December poker goals

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I believe that goal setting should be done using attainable goals. But I don’t mean that I should set the level of my goals too low, making it easy to obtain them.

It has taken me over three months to recoup my early losses at I was  playing Limit Hold ‘Em trying to avoid the exact same losses that I sustained. Since that time, I have switched over to playing  No Limit Hold ‘Em.  I have had winning sessions that have grown my bankroll with Doyle’s to within $25 of what I had started with three months ago.

Having said that, my December goal is to increase my account with Doyle’s by $62 in winnings. At that point, I will move up from the .25/.50 cash games with a $30 buy-in to the .50/1.00 with a $50 buy-in. I realize that by moving up, the games will be a little harder as the players tend to be a little better and more experienced.  In the event that my account dips below my November level, I would step down a level or back to .25/.50 until I rebuild my account.

My 2010 goal for playing at DoylesRoom is to steadily win and move up to the $2/$4 by the end of the year at the least. My ultimate goal is to be able to generate a steady income by playing poker, a game and a challenge that I enjoy.

My tournament goals for this year are being limited to mostly Twitter Poker Tour and Railbird events until my tourney playing skills improve.  Yes, I will take an occasional shot at a satellite tourney but knowing that I still have a lot to learn, I will be patient until my skills catch up with my ambitions.

Do you set poker goals? How do you define them? Do you have a fall back plan to keep you from depleting your bankroll?

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Player Types – How do you identify them?

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When ever I play online at either the cash games, tourneys or Sit N Go’s, I try to take the time to identify the player types that are at the table. But up till now, I really did not have a way to classify them so I could tell their tendencies.  I would note if they were aggressive or always entering a pot with a pot sized raise.  If the pot size raiser was on the button or cutoff position, meaning they were just before the small blind, I would put a notation that said “blind stealer?”.  This same description would be placed in the notes of a player that almost always raised UTG or in early position and later showed down a poor starting hand.

The problem with my notes is that they lacked definition. That is, until I read a chapter in the book,  The Poker Tournament Formula by Arnold Snyder that dealt with classifying certain players.  In Chapter 8, he listed the player type names that he uses and it made sense to me after reading the explanation of each one.  The following are a few examples of player types that Snyder describes:

Ace Master
Flush Master
Pair Masters
Cagey Codgers
Show N Tellers

He had a few others but these are types that I have seen and can use these titles for them. The “Ace Master” who plays a Ace with any other card regardless of its value. The “Flush Master” who comes raising a pot with K 3 suited. Another one I might add is the “All in’er”, a short stacked player who goes all in with Ace any, AK, any pair or two suited connectors. If the “all in’er” hits or misses, he disappears from the table with his prize or whit nothing. He does not hang around to be criticized for playing the way that he does.

It has helped my cash game to record their actions in the notes and then play accordingly. Has taking notes helped your game?

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Gumby always raises big before entering a pot

Nopey and Gumby in "Stuck on Books"
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During a cash game this week, I encountered a player I will call Gumby as the first part of the player’s name is “Gumb”. My hand details show only the first four characters to protect the players identity.  I call her a “she” as the avatar being used is a female one.  I know that the gender may not be accurate as I have seen players change avatars from male to female and back again for whatever reason.

Every time that Gumby entered a pot first she would raise the amount of the pot. That raise would be enough to take down the pot and win the blinds. If someone else had limped into the pot, Gumby put in a raise equal to two or 2 1/2 times the pot. Again that would be enough to win the pot without even seeing the flop.

I was in the cutoff seat with a Q9 of clubs. All the other players ahead of me folded. I entered the pot with a raise the size of the pot hoping to pick up the pot right then. I was prepared to play the hand if called as Q9 suited in the cutoff is not too bad of a hand. I had position. But Gumby re-raised me  by almost 2 1/2 times the current pot. I was not getting the right odds to call as this was a drawing hand. In hindsight, perhaps I should have limped in against this aggressive player. After 15 seconds of pondering my decision,  I elected to fold instead of calling or re-raising.

About thirty hands later, I was under the gun, first player to bet and I was dealt a pair of pocket Jacks. This is a troublesome hand to play but I put in a pot sized bet and everyone folded except Gumby who re-raised me. Again. By the size of the new pot or $4.00. But this time with the pocket Jacks, I decided to just call and see the flop.  If the flop contained higher cards than my Jacks I was going to fold if Gumby raised.  The flop was 10 Q K. A bad flop for me. I checked and to my surprise Gumby checked right behind me. The turn card was a 2. I checked again and Gumby checked. The river was a 7. We both checked and she turned over an AQ to win with a pair of queens.

The flop must have scared her as there was a king and there was a straight possible. If a nine or an ace came up I would have a straight.  Whatever the reason she just checked, I got to see how she plays AQ. Had she raised after the flop, I would have folded my Jacks. Of course I wonder what would have happened if I had raised after the flop. I have seen her re-raise all in with other players. I thought my Jacks were dominated and I did not want to take the chance without the best hand against a known aggressive player.

How do you play pocket Jacks? Do you know when to hold them and when to fold them? How do you handle aggressive players? Do you play back to them with re-raises or all ins?

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A slow week at poker but I ran into Duke a couple of times

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Last week I had other duties and chores that keep me away from the online felt most of the week. But I did have an occasion to play some satellites and cash games.

On the Set N Go Step games at Doyles I am stuck in the early steps but still alive trying to get past Step 4. But of more interest, I keep running into the same people and I wrote notes to help me in the event of a repeat meet-up. One player, whom I will call Duke is unbluffable.  Do not even try.

I had AK and raised the pot to a pot size bet pre-flop and was called by Duke. The flop was Q 9 5. No help to me but I decided to try a continuation bet of 1/2 of the pot.  Duke called again. Now he had me thinking that he either had a medium or high pocket pair? The turn was a J. Still no help for me except that now I had a straight draw. So I let out again with a  1/3 pot size bet, hoping that the smaller amount might make him think that I wanted a call and he would fold. But no, he called again. The river card was a7.

I gave up betting as I had put over a third of my chips into the pot with to avail. I figured if I moved all in with nothing, he would just call again. He turned over his pocket pair of threes. He was not about to be bluffed or moved off of his threes.  Even in the face of the fact that all of the cards being flopped were higher than his cards.  While my betting with just AK might have bad, his calling in the face of such strength was just as bad.

I have seen him since, and he is still unbluffable, and he is losing in his attempt to advance a level also. In the last hand I saw him play against another opponent, he ended up with AK and the board had K 10 8 Q 4. His opponent had KQ for two pairs. Duke called the all in bets at the turn because he could not be bluffed from his holding of top pair with an Ace kicker. Know his inability to fold, I would not try bluffing him again but if I had two pair or trips I would probably go after him if we were in a pot together. Knowing how he plays does help me in the long run.

If I run into Duke again in the future, there is a player note about him that says  he cannot be bluffed. That will help me unless he changes his style of play.

Have you ever tried to take the pot with AK with a pre-flop pot size bet only to have a caller or a re-raiser? What did you do? Fold or call to see the flop? If you missed the flop, did you give up your attempt to buy the pot?

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Twitter and poker – they do mix

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Yesterday I shared some of the blogs that I read. After doing so, I got some responses and tweets about it. It made me realize that I have quite a few poker friends and poker pros that I follow on Twitter. I follow about 380 twitterers and I am followed by as least as much.

Recently, when I mentioned that I wanted to find a way to cover up my cards when I play online poker, I got back at least 8 responses. Some were suggestions of how I could accomplish that. Thank you.  Two were supportive of the concept and one even supplied me with a poker article about a poker player who played against 180 and won the tournament without once ever looking at her cards. One of the respondents was genuinely concerned that I might be giving up an edge to my opponent if I tried that out.

For those of you who don’t know about twitter, let’s just say that it is a method of communications on the Internet. Twitter  allows you to express yourself in a message of 140 characters or less.  The messages are called “tweets”.  The persons sending messages are called “twitterers”. Go to Mashable.Com to see a whole list of twitter terms.

If you don’t have an account, that’s ok. Go to Just use their search box and type in #poker or #tpt or even stevebrogan.  There you will see the information that people are typing; their conversations.  Caution: People are allowed to say anything they want, so cover your ears if bad words might offend you.

If you don’t use twitter, you might be missing out on a new experience. Start slowing. Follow people and organizations that interest you. Participate and enjoy.

Do you use twitter to enhance your poker experience? Do you follow the pros as well as the amateurs?

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Switching Gears!

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Today’s post is a bit off topic as I share with you some of the blogs that I like to read and that I think have value. I use Google Reader and subscribe to about 50 poker related blogs. Using Google Reader allows me to preview the current postings and then choose the ones I want to read in detail.

One of the blogs I read is the “Poker Bankroll Blog”, which uses guest writers. There is usually something there that I find educational or at least very entertaining.

This week I read Swyyft’s posterous blog and was entertained by the story he shared concerning the chat during a session with a high stakes online poker player.

The Mystical Jett is another blog site that contains very interesting and thoughtful posts and reviews.  Jett’s twitter account is @mysticaljett. I play poker online from time to time with him.

Paul Ellis writes on Pablos Place where he brings a lot of passion about poker, putting a “Bad Beat on Cancer”.  On twitter he is known as @coolwhipflea. We also run into each other on the online felt.

Bill Rini, a professional poker player is currently living in Thailand and always has something interesting, and very often, important to say about the state of online poker around the world at Bill’s Poker Blog.   Just visiting to see what pictures he has posted there is an adventure.  Follow Bill on twitter, @billrini.

Goeff Manning, aka @cprpoker on Twitter, has at least three great blogs. Complete Poker Rules contains recent stories regarding poker as well as sections about the rules of various poker games.  The Twitter Poker Tour site is both a forum and a resource for those of us who play on the #TPT tourneys. You will find the leader board, schedules and lots lots more. His latest site, Worth Cause Poker is dedicated to getting out information about fund raising poker events for charity. If you know of any local or national events, please let him know so that he can include it in his blog.

These are just a few of the many blogs that I check daily. Do you have any favorite blogs that you go for poker news or entertainment? Do you have some that you would recommend to me or others?

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