormous advantage of sitting across from your opponents. I started the session off reasonably tame by my standards, only raising in position or with a hand. Once I had a good feel for the table, I was able to exploit some recreational players to the tune of an $820 win. My biggest hand was flopping a set of 6’s and cracking my opponents Aces in a $400 pot. Finally with a win to get excited about, I went to my computer to enter the stats. Happy with five straight winning sessions to start the month, I noticed I was far from my goal of 40 – 60 hours of play a month. Though I only created my goal a few weeks before, I knew I couldn’t fall behind already. I went into work the next day, booked off 7 straight days at the end of July with my only intention to play poker. I knew with that much time off, I didn’t want to waste it at my local casino and thus I hopped in my car and set off for a poker area I hadn’t been before…..

      - Paul

      Again, if you like what you're reading, I have up to date blog posts every other day at http://www.thebrokenchip.com/author/paul/ - I'll still keep coming back here a couple times a week to post some of my older stuff since I love the Pokerstrategy Community. Cheers!
    • mojojo16
      mojojo16
      Bronze
      Joined: 24.02.2009 Posts: 59
      Great start man, I like you're writing style. Hopefully you can end up crushing these games. Looking forward to reading more....
    • TheBrokenChip
      TheBrokenChip
      Basic
      Joined: 20.09.2012 Posts: 18
      With a week to focus solely on poker, I wanted to try a poker area that I had not been to. While I love the additional money that poker can offer, my actual favourite benefit of poker is being able to travel to different cities and play at different casinos. This feeling helped me in making my decision on where to go: Detroit. I had been reading a lot about the Detroit poker scene on the TwoPlusTwo forums and figured that with their three casinos and 20+ charity rooms there would be plenty of action. This decision was made easier by the fact that Casino Brantford, a casino in London, and Caesars Palace Windsor were all along the driving route.


      So I left July 26th and made my first stop at Casino Brantford to play their 10am $150 tournament. I was impressed when I sat down; this casino attracted 70 runners for the Thursday morning tournament but when I looked down at my chips, none of them had any values on them… I had to keep looking up at the tournament screen to figure out the value of each color. Luckily for me I didn’t have to deal with this issue for more than four hands. My table’s first three hands were action packed with players committing large amounts of their stack with mediocre hands. On the 4th hand, during the 25/50 level, the UTG player raised to $150 and I looked down at A♠K♠ on the button. I wanted to take control of this pot and decisively made it $350, to which my opponent came back and made it $600. When novice players are willing to throw in a 4-bet, it’s always a signal of strength so already I’m putting my opponent on JJ+. I reluctantly made the call and hoped for a huge flop. The dealer obliged as she threw down the A♣6♠3♠ giving me top pair/top kicker with the nut flush draw. My opponent led out for another $600 and I threw in a raise to $1500 to which he quickly shoved all-in. I instantly knew my opponent now has either Aces or AK as well and now having committed 1/3 of my total stack, I made the call and saw his red Aces. The board didn’t bring in my flush and just like that I was out of the first tournament of my trip within fifteen minutes.


      Upset with myself, I declined to sit in a cash game and drove up to London only to find out that their casino doesn’t open to 4pm. Right as the cashier told me about this, I remembered reading online that it only opened at 4pm but obviously had planned to spend a few hours in the Brantford tournament and didn’t expect it to be an issue. So back on the road, I finally made it to Windsor, Ontario by 2pm and quickly got seated in a 1/3NL game. After an uneventful hour, I topped my stack back up to the maximum when this hand occurred. I raised in the Hijack position with J♣T♣ and got 2 callers. We see an A98 rainbow flop and it gets checked back to me where I bet half the pot. This time just one caller came along and we saw a 3♣ turn that gave me a flush draw. Having these extra outs let me bet the turn, to which my opponent seemed a bit too happy in calling, but luckily for me the off suit 7 gave me the nuts on the river. My opponent actually led out this time into me and I put him in for the rest of his stack. He called and proudly tabled A9 for top two pair and was in disbelief when I tabled my straight. He went on and on for over an hour about how bad of a player I was, raising hands like JT suited preflop all the while he lost another 2 buy ins. After four hours, I racked up with my first win of the trip: a modest $225.


      Proud with my play, I made my way over to Motor City Casino which I had been told was the busiest of all Detroit poker rooms. I immediately found out why with all the free food this poker room offered. Before sitting down to start my session I helped myself to pizza, hot dogs, chips, and plenty of drinks. But when I finally sat down, all the food must have made the table sluggish because out of the three tables I transferred to, none seemed to have any action. It was too late to make my way over to a new casino so I began creating my own action, raising 70% of all hands and playing my worst poker of the month. I started 3 barrel bluffing against calling stations where I had such a small chance of getting them off of a hand. I ended the session down $300 and retreated to my hotel in downtown Detroit. I laid down in bed that night and decided I was going to get a full nights rest before heading back into battle – a battle I wouldn’t let myself lose.


      Just a reminder that these trip reports are all backdated from my blog site: http://www.thebrokenchip.com/author/paul/ - This is the first part of 3 of the Detroit poker scene, and if you like what you read, you can check out my August and September updates.


      Cheers and goodluck at the tables!
    • Thorek
      Thorek
      Bronze
      Joined: 25.12.2007 Posts: 59,661
      Nice blog. Keep it going.
    • TheBrokenChip
      TheBrokenChip
      Basic
      Joined: 20.09.2012 Posts: 18
      Thanks man, I've honestly felt that writing the blog has made me feel more accountable for my play. I'll keep bringing over my blogs to this forum and hopefully a few members might point out any leaks in my game if they notice any :P
    • TheBrokenChip
      TheBrokenChip
      Basic
      Joined: 20.09.2012 Posts: 18
      After a rough first day, the next day of the trip began at Greektown Casino. Even with the losses the day before, I was confident and focused to turn my trip around but the poker gods wanted to test me within the first 30 minutes of my session.

      The hand began with me being dealt Aces and I raised it to $12 and had an active but competent player call me from the button. We saw a J♥5♥ 4♣ flop, I led out for $20 to which my opponent over bet to $100. Even though I had only been there for a short amount of time, I knew my opponent was a thinking player, meaning there was a method of why he over bet. I then thought he could be doing this over bet as a semi bluff, thinking that the large size of the raise would push me off most hands, but even if I called, he’d have outs. I ended up making the call to find out I was right, as he held 6♥ 7♥ giving him an open ended straight draw + flush draw. Even when the flush completed on the river, I was still happy with myself to see through his play and make the correct call. I didn’t come to Detroit to avoid big pots and play small ball poker and in a lot of situations my opponent could have had a lot less outs then he did.

