Poker strategy

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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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.