Poker Results

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The Meal
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Poker Results

Post by The Meal » Mon Apr 02, 2012 12:43 am

I had sort of co-opted the Poker Strategy Discussion thread with my recent poker exploits, and thought that now that we're finished with the first quarter of 2012, I'd move that discussion over to a thread of its own. This is mostly a journal for my own purposes, but I'd be happy to answer questions that folks have. (I won't be broken hearted if folks don't want to discuss things with me, though — my posts in that other thread never really generated much in the way of discussion.)

My background is that I got into poker about a year after the boom mostly due to my wife picking it up as a hobby (sharing a 7-card stud background with her own father). I played online for 5-6 years (I was a break-even player), and focusing mostly on tournaments (as the local laws at the time wouldn't allow for no-limit cash games). I got pretty serious into the hobby when I figured out that despite all players getting random cards from the same available pool and folks turning their cards over at the end to see who wins, that there was actually some strategy involved.

In January 2011 I lost my job and sort of lost my way in the professional world. I had intended to take some of the money I had set aside to give online poker a real go (as most serious players fantasize about making a run at turning a fun hobby into a real livelihood). But in the meantime I realized that I didn't much care for playing online nearly as much as I enjoyed the experience of sitting down with people in a real actual brick-and-mortar card room. The parts of the game that appeal to me are figuring out what my opponents are doing and not letting them figure out what I'm doing. Sitting there in the same room with them made that a whole lot more enjoyable. (The online game is much more mathy in nature as you can play many more than 10x as many hands per hour, *and* you miss out on some of the physical "tells" which are available in a live setting, meaning that a winning player gravitates to a more game-theory optimized style rather than an exploitative style which focuses on your immediate opponents. I "get" the math involved online, but I find the live style to be much more entertaining, and as it turns out, lucrative).

For about eighteen months, not long after I got serious about the game, I started skimming $20/week out of my paychecks and only allowed myself to "gamble" (if something was clearly a mathematical losing proposition such as roulette or craps, I wouldn't touch this money, but things with positive expectation such as poker or Zaxxon's football pool were fair game) with that money. If I didn't have money in my bankroll, then I wasn't off playing cards. After that time I had built this bankroll "up" to about $1000 (had I never gambled I think that number would've been closer to (52+26) x $20 = $1600) at which point I decided I didn't need to keep adding to it. So there's the genesis of my seed money.

A few years back the local laws changed and allowed folks to play cash games closer in style to no-limit (our max bet or raise is capped at $100, so if you're only sitting on a stack of $200 chips you're not really all that constrained as to how the spread limit betting works). I was sitting at a $2-$100 spread-limit cash game on Friday April 15, 2011 now seared into all online players' heads as "Black Friday," the day the US Government shut down UB, Full Tilt, and Poker Stars. I had about $100 on Stars, and had (have?) about $180 on Full Tilt. Since I was never enamored with the online game and since I couldn't play it any longer, I sort of transitioned my full energies to the live game. But April through September are pretty outdoorsy months out here, and I was dealing with some rather important things in my personal life, so I didn't Get Serious™ about things until September.

And so September 1, 2011, was when I started writing down notes from every poker session I've played. And I've just about finished off my first notebook. (If we've played poker together in the last seven months, I've probably written down a few words about my impression as to how you play.) I've also got a spreadsheet with some of the more numerical stuff, which is where the graphs and numbers from this post will be generated.

The spreadsheet has 119 rows worth of data from all the games I've played in casinos (Colorado and Las Vegas), local home games, and games I've hosted (17 new entries per month on average). 90 of those entries are tournaments of some sort (roughly 2/3rds of which have taken place in casinos and 1/3rd in home games), which leaves the other 29 entries as cash game sessions. On any given day 1-5 entries could be generated (say MHS and I went up to the casino to play in a noon tournament, I get busted out early and sit in a cash game while she keeps playing in the tournament, then I enter the 3pm tournament while she's still going, I bust out, play cash, and enter the 7pm tournament: that's 5 entries), so I'm not spending more than 15 days/month playing cards. But 8-10 days a month probably wasn't too far off (at least until I returned to a life of gainful employment).

Here's what should be 119 incremental data points across that time frame:
Image

A few things jump out of this right away:
1. That's a lot of ups and downs.
2. More ups than downs though! :lol:
3. Take away my five biggest ups and I'm pretty much an even player.
4. Of course, that's the nature of someone who focuses on tournaments: limited downsides (very few large "downs") with opportunities at making infrequent big scores.

The two most recent big jumps (Fri 3/30 and Sun 2/29) are probably worth a bit of discussion. The Sunday tournament saw me buy-in and then rebuy (after I busted out) at $310 a pop each time (!!!!). That's a bit over my head (and would set off some risk of ruin calculators based on how much I have available in my bankroll {which started off on 9/3/11 well above $0}), but I had recently been playing well and I had many hours to kill that day (as my wife was also in town all day doing something else). The decision to buy back in was 100% related to how well I thought I had been playing already that day (I had a pretty good string of unfortunate events which lead up to my getting busted out), and as it turned out it was a good decision. Of 105 entries in that tournament I outlasted 101 people and took the 4th highest prize (we played down to the final 8 then devised a "chop" of the prize pool based on how many chips we had left at that point, I took $3205 out of the prize pool (which was higher than the scheduled 3rd place prize). From that $3205, I'd take out $620 in entry fees, $30 which everyone agreed to give to the player who finished one place out-of-the-money ("the bubble boy"), and $150 in tip (5.9% of my net).

