Thursday, April 26, 2007

Pot Limit HO?

The game is called Pot-Limit HA, which makes no sense since it is a mix of Holdem and Omaha. I guess Pot-Limit HO is just too offensive. For some reason I had the MTT bug, so I entered a token frenzy which I took 2/178th in (see above). I know what you are going to say. When these things get to the token it becomes a push-fest, but I swear there were at least 6 of us playing it out for real. I would not back down and would end up heads-up for the title in a 178 player MTT. Anyway, what was I talking about? That's right Pot-Limit HO. I saw one of those going off as well. Double stacks, check. Some kind of other form of poker mixed in with holdem, check. Pot-limit???? I pretty much final table all the HORSE MTTs I enter, so it should be no problem. Problem, never played Pot-Limit (high only) Omaha before, ever, ever. Below is where I was when I got to the FT.

I would battle my way to second in chips.

But go a little dead 3-handed and end up third. 3+2 = Enough material for a brag post?

This is the first hand from the MTT is below. It illustrates two things. First, I mix it up more than people prolly give me credit. And lastly, sometimes it pays to take a flyer early in a double stack MTT preflop (Beleive it or not Hoy). Thirdly, presto no goot against the blind man.

Full Tilt Poker Game #2295501854: Double Stack $20 + $2 (17247650), Table 5 - 10/20 - Pot Limit Hold'em - 19:46:00 ET - 2007/04/26
The button is in seat #9
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Blinders [6s 4s]
8fivesuited folds
Blinders calls 20 (semi questionable limp here)
DuraAce folds
iStackBooks folds
dumbass555 raises to 90
dumbrowski12 folds
MyEntourage calls 90
cacciol has 15 seconds left to act (I figure if this guy calls I am easily priced in)
cacciol calls 80
HARM59 folds
Blinders calls 70
*** FLOP *** [2h 5s 8s] (perfect flop)
cacciol bets 190
Blinders raises to 950 (not used to Pot-limit yet so I bet max. I wanted my chips all-in on this hand)
dumbass555 calls 950 (With a name like dumbass555 any guesses what he's got?)
MyEntourage folds
cacciol folds
*** TURN *** [2h 5s 8s] [As] (Presto killer)
Blinders bets 1,960, and is all in
dumbass555 calls 1,960, and is all in
Blinders shows [6s 4s]
dumbass555 shows [5c 5h]
*** RIVER *** [2h 5s 8s As] [Ks] (no resuck)
Blinders shows a flush, Ace high
dumbass555 shows three of a kind, Fives
Blinders wins the pot (6,390) with a flush, Ace high (Can you say chip leader)
dumbass555 stands up


Wednesday, April 25, 2007

BBT Standings by Points/Event

I will be missing the Mookie tonight, and am questionable for the Hoy on Monday. The 15th place overall in the standings will probably be my high water mark for the battle. I am a very competitive person so this upsets me to no end. If I could play every event through the end, I know I would have a shot and would for sure be top 10, but I will be lucky to play in 1/2 of them. So to make me feel better about all of this, I came up with the above ranking system. It is points per event for the top 30 or so in the standings. This equalizes things for those of us who can't play in all of the events, but limits this to people who have played enough events to matter. You can't just win your second event and quit, and take down points/event. You need to stay in the top 30 to be considered. Anyway by these rankings, Miami Don's lead is even bigger, and I move up to 5th overall. Lets just say I am a points machine in these things.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Cash Game Donk on the BBT Tour

I played in my 6th blogger tour event last night, after filling out forms in triplicate and getting a rare exemption to play on a Monday night. It would be worth the effort as I would get leaderboard points for the 6th time in 6 attempts, and work my way to my first final table, and first decent cash of the tour. I am going to Hoy it up a bit with some screenshots I happened to take along the way for those interested.
About 1/2 hour in, I got AA and was able to stack the constant trash talking smokkee, and send him to the rail. It felt great! Then just as I was starting to feel some momentum, I raised preflop and called drizz's push with AK. He would have A7 and out flop me. It was not looking to be my night.

