Hi everyone, I haven’t maintained this blog for a long time, because I migrated to a private hosted version running on WordPress.org. That version of my site is to be taken off-line at the end of this month. I no longer pursue poker for a career and rarely play much, though I do hope to play more than I have done in the last year.
I may update this website with as much content from the paid for hosting account as I can, and continue to post on here seen as I have it available to me, I haven’t made my mind up yet. I am however still blogging, but do some more generally, I setup a new website, on WordPress.com at the back end of last year, and would love to see you follow me or subscribe.
The new site is called Emotivated Erika and as links to my Twitter and Facebook feeds too.
Ever since Chris Moneymaker won the World Series of Poker Main Event in 2003, many people have jumped in the game of poker hoping to emulate his success. After all, Chris was just an amateur who made it to the WSOP through an online poker tournament and others think they can do the same.
One great one to remember is that anyone can enter an online tourney so be wary of the out-of-control players. These are the people who have no regards for poker tournament tips and think they have a shot to win every hand no matter what worthless cards they hold. A good thing to do is to only play hands you know will be winners to experience success in the beginning so these crazy players can be avoided.
Once you play online poker and make it past the early stages of a tournament, you can start to utilize your online poker tournament tips and open up your play a little bit. Most of the people who are in the middle stages of the tourney have a solid knowledge of what’s going on and play reasonably well.
In order to attain success at this part of the tourney, you will need to use all of the tips that you have learned to make it towards the final table. However, be careful before the final table as play will tighten up tremendously.
People at this stage are hoping to be one of the few to make the final table and would rather let other players bust than take chances. Using your online poker tournament tips, this would be a good spot to get some free chips from people by betting out.
I hope that you have been playing your heart out at some of the featured online poker sites. The play money poker sites may be fun, and you may win a lot, but is the stimulation of a real game, real people, and most of all, real money there?
There are several reasons for this. First, you don’t have any hard earned money on the line. Second of all, your opponents don’t have any hard earned money on the line. These two stipulations in unison with each other make a poker game loose and careless. Have you ever had pocket aces in a hand and bet or raised everything you could and yet despite your raises, there are still at least five players at the showdown? Of course you have! This is play money, not real money.
There are no repercussions. Of course, with you pocket aces in hand you would normally think that they will hold up. Not in a play money game they won’t. Aces are always cracked by opponents that hit their gutshot draws, backdoor flushes, and a low two pair (on the river). Nobody cares about the chips, because that’s exactly what they are to these people. They are just chips, no real money!Play money games are played too loosely and the players can no longer be taken seriously because they have no consequence for their actions at a play money poker table. The worst that can happen to them is that they lose all of their play money poker chips and buy back in with no risk. Some people will bet too much and some will call too much and by too much I mean it in both essences of the word. Your opponents call too many hands and the call to large of bets. When you make the transition from play money poker to real money poker sites, you will finally realize how the game should truly be played and you the chips should truly be respected.
So now that you are killing the play money tables, it is time to make that transition to playing against players for real money. Make sure that you have played at least 1000 hands at the online card room of your choice so you are used to the placement of the buttons, the bet sizes, and the culture. We are not going to start at the high stakes tables, nor the medium stakes tables, and not even the low stakes tables. We are going to begin playing online poker at the micro limit tables at Full Tilt Poker which range from $0.01/$0.02 up to $0.50/$1.00. This is where you will find the fish and the new players. This is also where you will learn how drastically differently the game is played when the stakes are real rather than play money.
When you are playing in this game you will notice that there are far less lunatics in the game. Rather than 7 people calling your preflop raises, you only have between 2-4 people calling your raises. Your opponents didn’t make that money in front of them to simply give it away. They want to keep it!
