Monday, April 18, 2005

New Table / New League

So I finished up my first table last week sometime. The woodworking part of this was a breeze for me, but I was a little apprehensive about the upholstery... which turned out to be relatively simple really. The pictures aren't the best (I was working with fluorescent shop lighting), but hopefully they show how good even a simple table like this can look.

For the curious, the table is 7'x4', with a 4" rail. Total materials cost: ~$250 USD.


Some co-workers and friends and I finally decided to get a regular local game going, and are going to be holding low-buy-in tournaments twice a month, at least until the end of the summer. We're also doing a points system and TOC for "league" players, which should be fun and hopefully encourage people to attend regularly. If you're curious:

Sunday, April 10, 2005

The Five And Ten Rule

Thanks to EmpirePoker offering two nice reload bonuses recently (15% and 25%), I've again been hitting the NL cash games with good results. In addition to working off the required raked hands, I've been winning a pile of money, and this thankfully more than offsets my abysmal results in the SNGs so far this month: 3 for 18 ITM: W.T.F? Even more aggravating is that I feel I'm playing the same game I played last month with such good results, so it's not like there's something obvious to fix... I really don't know. Variance and suckouts have been harsh in the tourneys, but still, 3 for 18 is a little hard to simply blame on bad luck. Right?

Anyway, back to the point of this post, my bankroll overall this month has become much healthier, and I've been reading Pot-Limit & No-Limit Poker. It's a rather scattered read, but there are quite a few thinking points and little ideas crammed into it to make it worthwhile. One of which is described as "The Five and Ten Rule":
You hold 9c8c on the button. Three other players call a quarter, and so do you. The big blind, a solid player, raises $150 more, and two of the three players in front of you call. What should you do?

It depends on how deep the money is. Your position is the best possible, but you don't have much of a hand. A good rule to follow is the "Five and ten rule." When contemplating calling a raise because your position is good, you have a clear call if the amount is less than five percent of your stack, and a clear fold if it is more than ten percent. In between those numbers, use your judgment.

Okay, that sounds cool, but why? The book never explains this any further (that I've seen), and I'm wondering where those numbers come from. Surely someone out there who might stumble upon this post can answer this for me.

Friday, April 01, 2005

March SNG Stats

March has been easily my most solid month yet. Here's the details:

ITM: 40.00%
ROI: 23.48%
SNGs Played: 60
Profit: $155.00
1st Place: 9
2nd Place: 8
3rd Place: 7

Now for a little analysis... I can't help noticing and pointing out that although ROI is ultimately the number that matters, and that mine has been all over the place in the past months, on the other hand, my ITM numbers have seen an increase for each of the past 4 months. And with a sample size of about 200 tournaments in the last 4 months, I'd say that something is definitely working and starting to "click" for me.

As well, ROI is ultimately the number that defines profit, but I think that ITM is probably far and away more important (at least for me). My reasoning is this: A good portion of the time when you are fortunate to make it down to the top three, skill often takes a backseat to luck, and the cards do their thing to determine who gets what place... and the difference between a few 1st place finishes and a few 3rd place finishes can swing a healthy positive ROI down to nothing (or even negative). If you're consistently putting up way more 3rd place finishes than 1sts and 2nds, then yeah, you need to work on your three-handed and heads-up play. I think I play well enough when I'm ITM, and my 9-8-7 distribution this month confirms that. But the point remains: luck will do its thing when you're ITM... so the key is getting in the position for luck to do its thing more often, by increasing ITM%.

As I've talked about before, I've been working towards a tight-aggressive style, and March seems to have confirmed that good results can come from that playing style. One of the things which has become very apparent to me, is the general lack of bad beats... they still happen of course, but perhaps not with the frequency or severity that my previous playing styles have generated.

Another recurring theme which I find myself facing over and over are the people who think suited cards are a gold mine, and who will chase (or even jam the pot) on a flush draw. I tend to get a little irritated by these folks, and yeah, a few times I've been guilty of putting on the "table coach" hat and throwing out some odds with an insult or two, but lately I've seen so many of these flush people, that I'm becoming quite used to their presence, and really, once you can identify a flush lover, they're easy to play.

Lastly, I've been trying to identify my biggest leak in March, and I'm pretty confident that it's my sometime tendency to get married to a nice hand pre-flop. On a few occasions I made my standard raise with hands like AQs or AKs or 99, and just couldn't get away from them even when the flop missed me. I'd say in general, I tend to always fire out something like a half-pot bet against one opponent when I was the raiser pre-flop, and I'm thinking that at best this is about a zero EV move for me. Mostly because when the opponent calls on the flop, I get sucked into betting on the turn and continuing the bluff, which is a really negative EV move. I mean, he called on the flop... it's check-fold territory from here. Other than these situations though, I think my play has been rather good lately... with me rarely leaving a table disappointed in my play.

In general, I've been a lot more disciplined in March, treating every single SNG seriously, and working to maximize every possible chance of surviving to make the money. A little luck can obviously swing things one way or the other, but I'm shooting for 42% ITM (and again at least 50 SNGs) in April.