I was not sure if I would put this in, but this was the hand that I pushed Hoy off JJ preflop with. Lets just say it was going to be a race.

So I ended the first hour with the stack and stats shown below.

In the second hour, I really got nothing going for the first 45 minutes. My stack was heading down towards 3000, and the blinds were starting to be a problem. I was playing my cash game style which works pretty good in the doublestack tournaments, but would need to chip up if I wanted to keep playing it. When the button tried to steal my BB for like the tenth time with a T800 min-raise, I jammed back 3200 with A4o (not a cash game move). He called pretty quick with J8s and I doubled through. The very next hand, I picked up TT and made a standard preflop raise, and cmitch jammed. I called (not a cash game move), and he had A8o, and I doubled through again, and went from second to last to second place in two hands. I ended second hour as shown below.

From here, I held tight, eventually calling a short MiamiDon with 22 and sending him home so that the final table could form. Below is the final table when I got there.

I had my first real (and only) suckout of the tourney when it folded to me in the SB and I raised what would be 1/2 the BB's stack. BB pushed, and I had to call. BB had AQ and I had KQ, but I would get the better board, and move into the lead for the first time at the FT as shown below.

From here I would hang on and Scots_chris would knock out most of the rest of the field. He would take a 4-1 chip lead heads up. On the first hand heads up, I would get A2o, and would be facing a preflop push. My read on Scots was that he was over betting and pushing with the goods, but it is tough to laydown an ace heads-up and semi-short. I made a bad call, and was against AJ or AQ and IGHN, with a nice second place and about a $275 cash. Yeah me! This is my typical run through MTTs when I do well. I just play cash game as long as I can. If I happen to be catching, I can continue with it till the FT. If I am not, I make some moves in the second hour, and go home or chip up. In this one I was not in the top 20 for the first hour and 45 minutes and popped right into second place after two big hands. As long as you are getting your big hands paid off in MTTs you can sit out for several orbits and play a pretty tight cash game style most of the way. I was also able to buy quite a few pots, because it is hard to believe that a player does not have anything after watching them sitting out for 30+ hands. When these types of tighties start firing at the pot it's best to get out of their way.

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Thursday, April 19, 2007

Redux, Redux, and is the +EV term used too loosly

This latest HHH, has depths that I did not imagine when I did my first Redux. In commenting on the preflop action, I may have put my foot in my mouth a bit when stating the EV values of the preflop action. I don't really have a problem with any of the post flop action, so lets slice through this hand one more time just looking preflop, and just looking at EV specifically.

First off let me formally define EV a bit. EV is expectation value, or how much on average you would make on a hand or decision if 1000s of trails could be run. It is complicated by the fact that the EV value changes by postion for all specific hands. EV in general increases for all hands as your position improves. We all know that AA is a +EV hand from any and all positions. So no matter how you play it preflop, it is +EV. But what about a decision to limp UTG with AA vs. raising 3x? The EV is different for one play vs. the other. If one move has higher EV, then the other move is lower EV (even if still positive). So even though AA is +EV from all positions preflop, deciding to limp or raise UTG is either a +EV decision or a -EV decision. You can lose some of your expectaion value by playing it one way or another, even though both ways are +EV. This where I screwed up a bit on my redux. So lets go back one more time and look at the Expectation values for the three key players based on the decision to fold, call, or raise preflop.

