Monday, January 01, 2007



Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, step right up to LJ's Poker Freak Show. On display we have many wonderful and horrifying things to show you.

First off: "Guy Who Can Juggle Poker Chips And A Small Boy Simultaineously... Man!"

Next We Have: "Woman Who Can Swallow Chair With Ass Cheaks... GIRL!"

And Finally: "The Poker Playing Chimp!"

The Poker Playing Chimp was given computer and internet access and funds to play Full Tilt's $0.50/$1.00 Full Ring NL game.

Full Tilt Poker
$0.50/$1 No Limit Hold'em Ring Game
8 Players

MP2: $61.40
Hero (CO): $184.75
BTN: $81.10
SB: $112.3
BB: $98.85
UTG: $74.50
UTG+1: $54.25
MP1: $120.35

Preflop: Qd Qc ($1.5, 8 players)
UTG folds, UTG+1 calls $1, MP1 folds, MP2 raises to $4.50, Hero raises to $16, BTN folds, SB SNAPCALLS $15.50, BB folds, UTG+1 folds, MP2 folds

Flop: 2s 3d 8d ($38.5, 2 players)
SB checks, Hero bets $32, SB calls $32

Turn: 2s 3d 8d [5s] ($102.5, 2 players)
SB bets all in for $64.80, Hero calls $64.80

River: 2s 3d 8d 5s [9d] ($232.1, 2 players)
No action

Hero had Qd Qc (a pair of Queens)
SB had Ad 4s (a straight, Five high) and won $229.10

Final Pot: $229.10 ($3.00 rake)

He'd been donking off all night, but not this bad. I was 99% sure I had the best hand pre-flop. This one stung.

On a related note, I started playing 6-max. The play is so so bad. The call downs are so so bad. I've been running about 25/17 right now, which seems to be working very well. I've only logged 3k hands, so there's really not a whole lot to report. My Win At Showdown is stupid low again (45.76%), but I'm a 6.6 PTBB/100 winner (again, pretty meaningless). I can generally read bad streaks by Won at ShowDown. It really should never be below 46-47% for good players. Certainly not for TAGs who don't bluff often. In the past it has been a pretty good indicator for when I've been running bad. It's always nice to run bad and still win money.

My favorite 6-max hand so far:

Full Tilt Poker
$0.50/$1 No Limit Hold'em Ring Game
6 Players

SB: $23.5
BB: $102.55
UTG: $78.65
MP: $149.40
Hero (CO): $122.70
BTN: $90

Preflop: 5c Ac ($1.5, 6 players)
UTG folds, MP raises to $2, Hero calls $2, BTN folds, SB folds, BB raises to $10, MP calls $8, Hero raises to $32, BB folds, MP folds

Uncalled bet of $22 returned to Hero

Flop: ($30.5, 1 players)
No action

Turn: [] ($30.5, 1 players)
No action

River: [] ($30.5, 1 players)
No action

It's kind of transparent, but so is the BB's squeeze and it's even more transparent that MP has some sort of mid or low pocket pair. I only could pull this off because of two factors. First, I know the BB is a competent player and multi-tabler, who no doubt is aware of and employees a squeeze play. Second, MP couldn't have been more passive. Strike that up to 1/3rd of a buy-in at absolutely no risk to me.

Friday, December 22, 2006


The Holiday Wrap Up - Past to Present

The Past
This blog is simply an account of a normal dude who is probably only slightly better at poker than you. People wanting to see $$$$$ pots, $$$$$$ tournament scores or televised poker events, will be disappointed. This blog was started as a way for me to be accountable for my own actions. It gave me something to report to every so often. If I donked off my roll, I would post it here and hope to be roasted, or at least feel foolish that my failures were now publicly posted.

This all started when I was playing $50NL 6 max. After some decent success at those stakes, I went on a cooler, got fed up and cashed out a significant profit. In September I got the itch to play again. On September 4th, I deposited $250 on Full Tilt. It's been a mix of HU limit SnG, HU limit cash game, $25 NL, $50 NL, $100 NL, MTT tournaments and a few odd SnGs here and there. Here is what $250 was parlayed into in only 3.5 months:

By my math that's $7,875.73. The two transactions for $25 and $20 respectively, were transfers to my roommate for which he paid cash. The $250-$300 transactions are rakeback. The reason I took out $1,000 and re-upped $750 was to get the reload bonus, which turned out to be another $400ish. All and all, about $5,000 of that is cash game winnings, $1,200 or so in bonuses and rakeback, and the balance in tournament and SnG profits. I had to take some cash out here and there to pay for stuff... like rent, back when I was unemployed.

The point is, it's not hard. Anyone can repeat the successes I've had if they apply themselves. The first thing is bankroll management. If you are struggling to get this right, I don't know what to tell you. Sometimes you have to get burned by the stove before you know not to touch it. Others, you can just tell them to keep away and they will.

Here's my guidelines for casual players (full ring):

Micros: 10 buy-ins is fine for everything up to, and including, $50NL assuming you are obviously a winning player with success at the lessor games.

Low Limits: This starts at $100 NL. I'd recommend 15-20 here, as I found out the hard way, 15k break-even/slightly losing sessions can happen. But the play is so so so bad it's worth sticking out.

The games:
On this last bankroll re-building I started at $25NL. Every stake I have played has been an entirely different animal. The one thing that I have found is true, is that the average good player can expect a win-rate equal to how bad the players are at the stake. For example, the average player at $50NL was a 5 PTBB/100 loser. This means that if you play ABC poker and DO NOT bluff, you should be a 5 PTBB/100. The way you can break this barrier is by exploiting your opponent's weaknesses. If they are aggressive, this would mean trapping. If they are passive, this would mean widening your raising range against them (whether they limp or raise themselves), in order to create profitable situations for yourself.

