Ramble's Ramblings

    • Ramble
      Ramble
      Bronze
      Joined: 17.11.2008 Posts: 1,421
      Oct 2013: $1.50 9-max Turbo SnG
      UPDATED Feb 2014: $3.50 9-max Knock-outs
      UPDATED Aug 2014: $7.00 9-max Knock-outs

      My Poker History (I'll try to keep it brief):

      1995
      I remember hearing about some ‘old’ guys (i.e in their late 20’s) playing poker and having a few beers and thinking to myself, that sounds fun, maybe I’ll get my friends together to do that...

      2005
      Ten years later, when I finally decided to do it (yeah I’m a bit slow), I learned the basics of a poker game and started a monthly home game. We played mostly limit draw and stud cash games with a 25 cent maximum bet. Eventually, we got into holding more NL-HE tournaments, but it's a nice break to get back to a variety of cash games.

      2007
      I heard about Chris Ferguson’s $1 to $10,000 Challenge, so I started playing online freerolls and won about $3. I worked this up to about $120 over the course of a year before I realized that I was the best player ever and no one else stood a chance against me ... a week later I went broke.

      2008
      I decided to give it another go and stumbled upon Pokerstrategy.com and their free $50 offer, I signed up and started playing at Full Tilt, almost exclusively SnG’s (9-man mostly, but some 27 and 45 too).

      2010/2011
      I slowly built my bankroll up and was grinding the $5 tables when I decided I needed to take a break for a few months. I started back up in March 2011, and just a couple of weeks later Black Friday hit. I was so soured that I stopped playing online completely (with a couple of brief tries at some smaller sites, thanks to PS offers, but the software and traffic didn’t compare so I gave up pretty quick).

      2013
      After Full Tilt started up again and I had access to my old bankroll, I decided to give it another go, but the traffic was low for the $5 games at the times I like to play, so I stopped again.

      Then about 4 weeks ago, I decided to sign up for Pokerstars and transfer some of my bankroll from Full Tilt and see how it went... I’ve been playing the $1.50 games and was surprised how different the games are in just a couple of years – but was able to make some adjustments and have been doing well so far.

      UPDATED Dec 31, 2014: Jump to the Quick Recap of 2014 which summarizes the year!

      In my next 2 posts, I’ll share:
      :diamond: My results for October & some items of interest
      :diamond: My Goals – For both Poker and this Blog
  • 528 replies
    • UPAY4DINNER
      UPAY4DINNER
      Bronze
      Joined: 27.09.2009 Posts: 21,921
      Good luck Ramble! Looking forward to seeing your goals and your progress to achieving them as well.

      All the best,
      Gary.
    • Ramble
      Ramble
      Bronze
      Joined: 17.11.2008 Posts: 1,421
      So just a quick review of my first month of play (October 2013):

      Tournaments Played: 434 (433 Turbo + 1 Regular)
      ITM: 38.2%
      ROI: 4.93%
      Net Winnings: $32.11



      Not shown are the approximately fifty $3.50 SnG’s I took a stab at and had horrible results... running about 15 buy-ins below $EV which would have put me just south of break-even... I’ve stopped playing them until my bankroll (and mindset) can take another shot at them.


      Has the game changed?
      In my previous post I mentioned that I found the game different, since I last played about two or three years ago. I’ve heard many others commenting recently that the micro stakes haven’t really changed much, but I disagree.

      In 2010/2011, it was almost a guarantee that one or two players would bust out in the first orbit of play. You could almost fold every hand and still make it ITM - I don't think that’s true today. If players were only classified as either “Fair-to-Good” or “Bad-to-Worse”, the ratio was at most 30:70, I would say now it seems closer to 60:40, maybe even higher. More players are tighter in the early stages, limp less, bet-size better and respect raises more.

      Don’t get me wrong, there are still horrible players at every table. I’m also not saying the games are much tougher than they used to be, just that the average micro-stakes player today is better than they were two years ago.