Last Friday I found myself in a weird place. If one is a slave to arbitrary time frames, then March was shaping up to be my second losing month of 2012. In fact, after that big February score, March was shaping up to be *really* negative. So the pressure was on, and apparently I respond well to self-generated pressure. Friday was a good day already: earlier in the month I returned to the working world but now as an hourly employee. Since I can't claim overtime I'm forced to a rigid 40-hours-or-less schedule which frequently sees me not coming back to work on Fridays after lunch. Sometime in mid-morning (while I was still at work) my ostensibly working-from-home wife texted me saying that she was going to be making the 75 minute drive up to the casinos to play in a noon tournament. I got off work around 1pm, and I made the drive up to play in the 3pm tournament. Well by 8:45 pm, we were down to the final 5 players (of the 51 who had entered) and with $3410 left up for grabs in the remaining prize pool (sixth place got $160, which was $70 more than she had bought in for) someone ran the numbers and said that means $682 per person if we wanted to chop. With me sitting on roughly T200,000 in tournament chips (we started with T13k each) I was the big stack at the table, so I took advantage of my nice-guy everybody's buddy live-table persona and didn't have too much trouble convincing the chopees to agree to a $750-$665-$665-$665-$665 chop structure. We had paid 7th place $15 each, I was in for one buy in of $90, and I tipped $45 (7.0% on my net).

Then I went off and degenerately tripled up on the craps table (splitting half my profit with my wife like a good husband should — though there was no way I was sharing any of my poker winnings...). By then we were pretty tired so we went our separate ways on the drive back home (remember she had come up 3 hours ahead of me). I went the long way since it was a nice night and my car likes empty mountainous twisty turny roads. Well it may have liked them a bit too much as the local fuzz pulled me over in Nederland, CO. The officer was extremely respectful and kind, opening his introduction up with "I had you coming into town a 'bit hot,' but you're not going to get a ticket for speeding tonight." He shone his flashlight in my interior (hesitating on my Valentine-1 radar detector) but once he figured out that I hadn't had a drop of alcohol in my system, he was extremely cool about things. Turned out he had an earlier model of my car so we chatted autos for a while, him asking how much I liked it and me saying how much fun it is on the mountain roads, "But only at or below the speed limit, of course, officer." He told me that he didn't care how fast I went as long as I wasn't in his town and then went back to punch in my license and insurance. When he came back I got quite the surprise with his farewell, which I have committed to memory: "You have a good evening, and I just want you to know that there are no officers in the canyon right now." :shock:

I've never had an officer, at the end of a traffic stop, imply that I should drive more aggressively between there and my destination. (But I certainly took advantage of it!)

My good mood persisted through Saturday (as Ninyu and MHS can attest), and it didn't hurt that I cashed in both our home poker games last night.

The weird thing is that now that I'm earning an hourly rate, the first calculation I had done, on the spot, after winning that Friday tournament was to turn my profit into a number of hours I'd have had to work at my day job to make the same amount of money. Is that sick? That seems a bit sick to me.

April sees the local "quarter million dollar prize pool" Heartland Poker Tour in the local casino. Both MHS and I are going to give it a run as I feel like I'm seeing the cards pretty well lately. There are $160 and $3-- something qualifier tournaments, and I think the direct buy in (which I won't be doing) is something like $1160.

Some raw numbers (if you don't care, cut away from this post now) based on my tournament play:
@ Casino L, 39 tournaments, $4095 in buy ins (entries, rebuys, add-ons) with an average finish position of 9.0/22.9 players. $555 given out as bubble payments and tips, and $6051 total returned to me in prize money (a net of +$35.92 per tournament entered).

@ Casino G, 15 tournaments, $2040 in buy ins, 16.1/60.5 (avg position/avg num of entries — much more popular room than L). $307 given out voluntarily and $4680 given to me as prize money (a net of +155.53 per tournament entered).

@ Home games, 28 tournaments, $560 in buy ins, 2.8/7.4 position (lots of 1-table tournaments), $12 given out voluntarily, $831 in prize money (net +$9.25 per tournament).

Including the Vegas trip and everything else, I'm at 90 total tournaments with an average net return of $43.40 per tournament. $7053 in buy in amounts, $901 out in voluntary money, $11818 returned to me as prize money. My tournament ROI is 55% over these 90 tournaments including 14.2% of all my profits going out as tips (64% ROI had I never tipped). On average 31% of my opponents finish better than I do (though I think a graphical depiction of this % finish better than me may make more sense, typically only the top 10% of a larger tournament get prize money, so in those finishing better than 85% of the tournament is just as good as finishing better than 0% — and it wastes a whole lot more time!).
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Re: Poker Results

Post by MHS » Tue Apr 03, 2012 4:10 pm

For the sake of our marriage, never let me read your notes on my playing. :)

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Re: Poker Results

Post by Vorret » Tue Apr 03, 2012 4:43 pm

Interesting read.

Back when I was playing alot I used to log everything in .... Pokersomething can't remember the name, but it was a big database and you could import every hand from Stars or FTP, etc.

It was very interesting, I could see where I was losing/winning money, the 4$ 180 players tourney were my biggest winner by far and the big MTT my worst.

