Thursday, 1 March 2007

Second Live Game

Played again on Tuesday night but been too busy to blog about it.

field of 40 people and I came second.

The guy who came first never saw a bet he couldn't call.
He kept catching cards though and put everyone else on tilt.

This allowed me to cruise into second place and finally got knocked out with a KQ all in, called by an A10.

I have generally found the standard of live play to be lower than online and so will have a few more punts at this.

Monday, 26 February 2007

First Live Game

Hey I played live for the first time.

I had heard there was a sunday game at 3 o clock in Glasgow Merchant city with a £22 buyin so I went along to give it a go.

well I came 5th out of 22 not brilliant but respectable for a first live game. winning £25 for £3 profit.

I then went onto the blackjack and won £40 so a profitable day out and great live experience.

I will hopefully try again in a couple of weeks and let you know how it goes.


Tuesday, 20 February 2007

Poker Tracker and PA HUD (what does it all mean)

Using Poker Tracker and PA HUD
It occurred to me recently that everyone advices you to use Poker tracker and PAHUD but no one tells you how.

I remember when I first started using them all these pretty numbers appeared on the screen telling me god knows what about the opposition.

Well I will go through a few of the main statistics and how I use them and would be really grateful if any other experienced users would share there thoughts and how they use to statistics to help them win.

PAHUD allows you to define exactly which numbers you see on screen through the layout manager but I will just cover the default numbers and how I use them.

Firstly the most important number you will see is VP$IP this is short for Voluntarily placed money in pot and gives an indication of how loose (or tight the player is.This will let you know whether you can even attempt to place this player on a hand, if the number is below 25 then the opponent has some idea of hand value preflop and if below 15 then they are very tight, you should be looking for players with VPIP of 40 or more if you really want to swim with the fish.
Be aware though that if a player has a high VPIP then they are very difficult to put on a hand and you will only make money of these players by consistently starting with good cards and showing down.

Next the PFR stands for Pre flop raise and is very useful when deciding whether to limp with speculative hands, that is if the players still to act behind you have a low number here then you can regard them as passive preflop and a limp has a high chance of not being raised.If someone has a high stat for PFR and for VPIP then you can consider them a LAG ( Loose aggressive ) and you should tighten up and showdown with premium hands.

Next we have The overall aggression figure. This is very useful as it lets you know how likely a player is to continue raising postflop, low figures here indicate weak tights and loose passives which are your prey at the tables.

Next we have how many hands played and this should not be taken lightly, if this figure too low then you cannot really rely on the other stats as you haven't seen enough hands to really rate them.

On top of that I also like to add the won at showdown figure to the screen, and I look for people with stats of 80+ as these people tend to be weak at the river, that is you can float them and bluff them at the river.

When looking at all these these figures we should perform a sort of somatyping and decide what mistakes this player is likely to make and then we would look to take advantage of that.For example someone with low vpip, low PFR, low total aggression and high win at showdown can be seen as a weak tight and we beat these people by simply betting into them post flop.

People with High VPIP , High PFR and High total aggression are maniacs and we should tighten up and play back at them when we have a premium hand.

People with high VPIP , Low PFR and low total aggression are loose passives and we should see more flops against these people and use position as a hammer to punish there weak play.

There are as many player types as there are people though so prepare to be surprised and always learn.

One other thing I do is set PAHUD to only look at the latest 2000 hands as we may run into the mistake of underestimating an improved player, remember people do learn.

Hope this helps and I look forward to any insights any of you have on this. I am after all just learning myself.


Monday, 19 February 2007

Sit n Go's My Take on them

Just thought I would write a quick article on sit n go's and how I believe they are best played.

Please do not employ these methods if you are at my table.

Basically when you play at $11 and above the players are moderate players, they are not your micro limit Riff Raff but have some idea of hand value and playing tight so you can employ some tactics that would be considered OPS (Over play syndrome) in a micro limit game.

What do I mean by this?

well you can mess with there heads, they are paying attention they do get reads on you and they know to play tight early and then to loosen up.
They have all read the same books and articles as you and me and they know how to play tight early on, so you shouldn't. I am not talking about bluffing every hand but simply use your position. Position early on in a sit n go can be wielded like a hammer.

