cash games

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.

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.

New PLAN

2014 isn’t turning out to be so great, 6 months in and I’m already down $883! My online game has really taken off but my live game has taken a nose dive. I feel like not having a casino close to my house running cash games and tournaments is not allowing me to put in the heavy volume that you need to succeed at poker. Bad luck and bad play is also a cause of the problem, I estimate I’ve thrown away $515 due to bad play. I’ve played 13 tournaments and only cashed in 1 and I’ve played 3 cash game sessions winning 2 so it’s not really bad luck it’s amateur play.

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Last year I lost a little over $100 playing a somewhat of a busy schedule, this year I’ve played significantly less but traveling and different stresses haven’t allowed me to get comfortable in the new rooms I’m playing in. I need to strongly consider getting professional coaching to help me improve my game and take it to the next level but my ego and pride plus money makes it hard to ask for help. This year I’ve also up’ed my tournament buy-ins, I traveled to the City of Commerce to play the Million guaranteed tournament at the LAPC for $150 (I finished 50 out of the money) the player that busted me went on the finish 3rd for 40k! I also played a couple $100 buy-in tournaments in surrounding Palm Springs casinos and Morongo Casino but I was unsuccessful in cashing in any. Those tournaments had some huge fields so I know variance also comes into play.

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Playing the World Series has been my dream since I started playing and this year I actually got a chance to go. I failed to qualify for the $1500 event that I really wanted to enter while playing on wsop.com but I got a chance to play a $235 buy-in Rio deepstack event. My luck didn’t fair to well and I misplayed Aces after the first break and went busto vs A-5. I’ll use it as a learning experience but the good thing is I got to meet one of my favorite poker player personality’s Bryan “The Icon” Micon and I also totally enjoyed my vacation to the fullest.

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I’ve decided to pull out $500 of my savings and dedicate myself to building it up playing $10-$50 tournaments twice a week and grinding at least 2 cash game session sessions a month. I will only play 1/2 nlhe at Pechanga before or after there $50 tournament and 2-4 limit at Morongo before there $10 Sunday tournament. I plan on playing 100 hand cash game sessions or 2 hours max and leaving if I lose my buy-in or if I double my money. I will also follow the hated Chris Ferguson bankroll plan and move up the limits accordingly.

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Hopefully I stop playing like an idiot and my plan works and my luck turns around. Till next time good luck out there.

Finding BALANCE

I’m playing the best poker of my life right now. Yeah it’s against some of the weakest players and at the lowest limits online but a few months ago I was getting my ass handed to me playing the same limits! I owe all my success like I said before to changing my ABC style into a relentless controlled aggression style, combined with plenty of tournament experience. I’m also putting all my efforts on improving my cash game skills and I know with a little practice and a higher bankroll my results will improve.

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This week I played 17 tournaments and I had 6 cashes. I had an 8th, 7th, 6th, 6th, 3th, & a 2nd winning 11.80 mbtc. In the tournament where I placed 2nd place I put my money in the middle with 18 outs on the flop but I just didn’t get there, or else I would be writing a very different blog! I feel like my tournament game is at a very high level right now, and it’s just a matter of time till I start moving up the stakes. I’m playing my best and I’m starting to recognize more betting patterns, timing tells, and other little nuances of the game that’s increasing my bankroll and increasing my confidence.

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I also played 8 cash games sessions and won 4 but for only 1.08 mbtc. My cash game skills still need work, I dropped down to the lowest limits online and I saw a small profit. It could of been I little higher but constantly bluffing, mistakes, and bad luck really threw a wrench in that. I also had some crazy bad beats including AA losing to K-K twice!

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Overall I had a decent week at the tables, I put in the heavy volume that I really wanted to do and I won 12.88 mbtc bringing my bankroll to 85.88 mbtc. I feel like I’m well on my way to finding that perfect balance and I’m excited to see some better results.

Good luck out there.

Learning PROCESS

Tournament poker is the reason I got into the game. Flashback to 2003, I remember watching ESPN with fascination and diving head first into low-limit cash games and losing my ass. I played my cash game sessions the way I learned the game through final table highlights and all-in hands edited into neat little one hour episodes. Playing this way has cost me money over the years and it’s a hard habit to break playing this way when I’m not entirely focused. I’ve almost completely phased out playing this way in tournaments but somehow it keeps showing up in my cash game sessions. Sometimes I lose focus and I go into autopilot and play this way and it’s totally costing me money.

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I had a great week grinding tournaments, I played 11 and made 4 final tables. I got two 3rds, a 5th and a 7th winning almost 9 mbtc…but I still broke even because I fell back into old habits and tried to run it up playing multiple cash game tables. It took me roughly 9-10 hours to win those mbtc playing those tournaments and only 30 mins to lose it back playing cash games! It really hurt losing that mbtc so quickly because when I play tournaments I give it my all and try my hardest. It’s very disappointing losing the money I earned working so hard to get in such a quick fashion but what do you expect when you play a coin flip style of play???

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I need to maintain my focus and think about the big picture. Just because I run/play good in tournaments it doesn’t mean I can dominate cash games. It doesn’t work like that, I’ve devoted hours upon hours to tournament poker and built my skill level up now I need to do it for my cash game. I plan to re-read the cash game section in Doyle Brunson’s Super System and hit the higher limit play money tables on Pokerstars till I get some confidence in my game. I want to become a well rounded player and have multiple ways of earning money through poker.

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Good luck out there.

Change UP

One thing I’ve realized about poker  over these past 10 years is change is constant. You can’t get comfortable because poker is constantly evolving and moving in different directions. Last year my local cardroom closed down, where I made a small profit constantly playing small stakes nlhe tournaments and it caused me to search for a new room. I’ve lost money ever since and it caused me to drop down to the micro online games. I think my losing has something to do with the mental aspect and also with my comfort level.

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I played the first half of the week in my regular fashion playing my favorite tournament over and over. I ran bad Monday- Wednesday I didn’t cash in any of the 9 tournaments I played in. On Thursday I got home ready to grind but when I turned on my computer my favorite tournament was gone, just like that. I contacted support and they said It was removed but it will return, there just wasn’t a set date.

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This kind of tilted me, my bread and butter tournament was gone, my number one money maker was gone but for how long? I started grinding the low-limit cash games and had some immediate success, but eventually I lost it all back and a couple tournament buy-ins. I also played a couple higher buy-in tournaments and didn’t cash at all. Sunday they finally brought back my tournament and I played 4 of those. The first three my confidence was shot and I lost fairly quickly. The last one I played a had a deep run but two away from the money I missed my flush draw against the chip leader and got busted.

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Overall I had one of my worst weeks grinding the low-limits. I played 15-16 tournaments and cashed in zero (It hurts seeing that number) and I had a few crappy cash game sessions bringing my bankroll to 73 mbtc. I lost 3 mbtc this week but it feels like a 100 mbtc. I got to keep my head up because downswings eventually happen. I’m just going to look at the bright side this is only my second losing week in three months and I only lost 3 mbtc. Can’t complain too much.

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Good luck out there.