This site uses cookies to improve your browsing experience. By continuing to browse the website, you accept such cookies. For more details and to change your settings, see our Cookie Policy and Privacy Policy. Close

The adventures of a poker novice - Fresh start

    • Catonthemat
      Joined: 01.08.2016 Posts: 287
      Day 1 01/09/2016 - A fresh start

      My previous adventure into poker was a bit of a car crash with the previous blog being more of a blog interspersed with ranting. So I have decided to start a clean slate with a new blog and a new plan.

      This time I plan to stay more focused by having short/medium/long targets. I shall also be following a much stricter bank roll management plan.

      I am also going to try to be less results orientated, so I am not going to be actively doing the GToDT challenge. I shall be posting overall graphs as I go, but will try and put a lot more into how I am playing.

      I want really to be more of an MTT player but I think that will be pretty tough in the initial periods with no "wins" so the other game types cash/stt/spinngo might be better getting smaller "wins" to keep me motivated. With that in mind I am going to be starting with NL2 cash games.

      To stop it being one large text wall each section is spoiler'd.

      Starting out

      For starting ranges and strategy most of it is going to come from w34z4l's initial walkthrough. I am going to be having equilab open with the ranges available and slowly try and rely less and less on checking each hand.
      W34z3l's Walkthroguh
      I shall then be moving onto W34z3l's gold member content.

      Poker room

      I am going to be playing at This is for 2 reasons;
      a)It is linked to my pokerstratergy account so gets me my gold status for the articles I want to read.
      b)I still have £225 to unlock before mid december for the welcome bonus.

      Along with unlocking the welcome bonus I plan to always have one of their missions going to try and pick the extra reward. Currently working on “Final hands”

      So am still waiting on the allusive straight flush for a $25 reward.

      Bank roll management

      I am going to be starting by depositing £40 roughly $50.
      NL2 move up $125
      NL4 move down $75 move up $250.
      NL10 move down $175 move up $650.
      NL25 move down $500 move up $1400.
      NL50 move down $1000.

      Daily stop loss 3x Max buy-ins.

      "Daily" playing plan

      I say "daily" but I mean the days that I play rather than playing each day, as I will have to fit it around working full time. This is also only for the playing side as the reading & research can be done on a more flexible basis around other day to day bits. But I shall aim for at least the 20% of my "poker time" spent learning rather than playing.
      -1 table. I dived into multi tabling too early last time, so going to try and walk before I run this time.
      -200 hands
      -Mark difficult hands for review
      -After 200 hands go through a good selection of hands I played to work out pot odds, equity, implied odds etc to get better at the maths.
      -Post any hands that I am unsure for hand discussion on the forum.

      Mental game and composure

      So far my previous big losses have come one after the other as I start to tilt more and more. I am now reading The mental game of poker, and one of the suggestions is to write down what makes you tilt and then have "logical injections" when it starts to happen. These logical injections are to snap you out of what is tilting.
      So with that in mind I am going to make a list of all the thoughts that made me tilt and come up with some logical injections which I shall write on post it notes and stick to my laptop when playing.
      An example is;
      Losing to a bad player - To be profitable you need bad players to win every now and then so they keep playing.

      Other than that I am going to make sure I don't play when tired or not in the right mood for playing. This is meant to be a fun hobby after all :D

      Poker reality check

      I was watching a youtube video by Daniel Negreanu and he said something that I knew but had let affect how i play. After feedback from hand discussions I have been playing a lot of situations weak, and this is because I have been watching too much TV broadcast poker where they edit the play. This has left me with much higher expectation of people hitting their hand or their hands strength resulting in me folding when I am likely to be in the best position.

      So to combat this I am thinking of watching more streamers as usually they show all the hands so I’ll start to get a more realistic idea of how common certain hands come up. This should hopefully give me more confidence when playing post flop.

      Hold’em manager and HUD

      Some of my research so far has said how useful HUD stats can be when helping to make a decision. However ever time I have loaded it up I have felt overwhelmed with remembering what each number meant. I am currently running a blank HUD which just has name and hands played, this is mainly for the pop up after the end of a hand showing money lost and mucked hands.

      This time I am going to do things differently. Using my blank HUD as a starting point I am going to slowly add stats and when I get comfortable with that I will add more that I understand and feel will be useful. This way I won't get overwhelmed and I shall be able to use the information presented in a useful manner. It will also be a bit personal to me so will hopefully make more sense.

      Reading & research:

      As has a lot of articles I still haven't read I thought I would set one of the goals to complete all the strategy articles that I feel are relevant (i.e. ignoring the other game modes for now at least.). As with the other reading & research I shall be taking notes and make sure I put what I read into practice so that it sticks.

      Reading & research: Books list

      Hold'em wisdom for all players - Daniel Negreanu. Was an easy read and some good tips for a beginner.

      Poker hold'em strategy - Daniel Negreanu. Slow reading due to the different styles of each player, but good to get a broad spectrum.
      The mental game of poker - Jared Tendler. Great read and help. Really helping with my biggest leak of tilting.

