Monday, March 26, 2007

Really bad news...

In two weeks Neteller will cease Canadian transfers to gambling sites.

For people who've never used it, Neteller basically works like an online bank account. I can move large amounts of money to and from my Neteller account to the poker sites in just a few clicks. It's also attached to my real bank account so I can cash out from Neteller or move money back online very quickly also.

This came as a very big surprise to me, I really don't know where the pressure on them came from to take this decision. Being Canadian I've so far been somewhat shielded from the effects of all the bullshit going on with the UIGEA in the States, and it hasn't really affected me in a major way other than the games probably getting a bit tougher. But even that effect hasn't been particulaly noticable, especially since I've been running so well and on the biggest winning streak of my life.

This is going to make cashing out more of a hassle. As a MTT player I play accross a lot of sites so I can play all the biggest tournaments and I'm now going to have to keep money on all of them since I can't just reload from my neteller account whenever I have to. I'll probably have to keep a lot more money online than I wanted to now which means I can't invest as much. Also this will make it harder for Canadians to get money online to play poker which can only be a bad thing for the poker economy in general. Anyways I think online poker will be very profitable in the coming years, but this is another step in the wrong direction in the big picture.


A winning Sunday!!??

I won money at poker tournaments today. It was so fun I may switch my normal Sunday routine from losing money at poker tournaments. I had a few smallish cashes in the majors including the $1000 Stars million (despite my best efforts to bubble). That was enough for me to finish second in a $1000 sidebet based on performance in Sunday majors against some guys on PocketFives for $3900. I also finished second in the UB $530 for $13K. It was disappointing to lose heads up, I started out behind in chips but turned it around to build a chiplead as big as 3:1 before losing a few pots in a row that I may have misplayed somewhat to get back to even. Then I played a big pot preflop which I was hoping to avoid since I was having a lot of success stealing the small pots postflop. I had started raising more on the button and he had 3-bet me a few times earlier, so I figured another 3-bet was coming soon against one my raises whether he had a hand or not to keep me in line. The next hand I raised AJ on the button and he reraised just as I was expecting. I moved in but he called with AQ instantly, and while the AQJ flop was exciting it didn't help me at all. I didn't play much cash today. I lost a buy-in at 10/20 on Party when I misplayed a hand. Oh I just remembered I also final tabled the $200 tourney on Dise again, and finished 4th again. So overall it was a pretty good day.


Monday, March 19, 2007

Cash game heater continues

As does the tournament losing streak. I made the money in exactly zero tournaments today, which basically sucked. However, I also made 13K playing cash games before I got too many tournament windows going. I've never run anywhere close to this good for any kind of extended period before in my 2 and a half or so years playing poker. I've already easily surpassed my success from last year in 2 months. I know eventually this will have to stop and I'm trying to stay as level headed as possible because at these stakes when I eventually go on a losing streak, especially after getting used to winning big, it's going be really hard on me. I'm definitely enjoying the rush for now though. I guess I'll post some more of the biggest pots or something. - Flop the monster draw and catch the perfect turn card. He decides to make the big semibluff checkraise since he picked up a flush draw. - I played this kind of weird. The guy seemed bad but we hadn't been playing long so I really didn't know how bad. On the river I was just thinking how can he possibly call with a worse hand here in an unraised pot? It seemed quite possible he could have exactly KJ or a weird slowplayed set or something. Also, he might have a busted draw of some sort like J9 or a spade draw that could bluff so I went for a check planning to just call a reasonable sized bet. As it turns out against this guy I should have just bombed the river. When he made the ridiculously small river bet it seemed pretty unlikely he had me beat, along with my impression that he seemed bad was enough to convince me to just shove the rest in. My line is confusing and people always talk to themselves into calling anyways there because it looks like I just think his small bet is weak and I am making a move. - A big hand I lost against the infamous stevesbets. A lot of people think this guy is a fish even though he plays nosebleed stakes because he makes some really bizarre plays. He used to play the 5K HU matches all the time and I heard of some people who would play him all the time thinking he's terrible, but I don't think anyone ever really beat him consistently. From what I saw today his preflop play is horrendous, but he's actually quite good postflop which really confuses people. Still, I can't see him beating the toughest online games if he doesn't clean up his preflop play some. He was killing this table though including this hand where he stacks me. I go ahead and squeeze preflop because stevesbets basically can have almost anything and the other guy also has a pretty huge range. I didn't have a good idea how he played yet so I decided to just check behind the flop. I really had no idea how loose he would call my reraise preflop at this point, and in general his call of my big reraise looks awfully scary. The turn was a nice card for me and he checked again. I figured I prboably have the best hand and made a smallish bet for value. When he just called I was pretty sure I had the best hand. The river is the 4 and he instashoved. His line basically just looks like a bluff now. It certainly doesn't look like he flopped a set or has AA/KK given the turn action, and obviously I didn't think he could have a 4 so I quickly called.


Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The only time I really get mad playing poker...

