Monday, August 30, 2004

10 SNG Don'ts

Poker strategy is mostly a matter of situations and "feels" and gut instincts based on observations, but there are some points that are generally agreed upon... strategy that is widely-held as "basic" or "fundamental". Everyone has an opinion, but sometimes things are pretty much black and white. As a goal for analyzing my own play, I set out to nail down 10 things that I should never do when playing the Empire/Party SNGs (some of them carry over into other games, or are universal). The following is that list. I know I love to read strategy, even basic strategy and thought I'd contribute something for people to read. Feel free to leave a comment and tell me something important that I've missed, or why I might be wrong. Here we go (no real order here, they're all important):

1. Don't play $5 tournaments.

This is one of those things that I learned the hard way before I became fully convinced it was good advice. The basic problem is this: the buy-in is $5, and the entry fee (rake) is $1, which equals 20% of the buy-in. Now, if you move up to the $10 tournaments, the buy-in is $10 and the entry fee/rake is still $1, which equals 10% of the buy-in. So in the $5 tourneys you're paying more, to win less, when you do win.

An example of what I am talking about can be seen when we compare two 3rd place finishes:

In a $5+1 you'd win $10 (10 players x $5 x 20%)
So you paid $6, won $10, netted $4
ROI: 67%

In a $10+1 you'd win $20 (10 players x $10 x 20%)
So you paid $11, won $20, netted $9
ROI: 82%

Here's a table that spells it out:

buy-in + entry1st ROI2nd ROI3rd ROI
$5 + $1317%150%67%
$10 + $1354%173%82%
$20 + $2354%173%82%
$30 + $3354%173%82%

...and so on, as long as the entry fee is 10% of the buy-in.

The differences in ROI might not seem that large, but over the course of time and many games, the 20% entry fees will really eat into any possible winnings you might have at the $5 level. Perhaps more importantly, there is a negligible increase in the skill of the players between the $5 to $20 SNGs, and certainly not between the $5 and the $10 ones. If you can win at the $5 level, you can just as easily win at the $10 level.

The ONLY exception I would make to this rule is if you are a player who is new to online sit-and-go play. You have to play real money games to get a feel for things, but you're probably going to lose some money in the beginning, so it probably makes some sense to play the $5 games to minimize the loss. Be honest with yourself about your skill level... if you basically just know "what hand beats what" and how the game is played, you shouldn't be playing for real money yet. If you've read some strategy, and can consistently at least break even at the $5 level, it's definitely time to move up to $10, or higher, depending on your means. The point is, not many people fall into the category of "those who should be playing $5 SNGs".

2. Don't try and play with too small of a bankroll.

If you want to win long-term at the SNGs, you've got to start with enough money to outlast the variance and beats you are going to encounter through the normal course of play. I would say that a good high figure to start with would be 20x the buy-in/entry. So if you're going to play $10+1 tournaments, you might want to start with $220. The absolute lowest that I would start with is 10x the buy-in/entry (for $10+1 that would be $110). Much less than that and you run the risk of hitting a run of bad luck and bad cards and those inevitable poor plays that we all make sometimes, which could bust you out of money completely, even if it takes a while.

With that said, if you find yourself not finishing "in the money" at least 33% of the time, there's probably some parts of your game you're going to need to work on. Everyone has bad streaks. I had a terrible run of 13 games without a money finish not too long ago. I'd say that 13 games is pretty extreme though (and due to a few of the other points on this list no doubt). But overall, with good play and a proper bankroll, you can overcome bad luck and your own mistakes.

3. Don't play drunk.

This might seem like a no-brainer, and it is, but I would bet that anyone who drinks and plays poker has mixed the two with negative results at least once. Sure, you can have a drink or two and still play well, but there is a threshold where you're going to end up playing a little looser, gambling a little more, pushing a little harder because of alcohol. Obviously you don't want to play ripped-up, fall-down drunk, but you need to watch that "hey so I have a little buzz, I'm having fun" attitude just as much. It can cost you, and will. Go find yourself a quarter/half neighborhood game where everyone is drinking and set a limit. Have fun. Don't blow it online against sober solid players.

4. Don't play depressed, angry, or upset.

This one will really bite into your roll. You end up bored, lonely, depressed about something in your non-poker life, and decide to play anyway. Pretty soon you're frustrated, impatient, and trying plays that you would never play if you were in a good mood: ridiculous steal attempts, overbetting, and most disastrously, the "let's gamble, I'm all-in" play. Sure any two cards can win, but not when you're sitting at a full table under the gun and three guys call your J4o bluff. Playing while depressed, angry, or upset is like being on tilt as soon as you sit down, before you even play a hand. It's worse than playing drunk: at least if you play drunk and lose some money, you'll probably have fun doing it. Pissed off and broke is never fun.

5. Don't switch between $5, $10, $20, and $30 levels.

There's nothing fundamentally bad about switching between the lower levels; as I've already mentioned, the skill at these tables is basically the same. But that's also the reason why you shouldn't switch often: if the skill of the other players is basically the same, you should have about the same chance of winning a $10 SNG as you do a $20 SNG. So who's to say fate won't bite you in the ass and let you money in the cheaper ones and get knocked out in 4th place in the more expensive ones? Switching levels is a good way to have a good ITM% (in the money %) and still be just barely breaking even, or worse.

There's nothing wrong with trying a more expensive level now and again when your bankroll is far enough into positive territory to allow it, but in general you should pick a level you can afford, and stick with it. Grind it out.

6. Don't get busted out when you started a hand with more than 8x the BB.

I stole this one from pokernerd's SNG strategy post, and it's worth repeating. The logic behind this is mainly that you should NEVER make bad enough calls to get busted when you started a hand with a stack that was far from desperate. Never go all-in, unless you are 99% certain that you will win the hand unless: 1) you have less than 8x the BB, or 2) you're already in-the-money. I even usually extend this logic a little further and set my limit at 6x the BB. Also, 99% certain, doesn't necessarily mean that the hand you hold is a 99% favorite... but it should be damn near uncrackable. Sure, your opponent could have quads and beat your full house, but that isn't going to happen often enough to worry about. However, with you holding trips, 4 spades showing on the board and none in your hand, you don't want to bust out. Fold it down if your opponent bets you all in, and conversely don't try anything fancy that can cost you chips. Live to play another day. If you want to "gamble", go play the lottery. Tournament poker is all about survival.

7. Don't play for second place.

When it's down to three, and you're already in the money, play to win. Play for first. The prize is a good bit better than the second place one, whereas a second finish is only worth a little more than a third. There's a lot of slightly different strategies you can take when it's down to three players, but they all share one quality: aggression. You don't want to just outlast someone so you can slide into second place, you want to attack. Too much aggression is stupid, but too much is ALWAYS better than not enough when down to 3 players.

8. Don't do other things while you're playing.

This one might have a few exceptions, and we'll get to those, but it certainly can't hurt to follow this advice. It seems to me, that if you're playing several games at once, or watching television, or instant messaging a friend while you're playing, you're missing information and cues from other players that might be useful later on. As well, if you're busy doing something else, your mind is not really on poker... you're not sitting there evaluating every hand, watching how people play, reminding yourself what your strategy should be at every moment. If you're a winning player long-term, and you think you can do something else while you're playing, or play multiple tables, try it sometime. Just don't ignore your stat book or journal when they start telling you that you should focus on one game at a time.

The possible exception to this rule is during levels 1 and 2. You're going to be folding often, which can become boring. I wrote most of this list while in the early levels of tournaments, but once level 3 came around, it was definitely time to start paying attention to things. Do something else if you must, but know when to start watching. Ideally, you give yourself the most advantage by paying attention the whole game, but that also takes discipline to not get bored and frustrated with the pace and end up making foolish plays.

9. Don't think you are better than you really are.

We call those people "suckers" or "fish". Everyone has leaks in thier game which cause them to either lose money, or not make as much as they should be making. Winning at poker long-term takes a lot of patience, and a lot of self-observation and analysis. You should always be improving your game, no matter how good you think you are. Every single time you do not make the money, figure out one thing that you did wrong, or one thing that you could have done better. Keep a journal of these things and work on them. Remind yourself of them as you're playing. Turn weaknesses into strengths. You're not that good, and neither am I.

10. Don't be a dick.

This one I might get some argument with from a few people I know. It's my thinking, that anytime you antagonize or annoy the other players, you just paint a big red bulls eye on your chip stack.

Online play is often criticized because you cannot see a face or notice body language. (as you probably know however, there are other "tells" and patterns you can observe online) You're basically playing against faceless, emotionless computer avatars most of the time. When you start complaining about your hands, or crying about a beat, people will notice. It's not enough for them to read your hand or anything, but now they are paying attention to you, which I would argue is generally a bad thing.

Worse than drawing attention to yourself, is screaming for it. Taking the full amount of time to act every time is one example. Saying things to other players that involve censored words is another. It's more than bad etiquette, it's probably making you a target. People are going to take delight in busting you now, and mostly, you don't want that.

People may say, "but if other players are gunning for me, that just makes them more likely to make a bad call, or overbet against me", and that might be true, and yes, you could probably use that to your advantage. My theory is: most of us would probably do better plugging our own leaks rather than attempting to create them in other people.

So say "n1" (nice one) or "nh" (nice hand) when someone shows a full house or makes a nice play. Say "gg" (good game) when you bust someone out, or when you get busted out. If the table is chatty and friendly, participate a little. Just don't be a dick or draw unnecessary attention to yourself.

That's it for now... I'm sure most of this is pretty straight forward, but I'd appreciate any feedback or other ideas.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

I'm considering re-naming this weblog "Wired Kings", because I always seem to have them cracked in some ridiculous chip-depleting fashion. This time I was in the early rounds of a SNG, with 9 players left, dispite the seemingly loose play I was seeing. I see my KK and decide to throw out a ridiculous bet, hoping to get some action from the fools who are playing any two suited cards. If not, I'll get a few arguably small blinds. Whatever.

One person calls my 250 chip bet, and another raises me all-in behind him. Now I'm a little worried about pocket aces, but mostly about these chumps holding Ax and the board putting up an ace. I call all-in, and the guy who called my original 250 folds. My competitor shows 99 vs my KK, and the board flops a 9.

Why would this guy re-raise all-in with a 99 when there was a raise and a call in front? At BEST he had to know he was going to be looking at two overcards from at least one opponent. That puts him at about 50% chance to win the hand, and he just risked almost his entire stack. There are better spots to push. Why would I raise to 250 with garbage to steal 25 chips in blinds?

So assuming anyone is actually reading this, is/was there anything wrong with my 250 chip bet? Could I have played this better somehow? Perhaps more interesting is my opponent: is his play here as stupid (yet lucky) as I have pointed out, or is there some strange wisdom in what he did that I'm not seeing?

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

I've been busy playing the Empire/Party SNGs for the past few days with moderate success. I say "moderate" because although I have been winning more as time goes on (no doubt due to improved play), I'm still disappointed with a lot of my finishes. There have been a disheartening number of 4ths, and a good many 3rds where I had hoped for higher. After playing 34 SNGs total so far, and having a good day today, I thought a little reflection was in order.

I play well against 2 opponents and heads-up (at least I think I do). Most people seem to agree that once you're in the money, you play for first and generally play loose, fast, and all out (especially against weak/tight opponents). With 5 1sts, 8 3rds, and only 1 2nd place finish, I'd say I'm doing something right when I make it to the money. I'd like to see a few more firsts in that distribution, but I accept that luck plays a HUGE part when the blinds are 400/800. The point is, I don't puss out and hope for 2nd place: I push hard.

While we're talking in-the-money play, it should be noted that a lot of times that I took a 3rd, I came into the money on a short stack. Against high blinds and other powerful players, that's admittedly a tough spot to be in, but there's a leak in my game here somewhere that I'd like to work on. Either I've got to work on making it to the money with more chips, or perhaps gamble a little less when short stacked and try and pick my spots to push in better. There's always that little euphoric sigh of relief once I'm in the money (especially when I was a few blinds from elimination), that is so easily followed by an all-in "hey let's gamble" bet from me. It's not horrible strategy, but I might do better to relax and wait for a medium-decent hand if I can, instead of ATC.

The bigger problem for me (and this is related to coming into the money short) is the number of 4th-6th place finishes I've had: 14 in all (which is equal to the number of 1st-3rd place finishes). I recall a few times I got booted in 5th or 6th on bad beats or plays that upon reflection I couldn't have played much differently, but there were definitely some times where I gambled and lost here. I know I've bluffed at some bad pots where a simple check would have been the better play. Overall, I think a few things I need to watch myself doing are:
  • Limping with cards that aren't "bad", but are bad in early or middle position. Playing easily-dominated hands like KJo from early position in the early levels is a sure way to flop something you can't get away from, but are almost certainly beat with.
  • Not limping enough in late position with medium strength hands. Especially with few callers in front, I should probably play more on the button. I know position is important, but in some ways and situations I fail to apply it fully.
  • Bluffing on the flop, especially out of position. Sometimes it works, but most often someone will raise behind me, or I end up betting into some fancy dandy that flopped a full house and is gonna check raise all in.
  • Start taking note of bubble play situations, especially those where I ended up in 4th. I end up here on the short stack more than I would prefer, which is undoubtedly half of the problem (see above 3 points). Even then, I tend to play the "steal a blind here and there and wait for someone to get beat" strategy, which I should probably stick with unless I am the chip leader or near the chip leader. I don't know what the leaks are, but if I start paying attention I should be able to stop them and move into the money more often.
I'm also discovering just how truly awesome the poker blogging world really is. There is a TON of information and strategy out there. Two excellent posts on SNG strategy are Poker Nerd's SNG Strategy and this useful response to it. (both are excellent poker blogs)

Lastly, I should reveal that although my overal SNG return on investment is hovering somewhere in the single digit percentages, in my last 6 games it's been above 50%, and I'd like to think that's not just a lucky streak.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Bad beat. It's probably up there as one of the most common phrases you'll hear out of a poker player's mouth. There's some debate it seems as to exactly what a "bad beat" really is. Some people (most likely those who have been chasing Party Poker's "Bad Beat Jackpot") seem to think that a "bad beat" is when you hold aces full of kings and get beat by a royal straigh flush. There's no doubt that that would indeed be a truly bad beat, but the hands need not be that ridiculously good to use the term.

Then there are the people who seem to throw the term around every time they lose a pot at showdown. I even heard someone (probably a result of watching WPT, where they always include a key set of about 50 buzzwords per episode) use the term "bad beat" when he had been bluffed out of a pot and his opponent showed the garbage he was bluffing with.

Brunson's definition is probably what most people mean when they say "bad beat":

When you get a big hand cracked (beaten) by someone who was a big dog against you and made his longshot draw... you're said to have had a bad beat.

Still, there remains some silly semantic argument as to what constitutes a "big hand" or someone being a "big dog" (as in underdog). Whatever.

I've taken a couple of what I consider to be bad beats recently in some SNGs, both involving me holding pocket kings. First, some guy went all in pre-flop on a medium-to-short stack... everyone folded to me, and with KK, I felt pretty obligated to call with my own medium-to-short stack which just happened to be a little smaller than his. He shows a pair of fours, and I'm thinking I'm about to double up. The flop comes... 3 hearts... then the turn is a heart... then the river is a heart: the board makes a heart flush. Neither of my kings are hearts. One of his fours is. There is a 2 of hearts on the board and he wins with his flush with 4 kicker. Bad. Beat. I'm out in 6th place.

Then there is this kind of thing that I seem to run into with more regularity than I would obviously prefer:

***** Hand History for Game 859255882 *****
300/600 TourneyTexasHTGameTable (NL) (Tournament 5327805) - Thu Aug 19 10:51:41 EDT 2004
Table Table 11044 (Real Money) -- Seat 5 is the button
Total number of players : 4
Seat 3: SloppyFloppr (2637)
Seat 4: Elkerud (3946)
Seat 5: BigZ6 (880)
Seat 8: ME (537)
ME posts small blind (150)
SloppyFloppr posts big blind (300)
** Dealing down cards **
Dealt to ME [ Kh, Ks ]
Elkerud folds.
BigZ6 folds.
ME raises (387) to 537
ME is all-In.
SloppyFloppr calls (237)
** Dealing Flop ** : [ Ah, 4d, 8s ]
** Dealing Turn ** : [ 2d ]
** Dealing River ** : [ 7h ]
Creating Main Pot with $1074 with ME
** Summary **
Main Pot: 1074 |
Board: [ Ah 4d 8s 2d 7h ]
SloppyFloppr balance 3174, bet 537, collected 1074, net +537 [ 8d 2s ] [ two pairs, eights and twos -- Ah,8d,8s,2s,2d ]
Elkerud balance 3946, didn't bet (folded)
BigZ6 balance 880, didn't bet (folded)
ME balance 0, lost 537 [ Kh Ks ] [ a pair of kings -- Ah,Kh,Ks,8s,7h ]

Most insulting of all is playing for an hour for fourth place. These things are going to happen.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Arriving back in town from my vacation and honeymoon today, I was itching to try my hand at a $10+1 NL SNG (NL = no limit, SNG = sit-and-go... for those of you late to the party). I've lost a pretty pile of cash online at the $0.5/$1 low-limit tables so far, and conversely have done fairly well at the SNG tourneys. I've committed myself to sticking with the SNGs until I can build up a respectable roll, and repay my low-limit losses.

So I deposited a quick $50 with Empire Poker, which I had been meaning to try out for some time. Check out the Empire Poker Review and FAQ, which explains how Party Poker and Empire Poker play on the same tables... and having an account with both sites allows you to take advantages of 2 sets of promotions, bonuses, and comps. FYI, you can play on both sites from the same computer. I already had an account with Party Poker, and while I was away my ISP was kind enough to change my dynamic IP, allowing me to register with Empire. (You can just sign up using a different computer at a friends house or computer lab, etc... it appears that only the IP address and username must be different.)

At any rate, I played fairly solid in the SNG... perhaps even more aggressive than I have in the past. (That might be due to a little lazy time on my vacation I spent studying Super System). I bluffed at a lot of pots when I was in good position, and backed away from a few good ones when I knew I was beat. I took a rather easy 1st place, although I ended up playing heads-up a lot longer than I should have with the chip lead I had. I kept feeling like I didn't have the cards to pull the trigger. Finally I flopped a high flush, checked, and my opponent caught a straight on 4th street (a very easy read at that point).

$50 prize - $11 buy-in/entry fee = $39 profit. Not bad for an hour's worth of fun.

Friday, August 06, 2004

As a few people that I know have expressed interest in creating an account and depositing some real money to play with at partypoker, I went ahead and set up an affiliate account so everyone can benefit. It works like this:

Partypoker always has "bonus codes" that you can use when depositing money into your account, which typically are either an extra $25 or 20% of your deposit. It's definitely smart to take advantage of these promotions, however... you can get the same deal through an "affiliate", except they also get a bonus. So, it would be stupid for me to be referring friends to partypoker and not taking advantage of the bonuses I could be recieving as an affiliate too.

So if you're considering signing up, please feel free to do so via this link which will earn you the $25 deposit bonus, and earn me a few extra bucks for the bankroll as well. (I figured the kinds of people I would be likely to refer wouldn't be depositing more than $125 at first, so offering the flat $25 bonus made more sense than the 20% bonus. If someone cares enough to ask, I'll gladly offer that bonus too.)

I'm off to get married and honeymoon for a week or two. Wish me luck, and keep some for yourself too.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

My eventual goal with playing poker online, is to get to the point where I can maintain a bankroll and add to it occasionally with a good session. In learning how to best accomplish this, I'm prepared to drop a few hundred... you just can't learn without real money at stake.

Although for unknown reasons I am drawn towards the low-limit tables (perhaps it's just the idea of winning back my money the same way that I lost it), my record at the "sit and go" single-table NL tournaments would suggest that I should spend my money and time in that direction.

So far I've sat in 5 of these sit-and-go tournaments with the following results:
  • $10+1 (that's $10 per person into the prize pool, and a $1 entry fee. prizes: 1st = 50%, 2nd = 30%, and 3rd = 20%): I finished above 5th place somewhere... I don't remember.
  • $10+1: Again I don't remember, but I know I didn't win anything.
  • $5+1: 1st place ($25 prize).
  • $5+1: 1st place ($25 prize).
  • $10+1: 3rd place ($20 prize).
If you're keeping score that's $45 in buy-ins and entry fees, $70 in prizes, and I'm confident I could have done a lot better. Those first two $10 games, I was pretty naive about what pots to get involved in, and simply got run over by better play and better cards. Since then, I've realized just how easy it is to wait out your opponents, playing only premium hands in early or middle position, and stealing some blinds when you can. It just isn't that difficult to make it into the final 3, and the money.

The last tournament listed above ended with a somewhat interesting hand (and certainly one that I thought I had won until the river). Here's the history:

***** Hand History for Game 815347887 *****
400/800 TourneyTexasHTGameTable (NL) (Tournament 5071514) - Thu Aug 05 02:33:21 EDT 2004
Table Table 11060 (Real Money) -- Seat 7 is the button
Total number of players : 3
Seat 6: acegetter85 (3665)
Seat 7: ME (1600)
Seat 10: DonnysGerbil (2735)
DonnysGerbil posts small blind (200)
acegetter85 posts big blind (400)
** Dealing down cards **
Dealt to ME [ Tc, Kd ]
ME calls (400)
DonnysGerbil calls (200)
acegetter85 raises (1200) to 1600
ME calls (1200)
ME is all-In.
DonnysGerbil folds.
** Dealing Flop ** : [ 5s, Js, Th ]
** Dealing Turn ** : [ Kc ]
** Dealing River ** : [ 8h ]
Creating Main Pot with $3600 with ME
** Summary **
Main Pot: 3600 |
Board: [ 5s Js Th Kc 8h ]
acegetter85 balance 5665, bet 1600, collected 3600, net +2000 [ 8c 8s ] [ three of a kind, eights -- Kc,Js,8c,8s,8h ]
ME balance 0, lost 1600 [ Tc Kd ] [ two pairs, kings and tens -- Kd,Kc,Js,Tc,Th ]
DonnysGerbil balance 2335, lost 400 (folded)
I'm not at all certain that I should have played this any differently. When "acegetter85" raised me all-in, I could have folded. However, he had been playing loosely and buying a lot of blinds pre-flop (or so it seemed... I suppose he could have just been on an amazing run of cards). This is one of those hands that I would much rather have not had to play for my entire stack (which was the shortest at the table at the time).

Alright... here's where I've been:

I started playing poker in nickle-dime-quarter affairs as a teenager with my extended family. By "poker", I of course mean dealer's choice queen-and-what-follows, low hole, man-with-the-axe craziness. I still host and sit in these kinds of games regularly, if for no other reason than it can be a fun social thing, and often getting a full game of "serious" players together for a Hold 'Em table just isn't possible.

In college, I played more often with roomates and friends, always in dealer's choice games where you showed up with your bank bag full of silver change. I won some and I lost some... like everyone, I'd like to say that in the long run I was "up", but who knows? I do know that I always had quarters for laundry money, and never had to break bills.

Fast forward a few years, to early this year... with the Hold 'Em (hereafter abbreviated "HE") craze on the rise thanks to the World Poker Tour (WPT) and the World Series of Poker (WSOP). After talking often with a friend of mine about it, and playing some play money tables at partypoker, I decided to deposit the $50 minimum and have a go at it.

I'd like to say I was good. I'd like to say I started making money. But that didn't happen. I sat at some $0.5/$1 limit tables and was able to take a few pots, but ended up losing my money in a few hours time. Looking back now, I know I made a lot of errors... most notably thinking that I could play low-limit similar to how I play no-limit. Embarrassingly, I admit to buying in 2 more times for $50, and somehow rather quickly losing it all on the $0.5/$1 tables. That's -$150 for those of you keeping score.

Also this summer, I participated in some of those extended family games... but at some point they have moved to NL HE tournaments! (We're talking $10-$20 buy in here) If they were not 2.5 hours away, I would possibly have a regular weekly game. I did so-so, but played generally too loose, and risked too many chips, too often.

Bored and thinking it an entertainment expense, I made my 4th $50 deposit in July on partypoker, and did much better. I took my $50 on a week-long ride up to $130, and eventually of course, lost it all back. In the process though, I managed to easily rack up the 1000 raked pots that I needed to participate in to win 2 free shirts and a hat from partypoker. -$200 at this point, but I have 2 shirts and a hat. More importantly, I got a ton of experience, a much improved game, and some confidence that with a bigger bankroll, I could have withstood the unholy variance of low-limit HE.

I'm currently playing on my 5th $50 deposit... having used it to win a $5 sit and go NL tournament and still trying to ride the low-limit pony. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Two things are not at all certain:
  • The eventual scope and audience of this weblog.
  • How long it will last.
With those things said, it should be obvious that I'm going to be dealing with all things poker, especially Texas Hold 'Em. That includes ring games, tournaments, no-limit, low-limit, some personal hand histories and stories, and a big stack of strategy and publicly dissecting my own play.

It's always beneficial to talk about and discuss new things that you're learning... so by all means, if you stumble onto this site and have something meaningful to add, go for it. Maybe we'll both learn something. I may also use this as an online diary/logbook, with some details of each session that I play online (so far, I've been playing exclusively at with some measure of encouraging success).

The name "Wired Aces" was fairly uncreative considering the range of interesting terms in the poker lexicon, but it also carries that feeling of folding pre-flop for hours on end, and then carefully peeking at your cards to find that elusive AA, only to be rivered for a pot worth 25 big blinds by some fish with a 82o. The saying goes: any two cards can win.

I'll be outlining my history of poker playing, for the sake of bringing things up to speed, in the next post.