      To read:
      Super systems 1 & 2 - Doyle Brunson. Old but seems to be a must read suggestion in a lot of places.
      Essential poker math - Alton Hardin. Keeps getting recommended by kindle store so will probably give it a go.
      The mental game of poker 2 - Jared Tendler.
      The Theory of Poker - David Sklansky. Reading a bit later on as a few reviews suggest the subtleties in it are lost in the low limits of online poker.

      Any suggestion?

      Admin to do list for the week
      1. Create and improve a HUD.
      2. Do a tilt profile and create logical injections.

      Thank you for reading, and I shall try and update my progress once a week at a minimum.
  • 24 replies
    • Catonthemat
      Joined: 01.08.2016 Posts: 287
      Day 0

      I wrote the majority of the blog as a way getting my thoughts in line ready for the start of my new adventure. However I did play a little bit during this time, which means I wont be depositing the full $50. So far I deposited $13 and through NL2 play I have increased that by $5.

      That sharp drop near the end was my wife talking to me during a hand and me calling after reading the amount wrong :f_mad:

      I have also placed in a $1.10 bounty tournament as well as picking up some bounties.

      This has left me with a balance of $20.50 which I shall be topping up to $50 for the start of the new adventure.
    • Catonthemat
      Joined: 01.08.2016 Posts: 287
      Day 4 - 04/09/2016

      With this blog I have started writing bits throughout the gaps between posts with the idea of posting Sunday and Wednesday, so they start off pretty small but build up with my thoughts, that is also why it might read like a few people talking as it is me at different times. Hope you enjoy it.

      Even though not doing the BR challenge I know results always interest people;
      Starting Balance:$50
      Current Balance:$64.77

      Cash games
      As i am trying to focus on doing better on one table rather than multi tabling I am starting to put more thought into table selection. At the current NL2 tables I am finding when people don’t have a max buy in they seem to be a bit fishy (as other people have suggested). Also found that some people play a very tournament style if they get down to about 40BB and are just going all in on junk, which is nice to scoop up if I make a premium hand.
      I am also quick to move to a new table if someone is making it difficult for me. Previously I would try and get the best of them, but taking on the reading I have done that it is better just to make easier profit elsewhere then try and compete with someone. The only time I haven’t done this is when how they are beating me seems very exploitable, and I have then just waited for the nuts and cleaned them out, which was a very good feeling and helped me reinforce that playing better always gets a better result then hoping to get lucky.
      As I am trying to be less results oriented I have started keeping more of an eye on my All in EV rather than what I actually won. In several spots I have lost money, but it was a positive EV move so I am happy with my decision. I am also starting to put more faith in my reads at the river, meaning I can do some value betting rather than just checking it through for fear of someone slow playing me.
      This did change a bit as play went on and I am starting to have a bit of frustration with the players I am playing with. At first I thought they were all just trying to be clever and slow play me. However as the games wore on I noticed they were all just extremely passive. Had one guy flop a full house, then never bet on any streets and as no one else did he only got the blinds. What is frustrating me about this is that I can't really read if I have the best hand or not. They also never really fold either, so I have taken to only betting when I am confident I am in the lead and the rest of the time checking it through. It isn’t ideal but it is working. Any suggestions welcomed.
      Did have a slip back into old ways with the following hand

      Party, $0.01/$0.02 No Limit Hold'em Cash, 4 Players
      Poker Tools Powered By Holdem Manager - The Ultimate Poker Software Suite.

      SB: $2.30 (115 bb)
      Hero (BB): $2.36 (118 bb)
      CO: $1.90 (95 bb)
      BTN: $1.87 (93.5 bb)

      Preflop: Hero is BB with :Td: :Ts:
      CO raises to $0.07, BTN raises to $0.20, SB folds, Hero calls $0.18, CO folds

      Flop: ($0.48) :Qd: :3c: :6c: (2 players)
      Hero checks, BTN bets $0.34, Hero calls $0.34

      Turn: ($1.16) :9h: (2 players)
      Hero bets $0.15, BTN raises to $1.33 and is all-in, Hero calls $1.18

      River: ($3.82) :4s: (2 players, 1 is all-in)

      Results: $3.82 pot ($0.19 rake)
      Final Board: :Qd: :3c: :6c: :9h: :4s:
      Hero showed :Td: :Ts: and lost (-$1.87 net)
      BTN showed :Kd: :Kc: and won $3.63 ($1.76 net)

      First off I didn’t want to call preflop as thought high pocket pair, but it did. Then after that I couldn’t bring myself to believe I was beat and just kept calling. On a positive note I did manage to keep playing afterwards without it affecting my game. Which I think is a step in the right direction as will help when rather than bad play it is just variance that results in the loss


      Was hoping to keep EV and Win line close to each other however had a hand where I just didn’t believe that the Villain had me beat as previous hands he hadn’t and taken the same line. So went all in, he called and I was only saved by a backdoor flush.

