Poker

Live POKER

Walk into a brick and mortar poker room and you’ll see the small nuances that make poker both extremely beautiful and horribly ugly. They play out like a scene out an award-winning Broadway musical right in front your eyes. You definitely miss out on this experience sitting at home in front of a computer screen. If you stay long enough at the tables you get to experience, witness, and appreciate this theater firsthand. The lonely widower buying in for the maximum over and over and donating to the game. The crazy gamblers with nothing to lose playing any two cards and owning heads. The nits and there leather asses, the pros, the props, the degenerate dealers and the over the hill cocktail waitresses are all part of the show. Then there’s me, sweaty palms and all.

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Middle set holds

I sit in mostly silence, headphones in, about 4 months in on my journey of giving live poker a real shot, albeit part-time for now. I’m down $376 in about 70 hours play. A couple misplayed hands and 1 unprofitable event at the LAPC and I would probably be a winner but I still tilt and occasionally break the golden rule at the low-limits…don’t bluff. I guess old habits die hard and something about piles of checks in front of me bring out my degenerate side and make me go for the gusto even though we all know the negative outcome waiting for me on the other side.

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Sometimes I win!

I started out slow in January and February winning $250 in the two months combined, nothing major, but I was winning. Everything was running along smoothly till March hit. I had a few losing sessions and I guess I lost focus and bluffed off $260 in profit one night with pocket 10’s on a jack high flop and was snapped off by my opponent’s pocket Kings. After that I had an other -$200 session where I played every hand and again bluffed off my stack like a fish. Finally back to back $-200 losing sessions where I got my aces cracked both times for all the money. That shit hurt. I’ve never experienced that much losing and despair all in such a short time, honestly it made me want to quit.

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My play has been a dumpster fire as of late

I’ve brushed myself off since then and taken a little break on the cash games. I’ve started to play a live $65 mini deep tournament on Thursday nights and have been having some success. 5 tournaments played, 2 final tables with a near win 3rd place finish. Even though it’s a small sample size, all my records show that my success has come in tournament poker.

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What we think..

Even though I love cash games I have to be honest with myself and admit that I’m not ready for the live grind yet, but with plenty of training, practice, and a little bit of desensitization to losing money I’ll be back at it. I can’t let a bad month get in my head and ruin my goal of eventually supporting myself through poker. I have to prove to myself that all this time I’ve devoted to this game hasn’t been a waste.

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Ticking away

So till next time, good luck out there.

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2015 A year in REVIEW

The year has come to an end and I have a few stories on my low-limit journey to share. Some ups, mostly downs, but at the end of the day I got to play live and online poker whenever I wanted for a small profit and I throughly enjoyed myself doing so.

Poker is fucken tough. You can study everyday, practice strategy, watch all the training videos, and still lose. Luck plays a huge role in the equation, a turn of one of those 52 cards can make or break you and as we all have witnessed, most players including myself receive the latter.

One of the biggest things I learned in 2015 is how to control my anger and frustration when taking bad beats or playing bad. I simply realized that bad beats are part of the game. If the best players always won the bad players would go broke, leave the game and never come back. Now when I take a bad beat I laugh it off and tell myself “This guy had to pull it out of his ass to beat me” and that always makes me feel a little better. Bad beats tend to show up at the least opportune time so be prepared but always remain confident, the coin lands on the the other side too but we tend to forget.

I also learned when playing bad there’s no reason to get mad. You spend all this time and energy being upset when you should be studying and learning from your mistakes. There isn’t a better feeling in the world than improving your game by working hard and turning the tables on opponents that you couldn’t beat before. You have to be honest with yourself and work on your deficiencies or be prepared to be left in the dust.

Overall 2015 was a horrible year for my “live” tournament game. I played 28 events and only cashed in 5 for a total loss of $-1120. My highlight was finishing top 80 and in the money in two back to back LAPC events, one had a 900+ player field the other had over 800 runners and were less than a few weeks apart. An other highlight was playing my first WSOP event the $565 buy-in Colossus event. Even though I didn’t cash, it was a great learning experience and I can’t wait for my next WSOP trip Summer 2016.

