Project Zero - Jay's Poker Journey

    • jaychiew
      Joined: 12.09.2009 Posts: 3
      Greetings Ya'll!

      This would be my very first poker posting ever and I am happy to have found a great community here. This will be the place I decided to put my poker blogs that describes my poker journey.

      About Jay

      I hold an engineering degree and love to analyze anything from technical perspectives. My wife happens to work in finance where stocks, futures and forex are the game and somehow got suck into that world. For the past 5 years, I tried to master forex and futures trading. From fundamentals to technical trading, I pretty much tried everything with much effort. It's a great game but until today, I've yet to succeed.

      I was lucky to have my own business consulting/training running quite successfully.

      Just about 4 months ago, I move to Sydney, Australia permanently. I was looking around to see what I could do. Somehow, I got to learn Texas Holdem. I started playing for fun in Facebook and quickly move up into millions. Sure playing fake money is different from real, but it was surely interesting on my part.

      I found it interesting because it has many similarities in financial trading like forex - except there is lesser risk in poker imo. There is things like risk management, money management (which PS calls it BR management), stop loss etc. So, I am now only 2 months old playing poker. My goal is to be a professional poker player.

      Strategy for Start-up

      I always believe the fastest way to be good in anything is to learn from others. The first thing I did was bought a dozen of good books from Amazon (Harrington etc). I also joined other video training sites that up my game and confidence.

      One thing I learn, I don't rely too much on TV poker programs. Eventually I stopped putting too much emphasis on TV poker programs (a smart decision I think).

      I first deposited my account in Titan ($20 + $10 bonus) and played microstakes (1/2 c) and did fine. I tried freeroll tournaments and made some money - my biggest win so far is $60. I was able to finish in the top 50s half the time. I think it's a fine effort for a newbie like me.

      Initial Success Factors: Reading good poker books (especially by Harringtons), video training

      Software for Management

      I am always a believer in using software to manage work. I was first introduced to HEM and find it quite cumbersome. I later tried PokerTracker3 and find it simpler and much more stable. I decided to get a free PT3 via playing in 888.

      Grinding in 888 & SSS

      I started grinding 5/10 c in 888 for PT3. I started off doing fine ($70 + $20) but eventually went down with $20. I started thinking if there's anything wrong with my strategy because I never never went down that much (I play between TAG and mouse).

      My strategy has some similarities with PS' SSS. I would never sit into cash game with $10 in 5/10 c. I think it's not smart to buy-in more than your opponents because you cannot double-up from a single opponent! I wanted to find some answers to my drawdown and found PS SSS.

      I found SSS to be very interesting. And started using it just a few days. I am breaking even so far. I have KK beating AA and AA losing to AJ s. Will keep you guys updated soon.

      The grind will go on.
  • 8 replies
    • Waiboy
      Joined: 18.09.2008 Posts: 4,877
      I'm guessing this will be an interesting read.. GL fella.

      And those Aussie's are an alright mob - just don't be afraid to offer a bit of spray on deoderant here and there as required. :f_p:
    • jaychiew
      Joined: 12.09.2009 Posts: 3
      > Poker Updates

      I'm currently playing at two sites with SSS: 888 and Party. I am playing 888 to get my PokerTracker, slowly grinding with mediocre results so far, and I am not complaining.

      However, my Party account does not seemed to be doing well so far, losing about 8 BI but I am not worried about it. I can notice the difference because there's a major difference in the structure of these two sites. 888 has full 10 person rings while Party has only 9. Also, Party's table tends to break up a lot compared to 888. If you add these two factors up, I think it impacts your account more than 10%. Another thing about 888 is that players tend to have more money (higher deposit requirement), hence you don't see too many short stacks on table.

      888 Cons: Only have 1 or 2 active full ring tables during my playing time. But I think it's better than Party.

      So, my conclusion is that Party may not be a good place to grind using SSS from structure perspectives. I will continue to clear my bonus and see how far it will go. I will try to put up my Equity chart next time.

      Short Term (By 15 October):

      [ ] Clearing 888 40 pts to go
      [ ] Clearing Party's PokerStrategy Bonus (93% to go)
      [ ] Evaluate best rakeback sites - Cake, FullTilt, PokerStars, Titan
      [ ] Learn about BSS

      Mid Term (By 30 November):

      [ ] Play BSS and SSS

      > Thank you note
      Thanks Waiboy for putting down some words!

      > Jay's thoughts

      It's my birthday today! I will be taking it easy today. Will have a nice dinner tonight with my wife.
    • justkyle88
      Joined: 07.05.2008 Posts: 7,613
      Happy Birthday Jay and welcome.
      Good to see a fellow Aussie having a crack.
      Goodluck and I'll definietly be a follower. :)
    • Ejeckt
      Joined: 06.12.2008 Posts: 517
      Happy Birthday! :s_biggrin:

      Good luck with learning BSS :) I'll be checkin up on ya from time to time =)
    • Waiboy
      Joined: 18.09.2008 Posts: 4,877
      Happy Birthday fella! Hope you enjoy the night. :f_cool:
    • Cpwpoker
      Joined: 04.06.2009 Posts: 749
      Happy birthday :D !

      Hope i'm not late xD

      Anyway good luck with your starting career.

      Like in the coach video "SSS has a lot of variance but believe in your strategy xD !" dunno from which video it is.
    • Nameless007
      Joined: 02.12.2008 Posts: 87
      Happy birthday! Good luck on your quest xD . Will read your blog.
    • jaychiew
      Joined: 12.09.2009 Posts: 3
      > Jay's Poker Updates

      PartyPoker Account:

      I've not been playing much during weekends. But I did steal an hour or two grinding my PS bonus in PartyPoker (PP). My PP account is not heading anywhere as I play SSS. I am still down about 13 BI.