      Fastforward NL5 (Zoom)

      So dipped my toe in the water of fastforward, partpoker’s version of zoom, and it was one hell of a ride. Made two bad all in’s but other than that most all in’s were EV+. The problem I found with it was that it was far too tilting for me, too many variance occasions came up and the whole thing felt a lot more like gambling than playing poker. People also seemed to turn up to show down with such random hands that I was running into also sorts, sometimes winning sometimes losing, which made it really diffcult to play. A lot of it felt like you just sort of play your cards and ignore others as they all seemed like a bunch of maniacs with no real plan. Anyway I think that is enough of that for me and even though the profit spikes were nice I prefer a slow and steady climb, to the swing of zoom.

      Even though I said I was going to be focusing on cash games, I still really enjoy MTT. So have been playing two bounty MTT the $0.55 and the $1.10. I really want to play in the $11 as previously I have one $180ish there, but it is too large for my bankroll. However the $11 does give a much better return on bounties, $0.55 gives $0.10 whereas $11 gives $5, maybe when my BR is bigger. So just sticking with the cheaper ones as a way to get some MTT experience without wrecking my bankroll for my main focus of cash games.
      With this in mind I am also avoiding re-buying into the same tournament, which I have only broken once after going out 2nd hand with all-in with a FH on flop only for the board to pair again and get beaten by a better FH.

      Then the hand that pretty much put me out of one of the bounty tournaments, just couldn’t get myself away from the flush draw. Still need to get more discipline, even though I think on implied odds it might have been close….(wishful thinking)

      Party, $1 Buy-in (800/1,600 blinds, 200 ante) No Limit Hold'em Tournament, 9 Players
      Poker Tools Powered By Holdem Manager - The Ultimate Poker Software Suite.

      SB: 55,300 (34.6 bb)
      BB: 31,400 (19.6 bb)
      UTG+1: 56,600 (35.4 bb)
      UTG+2: 57,650 (36 bb)
      Hero (MP1): 77,572 (48.5 bb)
      MP2: 182,878 (114.3 bb)
      MP3: 64,601 (40.4 bb)
      CO: 40,633 (25.4 bb)
      BTN: 36,800 (23 bb)

      Preflop: Hero is MP1 with :3c: :Ac:
      2 folds, Hero calls 1,600, MP2 raises to 4,000, 5 folds, Hero calls 2,400

      Flop: (12,200) :Kc: :6h: :Tc: (2 players)
      Hero checks, MP2 bets 12,200, Hero calls 12,200

      Turn: (36,600) :5d: (2 players)
      Hero checks, MP2 bets 36,600, Hero calls 36,600

      River: (109,800) :3d: (2 players)
      Hero checks, MP2 bets 109,800, Hero folds

      Results: 109,800 pot
      Final Board: :Kc: :6h: :Tc: :5d: :3d:
      Hero mucked :3c: :Ac: and lost (-53,000 net)
      MP2 mucked and won 109,800 (56,800 net)

      The bounties aren’t tracking properly so have just done my own table for the MTT.

      Hold’em manager and HUD
      Firstly my free trial ran out, so I have had to cough up some money to buy it. At first I was considering it was a lot compared to where my current bankroll is, then I checked my cash graph which reminded me I have lost way more then that just by playing on tilt :D

      I have been reading the articles and books and doing some research I have slowly built up my HUD from just having the players name and number of hands to this;

      It has:
      Name/Hands/BB/$ won in last 20 mins
      VPIP/PFR/4bet/Fold to 4bet

      I guess the only “different” one is the “$ won in last 20 mins”, I am using that as I have found that in NL2 people that are largely one way or the other seem to make some pretty manic decision and can be good people to win some chips off.

      I have also given them all a colour range depending on if the stat is good or bad for me.

      I am still working on unlocking the welcome bonus, however since switching back down to NL2 from NL25 it is going very slowly. I do have until mid december to unlock it all, so hopefully by then I will be at higher stakes so it will unlock faster.

      I haven’t got anywhere on my mission for all final hands yet for the $25 reward, I did get excited as I did get a straight flush and it was a royal;

      However it was in a MTT so didn’t count. At least I know they are out there :D

      Mental game

      I have almost finished “The mental game of poker” and it is really helping. I haven’t managed to do all of the suggested activities yet due to “real life” time constraints however I have started to identify some of the more common things that put me on tilt, and made some logical injections to help combat them. Will hopefully do a longer bit on my mental game when I have completed the activities, but this has been my most helpful one so far.

      Situation: Losing flip after flip.
      Tilt: Injustice tilt.
      Logical injection: It is all maths and will balance out in a large enough sample, you have seen 9 blacks in a row on roulette, each flip has no effect on the previous one.


      I have kept to posting hands for discussion,and I am finding all the feedback very useful. I am making a conscious effort not to just post hands where I think I made the right decision and lost but also occasions where my decisions weren’t quite right but I won. Not all losses are variance, Not all wins are skill
      Have also got further with the strategy reading.

      Thanks for reading and best of luck at the tables.
    • Catonthemat
      Joined: 01.08.2016 Posts: 287
      Day 7 - 07/09/2016

      I am now going on holiday for a week, Wednesday to Wednesday, so won’t be playing or posting. Whilst relaxing on the beach :f_cool: am going to see if I can get a bit more poker theory into my head, so my kindle is fully packed with the following;

      The mental game of poker
      The mental game of poker 2
      Poker essential math
      Super systems 1 & 2 - Doyle Brunson
      Poker hold'em strategy - Daniel Negreanu.
      Small stakes poker tournaments - jonathan little.

