Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Easy Come...... easy go??

Hopefully not, but it is a concern. My friends, I've had a DAMN good week. Well......... by my piddly ass standards I've had a good week. Most poker players would laugh at my small stakes success, but I'm pretty happy with it.............

In a period of just over a week, I turned my $100 bankroll into just under $350, actually $345. And I definitely took some risk, but I never had all my money on the table or anything like that. I would call it more of a "controlled explosion", with me being on the good end of most of the big pots.

My concern is now that, the amount of money in my Bankroll is MUCH more irreplaceable than a $100. Not that I could just go to the ATM and get $100, but if I lost it, I could be back in the game in......... maybe a few weeks or a month or something?

And due to the fact that I basically tripled my bankroll in a week means I'm on a HUGE card rush. Not that I'm not playing well, but I'm definitely getting some good opportunities handed to me as well. And I need to make sure that now more than ever that I protect my winnings.

You all know by now that I DO NOT lose well. And it's not outside of my history to get upset while playing and blow through some(or all) of my BR. Especially when I built it up so quickly, and pretty damn easily. Hence the "easy come, easy go"

But let's be honest, if I truly want to be a successful player with a MUCH bigger bankroll, I'm gonna have to learn to keep it under control, maintain limits, and NOT GO ON TILT when things don't go my way.

The next few weeks are going to be a very good indicator or whether or not I really have what it takes to move to the next level.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A pebblestone reached..........

Hello out there!! Well I was going to talk about my reaching a "milestone", but then I realized that it's more of a "pebblestone". But...... I finally broke $200!! At least for now :-) I was actually up to $170ish, and I made some money in a live game last night. That, plus my $20 a month contribution that my wife and I agreed on propelled me over the $200 mark. Whoo hoo!!

I've been playing a lot of mixed games, and they've definitely helped me expand my horizons with more variety.

I think my next pebblestone will be $500. Not sure how long it will take me, but we'll see........


Saturday, October 30, 2010

Hands that play themselves

ACES......... FUUUUUUULL, Mike. If you've ever seen the movie "Rounders" you probably can't even think about this part without wanting to puke. The part where the hero, Mike loses his ENTIRE 30k bankroll on ONE HAND, ouch. The sad thing is, he was screwed WAY before the cards were even dealt. The particular hand he lost on, well he played it perfectly, no one could have gotten away from that hand without being cleaned out. HIS only(albeit HUGE) mistake was putting every penny of his bankroll on the table. When he decided to put all his eggs in one basket, he was screwed before he even shufflrd up and dealt.........

Setting yourself up for failure is easy to do. Often times in poker(or in life for that matter), your actions before the flop pretty much guarantee you're untimely demise. Let me explain using a hand I (mis)played recently........

I get J 9 suited in early position. I call, the guy to the left of me calls, and we go to the flop. The flop is J J 3. I bet out, and get raised. So I think to myself, "does he have the LAST freking Jack in the deck??" Surely not. I re rasise all in and he quickly calls and turns over A J. Well he DID have the last Jack in the deck, and a WAY better kicker, which he filled with on the river, not that it mattered.

So I'm sitting there steaming, thinking how unlucky I was to flop trips at the WORSE possible time. But I wasn't unlucky, I was stupid. I st myself up for failure before the flop even came out. J 9 suited isn't the worse hand in the world, but no self respecting poker player would play it from up front. So when I through my blind in, I was setting up a bomb under my OWN chip stack. When I hit trips on the flop, it was impossible for me to get away from that hand, but I shouldn't have been in that hand in the first place.

Renowned poker guru Brandon Adams did a very informative interview where where he said simply "you reap what you sow" in poker. Playing sub par hands pre flop leads to flopping second best hands that WILL break you. So true BA, so true............

Till next time,


Thursday, October 28, 2010

So Close, yet so far.......