My live cash game stats this year weren’t equally as bad, but were still sub-par. I played 17 sessions and only won 5 for an overall loss of $-375. My highlights were learning Omaha 8 high-low and holding my own at the $4-8 limit kill tables plus I had a couple nice $1-2 and $2-3 no limit sessions where I won a couple hundred dollars. My problem in the cash games was the lack of discipline needed to make the huge fold. I could of easily showed some profit in my live game if I could have made a couple key folds in pots where I had a strong feeling I was beat but I tried to get lucky (and pull it out of my ass). My #1 priority in 2016 will be to drastically change this and keep a level head when making decisions with piles of chips in front of me.

Now time for some highs! I totally crushed the low-limit Bitcoin tournaments online on Nitrogen Sports and SWC Poker. I took a shot at the 26 mbtc buy-in 750 mbtc guaranteed tournaments early in the year on Nitrogen and won, after that any tournament in the 5-100 mbtc buy-in range I consistently beat. I totally used the smaller field sizes as an advantage by using 6 max strategies as MTT’s on these sites only reach 15-20 players. My stats show I won 33 tournaments, 15 2nds, and 10 other ITM finishes while roughly playing 150 tournaments for 4410 mbtc won equaling $1908! I used a basic ABC style and pretty much just waited for the fishes to make mistakes and capitalized on them. I also learned and was competitive at mixed cash games and will use the experience I gained as a stepping stone moving forward and build on the skills I acquired and use them to take advantage of the players behind the learning curve.

Overall I finished the year up a disappointing $413 and it really feels like I lost. Yeah it was great to win those 33 tournaments online but I didn’t win a live tournament and I got throughly handled almost every time I stepped foot in a casino. But the future seems hopeful, I crushed online and will continue to search for ways to improve my win rate. I’ve also added a few tweaks to my live game and I have faith that my hard work and dedication will take me to the next level in 2016. Wish me luck as I’ll be heading out to the city of Commerce to play the LAPC as I have the past 3 years in 2 weeks and I got my eye on a final table. So till next time…..Good luck out there.

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Knocking off the RUST

A little bit more than 2 weeks have passed since my last post and truthful I haven’t been looking forward to writing because I haven’t found much time to actually sit down and play! I’ve played 9 online tournaments and cashed in zero for – 560 mbtc but two of them were bubble finishes, so it’s not as bad as it seems. I blame most of my failure on rust and the lack of volume needed to fade the variance that comes along with playing tournament poker. But I’m not going to sit here and lie to you, mental mistakes and lack of preparation have also lead to these few bad weeks. I preferred to catch up on missed TV shows and socialize with friends instead of working on my game and putting in the hours at the table to improve my game and my results definitely show that.

Not all is bad though! I successfully backed a great tournament player that was going through some tough times and as a reward that player won the biggest weekly tournament on Nitrogen Sports and my cut received was a little bit more than 200 mbtc! I also played two live freeroll tournaments at Lake Elsinore Casino. Both were $1500 guaranteed prize pools and capped at 100 players with hyper-turbo structures. I got lucky and had a deep run in the first to finish 25th and made the final table in the second one. Yes I was extremely short stacked as was everyone else but I refused the $165 chop and opted to play out the final table to everyone’s dismay. Sadly lady luck wasn’t on my side and I busted in 7th for $90. I play to win and a couple hundred dollars isn’t going to change my life good or bad, but a live tournament victory is hard to come by and will greatly increase my confidence level even though it was just a local donkament lol.

Finally a played two live cash game sessions, both 4-8 kill limit Omaha high-low. The first session was uneventful and I lost $150 barely winning a few hands and losing $100 just on one hand when my top set was chased down by the nut flush. The second session was the complete opposite, I crushed from the get go. I played aggressively and was hit by the deck, I stuck around and played my rush and I walked out with a little more than $300 only getting up after two tough players took the player’s seats I had just put a thorough beating on.

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Overall I had I couple crappy weeks online mixed in with moments of success but the good thing is I found my long lost passion for the “live” game and I’m definitely going to pick up the volume and study time to continue improving on my overall poker game!!

Sorry for the late post and I’ll definitely be back in two weeks with my next update, so till then…Good luck out there.

