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Full Time, Online

    • vaulsc
      Joined: 28.06.2012 Posts: 124

      I’ve been a member here for over three years, my name is Luke, I’m 30, and I’m from Auckland, New Zealand. I’ve made some attempts to play poker seriously both live and online, but at the moment I’m taking my most dedicated shot yet. In October 2013 I left my full time job with savings in the bank that will allow me to live for a year without having to look for full time work again. I have secured a small amount of part-time work as a poker dealer in the meantime. Since November, I’ve been playing between 2k and 5k hands of 6max NLHE cash every single day on Pokerstars (I did take one or two days break when the muscles in my hand started to get sore). I started on NL2, I’ve moved up to NL5 yesterday, and I am hoping to get to a level that allows me to make some meaningful withdrawals from the network by the end of the year.

      The main reason for starting this blog is so that I can ask some general questions about Poker that hopefully will be answered by generous members of the community – questions that I have not found the answers to just by browsing this site or elsewhere. In this opening post I will write up some of my background but I will put those sections in spoiler headings so that those who aren’t interested in certain parts of my past can skip them and move on to whatever interests them regarding my blog content.

      How I got into Poker

      I was at a LAN one time, doing the worst thing you can do at a LAN – sitting there leeching movies and other content. I picked up the first series of ‘million dollar cash game’ and checked it out. I had heard about poker when I was a commentator for Starcraft: Brood war. sponsored the teamliquid tournament a number of years ago and I was a shoutcaster for that specific tournament. I remember thinking about looking into poker at the time, and now that I was enjoying watching the televised games I figured I should learn how to play so that I would understand what was happening on the show. In the meantime, I had a friend in my personal life who was playing and I wanted to be able to compete with her. So, I joined and learned the basics.

      My History with live poker

      My first ever hand of live poker was at a cash home-game, and I made top two pair. I was super nervous, but I won the pot. However, in my first few sessions I lost money. It really hurt, but I knew I was getting unlucky and stuck at it. At one point I moved away from cash and tried playing $20 tournaments at my local pub. That also went badly, until finally I lucked out and won two tournaments back to back, winning a lot of money back. Since then, I went on to play live with a lot more confidence. At that particular pub I’ve made over $1000 within a year. However, whenever I tried cash I continued to run bad. In particular, I started playing at Skycity Casino which is the only Auckland Casino. In tournaments, I made a profit, but in Cash, I continued to get beat…. Partially due to misplays, partially due to variance. I use some software to record my live results and I’m about breakeven at the moment, though I was up +$1500 at one point. I’ve attended a recorded 120 live sessions, mostly tournaments. All things considered I am happy with how things are going. I’m getting good at picking up a lot of live tells, and the fields I am up against live are very, very weak.

      My History with Online Poker

      I initially tried William Hill and 888 when I didn’t know what I was doing, but after a friend pointed me in the right direction, I went over to Pokerstars and stuck with it. I bought Pokertracker 4. I started playing a lot of NL2 fullring, standard tables, but didn’t make much progress in terms of either bankroll or learning. Then I switched to tournaments and loved it. I had some large swings, winning and then losing money until I joined a SNG study group on skype and committed to grinding $3.50 9man SNG’s, with some help from a mentor (Paul, also on I did alright, but my mental game was still pretty weak. I spewed a lot of money entering $2 grand tournaments on the side, making no profit from them even though my game at 9mans was profitable. I was still working full time in my real life and eventually slowed things down.

      When I knew I was going to be unemployed for some time, I decided I would hit cash again, even though my record on it was bad. My first 50k hands of cash online was quite a downswing. But I began to realise that I wasn’t playing well. When I went through Weazel’s cash game video series the population reads video really moved me. It made me understand that I was calling people down when they check-raised turns and rivers… I would have TPTK in these spots and they would have better hands. That was the reason for my negative winrate, even though I felt like it was just so many coolers. If I had just folded in all of those spots I’d probably have saved 30-50 BI’s.

      I’m playing 6max Zoom because I don’t like the idea of waiting for tables or using seating scripts. The internet connectivity in my country is absolute rubbish, I want the ability to just sit out quickly if connectivity gets dicey, and then re-join quickly again.

