Lucky Straights

The ramblings and mumblings of a wannabe poker pro

Music to My Chips

Just had another session on the limit tables on FTP, made a bad decision at one point which cost some bets on the winning hand, but otherwise played well and came out ahead.

I’ve found through the last few of games I’ve played online that, listening to music helps keep me focused, and I’m not distracted as easily, of course the volume isn’t too loud, that would be a distraction in itself, but having it just load enough to take the edge of waiting for a worthy hand makes me more willing to keep out of trouble, until I have something worth diving in with.

September 30, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Poker Soc Tournament

Just got back from my first tournament at the local Uni’s poker society. It was a £5 buy-in NL hold’em game, with a re-buy period of one hour, where the blinds would be fixed at 25/50, after the re-buy period, people could add-on for another £5, getting another 2k in chips.

I didn’t feel comfortouble at first, and it probably showed, most people on my table seemed to be playing real loose due to the re-buy period, so on the second hand ended up all in and got busted, no major thing in the re-buy period but that was my first major mistake, I couldn’t afford to keep throwing money at the game, so I should have played more conservative until I got into a rythm, leaving me that same £5 to be used to add an extra 2k to my stack in the break.

My downfall came pretty quick, only an half hour after the break, although it was my play within the re-buy period which most likely lead to this.

Twice within the re-buy period I moved all in, and on both occassions I ended up against only one caller, the chip leader. First time I easilly had the best of it, with aces and kings on the flop, the second time was less certain and my opponent folded to my “semi-bluff”…. these where my errors, and they lead to me being busted by this same player shortly afterwards.

My “large” all in moves where far too obvious, and by the time I got busted I had done the same thing twice to the same player, thinking about it now, it could have so easilly been avoioded, by me raising so heavily in these situations, my opponent could only put me on two types of hands, a monster or a bluff, so inevitably on the 3rd occassion of me making this play he had a hand worth calling me with and he busted me.

Whats even more shocking is that I could have so easily gotten out of it, I put him on a flush draw or a bluff, he called a raise from me with two clubs on the flop, and as the turn misess the flush, I feel confident my two pair has him beat, not relising of course, he was slow playing his king high flush from the flop, the safer play would have been to simply call and take a smaller pot, if he raised I’d know he had the best of it and I could have folded, ah well I know not to make the same mistake again next time.

My overall experience, albeit a short one was great, there was a really fun atmosphere, but more importantly for me, was that the poker was the main event of the evening, it wasn’t a bit of fun or a quick sideline, tonight was all about the poker, and I loved it!

I will certainly be looking forward to my next soc event.

September 30, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Poker Academy Prospector

It was pointed out to me that many online poker players use “tracking” software to help them analyze there game by importing and studying hand histories. This is something I’ve never been interested in before, but realizing this gave my opponents an advantage I decided to jump on the bandwagon and went on the search for suitable offerings.

The first software packages I found, where either heavily priced or heavily rubbish, and I probably would have given up on the idea if I hadn’t bumped into Poker Prospector.

Poker Prospector is a software tool, which allows you to import hand histories from online casino’s, so you can record them and analyze how you played in particular circumstances and look for ways to improve on any flagged weaknesses.

I’ve been using it for a week now, and I am really pleased with it, it offers a huge range of analysis capabilities, most of which I am not taking advantage of yet has I have only imported 40 sessions or so, but what I am benefiting from is the graphical representations of my bankroll… it really focuses you, when your are recording your losses graphically, to remind you of each and every bad decision which caused such a loss!

So far I have been using the free trial offer, the only thing putting me off paying for the software is that you are only paying for a key to activate the product, when I would prefer to actually buy a physical product for that money (around $50) . Having said that, it is very good software, and I will likely folk out for the activation key sooner or later.


September 30, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

Aucto splendore resurgo

I rise again with increased splendor.

Noticed some simple, but effective advise that I haven’t noticed in response to an earlier post I made on HPT. All totally right of course, online players are crap, I should target them and make them pay for there mistakes, not fear being sucked out on or go on tilt when some donkey gets lucky!

I’m laughing as I write this as it has totally just been affirmed, was playing pretty well on a short handed limit table, improving my play at a short handed game, when more loose aggressive players come on the scene…. I fold and wait, I fold and wait, I check, I fold and wait…. and then I hit my cards AQs and take a huge pot…. very next hand I hit my favorite holding AK, wasn’t suited this time, but I got the maximum out of all of my opponents, and tripled my money for the first time in ages on a FL table.

Very Happy 🙂

September 30, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Dilema of Limits

Maybe I’m being a bit too quick to worry and critizise myself whilst I’m still on the “play money” tables, but I can’t help but wonder about how I’ll do if I stick to FL (fixed limit) games when I return with “real money”.

Just suffered another two losses on the FL tables, neither was played too badly, only obvious mistake was trying to check-raise, when my opponents where likely on draws, and lost out on a missed bet. My starting standards probably arn’t as strict as they should be, but keeping any standards at all takes a great amount of discipline when all around you pots are being won with queen high off suite, yes queen high off suite!

From time to time, tonight being one of these occassions my (play) bank roll needs replenishing after a couple of bad losses. My solution is simply to hop onto a PL table for  a few hands, if after several returns of the BB (Big Blind) I don’t have a hand worth playing I’ll leave to find another table, or more likely I’ll get a high pair, or an ace with a good kicker and contest a pot, the result usually being I double or tripple up my investment.

This puts me in a dilema, although one with only any bearing in a “play money” sense,  should I stick to FL games or return to the “more lucrative” PL games?

If I wasn’t going to return to the “real money” tables, then there wouldn’t really be a dilema at all, I would simply play what I feel like, when I feel like it, but knowing I will be returning to the “real money” tables, I feel the need to base my descions on what games I play on something more profitable then a likeness for PL tonight?

The specifics of the problem being that despite moving to fix limit to keep my variances in check, its having the opposite effect, despite early sessions of win after win, my bankroll has been up and down more times then a roller coaster with PL tables being the only stable factor – I double or triple up regularly.

September 29, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Change of Focus

When I first started playing around with poker online, I naturally favored the NL (no-limit) tables as this is what I have always played off-line, however far too many all-in moves by other players annoyed me so much, instead of staying and winning big pots, I moved to the PL (pot-limit) tables and quickly became accustomed to them, netting several thousand each day in play money.

Now though, I’m at the start of another more radical change in focus, I have begun to concentrate on the fixed limit tables. This is for two main reasons:

  1. When I get back to the “real money” tables limit games will help keep my variance down.
  2. I expect that becoming good at the limit games will greatly improve my abilities on the no-limit games.

This move has presented me with two problems I didn’t face on the other games:

  • Not being able to force players off a drawing hand so easily
  • It is harder to work out an opponents holdings

Thankfully though I have two aids at my side, Jennifer Harman’s chapter on Limit Hold’em in Super System 2 by Doyle Brunson and Lee Jone’s, Winning Low Limit Hold’em.

September 29, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Some Achievements

Time for a few achievements, listed approximately in date order for the last four weeks or so:

  • Finished 1st in a limit hold’em play money tournament
  • Finished 2nd in a limit hold’em play money tournament
  • Tripled my money on a live cash game with some friends
  • Finished 1st, 2nd and 3rd in various NL and PL play money tournaments

September 29, 2007 Posted by | Home Poker | Leave a comment

Lessons Learned

After my appalling start on the “real money” tables, I learned a few essential rules I needed to follow. Well actually, I knew all of these already, I just lacked the discipline to follow them, but thats another post…

Essential Rules:

  • There is always another game, you don’t have to play tonight
  • Never play when your too tired
  • Never play when your too emotional
  • Never play if your on tilt or distracted
  • Never try to recoup your losses in a bad game
  • If the games good, don’t quit when your ahead – keep playing
  • If the games bad, find another game

These are just a few basics, but if you have the discipline to stick to them, then at worst you’ll be minimizing your losses.

September 29, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

First Deposit – First Bust Out

So, I had been playing on the “play money” tables for a few days, and couldn’t wait any longer, I made my first deposit on Full Tilt, found myself a cash game in the micro limits range and took a seat.

All went well, I folded a few rag holdings, entered cautiously with a couple of worthwhile hands and eventually made a small profit and left the table ahead, but only just.

This tiny win, set me up for a big fall… it was late – real late, I was tired and far too emotional, but I sat down again, and again and again, and lost again and again and again, I finally gave up around $10 behind.

The next day brought focus, and instant realization of all the previous days mistakes, but now I wasn’t playing to take a few pots, or even just for fun, I was playing to recoup my losses. I was setup for another fall and fall I did.

Two more days of improvements, didn’t reverse the tide and my first bankroll was used up, when an opponent flopped a full house on the river beating my ace high flush.

September 29, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Next Step – Online Poker

The next step for me was to take a look at online poker. I’ve read a few forum posts and the occasional article about the online poker explosion now and then but have never previously given it a try, this was soon to change.

I new of two “online casinos” where I could download software and give online poker a try at this time, these where Party Poker, commonly advertised on TV in this part of the world, and Full Tilt, which I became aware of from watching this years WSOP.

I don’t know what influenced my decision but I opted for Party Poker.

I hurriedly downloaded the software and began to navigate the interface and get the feel for the place, it was ok, not great but not terrible either, so I found a “play money” hold’em tournament and took my seat.

This was my first taste of online poker, albeit for “play money” and it wasn’t a good experience, within the first hand half the field went all-in, even I new this was a stupid play, and my suspiscions where confirmed when everyone at the showdown, including the initial raiser had rags…. things went on that way for awhile, until eventually I got fed up and gave up on Party Poker.

Perhaps I was being hasty to give up on Party Poker, without first trying out the real money tables, but it just didn’t feel right, so I wasn’t prepared to deposit my cash, instead I downloaded Full Tilt
My first mistake with Full Tilt was in the software download, the Full Tilt client is only for play money, which meant another download of the Full Tilt client, but otherwise it was a smooth switch.

September 29, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment