Sunday, December 31, 2006

"REVIEW OF MY POKER YEAR"

Neteller: Last week $50; Current $250 (-100)
Inter: Last week $60; Current; $125 (+65)
William Hill: Last week $69; Current $69 (-)
Ladbrokes: Last week $95; Current $81 (-14)
Bodog: Last week $53; Current: $53 (-)

Total: Last week $627; Current $578 (-49)

Not a good week or indeed a good month. I'm down $49 on the week which leaves me down $94 on the month. This led me to taking a look at how the year as a whole has gone.

The monthly figures come out as:

January: +$82
Februrary: +56
March: -$17
April: No play
May: +$112
June: -$114
JUly: +$91
August: +$259
September: +$160
October: +210
November: +169
December: -$94

This leaves my total profit for the year as $914.

Looking back, this time last year, I was playing .25/.5 Limit and just thinking about moving to .5/1. I am now regularly two tabling 1/2 limit and have even dabbled in the giddy heights of 2/4. I've also started playing No Limit with some initial success followed by my recently chronicled disasters with high pairs.

I think I am now a competent Limit player and I should find myself able to play 2/4 comfortably in the next few months. My other objective is to improve my No Limit game so that I am profitable at that as well. I have to say that I have enjoyed playing No Limit more than Limit recently and that is where I can see me taking my game. However I will continue to use my Limit game to build up the bankroll using the bonuses at Inter and Hills.

It's a plan. It will be interesting to review things this time next year.

Happy New Year and may all of your "All in's" be successful ones!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

"HAMMERED AGAIN"

Neteller: Last week $50; Current $350 (+300)
Inter: Last week $144; Current; $60 (-200)
William Hill: Last week $169; Current $69 (-100)
Ladbrokes: Last week $186; Current $95 (-91)
Bodog: Last week $83; Current: $53 (-30)

Total: Last week $748; Current $627 (-121)

I suppose it had to be coming, but I've had a really unredeemably bad poker week. I wish that I could say that it is all down to a run of poor cards, but really it's been a combination of both that and poor play also.

The downturn seriously set in with a hand where, after plodding along getting nowhere in particular, I found myself with 66. A player in early position raised substantially, I called, and hit the beast - a 6 on the flop. He bet out, I went all in and he called it. He had 2 Queens. He hit a third on the river - a 22/1 shot. That cost me $78.

Poker playing for the week went downhill from there. Basically, on reflection, I have been trying to force things to catch up and have been caught out as a result. Every time (4 times subsequently) I have had big pair, I have allowed myself to be sucked in and hammered by someone who called my big preflop bet and then hit a set (of course I didn't subsequently luck out on the river). It is a bad habit I have hopefully now cured myself from. SIGH.

Meanwhile I still can't make any progress on Bodog. I've reverted to playing Limit there, but a series of bad beats has seen me continue to decline. I think I'm going to have to give up on that site as a notion.

Meanwhile I played a "player points MTT" on Laddies last night and made the last 13, thus winning all of $1.30!! Still it was a good laugh. I finally crashed out when I went all in against a big raiser who turned out to have 2 Jacks. I had 2 Queens. One of his Jacks was a Spade. I didn't have a Spade. We had 3 spades on the flop and another on the river. What can you say?

A MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL MY READERS! - all 3 of you :-)

Sunday, December 17, 2006

"HAMMERED"

Neteller: Last week $50; Current $50 (-)
Inter: Last week $144; Current; $260 (+116)
William Hill: Last week $169; Current $169 (-)
Ladbrokes: Last week $216; Current $186 (-30)
Bodog: Last week $83; Current: $83 (-)

Total: Last week $662; Current $748 (+86)

I have had a valuable No Limit lesson drummed into me twice this week - don't get pot committed with AK (aka "The hammer").
On the first occasion the flop was A72 rainbow. I bet the pot and got called. Turn produces another A. I bet the pot and get called. The river is a 6. I bet the pot get raised all in, call it and he has A2. SIGH. I should have been more circumspect with my betting (½ pot bets say) and then I would have been able to get away from the raise on the river.