We should begin by depositing $50 into your account and putting it on the table. If this doesn’t last you at least 20 hours of playing time then you are not and will not be prepared to move up the ranks. You don’t just have to beat your opponents in this game. You are now trying to beat the rake as well. Don’t ever move up in the ranks if you are only breaking even. The players at higher stakes get better and better as you move on. There is a dramatic difference between this texas holdem online poker game and a $5/$10 game as you may come to notice when it is your time to move up to that rank. Not moving up if you are only breaking even is a good rule to abide by at every level of play.
Okay, now you are probably worried about losing all of your money because you don’t know exactly which cards to play. No problem! Just play it this way… Tight is right! Play the top 10 hands if you are playing no limit and the top 20 hands if you are playing limit. Ace Face, pocket pairs above 7’s, and suited big cards. That is all that you have to worry about playing for now. Once you get a better feel for the game then you can add some variety in there for deception.
When you are playing at first, stay away from those junk cards that you used to play. J9o is NOT a good hand to play at a full table. Remember that you want to play tight. If you don’t play tight you will lose all of your money very quickly. If you lose all of your money at this stake then you should stop dreaming about being a professional (or even an amateur) poker player. You should stop right now before you develop a problem.
To show you why you should not make stupid loose plays I will illustrate an even that happened to me in the past. I was playing once in a $300 buy in tournament and it was down to a heads up match and I thought that the other player was playing too tight for heads up play. So what did I do? I raised him with 93o when I was not on the button. Naturally, he called with his Q10s and let me bet into him and then he raised me on the turn. I called because I had picked up a flush draw. I hit my 9 high flush, but I hadn’t realized that he had already made his flush on the turn. I was embarrassed about my play and went home a loser. I could have won $5000 more if I had just stuck to my guns and drug it out.So the moral of the story is that real money poker players play differently than play money players. When it is your time, be prepared to play a tighter game and keep your chips in front of you.
This will be the last post I’ll be writing here at WordPress.com, all future blog posts will be at the new site location :
Thanks for stopping by xxx
Firstly, I just want to apologize for not posting very frequently recently. Don’t really know why I haven’t, the blog is usually my first port of call, probably down to the amount of heads-up games I’ve been playing recently. There usually isn’t much to write about with them.
Anyways, recently in poker, I have been doing okay, and feeling good about my play, and perhaps more importantly I’ve started to have some fun, especially on Full Tilt. I completed my first sit ‘n go’s on Full Tilt just before the weekend, busting out early in the first, and then finishing 4th out of 18 immediately after. I didn’t mind failing to cash in the first one, I just needed to adjust to the new structure, but I was terribly disappointed about my premature bust-out in 4th. I had more chips then anyone else, and lost it all within around 4 hands.
We did get in a 4 handed home tournament after that though for some loose change, and we even implemented some re-buy’s, though after 3 each it was getting out of hand lol. I made 2nd, with a huge mountain to climb and pushed all-in with middle pair, chip leader woke up with a flopped two pair to send me out and take the win, but I had fun.
Since then, I’ve been focussed back on the heads-up matches, trying to earn points for my bonus on Poker Stars as fast as possible, whilst still earning a small profit, and I’m also using them on Full Tilt to try and build a modest bankroll from the $15 a friend transfered for me. Since doing them for so long, I feel like I’ve lost a bit of patience with the regular sit ‘n go’s at the moment, but as long as I’m doing well in the heads-up games, I’m not too worried about it.
Today, I’ve been stuck on Full Tilt, with 4 heads-up matches completed so far, 3 of which where against the same opponent, whilst I wait for Poker Stars to restart there servers so I can get some games done there, and earn some points for my bonus.
I’ve been pondering when to make this move after earn my bonus, and had previously settled on building my bankroll up a little more in the 1c/2c cash games, before moving up in limits, but after only two regular games on Poker Stars, since I stopped playing them awhile back, I’ve realized just what a bunch of total dick heads play the $1 games and I’m now moving up to the $5 games as soon as I earn my bonus.
It would be nice for me to have earned the move up via profits from cashes and wins, but I’m past caring, my bonus will pad out my bankroll enough that I can start to play the $5 games, and I’ve put up with far too much shit, so I don’t care what anyone thinks anymore, I’m moving up.
There is always a tipping point in these decisions, and mine is no different, it is having a jerk call your pre-flop raise with Q2, then not drop it when he hits, who then goes all-in when he spikes two pair on the river to bust you. Yeah I know, only TPTK, I could have gotten away from this, it felt like the idiot made two pair, etc… but none of that changes my decision or my views on the total pricks that frequent games.
I haven’t been playing much at all recently for two reasons. Firstly my eyes are shot to shit, so even if I do sit in a quick heads-up game, I’m often too distracted to play well, and I’m sick of loosing money just to pick up points for my bonus. I have played a few recently though, picking up 6 wins in a row from the heads-up sit ‘n go’s, before loosing two games earlier today.
I’ve been on a bit of a high today though, most importantly I’ve picked up a new concoction of medication, which I’m hoping will have my eyes back to normal in a week or two and I’ve also been helping a good friend with his own Sit ‘n Go play on Full Tilt, which included me taking over his $10, 18 player match before the bubble when he had to take an urgent phone call and making 2nd for a nice $44 profit!
I also had a fun time, giving the loose aggressive style a try on two friends in a 3 way home tournament, busted one within 4 hands, and after he re-bought I busted both of them within two more hands, I couldn’t ask for more could I really. :-)
So, haven’t played much, but I have been watching and reading quite a lot of poker recently, and with my eyes hopefully on the mend I am very excited about getting back to playing some regular Sit ‘n Go’s. I’ve asked my friend to sit alongside me when I start them up again, as a boost to my confidence, as I haven’t played a regular game for ages, and even when I was my confidence hasn’t been great, so hopefully his support and encouragement, will see me rapidly build my bankroll. I seem to be doing just fine mentoring him on Full Tilt, so I should be able to do the same for myself on Poker Stars.
I have recently received a copy of Collin Moshman’s Sit ‘n Go Strategy and before finishing the first chapter, I have already improved my Sit ‘n Go play in an area where I have been struggling up until now.
This is in the realization that in the Sit ‘n Go’s, EV (cEV) or chip Expected Value, does not equal equity, your $ value for each play or decision. The clearest example I can give of this is early in a Sit ‘n Go, where I hold AK and I’m tempted to get all of my money in against a one or two opponents.
From a cEV point of view, I’m always happy to get all of my money in pre-flop with AK, unless I’m reasonably confident my opponent is holding the aces or kings. However, realizing that in such a situation my equity actually goes down, because I am likely in a race for all of my chips, with no real increase in equity even if I win, so early in the tournament, I have begun to question my approach to these situations.
Its not only the new text that has brought this into focus however, its a change of venue. I have begun to watch a friend play the $2 Sit ‘n Go’s on Full Tilt Poker, and the general standard of his competition, seems far ahead of what I am used to facing in the $1 Sit ‘n Go’s on Poker Stars. Not to the extent of making them any harder, but certainly to the extent that his opponents are more predictable. For instance in the AK example above, in my regular Sit ‘n Go’s, often I will be re-raised by AQ, or even AJ and on occassions I have been raised all-in by opponents holding pocket 3’s, in the $2 Full Tilt games however, a re-raise is ussually QQ – AA.
I’m still avoding regular sessions at the moment, because of problems with my eyes, only playing the occassional heads-up match to maintain my bonus, but as soon as I am able, I plan to work on building a bankroll from these $2 Sit ‘n Go’s on Full Tilt, and to use them, aided by the Moshman text to improve my tournament and Sit ‘n Go play.
Thought I’ll write a post about a few areas where I need to improve. It will serve as a reminder for me, and may stir you into thinking about where you can improve too.
