Saturday, February 26, 2011

Allllllllmost there

Hey all! I just wanted to update everyone on my progress so far. I just finished a session which felt unbelievably good compared to my previous 5 sessions. Poker was actually fun for me again, as I didn't go on those dark depressing -10-15k swings that I had pretty much every session in the last 2 weeks or so. Believe me, it's freaking scary. Anyways I finished this session +$411, so very thankful to have a non-negative session (as yesterday I had a tragic -12,860 day preceded by an annoying -4,325 one). Yesterday, I only got 22,688 VPPs, very low for me in the past 2 weeks, but I was simply not in the right mindset to continue playing a night session, things had gone simply miserably for the entire afternoon. As for today, action died kind of early, and I don't plan on playing a night session since there's not much running. I finished with 25,696 VPP today, which puts me at 944,916 for the year.

I've got 55 and change left in the next two days, so I'm really getting close now! Tomorrow's action should be much higher than today's, so perhaps I'll put in a 35k day with 2 sessions, then take it easy on the 28th for the last 20k. Once I get to SNE, I'm going to write another post detailing my run up to it, including some pretty sexy graphs for you all to see. Just kidding, they are some of the most brutal graphs I've ever seen with swings like I've never encountered before (intraday/session swings). I think it'll be good though because people should be aware of just what is capable of happening in poker. And maybe it'll stop some regs from whining @ the tables whenever they lose 10 games in a row :)

Oo, I haven't posted a screenshot in a while, and you guys know I love those haha; it makes things interesting and fun for me at least! This was on a 1k 6max bubble, all in preflop (altho all in on the turn woulda been even sicker!) It's probably only the first or second time I've ever had quads that beat another person's quads. And to this day, my quads have only lost once (to a straight flush, and I was playing cash on PartyPoker 7 years ago, go figure...)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Couple of interesting hands

So I was massively multitabling today as usual, and obviously I can't pay 100% attention to every single table. However, I pride myself on being able to play well at every table, even if I am really pressed for time, as that is something I really strive for. Anyone can just load up 30-40 tables and just shove fold, but I try my best incorporate some creative strategy other than "push/fold." In 6max games especially, there are a tons of spots for creativity and post-flop play, and from time to time I try to take advantage of these spots as best I can.

Here is one hand in a $235 6max, on the bubble, against a solid regular:

Seat 1: jbidouilles (3600 in chips)
Seat 3: roo_400 (2890 in chips)
Seat 6: azntracker (2510 in chips)
azntracker: posts small blind 75
jbidouilles: posts big blind 150
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to azntracker [8h 6h]
roo_400: folds
azntracker: raises 180 to 330
jbidouilles: calls 180
*** FLOP *** [6s 7s 2s]
azntracker: checks
jbidouilles: bets 300
azntracker: calls 300
*** TURN *** [6s 7s 2s] [3s]
azntracker: checks
jbidouilles: checks
*** RIVER *** [6s 7s 2s 3s] [2c]
azntracker: checks
jbidouilles: bets 300
azntracker: raises 705 to 1005
jbidouilles said, "this is naughty"
jbidouilles: folds

With a pretty deep bubble, even stacks all around, I just opened with my standard raise blind vs blind with a quality hand, 86s. I flop mid pair which is good the vast majority of the time, but on such a wet board, I elected to check/call (instead of betting and getting raised). The turn is a nasty spade, so I'm pretty much done with the hand. River bricks, I check hoping he checks back and I'm good some % of the time, but he value bets small. I figured this was an excellent time for me to turn my hand into a bluff, thinking that 1) he would have bet his nutty flushes on the turn and 2) he is probably just value betting his medium Jack or Ten flush hoping I'd call with worse and 3) a check/raise to him has got to appear to be the nuts since he wouldn't expect me to be bluffing ever in that spot. Seemed like good logic at the time, and it worked!