Basically I have been employing the following strategy

On the button

call any raise up to 4 times the blind with any 2 cards.
watch for weakness after the flop (i.e a small follow up bet (1/3 to 2/3 the pot) and reraise with a pot size bet, after that use your judgement if called.

on the cut off - raise 2-3 times blind with any 2 cards on any unraised pots. and then bet 2/3 to pot size after flop.

1 off the cut off - same as cut off (this is an even better seat than the cut off because knowledgeable players see the cut off as a steal.

All other positions play tight.

What this gives you is a very early lead and you get paid on all your premium holdings because about 4 blind increases in people start playing back at you. This is when you shut down. Everyone else is opening up but you have a large chip lead already so there is no need to risk it. Then when you get a premium hold they play back at you because they have taken a note saying you are a lag and are looking for any cards to play back with.

All my advise here goes against everything you have been taught but I find it works at 11 22 and 33 dollar games and I am often in the last 4 players with 1/2 the tables chips which means I coast into the final 3.

Try it and if it works for you let me know, if it doesn't don't blame me I am just a micro limit player.

Just remember the following Poker is like the stock market always do the opposite to everybody else and you will make money and since established wisdom is play tight early on and loosen up later on I advocate the opposite, play the player, play poker- don't play cards.

I will add the following warning to this as whilst working on this method I fell foul to the major premium hands calling rather than reraising- be aware that a really good player will spot what you are doing and let you bluff your stack to them - so do not pot commit and watch out for really tight players calling to the river.

Have fun


Sit n Go's

Have spent the last week playing Sit and go's at Party Poker.

Have done these before and never done better than come of even in the long run so I gave them up a long time ago.

But party emailed me saying they were Giving me $15 so I couldn't resist it.

I played an $11 sit and go and won and have been going from there, I am currently at about $180 and hooked.

Really stupid I know as I was making more at the micro limits, however there is something about competition in this form that gives more of an adrelinin boost and is more satisfying.

I can't decide what to play mainly these days though sit'n gos limit cash or tourneys what do you guys prefer and why?

Thursday, 25 January 2007

Going On Tilt

This subject has been covered by So many people in the past, and I don't think a poker player is alive who has not done it. I like to refer to it more as 'stacking off' because you might as well say goodbye to your stack.

Now most of these articles try to teach you to avoid tilt by just not doing it, but when your AA gets picked off by a 72 off suit for the third time in a session even the best of us lose it a bit, a lot in most cases.

I like to embrace tilt, that is I know it will happen I look for it, I know what causes it and I know what it does to my game. It makes me loose, aggressive and if I can't stop myself from clicking in that chatbox-obnoxious.

It was the number one reason I used to lose when I first started playing, I knew what were good cards, I knew in NO Limit Tournaments KQs was a mediocre hand at best, but the monster within erupted and I stacked off.

Now I embrace it, I look forward to tilt moments in my head and I tell myself, this is what all poker players are going through all the time-the good ones and the bad ones. They can't believe they are losing and believe they are playing well and everyone else is a Donkey, so they are going on tilt.

So this insight gives me an edge, I recognise tilt in myself and use this insight to calm myself down before I completely 'stack off', I then look for the same patterns in others, if someone who has a VPIP of 15 loses with an AA I watch for the following.

1. Are they playing more hands?
2. Are they being obnoxious with there chat?
3. Are they being too aggressive?

I then know I can see a flop with them more than usual as they are not being selective or rational.

To sum up recognise your own tilt demons and examine them, if you understand them you will understand them in others and be able to take advantage.

Tilt WILL lose you money when it happens to you so be on guard look for the signs, but do not despair if you understand your own monster then you should make more from others than you lose from your own.

One particular player I regularly see losing his temper at the table I have given a few bits of advise to in the past, in fact I joined a table just the other day and won my first hand and got told to '**** off'.

Upon exclaiming he realised who I was and apologised as I have given him a lot of free advise. I recommended the following book to him Zen and the Art of Poker. I would recommend this book to anyone who hasn't come to terms with there inner Tilt Monster. Recognising you have it is the first step.

Anyway good luck at the tables.


Bet £50 you'll watch this.

did anyone watch this last night?

