“I woke up early and took the first train to take me away from the city'' -Charlotte Eriksson
Early in this case means before 10 am, and the first train means the first one with business class seats left:
So far my track record in a game with 72 aka seven-deuce aka worst starting hand in holdem & mississippi straddle is in the red, but Im relying on the fact that Ive only had one session of it and my skills didn't realise yet. Anyways, today I took the train to play that game again and see how it goes. Buying into the the seven-deuce additional bounty gives me an incredibly nice option of raising my preflop monsters into something ridiculous like 15-20BB as long as the table has good action going.
Even though I don't have much of a track record in 72 mississippi holdem, what I DO have on my belt is plenty of hours played in this card room I'm headed to. Played low 4-figs of hours of PLO and NLHE there during several years, so it feels kind of the same when you arrive to any familiar place and just know how to do things there without having to adjust consciously too much. In this particular environment, I just know I'm in a good position to crush the game.
So the battle plan for today is:
[x] 10.00 am Wake up
[x] 10.15 am Listen to a poker podcast
[x] 11.00 - 13.00 pm Business stuff & pack your things & book a hotel n train
[x] 13.05 pm Breakfast smoothie
[in progress] 13.20-16.00 pm Travel & write a blog post
[ ] 16.10 pm Arrive to hotel
[ ] 16.20 pm Go for a run in the city center
[ ] 16.30 pm Sign-up to the 72 Mississippi game [Wearing your running gear lol]
[ ] 16.45 pm Cold shower & drying hair
[ ] 16.55 pm Walk & take your seat
[ ] 23.30 pm Last hand
[ ] = Profit ???
[ ] 23.45 pm Cashout & night life if other players going too
Let's try to execute this in a clean manner. GL at the tables!
"Winter Is Coming" -House of Stark motto
I'm writing this post in the hotel lobby after waking just before noon and exiting my hotel room. The schedule I planned was quite accurate except for one box:
[x 13.20-16.00 pm Travel & write a blog post
[x] 16.10 pm Arrive to hotel
[x] 16.20 pm Go for a run in the city center
[x] 16.30 pm Sign-up to the 72 Mississippi game [Wearing your running gear lol]
[x] 16.45 pm Cold shower & drying hair
[x] 16.55 pm Walk & take your seat
[x] 20.00pm Dinner
[x] 23.45 pm Last hand
[ ] = Profit ???
[x] 23.45 pm Cashout
[x] 23.55-04.30am Karaoke & Dance Floor
So what happened exactly? Let's just say that you can always win G-bucks or Sklanskys if you're one of the best players at the table, but you don't always win real bucks. So yeah, that's what basically happened. The game wasn't even 27 or mississippi, but that didn't slow things down much. I feel exhausted for having played since Thursday last week in pretty much the wildest Holdem games I've ever sat in and having barely broken even, but that's often the reality you gotta deal with if you play poker. Everyone is eventually going to run way worse than they thought is possible, and this is not even close to what could have gone down.
To be honest, Running 150 buy-ins under ev online in one year didn't feel this overwhelming, as you could get rakeback and bonuses to cover the losses. In live games, you get nothing, nada, zero, except more experience of EV not being realised when you hit the front gates of abyss (as DGAF likes to call it). Entering and staying in the abyss is another thing though, I'm not quite there yet, and it's out of my control anyways.
Nowadays I think the winner of the hand is decided before the hand even starts, and it's just a (somewhat) challenging simulation you've gotta run through. Everything between busto and robusto can be experienced with various types of emotions, mostly depending on your current direction i.e. if you're going up or down - basically its just all noise, as are all the monthly and yearly results too. Your goal should be to play your best and stay in the game, and EVENTUALLY you will get lucky at some point. For the entrepreneurial minds of you, the same principle should apply to business too.
Let's get to the HH's:
Hand number 1: The Kid Who Does (Not) Bet With Garbage
Starting point: Villain 1 has seen hero play solid whole evening, and Villain 2 doesn't care much until the bets become significant. It's time to play some deepstack poker with +300bb eff stacks.