To Summarize LJ's Theory Of Win-Rates™: If you only played your cards playing a straightforward ABC game, the most you could expect to win is equal to the average win-rate of your competition. In order to break this barrier you must start to exploit your opponent's play-style to create profitable situations.

So here's my breakdown of the games I've spent a decent time playing:

$25 NL:
Obviously this is not a hard game. The one thing to be weary about in low stakes games is that there are some surprisingly good players (albeit, they are in the minority). And there are even more that think they are good. Be it the 75/40 donkey or the 8/0.5 mouse that cries every time they get sucked out on. But the average person who thinks they are good is something like a 18/3 mouse, that plays WAY too passive, but thinks it's correct. The average player, however, is LAGtarded. Seeing way too many flops, bluffing with retarded hands, etc. That's why bluffing (beyond c-betting) is not very profitable here. What is profitable is punishing limpers. Position + Raise + C-bet = profit. Be careful of those who will call down in large pots with middle pair though, they exist, but are not hard to spot if you have PokerTracker. I like to have "Folds to Flop Bet" displayed in my PokerAceHUD display as it tells me who it is profitable to c-bet against. It also tells me that if my c-bet gets called by one of these people, I had better be able to beat TPTK, since that is generally the minimum they will have. Finally, remember that at the lower stakes you can actually make *BIGGER LAYDOWNS* because people play so predictably. I've only folded a set on the flop once, and it was at $25NL (it was correct).

To summarize: Punish limpers in position, practice getting full value out of your monsters (including pushing into someone you know will call with Top Pair). You can make bigger laydowns due to more predictable play.

$50 NL
Again, not a tough game to beat. Very slightly "harder" than $25 NL. You will start to see slightly crazier pre-flop action. I remember my first comment was "Damn, these fools play like it's a tournament." Some folks push with AK pre-flop, etc. However, be aware of those super-crazy people and focus again on punishing limpers. Against 3-4 limpers, AJos even is a nice hand to raise with on the button. You will win the pot right there A LOT and you are in great position to take it down with a c-bet as only a handful will call. Be VERY careful about running this move if you have someone in the blinds who likes to see a ton of flops. Their call might set off a chain reaction of others feeling "priced in" and calling pre-flop, which is not at all what you want with a marginal holding like AJos. Again, you can make some pretty decent lay-downs here as well, as the play is straightforward. Just remember, the average player is willing to get it all-in with just TPTK.

$25 and $50 NL commonalities:
First thing that I've noticed between the two is that punishing limpers is very profitable. It is how you can break the "average win-rate" theory that I described a few paragraphs up. The next important thing is that whenever you raise pre-flop, people will put you on AK a majority of the time. I don't know why. They always assume it's what you have. It's very nice as well. Let's say you are on the button with one limper behind. You hold KJ suited. This is a hand I really like raising with in this position as it is probably actually a value-raise against an open-limper. You get a caller in the BB (tight player). Let's say tight player has QQ and made a mistake by not-repopping. The open-limper calls as well. The flop comes A J 2 rainbow. BB checks, open-limper checks, you c-bet. No one can call you here. Open-limper probably has a small pocket pair, or something like JT or QJ. If he does have an ace, it isn't a good one and he may fold it right there (remember, they are super passive). The BB might type something in chat to the effet of "AK?" and fold. This situation comes up OVER AND OVER again. You can win the pot with marginal holdings uncontested a lot of the time. You can make a ton of profit this way.

C-bet, C-bet, C-bet. Even multiway against many passive players with 75%+ fold to flop bet.

$100 NL:
I had a lot of trouble adjusting to this game. I started out $200 bucks in the hole on this one, as I had taken a few shots here and there and had a myriad of 3 outers (with only the river to come), which really made me not look forward to splitting this game apart. Combine that with a 15k break-even session, a brief step down back to $50 NL and a losing session upon return to $100 NL, and I was getting ready to quit poker all-together. But I stuck it out, and here's what I learned:

The players here are SUPER-aggressive. Even the so-called "tight ones." At this level, the bluff is re-discovered. Your best defense against bluffs is to bet monsters and set traps. Also, you do not want to expose yourself to bluffs that you cannot call, such as having to call a push if you value-bet the river with TPTK in position. A lot of the times it's best to check behind.

Some of the best moves to have in your arsenal at this stake is the over-bet. It is deceptive in that it is taken as a bluff a lot of the time. When you re-pop someone, re-pop them strong. If they raise to $4 and for whatever reason, the situation warrants a repop, make it $14, $15, $16... don't pussy-foot around with a min-raise or even 3x there bet. It gets no respect at these stakes. Just the other day I had this doozy:

Full Tilt Poker
$0.50/$1 No Limit Hold'em Ring Game
8 Players

CO: $15.10
BTN: $116.25
SB: $131.45
BB: $99
UTG: $101.25
Hero (UTG+1): $285.70
MP1: $199.30
MP2: $86.35

Preflop: Ks Kd ($1.5, 8 players)
UTG raises to $2, Hero raises to $9, MP1 folds, MP2 folds, CO folds, BTN folds, SB folds, BB folds, UTG calls $7

Flop: 9d 6h 2c ($19.5, 2 players)
UTG checks, Hero bets $15, UTG calls $15

Turn: 9d 6h 2c [Tc] ($49.5, 2 players)
UTG checks, Hero bets $79, UTG calls all in for $77.25
Uncalled bet of $1.75 returned to Hero

River: 9d 6h 2c Tc [7d] ($204, 2 players)
No action

UTG had 9c 6c (two pair, Nines and Sixes) and won $201
Hero had Ks Kd (a pair of Kings)
Final Pot: $201.00 ($3.00 rake)

You may say that my aggression was a bit over-kill. But I will get super-aggressive with donkeys simply because you can't have a clear idea what they hold AT-ALL. The only thing I know is that 85% of the time I have the best hand here and that the sooner I get the money in, the larger my equity edge will be.