      Through the next two hours, I turned up the aggression and it started paying off. Most of my bluff and semi bluffs were working and I was able to frustrate my opponents enough that they chose inopportune times to play back at me. I was in the game for $400 but racked up at $757. I then made my way over to MGM which has a very hidden poker room. Just to get to this room I had to walk to the back of the casino and then jump in an elevator to be brought to an open space which had only one restaurant and the poker room on the floor. I knew that this room wouldn’t attract many recreational players. I dug myself into an early hole and had to rebuy when I got caught bluffing a few times. My next six and a half hours were pretty uneventful with me just picking up small pots in position. I finally racked up with a measly $157 win knowing that I never should have stayed as long as I did. As it was getting late, I went back to where I blew up the night before and played three hours at Motor City Casino. It was as if my cards from the MGM had followed me to MCC because I really wasn’t getting anything remotely playable. Before I began pushing the action and making the same mistake as the night before, I racked up a small $17 win.

      For my 3rd day in Detroit, I wanted to try some of the different charity rooms. The general consensus was that Snookers was the busiest room, so I made it my first stop Saturday and arrived at noon. Upon walking in, a lengthy 20+ person line stared back at me and there were plenty of tournament tables filling up. I became part of the line, paid the $50 entry fee and sat down. After the “shuffle up and deal” speech, the dealer gave me four cards but everyone else was undeterred. It took me a moment but I realized I registered in an Omaha tournament. I didn’t want to announce my mistake and have everyone become privy that I was the fish at the table, so I smiled and proceeded to fold for the first few levels. Finally with around 12 Big Blinds, I flopped the nut straight, got into a war with another player where we kept potting it before getting it all in. He had flopped a set with a flush draw and was able to make the full house in the river. I doubt I played that hand or any other hands properly but it inspired me to read up on my PLO game and start incorporating it into my weekly poker routine.

      After busting the Snookers tourney, I played two short sessions at the Big Beaver Tavern and Sunnybrook where I booked $82 and $65 wins. For my last session of the day, I went to Joe Cada’s Poker Club. I hoped to see the former WSOP Main Event Champ, and I was a little disappointed that he wasn’t there, but at least they had a seat at a very passive table for me. This table had a lot of 40 year old players who seemed content on playing small pots and just having a few beers. No one seemed to be too aggressive or willing to gamble, which was perfect for me as I began raising every other hand. This would generally be followed by two or three callers who would all fold to small continuation bets. My favorite hand of the night came when I raised $8 with 10-6 off suit and was min-raised to $16 in the small blind by an older gentleman who hadn’t played a hand in over two hours. I knew right away he had aces or kings and knew I’d get his $200 stack if I flopped a big hand – which is exactly what happened with the 10-6-2 flop. He led out $50 into a $34 pot and after I saw the safe 4♦ turn, I shoved all in when checked to. He made some meager comment like, “You have to have a set here…” which confirmed he was no skilled poker player as anyone paying the slightest bit attention would come to the realization that I could have any two cards in my hand with how often I was raising preflop. He looked like he was in shock as I rolled over my top 2 pair and mumbled something along the lines of “Punk kids not knowing how to play poker.” He didn’t improve on the river and I smiled at him as I raked in the remainder of his chips. I would have been happy to play there all night, but by law, all charity poker rooms must close by 2am so I made my way back to Detroit for an overnight session at Motor City Casino and my craziest table of the trip.

      Next up, I’ll go through the remainder of my trip in Detroit and give a quick July overview.

      - Paul

      Once again, if you want to read updated blog posts with how I've been doing in August and September, take a minute and check out my blog site http://www.thebrokenchip.com/author/paul/
    • TheBrokenChip
      TheBrokenChip
      Basic
      Joined: 20.09.2012 Posts: 18
      I shoved my stack in the middle and immediately heard my opponent make the call. Suddenly I’m staring at a $2,000 pot, an almost unheard pot size at 1/2NL. I paused for a moment to quickly reflect on whether I had made the right move, and as the dealer tapped the felt to deliver the turn card, I realized that this hand would be the deciding factor of my trip’s success.

      The forty-five minute drive went by slowly, even though I rushed to make it to Motor City for some late night action. I knew this was going to be the last night of my venture so I hadn’t booked a hotel room and expected to play through the night. When I arrived at three in the morning I was happy to see so many tables still running and was immediately seated at a particularly deep 1/2NL table. Chips were flying with a few complete donators at the table; these individuals were willing to call any amount preflop and get it all in with second or third pair. After two hours I had chipped up to a healthy stack of $600 without any resistance from the table. I had been simply continuation betting when in position and was earning a lot of respect from the table with my bets. I also was ecstatic about my seat as I had the loosest maniac on my right and a nitty player to my left. With everyone playing super loose and most players looking to get unstuck for the night, I knew a massive pot was on the horizon.

      Eventually it happened when the Under the Gun (UTG) player raised to $8 and was called by everyone on the table. The action came to me on the Button (BTN) and I looked down at two red 4’s. Usually with all the dead money in the pot, I elect to squeeze but since it was late and a few people might jam over top of me as they were ready to gamble, I decided to just flat call. The Small Blind (SB) who hadn’t played a hand all night finally reraised to $23. With such a small reraise, I knew he had to have a big hand and was desperate for action, but for only $15 more, all nine players ended up seeing a 9-5-4 flop. The pot was $207 and the small blind player bet out $80. One player in middle position called, the maniac on my right who had me covered called, and then I moved all in for $550 total. I was expecting to take the pot down here but the SB called for $200 more, the player in middle position put in the remainder of his $350 stack and then it came to the maniac who took at least three to four minutes humming and hawing over what to do. He started looking at his watch, a move I’ve seen players make before when they have some kind of draw and are deciding that this will be their last pot of the night. He finally put his money in making the total pot a little over $2000. When everyone flipped up their cards, the SB had KK, the player in middle position had JJ and the maniac had…..2-3 offsuit for an open ended straight draw. Before I could figure out how many outs I had to dodge, the dealer dealt the Ace♣ on the turn giving the maniac his straight and the river didn’t pair the board. The maniac quickly ran over to have his friends come over and watch him reel in the large pot and just like that he racked up and left the table.