I just found the Phill Helmuth part (PokerBrat) hilarious.

After claiming that he could "see into your soul" he laid the proposition bet that if the presenter could tell him 5 lies and 5 truths he could tell which was which.

Well the presenter took the bet and afterwards said how spooky it was how well Phil did.

Yes he got 5 right out of 10. That is what you would expect someone with no skill to get by just guessing it is what you would expect to get when guessing a coin flip.

So to get this right he cannot "see into your soul", he is just a good poker player who has also had some luck.

The lesson to be learnt here is that luck evens out in the long run and we all get our fair share, just some of people get it during the big payouts and become poker celebrities. However realise that winning in the long run is skill and in the short run (all tourneys) requires some luck and skill.

This will help you remain humble as humility is very important, in life as well as poker.

well just my tuppence worth, I think he made a fool of himself.


Wednesday, 24 January 2007

A week of Tournaments (Killing Phil)

Just in case you guys thought I was not posting my results anymore, it has simply been because I have hardly played any micro limit poker in the last week.

I received a new book I had ordered called "Kill Phil" and was inspired to play a few small stakes tournaments.

My Results were as follows.

Lost quite a few but had 2 big wins

$10 short handed tourney 64 entrants 1st Place -$224
$3 Buy in to ladders tournament second place - $300

oh yes and for $5 I have won a seat onto the GBPT final to qualify for GBPT in Edinburgh

lost about $50 altogether with other buyins but was more than impressed with my results.

The question is will I switch to tourneys.
I don't know, the variance is much greater and a few night you just lose after hours of work, while as in limit you seem to win most nights and the variance is not that great if you play well, I will keep you posted.

Anyway the book I used as a primer for these tourneys was Kill Phil see link below, and if you are considering buying it please use the link below and help support my blog.

Kill Phil is excellent for beginners (but all levels can get something out of it) and gave me a few insights that I never saw before, a sort of extension on Harrington's Low 'M' Theory in lots of ways. Anyway if you are serious about tourneys I would also recommend Harrington's books which are must reads and can be bought from my astore (click here to open).

Anyway good luck at the tables whatever your chosen format, just remember that they vary greatly and pick a format that suits you and your temperament.


Thursday, 18 January 2007

Bankroll and Attitude and HOME

I am as you all know a micro limit player, I play micro limits for 2 reasons.

1. The people who play there are not very good so I can make a lot of money for very little risk
2. I do not get emotional over it as it is well within affordability when I lose.

This brings us onto the subject of bankroll and attitude.
You hear all the time "what bankroll should I have?" and the normal answers for limit seem to be 300BB.
I personally do not play that way I run a huge bankroll which I won and do not rush to move up. Why you ask?.
I am happy where I am and play well there, I have a lot to learn and will learn it before I move up.
I make on average 9BB/100 hands and considering an expert at a higher level would expect to make 3BB/100 I would need to risk 3 times as much to make the same money at a higher level against better players.

So that's the rub, to improve shouldn't I move up, am I fooling myself into thinking I am good simply because the standards around me are so low.

That is possible.

However I would need to earn a lot at poker to replace my job as I am well paid. I do however love poker and want to play, but I want it to be fun, not life and death, so I play well below my limits.
I play the occasional tournament with my winnings and cash in $1000 from my bankroll on a regular basis.
The opposite is true for some people, if they play below a stake that gives them emotion they become donkeys, they don't care they are betting for quarters so they play like it is play money, that however is not me, having been a croupier I have seen how losing a little a day adds up to a lot and understand that winning a little a day adds up to a lot.

So what am I getting at?

Yes you need to know how to play, you should read SSHE you should learn and play well, but the key is to have the right ATTITUDE and that only comes when you have a zen like quality to your game.
You cannot achieve this if you are playing at the wrong level or are not understanding variance, you achieve this when you feel at home.
So get a bankroll, don't cash it in, don't rush up the ladder of limits, crush the limit you are at GET ROLLED from it. With this you build a home somewhere you understand, somewhere you can retreat to when things go bad.
That is you can only move up when the limit you are at feels like home, feels like you cannot lose in the long run.
Feels like when you do lose you can win it back.

