Smileyphils SSS story

    • Smileyphil
      Smileyphil
      Bronze
      Joined: 28.10.2008 Posts: 488
      Background:
      Hi my name is Phil, I live in the north of England. I am 19 and am studying Maths at university. I have been playing poker seriously for around a year but less seriously for a few years before that. My other hobbies include the standard students of sleeping and partying but I also enjoy playing music (mostly guitars) and rock climbing.

      Long Term Aims:
      My aim is to make money. It sounds blunt and it is. The life of a student is a rather poor one and I want to try and ease the pain in some way. I enjoy playing poker thoroughly particularly long tournaments. However I don't feel long tournaments is an effective method of making money and more for enjoyment. Therefore I am going to put my heart and soul into the SSS and hope it returns as well as it claims.

      Restart:
      My first attempt at SSS at NL25 went badly. After several thousand hands I had not made any profit and was disturbed by the lack of results.

      From now on I have some new aims. I will focus less on results and volume and more on reviewing and eliminating leaks!

      First goals:
      - Play NL2 so that I can focus more on strategy and less on results. If my bankroll begins to increase dramatically I may move to NL5.
      - Play by the basic SSS to begin. No fancy moves. No steals. No resteals. It is by the book every second.
      - I will play by 500 hand 'sessions'. They will not be sessions in the usual sense but rather after every 500 hand mark I will stop and review the last 500 hands taking notes of where I deviated from 'standard' strategy.
      - To begin with I will check/fold all freeplay situations. I have found by experiment in the past that my freeplay play is marginal and that although I sometimes get involved with the best hand sometimes I get involved with a poor hand. The only exception to this of course is when I flop/freeplay the nuts in which case I will bet/push as fast as possible (no slowplay).
      - After every 5k hands I will evaluate my play as a whole and decide whether to move to the next limit up or not. This will often be based on my bankroll and on my confidence in the strategy to position me in +EV situations. I will also consider adding new elements to my game at this point.

      Starting Bankroll: $40
      Hands played: 500+
      Money Earned from SSS: $1.18
      Money Earned from 'other methods': $4.42 (don't even know where it came from)
      Current Bankroll: $45.60

      Current Graph:


      Hope some people will enjoy reading this. If not it will at least provide me with an incentive to keep going. I will update my bankroll and graph in this post so that people don't have to scroll through the entire thread to find it.

      Challenge! At every 500 hand mark I will attempt to write a post with at least one leak in it! :D
  • 39 replies
    • TheBu11d0g
      TheBu11d0g
      Bronze
      Joined: 25.07.2008 Posts: 2,019
      Hey Phil,

      It's always good to see and read another SSS blog as there aren't that many.

      It looks a great start to the blog and i'll definitely be following your journey.

      Keep up the good work.

      Regards,
      -Steve
    • Smileyphil
      Smileyphil
      Bronze
      Joined: 28.10.2008 Posts: 488
      Cheers Steve. Good to have some support. Your blog inspired me to try the SSS and to write my own. I couldn't see a lifetime graph on it anywhere though do you have one?

      I'll update how its going when I reach a meaningful sample of hands. Playing usually around 1k hands a day so will be a few days. Probably when I get to 5k. Trying not to be too results orientated but if it is obviously not working after around 20k I will probably give up and go back to BSS. :P

      Just been reading about multi-tabling as well. I am currently doing between 4 and 6 while I get used to the strategy (gives me plenty of time to consider my steals and cbets) however I have found the main problem is actually finding tables to play. :( I am playing full tilt and I often have to open 3/4 tables before I find one that has less than 3 other short stacks.

      I have begun marking anyone with a short stack with a yellow mark and then changing it to purple if I see that they are not SSS. Basically I assume any short stack is a SSS. Then change it if they open-limp or play hands not on the chart.

      Just little things really. But it makes the difference between a stressful session and a relaxing one.

      Note: David Bowie makes for good poker playing music. Its pretty relaxing and interesting to listen to between hands. Plus I 'borrowed' my dads CD collection so I have plenty of songs. :)
    • TheBu11d0g
      TheBu11d0g
      Bronze
      Joined: 25.07.2008 Posts: 2,019
      Hi Phil,

      Its really nice to hear you say that my blog inspired you to try SSS and also to start your own blog as it makes it worthwhile doing. I also like the idea of having a lifetime graph so i will post one in the blog introduction with some lifetime stats as well.