For some reason I really liked playing the 11$ Turbo at noon every day and I sucked at it, I did get a 7th place once but still it was an endless money pit. :(
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Re: Poker Results

Post by paulbaxter » Thu Apr 05, 2012 6:09 pm

Since you are trying to include all the money you pay out for tourneys, you should probably include gas and incidentals. I don't know how far it is from you, but that probably makes "Casino L" pretty much a break even deal.
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Re: Poker Results

Post by The Meal » Fri Apr 06, 2012 8:53 am

Incidentals are made up for (more than made up for) by the comps the casinos give to players (which one then turns into food or cash money). Gas is a bit trickier, but is a legitimate negative if you want to do a full balance sheet. Of course, if you're bringing in things from outside the casino, then one should also look at time spent at the table as an opportunity cost for making money in some other way.

My idea in this bookkeeping was to restrict things to poker-related activities. This way I can see if (more likely how) my performance shifts over time.
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Re: Poker Results

Post by The Meal » Fri Jul 13, 2012 6:21 pm

Alright, so I've moved away from consistent monitoring of my results, but it's fair to say that what I had previously reported is either accurate in terms of reporting my current success ratio or slightly underreports my earn rate. The poker community is slightly changed from my previous data (as it always will be — something that keeps me from committing to making a full-time go at becoming a poker player; does the advantage I have in the games today accurately predict the advantage I could expect to have 6 months, a year or five years from now? I doubt it...) as I find myself no longer playing at Casino L, but playing much more frequently at Casino G. (Casino L has generated a very large bad-beat jackpot for their cash games in that if a certain improbably large hand is beat by a slightly larger improbably big hand, a figurative pinata opens up at more than $650,000 dollars falls out to be shared among the players 1) in the hand, 2) at that table, and 3) playing cash games in the room at the time. The outcome of this is that cash games have moved to that room and they no longer deal out tournaments due to dealer shortages.) Since June I'm in a particularly enjoyable heater in that I've cashed in four of the five tournaments in which I've played and only have one small "min-cash" in that span.

My home game results have tanked. Predictably? With getting in the groove at the casinos (where stakes are larger and results matter), I've found some combination of things hampers my home-game play. Motivation-to-win (or the lack thereof) is part of it. Some of it is that the motivation for the game is different as well. I enjoy having folks into our home to play because it is an enjoyable activity. Profit margin is less of a motivator than having a healthy game and enjoying fellowship with friends and acquaintances. And because I'm shooting for a healthy game, I find that I tone down some of the successful casino playstyle which may affect folks playing in our basement. I dial back on my aggression. I dial back on particularly "tricky" behavior which makes me more difficult to play against. I pay much attention to the details of my opponents (not all of this last one is out of choice, as hosting a game has its own sense of requirements and responsibilities which keep me from monitoring everything related to poker hands). I crack open some beers and sit back and chit-chat without regard for whether or not it's a positive to my bottom line (a +EV chat or a -EV chat).

So lacking details in terms of performance statistics to share, I thought I'd mention a few milestones which have affected my performance over the years. The story as to how I got into poker is probably one I've shared before. My folks separated when I was in third grade and my mother was granted custody (as was the custom in rural Michigan in the early 80s) more out of tradition than out of any particular desire to maintain parenthood on her part. After a few years of floundering, my father pulled himself together and basically took custody over without court intervention (i.e., kidnapping) which was an activity which went uncontested. So from my middle school years until mid-way through high school I grew up with what one may have charitably called, in his previous years, an absentee father. He turned things around swimmingly, however, and fully committed to raising me as best as he knew how, though that didn't preclude maintaining a few of his bachelorhood hobbies. Dad was big into bowling and golf and every now and then his gambling was a bit more overt as he hosted a monthly dealer's choice poker game at our house. I enjoyed watching the men gamble and I'd bring beers and such, but I never even imagined sitting in the game myself. A few years down the road I went off to college in a remote section of Michigan, and was typical in that part of the country, common methods for surviving the winters included lots of passive hobbies like card playing (euchre, gin, 500, hearts, pinochle, etc.). I grew up with cards.

Years down the road I got married and MHS returned a proud card-playing tradition into my life. Her poker introduction was through her father (she grew up on Air Force bases) and seven-card stud. She found herself playing online (play) games to pass the time and I got interested in the game again. (The "Moneymaker Effect" was all going on in the background as well at the time.) I found myself at the library one day without any particular ideas what I was in the mood for, but then I was curious about how poker, a game which involved showing the best hand, dealt to each player purely out of luck, could have any strategy to it whatsoever. So I checked out a copy of Super/System to read up on what I thought may have been the equivalent of picking up a strategy book on craps. "Let's see what this is all about."

Turns out that there was a bit of strategy, and upon first reading it was clear to me that it wasn't a bunch of hooey. MHS kept playing online (though she slowly, kicking-and-screaming, transitioned over to hold'em) and I played around a bit myself. Months passed and then she suggested driving up to one of the local mountain towns to play in a real honest-to-goodness card room. If she hadn't suggested it, I'd never have set foot in one of those rooms as I had no idea what the customs of the room was, how they operated, how badly outclassed I was as a player, how much I would've stuck out like a sore thumb, etc. But she was cool with it all and with her at my side I figured that it couldn't be too painful. This is before the local betting limits were increased, so the the Colorado state law prevented any legal game where bets (or raises) of larger than $5 were allowed. The standard game then was a $2-$7 spread limit game which was spread in five or so local casinos, and for our first few trips up there we played in the room which was in the casino closest to the side of town where we'd arrive. (The room still exists, though it's moved three times in that casino, and that casino has changed names once.) I was probably a slow loser in the $2-7 spread game, with a few wins interspersed with more-frequent losses. I was captivated by the game, however.

I remember my first (live) tournament which was a one-table sit-and-go (10 total players). I must have bought in one Sunday morning for $40 and I had no idea even what the prizes were. As it turned out I got pretty lucky with the cards making full houses and connecting with most of my draws and with five players left I had half the chips in play. At one point a lady I was playing against said that she was just going to get up and go do something else because it was inevitable that I was going to win. I didn't win, but I did end up getting heads-up with another gentleman (who soundly crushed me, and who I still occasionally run into nearly a decade later though the memory isn't likely to be nearly as meaningful to him as it is to me). Well, he won entry into the $300 buy in Sunday afternoon tournament, and I was handed some paltry amount of cash back for my second place finish. And more importantly I learned a few lessons about "inevitability," lucky cards, and other folks' ability (or willingness) to read players (this lady had no idea that I was shittin' bricks the whole time I was playing and that I was green to live poker tournaments, not because it wasn't obvious to folks at the table, but because she simply wasn't looking at the data right there in front of her smacking her in the face).

Tournaments were fun though and it wasn't too long after that that MHS and I found ourselves trying out other poker rooms, one of which was the de facto tournament house in the area. (It no longer houses a poker room, but is frequently spoken of fondly by many of my current competitors at the tables when folks start getting into "remember the good old days" reminisces which I sit there and listen to all the while categorizing the speaker as someone who's been playing tournaments for at least five+ years...) Early on in that room one late summer I found myself seated next to a quiet guy all decked out in Poker Stars regalia who obviously knew his way around a poker table. He was talking to one of his buddies about how he had done in the Main Event (you know, that thing that costs $10,000 to buy into that they show on ESPN) earlier that summer. He was quiet when he didn't have any buddies around, and that was before I had worked on my poker-table chat skills, but I managed to engage him after a while about playing out in Vegas. Talking about himself seemed like a topic we both found interesting, so I grilled him like a newbie and at one point got him talking about strategy. "What do you think is the best book you've read on poker strategy?" "Dan Harrington's Harrington on Hold'Em is really terrific."

I had heard of the book (Harrington was widely regarded as having pulled off the most unbelievable thing in all of pokerdom, making it to the final table of back-to-back Main Events through tournament fields of nearly 1000 players one year and 2500 the next), but didn't know if it was any good or just a money grab by someone capitalizing on his name recognition. And in the back of my head I was always asking myself "Why would these pros ever give up their best material in books that other people could use against them?" But a few weeks later I found out that this nameless opponent (and no, I don't ever see him around any more) had given me the straight dope — HoH was GOOD. While Super/System showed me there was skill involved in the game, HoH showed me how a professional thinks about hands. While the advice in that book wouldn't be anything I'd recommend folks take to heart in today's games (especially at the levels at which I play), what it did was spell out the critical thinking process in a way that someone with a formal education on critical thinking could really appreciate. To this day when folks ask me for a first book recommendation, HoH (with the caveat about the specific advice he offers and its applicability to today's games) is what I offer up in the teach-a-man-to-fish department.

Other protips that made meaningful jumps to my game:
- Recognize based on the cards you are dealt, whether you're more likely to have a drawing hand, a top-pair hand, or an inscrutably unexpected hand after you see a flop, and tailor your play in the hand from that moment forward. Make a plan (adjust the plan if new information arrives!) from moment number one. The tangible outcome from this was to be much less aggressive in defending my blinds, and to be much more aggressive in punishing folks who frequently limped into many pots.

- Arnold Snyder's Poker Tournament Formula opened my eyes to playing the game in a way that wasn't predicated on the types of cards I had sitting in front of me.

- Playing online with Poker Tracker software running in the background (never for more than a toy amount in my case -- running a few hundreds of dollars of buy-ins up a few times over, over the course of four or so years) made me aware of the types of things that online professionals look for from the mathematical side of the game. Ed Miller's books taught me the advanced plays and adjustments with which to take advantage of this information.

- Reading the Home Poker and Brick & Mortar sections of the two plus two forums made me seriously aware of how to best compose myself at the tables, and give me the mindframe appropriate to taking money regularly from my opponents. I'm not a patron in a card room. Everyone else at the poker table is a patron of The Meal Experience. Give 'em a good reason to spend their dollars in my shop.

- And most recently I've gotten into a bit more of the psychology of the game. Zachary Elwood's Reading Poker Tells is such a fantastic piece of literature that blows out of the water anything by Mike Caro or Joe Navarro in terms of the information live players leak into the air around them. Before my 4 out of the last 5 cashes I powered through this book, and I have to say that there have been times it feels unfair for me to do to my opponents what I've done to them. My last tournament (at Casino G) was last Saturday. It was a bit smaller buy-in tournament than I've been playing recently, but I had just busted out of the earlier tournament that day (ending my consecutive win streak at 3) and I wanted to step back a bit and play at more of the "kiddie stakes." Now the dealers cooperated by giving me more than my fair share of playable cards, but I literally played every hand (this is an engineer's "literally", by the way) for the first forty-five minutes of that tournament. And my opponent's had no clue what I was doing to them. "Candy from babies" is a bit too strong, but it's not off by much. What I had already known from Reading Poker Tells I had picked up through my time at the tables so I was sad to see some of that make its way into print. But the stuff I hadn't yet figured out are pearls of wisdom gifted straight from the gods. It's information that wouldn't (well, shouldn't, at least) help inexperienced players as much as folks who know their way around the tables, but it's just solid A+ material from end to end.