Back into the RING

Way too much time has passed without putting out a quality blog post but honestly I’ve been dealing with a huge break up, so I decided to take a little bit of time for myself to relax and get my mind right. Prior to this time away I was consistently beating the biggest Bitcoin NLHE tournaments on SWC. Just a year ago I was playing mostly freerolls and grinding the 5 mbtc level but once the original Seals with Clubs went down I took my game to Nitrogen Sports and ran my measly 200 chip BTC bankroll into over 5000 chips!

I owe my low-limit success to hard work. I’ve identified deficiencies in my game and found podcasts, training videos, and articles online to plug those leaks and turn the tables on my opponents. Bankroll management is also key, fuck what anyone says skill don’t mean shit if you can’t hold on to your money. I take pride in watching my bankroll swell and make it my number one priority to work on my game at all times to stay sharp, so I can continue moving up the stakes and eventually play poker full time. Being consistent is also key, luckily grinding the low limits is easy, playing ABC poker with the occasional variation play shows huge profits at these limits.

The problem is I work full-time, 40 hours a week and I commute, so grinding those 2-5 hours nightly add up. When fatigue sets in as it has lately I take these breaks where I do everything that makes me happy, I see family, I travel, I rest, I golf, I joined a softball league, I generally enjoy life and get my mind away from poker. These prolonged breaks feed my hunger for escape from the monotony of the full time job and the countless hours of poker played on computer screens.

But the time is now. I feel the fire burning inside of me and I must return to the tables. I plan to be the biggest tournament winner on SWC and continue to improve my on my mixed games, all while protecting my bankroll. I plan to post a weekly to bi-weekly blog so stay tuned.

So till next time, good luck out there.

SWITCHING TO THE MIXED GAMES

Throughout my poker career I’ve devoted myself playing No-limit Texas holdem, and as most of us I entered the game via the poker boom. Chris Moneymaker, WSOP Main event episodes, Poker after dark, ect…all played out in one form of poker, NLHE. That’s all I’ve seen so it’s all I really ever cared about.

Earlier this year I made a statement about how a player’s best shot at winning a bracelet was through some form of mixed game. I honestly believe this especially after playing the massive Colossus event and seeing how popular no-limit tournaments are to the average poker player. So for the past few months I’ve put time aside and have been learning the mixed games online at the 30/60 cent level, and to my surprise I have found a new passion. 

I’ve learned the basic strategies of Razz, 7-Stud, Limit Omaha HI-LO, OFC, and drastically improved my PLO game (Never overplay, Always draw to the nuts) to the point where it’s my main cash game now. I’m not the only one thinking this way, there’s lots of new people trying to the learn these games and it creates for some very loose profitable games that I would love to take advantage of consistently, so I’ve picked up a few books by Ray Zee, re-read most of Super System and have been watching training videos online to help with the learning curve.

No-Limit Texas Holdem will always be the Cadillac of poker and NLHE SNG’s will continue to be my bread and butter but the future of the WSOP and maybe POKER as a whole is mixed games. If that is true only time will tell.

Till next time, good luck out there.

Are you prepared for the WSOP?

The beast that is the World Series Of Poker is among us. It’s massive player fields with equally massive prize pools are only a few short weeks away. Are you ready? Have you prepared? Do you have what it takes to survive these 1000+ player fields filled with a bevy of established poker professionals and gaggles of amateurs taking their one shot? Can you navigate through these enormous minefields, and take home the coveted WSOP gold bracelet? Do you have it in you?

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I’ve been on grind mode as of late. Moving over to Nitrogen Sports has been a blessing in disguise. I’ve been showing consistent profit in their bigger regular tournaments. Moving up the stakes to the 25 mbtc level was hard at first, mostly do to the mental aspect of the game, but I’ve learned to take breaks from the tables when I’m running bad and take a mandatory 15 minutes a day minimum, to study on my game away from the tables. It’s really been helping, I’ve ran 65 mbtc I won playing freerolls, up to 900 mbtc! I’ve mostly been playing there 750 mbtc guaranteed daily tournament, I’ve entered about 20 and have placed 3rd twice, 2nd twice, and 1st also twice! Even though these tournament have small fields, it’s a great boost of confidence and bankroll and I’ll use this nice run as a stepping stone heading into the WSOP.