      Hopefully I will be able to get some of the activities sorted out from The mental game of poker books before I come back. I also want to get the math more ingrained as I start of using it then sort of go back to a more rough feel of percentages as the session goes on.

      After a bit of a spew on fastforward/tournament my BR has taken a bit of a hit. When I come back I am going to top my bankroll back up to where it was before I discovered fastforward. I am also going to delete the hands from HM as it is throwing off all my normal play when going back over analysis. Then I’ll be going back to NL2 normal speed and get back to what had been working well for me.

      So with that in mind my “new” starting Balance is $53, didn’t need the full top up but can’t be bothered working out what was lost were to continue it from the previous balance.

      Bankroll management rules

      To avoid having to keep re depositing which I think is hindering my commitment to the BR as I “know” if I lose it i’ll just put more in, I am going to try and stick to the following extra rules for BR.
      -No Fastforward.
      -No MTT with buy-in above $1.10
      -Max $4 on MTT per day, and can’t take me below my starting BR.
      -Only one deposit per month, else just playing freerolls.

      Cash games

      So I managed to get some normal speed cash games in on my last day before holidays. As I was trying to multitable I was between two buyins NL2 and NL4 due to the low number of tables available when i was playing. I was pretty happy with my play, and was trying not to see if I was up or down, more if I was making the right decisions. This is the graph for the few hands I played.


      I have kept on dabbling the the MTT, and I did break my new rule of know buyins over $1.10 by buyin into the $5.50 powerfest $5k game. I am pretty happy that I did. I didn’t make it into the money but I got close and was very happy with all the hands I played. There were times that I went all in against smaller stacks and lost on the river and rather than my usual erratic play that would follow, I stuck to my tight play plan and clawed a good bit of it back. Unfortunately just before the bubble I was too short stacked and went in with pocket pairs which didn’t hold up in the end. :f_frown:
      I also had a good run in the $1.10 bounty $400 GTD. For most of it I was playing well and was even chip leader when there was only 18 players left, however got a bit over confident and played 2 hands badly. They weren’t one after the other but I can see they were the mistakes that cost me going further than I did. I managed to place 12th, just short of the final table. My last hand I was stupid and tried to bluff a much larger stack and it didn’t work as he had a set of aces. :f_mad: Hoping for the final table next time.

      Good luck at the tables. :f_cool:
    • tonypmm
      Joined: 11.01.2009 Posts: 4,869
      Originally posted by Catonthemat
      I am now going on holiday for a week, Wednesday to Wednesday, so won’t be playing or posting. Whilst relaxing on the beach :f_cool: am going to see if I can get a bit more poker theory into my head, so my kindle is fully packed with the following;

      The mental game of poker
      The mental game of poker 2
      Poker essential math
      Small stakes poker tournaments - jonathan little.
      Good times :f_cool: (I don't know how good Daniel is as a poker author, and I'm afraid that Doyle's lessons are rather out of date.)

      I apologise for not getting back to you quickly with regard to your question about Party bonuses. I had to have a fresh look at the store and it turns out that a bundle of 10x$5.50 Powerfest tickets (not usable in any other $5.50 MTTs) is available for 500 points for all VIP statuses in the 'Tickets' tab of the points store, which gives 27.5% rakeback for a limited time :f_drink: It appeared only during the Powerfest so I couldn't see it earlier. I think there will be yet enough $5.50 events left when you return home, as the festival ends on September 25. In general, look for such flash sales during big tournament series to get a good value out of your points.

      Don't shy away from these events that are 'out of your comfort zone' - you can afford to play them once in a while (10 $5.50 MTTs a quarter are not too much) and, besides, they're as soft during festivals as they can ever be (especially if you study a bit beforehand) and can even be played with a BR rule of 20 BIs during these special times (here, BR = your $ + the value of the tickets).

    • kacsa1st
      Joined: 09.02.2007 Posts: 11,764

      Originally posted by Catonthemat
      Hold’em manager and HUD

      It has:
      Name/Hands/BB/$ won in last 20 mins
      VPIP/PFR/4bet/Fold to 4bet
      Did u misswrite those stats or really using 4b/f4b instead of 3b/f3b stats?!

      On nl2-5 i would suggest very simple hud so yours is close to enough ;)
      But I reccommend some more and rearrange like this:

      Cbet flop/fold2fcbet/cbet turn/fold2tcbet

      Only 3 line and 4 stats in each. That should be enough! Imo BB is not so important, this is not mtt :) u can see if someone had short stack. It s enough to roughly estimate his stack in bb.

      Cbet stats and wtsd stats are useful to realise if someone was callingstation or fit or fold player.

    • SvenBe
      Joined: 19.04.2006 Posts: 13,531
      Hi Catonthemat - how is it going?
      We haven't heard from you for some time in our Bankroll challenge?
      The summer holidays are kind of over but our MS Bankrollchallenge is bound for it's next cruise - so please come on board if you are still interested to crush the goals together with all our guys together!