(Warning: actual strategy content) when I make a mistake that ends up costing me. Bad beats don't really get to me, even when they happen in important situations. I can't ignore them completely of course and sometimes I react momentarily when they're particularly costly but after a few seconds that passes. When I donk up an important hand though it definitely can stay in my head for a while and at times this has effected my play negatively. Obviously there is a story to explain this post. I finally made the final table of a faily big tournament, the $100 rebuy on Stars. I was a short stack but I was starting to gain momentum with a series of blind steals moving me back towards a playable stack. Then this hand happened:

This is a really tricky hand because my table image is now pretty bad and my raise is unlikely to get a lot of respect, meaning I may get put to a really tough decision either preflop or on the flop if he elects to call. The problem is that the other options kind of suck too. Stacks are too big for a big overbet raise allin to be really appealing. My M is over 7 so going allin is probably marginally profitable at best assuming some reasonable calling range on his part (it may even be -cEV I haven't looked at the math closely). Compare this to making a normal raise but then calling an all-in: On the one hand he'll fold hands like K7 that he might reraise me with if he thinks he has some fold equity, but he'll also fold all his trash hands that he might bluff with if I make a normal raise thinking he can get me to fold. Raising and folding to his push also sucks because we're going to get bluffed a fair bit or at least fold when we had the pot odds to call. So basically none of the raising options is all that good.

The other option that I generally take a lot in this situation is the limp. The problem was that given our history I felt it was very likely he would raise me big if I tried to limp and then I'm basically in the same situation as above. Still, he may find the limp suspicious enough that he decides to take a flop with me so this may still have been the best option. Folding to avoid the confrontation is probably not as bad as it seems but it's definitely a weak play.

cEV vs $EV. cEV refers to the expected size of your chip stack where as $EV refers to the real money expected value of a decision based on the payout structure. The difference between the two is generally reserved for discussions of STT bubbles or satellites. Harrington tells us that in general it is fine to assume cEV=$EV, and for the most part I agree with this. However, to risk sounding like a fish worried about his "tournament life", there is a real difference between the two at a final table, and the value of moving up the payout ladder can not be ignored entirely. At some point I will have to actually do some of the math to find out in what types of situations this difference is actually relevant. In the situation in the hand with the 5 shortstacks all about even in chips it is intuitively obvious that we would really prefer to let the other guys be the first ones to get into big confrontations before we do. On the other hand we can't let ourselves get pushed around too much. Anyways I won't say anymore on this because I don't entirely understand if/when it's actually important, but it's relevant to my thought process in the hand.

OK so I decide to make a normal raise. Probably not the best option but hardly a big mistake. Like I said my table image was terrible and jcamby is a pretty strong player who can make adjustments. He moves in on me pretty quickly. Almost a little too quickly maybe but there's not enough there for me to put any real value in it. I'm getting 1.5:1 with a lousy QTo. The problem is that his range here could be huge. He'd almost certainly shove any ace, any pair, and any two paint. Still, PokerStove says calling is -cEV:

equity win tie pots won pots tied
Hand 0: 38.005% 37.47% 00.54% 197590579 2845172.00 { QdTc }
Hand 1: 61.995% 61.46% 00.54% 324108709 2845172.00 { 22+, A2s+, KTs+, QJs, A2o+, KTo+, QJo }

However it's pretty close and as soon as we throw in some complete bluffs it's easy to see that will sway it to a call. I didn't know the exact odds obviously but I had a general idea that it's pretty unlikely I'm dominated and if there's any reasonable chance I could have the best hand then I should be calling. The next step was well, would he really move all-in with a hand that couldn't beat QT? Given that jcamby is a strong player who had almost certainly had enough of me taking his blinds I decided it was a definite possibility. So I concluded that calling was +cEV and I was about to go do that when this thought popped in my head: sure it might be very marginally +cEV, but is it +$EV? Almost near the end of my timebank now this swayed me back to folding. Obviously when he showed the hand I regretted the decision, but in retrospect it was a small mistake at worst. Probably the biggest mistake was opening for my standard raise without a clear plan what to do when reraised. It's not like I can stare him down and use that to sway my decision one way or the other. This got really long and it may turn out that Im just wrong about the cEV vs $EV thing mattering at all but something to think about anyways.


Monday, March 12, 2007

Boring Sunday

I only played the early tournaments today because I had a basketball game. I went fairly deep in the Stars Warmup but that was about it for tournaments. I did manage to make some money at cash games again though so it was a winning Sunday. Waterloo people took down a couple big tournaments today so I mostly played the role of cheerleader.


Monday, March 05, 2007

Quick Update

Just a quick update to keep with the routine of writing Sunday reports. Yesterday was a more typical Sunday, ie one where I lose a lot. I came very close to making a big final table though. Titan Poker ran a $540 250K guaranteed tournament yesterday that I finished 13th in ($2500). The structure was bad so everyone was shortstacked and one of my all-ins with garbage ran into a couple monsters. I also finished 13th on Mansion on Saturday and 4th in the Full Tilt $322 for $5600. So Saturday and Sunday probably about cancelled each other out.


Friday, March 02, 2007

February graph

I dunno what to say about this graph... I wasn't even sure if I wanted to post it because it's such a ridiculous shameless brag. Anyways... when you move up limits and run hotter than ever I guess this is what happens. The 45K rush at the end was all last week. Yeah, I know....

What's the secret you ask? Mostly this:

Sometimes this on consecutive hands shortstacking:

Sometimes you see a fish sitting down when you're shortstacking 25/50 so you get your underage friend to take half your action so you can take a shot. Then you obviously end up flipping coins for $9K with a different guy on your last lap after the fish left (I guess he coulda folded the flop but it was kinda clear the money was probably going in regardless after the preflop action).

Oh and try not to get outflopped and pay off the guy very often, who's been reraising you every hand so you put a jillion bets in preflop with AQo like your name is Grimstarr (2+2/BBV inside joke), but then still be up a buy-in at the table:

Finally a detailed strategy post!