So I accidentally locked myself out of the cash games last night, don't ask how. And of course...... Wednesday being my "Poker Night" I was quite disappointed to find out that it takes 24 hours to reverse. But then I realized that I hadn't locked myself out of tournaments. Now I'm usually not a tourney kind of guy, but what choice did I have?? I was craving some CARDS!!

So I found a 50 person, $10 buy in, Pot Limit Omaha tourney and started grinding it out. I started out real well, doubling up, and then stealing a few pots. Then I got all my money in with a Broadway Wrap and a flush draw against a smaller straight. When my sweet diamond hit on the river, I was happy as hell, and in the chip lead. But it was all pretty much down hill from there. I was not getting ANY good cards, and the blinds were getting bigger and bigger. We were down to 10 people, and the money starts at 8. But I'm not the kind of guy that will sit on the bubble just to make a little money, I wanted to go for the WIN, which was over $100 BTW.

So I got dealt J 10 8 7 double suited, and decided to raise. The chip leader called me, and the flop came J 10 2. With top two two pair, at a table of 4, I was pretty sure I had the best hand. I bet the pot, he called. The turn was an 8, putting a possible straight on the board, but I really didn't think he had it, so I bet the pot again, he re re raised me all in, and I called. Well, I was right, he didn't have the straight, he had Q Q 5 6. I was in great shape to double up, and take this tournament.................... till a Queen hit on the river, and I was done.

I can't be too upset, I went with my read, which was correct. And I got my money in with the best hand, which is all I could do. Unfortunately, the poker gods just weren't in my corner.

But as my good friend(and poker legend) Bobby Balwin says "If you're getting sucked out on, then that means you're getting your money in with the best hand, and that's what winning poker is all about. One hand, one session, or even a week of bad luck really doesn't matter at all, playing good solid poker ALWAYS wins the money in the long run".

So true Bobby, so true.


Tuesday, October 26, 2010


The essay "The Hedgehog and the Fox" by Isaiah Berlin speaks to a very important ideal that is very true and dear to my heart right now, well at least as far as poker goes. The hedgehog, knows only one particular strategy, but knows that strategy VERY well, while the fox maintains a general overview of many strategies, but is the "jack of all trades, master of none".

In the poker world, this is a much debated topic, so much that Steve Zolotow had a chapter in Doyle Brunson's Super System 2 book discussing this very topic and essay by Berlin.

In a world of poker dominated by No Limit Hold Em (thanks Moneymaker), many casual players don't even know that other games exist, let alone care to learn them. But if you want to be a serious player, you owe it to yourself to at least learn the rules and basic strategies of the many other exciting games poker has to offer. My guess...... is that you might find one that you enjoy and/or are better at than NLHE. And that can be your specialty, your "go to" game when you're trying to make some money in this crazy upside down economic climate.

But if you can focus on one game and beat the crap out of the competition every time, why would you waste your time on any other game?? Well for that, I'm gonna borrow a quote from Mel Gibson(pre crazy) from the movie "We Were Soldiers". When Chris Klein's character is asking him how he feels about being a father AND a soldier, he says "Well, I hope that being good at one, makes me better at the other". That's a very powerful statement. In poker, having tunnel vision can cripple a player. So even a basic understanding of all the games will almost instantly improve your all around game more than you can imagine!!

I've pretty much got a basic understanding of all the variations of this crazy game we call poker. My mission is now to delve deeper into each game, to truly master each; and hopefully as I improve at each game, I'll also improve exponentially as an all around player.

My current(and first) game I've chosen is Omaha Hi Lo. Because of its small swings, it allows me to play at higher limits with the same bankroll. This way, hopefully I can master the game while fattening up my BR all at the same time.......... we'll see.


Sunday, October 24, 2010


Hello out there, hopefully all of you followers are good. Wait........ I don't have any followers........ So I'm writing this to myself. OK well, hello self, you're looking very studly today. :-)

Anyway, not much to write, been up and down, as usual. Bankroll has risen as high as $120, and dropped as low as $95. I'm currently at around $110, so hopefully I can at least stay in the triple digits right??