      GL! SvenBe
    • Catonthemat
      Joined: 01.08.2016 Posts: 287
      Don't worry about getting back to me, I wasn't expecting you too :f_biggrin: You had already helped loads. But thanks for the idea. I think I will try an use some of the points on the $5.50 power fest tickets, just for the experience more than anything.

      Yep it is 3b/f3b was a typo. Cheers for spotting it.
      The BB I like because I have them colour coded green for 60~97 to show don't have auto top up on. Then red for below 60 as I found a lot of people shove when they get that low in the level I am playing in. Another main reason is the on partypoker the HUD covers the name plate and balance of of the players, so without it I wouldn't know how much money they had.
      I shall look into the other suggestions cheers.

      After the last blog and two crashes getting carried away with trying to boost the balance I am not going to be worrying too much about the bankroll challenge and will just be focusing on actaully getting better at poker :f_biggrin: I will be keeping the blog going though as I think it helps.
    • Catonthemat
      Joined: 01.08.2016 Posts: 287
      Day 15 - 15/09/2016

      I have just got back from a good week on holiday in spain and am looking extremely bronze and only a little burnt. Whilst away I managed to do a lot of the poker theory research I had planned. I have reviewed two of the book so far and will review the other 2 once I have finished them.

      Now that I am back I am going to get back to trying to get better at poker. My plan is to stick grinding at NL2 until my BR means that I can move up. At the same time I am going to be playing 2 or 3 MTT on days that I am playing. This is more just for fun then anything else. Going to make sure that they aren’t to pricey as I would hate to stay at the NL2 forever just because I keep reducing my BR through MTT.

      Book review: The mental game of poker 1 - Jared Tendler

      Title: The mental game of poker 1 - Jared Tendler
      Kindle price: £5.49
      Should you buy it? Yes
      Overview and thoughts:
      Really good book. As a novice found a lot of value in the book and can see how it would help people who had been playing a lot longer as well. It is well structured so once read you can easily go back to certain bits as a refresher. My main concept I have taken away from this is that you can make the right decision and still lose in poker. This might be obvious to some people, but it is more how the book helps you to identify why and how this affects everyone individually which makes it such a stand out book. The narration by Jared is really good and I think having the stories from his clients really helps in reinforcing how good the techniques are. I also like that the last chapter tells you that you haven't mastered the mental game just because you have finished the book but need to put it into practice. That sums up the book if you work at the exercises it will help. If you put nothing in you won't get anything back. I would recommend this to any level of player but definitely to people similar to myself who have never competed in something where if you play well you can still lose in the short term.

      Book review: Essential poker math - Alton Hardin

      Title: Essential poker math - Alton Hardin
      Kindle price: £2.49 or free with kindle unlimited.
      Should you buy it? Maybe.
      Overview and thoughts:
      Firstly I thought this book is well written and flows nicely. The reason it is only a maybe for should you buy it is I am not sure how much value the book itself adds. I have previous read the maths bits on this site as well as the walkthrough by w34z4l and I think if you got the maths from those this book wouldn't add anything. However for me even though I am pretty mathsy(accountant and electrical engineer) it didn't seem to stick. However since reading this book I feel a lot more confident with it all and will now be practising it on some of the hands from my HM database as well as hands from future sessions.
      The book has a nice flow between written explanations which are then backed up with examples. It's appendix also comes with some good cheat sheets for whilst you are practising.

      Will post more of my plan on Sunday after I have gotten back into the swing of things.

      Thank you for reading and best of luck on the tables.
    • Catonthemat
      Joined: 01.08.2016 Posts: 287
      Day 18 - 18/09/2016

      Not been a very big week for poker. Only had 4 days worth of play, but I can feel/tell that all the theory and reading I did whilst on holiday has been paying off.

      Stats Week 2
      Starting Balance:$50
      Week 1 Balance:$64.77
      Current Balance:$55.45
      Profit: -$9.32

      Fastforward (Zoom) Again !?

      So back on day 4 I tried Zoom and decided I didn’t like the swings that came with it. When I came back from holiday I started playing normal cash games again. However on Partypoker couldn’t find enough NL2 tables to be able to even play 3 tables. So I was doing both NL2 and NL4, it was going ok but was still feeling very sluggish. Especially with my limited time right now. So off into the Zoom NL5 i ventured. After all my reading that I did of the holidays I started out pretty decent. I soon realised that my previous attempt didn’t go well because I was playing Zoom completely differently to how I would on normal, making calls and raise I would never try on normal speed. Also rushing all my decision just because it was Zoom.
      This time round I have been taking more time with each decision and playing it as I would if it was just a normal table. I have also been 2 seating it. I am still pretty leaky, but in general have only had a few spews with silly calls/bluffs, but didn’t carried away and spew any more. I shall keep doing Zoom NL5 until I get a BR to go up, as I currently don’t really have the BR for NL5 but it is the lowest they do.


      I would be interested in what people think of the graph, mainly to do with what my red line is doing. Should I be trying to have it higher or is it ok just letting it fluctuate below 0? I think it was heading down for a bit in the middle due to me walking away from unsuccessful bluff attempts, which I think is a positive else I would have probably lost more chips if I had kept betting through to showdown.

      Yesterday I managed to get a bit of practice with the stuff learnt from “The Mental Game of Poker 1” regarding injustice tilt. I ended the day Net won $6.81 with EV adjusted Net won $14.22, so nearly 2 buy ins difference. But I kept my cool, and used some of the logical injections from the book. With this I was able to keep playing and put those hands behind me, and the graph for the day I think shows that I managed to keep heading in the right direction regardless.

      Graph “EV hating on me”

      Update: So for the second day in a row EV has killed me again a whole 1.5 buy in difference and today I can’t take it so have quit for the day already. Overall since start of blog the difference between net won and ev adjusted net won is about $15.

      Cash game - Review of hole cards

      So decided to see what information I can start to use from HM2 now that I have bought it. So after a bit of a browse around I brought up the hole card review, and I think it looks pretty interesting. Would like some feedback on my assumptions but here goes;

      The worst offenders are QQ and JJ with 504 BB lost between them. I think this is because I play them too hard, and also am reluctant to fold them even when an A or K hits the flop. I was considering at one point just folding JJ instantly as they seem to be the worst for me. But I think a better idea is just to learn to play them better. TT, 99, 88 i manage to play a lot better as I am happy to fold them when an over card lands, so just need to treat QQ and JJ more like that I guess. Thoughts?

      77 and 55 look pretty bad, but for both of those it was a case of set over set in one hand each, so not too worried about that.

      AJo/ATo/KJo/JTo again seem to be a problem for me. Like the QQ and JJ I would think it is due to my reluctance to fold when I am dominated.

      K7o also seems to have a big loss to it of 119 bb. I can’t think why but my only assumption would be two pair beaten by another two pair, as in general I wouldn’t be playing K7o in most positions.

      So overall I think my main goal should be to fold more. Fold Fold Fold.


      Was a bit disappointed to come back from holiday and see that all of the featherweight Powerfest tournaments had ended as I was planing on playing a few more of them. In the end I just stuck with playing my usual “$0.55 - $150 GTD bounty” and “$1.11 - $400 GTD bounty”. I managed to cash twice since Wednesday, hower still down for MTT since the start of the blog, mainly due to not cashing the $5.50 Powerfest I entered at the start of the blog.

      Graph for all MTT

      With the MTT I have found, again like the cash games, that the reading I did over holidays has really been helping. The main point is from the Daniel Negreanu book, “You can’t win a tournament by only playing premium hands”. This I think has been my problem previously. I played too tight and by the time a good hand came round I either didn’t get action or I didn’t have the chips left for it to matter. Now I am not saying I can now play the proper small ball poker. However I have been making more “moves” and trying to pick up the odd pot. Another good thing I took away from it was if you make a move on the pot and think you are behind, sometimes you’ll get raised and you just have to walk way. Whereas previously I would of got suckered in with my own bluff and keep wasting chips.
      I have also now learnt in my MTT yesterday that you can’t give up regardless of how low you get. This is best shown in a graph of my stack;

      Graph - Never Give Up

      That is right from $2,788 I managed to get back up to a peak of $550,000. Now I am not saying luck didn’t have a part to play in it (because it had a pretty large part), but choosing the right spots with my limited chips really paid off. Sometimes with people calling and winning the showdown and other times with people just letting me steal the blinds. The payout differences was $2 + $0.20 (bounty). Which is a large difference at the stakes I play.

      So for MTT I am going to continue playing my usual two and just see if I can get more consistent results.


      Haven’t read much more on the sites strategy section mainly due to being on holiday, but I am also currently preparing for an exam for my job in just over a weeks time so don’t really have any “Brain space” for more learning. I have tried to stay active ish in the hand discussion forum, but haven’t posted any hands as most of the big ones I have had have been more me being out and out wrong with my call rather than there being a better line to take.

      Thanks for reading and good luck at the tables.
    • Catonthemat
      Joined: 01.08.2016 Posts: 287
      Day 19 - 19/09/2016 Motivation and Help needed :f_frown:

      So I am trying not to have a rant/bad beat moan in the blog. However I really need some suggestions or motivation. I have been practising, trying to get better but these last 3 days have literally killed me mentally and also wrecked my bank roll. Below is my stats for my cash games since the start of the blog.

      The difference in EV just seems incredible. It is pretty much half my bank roll. Both numbers should be better as I have had some pretty bad calls/bluffs. But even still finding I very demoralising that I am stay evenish for EV (which isn't great in itself) but losing half my bankroll.

      Any ideas/suggestions welcomed. Really don't want my poker adventure to end but starting to get a little bit expensive having to redeposit all the time. I guess a positive is at least this time I haven't then spewed when running bad, but that still hasn't stopped the plummet :f_frown:
    • Ka0s
      Joined: 05.11.2008 Posts: 722
      Hi Catonthemat,

      Poker is always great win you win, but not so much when you lose a lot. Especially not when feel like you not deserve to lose because your EV-line doesn't go down.

      It is unclear to me what limit you are playing at the moment ... is it NL2, NL4, or NL5 Zoom?