Smokkee has AJs UTG (a top 20-25 starting hand). AJs is a borderline EV hand in general. There are some really good players who can squeeze some EV out of it, but most players probably play it break-even or for a loss. The fact that he is UTG lowers the EV quite a bit, making this a very marginal hand. So smokkee can fold, limp, or raise it. Rasing it up to me is the most negative EV way to play it. You are raising a marginal hand into the rest of the table, and will be out of position post flop to any callers or reraisers. You can't stand a reraise with this hand, so you either take it down preflop (not likely from UTG), get reraised preflop and release it, or get called and be forced to act first post flop. So you have to c-bet with air, or bet an ace that may be dominated post flop. Not a lot of ways to make money by raising preflop, but obv. a lot of ways to lose money. Next he can just fold it (EV=0) which is a better move then the 0>EV of raising UTG. So the decision lies on if limping AJs UTG is +EV or not. The limp preflop line needs to include fold to a big reraise, call a small reraise to have any chance of being +EV. Best case is that you limp into an unrasied multiway pot and hit the flop big, or catch a huge draw. Smokkee, also had limped a few hands earlier with AA UTG and won a nice pot, so in his mind, the limp would look strong and there is a good chance that he would not be reraised preflop. He was right, as he did not get reraised and got a mulitway pot with his AJs. Another deciding factor is that this is an MTT, and you can't keep folding top 25 hands like AJs and expect to win or go far. So based on all of this, I would say raise UTG is -EV, and limp or fold are close, but with the factors considered the limp gets enough weight to make it better than fold, but just barely.

Bayne_s has AKs which is +EV in any and all positions (4th/5th best starting hand overall). Folding would be EV=0 so that is obviously the worst choice. He can raise it preflop which will be +EV, or limp preflop which is also +EV as he will be the favorite post flop in a multiway limped pot (unless someone limped with AA or KK). So the question is what is more +EV, limping or raising this hand in this position? My take is that raising is more +EV, but I understand the deception angle and limping is still +EV, so it is not as horrible of a decision as I stated. The other big complication is we are talking about +EV in relation to chips in a pot. This is an MTT, and the -EV choice, may be +EV with respect to how much money you win in the tourney as a cash. If Bayne_s is limping hoping to get reraised light or by a mid to low pair with the intention of jamming back preflop, this might be more +EV with respect to an MTT cash. If someone would like to better analyze the EV difference from Bayne_s limp vs. raise please do so.

Hoy has TT which is the 6th best starting hand preflop and +EV from any and all positions. Folding it preflop is EV=0 so that is the worst choice. So in this position and with this action in front, what is more +EV, limping or raising it up preflop. As I said in the Redux, I would have my MTT cap on for this analysis, and I that is what I did. In a cash game, I like the limp a lot. You have a couple limpers up front, and will get a few more behind so the set mining implied odds are huge. Also the blinds are smaller with respect to the stacks in a cash game, which greatly helps the limp line in a cash game. If you raise you may not lose the limpers, but you will be set-up for a c-bet if you miss. In cash games, I will first-in raise TT every time, but in this situation, I limp like hoy did. But this is not a cash game, it is an MTT. In MTTs you just can't let a hand like TT go to waste, and your implied odds are greatly reduced. Calling 120 with a stacks around 3k is less than 30BBs where it would be 100BBs in a cash game. Raising gives you the chance to take it down preflop, sets up your image for future raises in position, and sets up a c-bet in position if you miss. A agree that hoy would have been called, but he would have had lots of info to work with when it came his turn on the flop. Also the MTT EV factor is here as well. Does one way or the other make it more likely that he will cash or cash higher in the event? Based on all this, I say the raise preflop line with TT is the highest EV, and limping is lower EV (though still positive). In a cash game the limp line's EV goes up a bunch and it becomes the best choice.

Fun Stuff.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

What's the nutz? Sometimes it's a matter of perception

This will be my first in a series of HHHRs or Hoy Hot Hand Redux(es). Since I don't play that much it is better to just analyze the play of others as if I was an expert on MTTs. Below is the hand from yesterday's MATH that hoy ranted about, and smokkee posted about as well. It is a semi interesting hand from the angle that I will slice it, but there was really no donk play post flop by anyone. Hoys HHs are usually an equal mix of hoy is right the guy was a donk, hoy is wrong and he is the donk and the other guy played it right, or no donks to be found at all.