Anyway, there are my pearls from someone feeling like he's got the best legs in a business made for kicks. The funny thing is that at any given moment I still feel like I'm going to fall off this cloud and be brought right back down to earth. And I think that's one of my more-important strengths. Stay hungry, strive for betterment, and recognize that this is a game of sharks taking advantage of other people's inability to perceive reality.
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Re: Poker Results

Post by MHS » Mon Jul 16, 2012 11:52 pm

My results: I won $1700+ in a tournament on July 4th. I've lost every time I've played since then. I hate to love this game.

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Re: Poker Results

Post by Daehawk » Tue Jul 17, 2012 2:05 am

Meal and MHS you two seem to be the local poker pros so Im hoping you play online poker...I mean the casual kind on Steam. I have seen a few on Steam and they have me interested but I have no idea which one is actually good. Can you recommend a Steam poker game? Id be interested in fun first then options then AI skill. The last poker game I bought was Poker Night at the Inventory . I had a lot of fun with it but I burned out on it quickly. I've had my eye on Governor poker because I just love an old west saloon poker setting. Any help?
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Re: Poker Results

Post by Vorret » Tue Jul 17, 2012 9:10 am

Daehawk wrote:Meal and MHS you two seem to be the local poker pros so Im hoping you play online poker...I mean the casual kind on Steam. I have seen a few on Steam and they have me interested but I have no idea which one is actually good. Can you recommend a Steam poker game? Id be interested in fun first then options then AI skill. The last poker game I bought was Poker Night at the Inventory . I had a lot of fun with it but I burned out on it quickly. I've had my eye on Governor poker because I just love an old west saloon poker setting. Any help?
Playing against computer isn't really poker.
You can't analyze a computer.

Then again, playing with "fun money" on Stars isn't really poker either since people just play any face card like it's money.
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Re: Poker Results

Post by Isgrimnur » Tue Jul 17, 2012 9:23 am

A friend of mine refers to it as "Bingo Poker". Everyone just shoves all their chips into the middle and waits for someone to yell out "BINGO!"
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Re: Poker Results

Post by The Meal » Tue Jul 17, 2012 9:35 am

Sorry, I don't have any advice for playing no-money-involved poker. :( Either trust online reviews to find the good game, or try em out and see what you like.
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Re: Poker Results

Post by Baroquen » Tue Jul 24, 2012 10:39 pm

I liked Governor of Poker. It's not great poker, but it's also not spectacularly bad. AI plays too loose at times, but if push comes to shove and they don't back down, they usually have something. So IMO, as a casual player, it's nothing out-of-the-ordinary, but it is cheap fun.


BTW - interesting stuff, The Meal. Enjoyed reading.

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Re: Poker Results

Post by The Meal » Sat Jul 28, 2012 10:39 am

Thanks, Baroquen. Glad to hear someone got something out of it.

One thing I didn't explicitly mention, but insinuated in the last thread, was that for a stretch I had found myself going very deep in tournaments, but then underperforming when it came down to deciding how the money was going to get sorted out. I made a post that was intending to get me to think about late game, short-stacked, "jam-or-fold" strategy (and I even laid out a structure for how I would start doing herethat analysis[/url]). Not long after that, while rereading some selections from my library, I was reminded that really I would be reinventing the wheel in terms of things other folks had already done. So I went off and "memorized" (read and re-read until I had a pretty good gut feeling would be a more accurate statement) the jam/fold (or "pushbot," if you like that term better) charts. That was the strategy modification I can point to most emphatically and say that my following results meaningfully improved.

It may be coincidence (I had evidence that I was "running cold" leading up to that time), it may be that becoming a pushbot champion is the most meaningful thing a poker player can develop, it could be psychological in that once I felt like I had the end-game figured out that the rest of my play became stronger, it could be that sitting down to do my own research made my whole game more analytical, or it could be some combination of things. But it's very clear to me that that span of a couple weeks was a huge milestone in my development as a player, and its somewhat embarrassing that I managed to leave it out of the post above.
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Re: Poker Results

Post by paulbaxter » Mon May 27, 2013 8:24 pm

I have, for no explicable reason, been on quite a poker hot streak lately. I play on one of the few sites still operating for US players (if you really want to find out where I can send a pm).

I play almost exclusively small stakes MTTs. Generally $1-$10 buy-ins, normally with rebuys available. Haven't had much success with higher stakes, so I'm sticking with what works for me.

Towards the end of last year I had gotten up somewhere north of $300 in my account. When I came back from Christmas, though, I went completely cold. Couldn't win anything. I started doing dumb things like playing at higher stakes to try to make it back up, but of course that just depleted the money faster. When my total eventually hit bottom, I decided to take some time off. Something somewhere got me thinking about poker again, so I made another deposit of $100 about six weeks ago. I've now gotten back up over $500. Most of that I've made in the last 2 weeks. Wish I knew what I'm doing differently. I feel like I'm playing a little tighter and slightly less aggressive. Could be just that there seem to be a different, i.e. weaker, group of players in this tourney set.