      I also like your idea of using diferant colour codes for the SSs but you could also have a look at using a program like SpadeEye Lite which will help you with your table selection although you do need quite a big database for it to be really effective.

      Also there is an AHK script called Full Tilt Custom Lobby that makes searching the lobby a bit easier.

      Regards,
      -Steve
    • Smileyphil
      Smileyphil
      Bronze
      Joined: 28.10.2008 Posts: 488
      So I've completed the first 1k hands. Began with an awful downswing losing 4/5 coin flips in a row. Not reviewed any hands yet so I don't know whether I made some horrible plays. I intend to do this at around 5k hands so that I have a decent bunch to analyse.

      Elephant seems to think altogether I have lost $13 but my bankroll has gone up by $7 so something is missing there. :rolleyes: I think its because I wanted to start a new database just for my Short Stacking and a few of the hands were cut off. I think its working now but if my bankroll keeps disagreeing I will investigate further!! :tongue:

      @Steve:
      The only tech I am using at the moment really is elephant (not even the stats). The Full Tilt script might be useful but my main category for table selection is the number of other shorties, which this does not help unfortunately.

      I'm not sure what SpadeEye can do. The website is not very useful and I gather that you have to purchase it. I would rather not buy products at the moment since I have rather limited funds.

      The colour coding works reasonably well and gives you a quick idea of how many SSS are on the table but there is are so many people on Full Tilt that I have to check each table anyway. It helps with gameplay a little though so I can play slightly tighter against the assumed SSS.


      Phil :)
    • Gerv
      Gerv
      Bronze
      Joined: 07.05.2008 Posts: 17,678
      Some graphical footage never hurts the reader's eyes so that's a suggestion :)

      I wish you good luck in your SSS game and beyond but be aware that losing coinflips (in a row) is just variance and part of the SSS-scene

      For now looking forward to your future posts

      - Gerv
    • rex99
      rex99
      Bronze
      Joined: 20.11.2008 Posts: 4,856
      [quote]Originally posted by Smileyphil


      [I]The only tech I am using at the moment really is elephant (not even the stats). The Full Tilt script might be useful but my main category for table selection is the number of other shorties, which this does not help unfortunately.

      Phil :) [/quote]Hi, Phil,

      as Steve said, i will also be here reading your blog and future updates =D

      But, as i quoted you i will recommend you to try using more 2 categories for the table selction: avg. pot and playes/flop.

      Nowadays, i'm using these 3: numbers of sss, av. pot and player/flop. For me it's working quite well at stars and party poker.

      Regards,
    • Smileyphil
      Smileyphil
      Bronze
      Joined: 28.10.2008 Posts: 488
      Good to have plenty of support here. Having a bit of trouble with cbets if anyone has any info. I am currently cbetting almost every hand against one person and betting between 1/2 and 2/3 of the pot. (I try to pretend I am protecting) I am often reraised all in and forced to fold. It could just be variance over the first hands but it seems sometimes I might be better just to check/fold. Will get posting in sample hands soon.

      Also any ideas what to make of the steal/resteal article? I think I understand the concept but I don't really know how best to put it into practice. So far I have been stealing with any Broadway from the BU but then I have the cbet problem as well as having to throw away the hand when re-raised. I don't think it is EV+. It might be though.

      @Gerv:
      Read a lot of your blog as well before I started playing SSS. The coinflips are hard work but I am confident the small edge will start to come through eventually. Some graphs will appear shortly once I have enough hands to make it worth graphing.

      @Rex99:
      That is actually a great idea. I could implement that into my table selection process very easily. At the moment I join the queue for lots of tables then leave the ones with lots of SSS. So it would simply be a matter of joining the queue for tables with higher av. pot and player/flop. (Assuming higher is better?)

      Edit: I just posted the graph anyway and will update it as I go.

      Phil :)
    • rex99
      rex99
      Bronze
      Joined: 20.11.2008 Posts: 4,856
      Originally posted by Smileyphil
      Good to have plenty of support here. Having a bit of trouble with cbets if anyone has any info. I am currently cbetting almost every hand against one person and betting between 1/2 and 2/3 of the pot. (I try to pretend I am protecting) I am often reraised all in and forced to fold. It could just be variance over the first hands but it seems sometimes I might be better just to check/fold. Will get posting in sample hands soon.
      that's a good question. are you using stats? at the portuguese coach we're teached to cbet almost every hand =/

      i think that's not a good idea, cbeting every hand. The problem is to choose the correct situation to cbet. [will ask for an experient player] =)

