On track – and plan to stay that way!

Train tracks HDR edit
Image by Zach Bonnell via Flickr

My poker playing results have been more consistent the last two months but I won’t get too excited until I have finished the year. Even then, it might take two or more years before I can tell if I am in the “most improved player” category.

I can attribute my current success to the training that I have received from attending the WPT BootCamp for cash game players.

It was there that the likes of Lee ChildsRick FullerNick Brancato, and Eric ‘Rizen’ Lynch showed me the errors of my ways.

Without getting into specifics (you might use these tips against me), I can tell you that all aspects of my game has changed for the following:

Hand selection
Pre-flop strategy
Post-flop strategy
Turn strategy
River strategy

Even when to enter a table and when to leave has changed for me as well – the result of my new training.

August cash game results had me finishing in the black: $58.
September, I am currently standing at a profit of $106.
Year to date, however, has me in the red for $-135.

Still I am not counting my chickens before the eggs hatch. I have long ways to go before I am truly profitable.  Stayed tuned as my excitement builds.

How are you doing?  Are you results showing improvements? How do you track your success?

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Inspired by others to resume writing my poker blog posts

I was recently inspired to resume writing my poker blog.

This was the result of reading the postings of both Chris Brogan and Julien Smith, Co-Authors of the New York Times Best Seller, “Trust Agents”.

I was also inspired recently by reading the blogs of Scotty Nguyen and the PokerLawyer.

You can follow all of them on Twitter.com:
Chris Brogan
Julien Smith
Scotty Nguyen
Poker Lawyer

Each of these individuals have posted ideas that resonated with my own thinking. Each of them sent out such positive information, that I felt compelled to resume my blogging journey.

Even though each of their messages are different, it was their sharing and their enthusiasm for blogging and/or poker that made me realize that I should continue to share my journey and my story.

My ultimate goal is to improve and to grow, both in the poker world and in the social media world.

A blending of both worlds will enable me to learn from both groups of people. My Social Media skills should grow as the result of  being an active part of the BTeam and my poker skills should grow as the result of being an active part of the online poker community.

Already I have received very good information and advice from both professional and amateur poker players. Some of this advice was the result of reading books and blogs. Some of this advice was received as the result of “tweeting” and/or emailing with people. I even have had some personal training in the form of a WPT Boot Camp for cash games players.

Some of the comments people have made to me on my blog, email or “tweets”, have lead me to believe that I am on the right track.

The journey that I am on, is already getting more interesting day by day.

What inspires or motivates you to continue learning and growing?  What tools to you need to help you to grow?

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A quiet night – sort of …

Vancouver late at night
Image via Wikipedia

With my day job somewhat under control, which comprised of some Social Media work and advanced child care (my granddaughter thinks she is smarter than I am, and she might be) out of the way for the evening, thoughts of poker came to mind.

So I decided to play in the Twitter Poker Tour Monday night KO Tournament which started at 9pm ET and had a buy-in of $5.50.

While waiting for the game to start, I played a little Rush poker on the Full Tilt Poker site. By little, I mean that I played at the .02/.05 tables, entering with a maximum buy-in of $5.00.

I finished the Rush Poker game with a profit of $1.68 after 15 minutes of play, just before the TPT tourney started.

When the TPT KO Tourney started, there were just three players and only one prize based on the number of players registered. Within ten minutes, two more joined in and now three players could win, with third place winning less than they paid, 4.00 versus their buy-in of 5.50.

The game was interesting as I have played with some of these players before,  but I never really caught a hand. I went all in with pocket sixes and was called by K7 off-suit. A seven hit the turn and I was out in 4th place, with no payout.

Time to go to bed. Which I did … but I brought my iPad with me and read tweets until I was tired enough to go to sleep. And I did…

Then all of a sudden I thought I hurt a crashing noise from upstairs, which would be the bedroom that our granddaughter was sleeping in. I was able to wake up without waking my wife, Diane, which is a good trick, in and of itself, and went to see what had happened. Which was nothing.  Our granddaughter was sound asleep with the reading light on. I turned off the light and went down stairs.

As I was not really tired .. well not too tired … well maybe a little tired, ok, I looked to see what “raindeer” poker games might be playing that I would like to join at Full Tilt.

When I play No Limit Hold’em, I try to stick to just the cash games, but, I like a variety for the Sit n Go’s and mini-tourneys.  I saw that there was a HOSE game, which is the same as HORSE but without the RAZZ part.  And the buy-in was just $3.30, so that if I fell asleep during the game, I would not be too upset with myself.

When we started, there were only 12 players on two tables. By the time an hour had passed, I noticed that at least 20 people were in the game. It was not until I finished that I found out 30 players total had actually joined in the play.

For the first 1 1/2 hours,  I hovered above average and was in the top 8. By the second hour I was in the top 5 with the leads changing almost every hand.  At the end I was in second place with 9,000 in chips and my opponent with 36,000. After about 45 minutes of sparing, I ended up winning 1st place and a prize of 36.30 or $33 more than my buy-in. This was about $12.50 per hour, which was good enough for the dollar level I was playing in.