One thing I'm doing is to use my free sharkscope lookups every day and marking my opponents accordingly. I've noticed that the profitable players I go up against seem to generally play fairly tight, so I'm trying to emulate that more.
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Re: Poker Results

Post by paulbaxter » Thu Sep 19, 2013 2:04 pm

Hmmm,

My poker acct topped out around 700, then I couldn't win anything. I dipped down just below 200 last week before hitting the rebound. Back up close to 500 now.

What got me thinking, though, wass looking over sharkscope numbers on my opponents. I try to look up my free 5 each time I play so I can keep building knowledge of players on the site. Normally the better players might show a profit between 1k and 5k (it's a fairly slow site and I don't play the big money tables). The worse players I'll see with a with steady losses, not normally more than say 3k. I assume that most people quit before they get much past that. Yesterday I saw one with a loss of 39k! Yikes!
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Re: Poker Results

Post by Ralph-Wiggum » Thu Sep 19, 2013 2:28 pm

paulbaxter wrote:
Towards the end of last year I had gotten up somewhere north of $300 in my account. When I came back from Christmas, though, I went completely cold. Couldn't win anything. I started doing dumb things like playing at higher stakes to try to make it back up, but of course that just depleted the money faster. When my total eventually hit bottom, I decided to take some time off.
I haven't played online poker in long time, but when I did I always made sure to withdraw my initial investment once I had built up my bank. That way even if I did at some point hit rock bottom (which thankfully never actually happened), I wouldn't have lost any money.

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Re: Poker Results

Post by paulbaxter » Wed Oct 02, 2013 1:34 pm

Two things,

one, got back over $500 today with a good 2nd place finish in a tourney. I was frustrated yesterday as I kept finishing just outside or just inside the bubble.

Second, PLO hi-lo is not a game for people who value their sanity. I think overall I've won more than I've lost, but good grief. Had a hand today with A9 in it. Two nines come out on the flop, and an A on the turn. Feeling pretty fine about myself. Worst that can happen is opponent takes the low pot, right? Opponent shoves, I shove, he shows AA. This is not even unusual in PLO, just the standard craziness.
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Re: Poker Results

Post by Daehawk » Wed Oct 02, 2013 2:37 pm

Poker is my favorite card game but looking back over this thread I still dont understand much that was said hehe. I can say though if money is on the line the only card game Im comfortable with is blackjack. I may love poker but Im good at blackjack.

Edit .....not poker but is card related...got a email that Stardock has a new iOS card game Dead Mans Draw
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Re: Poker Results

Post by paulbaxter » Thu Oct 03, 2013 11:06 pm

Won another small stakes tourney today. I like the winning part.
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Re: Poker Results

Post by The Meal » Fri Oct 04, 2013 1:16 am

What size tourneys are you playing? You're right that winning is the fun part.

When they get online cooking again (in the 49 states which aren't Nevada), I doubt I'll ever play for real stakes. My game, my skills, and what I enjoy most about the game are all very much tied to the live game experience. But I'm pulling for the online folks!

When I was teaching myself O8 strategy, I found the Hutchison system for ranking the starting hands to be of great use. It's not the end-all be-all, but to get my head wrapped around a good starting point, it was just the sort of frame work I needed. If you've got good post-flop skills in Hold'Em and if you're armed with some knowledge of starting hands, you're likely ahead of nearly all micro-stakes players.

Daehawk, if there are terms or phrases you'd like explained, lay 'em on us. Someone will be by to help you understand.
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Re: Poker Results

Post by paulbaxter » Mon Oct 07, 2013 11:54 pm

The Meal wrote:What size tourneys are you playing?
The tourneys I've been playing are generally $2-5 buy-ins, generally R&A. They are usually fairly small fields. Sometimes as low as 50, usually not more than 180 people. Haven't had luck at higher stakes when I've tried it, and my account wouldn't last much of a losing streak at $20+ buy-ins.

Thanks for the link on Omaha. For some reason the people at the low stakes games, or at least a critical number of them, play like it's a free=roll game. It's hard to get through to the late game when you've got 5 people playing various draws on each hand. For the most part, though, the better players/survivors tend to be much tighter.
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Re: Poker Results

Post by paulbaxter » Fri Sep 19, 2014 2:05 pm

I'm back to playing a bit after a hiatus. I won a bit of cash, took most of my cash out, and now I'm up almost $300 just this week.

Somehow lots of bad players must have joined while I was away. Speaking of which, I keep looking up player's numbers on sharkscope each day. I was playing with a guy I know I'd seen several times, but I had no notes on him, so I looked him up. He's down about $52k. Almost never wins. Just makes me sad to think about folks like that.
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Re: Poker Results

Post by Isgrimnur » Fri Sep 19, 2014 2:15 pm

Over what time frame? If he can afford it and playing poker is a hobby, what's the harm? Not everyone has to win to enjoy the time and money that's spent playing.
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Re: Poker Results

Post by paulbaxter » Fri Sep 19, 2014 2:22 pm

Isgrimnur wrote:Over what time frame? If he can afford it and playing poker is a hobby, what's the harm? Not everyone has to win to enjoy the time and money that's spent playing.
It's since May 2012. The harm is approximately fifty two thousand.

