Archive for the ‘Challenge 2008’ Category
November 26, 2008
My regular reader will have noticed I haven’t posted much about my 2008 Challenge lately; my attempts to get good at short-handed no-limit hold-em.
This is because I haven’t played much lately.
There are several reasons for this:
It’s this last one that worries me.
Earlier in the year it was easy to find $50 short-handed tables with easy meat on them; players bad enough that even a marginally profitable player like me can exploit them. But the last few months they seem to have dried up.
I have a theory and it is this: the profitable tables rely on there being significant numbers of marginally unprofitable players: people who win sometimes but don’t mind reloading a hundred or two on a fairly regular basis out of their normal income. Recreational players, salt of the earth, happy to donate small amounts for their entertainment.
But recently people have been looking at their outgoings, counting the pennies, wondering how to survive the coming depression. The friendly semi-fish are not redepositing.
If this is true, the effect would be most noticeable at the lower levels I believe, where the recreational players hang out. And I think this is what’s happening: the $50 tables now contain almost exclusively players who were previously successful. The result: players who previously turned a small profit have turned into prey for the best players, the bigger sharks, alongside whom they used to feast on the smaller fry who are now extinct.
For me, I’ve been dipping the odd toe in on the most likely looking tables, losing the odd buy-in and getting out of the water again pdq.
I suppose I could be wrong about the tables changing, maybe it’s just a confidence thing. But I don’t think so.
Still, maybe the Christmas holidays will bring the traditional influx of fat, slightly inebriated, bored fish prepared to increase their January hangover debt problems by giving me some of their credit card cash. We can only hope!
November 01, 2008
Filed Under (Challenge 2008) by crumble on 01-11-2008
I haven’t felt like playing cash poker for a while now, which is why I haven’t been posting much.
But this morning, after reading a post by SteveDaRake on EMS, I thought it would be fun to learn how to play shortstack poker.
It was Ratattack who pointed me at Pokerstrategy.com as somewhere to learn the basics. So I had a look, did the quiz and settled down to 4-tabling on PokerStars.
The basic idea is simple: It is very difficult, maybe even impossible, for a big stack to simultaneously play correctly against shortstacks and other big stacks. So, the shortstack at a table full of big stacks can have an advantage, because it makes sense for the big stacks to play the other big stacks and try to ignore the shortie.
The recommended style is to play very very tight ABC TAG poker.
So tight that you get to play about 4% of hands, which is why I had to multi-table so as not to tilt. In fact the style is very easy to multi-table because it is pretty much a one-street game.
I chose $50NL at PokerStars for this, buying in for $10, topping up if I dropped below $8 and leaving if I got above $13. This is what happened:
So as far as I can tell it’s a breakeven way of playing.
Frankly that’s a whole lot more profitable than my usual short-handed full-stack strategy, but I think I would go mad if I had to play this tight all the time.
I stuck faithfully to the recommended strategy throughout, even though I’m pretty sure I could have adjusted it to make it more profitable on the Stars tables. Still, I’m surprised at how well it worked, even against some reasonably savvy players who often wouldn’t pay me off in full.
The PokerStrategy site reckons this is a good style for beginners. I have to agree up to a point. The downside is, it isn’t really poker. Still, I’m glad I tried it; it will hep me against shortstackers who come to my cash table when I’m playing a more grown-up game!
August 30, 2008
Filed Under (Challenge 2008) by crumble on 30-08-2008
I read an article the other day about dealing with loose aggressive opponents. Basically the advice was to make your decision early, pre-flop or at the latest flop, then grit your teeth and go with it.
I’m glad I remembered that when this hand came up today (a change of site and I have to type out the hand history):
This table has two sides: BB, Hero and MP have been fairly tight while CO, button and Villain have been getting busy with many more hands.
Villain has been playing a variety of hands, usually calling raises and getting tricky post-flop. It’s been working pretty well for him over the last half an hour.
The stage is set…
Hero is dealt K♠K♣
Blimey. Two minraises? What’s this guy up to? He’s been loose and tricky but he hasn’t played a hand this way before. Could he actually have a decent hand this time? Maybe I should stop raising…
Well it sure looks like a monster from here. He pretty much knows I have QQ or KK. Can I call? What can I beat?
Frankly I have no idea what he has, it just looks like he has it. But I’m not good enough to fold here…
Mustn’t grumble I suppose, but I do hate being forced to make wild guesses by the lagtards. Can’t we play poker instead of this wild gambling?
July 27, 2008
Filed Under (Challenge 2008) by crumble on 27-07-2008
It’s been a while since I posted an update on my 2008 challenge – to master short-handed cash games.
I haven’t been playing much on the challenge, but I had a session last night on Virgin so thought I would post a graph.
Only 13K hands for the year to date, but there’s no discernable trend line yet:
I feel that I’m playing fine most of the time, but the evidence suggests otherwise: I would only appear to be a break-even player in these games.