Villain 1 raises to 6, Villain 2 raises 28, UTG+3 cold calls, Hero calls, BB calls, Villain 1 calls
Checks to Villain 2 who bets 82, UTG+3 folds, Hero calls, BB folds, Villain 1 calls
Checks to Hero, Hero takes a Phil Helmuth posture and bets 320, Villain 1 seems reluctant to let his hand go but probably must think he's beaten and folds, Villain 2 says he's got outs and calls.
Villain 2 checks, Hero is in awkward position with around 100bb left and decides to check as value betting here would be REALLY thin. Hero scoops the pot against .
Even though we're quite sure our pair of sixes is good here like +80% of the time, it's really hard to get called by a 5x or a 3x that had some kind of draw to call the turn as we block the hearts and the gutshot. Any draw containing 8x beats us now, and we also lose to 6x with better kicker.
We win a few medium pots, and suddenly have a good stack to play with:
Hand number 2: The Rounders Moment
Starting point: Same villains as in the previous hands, the table will close soon. Villain 2 has 500bb, Hero has 750BB, Villain 1 has +1000BB
Hero raises to 12, UTG+2 calls, Villain 2 raises to 72, Villain 1 raises to 300 from SB, Hero calls, Villain 2 calls
Villain 1 bets 750, Hero raises all-in to 1.2k, Villain 2 calls, Villain 1 snap calls. Hero tables KK and asks if Villain 1 has Aces - the answer is no.
Hero asks if Villain 1 hit that one. The answer is yes.
Villain 1 scoops the pot with
After this Hero loses one more flip with against preflop. I wonder did I do something wrong here?
Well, in some distant future where I have a series of rungood sessions this session will be just a funny memory. To be continued...
“Fasten your seatbelts. It's going to be a bumpy night.” -Batty Koda
Last night it was the same circus of poker, karaoke & dancing again, except I had breakfast as early as at 4.30 pm and we decided to get some Subway sandwhiches before calling it a day at around 6.15 am. I was prepared to take a lot of close to zero EV flips as the buy-in cap was restricted to 200eur today with 2/2 blinds, but this time after losing the first bullet we never had to reach out to the wallet for the rest of the night.
Recap of key hands before we started to play deep stack poker:
Hand number 1: Range flat Into a Overbet Shove
Starting point: Every hand has been 3b so far - this time was exception for some weird reason but it ended up well for the hero.
UTG raises to 6, UTG+1 calls, UTG+2 calls, Hero calls , CO calls, BB calls
UTG bets around 2/3 pot, UTG+1 folds, UTG +2 calls, Hero raises to 194, CO & BB fold, UTG calls, UTG+2 calls
Hero scoops the pot with set of aces. UTG+1 claimed to have quite a bad hand.
Hand number 2: Downbet Inducer
Starting point: Unknown villain OTB who hasn't gone to showdown yet.
Hero raises to 6, CO calls, BTN calls, BB calls.
Checks to Hero, Hero bets 14, CO folds, BTN calls, BB folds
Hero bets 22/40% of the pot, BTN raises to 64, Hero goes all-in and covers, BTN calls remaining 150
Nut straight no good as BTN shows .
Hand number 3: Range flat Into a cooler flop
Dead raise to X (10-12) on UTG.
HJ raises to 40ish, Hero calls, UTG calls
UTG bets pot, HJ raises to 250, Hero goes allin for 320, UTG calls, HJ calls
UTG shows , HJ shows , Hero scoops the pot with kings.
Hand number 4: Clash
Dead raise to 4 from UTG
UTG+2 raises to 40, BTN raises all-in to 90, Hero goes all-in for 1k, UTG+2 calls remaining 500
UTG +2 shows , BTN flashes , Hero scoops the pot with the nut straight.
Hero orders a cup of green tea with honey, and prepares to play some postflop poker. To be continued...
“The Grind Never Ends”
We are reaching the 1000bb threshold which means we need to be prepared to play some actual poker. Well, in this case, that mostly means street poker where every top pair is basically the nuts, but besides thin valuebetting we'll only want to bet postflop in case we have some kind of equity - at this table betting with pure airballs (especially on the river) might not be a very profitable strategy.
