Outspan's quest for diamond

    • outspan
      outspan
      Bronze
      Joined: 07.02.2010 Posts: 1,196


      "I will either find a way or make one" —Hannibal
      "Do or do not. There is no try" —Yoda


      Hey all!

      My name is Dario, I was born and raised in Italy, I'm a software engineering student but currently working as a freelance journalist (because I love the freedom, the flexibility, the traveling, and the free stuff).

      BACKGROUND

      I've been playing poker on and off for a couple of years. Over a year ago I managed to turn €90 into €2,300 in two months, playing FR BSS and using a fairly aggressive but very solid BRM approach that I originally developed when I was investing in forex.

      I grinded some more after that, became a platinum member :s_cool: , but then I decided to cash out because in the middle of a downswing I was offered a good job, so I decided to put poker aside for a bit. But now it's time to come back to the game I love, with a new and improved mindset :s_love:

      I'm keeping my job but, now that it isn't as challenging as it was in the beginning, I can dedicate myself to poker too. I will be playing mostly SH BSS, but I might mix in some MTTs which are my absolute favorites to play. I also want to learn PLO which looks fun (and will improve my mindset w/ swings). I have played 300 PLO hands lifetime and I have very little experience with SH in general (I've mostly played FR), so even the NLHE will be challenging for me at first :s_confused: but I think it's the best choice in the long run.

      I haven't really played poker in eight months, so I don't want to start right from the low/mid stakes because I lost some confidence in my play. After withdrawing a while ago, I have 200€ left on Stars and 100€ on People's Poker (an Italian PS-affiliated room that is fishy but doesn't support HEM) so this is going to be my starting bankroll! I'm going to start by 6- or 8-tabling a mix of NL5 and NL10 SH on stars, and NL5 SH on the other site.

      WHY THIS BLOG?

      Accountability, but also because I want a place where I can track my progress, look back at what I did, and figure out my mistakes. I also like the idea of being able to see the bigger picture by noticing how my mindset is evolving over time.

      MY POKER GOALS (updated weekly)



      YEARLY (by December 31st, 2013):
      :diamond: Become a diamond member
      :diamond: Beat NL100 over the sample of the last 100k hands
      :diamond: Grind my way up from PLO2 to PLO25 (using a separate bankroll)

      MONTHLY (by April 30th, 2013):
      :spade: Get 750 strategy points
      :spade: Post or comment on at least 50 hands in the forums (Italian and English)
      :spade: Follow 3 BSS coachings per week

      WEEKLY (by April 14th, 2013):
      :club: Post or comment on 12 hands on the forums
      :club: Follow 3 BSS coachings
      :club: Play at least 5k hands

      Past goals:



      WEEKLY (by April 8th, 2013):
      :club: Post or comment on 12 hands on the forums
      :club: Follow 3 BSS coachings
      :club: Play at least 5k hands

      MONTHLY (by March 31st, 2013):
      :spade: Play 30k hands
      :spade: Post or comment on at least 50 hands in the forums (Italian and English)
      :spade: Follow 3 BSS coachings per week
      :spade: Win the leakfinder from the Italian Microstakes Heroes on Pokerstrategy.it

      WEEKLY (by March 10th, 2013):
      :club: Post or comment on 12 hands on the forums
      :club: Follow 3 BSS coachings
      :club: Get gold status

      WEEKLY (by March 10th, 2013):
      :club: Post or comment on 12 hands on the forums
      :club: Follow 3 BSS coachings
      :club: Collect the notes from the videos and organize them

      MONTHLY (by February 28th, 2013):
      :spade: Play 30k hands
      :spade: Post or comment on at least 50 hands in the forums (Italian and English)
      :spade: Follow 3 BSS coachings per week
      :spade: Win the leakfinder from the Italian Microstakes Heroes on Pokerstrategy.it

      WEEKLY (by March 3rd, 2013):
      :club: Post or comment on 12 hands on the forums
      :club: Follow 3 BSS coachings
      :club: Play as much as possible
      :club: Pass the quiz from Italian Microstakes Heroes with a high score (90%+)