      Originally posted by Smileyphil
      @Rex99:
      That is actually a great idea. I could implement that into my table selection process very easily. At the moment I join the queue for lots of tables then leave the ones with lots of SSS. So it would simply be a matter of joining the queue for tables with higher av. pot and player/flop. (Assuming higher is better?)
      that's right. For me pls/flop is very important, as a rookie i started doing this by myself, as i was playing i was changing here and there.
      Today, i enter in the queue for the tables which have more than 20% pls/flop and an av. pot>1 xD

      hope that helps you. :P
    • Smileyphil
      Smileyphil
      Bronze
      Joined: 28.10.2008 Posts: 488
      Repeat the mantra ten times:
      - It is only variance.
      - It is only variance.
      - It is only variance!
      - It is only variance!!!

      Just getting frustrated at the sheer amount of bad luck I seem to be having. Somebody just called my KK with 34s and caught a straight. Another guy catches a backdoor flush against my overpair. Admittedly I am playing some badly and must work on my leaks but it seems to just be a tough break at the moment.

      On the upside I caught Quad Aces. :spade: :heart: :diamond: :club:
      And it got paid off! :D

      Oh well. Back to the SSS grind. Not going to condemn a method based on the results of 1.5k hands. Maybe if I get to 20k and I'm still losing money I will reevaluate ;)
    • JTringer
      JTringer
      Bronze
      Joined: 20.12.2008 Posts: 30
      Originally posted by Smileyphil
      Good to have plenty of support here. Having a bit of trouble with cbets if anyone has any info. I am currently cbetting almost every hand against one person and betting between 1/2 and 2/3 of the pot. (I try to pretend I am protecting) I am often reraised all in and forced to fold. It could just be variance over the first hands but it seems sometimes I might be better just to check/fold. Will get posting in sample hands soon.
      Ill weigh in quickly here. In general, what you want to keep in mind is how the flop texture relates to your opponents hand range. For example, If you make a standard raise from the button or cutoff w/A10, and the flop comes Q82 rainbow. Unless your opponent is a calling station(in which you do not need to cbet) then this is a great flop to bet. The reason is that the only hands in his range that will continue are Qx hands, 99-JJ(which some opponents 3bet keep in mind) and A8. Although this may seem like alot, a typical opponent at the micro stakes will call with many lower pairs just set mining when they shouldnt be(although not too many since you are a short stacker), a high majority of Ax and Kx hands that will easily fold to a cbet, and also some suited connectors that whiffed. This is why the best boards in general to cbet are :
      - One high card, one medium, and one low(its hard for people to connect)
      - Paired boards, if you bet strong on boards like JJ8, people are usually going to give you credit for a pair, but if they call, proceed carefully
      -monotone boards, If they dont have one of the flush cards, most opponents instafold middle pairs, so essentially their range just shifts from less middle pairs to more flush draws.

      Example of boards to check/fold: QJ5ss, KJ3, AQ4ss(unless you have a good ace then obviously value bet), 678(you can bet these in situations where a player is playing very fit or fold on the flop, reason being, they either have nothing, or a very strong hand that wont fold, so one stab is sometimes OK.
      Just any boards that are connected in general arent great to cbet.

      This is just a really basic overview, but the more you think about your opponents ranges in relation to board texture the more your hand reading will improve
    • Smileyphil
      Smileyphil
      Bronze
      Joined: 28.10.2008 Posts: 488
      My tilty downswing seems to be over. I am making money again and the strategy seems to be working well. Two points I have noted:
      - I have set an autorebuy at 20BB. (The lowest full tilt allows) Is this a good idea? I have heard the strategy is optimal at 18BB but it will not allow that. It has the advantage that I am not commited after a c-bet but probably that it is harder to get all in against opponents.
      - Concerning semi-bluffing draws in unraised pots. I have had great success with this in my big stack experience but is it still advisable in SSS?

      @JTringer:
      Yes it does seem to be a very complicated subject. I had always taken the other view of cbets that I would bet on any flop that I could represent something. Which almost gives the exact opposite of what you are saying! Of course with this idea you bet any Ace or King and avoid paired boards and monosuited because these are the sort of boards where people will make hero calls with many pairs believing you to be bluffing.