The other hand was worse really, as I hit a K on the flop, made the same pot size bets and was called down to the river only to be raised by a guy who hit a straight. That I hadn't given him odds to call this straight was small consolation. I definitely need to be more careful about getting caught with a high pair and pot committed - it's a road to ruin.

These two hands were the major contributors to my first weekly setback on Laddies since I started playing No Limit there. More discipline needed is the verdict.

Still at least I cleared my bonus at Limit on Inter to leave me up on the week despite the setback.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

"BEST WIN"

Neteller: Last week $150; Current $50 (-$100)
Inter: Last week $127; Current; $144 (+17)
William Hill: Last week $129; Current $169 (+40)
Ladbrokes: Last week $151; Current $216 (+65)
Bodog: Last week $83; Current: $83 (-)

Total: Last week $654; Current $5 (+122)

Yesterday saw my best ever session at No Limit, the highlight of which was a hand where I scored my best ever one pot victory: $82.70.

I was two tabling on Laddies, getting nowhere fast on one table but doubled up nicely on the other when I looked down at 89s in the big blind. This is not a hand I would normally get too excited about, but there were four other punters and no raises so I checked it out. The flop came AJ7 rainbow. A player in early, who also had doubled his stack, called "hmfcloyalist", raised for 3xBB and got two limpers. At that price (plus the implied odds) I thought the four outs were worth a punt, so I limped too. The turn produced a 3. The Hearts supporter offered 3xBB again and we all limped after him. The river was a 10! The Hearts man shoves in $6 and I go all in. He bites and his AJ duely gets hammered by my straight.

I don't really understand why anyone would call an all in bet with less than trips, but I'm glad they do!

Meanwhile I continue to have trouble with two kings as a starting hand in No Limit and I note that I am not alone. "Juice" recently posted concerning his travails with the same holding. This time I got them in the big blind, which is in some ways an ideal position. An early position player raised 5xBB and got two callers before it came round to me. I took the logical position and raised all in and one player called. He had A 10 clubs and duely hit 2 clubs with the third one on the river. I know I am favourite pre flop here but I do seem to have lost a disproportionate amount of times racing with KK recently. I'm due a good run with them I know that much.

Anyway - I got my money back more or less right away at the other table I was playing, when I hit a set and managed to get someone all in on the flop.

I'm currently alternating between clearing bonuses at Limit and playing No Limit. In terms of enjoying the game the No Limit has to be the clear winner at the moment. I would never have guessed I would be saying that a year ago.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

"NO LIMIT STRATEGY"

Neteller: Last week $150; Current $150 (-)
Inter: Last week $27; Current; $27 (-)
William Hill: Last week $119; Current $129 (+10)
Ladbrokes: Last week $104; Current $151 (+47)
Bodog: Last week $103; Current: $83 (-20)

Total: Last week $495; Current $532 (+37)

Winnings for the month come in at $225, which is a little bit more than last month.

Regular readers may possibly be wondering how someone with a total inability to make a go of No Limit Holdem up until recently, has suddenly developed a winning game, all be it at a very modest level. A great deal of the credit should go to a site I discovered when I was researching how to play No Limit, called "freeholdemstrategy.com".

On this site they advocate a "tight/passive" strategy for No Limit holdem games with a buy in of below $200. Basically, because of the high number of poor players who see too many flops at this level, you can afford to play a very conservative game, seeing about 20% of flops and waiting for a really big hand on the flop that will give you a chance to double up by getting someone all in. It is certainly a very easy strategy to learn and it has been working for me effectively enough.

In fact it has been so effective that I have begun to tweak it a little bit, by trying some limping with AK in early position and other slightly non-standard moves. I've been doing this from time to time to "mix up my game" and not become too predicatable. So long as I bear in mind (as I have been doing) the fundamental principle that if I've anything less than a set after the flop I'm very vulnerable, I shouldn't come to too much harm. I've also tended to be fairly aggressive with top pair/top kicker if I hit it - though still folding if I meet resistance as advised.

The positive thing about this strategy is that it contradicts a lot of the "conventional wisdom" about playing No Limit that you read about in books - i.e. the "tight/aggressive" approach. I think it is often very useful to apply a "contrary" approach to that generally seen; in the same way that it is best to play a rather looser game at a tight table and a tight game at a loose table.

It's working for me anyway.