      WEEKLY (by February 24th, 2013):
      :club: Post or comment on 12 hands on the forums
      :club: Follow 3 BSS coachings
      :club: Play as much as possible
      :club: Pass the quiz from Italian Microstakes Heroes with a great score (90%+)

      WEEKLY (by February 17th, 2013):
      :club: Post or comment on 12 hands on the forums
      :club: Follow 3 BSS coachings
      :club: Play as much as possible
      :club: Pass the quiz from Italian Microstakes Heroes with a great score (90%+)

      WEEKLY (by February 10th, 2013):
      :club: Post or comment on 12 hands on the forums
      :club: Follow 3 BSS coachings
      :club: Pass the quiz from Italian Microstakes Heroes with a great score (90%+)

      WEEKLY (by February 3rd, 2013):
      :club: Post or comment on 12 hands on the forums
      :club: Follow 2 BSS coachings
      :club: Play as much as possible
      :club: Test ideas to improve my productivity

      WEEKLY (by January 27th, 2013):
      :club: Read Schnitzelfish's productivity post - DONE
      :club: Post or comment on 12 hands on the forums - DONE
      :club: Follow 2 BSS coachings - DONE
      :club: Play enough hands to get back on track for gold by the end of the month - NOT DONE


      WEEKLY (by January 20th, 2013):
      :club: Keep grinding so I'll reach around 300-350 strategy points by the end of the week (in line for maintaining gold status); - NOT DONE
      :club: Post or comment on 12 hands in the forums, including a detailed Scenario Analyzer analysis on at least 3 of them (more if I have the time);
      :club: Follow 2 BSS coachings; - DONE
      :club: Play around more with the Scenario Analyzer to get a better idea of what cards help villain on different types of boards. - DONE
      :club: Try listening piano music during a couple of sessions and see how it affects my concentration. - DONE

      WEEKLY (by January 13th, 2013):
      :club: Get silver star on Stars.it, so I can play the freerolls - DONE
      :club: Post or comment on 12 hands in the forums, including a detailed Scenario Analyzer analysis on at least 3 of them (more if I have the time) - DONE
      :club: Follow 2 more BSS coachings - DONE
      :club: Play around more with the Scenario Analyzer to get a better idea of what cards help villain on different types of boards - DONE

      WEEKLY (by January 6th, 2013):
      :club: Develop a first, rough routine for the pre- and post-session, including: physical and mental preparation, approx. duration, food and water, post-session analysis (to review later in the month) - DONE
      :club: Follow grummeler's coaching on Thursday and Bogdan's on Sunday - DONE
      :club: Post or comment on 12 hands on the forums - DONE
      :club: Play 5k hands - DONE
      :club: Play around with Equilab's Equity Trainer for about 2 hours to get a better idea of calling ranges, flop equity etc. - DONE


      If you guys wanna say hi, maybe trade skype IDs to discuss hands etc, send me a message on the community tool!

      Dario
  • 26 replies
    • UPAY4DINNER
      UPAY4DINNER
      Bronze
      Joined: 27.09.2009 Posts: 21,923
      Hey Dario!

      Best of luck with your goals! That's quite a mix of games you intend to play! I wish you every success!

      Happy New Year!
    • outspan
      outspan
      Bronze
      Joined: 07.02.2010 Posts: 1,196
      Originally posted by HollyMichelle
      Hey Dario!

      Best of luck with your goals! That's quite a mix of games you intend to play! I wish you every success!

      Happy New Year!
      Thank you Gary! I've set up an ambitious goal but I definitely think I can get there. I'll post updates every Monday.
    • UPAY4DINNER
      UPAY4DINNER
      Bronze
      Joined: 27.09.2009 Posts: 21,923
      Ambitious is good as long as you know deep down that you can make it realistically :)
    • outspan
      outspan
      Bronze
      Joined: 07.02.2010 Posts: 1,196
      So, I've met my goals for the week but ran into a lot of variance/coolers. My bankroll on stars is down to about 165, a couple stacks below EV, and this makes me think that I may have to adopt a slightly more conservative BRM of 30 buy-ins on SH games.