The Big Post Mistake
In the online sit-n-gos’, even the heads-up ones I have been focusing on lately, and especially in home games with my friends, I suffer from something I would call the big pot mistake. This is where, I pick up lots of small pots, and manage to navigate out of trouble easily, until I’m faced with one big decision often involving a big pot, and I invariably screw it up. Its utterly pointless being skilled enough to pick up twenty or so small pots early on, if I then give away 3/4 of my stack to my opponent from making a stupid play or an horrendous call.
The Frustrated Push
The next mistake is often connected with the above, I loose a huge pot, either by making a bad decision or being sucked out on, both live and online, and I have a tendency to try and steel a pot away from my opponent by pushing my chips in on a draw, sometimes even with just an inside straight draw on the turn. Instead I should just concentrate, take my time and play my hand correctly, instead of making a risky move for the rest of my chips, where if I was patient I would have enough chips and time to still do considerable damage.
My next mistake, evolves around my style of play in the online sit-n-go’s. I play to survive foremost and then for the win, this is my biggest strength but it is also my biggest weakness. I usually end up being far too passive around 4 or 5 handed, when my stack is around the average. These are the times where I should be pushing the action to try and build my stack to put me in a good position to make the money and to win.
I’ve often argued that I can’t raise with such and such here, because my opponents will always call me down, and that is often the case, but rather then accepting this chicken shit generalization, I should be assessing my table and my opponents, and making the correct moves to build my stack regardless of what my cards are. This is pretty basic stuff, and I’ll have to adapt again at higher buy-in’s or among friends who now this type of strategy, but down with the fish this is what works, so I should be doing it!
The Biggest Mistake of Them All!
Playing when I am not able to, I do this all the time, and its a large part of why I’m not making money at poker. Besides a short period a couple of weeks a go, I’ve been in pain every day since before Christmas, yet I still keep playing. Its got to the point where I can’t sit still again, yet me being stupid, I keep sitting in games, as I have just done, and invariably I end up loosing.
There’s other distractions too of course, such as hunger, tiredness, boredom, etc and I usually ignore all of these too, but seldom do I overcome them and do well. Part of this is me trying to get my bonus cleared, and part of it is me just wanting to play, either way i shouldn’t play when I’m not able to concentrate fully on the game at hand.
That’s all for now…
I’ve come up with a rough outline of a schedule I’ll like to base my play around, for when I clear my bonus. I’ve never had a schedule for my play before, so I’ll appreciate it if anyone could give me some feedback on it please?
I’ve started the day off with the heads-up matches, as they are relatively simple at these levels, and are a quick way to get me settled back into the game. I’ll then sit in a regular tournament, either 9 or 18 handed, to ease me into the longer sessions coming up, I’ll follow this with a 30 minute break.
I will then sit in my first NL cash game sessions, multi-tabling between 2 and 4 1c/2c tables, and I’ll finish the session when I have completed 200 hands, unless a specific situation dictates I should stay longer.
After a break I will then sit in a single 1c/2c table, for another 200 hands, and after another short break I will follow this up with one more. To finish the day I will throw in another 9 or 18 person sit-n-go, or occasionally do a freeroll or larger tournament instead.
I have no ideas on times, as I can find myself starting the day at any time and ending it at any time, but I do want to put some structure into my daily poker play to ensure I’m playing enough to try and earn some money and advance my play. I don’t have any funds on another account yet, so all of the games will be played on Poker Stars.
Here’s the outline :
# $2 Heads-Up sit-n-go
>>> if lost, or if on tilt, take a quick 5 minute break
# $2 Heads-Up sit-n-go
>>> 10 minute break
# 9 or 18 handed, $1 sit-n-go
>>> 30 minute break
# 1/2c NL cash game session 1, multi-tabling 2 – 4 tables, up to 200 hands per table
# 1/2c NL cash game session 2, up to 200 hands, single table
# 1/2c NL cash game session 3, up to 200 hands, single table
# 9 or 18 handed, $1 sit-n-go
>>> or a scheduled tournament or freeroll