      My Results

      As I’ve mentioned, Weazel’s series really helped me. Note that my graph really improves at the 80k mark. This was when I quit work and started playing online every day and doing some more dedicated cash study. The first 80k hands are a mixture of terrible luck as well as terrible play. Knowing that I improved was a HUGE boost to confidence. Green line is well below the yellow line but hey, things can change.

      Hand Histories

      I post quite a bit on the hand history forums for judging at the micros. I really appreciate the input of judges like Weazel, MBML and BogdanPS. Those guys have all really helped my game. I will be posting regularly as allowed. Here’s one just for fun though:

      Pretty good flop for our hand. T :diamond: would have been a fun river card....

      Poker Stars $0.01/$0.02 No Limit Hold'em - 6 players - View hand 2649201
      DeucesCracked Poker Videos Hand History Converter

      BTN: $2.36
      SB: $0.88
      BB: $1.46
      Hero (UTG): $2.96
      MP: $4.56
      CO: $1.65

      Pre Flop: ($0.03) Hero is UTG with 5 :diamond: 6 :diamond:
      Hero raises to $0.06, 4 folds, BB calls $0.04

      Flop: ($0.13) 4 :diamond: 7 :diamond: 8 :diamond: (2 players)
      BB bets $0.13, Hero calls $0.13

      Turn: ($0.39) T :heart: (2 players)
      BB bets $1.27 all in, Hero calls $1.27

      River: ($2.93) K :diamond: (2 players - 1 is all in)

      Final Pot: $2.93
      BB shows J :diamond: 9 :diamond: (a flush, King high)
      Hero shows 5 :diamond: 6 :diamond: (a straight flush, Four to Eight)
      Hero wins $2.83
      (Rake: $0.10)

      My interests in life outside of Poker

      I’ve written and self-published my third novel Zero Anaphora in 2014. You should read it, poker is actually featured quite heavily in the fictional accounts of my characters.

      I’ve recorded 4 albums for a heavy metal solo project, music is free for download. Check it out here:

      I’ve uploaded over a thousand videos commentating on computer games and other things on my youtube channel, including starcraft 1&2, Warcraft 3, Dawn of War 1&2, and others:

      My questions for Poker Community:

      Okay here’s the real meat of the post. I’ll have more questions in future posts. Help me out wherever you can.

      1. I play on Pokerstars and I have tried configuring hotkeys. When I did so, I found that it work would for a few hands and then stop working… can you think of anything that might have happened that would have caused the hotkey settings to cut out?
      2. When playing 6max cash, the recommended pre-flop charts that I have been working with say that you shouldn’t raise 22-44 UTG, and you shouldn’t cold call certain pocket pairs against early position raises. What’s the reason for this limitation? Is it because of the reverse implied odd of hitting set under another set?
      3. When it folds to you in the small blind (6max NLHE cash), what sort of range would you limp-raise with? If you have a premium hand and your opponent has a very high fold to steal stat, would you consider limping or min-raising?
      4. You have AKo/QQ out of position and have been 5bet… under what circumstances do you fold?
      5. If you play on Pokerstars, what do you use your FPP on?
  • 1 reply
    • SDK1987
      Joined: 12.11.2008 Posts: 39,960
      1. I newer used hotkeys. So can't help you with it, but is weird you can’t use them all the time.
      I recommend sending a mail to and they will help you with a solution.

      2. I’m no cash game player, but I’m most likely open hands like that at a 6 max table.
      Is also a possibility the charts your revering too are outdated.

      3. I newer limp-raise first in at the SB. No specific range for that.
      If someone has a wide fold to steal I’m still raising mine premiums like I normal do. That’s 3bb from the SB.
      If you limp raising you get still in best case a few blinds extra if he don’t have a premium hand and is also likely you need to play a flop out of position against a wide range most of the time.

      4. Depends of how aggressive the villain is. If it is a tight player is it likely he only 5 bet with KK+ and than you can fold these hands.

      5. Is for you most likely not interesting, but I use those most of the time for satellites.
      This way I get T$ for it and I use them for SNG’s.
      You can sell the $T on the Official PokerStars T$ / W$ Exchange Market
      You can also play the 100 FPP tournament every Sunday morning if you’re a SilverStar+ member.
      That is for you 8.30h summertime and 6.30h wintertime if I’m right :f_biggrin:

      Further I wish you all the best with playing 6 max cash games and your new blog :gl: