Low roller's diary

    • Classical
      Classical
      Bronze
      Joined: 26.03.2007 Posts: 1,041
      I usually enjoy reading players' diaries, so I thought I'd start my own... :)

      My situation is different from the majority of players here, in that I'm not a student anymore, but rather a 41 year old working family man (2 kids). Chess player since childhood (rating around 2100) I'd heard numerous stories of Chess players turned poker sharks, but never considered joining them. Then there was an article in the great http://www.chessvibes.com site about PS, and I decided to give it a try.

      I signed up end of March 2007, and managed to reach the 5,000 raked hands after 2.5 Months, losing $30 of the original $50 in the process. I'm currently on 0,10/0,20 where I want to gain 100BB (at least) for confidence before moving on further.

      As you can see from the above I don't have much time to play. I'm happy with 500-700 hands a week, so it will be slow going. On the other hand, I have a good job, so I'm not in it just for the money, and the low number of hands makes it possible to review most of them afterwards. I like thinking/reading about poker and discussing hands almost as much as playing, so that compensates a bit.

      BR currently is $130, up 40BB since moving to 0.10/0.20, so I want another 60BB, let's round it up to $145, and then move up to 0.15/0.30. I do feel more comfortable now playing. At first I made many many mistakes, and also tilted, I have gained some more control over the tilting now.

      The fascinating thing about poker for me is that there is no direct link between gains and quality of play, but only a long-term one. On the one hand this is very hard for me mentally to come to terms with, on the other hand it is something that I'm very interested in exploring further.

      I have a degree in Mathematics (forgot all of it though :) ) so should have no problem with most of the statistical concepts behind poker. Other hobbies include Chess, reading, classical music (and other music), and in-line skating. Will keep you posted!
  • 92 replies
    • Puschkin81
      Puschkin81
      Bronze
      Joined: 14.04.2006 Posts: 4,786
      Hi Classical!

      Great! Thanks for your story! And good luck with your poker career. :)

      Puschkin81
    • ciRith
      ciRith
      Bronze
      Joined: 25.03.2005 Posts: 18,556
      Nice story. :)
    • Classical
      Classical
      Bronze
      Joined: 26.03.2007 Posts: 1,041
      Well, made it to $145 today after some swings. Up to 142, down to 132, up to 141, down to 128...

      Tomorrow I'll start at the 0,15/0,30 tables. Again I want to win 100BB before moving up, so my next target is $175.
      And of course I look forward to breaking $150, as that will be the point where I'll be in the plus overall for the first time since April! :P
    • Classical
      Classical
      Bronze
      Joined: 26.03.2007 Posts: 1,041
      BR now at $154. That means I made $4 with these two hands since starting in April! :)
      Seriously, I *am* glad, because I started with losing 2/3 of the original $50 in the first two weeks (baad play + tilt) , and it took till now to get it back. Pretty wild session today. I hit good cards, but my opponents also did their best to give me their money:

      "Why not to limp-raise AA pre-flop"

      0,15/0,30 Fixed-Limit Hold'em (9 handed)
      Hand recorder used for this poker hand: Texas Grabem 1.7 by www.pokerstrategy.cc.

      Preflop: Hero is MP1 with Q:club: , K:heart:
      UTG+1 calls, UTG+2 folds, Hero raises, 3 folds, BU calls, 2 folds, UTG+1 3-bets, Hero calls, BU calls.

      Flop: (10,47 SB) Q:heart: , J:spade: , K:club: (3 players)
      UTG+1 bets, Hero raises, BU calls, UTG+1 calls.

      Turn: (8,23 BB) Q:diamond: (3 players)
      UTG+1 checks, Hero bets, BU calls, UTG+1 calls.

      River: (11,23 BB) J:club: (3 players)
      UTG+1 checks, Hero bets, BU calls, UTG+1 calls.

      Final Pot: 14,23 BB

      Results follow (highlight to see):
      Hero shows [ Qc, Kh ] a full house, Queens full of Kings
      BU shows [ 4c, Ah ] two pairs, Queens and Jacks
      UTG+1 shows [ Ad, As ] two pairs, Aces and Queens
      Hero wins $4.06 USD with a full house, Queens full of Kings.


      If he'd raised preflop I would have folded...
    • Puschkin81
      Puschkin81
      Bronze
      Joined: 14.04.2006 Posts: 4,786
      Hi Classical!

      Nice job! Keep going and you will win a lot more than $4! What's your goal for the end of this month/year?

      Good luck at the tables!
      Puschkin81
    • Classical
      Classical
      Bronze
      Joined: 26.03.2007 Posts: 1,041
      Thanks Puschkin!