Hand number 5: River Sizing
Starting point: Finally a hand where we can flat for a decent price preflop in position.
Dead raise to 4 from UTG
UTG +1 raises to 40, UTG+2 calls, Hero calls, BB calls
UTG+1 bets 200, UTG+2 folds, Hero calls, BB folds
UTG+1 checks, Hero checks
UTG+1 checks, Hero bets 280, UTG+1 calls & shows - Hero scoops the pot with pair of nines.
Analysis: Preflop our most profitable options are either to 3bet or flat. Here we prefer flatting since having to call a large 4bet diminishes our positional value for the rest of the hand. On the flop our equity is good enough to flat for two streets (at least on a blank turn) - UTG+1 decides to check the turn, and we can rule out big draws at this point from his range. The most likely holdings he should take this line with have some type of a SD value like 6x or 7x, possibly 8x or 88. We check behind as our hand is a bit too weak to go for value on both the turn and the river.
On the river we have a clear value bet against a check, and we want to choose a sizing that can be called by any one pair hand containing a 6 or a 7. Betting 40-45% of the pot should do the job fine in this pot.
Hand number 6: Push The Equity
UTG +1 raises to 10, UTG+2 calls, Hero raises to 52, SB calls, UTG+1 calls, UTG+2 folds
Hero bets 84, SB raises to 250, Hero goes all-in, SB calls remaining 700
Hero shows second-nut Flush, SB mucks.
Analysis: Preflop our hand is strong enough to 3b and we want to go for value with any top pair postflop. SB coldcalls which is quite interesting - we can basically rule out the absolute preflop monsters from both his and UTG +1’s range. On the somewhat wet flop half pot sizing is okay, and we have way too much equity to not continue after SB’s raise. Flatting the SB’s raise OOP with little more than potsized bet left will make our hand hard to play, and by shoving over the top on the flop we get realize our whole equity in case SB calls us.
I lost one 3bet 3way pot with on the button, as BB coldcalled . Luckily only 1 bet went in postflop. Before that though we had a HU 3bet pot in position:
Hand number 7: Game Theory Equilibrium
Dead raise to 4 from UTG
Hero raises to 12, SB folds, BB raises to 42, UTG folds, Hero calls
BB bets 32, Hero calls
BB checks, Hero checks
BB bets 104, Hero raises allin, BB calls remaining 310
Hero shows rivered two pair, BB flashes AA and mucks.
Analysis: Our hand is the worst suited 8x we defend against 3b. The flop is a clear defend again in position with the middle pair + backdoor draws. On the turn we have some showdown value against A-highs or bluffs that didnt improve enough in equity to bet the turn, so we check. The river bet looks like AQ, KQ or possibly a thin valuebet with Jx. We raise to get value from one pair hands.
The runbad from yday has turned upside down:
For the last 2 hours we dont get much big hands, and at 2.00 am its time to continue the circus into playing ping-pong and night club tour.
06.15 am: Good time to close your eyes. To be continued...
''Practice like you've never won. Perform like you've never lost.''
Song playing in the background: Dire Straits - Money For Nothing
It's 2020 and the theme of the poker year is locked for my poker playing character, that little nerd inside me that wants to figure out everything but has failed in implementing his strategies at the tables too often. In the heat of the battle your fears and monkey mind sometimes take over, and that's gotta change with this new theme. Come in drum roll...
2020: Solid riding all the way
True, its a bit of a letdown since it's not all that exciting. But, neither is the Cadillac of Poker, No Limit Holdem - at least for the most part. I mean it's exciting when you play a hand that develops into a huge clash - in between it's just hours of grinding tiny edges and folding all over again.
So, the theme of 2020 for hero is having no spews. Solid riding all the way, I like the sound of that and that's what we're sticking to day after day until its Day 365 of the journey.
So far it's been 9 days with consecutive sessions and we're already doing quite well with just a few too loose preflop punches, but deliberate practice will make perfect and removing those old bad habits is just a matter of repetitions. If I want to realize my potential in poker in the limited time I allocate for playing, I must truly be motivated by best decisions alone, not the excitement and fun of it. So, the plan is to play like a professional with monk-like discipline with amateur hours and pretty averagish skills.