I like how I played the hand for the most part, and nearly fell out of my chair when I saw what my opponent was holding. It's the reason why you should stop trying to "disguise" your big hands. Just throw it out there. Bet it hard. You will STILL get callers and a lot of the time they will have the correct odds because you didn't bump it up enough.

The Value Push, The Min-Raise, & You!
You are not the only one getting bombed on in the $100 game, just remember that. This makes the value-push that much more appealing. Anyone who has spent even a few hundred hands at FTP's $100 game has probably seen someone throw all their chips at them on the driest of dry flops while they hold an over-pair, and wonder where they went wrong.

Use this fact to extract value.

Full Tilt Poker
$0.50/$1 No Limit Hold'em Ring Game
8 Players

UTG+1: $142.25
MP1: $132.50
Hero (MP2): $141.50
CO: $98.50
BTN: $100
SB: $89.5
BB: $14.5
UTG: $101

Preflop: Th 8h ($1.5, 8 players)
UTG folds, UTG+1 folds, MP1 calls $1, Hero calls $1, CO folds, BTN folds, SB calls $0.50, BB checks

Flop: As 7d 6c ($4, 4 players)
SB checks, BB checks, MP1 checks, Hero bets $2.50, SB folds, BB folds, MP1 raises to $7, Hero calls $4.50

Yes, it's true, we only have a gut-shot here. I have to call $4.50 to win $13.50. I don't have straight up odds, but I'm sensing that this mouse has a hell of a hand so my implied odds are enormous.

Turn: As 7d 6c [4s] ($18, 2 players)
MP1 bets $12, Hero calls $12
Again, our mouse friend makes a gigantic mistake. He offers me nearly 3 to 1, and now my odds are even better as I have an open ended straight draw (about 5.5 to 1 to hit).

River: As 7d 6c 4s [9c] ($42, 2 players)
MP1 bets $22, Hero raises all in to $121.50, MP1 calls all in for $90.50
Uncalled bet of $9 returned to Hero
Teh nuts! This wouldn't have worked so well had the 5 come instead of the 9, but you see how the implied odds worked? I called a $12 bet to win a $250 pot. That's really not bad and that's actually a lot of the reason why you see people call with all sort of ridiculous hands pre-flop, which is why we must raise HARD in situations like this, or pre-flop. You still do want callers, you just want to assure that they are calling without good odds to do so, implied or otherwise.

Not important

We see the same thing again. A terribly played hand by our opponent:

Full Tilt Poker
$0.50/$1 No Limit Hold'em Ring Game
9 Players

UTG: $117
UTG+1: $117.75
MP1: $143.95
MP2: $77.50
MP3: $73.90
CO: $99.75
Hero (BTN): $213.30
SB: $100.4
BB: $75.5

Preflop: Ah Qs ($1.5, 9 players)
UTG folds, UTG+1 folds, MP1 folds, MP2 folds, MP3 calls $1, CO folds, Hero raises to $4, SB folds, BB folds, MP3 calls $3

Flop: As 2c 8s ($9.5, 2 players)
MP3 checks, Hero bets $7, MP3 raises to $14, Hero calls $7
For one, I may have the best hand here. I think AK raises from MP1 always, same with 88. 22 is the only real culprit. If I can narrow it down to only one set out of the possible cards present, I discount it entirely. It's still possible that our opponent has it, but it's so unlikely you spend more money being fearful of the situation rather than going balls out. I have to call $7 to win $30 due to our friend's problem with min-raising (better than 4 to 1).

Turn: As 2c 8s [Kh] ($37.5, 2 players)
MP3 checks, Hero checks
I am not interested in playing for stacks with just one pair. Check behind.

River: As 2c 8s Kh [Qd] ($37.5, 2 players)
MP3 bets $14, Hero raises all in to $195.30, MP3 calls all in for $41.90
Uncalled bet of $139.40 returned to Hero
Value Pushing. For one, our villain really doesn't have much left. For two, my hand is strong enough against the villain's range of raising on the flop. I just can't see a set checking behind again on the turn if they think I really have an ace, which they must at this point

MP3 had Ad 2d (two pair, Aces and Twos)
Hero had Ah Qs (two pair, Aces and Queens) and won $146.30
Final Pot: $146.30 ($3.00 rake)

And for the finale. My favorite hand of the week. I really get a hard-on when every cent I put into the pot was when I was an overwhelming favorite. Basically, I played (and was allowed to play) this hand just like we had our cards face up due to my opponent's mistakes more than my great playing, but I digress:

ull Tilt Poker
$0.50/$1 No Limit Hold'em Ring Game
7 Players

UTG: $52.30
UTG+1: $24.80
MP1: $150.25
MP2: $181.15
BTN: $29
Hero (SB): $99.5
BB: $56.9

Preflop: 6s 6h ($1.5, 7 players)
UTG folds, UTG+1 calls $1, MP1 calls $1, MP2 calls $1, BTN calls $1, Hero calls $0.50, BB checks

Flop: Tc 9d 6d ($6, 6 players)
Hero bets $4, BB folds, UTG+1 folds, MP1 folds, MP2 calls $4, BTN folds

Turn: Tc 9d 6d [8d] ($14, 2 players)
Hero checks, MP2 checks
Obviously that turn was shit. However, since this turn was so good for my opponent, I am very willing to call a bet up to pot sized to try to catch a board pairing card on the river. I feel I can stack someone with the flush almost always, and I can stack the straight (assuming no fourth diamond) enough to make calling profitable. However, our villain is a moron and checks behind.