Here was a spot heads-up in a $325 6max, against another solid regular:

Seat 2: azntracker (4951 in chips)
Seat 6: canbonly1 (4049 in chips)
azntracker: posts the ante 25
canbonly1: posts the ante 25
canbonly1: posts small blind 200
azntracker: posts big blind 400
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to azntracker [3d 2d]
canbonly1: calls 200
azntracker: checks
*** FLOP *** [6s 4d 6h]
azntracker: bets 400
canbonly1: calls 400
*** TURN *** [6s 4d 6h] [Kc]
azntracker: bets 626
canbonly1: calls 626
*** RIVER *** [6s 4d 6h Kc] [Ts]
azntracker: bets 1250
canbonly1: folds

We are only 10 BB deep here, and I was still able to pull this off. I check pf with 32s (since it's 32). I flop a gutshot and runner flush draw, so I take a stab at it, knowing if I check, he's likely to stab at it and I can't really raise there profitably since I don't rep anything on 664 rainbow flops. When I stab like that, I'm going to start repping that I have the 6, in case the hand continues. Most of the time I give up the turn, but I could tell he was floating me with his Ace high or even just QJ QT stuff like that. It's unlikely he has a pocket pair like 77-JJ (since pairs are so rare anyway), and I'd expect him to raise the flop. Turn comes a K, perhaps a further card I can rep, so I decide to stab again. After he calls, I STILL believe he doesn't have much, only Ace high at this point. River comes T and I complete the 3barrel and he snap-folded.

Of course these plays are not that common for my. I just thought they were fun hands to break the monotony of 40 tabling and doing the same things over and over again. In addition, I easily could have been called on any of these bluffs, and wouldn't be posting them if they hadn't worked. Some of you will probably disagree with my logic/lines and say they were spewy and I got lucky that they folded. Perhaps so. My only point in posting these was to show that I try to be a thinking player in all my games, even if I am in 30+ all the time. And also I think blogging about hands once in a while makes things interesting!

Despite these plays, I was still down a good 10k today; further goes to show luck > skill in the short run :) I've been having big losing days so far, but I'm only -16k for the month though. VPP count is up to 808k, chugging along, hoping to get to SNE by the end of the month!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Record session, Part Deux!

I absolutely love my foreshadowing skills. So 24 hours ago on my last post I wrote, "...because tomorrow the graph can easily be inverted and I'll be -10k at the end. It's the nature of the beast!" Well lo and behold, I had the worst poker day of my career today. After 488 SNGs, and a record (for me) 35,167 VPPs, I was -$17,511 in a session that included an unrelenting 21k downswing from my peak. Guess I should have stopped at game 50 hehe. This is easily the most I've ever lost in a day, but I feel surprisingly good for having lost that much. To be honest I was so busy with games that I just didn't realize I was down this much. I accept the responsibility that comes with playing as many games as I am, especially with no table selection. This combination is a surefire recipe for swimgaments no doubt.

I just could not win at any buy-in today - I was -$3000 in 100s, -$4700 in 200s, -$4000 in 300s, and -$7300 in 500s and above; pretty crazy day. For people who always want to know what bankroll you should have for SNGs, my results today pretty much indicate that you will lose 30 buyins in a day snap-easy. It even looks like I lost every SNG from game #190 to #225. 35 straight games without a cash, that's definitely possible, unfortunately.

Here's a graph of the fun today :) Not very swingy, just.. down.

Oh, here are a couple of actual live action shots of me playing haha. A friend of mine took it while I was winding down my session (only ~15 tables) . As you can see, I have 2 monitors (30" and 20"), but I only really use the 30". iTunes is the only thing on the smaller screen. The picture also kinda shows how I arrange my tables. It starts with a cascade, but I drag the important/high-stakes tables to the lower-left corner and semi-important ones off to the right (like tables that are heads up or 6max bubbles). Enjoy!

Hopefully tomorrow I will run a bit better. Time to foreshadow tomorrow's success: I will be +10k by the end.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Record session

What a craaaazy day today was; it had a little bit of everything and it was a whole lot of fun just because of what I was able to battle through. I finished the day with 32,356 VPPs (23k during my day session and 9k at night), again toppling my previous best for VPPs in a day. I never really felt too tired or anything, because it felt like I was just cruising grinding out all 479 SNGs today. Just unbelievable volume as I've never come close to playing this many games in a day. With all this volume, I'm really paying a lot less attention to my swings up and down, and today was surely jam packed with them. For me, it's quickly becoming pointless to be sad about going on greater than 6k downswings during the day because I in my mind, I will just as easily will go right back up +6k. And it works the other way too - I can't be happy about being +5k because it just can go away so fast. Here's my graph from today:

I mean, up and down and up and down tons, story of my sessions. Obviously today was a great day for me but I can't be too happy about it because tomorrow the graph can easily be inverted and I'll be -10k at the end. It's the nature of the beast!