      In my next post, I’ll share:
      :diamond: My Goals – For Poker, this Blog, and maybe a bit more
    • UPAY4DINNER
      UPAY4DINNER
      Bronze
      Joined: 27.09.2009 Posts: 21,921
      Hope all is going well with the challenge then Ramble?
    • Ramble
      Ramble
      Bronze
      Joined: 17.11.2008 Posts: 1,421
      Thanks Gary - I needed a reminder to get my goals for the month posted!!!

      Poker Goals for November:

      :club: Maintain Silverstar Status (i.e. 500+ tourney’s per month) – This will help my bankroll by:
        :spade: Releasing 3 increments of my First Time Deposit Bonus - $$$
        :spade: Hitting my first VIP Stellar Reward - $$$
        :spade: Earning FPP’s to put towards a VIP Reward Bonus in a couple of months - $$$

      :club: Weekly Session Review – Each Week I’m going to pick a different selection of hands to review to look for areas to improve. The idea is to keep the review limited to no more than 100 hands a week, and will focus mainly on where there are 4+ players remaining. Then I’ll pick about 5 hands each week to post to the Hand Evaluations forum.
        :spade: Week 1 – All hands where I Busted-out
        :spade: Week 2 – All hands where I won or lost more than 10 BB’s
        :spade: Week 3 – All hands where I had small pocket pairs
        :spade: Week 4 – All hands where I VPIP in early position

      :club: Treadmill – I usually 6-table two sessions back-to-back, and have recently started following that with 30 minutes on the treadmill to give myself a break and get the heart pumping. Then I sit down and pump out two more sessions. I want to keep this up throughout November!

      Blog Goals:
      :club: Make 3 updates a week
      :club: Keep the topics varied (I don’t want to just post hands, although I will post some...)
      :club: Share lessons learned with the community and get your feedback

      If you have any suggestions on hand reviews or my blog, I'd appreciate the feedback.
    • Ramble
      Ramble
      Bronze
      Joined: 17.11.2008 Posts: 1,421
      I typically play poker mostly during the work-week and keep my weekends open for family time. This is a long weekend though, so I probably won't get to play too much until Tuesday. Even though I am already itching to play, I think for me, this forced break is a good thing.

      Since I only get away for a few minutes at a time (like right now) I can't start up a game, but I can take a few minutes to update my blog, look at articles, review hands, etc... It gives me a break away from the tables and helps me to remember that I am playing because I want to, not because I have any aspirations of becoming a pro.


      I've been sticking to the treadmill and have been steadily increasing the difficulty level and getting a pretty decent sweat on. It feels great and I am noticing an improvement in my overall energy levels.


      I've also started paying more attention to what I eat... This was my breakfast yesterday - A Strawberry/Banana Smoothie with Onions, Mushrooms, Peppers, Broccoli, Garlic, Spinach, Tomatoes, Cheese and Egg - delicious!



      Final Thought
      Although I don't do any of these things (Family Time, Exercise, Eat Well) to improve my poker game, wouldn't it be nice if that was a side-effect? :f_biggrin:
    • UPAY4DINNER
      UPAY4DINNER
      Bronze
      Joined: 27.09.2009 Posts: 21,921
      Looks delicious, its hard to find a balance for work, family and poker but you seem to have it under control. A lot of others fail in that regard.

      Well done mate!
    • Ramble
      Ramble
      Bronze
      Joined: 17.11.2008 Posts: 1,421
      Played in a friend's home game this past weekend that either he or his wife usually win - his wife is exceptionally good, but this time I took it down... Woot Woot!

      As for the online experience lately... I hate this cursed game. :f_mad:

      I was planning on posting some hands from my weekly hand review this morning, but I just got depressed... I've been on a bit of a downswing and I tend to follow bad luck with bad play which makes me spiral a bit... so I've decided to take the rest of the day off and come at it fresh tomorrow.
    • Ramble
      Ramble
      Bronze
      Joined: 17.11.2008 Posts: 1,421
      I decided to postpone playing today, and instead spent the morning really thinking about my play in general and consuming a large amount of coffee.