      In a weird way, everyone else seemed to be more on tilt then me and over the next three hours I was able to not only recover my losses but STILL end the session a $556 winner. When my table finally broke, I took a three hour nap in my car, drove across the U.S/Canada border and played one last uneventful session at Caesars Windsor where I lost $240 before making the drive home. I probably shouldn’t have played that final session because when I’m tired I play exploitable “ABC” poker.

      So my first month committing to “The Broken Chip” was a successful one. There were some situations that I could have ran a little better and some that I could have made better decisions but overall I was happy with how it turned out. I finished the month playing 65.25 hours over seventeen sessions and earned $2845 but had $340 in expenses. This made my net profit $2505 for a rate of $38.39/hr. I completed my goal for hours played and hourly rate so I’m hoping I can carry this momentum into August.

      Sidenote: I couldn't figure out how to copy/paste my graph for July but if you wanted to see it you can check out http://www.thebrokenchip.com/author/paul/

      From that site, I've also got my blog posts from August/September.

      Good luck at the tables!
    • TheBrokenChip
      TheBrokenChip
      Basic
      Joined: 20.09.2012 Posts: 18
      After the heavy grinding in Detroit for four straight days, I needed some time away from the felt. I occupied my time with friends, sports, and my job, with the urge to go back to the tables growing stronger each day. I was finally ready to play again on August 8th and decided to try the electronic poker tables at a small nearby casino. They only ever spread $1/$2 NLHE but with no dealers the game is played at a fast pace. With the electronic tables, you miss out on part of the poker playing experience by not having chips and cards in front of you, but it is made up by the fact that the rake is cheaper, you’re not tipping dealers after each pot you win, and this casino allows you to drink alcohol right at the table – something my regular local casino prohibits.


      I wanted to play a long first session but I got myself into some bad spots by 3-betting too often which subsequently made other players call me lightly as they assumed I was always bluffing and they were usually correct. It wasn’t long before I had topped up my original $200 buy-in several times and was now into the game for $450. My final hand of the night came when I was dealt A♦ T♦ and 3-bet on the button to which the original raiser(OR) and another played called. The flop came down 7♦ 8♦ J♥ giving me one over card and a flush draw. “OR” led out with a pot sized bet, the second player in the hand folded bringing the action to me. I elected to continue showing strength in the hand by following up my 3-bet preflop with a 3-bet on the flop. “OR” quickly called which made me think he was on some sort of draw too. The turn card brought the Q♠ giving me a double gut shot straight draw, a nut flush draw, and still an over card with the ace. “OR” checked and I decided to shove my remaining stack in which was about the size of the pot and “OR” quickly made the call. As our cards were automatically displayed on the screen during the all-in moment, it turned out that he was on a draw after the flop with K♦ Q♦ but had pulled ahead on the turn with his pair of queens.. The river didn’t bring me any help and I left that session with my tail between my legs, down $450 after only 3.25 hours.

      My next session was back at the same casino but it turned out to be pretty uneventful. Most of the session was spent playing short handed against tight-passive seniors. I didn`t note down any big pots but was able to walk away after 6 hours with a $154 win. Frustrated with playing a small stakes game that couldn`t even get enough players for a full table, I made my way over the next day to my larger local card room for some $2/$5 action. This $2/$5 NLHE game has the largest extremes of players of any game I’ve played in. It is not uncommon to have two or three very good thinking players at the table with two or three other wealthy players that have no idea how to even play. You are constantly looking to spots to maneuver around the good players and isolate the weaker players. Your playing style must change hand to hand depending who is involved in the pot.

      This was evident in my two largest pots of the night. The first hand, I was dealt pocket 2’s in middle position and limped in. A strong thinking player raised from the highjack position to $30 and one player called before I completed the call as well. The flop A, 9, 2 and the other caller and I both checked before the original raiser put out a $75 bet. I smooth called and the other player folded before seeing the Q on the turn. Again, I checked and my opponent checked behind. The 5 on the river didn’t change much and I wanted to make sure I got some value from my set and bet out $125 into the ~$240 pot. He literally took 3 minutes thinking about the call and exclaimed to the table that I must have a set of 9’s or 2’s. He finally let out a sigh and proceeded to call, I rolled over my set of 2’s and he showed me AQ for top two pair. Most players would reraise in that spot, but being a strong player, he could sense the strength of my hand.

      For the next two hours, he kept commenting on how tight I was to the table, repeating the story of how he “knew I had a set but had to call with such a strong hand”. Anyone new to the table was quickly told the story and I was using it to my advantage by bluffing at small and midsized pots and taking them down without being contested.

      The most interesting hand came later that night when the strong player (SP) from earlier raised to $40 preflop. I looked down at pocket 5’s and knew that I could call this bet and bluff at nearly any flop to take it down; I elected to call. Another calling station (CS) player came along as well, before a drunken fish (DF) decided to shove in his $140 stack without even looking at his cards. These are the types of spots I was talking about when you’re trying to maneuver amongst such a wide variety of players. “SP” called, I decided to call knowing that “CS” to my left was definitely calling as well. We saw a T-4-2 flop to which “SP” bet out $175. I looked to my left and it appeared the “CS” had taken his card protector off his chips meaning he was likely to fold so I decided to go with my original plan of reraising the flop. With all the extra money in the pot from “DF” shoving, I knew my reraise had to be big, so I shoved in my remaining $550 stack. “CS” folded, and “SP” again took 3 minutes before throwing away what he later said was pocket jacks. I flipped up my pocket 5’s and “DF” revealed 9-4 offsuit. The turn and river brought a Queen and King and I was able to scoop the entire pot.

      Later that night, I lost a $1300 pot when my pocket queens got all in pre flop against A♦ K♦ and my opponent was able to spike a king on the turn. But, from my set of 2’s and bluffing at the small/mid sized pots, I still left a $595 winner after 7.5 hours. So far August has started to be another decent month…

      Sidenote: I have pictures that I haven't been able to upload to my post so you can check them out at http://www.thebrokenchip.com/author/paul/ - You can also check out the site if you want to read ahead and see how I've done in August + September

      Cheers
    • TheBrokenChip
      TheBrokenChip
      Basic
      Joined: 20.09.2012 Posts: 18
      By starting off August without playing the first week, I was forcing myself to log more hours then I’d have liked to in the second half of the month. I was fresh off a decent $2/$5 NLHE session and had no desire to drop back down to play $1/$2. I spent my next two sessions playing a combined eight hours and left with $246 and $70 wins during mostly uneventful sessions. Both of these sessions I felt like I deserved more money as there were such terrible players at the table, but I spent the two nights mostly card dead and forced to watch $500-$800 pots get pushed back and forth between these players as they tabled their suspect holdings.