      Hmmm, goals. I don't like to put dates on the goals, since I can't predict in advance how much time I have to play. The last few weeks I was able to play more than expected, so I moved up faster than I'd expected. But lemme try in general terms:

      - Move up to 0,25/0,50: should be doable in say 2 Months
      - Move up to 0,50/1,00: this will take a bit longer, say another 4 Months
      - Establish myself at 0,50/1,00 SH. Say another 8 Months
      - Either move up in SH limits, or take a shot al NL. God knows when :)

      I'd like to try NL at some point, since it's played in home games etc much more than FL. But FL suits me better today, I'm too chicken to go all-in :) :) :)
    • Puschkin81
      Puschkin81
      Bronze
      Joined: 14.04.2006 Posts: 4,786
      Sounds good!

      And I'm sure you will find something about NL in our strategy area :D Also something to overcome your fear to go all-in :P

      Good luck at the tables!
      Puschkin81
    • jefeche
      jefeche
      Bronze
      Joined: 24.08.2007 Posts: 100
      Hi there..... interesting im a chess player too..... did you know a little tidbit from WSOP this year..

      Walter Browne a well known GM cashed 2 times.... coming second in one event.. i think it was horse.???

      ALso I am canadian and alot of the players have turned poker pros...

      I have played before but lost a huge bankroll so i decided to start fresh..


      Maybe we can compare notes....

      on another site i turned zero into 50 dollars so far.... and another site zero into about 10 bucks.....

      I am using the Chris ferguson system. of bankroll management and playing in stgs on those sites....


      Here and party i want to follow this sites reccomendations.....


      I want to learn fresh and ill tell you....if you play a few chess games online before play u usually do better...

      I also watch games of chess while i play poker.. lol not good i guess...

      I have ceated a new game... ches and poker combined.....

      i have a website and am tying to develop it lol... let you know if interested...

      Anyway Good luck..
    • Classical
      Classical
      Bronze
      Joined: 26.03.2007 Posts: 1,041
      Hi Jefeche, nice to hear from a fellow Chess player!

      I didn't know Browne turned to poker. A lot of Chess GMs seem to do so, the strongest I've heard of is Grischuk. And there's Mattias Wahls on this site of course.

      I'm not sure playing a few on-line Blitz games would help my poker! For one, I find it hard to just play a few, and Chess does have a different mindset than poker, because with poker there is much less short-term confirmation that you made the right decision. In Chess: you play well, opponent plays crap -> you win. You play crap, opponent plays well -> you lose. Not so in poker, only long-term. Very hard :)

      I'm not that interested in a Chess/poker combined game. Both games are hard enough by themselves! :)

      If you're looking for a nice discussion forum on Chess, check out chessninja.com. There are some Canadian players there as well.
    • Classical
      Classical
      Bronze
      Joined: 26.03.2007 Posts: 1,041
      BR now at $178...
      Carried by a major upswing, I managed to reach my 0,15/0,30 goal of 100BB in only ten days. That means I can start at 0,25/0,50!

      I will need $300 to proceed to 0,50/1, or some 250 BBs, so it will be a while, as I won't count on this upswing to last :) . My estimate was 4 Months, so as a goal I will try to reach 0,50/1 before the end of this year!

      Will keep you posted...
    • Mugge88
      Mugge88
      Bronze
      Joined: 29.10.2006 Posts: 510
      Nice speed - I'f you just keep this up you will be a pokerpro in no time :) No matter if you wan't it or not :P

      No, seriously: Great job and good luck in the future too

      Best regards,
      Mugge
    • Puschkin81
      Puschkin81
      Bronze
      Joined: 14.04.2006 Posts: 4,786
      Nice job, Classical! Go go go! :D

      Good luck at the tables!
      Puschkin81
    • Classical
      Classical
      Bronze
      Joined: 26.03.2007 Posts: 1,041
      Thanks guys :)

      I won't make a daily update of this, but I managed to play quite a few hands on 0,25/0,50 today (like 500 spread over 3 sessions, for me that's a *lot*). Started out totally card dead going down at least 30BB, but finally ending up 20BB in the plus! I know, nothing special, but the amounts are higher, and I have to get used to swings of $25 on one day :)

      My first impression on the skill level is that it's still pretty low. Not that I'm such a great poker player, but you do see people doing some amazing stuff. In the beginning I had some bad beats but they actually made me feel good, because I could see what kinds of hands they were taking to the river. Losing Aces to a river gutshot is *good*, because he should have folded at the flop already! Mr villain, do this 100 times, please! :)