      I've always had a reasonable idea of what my "playing range" was intuitively, but I never really thought about sitting down and defining what it would look like in different situations and seeing if that made sense.

      So this morning I reviewed some of the strategy articles and gave some thought to my pre-flop ranges. What I came to discover was that my Raise/Fold range has been very mood dependent, and when I am tilting from bad beats, it gets absorbed into my Raise/Call range and ultimately extends my losing streak. Another area where basically the same pattern was occurring was my Flat-call vs 3-Bet range... :s_evil: evil cycle :s_evil: .

      Now that I have a much better awareness of my behaviour and I've defined what I think my ranges should be in these areas, I feel much better about my play going forward.

      Fingers crossed.
    • UPAY4DINNER
      UPAY4DINNER
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      Joined: 27.09.2009 Posts: 21,921
      Fingers crossed indeed!
    • Ramble
      Ramble
      Bronze
      Joined: 17.11.2008 Posts: 1,421
      Originally posted by HollyMichelle
      Fingers crossed indeed!
      Gary - Looks like you're my biggest fan! (read: only fan)

      Thanks for reading, it gets lonely here in the shadows.
    • Ramble
      Ramble
      Bronze
      Joined: 17.11.2008 Posts: 1,421
      Wow - I actually laughed out loud when I saw the +EV comic from Bobby Crosby this morning...

      I have been Corbin for the past month and didn't realize it!!!



      (Not sure it works though)
    • UPAY4DINNER
      UPAY4DINNER
      Bronze
      Joined: 27.09.2009 Posts: 21,921
      LOL!

      Did it work yet???
    • Ramble
      Ramble
      Bronze
      Joined: 17.11.2008 Posts: 1,421
      A couple of posts ago I mentioned that I had given a lot of thought to my ranges in different spots and since then I have reduced the number of tables I am playing (from 6 to 4) so I could focus on applying those ranges consistently/appropriately. I think they are OK, even though the results so far haven't been spectacular...

      In fact, I have been pretty much break-even over the last 500+ SnG's and the lack of progress is sucking the joy out of me... My bankroll is increasing significantly through clearing bonuses, but that's not as satisfying as earning it through good play.

      The problem is that instead of the poor results motivating me to improve, I feel motivated to find another hobby... again. Arggghhh....
    • Ramble
      Ramble
      Bronze
      Joined: 17.11.2008 Posts: 1,421
      OK... I've been struggling with this for quite some time now and tonight have come to a decision... I really enjoy Poker, but hate being a break-even player. I've given it a lot of thought and here is what is going to happen. I'm going to start playing winning poker. It is that simple.

      I'm a smart guy... so smart in fact that I fooled myself into thinking that I didn't have to really put a lot of work in to my game, I just had a couple of small leaks and a wee-bit of bad luck, and that if I kept doing the same thing - everything would be ok... You know what the definition of insanity is right? - doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results...

      So time for a new System:

      :spade: Healthy Body - Appropriate sleep, food and exercise - it is making a difference!!!
      :spade: Healthy Mind - Review a Psychology item each day and learn from it
      :spade: Strategy Review - Enjoy a Poker strategy item each day - where can I improve?
      :spade: Session Review - Assess each session immediately instead of weeks later - timely feedback = stop loss
      :spade: Hand Review - Participate in Hand evaluation forum each day - review two hands for every one I post
      :spade: Expert Review - Work with a Poker Coach - Learn from someone who knows - work smart, not hard
    • Ramble
      Ramble
      Bronze
      Joined: 17.11.2008 Posts: 1,421
      What I learned or re-discovered today:

      Watched: Professional Attitude video - No excuses, time to take responsibility for improving my game and to be honest and accountable for my actions.

      Read: Stop-Loss Limits article - my new Stop-loss is 8 buy-ins. I didn't really have one before and used to play more games in a losing session then a winning one... Which is completely backwards... (I guess when winning I was satisfied, but when losing I would chase a turn-around and this lead to more gambling/losing...)