      As you know poker is a game of ups and downs. It is a swingy business. In poker you only have a small edge on your opponents. Even if you say you have a big edge, most of the time it is still small %-wise. The smaller your edge on your opponents, the more variance there can be. And because poker is a game of small edges, you will inevitably lose sometimes because of bad luck in any form. There are times you will lose , and sometimes you will lose relatively much. And there will be times when you win, and sometimes you will win relatively much. This is the very nature of poker. It cannot be changed, not even the best players can change it. It is in the nature of poker, it is poker.

      If you cannot change it it means you will have to accept it as part of reality. You have to know about it, understand it, and then accept it completely.

      It is easy to accept the ups, but to accept the downs you have to always realize two things:
      - One is that, it is just this possibility of getting lucky and win, that brings poor players to the table. Everybody can get lucky and win in any given session. Poor players know they can win sometimes, they have won before, and they will do it again, and they know it. So some of them keep coming back. And they will all lose in the long run.
      - The second thing is that poker is a long term game. In poker, only long term results count. Short term results don't tell much. Luck will even out in the long term. Not only theoretically, also in practice. There has been a man who tossed a coin 10000 times. It came 5067 times heads and 4933 times tails. That's a difference of only 0.67% from 50%. With cards, the principle is exactly the same. The luck will even out to a very small percentual difference in the long term.

      I have to say, what you experiencing right now is just normal variance. This will happen again to you if you keep playing. Fortunately, you will be on the other side of the line as well.

      But this is true: Your profit-line will always follow your EV-line in the long run!

      But 10K hands is not the long run just yet. So the solution to your problem is simply - when you have accepted this downswing as part of the nature of the game - to play more. Playing more hands -granted you play +EV poker- will get you out of this valley again.

      so you have to Accept it and then Play some more

    • samni
      Joined: 06.08.2009 Posts: 11,075
      Hi Catonthemat!

      I'm going to follow this blog! The mental game is a very big part of poker indeed. You'll face downswings of great impact on your bankroll and people are always yelling that you shouldn't let it get to you? Are you kidding? Obviously it gets to you, the question is how you cope with it.
      You could risk it all for a shot to regain the lost money --> BAD IDEA! Been there, done that and repeat :p

      If I have a look, it seems the variance got the better of you as you expected value numbers are in the green. Although this means something, you don't want to blame everything on variance. I'm pretty sure you're making alot of mistakes too, don't we all? Take time off the tables sometimes to review some hands, post hands in the judging forums and react to other people's hands. You'll get alot of insights from other players which might open your eyes on some spots and if not, it's been a good practice.

      Also, as a beginner (I'm assuming you're a beginner as you play the lowest limits, don't be offended plz :) ) you shouldn't be focussing too much on volume. Volume is key to success in poker, but you have to beat the game first. Make sure standard spots are auto-pilot and make sure you can take the time to make tough decisions when it matters. You probably end up losing alot of money due to lack of time to make a decision. This can simply be avoided by playing fewer tables.
      If you're not playing a gazillion tables at the time, take the time to reflect on which spots you're losing money. A problem I had back in the days was the thought: "Yeah, I'm probably beat but my hand is strong so let's call and find out." This thought can cost you alot of buy-ins.

      Also realise poker is a very longterm commitment to a game. BUT you should still see it as a game. Try to improve in order to go up in the level. When you play a game on the PlayStation, you always want to beat your highscore. Threat poker like that. Threat your bankroll as a score in stead of money. But, talking about a very longterm commitment: you won't get rich in a couple of days, it's best to realise that you probably NEVER will get rich of the game. Just try to have fun. But you also need to have fun while studying because you won't improve without studying and if that part is boring for you, I think you should find another game to play :)

      One more thing I can help you with, a way to put things in the right perspective. I don't know whether you're a student or if you have a dayjob or something but at this moment, you're playing for pennies. Hell, with your bankroll you can go to Mcdo like twice and then it's gone. I'm not saying you shouldn't take the money serious, but it can help to realise that you're not playing for life-changing money OR that you have to make a wage playing poker. That's something that helped me alot during the years to put things in a perspective.

      Just a couple of thoughts from someone who had alot of mental issues in poker throughout the years too. If you take one point out and learn something from it, my time was not wasted! Good luck! :f_drink:
    • Catonthemat
      Joined: 01.08.2016 Posts: 287
      @Ka0s and @Samni

      Cheers for the advice. I am currently at NL5 Zoom (fastforward).

      You could risk it all for a shot to regain the lost money --> BAD IDEA! Been there, done that and repeat :p

      That is the frustrating thing, I have done that several times (see my previous rant blog), but this time I feel I am being far more disciplined yet the end result seems to be the same, me redepositing. I started on Betfair and turned $50 into $380 through MTT and cash games. But I am now almost certain that was all luck. I was playing much higher stakes cash games, NL25 and got $180 off one MTT($11 buyin). I then thought I would be clever and moved to a new site to try and unlock a welcome bonus. Luck caught up with me and now probably stuck for about $400 (so a loss of $780 :f_mad: ). Not overly bothered by it as the $380 I don't see as mine (bad habit to get into probably) and the rest has come from advantage gambling I do rather than my salary (so again not real money).