As they say in poker, GG or good game.

Of course, I am very tired now and I will pay for this win as I have to take my granddaughter to school no earlier that 8:30 and pick her back up again.

Do you ever wake up in the middle of the night and say to yourself … hmm POKER TIME! ?  Did it end up being worthwhile staying up so late?  Were you able to take a nap during your day job?

(By the way, I think that the noise that woke me up during the night might have been my iPad that I took to bed with me. I sometimes put it under my pillow prior to falling asleep. And it has slid off of the bed and thunked onto the floor before. The 6:30am alarm goes off in 15 minutes, so I won’t be able to verify what woke me up until then. LOL)

Deciding when and how to play and why.

An illustration for the example hand in texas ...
Image via Wikipedia

Based on my bankroll, I consider myself to be a recreational player.  As I mentioned in my last post, I have about $3,000 tied up in online and cash play.

This allows me to play the .25/.50 games on line.  At those games I usually buy into at the maximum amount allowed, which is $50.

For the cash games I play the $1/2 No-Limit table when available (which is not very often as I would have to go from New Hampshire to Connecticut).  The buy-in for those games is either $200 or $300.

When I play in the poker rooms of New Hampshire, I play at the $2/4 Limit Hold em tables. I usually buy-in for the limit hold em games at $100/$120. Depending on how I am doing, I re-buy at either $50 or $100.

But I haven’t been to the New Hampshire tables for over two months now and my last time at the No-Limit Hold em tables in Connecticut was the middle of last August.  I am planning to go again at the end of September.

I find myself busier now at my “day” job, so I probably will be playing on line when I do play.  As I work at home, I can schedule my playing time around my work time.

So the “when” will end up being a little less often than before.  The “how” I play  should be – playing with the new skills I picked up at the WPT Boot Camp for cash games. The “why” I play …  poker is fun, and I enjoying winning.

When do you play? How do you play? And finally, why do you play?

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Thoughts on my poker bankroll management

I have been asking a few different people including some poker pros, questions about my bankroll and how I should manage it.

I have $3,000 to use for my poker bankroll. The problem is that I have about $1,500 spread out over six sites so that my effective bankroll on each site is around $250. I have cash on hand of around $1,500 to use for the rest of my bankroll. The cash is also what I take when I go to the poker rooms.

I always try to take at least two or three buy-ins at live games with me so that I can stay in the game for a little while.  My stop loss, such as it is, is set at losing no more than two full buy-ins. Usually, if that happens, I don’t seem to play as well and so, this method seems to work for me.

I basically have about 30 buy-ins total, playing at the .25/.50 levels, which is where I seem to do my best at, lately.

My biggest goal now is to increase my bankroll by winning, so that I can move up to the next level and still have over 25 buy-ins total at the $1/$2 level .

My biggest challenge is moving money around the online sites.

Right now, to deposit on PokerStars and FullTilt, I have to use Western Union. The remaining other sites take eWalletExpress which is much easier, faster, and less expensive to me to use.

How do you manage your bankroll? What are your plans for keeping in the game for as long as you can? How do you  make your deposits to sites?

August Results, and what's happening, sort of…

Finish Line
Image by MikeSchinkel via Flickr

Thanks to using most of the tips that I learned from the WPT Boot Camp that I attended, I finished August in the black.

September was starting to look like a different story.

I started out playing on various sites, trying to find which online sites contained softer tables for me to play on (meaning that they have people that played worse than I do).

I played on three different sites, DoylesRoom, FullTiltPoker, and Bodog Poker.

I lost two out of three sessions on Doyles.
I lost two out of three sessions playing “Rush Poker” on FTP.
I lost two out of three sessions playing on Bodog.

This was not at what I wanted to see after taking the two day WPT Boot Camp for cash game players.

It wasn’t until my last three sessions at FTP that I started to see the results that I had hoped for.

Overall, I have played twelve sessions in September; 7 losing, 5 winning.

As I look back over my sessions, I did see that I had not always stuck to using the methods learned at the camp. I would also let my emotion cloud my judgement and continue to bet or raise when it was clear that my opponent was calling because they had the better hand.

I also learned that playing on the Rush Tables on Full Tilt was probably not a good idea. Since players are moved from table to table after folding their hands, it was hard to build a table image. Also at the stakes I was playing, .02/.05 and .05/.10, some players would play any two cards.

I had one Rush Table game where I had KK and raised to 4x BB (four times the big blind) in order to try to get most of the players to fold. I had one caller, a larger stack than mine call. The flop was 789 of spades. That was not a good flop for me, but I still placed a continuation raise of about 3/4 of the pot, which was about 10% of my stack. A three of diamonds was the turn card. I again put in a raise of about 3/4 of the current pot, which now was about 25% of my stack. My opponent re-raised an amount which would put me all-in and I called.

He turned over 10s, 2c, giving him both a flush draw, a straight draw, and a straight flush draw. Using an odds calculator later, I saw that my pocket kings had more than a 65% chance of winning. But my opponent hit his miracle card of a 5 of spades on the river to make a flush, winning my entire stack.