      I suppose cbetting works on a great deal of boards and the real art is identifying the situations where they cannot possibly fold. This of course would require more knowledge of the player we are against than we usually have playing SSS. Especially if we are multitabling. Gives me a headache trying to work out the best plan. I wonder which flops the highest percentage of hands would fold? :rolleyes:


      @Rex:
      The table selection seems to be working. Seen plenty of donks on the higher p/flop tables. It is annoying when they suck out but obviously the worse they play the higher EV. :D

      Updated graph and bankroll. There is still a difference in bankroll and graph but I think it is the same as before so I seem to be getting all the hands I play from now on. :P

      Phil :)
    • JTringer
      JTringer
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      Joined: 20.12.2008 Posts: 30
      Originally posted by Smileyphil
      @JTringer:
      Yes it does seem to be a very complicated subject. I had always taken the other view of cbets that I would bet on any flop that I could represent something. Which almost gives the exact opposite of what you are saying! Of course with this idea you bet any Ace or King and avoid paired boards and monosuited because these are the sort of boards where people will make hero calls with many pairs believing you to be bluffing.

      I suppose cbetting works on a great deal of boards and the real art is identifying the situations where they cannot possibly fold. This of course would require more knowledge of the player we are against than we usually have playing SSS. Especially if we are multitabling. Gives me a headache trying to work out the best plan. I wonder which flops the highest percentage of hands would fold? :rolleyes:

      Of course you should represent the ace or king if its a dry board. but if its a board like AKJ and you have like 99, theres almost no hands in his range that hit that will fold unless you double barrel, which you arent able to do as a shortstack id imagine.

      It definately looks like youre overthinking it. Just break it down while your playing:
      1-what his his most likely range given his action this hand, his play in the past, and our history against each other, if hes a good player-think about your table image too
      2a-If i miss- does most of his range hit this flop? if so c/f, if not go ahead and cbet
      2b-If i hit- do i gain value from his range if I bet? if so bet, if not check and try to induce a bluff from the weakest portion of his range(unless he never bluffs then you should bet unless he typically calls down lightly if you check the flop behind)
      3-just a quick though before and after- "if i repeat this play in this situation thousands of time will it be profitable?" If not, I make sure I come back to the hand after and fix the leak
    • Smileyphil
      Smileyphil
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      Joined: 28.10.2008 Posts: 488
      Today having serious doubts about the SSS. X(
      Really wondering whether I would be better sticking to my BSS roots. I like the idea of the SSS. Playing lots of tables and moving up the limits but after 2 days and still being where I started I am clearly uninspired. Surely I would make more money if I played the same hands with more money on the table? However I am not going to chicken out without a fair trial. I will complete 20k hands. I will give both a decent attempt...

      ...even if it kills me! :tongue:

      Actually I quite enjoy playing the SSS. I find it very calm and collected compared to BSS where the pressure and stress is rife. I just get worried at the end of the session when I have not made any cash. :)

      @Jtringer:
      Thanks for all the info. It is definitely situational. I think if in doubt it is best to cbet but I think I am beginning to think the right sort of thoughts. Essentially will they fold if I bet. It is after all essentially a bluff.

      Edit: Elephant is playing up so I am going to use a 60 day free trial of Pokertracker 3 and see if its any good. Its $90 to purchase but 60 days is quite a while and then I will assess if it is worth it (probably won't be). I am hoping it is the program with the EV graphs. Does anyone know if it is this one?

      So many edits in this post. Mostly stupid mistakes and things I forgot.

      Phil :)
    • EagleStar88
      EagleStar88
      Bronze
      Joined: 06.10.2008 Posts: 7,359
      Hey Phil, nice blog, keep it going :)

      I've just realised that I think I've played on the same Full Tilt tables as you several times (NL25 yeah?), I thought i recognised the name from somewhere and the penny has just dropped.
      I hope I didn't take much money from you, or even worse you take much from me lol :D

      As with all PS colleagues, I'll try to avoid your tables and find my own fish to fry from now on lol.

      Just wanted to wish you luck, my March graph is looking very similar to your graphs, more ups & downs than an upsy downsy thing (sorry my poor impression of a blackadder quote).

      I would say that NL25 has over the long term proved a profitable hunting ground for me, so much so that I moved up to NL50 last month, only to lose a bundle and move back down again, but once again, NL25 proving to be good.

      Good luck with whichever sss/bss you decide on.

      Best regards,


      Bart
    • Smileyphil
      Smileyphil
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      Joined: 28.10.2008 Posts: 488
      @Eaglestar:
      Yeah your name rings a bell as well. I was just thinking the other day it would be a good idea to avoid fellow PS players. Obviously we know something about something about poker.