River: Tc 9d 6d 8d [8h] ($14, 2 players)
Hero bets all in for $95, MP2 calls $95
I'm pretty sure he made his flush on the turn. No one else would check behind. Part of the logic that goes along with always being willing to pay off an overset, is that you must assume that if you boat up you have the best hand (with some very specialized exceptions, this not being one of them). Anyway, this was a great board to do this with since there is a one card straight possible. This play does not have to work very often to be more profitable than a value bet. Let's say I can guarantee that if I bet $8, I get called every time. I only need this play to work 1 in 12 times to be better than getting my $8 called everytime. I know it looks ugly, but at its core it is beautiful.

MP2 had Ad 7d (a flush, Ace high)
Hero had 6s 6h (a full house, Sixes full of Eights) and won $201
Final Pot: $201.00 ($3.00 rake)


Thursday, December 21, 2006



Monday, December 18, 2006


I runned bAaaad, den I runned guuuuuuud

Hello my children. Come with me on a magic carpet ride to Sucksville. On our way we will see Spew Square and the Running Bad Saloon. Our host today is ToofLess WillY. He's gonna show us a darn tootin' good time:


Hey 'der Kids! I'm TooFless Willy Mayor of Sucksville! LJ has axked me ta show yaz a'round, intaduece yaz to sum of da locaLZ. I brunged wid me a special guest. ToOfLess MarGe!


Marge Only has two claims ta fame. She can swallowZ her own face AND she perzented da "Best Suppotin' Actress" Oscar back in '33.

Wifout furder Adoo Marge is gunna perzent LJ's wurst Poker Statistix of da year:

Ta'nite's category is Full Tilt Poker $100 NL. LJ has 15,000 hands.

Wurst Premium Hand in a Cash Game:

AK soooted!
(1.41) PTBB/100
With a whopping 28.57% WinRate at Showdown.

Most Underperforming Pocket Pair in a Cash Game:

1.23 PTBB/100
Dis hand came behind QQ, JJ, 66, 67s and 43s! Congo-rats!

Thanks ToofLesS Willy!

So yeah, I'm running bad. My Win at Showdown percentage is about 4-5% lower than it was at $50NL. And yes, I've concluded that I have been in the longest losing streak ever, of 15k hands. Well, it's more break-even. And I've still been profitable in tournies and in lower cash games, so I keep gaining money, but not at $100NL.

So tonight was my night. I came home from work stoked. I was focused. No more getting tricky, just raw aggression. I had been beaten up too much at the $100 NL game, and there's NO FUCKING WAY I'm a losing player here. No fucking way. So what's the plan? Make the fish pay to suck out. No more 3xBB raises. No more 3xOpponent's Bet re-pops. No more monsters in the closet thinking everyone has a set.

The night started off fantastically (Sarcasm). I got stacked with set over set, a turn all-in with a set vs a flush draw (hit), and a set outdrawn my a straight. I was down 2.5 buy-ins. Ugggghhh. And then the deliciousness began. These aren't critical hands by any means, but some examples of some plays I was running for most of the night with great success.

The Good:

Full Tilt Poker
$0.50/$1 No Limit Hold'em Ring Game
9 Players

BB: $20.05
UTG: $59.85
UTG+1: $59.40
MP1: $188.15
MP2: $73.60
MP3: $42.50
CO: $113.75
BTN: $20.15
Hero (SB): $100

Preflop: Qs Qh ($1.5, 9 players)
UTG calls $1, UTG+1 raises to $2, MP1 folds, MP2 calls $2, MP3 folds, CO folds, BTN folds, Hero raises to $9, BB folds, UTG calls $8, UTG+1 calls $7, MP2 calls $7

Normally I'd re-pop 3x the current bet here. No this time. Motherfuckers, you gonna pay to suck out. Plus you gain the deception of looking like a squeeze play. Also, a bigger pot means there is more incentive for your opponent to bluff.

Flop: Tc 9s 2s ($37, 4 players)
Hero bets $25, UTG folds, UTG+1 folds, MP2 raises all in to $64.60, Hero calls $39.60

I could have probably lead for more, but I induced the right kind of action.

Turn: Tc 9s 2s [Th] ($166.2, 2 players)
No action

River: Tc 9s 2s Th [6d] ($166.2, 2 players)
No action

MP2 had 9h Ks (two pair, Tens and Nines)
Hero had Qs Qh (two pair, Queens and Tens) and won $163.20
Final Pot: $163.20 ($3.00 rake)

That's right. You called OOP with K9os, and pushed with second pair. You suck!


Full Tilt Poker
$0.50/$1 No Limit Hold'em Ring Game
9 Players

BTN: $31.65
SB: $105.6
BB: $87.8
UTG: $98.60
UTG+1: $83.50
Hero (MP1): $120.90
MP2: $99
MP3: $127.45
CO: $48.55

Preflop: Qd Qs ($1.5, 9 players)
UTG calls $1, UTG+1 calls $1, Hero raises to $6, MP2 folds, MP3 folds, CO folds, BTN folds, SB folds, BB folds, UTG raises to $11, UTG+1 folds, Hero calls $5

You min-raisin' me mu'fuckah???!?!??! Seriously, do you NOT expect me to call getting 5 to 1. 5 to 1!!!! You could show me Aces or Kings and I'd laugh in your face and STILL CALL! Thank you for sucking!

Flop: Qh 2c 3h ($24.5, 2 players)
UTG bets $9, Hero raises all in to $109.90, UTG calls all in for $78.60
Uncalled bet of $22.30 returned to Hero

Vas ist dis? Do I have top set? Did my donkey friend play his hand like KK/AA? JA!! I ZINK SO!