      While small wins are better than losses, I still felt like I wanted to play a looser game and begin isolating the weak players with 3-bets. I know that this strategy is a higher variance style and that soon the strong players at the table might begin 4-betting me light and I’ll be put in situations where I’m jamming $400-$500 in preflop with marginal holdings but I don’t want to miss out on value by playing too tight and not exploiting my position on weak players.

      I simply have found that I play a tighter style of poker when I’m playing $2/$5 which I believe comes from not being properly bankrolled for the game. Presently I’m sitting on about 15-18 buy-ins for the game but many poker players who play live recommend you have 30-40 buy-ins before moving up stakes in order to avoid going broke. I’m positive that I have an edge in the larger games, and I am not worried if I lose my 15-18 buy-ins as I have separated my poker bankroll from my living wages so I would never be in a spot of being completely broke should the ugly side of variance smack me across the face.

      On August 23rd, I sat down in a perfect $2/$5 game to begin playing looser as this was the tightest table I had played on this month. I was raising and reraising in position and was able to chip up slowly by taking down small pots. After nearly 5 hours, I couldn’t remember having more then one or two premium hands or going to showdown more than twice the entire session. That session helped build some confidence and I walked away with a $350 win.

      With one week left in the month, I had 30 hours played and was up $965 over six sessions. This is where I made some pretty large mistakes. Over the last week of August, I was incredibly busy with work and found myself tired but still forced myself to play poker as I wanted to reach my 40 hour/month goal. My next two sessions, I continued trying to play looser in the $2/$5 but without combining this strategy with increased focus, I was put into difficult situations and made incorrect calls. My August 26th session only lasted three hours but I was still able to lose $600; this affected my next session as I continued to push the action looking to recover my recent losses.

      On this night I ended up falling victim to the classic set over set scenario when I flopped a set of 8’s against my opponents set of Q’s. Later on, I 3-bet on the button with AK suited, but when my opponent put in a tiny reraise, rather than thinking through the situation and realizing that the tiny reraise from this opponent showed strength, I desperately wanted my losses back and stuck my stack in the middle only to be shown pocket kings. I was unable to catch up and my session finished with a $700 loss.

      If nothing else, these two sessions have made me realize that even though I feel my poker game has gotten exceptionally better this year, there are still areas that I can improve. Over September, my goals will have changed a bit. I still would like to earn $25/hour but I will be okay if my month does not finish with at least 40 hours played as long as my year end average ends above 40 hours/month. I think this will help me in playing more sessions but limiting their length for as long as I feel I am playing my best poker and not pushing myself past that point. Lastly, I want to read a poker book. It has been years since I last read a book on poker. This is because I believe live poker requires you to adapt to the constantly changing table dynamics during every session, meaning the correct way to play a particular hand cannot be predetermined by a book. However, the book that was recommended to me was one that is on the “poker mindset”, discussing how to deal with downswings, how to recognize when you’re no longer playing your “A” game and when to get up from a session. I plan on reading a few pages every day and to finish it by the end of September.

      As a recap, my month of August fell apart in the final week. I finished with a loss of $335 over 39.5 hours played. This was spread across eight different sessions where six of them were played at $2/$5 NL and the other two were played at $1/$2 NL. I also had $3 expensed that month when I had to withdraw money and was charged a stupid ATM fee. This means my net hourly rate in August was -$8.56/hr.

      Since starting The Broken Chip, I’m up $2510, with $343 in expenses and have played 104.75 hours, making my overall hourly rate $20.69/hr. It’s lower then what I wanted, so I’m hoping for some great results in September.

      See you at the tables,

      - Paul

      Sidenote: I made a couple graphs for how I've done in August + September. I've also got a couple cool pictures of chip stacks which can be seen at http://www.thebrokenchip.com/author/paul/
    • TheBrokenChip
      TheBrokenChip
      Basic
      Joined: 20.09.2012 Posts: 18
      I finished August disappointed with my play, my results, and myself. The mistakes I made at the end of the month from playing too long of sessions, staying at tables without good action, and forcing myself to play on days when I wasn’t in the mood, were all lessons that I had learned years ago. Instead of having a profitable month, I was able to lose it all in the final two sessions and finish in the red. September was going to be different so I started the month by playing at a different casino.

      On Sept 4th, I made the hour long trip to Akwesasne in Hogdansburg, N.Y. It is a super small casino with only 6 tables but I happily took advantage of the free beer they offered the players. I drove up with a friend of mine on one particularly stormy night; it had been raining the entire day with no sign of letting up. Subsequently, many players avoided making the drive to the casino and we were forced to play short handed the entire night. It seemed when one player would bust, another would quickly arrive as we were destined to play six handed. Aside from my friend and I, the players this evening all seemed to be “bad beat chasers” and shied away from any action. After a little over four hours, I knew there wasn’t any money to be made and racked up a $149 loser.


      I took the next couple days reading Tommy Angelo’s book about the poker mindset. He talks about how money in a poker game moves from one player to another and breaks down the differences between players such as: bankroll management, tilt control, and when to quit. But what I feel I learned from this book was “sixth street”. It was a term I never heard before, but he talks about how the game is still being played even after the hand is over. Once the chips have been pushed, players let their guards down and begin talking about what they had, what they thought other players had, and basically just give away their thought process. This is “sixth street” and it’s an area in my game I’ll work to improve.