      Other than that, things are going well: I feel like I have learned a lot, especially playing around with Equilab's Scenario Analyzer. I need to do that a lot more in the coming week.

      I plan to get the silver star by Sunday, so that I can play a 10k and a 15k freeroll on Stars.it. After that, I'll be focusing more on playing on the fishier site and applying what I've learned so far to build up my bankroll.

      I've developed a decent routine for pre- and post-session that takes care of both the mental and physical aspects. Some of it was borrowed from The Mental Game of Poker.

      a) Prepare a bunch of fruit, nuts, and water;
      b) Select one mental and one technical leak/experimental line to work on during the session;
      c) Have a sip of water, eat a piece of fruit, take a few deep breaths to increase concentration;
      d) Play for 90-120 minutes on 6 tables;
      e) Rest for about 10 minutes, get out of the chair, have a short walk/stretch;
      f) Have a look at the marked hands, select the most interesting ones to post on the forum, note down leaks and ideas for new lines.

      My plans for this week include re-reading ten of the Silver BSS articles, playing enough hands to get a Silver star (so I can play the freerolls), and play around more with the Scenario Analyzer, which is a great tool.

      I started the week playing on 8 tables, but I soon realized that they were way too many. I have to concentrate a lot more on the hands, so that I can pick much better spots and not play robotically. So, on at least 3 of the hands that I'll be posting/commenting on this week in the forums, I'm going to post a detailed Scenario Analyzer screenshot and really think about what hands are good or bad for the opponent's range (for now, figuring this out is a bit of a leak for me).
    • UPAY4DINNER
      UPAY4DINNER
      Bronze
      Joined: 27.09.2009 Posts: 21,923
      Have you ever considered playing Zoom over regular tables at any stage? Great for volume :)
    • meepwn
      meepwn
      Bronze
      Joined: 11.07.2011 Posts: 1,410
      Subscribing.

      Do you mind sharing your BRM strategy? Are you familiar with the Kelly criterion?
    • outspan
      outspan
      Bronze
      Joined: 07.02.2010 Posts: 1,196
      @HollyMichelle: Yes Zoom would be great for volume, but I can only play on .IT sites, which don't have that much traffic, and so there's no FR traffic even at the mid stakes. That's why I'm trying to do SH only. I might do FR every once in a while just to build my bankroll, but I think given my situation the best thing is to level up on SH.

      @meepwn: Sure, it's here (first post). In short, I choose the number of buy-ins I want to give myself and I make sure that the average amount of money on my tables is as close as possible to that value.

      For instance, if I have 200€ with a 25BI rule, most people would only play NL5, but I'd mix NL5 and NL10 in such a way that the average buy-in is 200/25 = 8€. I have other rules too but this is the main one.

      I'm familiar with the Kelly criterion but I think that for poker it's way too aggressive, plus it's extremely hard to estimate its parameters correctly.
    • ShadDoneWin
      ShadDoneWin
      Bronze
      Joined: 18.08.2012 Posts: 161
      GL man! I'm on a similar path, following :) Add me on the comm tool if you want to skype PLO
    • outspan
      outspan
      Bronze
      Joined: 07.02.2010 Posts: 1,196
      Pretty uneventful week. I grinded some more and met all the objectives for the week, and now my bankroll is at 180 euros. I busted out of the 10k and 15k freerolls. For this week, I'm going to keep joining the coachings, and also start playing on the fishier site, which means I'll be able to build a bankroll soon.

      I'm also quite happy with my pre- and post-session routine and I don't plan to change it in the near future. The only think I'm going to try is to play piano music during the session -- it usually relaxes and helps my concentration. I wouldn't try any other kind of music (too distracting), but I think it's worth giving piano music a go for a couple of sessions and see how it affects my mental state.