This gives you reassurance that you can move on as home will always be there, you can try fresh pastures because if the grass isn't green it is at home and you can come back. Make roots settle in, know the players there know who you can beat know who you can't but know you are home.
Then when you travel to new pastures you can take risks you can have the attitude that this will become my home or I will go back home.
I know a lot of players would disagree with this and would love to hear there opinions.

Friday, 12 January 2007

Loose and Lose

One of my pet hates is people using the word loose when they mean lose, such as "I always Loose".

You see it all the time especially in the comments box online playing poker.

So if anyone knows whether this is an Americanisation of the spelling could they let me know.

It is quite funny though when you consider the different meanings but what the outcome of being loose is.

Loose players lose.

But just to make it clear to anyone reading this.
Loose is the opposite of tight
Lose is the opposite of Win

You do not loose a bet a hand or anything else you lose it

Rant over see you at the tables.


When to bet???????

As a follow up from my earlier article entitled "Pot Odds versus Pot Commitment"
I thought I would write about when to bet.
When do I bet?
Funny Question!!!
Not really

If You have read SSHE (Small Stakes Hold em which you can purchase from amazon by clicking here), you will quite quickly find out that Poker is gambling, Blasphemy I hear you say.

Not really any time you place money on an outcome that is unknown you are gambling whether it is a pension investment or a lottery ticket. The smart gambler knows a good bet that is all, a smart gambler gets his money in with the best hand or in the surefire investment.

Now That instantly makes you think I will just play tight with Positive EV and I am not gambling, WRONG you are still gambling. At the microliimits a raise will get 5-6 callers so your Pocket Aces lose a lot.

Then I will just call preflop and "Fit or Fold" would be the next logical conclusion. WRONG You are leaving money on the table if you do this. As usual I will give you no maths as I am lazy but I have looked up my stats on Pocket aces and they win 70% of the time.

What does this mean?

It means I am getting 6 or 7 to 1 on a bet preflop that I am 2-3 favourite to win. Why would I not bet on this?

In fact any hand that wins more than 20% of the time and gets 5 callers is a good preflop bet.
What does this mean?
It means we can loosen up when the table loosens up. It means that marginal hands become profitable the more callers we expect.

They won’t win more often but when they do they win more.
So back to the point WHEN TO GAMBLE we gamble in the early rounds preflop and before the turn.

  1. Well firstly the outcome is unknown so it must be gambling.

  2. We might get the better hand to fold when we are aggressive.
  3. We build a big pot to scoop because people don’t fold in the early rounds.

  4. We build a wreckless image that the more observant players misunderstand.
Now please reread everything I wrote above and understand the following before hitting the tables.
I advocate loosening up on a loose passive table (NOT Playing loose) I play a semi loose game at these levels that varies between 25-35% vpip.
Still play tight in early positions, Position is always important in poker.
Read my starting hands post linked on the right to get an idea of what sort of hands to play.
After the turn play even tighter – check your pot odds etc – do not become a fish.

Micro limit Poker is an amazing game that most people misunderstand , they think how can you win when everyone calls (This is why you win). They think that it is a lottery. No the rules of Poker still apply and Good play takes the money in the long run. What you have to do is adjust and play in a way that maximises the mistakes of the other players to take maximum money.

The beauty of this is Micro limit poker is so much fun because of it. You become the aggressor a lot you take down pots that at higher levels you wouldn’t have looked at, You get lots of bad beats. It is a roller coaster but an uphill one low risk great reward for a good player.
Anyway that is me for now I hope you have found this useful.


Tuesday, 9 January 2007

Articles and Books and how to use them

Hi all

After an experience of writing about an element of my play which I titled "Pot building versus Pot Commitment" whereby a reader seemed to get quite emotianal over his results, I may be wrong here.

I would like to write something about Poker books, articles etc and how they should be consumed and utilised.

I have read tonnes of poker books and continue to buy more the reasons are many

1. They may add something to my game.
2. they may explain to me why others are playing the way they are.
3. I am just interested in poker.

I have also read many articles and post on forums and am continually learning, in fact I started this forum as a learning tool so I could post my poker thoughts and think them through and get other peoples opinions on them as well as help others who are learning as well.

Now to get to the point any article or book you read should be seen as part of the whole, Poker is a complicated game and has many nuances, some tactics work with different styles at different levels and in different conditions- however they will get torn apart in a different environment.