      Feeling refreshed from the few days off, I made my way to a casino with electronic poker tables on Sept 9th. I hopped into the only available seat in a $1/$2 NL game and quickly realized that this would be a good table. Every player was in the mood to gamble and there was no amount they wouldn’t pay to see a flop. Combine that with some suspect bluffs that these players were attempting and I was ready for a big night. My first spot I got into was when I called a raise to $10 on the button after six other callers with As5s. The flop came down 8♠5♥2♠, giving me a pair and flush draw. I reraised the original preflop raiser and he snap called. With the little time that my opponent took to consider his options, I figured he must be on some kind of draw. The 10♦ on the turn was no help to me but I continued with my story when checked to and bet about 1/3 the pot. I thought this would be a decent amount because it will allow me to bet pretty big on the river in case I missed my draw. Again, my opponent snap called. The 10♥ fell on the river and to my surprise my opponent shoved all in for about $220. The bet was nearly twice the pot and I couldn’t figure out what type of hands he’d be willing to do this with. I stuck with my original read that he was on some kind of draw and made the hero call with just a pair of 5’s. The electronic table flipped over his hand first, 6♦7♣, for a missed open-ended straight draw before revealing my winning hand. Calling such a large bet so lightly earned some comments from other players about not trying to bluff me.


      As the night went on, I continued to chip up and broke my three session losing streak with a solid $563 win. I had hoped that with the end of my mini downswing that I would get to enjoy a nice upswing…..and as September went on, I wouldn’t be disappointed.



      Plug: If you want to read my more recent blog posts, check out my poker blog at http://www.thebrokenchip.com/author/paul/. On the site, you'll not only see all my posts, but also photos I've taken along the way and a couple of graphs detailing my results.



      Best of luck at the tables!
    • TheBrokenChip
      TheBrokenChip
      Basic
      Joined: 20.09.2012 Posts: 18
      For the last couple of months, I’d made 2/5NL my main game of choice and though I’ve enjoyed success, I still spent most of my time admiring other opponents stacks of thousands of dollars and wondered when I would finally have one of those nights where I just couldn’t miss a flop. Finally, on September 11th, it happened for me.

      As I walked into the casino on a Tuesday night, there was a main 2/5NL and a must-move game. This casino rarely gets a must move on a Tuesday evening, but I realized why as I looked at the main game and saw nearly every player with $2,000+ in front of them. I sat in the must-move game and waited my turn to get to the main table. At one point we were playing four handed and I was certainly the aggressor at the table raising every other pot. UTG I raised to $20 with 7♥8♥ and was reraised to $45 by the small blind. This player was also an aggressive player and would play back at me with a wide range of hands, so in position, I called and we saw a beautiful flop of 8♠8♦2♣. When checked to, I bet $50 and was called. The 9♣ on the turn brought straight and flush draws. Again, I bet when checked to, but this time I was check raised. I was confident he didn’t have a set of 9’s since I feel he would have led the flop, I doubted there were many 8’s in his range, especially since I had one myself, the only hand I could see him having that had me beat was pocket 2’s but more likely he was making this move with as a semi bluff or with a bare 9. I decided to commit him to the pot by shoving all in, he rolled his eyes and made the call showing A9 for top pair, top kicker. Another 9 did not come on the river and I scooped the ~$1000 pot.

      Only minutes later I was called to the main game and now luckily had some chips to maneuver with. After about an hour, I was dealt AK in the big blind. An UTG raiser made it $30, five players called and then it came back to me. I stared at the nearly $200 in the middle and decided to make a big raise and ideally take the pot down here. I made it $150 to go and this time only one player called. After the A,6,2 flop, I led out and my opponent shoved all in. I figured he had an Ace but after calling the reraise, I doubted he had two pair on this board. I made the call and was shown AQ and held.

      My last significant hand of the night came when a loose drunk player who must have been stuck about $5,000 in the game raised his button (as he often did) and I called in the small blind with 99. We saw a T, 5, 4 flop and I called his continuation bet of $60. Another 5 appeared on the turn and this time he bet $175. I evaluated the situation and felt that if I was ahead on the flop, I’m still ahead now and too often this player has been caught triple barrel bluffing so I made the call. An 8 fell on the turn and again I checked. I knew my opponent thought me checking throughout the hand was a sign of weakness and he was trying to get me off a Tx type hand. He fired a large $400 bet to which I called. He rolled over A4 knowing it was no good but was surprised that I made a call for that much money with only a pair of 9’s. After the hand, he kept asking me what I was thinking making that large of a call, but remembering what I had just read about ‘sixth street’ in Tommy Angelo’s book “The Elements of Poker”, I simply shrugged off his questions, not giving up any information.

      I finished the session with my biggest win ever, +$3179 after 5.5 hours. I’ve included a picture of my chips when I was cashing out.

      Sidenote: I have some pictures of my chip stack from this night but I couldn't figure out how to upload it to this blog. You can check it out at my poker blog at http://www.thebrokenchip.com/author/paul/. At the site, you'll also see some graphs of my results as well as more recent posts from October.

      Good luck at the tables,

      -Paul
    • TheBrokenChip
      TheBrokenChip
      Basic
      Joined: 20.09.2012 Posts: 18
      Filled with confidence after my largest win ever, I continued playing as much poker as I could the next couple of weeks. A couple of nice $500 and $800 wins and I was inching closer to making September my best month ever. With things going so well, I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to drive through the United States and play poker for a weekend in Niagara Falls.

      My friend Tyler who was coming with me is an experienced mid-stakes professional who has transitioned to playing PLO online but he still makes frequent trips to the casino. I was excited about this trip to not only play in some card rooms that I haven’t been to in years, but also to spend part of the eight hour drive bouncing some poker hand histories off him to get his input. We had decided that we would drive through the United States and stop off at Turning Stone Casino on our way.

      I have been to this casino before, but the one thing I hate is that before you even begin playing, you have to purchase a “players card” for $3 in order to be eligible for the Bad Beat Jackpot. The money is insignificant, but its just another ridiculous cash grab by the casino. I decided to just suck it up, buy the card and played a short two hour session and booked a small +188 win.

      Neither Tyler nor I was too happy with the card room, so we made the rest of the trip to Niagara Falls, checked into our hostel and started an interesting session at Fallsview Casino around 10pm. Four hours into the session, I was exhausted, card dead and not focused at all on the game. I definitely should have gotten up and left, but I pushed through the exhaustion and at several points I should have been felted.