I'm sure he can do whatever he wants with his money, more or less. I kinda doubt he thinks it's actually an enjoyable way to spend his money. Possibly there are folks in his family who he's hiding the losses from as well. I just don't like thinking about it.
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Re: Poker Results

Post by paulbaxter » Sun Sep 28, 2014 11:44 pm

Dang. Had my biggest single game win tonight. Some games you scrap and claw and finish just outside the bubble, and other times the poker gods smile and things just go easy. $20 single R&A tourney with not very many players. Only four got paid. I got pocket aces three times. The third time was with just four players left. I was in first place and players two and three bet into me. Obviously I raised, and both of them put all their chips in. Worked out well for the guy who was in fourth as he suddenly moved into second place. Finished him off about three hands later and ended up with $549, for a net of about $490.

I think in that whole tourney there was only one hand where I lost chips with the exception of having my blinds taken a few times. Lots of good cards, no showdowns lost. Had two bluffs work out when I was pretty sure my opponent was just putting in a C-bet. The only time I lost was on my own C-bet. Opponent raised and I backed out.

I haven't kept close track of my net profit, but my gross for the month of September is about $1200 now. Probably around $900+ net.

Poker's a lot more fun when you win.
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Re: Poker Results

Post by The Meal » Mon Sep 29, 2014 9:22 am

Nice work! How many entrants does one of these $20 Rebuy and Add-on Tournaments get that they only pay 4 yet top spot yields $550? The play must be significantly different prior to the end of the rebuy period?

Our live poker schedule has settled into a pretty predictable routine. We host every 3 weeks or so between September and May (taking the summers off due to a drop in participation). Our poker night sees two tournaments, one Quick Tournament which lasts 90-120 minutes, followed by a Main Event of rotating styles (50% of the time it's a Standard Tournament, but every other event we do a Knock-out Tournament, or a mixed Fixed Limit/No Limit tournament, or a Cheap Rebuy Tournament, etc.) If someone won nothing they could be out for as little as $30, but with rebuys being available it gets bigger (the most I've laid out on a particular evening is $110). $60 is probably the right amount to plan on.

We pay out to between 1/4 to 1/3 of the participants. And with there being two tournaments, most people have something to latch onto as a positive when they go home (even if its is a long term negative). Some of our most profitable players in the game (which is currently on its eighth season) are OOers (or former OOers). When we're recruiting for folks the primary consideration is how much fun it'd be to have them in our homes and how well they'd get along with our regular crew. We've got seating available for 18, but typically we see 9-12 players on a given Saturday.

We also have a regular monthly game at a friend's place. His game is basically $80 to buy in and he gets between 30-36 players like its clockwork. MHS and I have done very well in that game over the span we've been playing in it. He just recently changed his payout structure from a more typical live casino set-up (paying one player per starting table) to a more typical, flatter, home-game set-up. Last month he paid six (a 50% jump from previously). It was very lucrative in the past (MHS and I had won $1200 pay-outs before), but this month top spot earned me $860 ($780 profit).

We don't get much live casino play any more (MHS makes it a point to go play more often than I). There's a local self-dealt weekly game at the American Legion which we've participated in a few times (MHS has cleaned up at that game), but I don't enjoy the way its run nor 80% of the players. I think "bar league" poker may be my own version of hell. (Terrible rules, very little in the way of interesting conversation, and all the prima-donna testosterone-laden peacocking that you see on TV, with no discernible justification for any of it to my eyes.) We have invitations to one other monthly game (which is too far away with too poor a structure) and get the occasional help-us-fill-a-seat-or-two request from among other regular weekly games when they have an empty seat.

I don't miss online poker, though when I see tales of someone else's Good Ship Profittown it puts a big smile on my face. Hope you can keep building on September's momentum! Keep on maximizing and don't chase. :P
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Re: Poker Results

Post by paulbaxter » Mon Sep 29, 2014 10:35 am

The Meal wrote:Nice work! How many entrants does one of these $20 Rebuy and Add-on Tournaments get that they only pay 4 yet top spot yields $550? The play must be significantly different prior to the end of the rebuy period?
The site I've been playing on has lost a lot of traffic. That particular tournament had 29 players in it. The site went under new management in the past year. The new company has done better about paying out in a timely fashion, but they have added pretty hefty fees in order to get paid.

I have tried playing a bit on another site with a lot more traffic. It's OK, and there seem to be a fair number of fish around, but the site has everyone playing anonymously, so you can't keep persistent notes about the other players or look them up on sharkscope. You can keep notes just about their play during that game. I really prefer knowing whether that person who put in the big bet is a fish or a shark.
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Re: Poker Results

Post by paulbaxter » Sun Oct 05, 2014 7:00 pm

Good gravy my luck's been running well.

Made about $400 last week, iirc. Had some free time this afternoon and the only tourney I saw running on my site had a $129 buy in. I think "what the hell, I'll try it."

It isn't over but I have more than twice the chips of the second place player now. It pays 8 and there's 6 let now, so even if I screw up completely right now I'll be up another $400.

edit: 1st place finish makes me a happy man.
Last edited by paulbaxter on Sun Oct 05, 2014 7:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Poker Results

Post by The Meal » Sun Oct 05, 2014 7:39 pm

Excellent shot-taking! I love it. :)
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Re: Poker Results

Post by ezmacncheese » Wed Nov 05, 2014 7:29 pm

5dimes just opened their online poker room. I sports bet on occasion so I already have money on the site. I'm downloading the app now hopefully it's fishy especially with it just starting...