Turn: Qh 2c 3h [6c] ($199.7, 2 players)
No action

River: Qh 2c 3h 6c [9h] ($199.7, 2 players)
No action

UTG had Ks Kd (a pair of Kings)
Hero had Qd Qs (three of a kind, Queens) and won $196.70 <---STACKAMENTS!
Final Pot: $196.70 ($3.00 rake)

Full Tilt Poker
$0.50/$1 No Limit Hold'em Ring Game
8 Players

UTG: $88.30
UTG+1: $110.40
MP1: $114.90
MP2: $113.60
CO: $98.50
BTN: $80.80
Hero (SB): $227.1
BB: $156.45

Preflop: Ac Ks ($1.5, 8 players)
UTG folds, UTG+1 calls $1, MP1 folds, MP2 calls $1, CO folds, BTN folds, Hero raises to $6, BB folds, UTG+1 calls $5, MP2 folds

Do you like limp calling??!?!?! I know I like it when you do.

Flop: 6c 4d 4h ($14, 2 players)
Hero checks, UTG+1 bets $6, Hero raises to $21, UTG+1 folds
Uncalled bet of $15 returned to Hero

Low ball flop, time to get TRICKAY!

Full Tilt Poker
$0.50/$1 No Limit Hold'em Ring Game
9 Players

BB: $85.65
UTG: $19.45
UTG+1: $94.30
MP1: $37.35
MP2: $106.05
MP3: $100
CO: $138.85
Hero (BTN): $238.15
SB: $84.95

Preflop: Qc Ad ($1.5, 9 players)
UTG folds, UTG+1 folds, MP1 folds, MP2 raises to $4, MP3 folds, CO folds, Hero raises to $14, SB folds, BB folds, MP2 calls $10

Flop: 7c Ah 5s ($29.5, 2 players)
MP2 checks, Hero bets $22, MP2 folds
Uncalled bet of $22 returned to Hero

Now note, this guy was a little aggressive, and his raising range was quite large. I was very careful with who I re-popped with marginal hands. I got a LOT of people to fold and there was much rejoicing.

OK, OK, so I didn't play 100% perfect all night. Here's one hand I fucked up so bad (on the turn... it's just horrible).

Full Tilt Poker
$0.50/$1 No Limit Hold'em Ring Game
9 Players

SB: $68.2
BB: $115.55
UTG: $36.75
UTG+1: $128
MP1: $19.25
Hero (MP2): $166.85
MP3: $92
CO: $71.50
BTN: $132.75

Preflop: Jd Ac ($1.5, 9 players)
UTG folds, UTG+1 folds, MP1 folds, Hero calls $1, MP3 folds, CO folds, BTN calls $1, SB calls $0.50, BB checks

Some say "Mixing it up" some say it's ugly not to raise here. I'll defend this play and say that mixing it up is OK.

Flop: Js 2d Td ($4, 4 players)
SB checks, BB checks, Hero bets $3, BTN calls $3, SB folds, BB raises to $9, Hero calls $6, BTN calls $6

Probably ahead of the BB here, but I like to keep the pot small with TPTK. For some reason this just screams 2-pair to me...

Turn: Js 2d Td [Jh] ($31, 3 players)
BB bets $11, Hero calls $11, BTN calls $11

Just bad all around. There's no reason not to raise here. I have no idea wtf I was thinking.

River: Js 2d Td Jh [9d] ($64, 3 players)
BB checks, Hero checks, BTN bets $30, BB folds, Hero calls $30

Is there a worse card that could have rivered? No. It completes all draws save for 89 and Q9. Everything else beats us. Why am I fucking calling?

Hero had Jd Ac (three of a kind, Jacks)
BTN had Kd 5d (a flush, King high) and won $121
Final Pot: $121.00 ($3.00 rake)

I ended up the night up 4.5 buy-ins. Yay!

Saturday, December 09, 2006



Vroom Vroom Motherfuckers!!!!

Today's lesson is in how to get PokerTracker to go from:


Before we break out our favorite slide rules and super-l33t DBA skillZ (that I found using Google), I have to give you all the Disclaiminator:

"If you R gunna yooz anysing from zis blog to make yer PokerTracker run fastah, yoo assume all zee liAbility. Zee Disclaiminator recommends zat yoo back up all zee dAta before attempting to make zee PokerTracker go ZooOoOOm!"

First thing is first. If you are serious about Poker, you must have PokerTracker. Hopefully you already knew that. Now, if you are serious about poker and already have PokerTracker you really should upgrade from a crappy Access database with file size limitations to PostgreSQL (called postgres from now on). Excellent performance, great reliability and NO database size limitations.

If you haven't upgraded to postgres, go here. Always back up your databases before making any significant changes.

The steps are pretty self explanatory. Be warned, the conversion process takes quite a while if you have a maxed out Access database. I'd recommend leaving it for over night.

Assuming you've either installed postgres or already had it going, the rest is how to get the best performance out of your database. A database without size limitations can obviously get quite cumbersome as it gets large, so tuning performance is key. Basically, your ability to read your information from PokerAceHUD or GameTime+ will NOT be affected by PokerTracker's poor performance, however, your ability to manually look up information will be compromised as the database gets large. It can literally take over a minute on a decent system to load the player list.

Hardware: (skip if you are already competent in this area)
First thing is first. The best way to increase any database performance is via hardware. In terms of hardware and where to spend your money, you want to buy a nice hard drive first, then memory, then a processor. The type and speed of your hard drive is the number one factor in how well your database will perform. Accessing information from a hard drive is the slowest operation in a computer's pipeline, so even a small percentage gain in speed will yield much larger time savings than if you were to upgrade your memory or CPU.