      I am glad that someone elses graph is looking a bit like mine. I was getting worried with the endless plummeting (its turning around now but I like to exaggerate) are you pure short stacking Eagle or do you change?

      Plus I like the Blackadder quote. Not caught an episode of that for ages. Probably because I am tv-less at the moment. Student life eh?


      On the technical side I have got Poker Tracker 3 working and am enjoying the free trial. I also tried to get PokerEV to work (I would really like to use this) but I am unable to import my hands. The trial only supports Poker Tracker 2, which I don't have. Does anyone know any programs that do a similar thing but usable with Elephant or PKT3?

      Phil :)
    • EagleStar88
      EagleStar88
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      Joined: 06.10.2008 Posts: 7,359
      Originally posted by Smileyphil
      @Eaglestar:
      Yeah your name rings a bell as well. I was just thinking the other day it would be a good idea to avoid fellow PS players. Obviously we know something about something about poker.

      I am glad that someone elses graph is looking a bit like mine. I was getting worried with the endless plummeting (its turning around now but I like to exaggerate) are you pure short stacking Eagle or do you change?

      Plus I like the Blackadder quote. Not caught an episode of that for ages. Probably because I am tv-less at the moment. Student life eh?

      On the technical side I have got Poker Tracker 3 working and am enjoying the free trial. I also tried to get PokerEV to work (I would really like to use this) but I am unable to import my hands. The trial only supports Poker Tracker 2, which I don't have. Does anyone know any programs that do a similar thing but usable with Elephant or PKT3?

      Phil :)
      I'm a shortie mate, but quite an aggressive one where I see an opportunity. Never really got around to trying bss properly, but never say never.

      According to the old Elephant, we've never actually gone heads up together btw.

      Software side of things not a speciality of mine, have you spoken to Steve (bulldog) recently, he's pretty into all of that kind of thing. I only use Elephant personally and trying to improve my overall read of players without it, with mixed success lol.

      Good luck buddy,


      Bart
    • Smileyphil
      Smileyphil
      Bronze
      Joined: 28.10.2008 Posts: 488
      Done another long session tonight - have updated graph and bankroll. Tried to play by the rules as accurately as possible. I have given up on stealing for the most part as it seemed to be causing more trouble than it is worth. Although I did squeeze once with 77 which worked beautifully. :D I have some stats up from Poker Tracker which allow me to do the odd thing like that.

      The rollercoaster of results is still swinging around worryingly. I am attempting not to look until my sample is much bigger but it is getting more and more difficult to deny that I am not making the profit I am used to as a BSS (more like a set-miner). I am however really generating full tilt points and of course rake. Possibly I will make a killing in rakeback! (Wishful thinking :) )

      @Bart:
      So have you been shorting for a long time then? Does it normally take a lot of practice to show a decent profit? And when you get the technique is it a consistant profit or does it sometimes all go square? I'm trying to understand the nature of the style. :P

      On a slightly more annoyed slant I would really like to read that new article - it talks about a lot of things I am interested in (flop play mainly) but I can't because I am not gold! Yet I can read the shambles that is the steal article. Lucky me. :rolleyes:

      Studying Poker Tracker a little bit it appears I am making profit in most positions with most of the starting hands (Hoorah!) but obviously not enough as it nowhere near covers the blinds. Essentially I am either being unlucky or I have some minor leaks that are the difference between profit and loss. :tongue:

      Phil :)
    • Smileyphil
      Smileyphil
      Bronze
      Joined: 28.10.2008 Posts: 488
      Ergh horrible horrible horrible. X(

      I try to play as accurately as possible and my money continues to plummet. I need to go over my hands soon and have a good review and try to eliminate as many leaks as possible.

      I don't know where I continue to go wrong. I'm still running at -2.73BB/100. :(

      I tried to use PokerEV to see if I am just running bad but I can't even load my hands into the program so no use there. :baby:

      Not gonna whine too much. Instead I am going to get some paper and go over each hand group and try and find some leaks. I might post them on here but I have a tendency to ramble and would probably just annoy everyone. :P

      Phil :)
    • TheBu11d0g
      TheBu11d0g
      Bronze
      Joined: 25.07.2008 Posts: 2,019
      Hello Phil,

      With regards your problem with PokerEv, i have not used that piece of software but i use Holdem Manager that has an All-in EV stat that could be useful to you as well as there being plenty of other reports that you can run.

      Regards,
      -Steve
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