      Read: This quote posted here by JCSeerup (originally by DanielLiu on 2+2) - Although I have no ambition to turn pro, I do want to be good at my hobby, and am recognizing that it will take effort.

      Watched: Intro to SnG video - Between 36:00 and 38:00 minute mark, Chenny8888 makes an interesting counter-point to how I've approached the same situation... He plays for 2nd place, I have always played for 1st in that spot with those stack-sizes. I'm probably not making 1st (and 2nd) often enough with that approach vs playing for 2nd and then 1st.

      Ok... Now time to play! (after some lunch)
    • Ramble
      Ramble
      Bronze
      Joined: 17.11.2008 Posts: 1,421
      Just to wrap up my Day 1:

      Taking so much time to study the game didn't leave me with much time to play it! I got 12 tourneys in and only had two ITM finishes, so not a great results day.

      I did my session review and posted some hands in Eval forum (even though it did cut in to my sleep a bit) - so feeling good about that. I was a bit surprised by some of the hand judges recommendations though so I need to really think about those situations more...

      The most exciting news though is that I booked a coach for next week and am really looking forward to learning from Tim64! A bit nervous about how bad my play is gonna be under a microscope though... :f_o: :f_eek:
    • Ramble
      Ramble
      Bronze
      Joined: 17.11.2008 Posts: 1,421
      Still working the system...

      This morning I read the Neuropsychology of Poker (1) and (2) and tried to watch the companion videos - but even though the articles are in the basic section, the videos require silver and gold respectively... wtf Pokerstrategy - fail! Pick a level for the material and stick to it.

      I also watched a couple of Tim64's videos on youtube and was really impressed with his thought process and explanation.

      Then I sat down and played... and had another horrid day... In fact I'm down 27 buy-ins over the week...

      The worst part is I've put more thought in to my play this week then I have in a long time. The start of the downswing also coincides with my post from a week ago where I examined my ranges in different spots... I basically have no confidence in my game right now...
    • Lazza61
      Lazza61
      Headadmin
      Headadmin
      Joined: 23.03.2011 Posts: 9,164
      Hey Ramble,

      Sorry to hear you are having a bad time of it. :(

      The 1st bit of advice I can offer is to concentrate on making good decisions. I have busted out of 3 MM Events with AK, AQ and AT against A7, A5 and A3 respectively.

      While I was disappointed with busting, each time I made the right decision as an overwhelming favorite so in that context I am happy at my decision making and just disappointed that I couldn't win big pots with dominating hands.

      This will happen constantly through your poker career so your game has to be solid as well as your mindset otherwise it will crush you.

      Also be careful you don't fall into the trap of over-analysing spots particularly at micro/low limits. You will often end up making plays that won't get any credit or respect.

      Hope things get better

      Laz
    • Ramble
      Ramble
      Bronze
      Joined: 17.11.2008 Posts: 1,421
      Thanks Laz - after reading your comments yesterday I went on to have a better day at the tables... not winning mind you, but not losing either! :P

      Yesterday was quite a busy day for me IRL so I didn't get to update my blog or study as much as I wanted to. I did manage to play a few tourneys and review my session.

      2 big things from yesterday:

      1) I finally understand how the luck-adjusted line in HM2 is calculated for STT's (the link is for cash, I couldn't find one for STT's but I believe ICM is used in determining "$EV Diff") and have decided that it is useless and I should stop worrying about it. (I know people have mixed opinions on that - but that is mine.)

      My $EV column in the reports tab is almost all green, meaning over the course of the tourney - for the hands that got calculated - I lost more than I should have (i.e. unlucky). That's nice, but if I make a 100 right decisions (some accounted for in the calculations and some not) and 1 wrong decision that busts me out... does it really matter?

      2) I downloaded PokerStrategy's ICM Trainer again and am going to start doing a 100 of them a day, every day, before my session as a warm up.

      OK - off to read psych and strategy articles before warming up...