Full Tilt Poker Game #2227199071:Mondays at the Hoy (16395575), Table 1
- 60/120 - No Limit Hold'em - 23:16:37 ET - 2007/04/16
Seat 1: Unimpressed (9,483)
Seat 2: hoyazo (4,250)
Seat 3: BuddyDank (8,265)
Seat 4: SirFWALGMan (5,335)
Seat 6: summer_babe (3,897)
Seat 7: smokkee (3,640)
Seat 8: sellthekids (6,680)
Seat 9: bayne_s (3,000)
SirFWALGMan posts the small blind of 60
summer_babe posts the big blind of 120
The button is in seat #3

smokkee [Ad Jd] calls 120
Old Smokkee raises here, new smokkee limps. He has learned a lot.

bayne_s [AsKs] calls 120
A call here means at least 4 way action on the flop, prolly more. A raise here is +EV as look at the position it puts people like smokkee in, and you are narrowing down the field to 2-3 which is right for AKs. If you hit the flop big, you will extract more since it was raised preflop and the pot is bigger. You are also setting up a c-bet if you miss completely that will be a semi-bluff to some extent as you will have some nice overs. The call here in this situation with AKs is pretty donk IMO.

hoyazo [ThTd] calls 120
I really don't like this call at all, Hoy. I can see you just play the TT for a set, but it seems like the best move is to raise and take it down or at least set up a c-bet against one of the two of the EP limpers. You are looking at a 5-way flop at least, so you can only play TT for set value this way. I think the limp is +EV so I think Bayne_s play (-EV) was slightly worse.

BuddyDank folds
SirFWALGMan calls 60
summer_babe checks

5-way flop as could have been expected by any and all in the hand.

*** FLOP *** [Ts Ah Ac]

SirFWALGMan checks
summer_babe checks
SirFWALGMan checks

smokkee checks
Now for the angle. Smokkee has what is to him the 5th nutz. He is beat by AK, AQ, AT and TT. He can reasonable assume that no one has AK, AQ, or TT as nobody raised preflop, and by the line-up at the table, I would imagine a lot of pots were getting raised with much less than that. AT is really the scare hand here for everyone. In a 5-way limped pot, AT is a very possible hand. You could argue for a bet here as the board could get scary with another face card ruining future action. I don't think it is donk though to go for the slowplay here, with the intention of getting it in later.

bayne_s bets 600
Bayne is holding the third nutz. He can assume that TT is not out there, but once again AT is a legit worry. He must assume he is ahead and takes the lets start building a pot line which is great IMO.

hoyazo calls 600
Hoyazo is holding the third nutz. He is beat by AA, and AT. Holding TT gives Hoy the advantage of knowing that the AT is actually pretty unlikely as there is only one more T in the deck. AA is reasonable for an UTG limp from smokkee, or a super sneaky UTG+1 limp from Bayne_s after an UTG limp. Like the others Hoy needs to assume he is good and look to get his money in here. The others just need to worry about more paint showing up and their hand getting caught up with. Hoy also has this worry here a bit. If the pot gets huge he is surely up against an Ace. So he is behind AA, AT, and will also be behind a kicker or the board pairing or another ace falling, which is more likely than a gutshot paint hitting.
SirFWALGMan folds
summer_babe folds
smokkee calls 600
Slowplayin mofo

*** TURN *** [Ts Ah Ac] [*Jc*]

smokkee checks
Slowplayin mofo

bayne_s bets 2,280, and is all in
Needs to push and pray here, but should reasonable still think he is ahead

hoyazo calls 2,280
smokkee raises to 2,920, and is all in
hoyazo calls 640
All manditory moves at this point

smokkee shows [Ad Jd]
bayne_s shows [As Ks]
hoyazo shows [Th Td]

*** RIVER *** [Ts Ah Ac Jc] [Qd]
smokkee shows a full house, Aces full of Jacks
hoyazo shows a full house, Tens full of Aces
bayne_s shows a straight, Ace

smokkee wins the side pot (1,280) with a full house, Aces full of Jacks
smokkee wins the main pot (9,240) with a full house, Aces full of Jacks

So hoy had the best hand preflop and on the flop. A hand that was third nutz on the flop. He would need to dodge 6 outs on the turn and 9 outs on the river. The turn would be his downfall.