EDIT: eh it's pretty empty so far. Was looking for some good plo games.

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Re: Poker Results

Post by paulbaxter » Wed Apr 01, 2015 1:53 pm

Playing again after a hiatus of a few months. Things going fairly well--up about $100 this week on small stakes tourneys.

Just started a $4 buy in tourney. First hand pull AA on the button. Folds around to me. Make a standard bet and the blinds fold. Second hand gets me KK. Make a few chips but not much. Two hands later I get JJ. Small bet, fold all around. I swear 3-4 hands later I get QQ on the small blind. I call. Q on the flop. Check. Other Q on the turn. Check again. Thankfully the BB throws in a few chips. I bet the river and get a fold.

Used up all my luck for the tourney in the opening hands and nothing to show for it.

Several hands later lose almost all my chips on JJ. Some donk playing Q8 flops a Q. Grrrr. I don't mind bad beats. I do get annoyed though when I can't get squat on my good hands.
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Re: Poker Results

Post by The Meal » Wed May 06, 2015 11:54 pm

A former college roommate of mine runs a coaching website (RedChipPoker.com), and since I've helped Doug by looking over a few of his books prior to release, he's been kind enough to give me a membership, gratis. This last weekend he was sponsoring a free roll into The Colossus (weekend of May 29) using Poker Stars Home Games. $555 buy-in up for grabs among 58 entries. I was playing really well (hole cards definitely helped, but for the first time in months I was seeing the opposition really well), and then I was impacted by my internet going down. The frustration was thick, as I could occasionally see hole cards go by without a chance to act on them (stuff like AKs after there had already been a raise, AJo on the button, 44, etc.; but never any typically crap cards). I didn't end up getting the internet up and running until the next day, so I think I blinded out in around 10th place. I was third in chips with about half the participants getting knocked out, and I have to say that expectations on my part were high.

I'm back to tracking my live play for 2015 and the results are poor. But the strong performance in the P* play has me excited to strut my stuff in our home game this weekend. Ed Miller's new book (the poorly titled and real-stretch-of-a-metaphor) The Course has me back to the absolute basics and maybe it's the kick in the pants I needed.

For the first time I'll be playing in the WSOP (weekend of June 5th), so to say I'm excited to see the spectacle is a pretty big understatement. And between now and then I get to dream about binking a big one. 8-)
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Re: Poker Results

Post by Ralph-Wiggum » Thu May 07, 2015 12:09 am

Holy crap! Are you playing in the main event? That's awesome!

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Re: Poker Results

Post by The Meal » Thu May 07, 2015 10:39 am

I'm going out for The Millionaire Maker (pdf link) ($1,500 No-Limit Hold’em). But if I bink that one, then yes, I'll also be in the Main Event. :)
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Re: Poker Results

Post by Ralph-Wiggum » Thu May 07, 2015 12:02 pm

That's going to be awesome. Now the question becomes what happens if within the first hour you get AA and someone goes all in pre-flop? Clearly the smart play to match, but man would that be tough so soon in an event like that. Good luck!

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Re: Poker Results

Post by The Meal » Thu May 07, 2015 4:09 pm

Not a hard answer for me. If I thought I was +80% better than the average participant, then it'd be a tougher call. But at my skill level, that's an insta-call.

Thanks for the positivity. :ugeek:
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Re: Poker Results

Post by paulbaxter » Mon Jul 18, 2016 1:30 pm

Several months off of poker, but I decided to try again last night since the rest of the family is out of town for a bit and I'm bored.

I played two tourneys last night and two so far today. In four tourneys I got three 3rd place finishes! Small tourneys, so I'm only up $200 altogether, but still rather gratifying.
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Re: Poker Results

Post by paulbaxter » Thu Aug 11, 2016 9:26 pm

Got in a little poker this evening. I have a mildly annoying bad beat story that I'm only presenting as something of a (fairly easy) poker knowledge test.

Deep background: when I got settled in I played two small stakes tourneys and won both of them, putting me up about $150. Next tourney I see listed is $25 entrance. I usually stick to $10 or less, but I was feeling pretty good about myself, and I figure if I lose it's just a portion of what I already made today.

Situation: it's about my tenth hand or so. I'm about in the middle in chips and sitting on the button with 57s. BB has me covered by a fair amount. Action passes around to me, so I figure I'll make a play. 3X bet. Sometimes I would just fold in that situation, but I wanted to either see how the BB plays or steal a few chips. Flop comes 578. I don't remember the suits, but there was no flush in play. I bet 2/3 of the pot. I'm hoping he'll put me on a bluff. BB calls. At this point I'm figuring overpair or two face cards, or any pair really. Turn comes with a J. I check, again hoping he'll see me as weak. BB puts in a bet which is more than half my chips, so I go ahead and shove the rest. He shows AJ.

Now here's the knowledge test. How many outs did my nemesis have?
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Re: Poker Results

Post by Ralph-Wiggum » Thu Aug 11, 2016 10:23 pm

Without thinking too much - 8? Three Aces, two Jacks, and 3 8s.

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Re: Poker Results

Post by Isgrimnur » Thu Aug 11, 2016 11:39 pm

8 outs of 44 cards remaining, putting him on 1:5.5 odds to hit.
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