      In one situation, a new player had just sat down at the table with an enormous stack. I had little information about this player, but assumed a player with this stack size was typically aggressive and active. A few hands after him moving to my table, I raised from the cut-off position to $25 with AT and was met with a few callers. I C-bet the A, 8, 6 flop to $70 and the new player check-raised from the BB position to $175. I elected to call and we saw the T on the turn. I figured that most two pair hands I’ve now pulled ahead of and I was beating all other Ax hands. He fired $250 and I called with only about $450 behind. The 2 on the river didn’t change anything and my opponent snapped shoved. I couldn’t figure out what combination of hands he would have from that position that beat me, especially since he checked raised the flop. The only hands that he might have here that beat me are pocket 8’s or 6’s. So I reached backed, placed both hands on my stack and was only seconds from pushing my chips forward, when my opponent flipped up 9-7 for a turned straight. I immediately paused, asked the dealer for a ruling and he confirmed that I had not made any forward motion and therefore have yet to call. My opponent started yelling that he heard me say call but all other players at the table confirmed that I never said a word. Understandably he became irate, we exchanged words, and the floor gave us the usual speech of “you’ll both be kicked out if you don’t stop”.

      Still feeling tired and barely focused, I kept playing when I made another huge mistake and again should have been felted. A short stack player shoved his AT into my AQ on a A22 flop. Right when our money went in, he flipped over his AT and I announced my AQ. The turn came a T giving him a higher two pair, and without thinking, I started calling out for a queen on the river. Right as the 2 was dealt, I began moving my hand forward ready to muck when another player incorrectly spoke up and said “chop”. I double checked my hand, realized we both chopped with our 222AA hands. Now, two players at the table were pissed at me as they both deserved my chips.

      Being absolutely exhausted nearly cost me several hundred dollars, but a few mistakes by other players allowed me to chalk this session up with only a -$34 loss of what should have been a $1000 loss. I figured I was lucky to leave with anything that night and retreated to my hostel to make sure I’d be ready to fight another day.

      Side note: This is just a copy from my blog site where you can see some pictures of chip stacks, graphs, etc. You can check it out at my poker blog at http://www.thebrokenchip.com/author/paul/. I've also got some more up to date posts from October and November.

      Good luck at the tables,

      -Paul
    • TheBrokenChip
      TheBrokenChip
      Basic
      Joined: 20.09.2012 Posts: 18
      Knowing I escaped with my chips the night before in Niagara Falls, I woke up the next morning more focused than I have been in a long time.

      I started the day with another short session at Fallsview picking up an uneventful $584 win before heading back across the border to play at Seneca Casino. My friend and I were looking at playing some PLO and we had heard Seneca regularly spread the game. As I arrived, I was happy to see a PLO game; unfortunately the game was $5-$10 with a $2,000 buy-in. My PLO skills are certainly not fine-tuned enough to sit in a game like that, so I decided to grab a seat in the only $2-$5NL game running.

      Right off the bat, I was hit in the face with the deck picking up QQ, JJ and finally AA all within the first 10 minutes but wasn’t able to make nearly as much money as I would have liked. The table was pretty passive and I was using it to my advantage with late position raises and taking down a lot of uncontested pots on the flop. About an hour in, I raised to $25 on the button with K♣3♣ and was met by a min-raise to $50 from the BB. With position on a tight player, I elected to make the call and we saw a K, 8, 3 flop. My opponent bet out $65, and I saw no reason to play this hand slowly so I decided to re-raise to $150. My opponent wasted no time shoving all in and was met by my call. He rolled over Aces and was pretty upset by my loose call preflop when I showed K3. His anger went away with the 8 on the turn, but came back with fury when the King peeled off on the river. He spent the next 10 minutes berating my play before losing the remaining of his stack to another player.

      I knew now with a loose image that if I could spike a big flop, I should be able to get paid off lightly by another player. That hand came when I had 3♥ 3♦ in late position and called the UTG player’s raise to $30 after four other callers. A beautiful flop of K♥ , J♣, 3♣ created some action with the UTG player leading out for $75, being raised by another player to $200 and then me shoving for $650 while having both players covered. Both players called and showing K♣8♣ and KJo leaving my opponents a lot of outs to pull ahead. Luckily, the board didn’t improve either of their hands and I won the ~$1700 pot.

      From then on I continued my trip in Niagara Falls taking down some nice $709, $613, and $918 wins. Having such a successful trip helped make September one of my best months ever with a profit of $10,775 over 60 hours. The trip created some expenses for the month including gas and hotels which totaled $280. After expenses, I was making $174.92/hr which was a personal best. These totals came from 13 separate sessions where I posted an 11-2 record. Up to this point in my blog, I’m +$13,285 over 164.75 hours with $623 expensed from my trips. I’m happy to say I completed both my hours played and hourly win rate goals and I’m hoping October will be much of the same.

      At my blog page, I've got a link to my graph from July - September here: http://www.thebrokenchip.com/2012/10/29/closing-out-the-month-on-a-high-note/

      Or you can visit all of my blog posts including more recent ones here: http://www.thebrokenchip.com/author/paul/


      **I want to start uploading photos to my blog on Pokerstrategy, but when I use the image codes it doesn't work. Can anyone give me some tips on how to do that?**
    • w4terman
      w4terman
      Bronze
      Joined: 04.04.2011 Posts: 757
      nice blog :D


      i think you can not post pictures if you are a basic member but i am not sure if this is correct !
    • TheBrokenChip
      TheBrokenChip
      Basic
      Joined: 20.09.2012 Posts: 18
      October has always been my favorite month of the year. The air starts getting cooler, leaves change color and normally October brings the beginning of the NHL hockey season.

      But as a kid, October was my favorite month simply for Halloween. It was a holiday where the most prepared kids reaped the rewards of securing the most candy. Most kids would only mull over the decision whether to dress up as Batman or Superman. I’ll admit that is a tough choice, but I would take Halloween to a new level. I would spend hours planning out a route where I could reach as many houses as possible; I’d plan a costume that was light enough that I could run for hours; and I’d leave extra pillow cases at friend’s houses along route so I could pick up new ones as mine got too full. All of this planning always left me with candy well into December and always weeks after all my friend’s candy was gone.

      Even though I’m far too old to go trick or treating, that same October preparation helped me create a plan for the last three months of my challenge. With July, August and September under my belt, I was up $13285 after 164.75 hours. The last three months of my challenge had to be planned out as there were several significant poker events taking place. At the end of October, Woodbine Raceway in Toronto was opening a twelve table casino – the very first to offer legal poker in a city of nearly 4 million. I knew that the first few months of the new casino being opened, that it would offer some incredibly soft games. On top of that, in mid-November the WPT was making a stop in Montreal for two weeks and would offer some tournaments with huge guarantees. Also in November there were two new card rooms in Montreal opening up: El Jumangi and VIP Poker, so I wanted to plan a visit to each room. Lastly, in December some friends and I are making a trip to Las Vegas which needed to be planned out. As the “Vegas expert” among my friends, they nicely left me in charge of booking everything.

      With plenty on the go, I couldn’t lose focus on the most important thing – actually playing poker. I decided in October I would try to put in some heavy hours and go well beyond my 40 hour/month goal. My first session of the month went anything but perfect. I sat down in a 2/5NL game and spent a couple hours picking up small pots but didn’t get my chance to play any big pots until I was dealt pocket 3’s in late position. I called another player’s raise to $25 along with two others. The flop fell down perfectly with the rainbow board of 3, 7, 8. The original raiser pushed out a bet of $75 and I was the only caller. I was very familiar with my opponent and he rarely got out of line but was capable of semi-bluffing. At this point in the hand, there are no draws that I give him so his narrow range is left to over pairs and AK, AQ where he was only continuation betting.

      My thoughts changed as the turn brought a 9 and also a flush draw. Suddenly my opponent spazzed out and jammed for $500 into roughly a $250 pot. I knew the 9 improved his hand, but couldn’t imagine he’d play that way if he turned a set of 9’s or had flopped a seat of 8’s or 7’s. I made the call to be shown 10-10 for a turned open ended straight draw. The river was destined to hurt me but instead of bringing the straight, he rivered a higher set. Right as the card dropped, I was needled by another player as he let me know it was the case 10 in the deck.

      Things went from bad to worse only minutes later when I had A♦ 3♦ and limped in UTG along with five other players. We saw a flop of 9♦ 9♥ 7♦ . As everyone limped, I wanted to build a pot and pushed out of $20 bet and received four callers. The 2♦ came on the turn so I led out again for $60, had one caller before a shorter stack with only $140 shoved. I elected to only call as I felt I was likely ahead of the other player in the hand and wanted him to call as well. To my surprise, he shoved overtop of me. I feel like I made a mistake at this point in the hand because rarely am I against two other flushes and my opponent who shoved overtop is a pretty tight player. Combined with a bit of tilt from my set over set hand, I elected to place my remaining $350 into the pot only getting about 2.5:1 on the call. Sure enough he rolled over 9♠-7♠ for a flopped full house and I was drawing dead. This session along with another two days later left me in an early hole of -$1350 so I took the next couple of days off to refocus and return ready to start crushing again.

      At my blog page, I’ve got my graph from July – October as well as up to date November posts, you can check it out here: http://www.thebrokenchip.com/author/paul/

      Also be sure to leave a comment about what you’d like to read more about so I can include it in my next posts.

      Thanks and good luck at the tables!
    • TheBrokenChip
      TheBrokenChip
      Basic
      Joined: 20.09.2012 Posts: 18
      Starting the month in the hole is never fun, but all poker players experience it and all poker players must overcome it. The problem for me was that for the third consecutive month, I lost my first session making this feeling of being “stuck” at the start of the month pretty normal for me. My third session of the month wasn’t until Oct 9th since I decided to take a few days off to refocus.

      The extra time off did not immediately show its benefits as during the third hand into my session, I was caught in a cooler situation when my pocket jacks flopped a set against my opponents flopped set of queens. As I pushed my $500 stack across the table, I took a deep breath and continued on. From there on out, I played some of the most aggressive poker I’ve ever played particularly with my 3-bets preflop. When I was met with some resistance by being 4-bet, I always had a good sense whether to lay down my hand, or 5-bet light.

      Chipping up against my mostly passive table got my stack up to about $1400 before my most interesting hand of the night. I was dealt J♣10♣ UTG and limped before calling a $30 raise from the button. Five players ended up seeing the flop of T♥ , 9♥ , 2♣. UTG+1 bet out $55 and was called by three others before the action came back to me. I realized that if the player on the button who originally raised had a decent hand, he would be 3-betting this flop since there are several draws. I also expected that the UTG+1 bettor would not be able to call a reraise with so many players behind him. As I looked at a pot of $370, I decided to push the action up to $200 hoping to take down the pot here and if not, leaving myself with enough behind to bet large on the turn if no draws come in. The action was folded around to the small blind who took a minute eyeing up my stack before making the call. I assumed with the time he was taking to make the call that he was considering his implied odds if his draw completed. Knowing this, I bet out $400 on the turn when the 4♣ fell which also gave me my own draw if I was behind in the hand. My opponent let out a sigh and his cards went into the muck.

      Apart from one hand where my AK held against AQ all in pre flop for about a $400 pot, the rest of my time was spent chipping up as I took down the majority of pots with simple continuation bets. Even with the cooler at the start of my session I was able to turn this session into a $1656 win erasing all my previous losses for the month. Being back in the black for October motivated me to play a bit more that week racking up $211, $593, $88, and $71 wins all with sessions between four and five hours each.

      Although some of them were small wins, it was nice to string together five in a row. Another nice score came on Oct 19th when I grinded out a 10 hour session for a profit of +$1724. I was lucky to be on the right side of a cooler this night when my set of 8’s held against a set of 4’s. Later on the run good continued when my aces got all in preflop against two opponents who were nearly drawing dead as they held KK and A♥ K♥ .

      Up to this point in October, things had turned around for me and I was gearing up for another successful month. I was glad to have the extra bankroll boost since I anticipate in November that higher stakes games will be available when the WPT comes to Montreal. My two local casinos rarely have games higher than 2/5NL and when they do have higher game, they fill up very quickly as the game is usually built around a giant whale. No one leaves their seat until the whale leaves and immediately the game breaks. I’ve felt good about my game lately and have wanted to take shots of $5-$10NL, but until the tournament series rolls around, I’ll have to be patient and continue grinding the $2/5NL.

      At my blog page, I’ve got my graph from July – October as well as up to date November posts, you can check it out here: http://www.thebrokenchip.com/author/paul/


      Also be sure to leave a comment about what you’d like to read more about so I can include it in my next posts.

      Thanks and good luck at the tables!

      Good luck at the tables
    • TheBrokenChip
      TheBrokenChip
      Basic
      Joined: 20.09.2012 Posts: 18
      Closing Out October

      October was nearing a close and I was happy to be back on another upswing having won seven straight sessions. Whenever on a heater, I try to play as much as possible but the final week of October became exceptionally busy for me at my actual job forcing me to cancel a couple of short trips to Montreal for some 5-10NL action.