      888 Account:

      My 888 account did inch up a little since I started playing SSS. I didn't play much though. Playing at 888 to me is frequent but short. I would go in and out of tables more frequently because there aren't many full tables to play, and I am not a fan of playing BSS or long hours. Here's my equity so far. I am aware I am not playing a lot of hands because I am still thinking about the right strategy for me. The red box indicate SSS strategy with a twist.

      You obviously might notice the difference between the graphs though both uses SSS. The difference I believed is explained in my previous post.

      Short Term Tasks (By 15 October):

      [ ] Clearing 888 for PT3 - 30 pts to go
      [ ] Clearing Party's PokerStrategy Bonus (90% to go)
      [ ] Evaluate best rakeback sites - Cake, FullTilt, PokerStars, Titan
      [ ] Learn about BSS

      Mid Term Tasks (By 30 November):

      [ ] Play BSS and SSS - Re-evaluating strategy

      > Thank you note

      Thanks for all the B'day wishes! It's never too late to wish someone something. Cheers to justkyle88, Ejeckt, Cpwpoker, Waiboy, Nameless007. Beer on me next time we meet yah?! I am feeling the love... lol

      > Jay's thoughts

      More about SSS and Six Sigma:

      I am quite a fan of SSS to be honest. I did read quite extensively in PS forum about how 'swingy' and 'un-sexy' SSS is. As a Six Sigma black belt, variance is a very important factor to be first understood and tamed. For those who are not familiar with Six Sigma, it's a well known business management practice that serves to improve business using statistical tools. In business, customers hates variance - measurement of consistency. Consistency (variance) in many cases can be more important than performance (x_bar).

      Imagine this, let just say on average you are making $15 an hour on 5/10c NLHE. Is that good or bad? In Six Sigma, we just don't look at your average performance (x_bar), we also need to know your consistency (var). If your std dev is too high, like $10, then there will be times you loose like crazy.

      So, what's good then? We have to look at both x_bar and var together. In Six Sigma, there is a single measurement called Sigma_level where both index are considered.

      While I won't be going too much into the details, I am currently playing poker and decide which index do I want to tackle first? Because my starting capital is relatively small, variance is much more important for me. I invite you to explore more about this animal called variance.

      Grumbling About Variance:

      Yes yes, bad beats, downswings, tilt play etc. All poker players experienced it. When I first experienced downswings (see my 888 graph above), I stopped playing and start putting my thinking cap on. My downswing is not as dramatic as many and that's not my point. My point is to understand what causes variance and can I possibly control it to its minimum?

      What's Variance:

      Variance can serve as an indicator of the "spread" of a distribution

      Also, let's put a statistical definition on Variance. After all, we cannot talk about something vague.

      When I first studied statistics, I hated the formula! (Who wouldn't?). Here's my advice when you study math or stats: The formula is not as important as what it means! So, don't get intimidated!

      Look at the var formula. Inside those bracket, there is (x - m). What does it mean? It means the difference between individual result (x) and overall average. That's all, var is measuring ups and downs comparing individual results (wins or losses) to overall average performance. And let's not complicate it further.

      Factors that affects Variance in Poker:

      To have high Var is to have high value of (x-m). In poker it means every time your equity changes up or down, you incur variance. Whether you are winning or losing or just paying blinds without playing, there's variance. The question is, what's causing BIG Var?

      First big factor to me is your Buy-in (BI) size and bet size. If you are playing BSS, obviously there will be big swings especially if you are agro. For those who complains SSS is swingy, try BSS. The reason SSS can be very swingy is when you start playing very agro like stealing blinds with weaker hands etc. SSS in nature is suppose to be low variance because you cannot lose more than 20 BB while in BSS, you can! Also, if you play BSS, you might not be able to double up with good hands if there lots of Short stackers! So you see how much disadvantage there could be playing BSS in cash games.

      Second Factor: Structure of poker table. I've discussed this in my previous post comparing 9 seats and 10 seats full ring. The smaller the ring, the more (x-m) is going to change. There's also issues with tables breaking up and people sitting out for long periods of time. All these will accelerate your blind payout incurring var.

      Third Factor: Martingale Betting Theory
      When I first started trading stocks, futures and forex, I learned martingale strategy. It's like increasing your bet size every time you lose so that you can win back previous losses. It's a dangerous strategy, and there are still people doing this out there. Martingale strategy is dangerous because it takes one bad losing sequence to wipe your whole account out.

      There's also an important saying in trading stocks: It's not over until the fat lady sings. Winning is not real winning as long as you are still in the game. Imagine this, you have been winning big for the last 3 years, taking your $50 capital to $185k. The next thing you know, you play big stakes and lost all of it in a series of very bad beats. So did you really win $185k in the first place?

      Remember, the more you win, the more you want to play big and play loose. And more importantly, the more you are exposed to BAD BEATS! When the perfect storm hits, it just takes one hand to wipe out your stacks, incurring variance.

      Based on my thoughts above, I've taken SSS and gave it a twist making me a poker player people hate to play with: I am difficult to play with and even if you win, you won't win much. And I leave the table very soon right after I win enough, not exposing myself too much on bad beats.

      I believed this will not make me an overnight millionaire, but I know I will get there in the long run. I call this strategy Upswing Variance SSS. Hope to share more next time.