In the beginning of the year we've been trying our hand in PLO a bit, but NLHE is still far move profitable for me in terms of risk-adjusted returns due to preflop equities running so close to each other in PLO. A few towers built from 200eur starting stacks during second week of January:
Flop the world in PLO
The first poker trip of the year will in February for me, which is a good milestone to keep me inspired & motivated. Until then, this blog will be about random updates mostly about maintaining the theme of the year and mindset stuff.
But fear not, February and poker adventure is just around the corner. To be continued...
Song & narration playing in my head: Rounders intro scene
It's Day 15 of live poker in a row. I'm running above expectation, most sessions have been smooth sailing.
Yesterday poker was quite fun, and since I haven't played any interesting NLHE hands for a while, there was one hand with multiple factors that made it interesting:
Hand number 1: Overpair plan
Starting point: Table is having a good time and there has been quit a lot of action.
NLHE 2.5/2.5€ blinds, effective stacks around 350eur, dead raise to 10€ from UTG+1
Hero raises to 25, BTN calls, UTG+1 calls
UTG+1 checks, Hero bets 37.5€ (around 1/2 pot), BTN raises to 120, UTG+1 calls, Hero...
UTG+1 checks, Hero checks, BTN checks
UTG+1 checks, Hero bets all-in 192.5€, BTN calls, UTG+1 folds - Hero scoops the pot with pair of nines.
Analysis: The preflop open was a bit smallish but fine, and flop is obviously great for us. We bet 1/2 pot since its multiway and we're sandwiched in case both opponents continue - could consider also betting a bit smaller. When button raises and UTG+1 calls, we're either way behind or in a decent shape against 8x and a possible straight draw or another pair. Since we don't have that much behind we could argue for a shove, but I would just flat my sets and hands like AA or KK against the raise here so wanted to play this hand also by a range flat. The runout is quite good although 75 and 53 got there, but as UTG+1 checks on the river and is the most likely player to have a straight draw like that (since he pretty much needs to call all hands after putting in the dead raise and being offered great odds preflop, including 530 and 75o) we're pretty likely to be ahead and can go for a thin value shove here.
Lately most of hero's mistakes have occurred due to dead money in the pot in the form of missed blinds or something similar, and otherwise we've been able to stick to the theme of 2020 pretty nicely. Booked the trip to Kings of Tallinn and we have a little over 3 weeks to grind the cash games before this trip - may the flops be with us!
Oh boy, the sail is set - King's of Tallinn, here we come!
Less than 14 hours to the departure - hoping we go on an even keel as the Maria storm has hit the coast since the weekend. You can expect the first session report at latest on Thursday noon.
Four Kings & Soldier Fieldcorner (prelude)
It's been a somewhat frantic three point giddy days, and with frantic I mean I haven't had the energy nor time to write an update. Short story short, we can jump into the notes of the trip so far.
Ferry trip to Tallinn
Nothing special here, we played Pineapple OFC for 2.5 hours which was the first session for me of that format. The stakes were moderate though and I managed to lose over 100 points in the first 5 hands, and climb out of the whole towards the end.
HH: 3bet when you sense weakness, shutdown to catch the upcoming shove
Table has opened, 5/5 blinds.