To explain further do not use a tactic unless you fully understand why and when you are using it, if you like the sound of a play and don't quite understand when to use it ask.

If you like try it out with money you can afford to lose, you are adding something new to your game, it may not work for you.

For example to name a player which we all have heard off Gus Hansen plays loose because his post flop play is good, if you loosen up and start to lose to much you can either tighten back up or improve your post flop play, But learn, evolve, improve understand why you are playing bad not what results you are getting in the short run- this is difficult and is why you should post hand histories etc and ask others.

If you have patience a willingness to learn and a bankroll poker is an excellent hobby/income source but please keep in mind that all articles and poker methods are ways of helping you improve not guaranteed ways of winning.


Monday, 8 January 2007

Pot Building v Pot Commitment

This is the first of my articles, as you will soon see I am not a writer by nature so I may go off track a lot. A project manager once said of me that reading a report was like reading a brain dump, so buckle up as I try to get this very simple concept on paper and make it sound very complicated.

Anyway to get to the point when you play poker the aim of the game is to win money not pots ( so how do we do this? ), we win the big pots.
That is to say it is not the number of pots we win that counts it is the size of the pots that we win. Leave competing for every little pot to the fish, they will fight over them and not notice the sharks waiting to spring on the shoal.

Well that was obvious so how does it relate to the title of the article well when we see a flop which we will do between 25 and 40 percent of the time we will look at the flop and make a decision.

That decision will let us know one the following 3 things
1. I am likely best at the moment so I should protect.
2. I am no way gonna win this so I will get out.
3. I have a good chance of being best on the river so I will pot build.

Now a lot of people will disagree with me about this but I believe that option 3 is where the money comes from (for me anyway). Maybe in tougher games than micro limit the money comes from option 1 above but in the soft world of microlimits the money comes from option 3.

What am I getting at you ask?
Well it is simple when we have a strong draw such as an (OESD) Open ended straight draw, (FD) Flush draw or both we should bet as if we had the nuts,

WHY you ask what if we miss?
We will miss 2 out of 3 times but that should not deter us this is a soft micro limit game and we are getting the odds to do this. we are getting many callers plus the implied odds of the river bets. (please read up on implied odds or ask me about them if you don't already know).
We only need to win by the river 1 out of every 3 times for this to be a very profitable bet.

To add to the above we should take into account many draws such as a gut shot draw and back door straight or back door flush draw will be a profitable bet if there is enough already in the pot and enough callers, I will let you do the maths.

The above approach is a profitable bet as we will win enough times to make it so however we also have the added benefits of being the aggressor.

Which gives us the following.
1. Experience for when we move up a limit (we will not play weak tight).
2. The possibility of bluffing the river when we miss (only against a weak tight caller with a high win percentage at showdown)
3. Amongst any players who are paying attention we are seen as a bluffer by either folding out after being aggressive or showing down with what was a draw.

I imagine that the above info was fairly obvious to any experienced player and was an eye opener to other less experienced but at micro limit this is where the money is. The game of top pair top kicker is for tougher and NL games, you will at my level lose a lot if you rely on them as you will get outdrawn by atm's all the time.

Now you have this weapon we will get to the other side of the equation, like all weapons it is a double edged sword, it has a downside and that is pot commitment. You and all the other players are now pot committed (especially if it is 4 bet (capped) which it often is at this level). That is that they are playing correctly on the turn and river or near to correctly to call with any draw as they are also getting the odds, and poker is about making people make the wrong decisions.

What does this mean you ask? or you think what terrible writing style lol. well it means that if you miss your draw you may still be correct to call or bet the river with only a mediocre hand (WHAT YOU ASK). This negates the benefits of implied odds surely, well yes it does but you must remember that the pot is large and you will only have to win occasionally to make this final bet or call a winning one. Please note though use this final method with caution as if abused it will knock your results way off. most times fold. BET if you sense weakness and call if you have a pair else fold.