Ideally you would want some super crazy 15,000 RPM SCSI drives in RAID 10. For the rest of us a nice 7200 RPM SATAII 16Mb cache hard drive will suffice.

Next you want to make sure you have adequate memory. I run with 2Gb and a 3.2 Ghz HT processor. It's probably about par for the course as far as the average system these days. Just remember, when it comes to overall performance of your machine, memory is the best upgrade you can make. These gains in performance will trickle down to database functions, just remember that your hard drive is the biggest bottleneck when it comes to database speed.

Once postgres is set up
Before fiddling around with any settings, back your database up. This can be accomplished by going to Utilities->PostGreSQL Database Functions...->Backup. The compression is insane. My 4 Gb database was compressed down to 230Mb, so don't be alarmed if you get super compression.

As mentioned above, the hard drive is by far the slowest component in the information pipeline/heirerarchy of any computer system. That being said, if you can limit the times you go to disk to read or write data, you gain in performance. Clustering is a concept that involves putting data that is likely to be accessed simultaineously very near to eachother. When data is accessed from a hard drive, it is accessed in chunks, not just one item at a time. So when you load your player list in PokerTracker, you are grabbing many players at a time. Assuming you could predict which information was to be accessed first you could structure the database so that those items would be stored in sequential order on the hard drive, instead of being scattered, leading to the least amount of disk accesses possible.

To make a long techno-babblish story short, some dude figured out a nice way to do this for us.

His explanation isn't all that elegant, so let me break down what you need to do to get some nice performance gains from PT.

Access the DOS command prompt:
Go to Start->Run-> type in "cmd"
Press windows key+r and type "cmd". Generally the windows key is the key to the right of the left CTRL button (has a Windows logo on it).


Make sure you have the correct pathname for your postgresql psql application. Generally speaking it's going to be c:\program files\postgresql\8.0\bin\psql. THis is a utility that will help us accomplish our goal of clustering.

Next, go into PokerTracker. Go to File->Maintain Database Names and see what the name of the postgres database is. IMPORTANT!!! This name is the name in the RIGHT COLUMN called DB File/DB Name/DSN. Confusingly it is NOT the name under the "Name" column.

We're almost ready:

Copy and paste the following lines JUST AS THEY ARE (quotes and all). Make sure you substitute YOUR_DB_NAME with the name found in the Maintain Database Names right-hand column. You do not need to copy and paste this line by line, just paste the whole thing into the command line and it will execute sequentially. These commands can take anywhere from 2 minutes to 1 hour to complete depending on the size of your DB.

"c:\program files\postgresql\8.0\bin\psql" -d "YOUR_DB_NAME" -U postgres -c "cluster session_idx_02 on session;"
"c:\program files\postgresql\8.0\bin\psql" -d "YOUR_DB_NAME" -U postgres -c "cluster player_winnings_idx_02 on player_winnings;"
"c:\program files\postgresql\8.0\bin\psql" -d "YOUR_DB_NAME" -U postgres -c "cluster player_idx_02 on players;"
"c:\program files\postgresql\8.0\bin\psql" -d "YOUR_DB_NAME" -U postgres -c "cluster game_idx_01 on game;"
"c:\program files\postgresql\8.0\bin\psql" -d "YOUR_DB_NAME" -U postgres -c "cluster game_players_idx_05 on game_players;"

Other Tweaks
Congrats on getting this far. DBAs (Data Base Administrators) make fucking bling doing some of this stuff, so don't be shocked to learn that it's sort of complicated.

There are some other ways to get better performance out of the DB. Personally, I've had less success with these than I did with clustering, but none-the-less, if you are interested you can give them a go.

First, it is important to note that many programs have .conf files. These are text files that have data that function as inputs to a program. This is what they did before the days of GUI programming and in cases where a nice GUI is unnecessary, the practice is still used. That being said you can access postgres' .conf file by going to Start->All Programs->PostGRESQL 8.0->Configuration Files-> (there should be 3). To learn more about postgresql.conf check out the link. This will walk you through what some of the settings do. Backup your databse before fiddling with any of them.

If you are feeling confident, read this guide to tuning postgres performance via the conf file.

If you have any questions, hit me up and I will do my best to help.

Sunday, December 03, 2006


Interesting hand of the day

This is sort of a mini update. Mainly because I'm tired of seeing Britney's snatch at the top of my blog. *shudders*.

So I just moved completely out of my old apartment over the weekend. This has poker relevance, because the office had my Harrington on Hold'em Part II (HoH:II) for about a month now. Now, I know that the HoH series' are really about tournaments, but some of the concepts are universal. Shit, they are even well applied to other games besides Hold'em. Harrington is a value-betting freak, and for good reason. As a sort of useful tangent, think about a tournament this way. You start with X number of chips. If you were to win this tournament you'd end up with Z*X number of chips, where Z is obviously the number of entrants. Getting from X to Z*X involves a series of chip acquistions. OK, there's nothing groundbreaking yet... So this means, if you lose out on 10% of your stack being a jackass in the first portion of a tournament, you are crippling yourself. Exponential growth is the second most rapidly growing series (factorial being first) and that being said, any amount to the "nth" power is fucking huge. This means that when you lose 100 chips early, you aren't just losing 100 chips... you are losing thousands, if not tens, or even hundreds of thousands depending on the series of chip acquisitions that are to come later (since you didn't have those chips to use to double up). Since you have lost out on 10% of your stack, you obviously cannot have this matched up in a double-up scenario against a larger stack. This snowballs as you get deeper in a tournament. The same can be said for not extracting 100% value out of a hand. It doesn't mean you are losing just the extra chips, but since the goal is to win, it means that you've lost an exponential factor greater. If you could follow that logic, it should make intuitive sense as to why playing very tight early is best, and why being a big stack allows you to bully (since you no longer are able to double up and have "excess" if you will).