CO raises to 15, BTN flats, SB folds, Hero pops it to 80, CO quickly folds, button tanks a bit & calls
Hero checks, BTN checsk
Hero checks, BTN bets 85, Hero calls
Hero checks, BTN bets 400, Hero snap calls rest of stack about 360ish
BTN shows , pair of jacks is good for Hero
4bet-shoves of the week, in good and bad
5/5 Blinds, special situation
UTG calls, UTG+1 calls, Hero raises to 65 from SB, folds to UTG+1, UTG+1 shoves 500e, Hero calls
5/5 Blinds, villain is stuck with the 3bet button
Hero raises to 15 from MP, CO 3bets, Hero throws in 400e, CO folds
5/5 Blinds, villain is stuck with the 3bet button again
Hero raises to 15 from UTG+3, HJ 3bets, Hero throws in 400e, HJ tanks for 2 minutes and folds
5/5 Blinds, Hero might as well be a fried fish on a frying pan
Hero raises to 15 from UTG, UTG+1 flats, UTG+3 3bets what seems a smallish sizing, Hero spazzes all the chips in middle and gets called
5/5 Blinds, Hero goes bull-mode due to capped flat
MP raises to 15, villain with stuck 3bet button 3bets to 60, SB flats, Hero wakes up from the BB and shoves for 500 effective, quick folds to SB who calls within 3 seconds and asks if hero has a good pair 💣
aka nut-connectors vs XX
Beer shove of the week
Floor steps behind the table to make out a ruling in a situation where two goes end-up all-in for +400BB effective each preflop with vs .
Floor manages to panic under pressure enough to shove the beer from a side table into Hero's lap. Hero raises from the chair and goes for a change of clothes.
Character of the week
Character of the week goes to Soldier Fieldcorner, who will be watching you with eye's sharp as eagles', mind focused as magnetic needles. Before I go into a boorish rhyming mode, let's just say that due to his recent operations, Soldier Fieldcorner might be hopping into the stories of our Beast Lifestyle section at some point in the near future, and the format is yet to be decided.
Overall report of the games coming in once the action is over & dust has settled.
For now, peace out!
Robotic grinders make good players, but we're mostly interested in what makes great poker players. From what I've obseverd, I think it's mostly openness to new ideas, which translates into intelligence. Combined with hard, deliberate practice of course - too much practice for a normal person to handle! Nobody ever played great chess without considering all the 64 squares of the board, as any one of those might offer the most advantageous move. So is the case in poker: 95/100 of hands might be played with standard lines by both good and great players, but in those 5/100 hands great players will find a higher EV live to maximally exploit their opponents. Am I going to prove this? Its prolly better that you try it out yourself like I did last night - poker is a game where you don't find what you can get away with unless you're sometimes willing to push it to the edge. You can quote me on that one!
Background on the session: I hit the tables at 5.00 PM sharp and played for 2 hours, then hit the gym and dinner, then hit the tables again playing until 2:00 AM. I very much enjoyed playing the whole time and actually managed to play some decent poker in some hands. But, as poker is a zero sum game, you should not give yourself the credit of being a god-like player even if you win - the following pictures just sums up how profit is usually derived in poker (Sklansky would approve!)
Hand number 1: Realize your equity, prevent them from doing the same
Starting point: Play has been quite passive
NLHE 2.5/2.5€ blinds, effective stacks around 500eur with villain.
UTG+1 limps, BTN limps, Hero checks, BB checks (actually UTG+3 might have limped as well, the pot is at least 4 way)
Hero bets 10€, folds, BTN calls
Hero bets 15€, BTN calls
Hero checks, BTN bets 30€, Hero looks at the 64 squares and raises to 140€, BTN tanks for 1 minute already lifting his cards before mucking for a long moment, open-folds
On the flop we could go for a check-call or a lead, and as we prefer to be able to rep all strong hands, we go for the lead. BTN should call us with hands like A2, K2, any 3, any 5x and obviously some stronger hands than ours. On the turn our lead is quite thin, but we still want to prevent 5x from realizing their equity for free and against this particular villain who has played quite tight we don't expect to get raised too often here. On the river we cant go for value and we have a blocker to the straight, check should be our best option. Villain bets quite quickly which seem to be some type of value hand, but he would certainly think for a bit longer with nutted hands. What to do?
We're most likely not getting the right odds to bluff-catch with this hand and we have some better hands to do that with, so making a big check-raise seemed like the best option when you really 'consider all the squares' as deciding which one offers the best move here. If we just take a standard line here like check-calling flop and folding turn, we never get to realize our equity cheaply - in a weak NLHE game we can just put on an overdrive mode and maximize our fold equity. It's definitely not solver-approved way for playing, but on good live tables it seems to work fine.
Next update will be about the 3 archetypes of people in poker: The Players, The Grinders & The Pussies.