      I was however able to find time between work for a short 4.25 hour session on Oct 25th and was happy to get on a table right away in my normal 2/5NL game. Just as I sat down, I noticed several of my poker friends already sitting at the table making this session feel more like a home game. I was disappointed that there were no giant fish at the table on the Thursday evening, but unlike most poker friends who sit at a table together, there is absolutely no “soft playing” between us. In fact, we almost push the action against each other since there is much more than just money on the line – there are bragging rights.

      Within my first hour, I was involved in a large pot with one of my friends when I was dealt pocket jacks in the SB and elected to call my friend’s raise to $30 along with one other player. The flop came down beautifully with a Q♥ , J♠, 6♣ board. I checked suspecting my friend to C-bet this board and decided to only call his $55 bet since he fires turns really large if no draw comes in. The other player folded and we saw a 5♠ turn. Again I checked and as anticipated, my friend/opponent fired a bet of $160. I reraised to $350 with only about $200 behind but I was surprised when he snap shoved all in. He definitely noticed how little I had behind compared to the pot and knew he was getting called 100% of the time, so I prayed he held AA or KK as I pushed my last $200 into the middle. He quickly rolled over a set of queens and just like that I was stuck $500 and had to listen to him needling me from across the table.

      After reloading, I decided to open up quite a bit more and began 3-betting hands that were 66+ and AQ+. On most tables being this aggressive would leave yourself exploitable, but I knew I had an image among my friends of being a tight player and I was ready to use it to my advantage. I ended up taking down a dozen pots uncontested after the flop before finally playing a $500 pot against a short stack when I shoved my 10-10 into his AK preflop and held. The game ended up breaking early when we no longer wanted to take each other’s money and I finished the session +$444. For the rest of the month, I only had time for one more session on October 30th where the action at the table wasn’t very good. I finished +$228 and was happy to finish the month winning nine straight sessions.

      During October I was able to play 11 sessions in total boasting a 9-2 record. I was able to profit $4809 over 58.5 hours with $44 being expensed for ATM fees and gasoline. So for the month I was able to add $4765 to my bankroll and had an $81.45 hourly for the month of October. So far for my July to December challenge I am well on my way to meeting my goals. I’ve currently won $18,094 over 405.25 hours with $667 being expensed giving me an hourly of $76.42 before expenses and $73.66 after expenses. I’ve talked to a lot of my friends who play poker for a living and I estimate I ‘m currently running +EV but as far as poker goes, the huge +EV swings do happen and all poker players wish they’d happen more frequently. For the time being, I’m just going to continue enjoying it and keep logging as many hours as possible.


      If you want to see my October or November graphs check out my blog page. You’ll also find more up to date November + December posts with plenty of pictures at http://www.thebrokenchip.com/author/paul/
    • w4terman
      w4terman
      Bronze
      Joined: 04.04.2011 Posts: 757
      nice reading mate

      gl on 5/10 :)
    • TheBrokenChip
      TheBrokenChip
      Basic
      Joined: 20.09.2012 Posts: 18
      I know its been a while since my last posts but that because I've been in Vegas. Here is my first post of November and if you want to read ahead and get my November/December results then be sure to check out my site: http://www.thebrokenchip.com/author/paul/

      Since beginning my six month poker challenge, I’ve had November circled on my calendar as this was going to be a defining month for me. I figured there would be a limit to how much that I could play in December so I had planned to increase my number of hours for November to compensate. I had saved myself several vacation days at work, so if I was running well, I would be able to take some time off work and log some extra hours at the poker tables. Also, November brought an opportunity for higher stakes games with the WPT coming to Playground Poker Club in Montreal, only roughly a two hour drive from my home. As I rolled over the page of my calendar from October to November, I became anxious because I knew for certain that November was going to either be my most profitable month or largest losing month of this challenge.

      Before I could even worry about the WPT, I had to log some sessions at my local casino first. I had mentioned in my previous posts that for some reason I always start the month off with a losing session. I was determined that this would not be the case for November. I armed myself with two buy-ins ($1000) for the 2-5NL game and told myself that if I’m able to get ahead only a few hundred dollars that I was going to leave right away because I needed to book this win.

      As I strolled into my local casino around 10pm on November 1st, I was greeted by the same faces I’ve become accustomed to and the table was without even a single player that was new to me. The regulars at my casino have now been seeing a lot of me over the past couple of months and have adjusted to my loose and aggressive game so my plan was to play tighter than normal and really look for optimal spots to make my move. But in only the third hand of the night I was thrust into the action when I looked down at KK in middle position. I raised it up to $25 but only had one caller – a player who fires heavily on all three streets when bluffing. We saw a Q, 9, 5 flop and considering how dry this board was, I decided check to my opponent hoping to induce a bluff. Sadly, he checked back signaling that he had no piece of this board. With the 7 on the turn, I put out a bet of $35 and was glad to see him reraise me to $75 rather quickly. I was confident that he assumed I was weak and that the 7 did not help my hand. I elected to flat call and was planning on checking all rivers since I knew he was going to overbet the pot as a bluff. The 3 fell on the river, I checked, but to my surprise, my opponent only pushed out a bet of $110. As I mentioned, whenever he is bluffing, he overbets the pot and to me, this bet looked like he wanted some value. Knowing that my hand was completely under represented, I called only to be shown 6-4 offsuit for a rivered straight. I tapped the table signifying a nice hand and threw my kings into the muck.

      I played the next two hours pretty snug and wasn’t involved in too many spots. It was only around midnight at this point and my casino usually keeps a game running until about 4am so I figured I’d have plenty of time left. With a stack of around $650, I looked down at aces on the button. UTG+1 led out for $30 and the player in the hijack position (HJ) 3-bet to $80. HJ was an intelligent young player who had been picking on the UTG+1 player all night. I hoped by 4-betting that he would think that I’m stealing. I intentionally made my 4-bet smaller to allow him to think he had fold equity by shoving so I made my 4-bet $150. It got around to the HJ who wasted no time shoving with his pocket kings and I snap called and showed my aces. We looked at each other and began talking about how this would be a cooler for one of us no matter what and without us noticing the dealer quickly had run out the flop and turn J-J-8-6 read the board. Just as I had time to scan the board for any flush draws, the dealer destroyed my fate of a winning session at the start of the month as she delivered the King on the river.

      I said goodnight to the regulars and made my way to the door, destined to once again find myself in a small hole at the start of the month….
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