      For the time being, I haven't really played any PLO -- I'd like to get a better grasp of SH before I start with an entirely new game. However, in the very few hands that I've played, the field at the micros seems exceptionally weak. I'll start playing PLO in the future, I think next month. It'll be a good part of my strategy to get to diamond because, if I understand correctly, the average pot is much higher than in NLHE.
    • outspan
      outspan
      Bronze
      Joined: 07.02.2010 Posts: 1,196
      Originally posted by ShadDoneWin
      GL man! I'm on a similar path, following :) Add me on the comm tool if you want to skype PLO
      Thank you! I sent you a friend request.
    • outspan
      outspan
      Bronze
      Joined: 07.02.2010 Posts: 1,196
      This week I've really been overwhelmed by work and other personal stuff and so I've had to prioritize these things over poker. So I met all my objectives for the week, except maybe the most important -- play enough hands.

      Now I'm not sure whether I'll be able to maintain gold status at the end of the month, but I have an idea. Stars finally introduced zoom for shorthanded games on .IT, so I can start grinding two tables and play a lot more hands.

      I also realized that I've been giving a lot of pressure on myself to complete all my goals in time, and as a result I was feeling very stressed and overwhelmed. Luckily I came across the "Pomodoro technique" and this little handy freeware: http://www.tomighty.org/

      I set the intervals at 50 mins / 10 mins / 40 mins, meaning I do 50 mins of very focused work with no distractions, rest for 10 mins, then do another 50 mins of work, and relax for 40 mins before starting all again.

      I tried it yesterday and it worked really really well -- I'm a lot more relaxed and I got a lot more done than I usually would have.

      So I'm going to dedicate this week to improving my productivity. I'm committed to trying the Pomodoro technique for the entire week, and I also want to read Schnitzelfish's productivity post so that I can have more ideas.

      I expect that this time investment will pay off a lot in the future. It'll take me less time to get work done, so I'll have more time to focus on poker, and I'll be focused just on it when I'm playing.

      If I don't manage to get gold this month, I'll recuperate the missing points in February, so that nothing is lost in the big picture.

      Regarding last week... it turns out classical/piano music does help my concentration, as long as it's not too loud, but I need to improve my collection. Money wise I'm about even compared to 7 days ago. But I really feel that I'm learning a lot about spots, and my EV is rising.
    • outspan
      outspan
      Bronze
      Joined: 07.02.2010 Posts: 1,196
      This week I'm continuing on the productivity journey. I've already found out that the Pomodoro technique really increases my productivity, but I've been too busy to meet my goals in terms of number of hands played (as I had anticipated).

      I'm still reading the BSS silver articles, taking lots of notes, and now I feel like I have a much better ideas of the lines I was taking that made sense in FR and are just terrible in SH.

      Playing only 2 tables on Zoom means I'm really able to focus now, which is great, because I can take my time to read my opponents better. I'm also starting to gather a crucial amount of hands on my opponents, so that soon I'll be able to read them better.

      Not much else for now... I'm still using this week to improve my routines and productivity, so that I can plan things better and grind a lot more next month.
    • outspan
      outspan
      Bronze
      Joined: 07.02.2010 Posts: 1,196
      I joined an initiative on the Italian Pokerstrategy forum called "Italian Microstakes Heroes". It's going to last the whole of February, we'll have 4 thematic coachings, followed by 4 quizzes. There's 24 of us, split into 4 teams, and the team who grinds the most / gives the best quiz answers and shows the most dedication wins a t-shirt; plus, the most dedicated team member from each team gets a leakfinder from the coaches :) .

      So I'm going to dedicate this month to this initiative, grinding more than usual, asking coaches a lot of questions, and learning a lot, which is exactly what I need right now since I'm just getting started with shorthanded.