My plan from here on out is to get SNE pretty much as fast as I can do it. I'm not racing against anyone in particular since I don't know what anyone's intentions are. I think it'll be cool to just put in mega volume days for next 2 weeks just to see if I can do it.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

I take breaks too!

So last Thursday, I took an unprecedented 2 day break from poker (at least this year). NO VPPS FOR 60 hours!!! Haha, a group of friends and I went out to a ski resort called Snowshoe in West Virginia, about a 4 hour drive from where I live. It was only the 2nd time I had ever gone skiing, and the first time was pretty disastrous, so I was very apprehensive about the whole trip. Surely enough, my first run down a blue (intermediate) category slope was miserable as I just didn't know what I was doing! However, by the end of that run and on ensuing ones, I really nailed it and was able to have the most fun/thrilling moments in months. The first day, my friends and I skied for 7 hours (4 hours during the day and 3 at night) and did a total of 25-30 runs on greens (beginner slopes) and blues, it was awesome! I couldn't wait for the next day where we did another day/night session of skiing. By the end of those, my legs were unbelievably sore, way worse than after the 60-70 mile bike rides that I did last summer. But it was so worth it, and hopefully I'll be at the slopes sometime soon. I'm thinking Vermont with friends in March...  Here's a picture from one of the ski lifts, the slope is a single black diamond, but I'm not good enough to do these comfortably yet.

Returning to poker - since my last post, there has been an interesting development in the 2011 VPP chase. Isildur1, who only had 140k VPPs at the end of Jan has since leapfrogged to 460k as of Feb 12th by multi-tabling 5k HUs (I think as many as 6 at a time) and getting in a ton of volume. His VPP rate there is unmatched by anyone, including myself and jorj95. If he wants to catch up and pass me, he definitely could; it's just a matter of his intention, and I have no idea what it is! As a result, I'm going to be playing extra long sessions I think. Today I got on a good schedule and played for 7 straight hours to rack up 23,094 VPPs, my largest single-session total ever, and then played a night session just before writing this blog post. I got 28,385 VPPs today, easily the most I've ever gotten in a day, and I'll try to make 25k my goal every day now. I also ran insanely hot today, and ended the day +9554 weeee. Definitely paying more attention to my VPPs now than my profit/losses.

Good luck everyone!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Halfway there!

Passed 500K VPPs today! Weeee... the expense of another brutal day. My last two sessions have been the most frustrating type where I run very well in the low stakes and badly at the high stakes. I have only moneyed in 1 of the last 20 $1k or above SNGs, ouch, and that cash was 3 days ago. Today I had an average ROI of +6% and was down $7800, while yesterday my average ROI was +22% (!) and I was down $9414. Since I play such wildly different stakes (from $36 180mans to $1k 6/9mans), the ROI number is rarely an indicator of how I did for the day anyway. This has been the worst 2-day stretch of games in my career, but it really doesn't matter. While I hope it stops tomorrow, there's no guarantee it won't, and there is absolutely nothing I can do but play my best, which I have been.

If I can take a -17k swing over 2 days and be OK with it, you guys can handle your adversities at the table too. Just remember to play your best and have positive spirits always :)

Feb update

Hey all, hope everyone enjoyed the Super Bowl tonight! It was a pretty good game, albeit pretty long, but the Packers held off those slimy Steelers... just kidding!

For this post, I want to write about a topic that all grinders should probably try to take to heart just because it is such an important facet of poker to conquer. Anyone who puts in any reasonable volume at all is invariably going to experience the downswing, no matter what stakes are being played. You can define downswing as losing over 1 session, a few sessions, a couple weeks, even a month or so - the time frame isn't too crucial.