I guess I need to stop doing things like this:
BossMedia Game #1149778690: Table Table TH 752 – $0.25/$0.50 – No Limit Hold’em
I like the way Zippy played this, but I have absolutely no idea why I thought I was in front, especially since his stats are 21/11/2. If I can cut these out I reckon I’ll be well on the way!
July 06, 2008
Filed Under (Challenge 2008) by crumble on 06-07-2008
This was my biggest pot of the year so far, possibly ever…
Victim has been playing very aggressively, so I treat this as a captaincy raise. But whatever it is, I’ve got the odds to call it. Look at that stack!!!
I think Donkey would slowplay top set and I think Victim would re-raise. I’m in front! I wonder if they’ll call a shove?
I wonder what they both had?
July 03, 2008
Filed Under (Challenge 2008) by crumble on 03-07-2008
I learned something playing this hand yesterday.
Back on my cash challenge, this was a 5-handed $50 NL table on Virgin Poker.
Button is loose and tricky: a hint of Fancy Play Syndrome in there somewhere.
Some people say that if it’s worth playing it’s worth raising with. That’s bad advice with this hand at this table. You want to see a cheap flop and win big when you hit.
No point in betting here, button will continuation bet with any two.
Now that’s a strange bet. The min checkraise usually promises extreme strength … but he can’t be frightened of a draw because he would have to raise bigger. Has he flopped a straight?
Anyway, I have odds to call and outdraw him here.
So the button had nothing, what a surprise. But what’s that check on the turn? I think it’s a big giveaway. It can’t be a trap because he can’t have filled up. He must be drawing to something.
But I am drawing to a better hand. I don’t want to bet here in case he raises big with some dodgy pair+draw hand that I can’t call. Let’s see a free river.
Bingo bango bongo, I have him beat and he’s betting into me!
Maybe he has nothing and is just trying to take it down? But more likely he has hit his draw on turn or river and he’s looking to extract some value. In that case he will call a raise.
How big a raise? Well all-in sounds a bit big to me. What about something like $20 or $25? On the other hand if he calls that he might call the all-in anyway. I think it’s close.
Oops. What a donk.
Yep, he would have made the crying call with that. Shame, that’s at least another $15 or so that I haven’t collected. But I have to say it doesn’t – in retrospect – seem hard to get to the right answer. If only I could do it at the table!
So what did I learn? that I can’t always put what I’ve learnt into practice.
Phil Gordon had the right idea in his little green book: the first question you should ask is, “can I raise?”. Followed by “can I fold”. Only then consider calling.
Oh well, if I keep trying maybe I’ll get it right one day.
June 08, 2008
Filed Under (Challenge 2008) by crumble on 08-06-2008
Here’s a late update on my Cash Challenge progress in May.
I spoke too soon about my luck beginning to turn: overall in May the downward trend continued. Here’s my year to date all-in luck graph from PokerEV:
So I’m currently $226 below where I would be with average luck. Let’s hope it at least stabilizes at this level. Maybe in June I’ll experience the boom switch and get back up to zero!
I’ve now had a week or so off this challenge and can feel the urge to start again soon. Doom or boom? Time will tell.
May 29, 2008
Filed Under (Challenge 2008) by crumble on 29-05-2008
I mentioned in my last post that I’d had a little period of tilt in my last cash session.
Usually I’m pretty calm playing cash … but the red mist descended for a few minutes. It’s something I need to get a hold of; not tilting is one of my edges at this game!
Here’s the exhibit…
A4o in the cutoff is usually a fold for me, especially at a loose aggressive table like this one.
Now I need to carry on the good work and value bet the turn.
Surely that’s a blank and we can make the value bet we missed on the turn.
Oh dear oh dear.
Tilt. I can still taste it. It’s sort of metallic.
May 26, 2008
Filed Under (Challenge 2008) by crumble on 26-05-2008
It’s been a quiet month for my cash challenge, what with assorted Sit n Go series, live event qualifiers and work. But today I got in a few hours of study – online cash game vids played and narrated by the legendary Green Plastic. And thus inspired I sat down for a few hands of .25-.50 NL short-handed cash.
I didn’t have it all my own way by any means, but I did at times manage to put some of my learning into practice. Here’s the graph:
Can you see that bit in the middle where I tilted a little? It really is scary how easy it can be to give back chips that were so hard to earn!
But one pleasing thing is that the green line of actual winnings is higher than the red line of expected winnings (Sklansky bucks). It’s only $5 back from the $130 or so he owes me, but I’ve definitely got Sklansky on the run now!
May 18, 2008
Filed Under (Challenge 2008) by crumble on 18-05-2008
I had come across an early version of this in the 2+2 forum – Ryan wanted to post something meaty for his 5000th forum post and this was it. There was obviously a lot in this paper, but it was a real struggle to read so I put it aside.
I’ve now battled through it. The author asked for comments so I sent him some:
If I were a more fluent writer I’d offer to take it on. But I know my limitations.
What I have started doing though is structuring the content in a way that I can use as a reference for myself. If it turns out to be any good I’ll share it with my reader!