      We'll see how it goes...
    • outspan
      outspan
      Bronze
      Joined: 07.02.2010 Posts: 1,196
      I'm on the first week of the "Italian Microstakes Heroes" and learning a lot more. This week was focused on preflop play. I've also started to capture audio and video from coachings that I believe are the most useful, so that I can review them later -- especially when I ask the coach a question. I like this a lot better than taking notes, because it makes sure that I don't miss anything. I still take notes on the recorded videos, but I can do so more comfortably, and I'm able to make sure that I haven't missed anything.

      Results-wise it hasn't been the best week, I'm down about 6 stacks as I continue experimenting especially with preflop ranges. Nothing drastic though, and I'm ready to dive right back in. I really want to take full advantage of the opportunity I have to ask the coaches for feedback on my stats etcetera during this month.
    • UPAY4DINNER
      UPAY4DINNER
      Bronze
      Joined: 27.09.2009 Posts: 21,923
      Sounds like a really nice promo! Good luck with it and hope it will aid your development :)
    • outspan
      outspan
      Bronze
      Joined: 07.02.2010 Posts: 1,196
      I'm having a lot of issues with HM2, where the database isn't loading properly and I can't post/review hands they way I'd like to. It seems to work on and off, but I think I may have finally fixed it.

      These week I've worked more on preflop spots and I played around with the HUD to find the configuration that works best for me. This is increasing my EV a lot because, as I start accumulating more hands on my opponents, I found that there's a surprisingly high number of villains who fold 75%+ of the blinds to a steal, meaning I can steal with any two cards much more often than I thought.

      This week's "Italian microstakes heroes" coaching was on the cbet-when to do it, how much to bet, when to two-barrel, etc. I haven't been able to practise much because of my HM2 problems but I have recorded the coaching and will come back to it.

      :)
    • outspan
      outspan
      Bronze
      Joined: 07.02.2010 Posts: 1,196
      After a dry spell it seems like the variance has turned around a little. This week's coaching topic were draws and marginal hands -- I've just submitted my test. The last one went very well, I got almost 90% right.

      I'm still having problems with HM2 but I'm slowly fixing them. I'm not playing the volumes I'd like because of those problems, but I am seeing a huge improvement in my hand-reading skills. The area where I've made the most progress is probably better estimating the opening/calling ranges of villains.

      I'm two-tabling Zoom. I used to four-table but that didn't allow for enough time to think through all the possibilities and make the best moves. I especially think there's edge to be had in playing fewer tables because I have the time to take notes on opponents, which I suspect very few people do on Zoom.
    • outspan
      outspan
      Bronze
      Joined: 07.02.2010 Posts: 1,196
      Another week and the February promotion on the Italian Pokerstrategy has ended. I think I did pretty well in the quizzes (waiting on the results of the last one).

      I may have finally resolved my issues with HM2, which really bothered me the entire month. I've settled on playing 2 tables of Zoom and after a long downswing, results-wise things are finally starting to look up. I've learned a lot during this month and the coaches on the Italian community have been very helpful and exhaustive with their answers. Pleno's 6max coaching also doesn't hurt!

      Meanwhile I've read the book "Fooled by randomness" by Nassim Taleb--great stuff that helps deal with variance. I'm also interested in forex and it gave me a few ideas. Many ideas about chance and variance transfer from poker to finance.

      On the tables I start seeing that I'm noticeably more confident about what to do--I don't take as much time with with my marginal decisions, and I have a much better idea of what line to take when previously I didn't. So things are looking up!
    • outspan
      outspan
      Bronze
      Joined: 07.02.2010 Posts: 1,196
      I've been on a bit of a heater playing 1 table of nl5 and one of nl10 zoom:



      I started playing rather tight but now I'm opening up a lot and finding many spots to 3bet. Also crucially, the more I play and the more info I have on my opponents, so I keep figuring out what the best line against them is.

      Pleno1's coachings have been great, I've been following them and playing 27/24 instead of my usual 20/18. The results seem promising so far, even though of course the graph above is not a sample :)

      Next week will be more of the same grinding... I'll follow tonight's coaching too
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