      Ah well, it will continue to swing up and down of course (and much worse than today), but I'm confident of an eventual positive outcome.
    • Ohmu
      Ohmu
      Bronze
      Joined: 28.01.2007 Posts: 231
      Originally posted by Classical
      My first impression on the skill level is that it's still pretty low. Not that I'm such a great poker player, but you do see people doing some amazing stuff. In the beginning I had some bad beats but they actually made me feel good, because I could see what kinds of hands they were taking to the river. Losing Aces to a river gutshot is *good*, because he should have folded at the flop already! Mr villain, do this 100 times, please! :)
      I play on $0.25/$0.50 as well.. and I might say that there were better players on lower limits.. maybe it's just because I've been stuck on $0.25/$0.50 for so long, but dude, there are so many callers with a trash hand, that it's just hilarious..
      Can't wait to move up to the next limit to see if there are any poker players there :)
    • Classical
      Classical
      Bronze
      Joined: 26.03.2007 Posts: 1,041
      @Ohmu: Absolutely. Calling-stations are plenty. Value-bets rule.

      Ahem, upswing is continuing, I just broke $200. Enough for today. I know this won't go on forever, but I'm sure enjoying it while it lasts!
    • owenocalla
      owenocalla
      Basic
      Joined: 05.07.2007 Posts: 2
      good man classical. u seem to ahve the patience and br managmenet skills neccesary to go all the way. keep it up
    • Classical
      Classical
      Bronze
      Joined: 26.03.2007 Posts: 1,041
      Thanks owenocalla! Patience is certainly something I'll need. BR is at 215 now, so still going up, but my play is of varying quality.

      As a beginner, my current A-game is pretty straight-forward poker: Pre-flop according to SHC combined with the Open Raising Chart. Postflop bet on made hands, play draws according to odds/outs, and muck trash. HU use the standard moves. Pay some attention to position and protection. Doing this I think already gives you a clear edge over the average 0,25/0,50 player (an impression mind you, I don't have the sample size to back this up. This may come back to bite me). However, there are two problems:

      1) Having an edge doesn't guarantee short-term winnings
      2) Being conscious of having an edge, and the desire to improve can have counterproductive effects.

      To 1): this is of course the heart and soul of poker, as is well explained on this site, but it's sooo easy to get over-confident after a winning session, or depressed after a losing session. At one point I found myself calling a villain down with a pair of 8s, no kicker only because it was top pair at the flop. He bet on all streets, and must have thought: "amazing, the fish on this limit!" :) So it's a constant struggle to stay detached, and to just try and make good decisions.

      In that sense, there may be a distinction not so much in winning and losing sessions, but in easy and difficult ones. A losing session where you get few playable hands preflop, miss most flops, and where your strong made hands are rivered, is relatively easy to handle, because your decisions were easy and therefore justifyable to yourself. But a losing session with a lot of HU situations with middle pair medium kicker or A-high is much tougher to handle (for me at least) because the decisions are so much harder. This is of course where posting hands to this forum come in...

      To 2): there's lots of great material on this site, and the hand judges are doing a stellar job. But there is the danger of getting distracted by material that's too advanced. Not in the Strategy articles because they're paced so nicely (trying to apply the Gold stuff today, could I read it, would possibly hurt my game more than it would help) but in hand discussions and general discussions on the forum (this and the German one).

      I find that I often lose when I try to make "moves" that are too advanced for me at the moment, because I just don't know what I'm doing. Like an isolation re-raise with AQo from button to an open-raiser on MP2 who I thought was loose. Is this +EV? No idea (yet). Then why did I do it? Getting the basics right as descirbed above is already sufficient on this level. But on the other hand you do need to think about the game to improve, so there's a conflict there. Again, a constant struggle in staying objective and rational (try a move? ok, but don't invest emotion in it, and analyze it afterwards. Hmm, good plan :) )
    • Classical
      Classical
      Bronze
      Joined: 26.03.2007 Posts: 1,041
      BR is hovering around 200 the last week. First half of the week I played badly with minor winnings, second half I played decent with minor losses :rolleyes:
      Level of opponents is still very +EV, and especially the last three days I made a lot of Sklansky dollars! :) (villain calling my split pair A down with pocket 5s on a board full of high cards, villain capping flop *and* turn against my set of Kings with only a flush draw, and many more). Too bad they hit their rivers... :D
      But if they continue to do what they're doing and I continue to do what I'm doing, it should work out ok in the end.

      Meanwhile I'm reading "Mathematics of Poker". Some very interesting stuff. Not directly applicable to play at the table (for me, yet), but very interesting nevertheless.
    • Puschkin81
      Puschkin81
      Bronze
      Joined: 14.04.2006 Posts: 4,786
      Hi Classical!

      Nice to hear that you are doing well. And "Mathematics of Poker" is a good book to improve your game even more. Keep going! The next time they don't hit their rivers :D

      Good luck at the tables!
      Puschkin81