      I know I am making mistakes and I fall into the "Yeah, I'm probably beat but my hand is strong so let's call and find out." trap quiet often. My usual argument is I want to see so I know for next time :f_ugly: However sometimes what I see I am beaten me amazes me. For example a bit of a bluff that I have a flush on the flop (3 spades) then turn another bluff as the card is for my bluffed flush (another spade), guy calls and both check the river and he wins with a pair of 77 with his hole cards being 97o. Just confuses me. So have taken bluffs out of my play book for now as they never seem to work.

      Today woke up feeling more positive about it and am just going back to the beginning again. Gonna remember some of the tips from the books I have read, but cut them out of my play and just try and play simple for now cutting out anything fancy. Then if I get the hang of that I will start introducing a bit more cleverness :f_cool:

      Also think I need to start reviewing my session a bit more, but as mentioned currently sitting an accountancy exam as part of my job so haven't got the brain space for it right now. Maybe should just press pause until after the exam? But I still quiet enjoy playing even when this happens, it is more just a frustration.

      I don't know whether you're a student or if you have a dayjob or something but at this moment, you're playing for pennies. Hell, with your bankroll you can go to Mcdo like twice and then it's gone. I'm not saying you shouldn't take the money serious

      Am full time employed for £33k/year going up to £50k/year once I finish the exam. So I am not really hoping for a life changing amount, more jut don't like being bad I guess.

      Thanks again guys. And hopefully will get back to a more structure and positive blog next time I update it :f_drink:
    • Ka0s
      Joined: 05.11.2008 Posts: 722
      Just a good night sleep can do the trick as well :f_drink:

      Seems like the exams will be more profitable then 5NL poker so I'd mainly focus on that :f_biggrin:

      I never played Zoom or FastForward or whatever, but mainly at 5NL it's playing your hands for value and don't get too fancy.
    • samni
      Joined: 06.08.2009 Posts: 11,075
      Originally posted by Ka0s
      Just a good night sleep can do the trick as well :f_drink:

      Seems like the exams will be more profitable then 5NL poker so I'd mainly focus on that :f_biggrin:

      I never played Zoom or FastForward or whatever, but mainly at 5NL it's playing your hands for value and don't get too fancy.
      QFT, just play for fun then when you feel like it but don't play too long sessions :) as I said, studying should be fun too so in stead of really starting to calculate things, you can also just read some hand judgings on the forum, thats studying too :)

      Good luck with your exams!
    • Catonthemat
      Joined: 01.08.2016 Posts: 287
      Day 20 - 20/09/2016


      Decided to delete my long whinge post, not productive or helpful. The short version is I am down to $0. Some of this was due to EV with net EV adjusted being $32 different in the end.

      However just taken the free trail of the snowie app for a spin;

      So I may be unlucky, but I am definitely bad. That is scoring 0.8 out of 100 :f_cool: And to be honest that has actaully cheered me up. Being bad is fixable, what are you meant to do with being unlucky?

      Plan to have a bit more of a play around with the Snowieapp, but this set of stats also made me smile;

      As well as

      On the turn betting and raising my medium hands over twice as often as recommended. No wonder I am getting myself it tight spots with all ins. I am just fly in all guns blazing :fuckyeah:

      Moving on
      Hopefully can have a look at what I am doing and try and get some of it sorted out.
      Going to be using the inch worm idea from the mental game of poker.

      To get better you need to improve both your best and you worse so that the bell curve (or inch worm) moves up in ability.

      So the plan for the rest of the month.
      -More reading/learning post flop as seems to be the worst of my badness.
      -More practice with poker math.
      -Revisit all of the mental game of poker.

      After watching Samni crushing it at MTT, I am also tempted to move towards SNG/MTT at least then I am only losing one buy in whilst getting to play a lot of poker. But will have to see as my time constraints means it is generally easier for me to play cash.

      I also plan to try to forget about the money and just enjoy playing.

    • Catonthemat
      Joined: 01.08.2016 Posts: 287
      Bit more Snowie

      So I wanted to see what Snowie said about a hand I had a whinge about;

      I was annoyed at it as I felt extremely unlucky. Especially as when he flopped quads he trapped me. I was wondering if maybe I missed something and could have got away from it. Well I ran the whole thing through Snowie and apparently the lines that both of us took was correct considering what hand we had.

      Finding it really fun to play around with, wonder if it will actaully help me though :f_rolleyes:
    • samni
      Joined: 06.08.2009 Posts: 11,075
      Yeah the day you can fold the second nuts on this kind of board because you put him on 66, teach me.
    • Catonthemat
      Joined: 01.08.2016 Posts: 287
      :f_cry: *Deleted*

      So bust again for 2nd month in a row.

      Next month will be my 3rd and final time of attempting to play poker else I think I will be throwing good money after bad, and also think all the enjoyment will have gone from it.

      So will be starting clean slate, and will be spamming the blog thread with yet another fresh start. Watch this space. :f_drink:
    • 1
    • 2