Smokkee had the worst hand preflop, and the worst hand on the flop, but to him it was the 5th nutz with just really AT to worry about much. So every indication he was ahead. He would turn the 1st nutz and triple through.

Bayne_s had the second best hand preflop, but it was statistically the favorite 5-way pot. He flops the third nutz, and plays it strong. He has no huge reason (much less than smokkee) to think he is behind. The turn is a scare card, so he pushes which is right for an MTT. He rivers the straight for the third best hand. I don't see how he does not get stacked here. He may have been able to get rid of smokkee through a raise followed by a hoy reraise preflop, but he does not lose hoy. Once you flop AAx with AK I think you are pot committed in a tourney.

Interesting hand if you look at it from what nutz people thought they had, what likelyhood it was not high enough nutz, and how exposed their nutz were to future higher nutz or thier own nutz being downgraded. Bayne_s third nutz is way behind Hoy's third nutz on the flop. Smokkee goes from fifth nutz to 1st nutz in one card. kinda sick, huh.

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Monday, April 16, 2007

Punk Show and Big Game

Some poker content in a moment, but first I went to the concert above Saturday. For those of you unfamiliar with the crowd or dickies, they are old-school punk bands. Punk came out when I was in High School, and I used to go to tons of punk shows. We would bribe the bouncer $20 at the cookoos nest, and he would let like eight of us (all under age) in the backdoor. The cover was around $8, so he was doing us 15-16 year old punks a huge favor. It never occurred to me back then that some 25 years later these bands would still be touring. There is something very un-punk about a 45-50 year old punk. How rebellious can you be at that age. It just kind of flys in the face of the whole concept of punk. It's one thing for the old rockers to continue on, but the punks? I did some slam dancing, obv.

Anyway, I have not played a drop of poker other than the few blogger events in the last week or so since I cleared the $300 bonus. I played in the big game, and didn't do much. I was at a good aggressive starting table, and was not getting anything to play with. It was getting raised just about every hand preflop, so there was no way to get in cheap with anything. I got absolutely nothing for the first hour, and won a couple of pots on pure bluffs post flop to stay almost even. In the second hour, still nothing, and playing ridiculously tight as a result. At an aggressive table, you are pretty screwed if you get too far below average, as you will get picked on by the super aggressive better stacked opponents. In MTTs, I really want to understand my image and it was "weak/ubertight" to this point. I usually do not get overly concerned if I am playing like this and everyone knows it, because I can use it to my advantage later. The key for me is that when the blinds start to go up, is to start raising preflop thin before I start catching real cards. People tend to believe (all but Iak) that I have something when I raise preflop after 90 minutes of weak/tight play. So they will let me take a couple of much needed pots down the first few times I show aggression. Then hopefully, as they pick up on the changes, I catch something for real and get played back at. That's how you rally back from horrible cards early in an MTT. Buy a few pots, then get a double/triple through when you finally catch. Then double through again and you are right in it.

So back to the second hour, and it's getting late. I get 99 in the BB and jam over wonka's 500 steal from the button. He thinks and folds. I get KhQx and call Drizz's raise (SB) from the BB. Flop comes JTx all hearts. Drizz checks, and I jam for slightly more than pot. Drizz folds. I pick up AKo and you know what happens right. I raise, get re-raised all-in by Drizz. I call, he has TT, and I lose the coinflip. 27/53 and out on the points bubble. I love MTTs