I tried not to get too upset, but, I sorta felt like Phil Hellmuth: What was this guy thinking of calling my raises and re-raises with just a 10 – 2 off-suit. I had no idea what he was thinking and I will probably never know.
That was my lesson learned. So based on my bad experiences on the Rush Tables, I decided that I will stick to regular cash game tables.

Have you learned by playing what works and what doesn’t? How do you find what tables you should play on? Do the stakes matter – micro versus low?

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Following Poker Pros on Twitter, Facebook and blogs

Scotty Nguyen in 2006 World Series of Poker - ...
Image via Wikipedia

Using Social Media Tools, I probably follow over 150 Poker Pros around the world.

I use Twitter, Google Reader, and Facebook to follow Pros that I find interesting.

Interesting, a majority of the Pros have large followings of Wannabes,  such as myself, but they do not necessarily follow many people themselves.

In the cases where I Tweet or Re-Tweet messages to or about these Pros, for the most part I get no response.

And that is ok. I get it. No problem. I mean if I had thousands of  followers tweeting me every day, I would not have time to play poker, let alone live a normal life (such as it is for a poker pro).

There are exceptions, as there are many thoughtful and authentically nice pros that feel they should respond back.  Thank you for taking the time to do so, but, you do not really have to do so for my sake.

Currently there is one pro poker player out there that is creating a fan base and a following that has me totally amazed. He appears to follow back almost everyone that follows him. You don’t see that very often. Even I follow only about 66% of the people that follow me.

For him, that appearently is a Win – Win situation. Or should I say Win – Nguyen?

I had not been following Scotty Nguyen until this years 2010 WSOP Main Event.

After I started following, I saw that Scotty Nguyen was very proactive in talking with his fans. He Tweets almost daily. Weekly, he offers a new Fan Picture of himself or him and his family.

Scotty has a complete merchandise line of “The Prince of Poker” going for him. He also sponsors contests with the prize being Scotty allowing a fan to interview him and have that interview posted on Scotty’s website.

He is using all the tools of Social Media at his disposal and he comes across as genuine and interested in others – check out his blog!

And his “baby” counter would be off the wall if you kept of each and every time he said “baby”.  Thank you Scotty, you are “The Prince of Poker”.

Do you think that this has improved Scotty’s image in the poker world?

Do you have any poker pros that you follow that are interactive with their fan base?

What would you like your favorite poker pro to do differently?

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How often to post?

Poker set.
Image via Wikipedia

I have decided to start posting again. It may take some time for me to get back up to speed and to have something that might peak your interest. Or is that peek?

I know that I should post more – because that is a sure way that  I can get more traffic. And with more traffic, hopefully I will get more answers to questions that I have.

See Chris Brogan’s post – “One Big Traffic Secret“.

When I listen to my son, good things happen.  Amazing how life changes.

I have noticed of late that many of the poker bloggers that I follow have also slowed down.  Have we been drinking the same water? The biggest surprise to me was Doyle Brunson’s blog, last post was December 7th, 2009. How did I miss that?

I have Google Reader following over 150 poker related blogs, not counting my Social Media groups, Arts & Crafts, New Feeds and other fun stuff so I guess that I am not very observant after all. (And I wonder why I lose at playing poker).!

Have you slowed down your blogging? What has caused you to slow down or stop? What are you missing or what did you want to achieve?

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Post WSOP and WPT Boot Camp

Tom Dwan aka "Durrrr"
Image by ElizaPeyton via Flickr

Some time has passed since the end of the 2010 WSOP Main Event. It has also been over 3 weeks since I returned from the WPT Boot Camp for cash games.

Has the training changed my game?  Yes it has.

Has it changed my results?  Not noticeably. I might be losing at a slower rate than before.

Would I recommend going to a boot camp for poker? Yes I would.

I think it would help a losing player as well as a winning player.

A few years ago No Limit Holdem was played slightly less aggressive than it is today.

Too many people have seen either “Poker After Dark”, “The Big Game”, or other similar shows.  They have seen Tom Dwan raising under the gun with 10 2 off suit and win the pot.

To counter that trend, it requires that a poker player adjust his game to match the reality of what is currently being at the tables.

Has your game changed over the years?

Are you an ABC type of player?

Are you keeping up?

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Take backs from boot camp

Poker Night
Image by chrischappelear via Flickr

I mentioned in my previous post, I had some cash game training at a WPT Boot camp for No Limit Hold’em type of games.

As far as my progress goes, I was in the black for August, while my year-to-date is still in the red.

It appears that I am losing at a slower rate than I have previously.

My game still has some holes that I am trying to plug, such as recognizing when I might be beat by my opponent’s betting pattern.

Overall, I am more aggressive when I have good hands and am more selective about entering a pot with marginal hands.

I am entering a pot, either by betting, raising, or calling about 8% of all the hands I am dealt. I am calling only about 10 to 15% at the most and that is with drawing hands when others have already limped in before me.

What is your strategy for entering a pot? When you are first to decide, do you ever just call?

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