Thursday, April 20, 2006

Return to Serious S+Gs

I wrote a long post yesterday that blogger ate. Pissed me off and I didn't know when I'd have the heart to write another.

Tonight I had one of those things in poker that happens occasionally and just makes you smile from ear to ear. It also inspired me to take another shot at a post so here I am.

First, here is the lost post reconstructed as best I can. I was writing that I had stabilized my game in March for a small profit and no losses in April. Not huge at all as I am still far from destroying the game as felt I once was, but especially promising after a godawful February (even worse if you discount the uptick I had in the last 3 days of it), and personally more heartening as it was the first month in awhile I didn't play live very much. I say that because my live play results have been steadily better than online, which depressed me as the state of live NY poker has found me more and more pushing electronic chips.

A trend I had spotted however was that whereas I had definitely gotten back to winning poker in cash games ($12/hour 99% NL holdem on Full Tilt, thanks sponsor, and Ultimate Bet, in each 95% 100NL), my tourney play has been a tremendous drain, with a $26/hour loss rate (fortunately, I spent a lot more hours playing cash games). I was having trouble figuring out the cause.

I then read about this site, and figured I'd look myself up.

It confirmed that was far from successful in tourneys, at least at Stars (my normal tourney site, sorry Full Tilt but I hate your blind structures with a passion and sponsorship can't make me say otherwise). My average ROI (before this week) was -2%. Basically, that meant I was breaking even/slightly up against the players and paying Stars off. Not good. But the graphs were more revealing.

First was a reminder that I used to be much, much more successful (the last uptick is after I ran this last week):

This was reassuring in that it reminded me that I didn't always suck at tourneys, and disheartening as it underlined that my overall stats masked just how bad I'd been running in the last few months at these.

But then I noticed the second graph:

This was reinforced by this graph:

Interesting. I really really sucked at low (10-30) buyins. But I did not suck at bigger buyins. At all it seems. Ok, part of this is because once I went on a bad streak, I banished myself to lower stakes. But was any of it that my game was best suited up a little? I know this is theoretically silly (Iggy's voice calling me an idiot echoes) but let's break it down. Lower stakes means more calling stations. Lower stakes means aggression less important--patience more important. Is my inner poker player patient or aggro? For those that have played with me, that's a rhetorical question.

What about focus? Do I focus more when the money is bigger? Yes and no and very much yes. Yes because to some extent we all do. No because I am very competitive and usually care just as much no matter the stakes. Very much yes because I play a lot of donk tourneys with bloggers. Alcolol is occasionally involved. Neither of these is plus EV. Not enough to explain the magnitude of the bad stats, but not inconsequential either.

So what to do? One answer, develop patience at lower limits to win there consistently too. Ok, that's a good idea. Resolution: do that.

Second answer, use new rediscovered confidence at cash games and take a shot back at bigger stakes, at least 1 table sit and goes. Not ready to get back into 100+9s. That's outside of my new bankroll guidelines. So how about 50+5s?

That's what I've done this week, and so far, it's been pretty damn promising, albeit lacking data. In six 50+5s since Sunday, my ROI has been over 70% as I've had 2 firsts and 1 second.

Tonight was the best however, at least emotionally. Started out like shit. After dinner and watching Scrubs on Tivo with Mrs. Sox, I fired one up. Two bad moves, 1 "bad fold" (it was a reasonable fold to a very good bluff), 1 bad beat and 20 minutes later, I busted 9th of 9 (it was a somewhat tight table).

Fired up another, and it was even worse. Played my game, tight aggro. Made what I felt was a great move:

Poker Stars, No Limit Holdem Tournament, Blinds: t25/t50, 8 players, Converter

Stack sizes:
UTG: t3730
UTG+1: t1815
MP1: t1710
MP2: t1155
CO: t1305
SoxLover: t1675

SB: t1455
BB: t655

Pre-flop: (8 players) SoxLover is Button with T♥ 9♥
UTG raises to t150, 4 folds, SoxLover calls t150 (pot was t225), 2 folds.
Flop: 6♣ 2♣ 8♠ (t375, 2 players)
UTG bets t150, SoxLover calls t150 (pot was t525).
Turn: J♠ (t675, 2 players)
UTG bets t350, SoxLover calls t350 (pot was t1025).
River: K♣ (t1375, 2 players)
UTG bets t200, SoxLover raises to t650, UTG calls t450 (pot was t2225).

UTG showed As Jd, takes down final pot of t2675 with a pair of Jacks.

I actually think I played this hand well enough except I underestimated my opponents ability to fold. I mean, the smooth calls should have represented a made hand like a set, a flush draw, or at least overs. The river bet was significant but designed to look like it wanted to be called (wonder if it would have worked if I had pushed). I guess I outplayed myself there. At least I know he would have paid off my straight. OK, arguably I'm the donkey in this hand. Sue me.

I was crippled like shit, down to 375, at risk of busting out 8th after just busting out 9th. Crap. I then got a little lucky, getting rockets to stand up against 9s to double up. Life support for several more orbits as we lost 2 players. Then a big "suckout" as a got someone with A8 to call my KQ all in reraise and I came from a little behind. Far from a big stack, but average and well off the mat. Then I got revenge on the big stack idiot who had called my bluff, smooth calling his utg raise on the big blind with slick, pushing when a king hit and loving his call of a 1500 bet into a 650 pot with KT.

Good to have chips again, even better the source. Got a good run of cards, won several coin tosses, lost some money when popped on an ill timed bluff, stole a lot of blinds. Stole even more blinds.

Busted a few players, including my nemesis on coinflips or when I was a bit behind (though twice in a cruel way where the flop brought put them way ahead but runner runners runned them over).

Finally, I was heads up with the player who I'd marked as the best at the table. We jousted, but I think he was not quite the heads up player that he was full and short handed. I got cards, played aggressive and tricky as I could (I managed to take down 3 straight hands with 25 off, once with a flopped pair improved to turned straight and twice with bluffs), and suddenly there I was. From 375 to all the chips. That felt great.

It's only 6 sessions, but I'm encouraged for now.

Tomorrow night, home game at Jordan's.


At Fri Apr 21, 10:43:00 AM 2006, Blogger SirFWALGMan said...

My brain is bleeding now.. Write your posts in Microsoft Word. Cut. Paste. It will save you pain.


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