Tangents aside, it's nice to be reading something and see it applied straight away. So tonight, I give you this hand. Keep in mind, my "image," if douchebags at the $50NL are even watching, is TAG (and yes, I know that I am implicating myself as a DoucheBag... so be it). That being said, I love to raise in the button. I rarely open limp. Here's what went down:

Full Tilt Poker
No Limit Holdem Ring game
Blinds: $0.25/$0.50
9 players

Stack sizes:
UTG: $48
UTG+1: $49.40
MP1: $55.85
MP2: $22.40
MP3: $55.10
CO: $51.65
Hero: $50
SB: $110.35
BB: $70.40

Pre-flop: (9 players) Hero is Button with Js Qs
3 folds, MP2 calls, 2 folds, Hero raises to $2.5, SB calls, BB folds, MP2 calls.

Villain is a 31/6/1.8/67. For those who don't speak PokerTracker, that's 31% of the time this DB sees the flop. 6% of the time this DB raises pre-flop. Our DB has an aggression factor of 1.8, which is average to low. Finally, this DB folds to 67% of flop bets. No real read on MP2.

Flop: Ts 8s 2d ($8, 3 players)
SB checks, MP2 checks, Hero...?

Ok, this flop is yahtzee. I really couldn't ask for a better flop than this. I'm a slight favorite to overpair, a pretty staggering equity leader against TPTK, and have about a 1 in 3 shot vs. a set. Normally, I'd bet here. But wait... Harrington says that this is what people expect. This is what I've been giving to the people all this time. I c-bet like a motherfucker. In 99% of cases, I c-bet here. But I've just been reading some HoH:II and says that it's best to take the free card. I have 2 others in with me who are probably expecting me to bet. I have so many outs, it's unreal. Not to mention that checking is the most deceptive play and does not define my hand at all. If I c-bet, and someone raises, I have to call. This defines my hand tremendously and in a negative way. Checking behind leaves my opponents with absolutely zero read on what I may be holding. Finally, I'm not giving people any outs to hit a hand, since if I don't get the right cards, I don't have a hand.

Hero checks

Turn: 9s ($8, 3 players)
SB bets $8, MP2 folds, Hero...?

Um Hi. I have the unbeatable nuts and now I have a generally non-aggressive OOP bettor mashing the pot button. There is definitely a case for raising here as we have a weak-tight player who is showing supreme interest. But the key element here is position. He's not going to get away from us and he likes the pot button. If I raise, a weak fish might swim away. If I just call, he obviously cannot beat me, and he will be staring at a value bet if he decides to check the river, in the worst case scenario. In the best case scenario, he mashes the pot button on the river and the pot is so inflated that I'll be pushing $10-$20 more into a $100 pot, where he calls me 95%+ of the time. He's going to have to call with anything.

Hero calls

River: 5c ($24, 2 players)
SB bets $24, Hero raises all-in $39.5, SB calls.

Does this street really even matter? No sense in hiding what I did, as it was pretty easy to follow.

Final pot: $103
Hero showed Js Qs
SB mucks Kh Ks

In summary, it's really nice to see what you have learned play out in a real scenario. I literally had just read that section probably 1 hour before that hand went down. Had I kept with my usual routine of c-betting, he probably would have put in a possibly uncallable raise (although, if it was an open-ended straight flush, I'm going to call whatever he wants to bet). Infinite implied odds and not defining my hand are +EV.

Friday, December 01, 2006


I Suck At Blogs (ISAB)

Britney Spears' vagina. There I said it. Doesn't matter why you came to this blog, it's been festering in your mind. For years, you thought it was this great thing. A thing you would never behlod. You thought it was the Mecca of all vaginas. And then, like waking up the next morning with a fat chick, you stare at it bewildered how such a thing happened. It is quite possibly the foulest vagina ever. Now don't get me wrong... I'd still hit it just for the story to tell my buddies, but you definitely will not see my face in between those stretch-mark laden thighs. No sir.

And here it is...

Now that we've gotten that out of the way we can talk about poker.

These last few months have been a little crazy. I started playing seriously again at the beginning of September. This involved a deposit of $250 on to Full Tilt which is 15,189.60 Pakistani Rupee. And I'll tell you what a Rupee goes pretty far these days, just ask good ole Osama Bin Laden.

So with such a heft bankroll, I excersized proper BR management. I was playing $25 full ring ("$0.10/$0.25"). But quite frankly, none of you care about such puny limits anyway.

Then it happened. Black Thursday. I walk into my office and get fired. Nice. I really hated my job anyway and probably should have left before getting canned, but shoulda-woulda-coulda right? So here I am with no job and aspirations of TP/MM (Turn Pro, Make Millions for the ancronymically impared). What better chance eh?

My bankroll was hovering around $750ish and I was still stuck at the $25 game, as I wanted at least $1k before moving up. Being unemployed is +EV and very quickly I was able to move to $50 NL and hit the ground running.

I also began to play a lot live. By "a lot," I mean, more than I should of. The game I played was a pretty poor format. $2/$5 Spread - Limit, $200 max buy / $200 max bet. It's not exactly the kind of game you want to be playing when you're playing for food. Yeah, it's lucrative, but you just don't have the hand volume to compensate for the inevitable bad beats. I should have stayed online. I still managed about 40k hands, so it wasn't the end of the world.

The good news that resulted from my playing was that I met a rich dude who owns an IT company. He was quick to realize my talent, intelligence, charm, rugged good looks and overall awesomeness. The stupid Nazi-esque banking transaction ban became reality, and I decided it'd be best to take a 9 to 5. Besides, this guy is going to stake me for the WSOP in '07 so it's not a bad gig. He hired me on to do staffing, so my dream of TP/MM was over... for now.