In this particular post, I'll talk about the short-term variance over one session or so. As a note, my sessions usually contain roughly 200-300 SNGs, so this may be over a few sessions for some. This month, I've played 6 sessions so far and 2 of them have been what I call "tragic" days - I lost $8325 on Feb 1, and $9414 today. I reserve this term for the worst of the worst, the days that you seriously feel like you are playing with a hex on your account. Every race is a 25/75, dominations are flipped - i.e., AK vs AQ is a 30/70, and when you yourself are dominated, you really feel like you have no chance at all. A lot of this observation is biased when you are losing all-in after all-in, but I think when one is genuinely going through a "tragic" day, these sad numbers are probably pretty close to real.

In my belief, there are good ways to handle these really bad days. What I've grown accustomed to doing is just simply ignoring the emotional components of the losing by realizing that poker/luck/whatever you want to call it is NOT rigged in any way against your account on that particular day. There is simply no logical explanation for a poker site to single out ONE particular account and cause it doom for that day; you've gotta be pretty self-absorbed to think your account deserves to be singled out like that. These things are out of our control as players, and so we must focus on the factors that ARE in our control, namely, playing as well as you normally do. If you are unable to get over that emotional drainage of losing and start to noticeably vary your play, then I definitely would recommend stopping until you are able to regain composure (pretty cliche solution but it has to be said). In addition, we should all realize no matter how many bad beats or coolers we find ourselves marred in, poker has (hopefully) been a positive element in our lives and that we shouldn't be cursing it every time it throws us a curveball.

Today I Sharkscoped myself and of the 13 9man SNGs $555 to $2190, I monied in exactly 0 of them. I busted 5 $555s, 6 $1ks, and 2 $2ks. Despite my -77% ROI (including 6max) and $-13,776 at high stakes today, I just had to shake my head when I lost games and continue to play my best at all the other tables. Since there's nothing you can do when all-in, your main focus must be playing the rest of your session out as well as you can. I have yet to cash in a 2k SNG since 2008, but what can I do? Feel sorry for myself? Nah, just continue to play smart and table select and hopefully things work out better in the future.

I hope this helps. Remember poker is a brutal game, so you just gotta make the best of it in the darker times. No one said this was an "ez game." Best of luck to everyone and keep grinding diligently!

@ 491,136 VPPs, going to be halfway done to SNE tomorrow!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

1 month down, 11 to go

Just wrapped up January on a high note today. I had the highest VPP total for 1 continuous session of my career today, getting 20,861 VPPs. I started the session at about 2:30 in the afternoon and finished my last game just after 9:30, about a 7 hour session. It's really long for me since I don't stop registering until an hour before I want to play my last game. For some reason, an explosion of $225 9/10 mans ran today, and that is why my VPP rate got close to 3k/hour.

For the month, I got 398,682 VPPs (including the 50k WSOP bonus) which easily beats my previous monthly best, which was somewhere around 266k. If I hadn't taken those 7 days off for PCA, I might have been able to get 500k VPP for the month. Anyways, I look forward to continuing this pace for the next month, altho it's only 28 days long!

For some fun, here's a nice screenshot I took of a $225 SNG bubble today. Pretty good spot to be in. And I folded this hand, although many would shove and it wouldn't be too bad.

And finally, here's an interesting hand that came up during my session in a $555 9man SNG. I try to copy/paste these fun ones into my notepad to look at after my sessions. I don't usually play AQs like this preflop, but it's not really that profitable to raise UTG at a full table in a nosebleed game anyway. He clearly was an unknown.

Dealt to azntracker [Qd Ad]
azntracker: calls 20
aakkari: folds
Proudflop: folds
qanton: raises 20 to 40
LePlein: folds
padjes: folds
capistrano1: folds
azntracker: calls 20
*** FLOP *** [Qs 2d 3d]
azntracker: checks
qanton: checks
*** TURN *** [Qs 2d 3d] [8d]
azntracker: bets 100
qanton: raises 100 to 200
azntracker: raises 850 to 1050 and is all-in
qanton: calls 850
*** RIVER *** [Qs 2d 3d 8d] [7c]
*** SHOW DOWN ***
azntracker: shows [Qd Ad] (a flush, Ace high)
qanton: shows [5h 4d] (high card Queen)