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Barring a huge score early at the WSOP, this year I’am only scheduled to play the Colossus event and the Lucky 7’s event both with a buy-in under $1000. I see these tournaments as being some of the most profitable, due to the large amount of recreational players entering. I play with these kind of players daily online and I can see some very profitable situations arising due to there the lack of live play, very long days and just the fact that these tournaments will be the highest buy-ins these players will ever pay in there whole career.

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I plan on continuing my regular poker schedule but I will be tossing in a few live events a week before I head to Vegas. I will definitely be studying hard in preparation these last few precious weeks. I have trust in my game plan, my experience at the LAPC has really helped get me ready for the long haul these higher buy-in tournaments could be. I plan to be well rested and have no stress on my arrival to Vegas so I just pre-registered for the Colossus flight #D May 30, 2015. So if you see me in the halls at the Rio, come up say hi and buy me a beer!

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I hope you are prepared for a deep run as I definitely feel I am. I wish you all a successful, enjoyable, profitable WSOP. I look forward to writing my next blog post on the feeling of winning my first braclet! So until next time, good luck out there.

I survived the LAPC

With the LAPC main event currently under way and the series coming to an end I decided to write about my experience at this year’s 2015 LAPC. I only played 2 events due to insufficient bankroll and time constraints. I managed to play Event #1 a $175 buy-in $100,000 guarantee No-Limit Hold’em tournament and Event #20 a $240 $500,000 guarantee also nlhe. I totally held my own and never felt outmatched in these massive +700 player fields. I played one hand at a time and just focused on my table and finding ways to beat them. Easier said than done, as anyone could agree that’s ever played in the giant Commerce Casino tournament room, the sea of players, dealers, and floor staff can be a bit overwhelming…..

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Event #1 attracted a field of 892 players, I arrived early expecting a huge turn out and I was right. Thank god. I didn’t want to make the hour an a half drive to Commerce and still have to wait in line to play. Play started sharply with 5k starting stacks and I proceeded to lose half my stack in the 1st level. I blame it on butterflies in anticipation to play, but I recovered nicely and won all of it back plus more with a set of kings. I played a tight aggressive style for the next few levels winning a couple pots and running my stack to about 9k then… I got into a pissing match with a young aggressive player on my left with Q-4 and I busted him with a river Queen when he called my all-in bluff with 8-2 on a 10-8-4 flop lol.

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Play went on for about 8 an half hours and I managed to maintain an above average stack till we reached 115 players ..15 players away from the money. I called 25% of my stack with A-10 of spades when a player in front of me moved all in. I should of moved all-in, but I didn’t and an aggressive player also called. The flop came two spades, I checked and the aggressive player bet and I called, the turn was a blank, and I checked, he bet and I called again. The river was a blank and I checked again, this time he checked and turned over a pair of 5’s. I was devastated, I was left with 8bb’s and resorted into squeaking into the money placing 83rd and winning $290.

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Event #20 flight 5 of 5 attracted a field of 713 consisting of a couple bracelet winners and a couple Circuit event ring holders. We started with 7.5k starting stacks and I doubled up on the the 1st hand with a set of 6’s when a player moved all-in with 2 pair on the river. The first few levels I dominated and ran up my stack to about 30k with little to no opposition. I was playing and running extremely well, all a player can ask for in a $500,000 guarantee tournament.

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All was running well till I was moved to a table full of really tough opponents. Everytime I raised, I was reraised, and everytime I bluffed I was called. For the most part I followed my solid game plan and won a few pots but being card dead wasn’t helping. I attempted a few bluffs near the money and was unsuccessful, plus I noticed an ace was slightly marked and I made a comment to the dealer. A pro player Phong “Turbo” Nguyen took it personally and proceeded to berate me and try to throw me off my game. I went completely card dead and only managed a min cash, I finished 85th for the day and 467th of the total 5 day starting flights for $390. I vow to use this as a learning experience and never back down to any player due to being close to the money.

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Overall I had a profitable LAPC, but I need to drastically improve my play on the bubble if I want to succeed and take down one of these huge tournaments and make a name for myself. Hands down I need to get serious and really improve my play in the the later stages of tournaments….but I’ve continued my online grind and played plenty online tournaments, winning 7-8 tournaments with fields of 21-115 players. I won 65mbtc grinding freerolls, but it’s been an up and down since SealsWithClubs closed down and I’ve taken my game to Nitrogen Sports, but that’s for an other day……

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So till then, good luck out there.