The results of my short stint as a professional poker player (again) were pretty decent. At incredibly low stakes I was able to make some decent coin. Not really much to write home about in terms of other online players, but definitely more than I was making at my previous job. But here's the catch. Building your bankroll >>>>> anything else. Even if you're pulling $4k, $5k or even $8k a month, you really aren't leaving yourself room to grow your bankroll to play at stakes that will allow you to live comfortably. Even only taking out $2k for living expenses, I began running a treadmill that seemed never ending. My bankroll was growing slower than I anticipated, even though my win-rate was higher than I had first conservatively thought.

Then came my first few sessions of $100NL. Ouch. That game sucks. I was running bad, and starting to play bad and starting to lose my confidence. I went something like 0.8 PTBB/100 over 12k hands for a wopping profit of about 2 buy-ins. Yay. I started tilting again. The whole thing was a clusterfuck and I was glad I had taken a 9-5 job (actually, 7:30am to 5:30, but who's counting?) After much toil and deliberation, I have decided that 70% of my bad luck at $100NL was indeed bad luck, 25% was bad play and 5% was tilt. Playing very similarly my Win at Show Down rate at $50NL was about 54%. At $100NL it was 46% or so. Disgustingly bad. Not to go down "bad beat Boo-Hoo" lane, but there were at least a half-dozen times my sets were outdrawn for all my chips. Not to mention BACK TO BACK HANDS of set over set where I had the underset. I have never seen such heinous cards and hopefully it will end soon. I also spiked 2 royals in the same "ass-rapeage" phase, but they're not even worth mentioning due to how awful everything else was.

So now I've dropped back down to $50 to rebuild my confidence. So far, not so good. My first few sessions went very smoothly, but then the last 2 weeks or so have been pretty bad even there. Thank God for my short handed limit game, or I wouldn't be showing a profit at all. People are SO bad at short handed limit, it's sick. The swings can be brutal and tilt is a factor that is intensely magnified as you will witness people at $3/$6 and even higher, draw out with no pair and no draw on the flop. Just remember that this is a result of your good playing. If you can make someone call bets with no pair, no draw and not even high-card, you are playing fantastically. If they catch, fuck 'em. They're donkies and will be spanked in the long run.

Yeah baby! My tourny game is back. I've probably played on average 1 tournament every other day from October on, and here are the results:
Total Winnings: $860
Total Final Tables: 2

11/25/2006 Hold'em NL $10+$0 21st out of 1,216 WON:$57
11/15/2006 Hold'em DS NL $10+$0 4th out of 596 WON:$521
10/29/2006 Hold'em NL $10+$0 54th out of 967 WON:$26
10/26/2006 Hold'em NL $24+$0 47th out of 831 WON:$53
10/26/2006 Hold'em NL $5+$0 5th out of 356 WON:$124
10/25/2006 Hold'em NL $10+$0 24th out of 287 WON:$17
10/14/2006 Hold'em NL $5+$0 35th out of 465 WON:$9
10/02/2006 Hold'em NL $24+$0 33rd out of 592 WON:$53

My tournament game is definitely solid. About 3 of those tournaments I should have Final Tabled. We're talking sick beats. If I recall, 2 of my beats that took me out of the tourny after going deep were 4%-ers and one was AA vs QQ pre-flop (Q on the river). And I recall at least 1 or 2 in which some retard makes a deepstack call for all of their chips with very low pocket pair against my shoved AK. For as long as I've played tournaments I've always taken sick sick sick beats late in a tournament and it was kept me from that big cash.

The 11/25/06 $10 NL tourny gets special mention. I start off tight as normal, accumulate a healthy stack. I suck out on one person (who shouldn't have called my push, but that's OK, bad plays are +EV for everyone else) to get a very healthy stack. I bully my way up to chip leader with 100 remaining or so. Then I get beautiful KK in the SB. It was my 2nd big pair of the tourny so I have to think how to play it. A tighter player makes a raise from MP. This player has about 85% of my stack so is fairly deep. The flop comes down 7-high. I bet, he raises, I push, he calls. His 5's connected with the flop for a set and now I'm down to less than average in chips. I figured there was enough overpairs 88-QQ that he could have to make pushing a good move.

I go on tilt a bit and start pushing for the blinds the next few hands. I get a caller with my Q6os against his K8os. I river two pair against his top pair. I settle down. I now have a maniac's image and callers, this is just what I want. The margins are going to be much slimmer (as in A5 vs KQ), but the fact remains that I will now have callers. I go super-monkey-aggro. My AT is getting calls from KJ. My AJ getting called by A8. I'm doubling up left and right. Before you know it, I have a serious stack and revert to playing solid, hoping to cash in my tight image with even larger pre-flop equity margins. It works. I'm up to over double the chip average (more than the guy who spiked a set against me). I have about 150k to the Chip Leader's 240k and a wide gap between 1st and 5th's chips. I get AA. Needless to say I'm raising those bitches from UTG because people think I could have anything. I get a 100k stack pusher from the SB (from 11k to 100k... nice move fucknuts). I call, able to taste the chip lead. As my roommate watches the flop comes 469. Turn is a beautiful 4. I point at the screen, turn to my roommate and say, "Come on baby, I've got some good kharma, don't do it!" BLAM. A motherfucking rivered Queen. Such is my tournament life. Get deep, get sucked out on. Rinse, Repeat.

Poker Buys Some Nice Shit!

Now that I have stable employment I can start investing some of my poker capital into some nice shit.

Not to mention my recent acquisition of an 8GB iPod Nano.

The best thing is that my 5 year old son is going to have a Hell of a nice Christmas as well. Mwa hahahaha.

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