tips on 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.

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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