I'm still having some discipline issues, but as my discipline is rewarded with a growing bankroll, maybe I'll finally get it?? Hey it could happen!!

My goal for this week is continue playing within my bankroll limits, and probably stick to my favorite game, which is Pot Limit Omaha. That way I can build up a good amount of hands at that game, and I can get some worthwhile stats to analyze.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The What's and How Much's.........

So I thought I'd go ahead and give you guys a little more insight into my day to day, or more so, week to week poker schedule. Not sure why, but I really like getting all this is writing so I can hold MYSELF accountable if need be...............

As earlier stated, my poker bankroll is $100, well $98.58 to be exact. As far as bankroll management, I use the "10 to 20" rule. That is: I like to have between 10 and 20 buy ins for whatever game I decide to play in. In this case, I'm fully bankrolled for the $5 dollar games, and almost at minimum for the $10 games. I also have a 10% daily stop loss, so if I lose more than 10% on my bankroll in a day, I'm done playing for the day. Given my past experience, it only gets worse if I play more after that............. This may seem a bit conservative, but when your a broke ass like me, it could be a LONG time before I come up with another $100 to play poker with, so I must protect my roll. As a poker player, my bankroll is my livelihood.

I generally try to play around 8 or so hours a week. This includes my two major late night sessions on Wednesday and Saturday, and whenever I can squeeze in 30 minutes or so during my lunch break at work.

Anyway, that's all the boring crap that only I really care about. You can expect all my posts to contain updates, hopefully all good, and I'll always keep everyone aware of by current bankroll, not matter how embarrassed I may be to post it sometimes..................


Poker Blog..... READ!!!!!

Hello out there!! Remember me? I'm the guy that starts blogs and makes like 10 entries and then you never hear from him again............

Anyway, I'm on a new kick now, an old love of mine from my early twenties............. POKER!!!!!

I can still remember playing "War" with my Dad when I was 5 or 6. Shortly there after I learned 5 card draw, and used to LOVE calling his outrageous bluffs with Ace high...... or was that him calling my bluffs???

Anyway, it wasn't until my early twenties that I got back into in. At the time, online poker was catching a TON of flack, and most sites were so sketchy that I didn't feel comfortable having my hard earned money on there. And since I didn't have to big bucks needed to play at the casino, I had to hang up my chips.

But........... lately I just couldn't fight the urge any longer!! The two major online poker sites had finally gotten their shit together and all the crap sites had gone under. So I decided to jump back in, and MAN did it feel good to be shuffling chips and seeing flops again!! Love at first check raise.

Anyway, I started this blog to not only keep track of my progress(and most importantly my BANKROLL), but to let everyone else be a part of my journey into poker glory......... or something like that.................

Anyway, on to the facts:

So far my journey has been VERY rocky. I deposited my first 30 bucks into Full Tilt Poker, and it went up and down and up and dow... well you get the idea. I finally went bust, and talked my sweet(and VERY supportive) wife into letting me put another $50 in there. That, mixed with some luck, and my monthly $20 add on (once again from my VERY supportive wife) has gotten me up to right around $100. I took that money out of Full Tilt, and put it into Poker Stars. I did this for three reasons. One, they have a better selection of games. Two, there layout looks WAY cooler, and three, the let you restrict the limits that you can play at. This way, I can't go on tilt one night and try to move up limits to try to chase after lost money.

So that's where I've been, on to where I'm (hopefully) going:

My goal is to eventually get my bankroll(currently $100) up to $2k. This will allow me to play at limits where I can actually make money worth making, while leaving myself little chance of going broke.

Can I do it?? Given my skill set, and passion for the game, yeah I think I can. My biggest problem has been, and always will be my lack of patience and discipline. This means NOT getting all pissed when I lose and tilting away my money. It also means setting, and keeping VERY strict bankroll requirements. If I can keep all that under control, the rest is a few Nut Flushes away..................