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

18th out of 136

This is probably as high as I will get so I will document it with a screenshot. I am currently 18th out of 136 in the blogger battle standings. This is highly unusual for several reasons. First, I was not planning on playing anything but a riverchasers or Big Game or two. Mon and Wed nights are not goot for me. Secondly, I really have not got much going in the the 3 out of 4 events that I played so far, with not a single cash or FT to speak of. Actually not even close to a FT. Yet, I stand proudly at 18th way, way, way, above the big names of the MTT world (I would list but it would be long and you know who you are). Lastly, did I mention that I suck at MTTs? I guess the point structure is perfectly aligned with how I play them. If I could play all of these, I prolly could make a run, but I won't. Going to miss the mookie tomorrow as it is live game night.
I think between what I have done, along with MiamiDon's similar accomplishments, the question has finally been answered as to who is best, Cash Gamers or MTTers. I think both sides already knew this, but it is now painfully clear. I don't do MTT recaps very often (since I don't play many, and brag posts just come out better), but XKM1245 wanted to read about how I sucked out on him. I will do anything for my readers BTW (sucking NOT included). So below is my recap. It is semi interesting for someone who finished 23/52, lol.
Limped with KQ on the second hand. Flop came K83 rainbow, and I minraised an EP better. EP calls and then checks the turn when another 3 comes. I bet 450 into a 600ish pot, and get minraised to 900. I tank, but think I need to let this one go. I am not going broke in a limped pot here, as he could be way ahead. I fold and am down to 2200 right away.
I am not catching much for cards. I raise slim preflop a few times and c-bet the miss, but I keep getting played back at, and have to fold. My stack gets down to about 1700 1/2 hour in.
With the blinds at 25/50, I pick up JJ which looks like gold compared to what I have seen so far. XKM1245 raises from EP to 150, and it folds to me, and I reraise it to 550. XKM pushes, and I am left with the option of folding or getting all-in as I was easily covered. I figured I was up against AA-QQ or AK (possibly AQ). So I am way behind or I have a coinflip. I need to call about 1100 more for about a 3500 pot. Now in a cash game, I am not raising that big of a portion of my stack preflop with JJ (not pot committing myself preflop with JJ), and I am folding to the preflop push. But in an MTT where I am already down to 1/2 my starting stack, I am willing to go to war preflop with JJ, and this is why I raised the amount that I did. If he folds, fine. If he pushes, I will call. If he just calls, I can away if the flop is big, but will push all small flops. So I call, which was justified IMO, he flips QQ, I flop a J and double through. Ooops, but back in business at 3500 in chips.
Limp with KQ from the button in multiway pot. Flop comes AQx and everyone checks to me. I check behind looking for a miracle Q. Turn is a Q putting two flush draws on board. EP bets 1/3 pot, and I reraise pot, EP calls. River completes the runner/runner flush, and EP bets very small. I call and lose to the nut flush.
Down pretty low again. Get KTo on the button and raise 3x. BB calls. Flop is KTx with two hearts. BB checks, and I bet 2/3 pot. BB calls. Turn blanks, and EP leads out. I just call. River blanks, and BB pushes. I think, but call and BB flips up AhKh and I double through.
About 1 1/2 hour in now and near points bubble. I have not seen anything, but the JJ I should have been eliminated on. A bunch of small PPs with no help, and a lot of marginal hands. I am also getting played back at all the time. The blinds are also eating away at my stack and I have about 2600 left. I get AJo in the cutoff, and see Bayne in the 300 BB with just 325 behind. I raise to 800, hoping to get through the big stacks on the button and SB. It folds to Bayne, who tanks. I know he has crap, but he has odds, and eventually calls with 32s. He flops a deuce and doubles through.
Down to 1650 in chips and in the BB. Jordan is in the cutoff, and has been raising a lot preflop. It folds to him, and he is thinking for a while. I have AJo again, and am praying for him to raise again so I can push-in over the top with what is likely ahead. He goes for the hoy or reverse hoy where he bets $1 less then what I have. It folds to me, and I push as planned for the extra dollar. He tanks. I even put in the chat "Just Fold". He calls with A6o, flops a 6 and sends me to the rail in 23rd.
In summary, I did not catch any cards. My best hand (JJ), I got it in way behind and sucked out. I stayed out of trouble and got paid the few times I had hands. I made a couple of big plays late with AJ0. Both were correct, and I had to get something going at the time, but luck was not on my side. Blah, Blah, Blah. Congrats to MiamiDon though. His run is becoming legendary at this point.