Well to sum up this article although very badly written attempted to let you know about the concept of pot building and pot commitment- It gave no examples ( as I am lazy lol ). It let you know that betting without the best hand is a very profitable way to play at micro limits if you have a decent draw and also warned you about the dangers of pot commitment which is result of a missed draw when you have aggressively pursued your draw, as a final note I will dispel a myth which is you have to mix it up - NO YOU DON'T - not at this level. they aren't watching and if they are then you move tables. This is a profitable bet every time and should not be missed +EV is +EV and there is very little +EV in mixing it up at the micro levels.

I hope this has been useful and would love to discuss the concept with anyone who wishes to post there opinion.


Wednesday, 3 January 2007

Poker Book Store

Hi all I have added a link to Amazon Bookstore below.

Really cool maintains similar design to my own site.

My Amazon BookStore

I have at the moment just filtered on Poker books but I will be adding books that I rate highly and reviewing them soon.

Let me know what you think of the design etc.

It is linked to so I would only reccomend using it if you are in britain, however feel free to read my reviews then buy locally.

Quitting Smoking and Allen Car

This post has nothing to do with Poker

After being congratulated in my new year post by Elaine Vigneault I would like to state that my reasons for quitting smoking were many but the one thing that inspired me to finally do it, was Allen Car dieing.

I have read his book a few times and although I never quit it always made me want to, I guess I always fooled myself that there was plenty of time I am still a young man.

However this man who had been free and healing for over 20 years was struck down with Lung cancer after helping so many others to quit.

I will not pretend that he did it for any other reason but good business sense as I do not know but I do know that millions of people have quit because of him.

In his book it constantly repeats will the next cigarette be the one to kill me, to spark of cancer or some other disease, well it scared me that a man who had been quit for that long had already had that cigarette and I just hope I have not had mine yet.

Anyway any smokers out there who wish to quit or ex smokers who have any advice for me please feel free to leave a comment here-even if you don't play poker.

Peter - Free and Healing for Thirteen Days, 22 Hours and 4 Minutes, while extending my life expectancy 1 Day and 22 Hours, by avoiding the use of 557 nicotine delivery devices that would have cost me £133.71.I will not smoke again today.

Tuesday, 2 January 2007

First day of the Year of to a flying start

Running good BB/100 of 25.54 over 1,035 hands.

Got more than my fair share of lucky draws and good cards so I presume this will even out on another day.

Anyway I played really loose 40% exactly vpip as I was on a rush and probably instilled some really bad habits in my play.

Anyway I had

7 AA

10 AKo

16 AQo

7 99 which all won

As you can see I really got lucky and below is my graph.

Monday, 1 January 2007

New Year

Well a new year is on us.

2006 has been a great year for me.

I left my full time Technical manager job and started IT contract work.
(more money less tax less work)

I started winning at poker and now have an extra (though small) income.

I quit smoking (Yeah)

Anyway my in laws are round for dinner today and my wife has a cold so probably be a really busy day. My father in law wants to play poker later so I will get the cards out. It is really just flip a coin though who wins as it becomes no foldem holdem and it is heads up but fun all the same and not much money involved.

Having spoken to my neighbours at Christmas I found out a few of them play online so may be able to set up a home game, will keep you posted.

Anyway my new year plans for this blog are as follows.

1. Post weekly results at the weekend
2. Post Monthly results.
3. Try to help other beginners who are still at the lose or break even stage of there poker career.
4. Try to learn of others who are willing to post any helpful suggestions or comments.

My poker plans for the year are to keep making a steady profit at the micro levels I may move up but I like the way they play at my level (badly). Also I am determined to get to a big poker event through a satellite at the moment I am aiming for the GBPT , This may just be a pipe dream but I will keep you all posted.

Let me know what your plans for the New Year are, poker related or not, I would love to hear from my readers.



happy new year to all my readers, I hope you all have a profitable and happy new year unless you are at the same table as me.

Anyway Happy new year.


New Year Results

No I was not sad enough to play at midnight I shut my machine down, however my wife wasnt well so we didnt go out and we watched tele, which meant I played Poker. The neighbour did have some fireworks though.

Still on a high about winning my seat for the final to get a seat at the GBPT next Saturday, keep reading and I will let you know exactly how I get knowcked out of it lol.

Anyway I have had a request to post all my results so I will place a graph here every day I play.

I find after a session I can't be bothered writing too much so here goes my results for the day.