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Friday, April 06, 2007

Why Go With A Low Variance Style?

I was hoping that I would get more comments on my Low Variance manifesto, but oh well. I figured rather than pick a part an aspect or two of it, the high variance players would call me out for a general aversion to gambooling. Why play poker, If I seem to not want to gamble? Wes pretty much nailed what I expected on the head with this post below.

The following was going to be a comment on Blinders blog, but since I never blog here anyway I figure I’ll throw it up here too since I think it conveys an important point.
I would never want to be one to care about if I play a high variance or low variance game. I always play in a game that I am VASTLY overrolled for and thus I am never affected by the individual results of each session. If I go up or down 10 buy-ins, it is all relative and I should not worry about that individual session as long as I was playing my A game. If there is a situation that yields a +EV spot, why should I take that spot up? Simply put, I shouldn't’t.
Don’t be results oriented. Don’t think about lowering your variance. Think about how to improve your game, about how to always play your A game, and in turn because of this your win rate.

I totally agree with what Wes is saying here, but I am going to qualify it a little bit. In the manifesto I alluded to playing for less profit potential by lower variance could actually be a good thing. I will now say why, and also argue that it can ultimately be more profitable to take the less profitable line long term. Did you just read that correctly? Yes!

So Wes is overrolled for the level he plays at, plays his A game, and does not care if he goes up or down 10 buy-ins in any given session. He plays his A game regardless of what variance throws his way. I don't think this is the case for most poker players. Variance tends to throw people off their "A-Game". It can throw you off your A-game when variance is overly positive and when it is overly negative. Since the variance signal in your bankroll is so large, it is constantly trying to throw you off your game.

So lets look at it mathematically. I don't know what Wes's long term win rate, but lets just say for argument it is 10-12 BB/100h (BB = 2x the big blind). Let's say for him it is always this rate because variance never throws him off his A-game. Now lets say my win rate is 6 BB/100h playing my lower variance style. My game like most people is effected by variance so my win rate is a combination of my A-Game, B-Game, C-Game, F-Game... win rates, and the time that I spend playing each version of my game. So to simplify things lets say that I play my A-Game 50% of the time for 8 BB/100h, and my C-game for 4 BB /100h for 50% of the time. Overall, I win 6 BB/100h. So if I could completely shake off the effect of variance on my game, I could win 8 BB/100h, but if I want to win like Wes does, I need to add more variance to my game that will also bring the profit rate up to 10-12 BB/100h.

But, I like most people am effected by variance, so this gets a little dangerous to my win rate potential. At the start of the $300 bonus challenge, I was running on the hot side of variance. I was getting sloppy with my table selection, and number of tables open as a result of this lowering my long term win rate (not on my A-game). So running hot put me off my A-Game. Then when things went south and got on the wrong side of variance, I started overplaying AA post flop, and pressing too hard to get even or up. So the downturn also threw me off my A-Game. Because variance was randomly aligned (towards up then down) large during the challenge, I never was able to play my A-Game. So I spent a lot of time playing the 4 BB /100h C-Game, and with the extra bad negative variance ended up at about 1 BB /100h for the challenge.

So for me to add profit rate, I need to add variance. But I am already playing a pretty profitable style, so there is not a lot of "low hanging fruit" out there. The tweaks that I will need to make to my game will add a small amount of profit rate, but add a huge amount of variance. The extra variance added as a result is more likely to throw me off my A-game then if I stick to a lower variance style. This can decrease my overall win rate, even though the adjustment in theory is positive to win rate. Let me give a quick example.

Sample tweak to game:
Raise all pairs 55-99 from EP and MP vs. the lower variance limp/call line.
Profit rate increase expected .3 BB/100 h for all game versions (A-game, B-Game...)

8 BB /100h 50% of the time
4 BB /100h 50% of the time
6 BB /100h Total

8.3 BB / 100h 40% of the time
4.3 BB / 100h 60% of the time
5.9 BB / 100h Total

So my tweak in theory increased win rate by .3 BB / 100h, but in practice lowers the win rate by .1 BB / 100h even though all versions of my game are more profitable after the change. The added variance just tends to throw me off my game more than what would normally happen which is expected. So if you really believe variance can't throw you off your game, then play the most profitable style you can (play like Wes), but if variance can effect your play, or very much effects your play, the low variance style might be the most profitable style you can personally play. Hope this makes sense to everyone. Also, this really stresses the importance of separating results from decisions. As soon as you can focus on the actions (decisions) you made and if they were right or wrong, and not on the results (if you won or lost), you will start to play your A-game much more often and your win rate will go up. Even if you have done nothing else to improve your game.

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Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Bonus Challenge Completed

The good news is above. I cleared the $300 bonus with over a day to spare. The bad news is below, as my profits were greatly diminished over the second half of the challenge. The stats are a bit ugly because of this (profitwise), but other than that they look ok. This is the style that works for me long term, so even though I ran very hot early in the challenge, overall I got the short end of variance IMO over the two week period.

Below is the profit graph (not including bonus) that looks like a nice mountain, and that is not good! You can see how I ran up to almost +$1200, then just about went all the way back to zero. I thought about killing the challenge and getting my confidence back, but instead I was very stubborn here, and just powered through to clear it.

Challenge Stats:
Hands played: 5517
FTPs earned: 5000
Bonus cleared: $300
Personal Rake: $411
Bonus Rakeback: 73%
Win/Loss: $205
Total Profit: $505
Profit Goal: $1000
Challenge Failed.
Besides getting the short end of variance, I have lots of ideas why my game got worse in the second half of the challenge (or was not as good as I thought during the first half). Before I comment on this, there are a couple of screenshots from Poker Tracker below. The first shows how pocket pairs played for me during the $1,000 run up, and the second one during the $800 run down.

From these charts you can see that I played PPs for a $1,000 profit during the run-up, and break even during the rundown. During the run-up I played unpaired pockets to break even, and for a loss of about $800 during the rundown. This is a huge difference, and is all about variance in NL holdem cash games. Below are some other contributing factors that probably killed my profit rate.
1) FT went to resizable tables half way through the challenge. This screwed up the Poker Ace HUD which overlays the other players stats on the table. I use those stats to extract additional value, but could not use them as well during the second half.
2) I lowered my starting table requirements to be able to get the hands in for the challenge. The tables are tougher now (though soft ones can still be found). Because I ran so well early while lowering my standards, I thought that this was OK to do. It came back to bite me in the second half.
3) I started 4 tableing when I could find 4 good tables to get hands in to clear the bonus. I already know that I am best with 3 tables max at this level, but was so successful early so I continued 4 tabeling throughout the challenge. It takes more creative play, and more attention to the other players to beat 1/2 NL, and I can't do a good job of either with 4 tables running.
4) During the downturn, I did what happens to a lot of us which is a huge mistake. The mistake is overplaying AA post flop. I got stacked once by a flopped set, and lost another huge chunk to a flopped set. In both cases, I had the info required to make the fold on the flop, but pushed instead. When you are on a losing streak, you tend to overplay AA to make up for your losses. Doing this only makes things worse.
5) Other than the mistakes above, I think I continued to play well in the second half, but got into some horrible situations. I made some huge laydowns including folding QQ twice preflop (both times correct), folding AQ with AA on board on the turn (correct). I got stacked twice to set over set situations, but there is not much you can do about that.
So overall, I am a little disappointed about the results, but it is pretty clear what I was doing wrong, so I can plug those leaks. I need another 700 FTPs to get into the WSOP freeroll, but I will probably take a break from the tables, rather than power through. It looks like about a 100-1 shot in the WSOP freeroll anyway. That's all for now, but I am going to look at the whole low variance style in relation to the bonus challenge in a follow up post.

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