Thursday, September 28, 2006

Wonka's Law

I hate poker.

OK, not really; but sometimes... oof.

You've all heard of Murphy's Law. Well, I am now renaming it to Wonka's Law. Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong.

Of course that is an exaggeration; but do you ever feel like that?

I had been having a nice month closing in on 2K. Well, until last night.

Ring Play:

Actually started off well here. After 100 or so hands I was up a hundy. Dropped 2 hundy in a flash and flatlined for awhile. Some things went south in tournies (more on that later) and had some adverse effects on Ring Play. It was just one of those nights when you name it was happening. Runner Runner gutshot, flopped trips going down, etc, etc.... I won't bore you with details. At the end of the night, I was down almost $600. Ouch!!!


This was an up and down exercise. Just before the bubble, I made the almost mandatory raise and continuation bet with the hammer. Didn't work out; although, hammer play the sequel did work so I got some of the chips back. I get KK and raise it and a shortstack goes all in (sorry didn't capture names and links). He turns over QJ and I'm hopefully in good shape. That is until he flops trips. Anyway, onto bubble time as there are 5 payouts and I find myself in 1st place. There was talk about who was going to bubble and I said to myself that I knew it was going to be me because that was just the way things were going this evening. Two major pots that I probably played badly. Both of them involved middle suited aces. I have never been a good front runner as my bullying or whatever never seems to work out. Anyway, both times I raised it up only to be pushed by others. Now, both of these guys are very capable of making plays and I called both of their all ins. Both of them had AK. First hand, no help. Second hand, the pusher was in the BB and had folded to some reraises earlier, so I called. I flopped my lower pair, only to see it counterfeited by the river and as advertised, I bubbled out. I couldn't even watch the rest.

Final tabled another tourney that had $500 1st place... ran into Aces twice on the final table and then went out on an uninteresting hand where I again got rivered. Talk about drowning on the river. That was me last night.

This was about the time that I decided to open up a 5/10 table. It was a great table as there was a 55%er and a 70%er. I guess "great" is in the eye of the beholder because again after getting up a hundy it all went south on 4 card flushes and straights and river gut shots.. blah blah blah..

So things went bad and I was coming down to wind down with some TV or something, I mentioned to Mrs Wonka (who was up feeding baby #2) that it was a bad night, she decided to bring up the "poker addiction" conversation. Obviously, I was in no mood for it. Luckily, I just let her make her speech and said. OK, I'm addicted.. you happy and that was it.

That should do it and hopefully, tumor (or whenever I play next) is a better day.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Roller Coaster and What comes Around, Goes Around

I would like to start off with a great quote that I heard from Mike Ditka on ESPN Radio this morning. It is not an original Mike Ditka quote (I don't think); but it is awesome. The context of the quote is about Jeremy Shockey (and Kellen Winslow) spouting off against whatever they spout off against... which is plenty. Here is the quote (to the best of my memory):

"It is better to shut up and appear stupid than to open your mouth and remove all doubt"

Classic!!!! Actually, I just looked it up and it appears the Mark Twain penned the phrase.

This holds very true to my poker session last night. More on that later.

As I mentioned a little bit previously, I am trying to gain a little more consistentcy on the early part of my poker sessions. One thing is that I am trying to play at least 300 hands during a session to get a better representation of the session. I'm also trying to avoid getting down early in the session as that can sometimes change everything. Not unlike the Saints game last night where they blocked a punt early for a touchdown. It changes things. It just does. Same thing with getting down early. It shouldn't change things; but typically it just does. I'm not saying that people go on tilt; but they might take a flyer on a middle pair or ride that flush draw with beaucoup raises in front of him. OK, it will come as no surprise that I did just that. I fell down early again over a weekend session. It turned out to be quite the roller coaster rides. Now, I love roller coasters; but not so much when it revolves around poker. I was down $100, got back even, down $100 again, now I'm up $100, now I'm back down $100, I ended up over $185 for the session. Once I was up $100, I was tempted to take the money and run; but I remembered by 300 hand pledge. Onward I go, and sure enough, say bye-bye to the profits; but this story has a happy ending as I finished with quite a flurry, reached the 300 hand mark and called it quits. For the record, I must say that playing 300 hands a day is not a hard goal to reach as it typically takes less than 1 1/2 hours; but as other fathers can attest (especially ones with young ones), getting time to play poker can be a challenge. Anyway, I was happy to call it quits and book the profits.

Here I am talking about $200 profits when on Full Tilt, John D'Agistino has been talking about a few more zeroes. Yesterday, someone posted (sorry, I can't remember who) that Dags took about an 100K hit to Brad Booth. Well, the rematch was on and I had the table up while I was playing my 3 tables. Bad news for D'ags as he took another $139K hit. That has to hurt; even for a top professional.

Now let's get back to looking stupid. Again remember that I am working on consistency. Very first hand last night, I get 43o. I 52% VPIPer and 24% PFRer limps from early position and it gets limped around to me. I check. Flop comes something like A3x. He bets out and I call to see a turn. A blank comes on the turn and again he bets out. What do I do? Fold? Wrong!!!!!!! I'm not buying his strength and check raise him. Now wait???? How does that fit into the plan of being consistent and NOT getting down early? Oh yeah, it doesn't. Some people just never learn and I guess I fall into that camp; but wait, this just in. A 4 on the river and I take down the pot against his weak Ace. Of course he had some choice words for me so I am faced with:

Is it better to shut up and appear stupid or open my chat-mouth and remove all doubt? Maybe I chose the middle as I just typed in HeeHaw. I later sucked out on him again when My KQ on a Q high flopped spiked a K on the river when he had actually flopped two pair. It was all good and nothing really came of it. He called BS on the first river suckout and I agreed. End of story. As you can see on the chart, it was a good session and I broke another rule and only played a bit over 200 hands; but booked another nice session for me of over $200.

One interesting hand come up about mid way through the session. Well, interesting to me at least. I get 43o in the blinds again; but this time there is a preflop raiser (different from the first time); but I called anyway with a total of 4 people in the pot. Again, the flop comes A3x and again the EP guys bets out and I start to fold; but wait, maybe 43o is my hand of destiny tonight. CALL. What is that on the turn? Yep, a 4. Can you believe it. Check-Raise (oh how I love to check raise... it's an art, you know). Oh no!!! An Ace on the river. I have to represent (or do I?). Turns out I shouldn't have as he raised me and folded. It might have been worth that final call just for "looking stupid" reasons; but I didn't. It just goes to show you..... What comes around, goes around. I just chuckled and moved on and ended up nicely even though I did shut things down prematurely (at 200 hands).

Duggle has a link to a TIME magazine article regarding whether Poker is good for kids. I think it may have a positive slant to it. I haven't had a chance to read it; but plan to shortly. I'd be interested hearing other people's take on that. I, for one, plan on teaching the Wonka girls how to play cards as early as possible.

Have a nice day!!!!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Disturbing Trend

I put in another 600 hands or so last night. For the most of the night it was 4 tabling. 2 at Absolute, 1 at Full Tilt and one on a smaller site. I'm trying to concentrate more on table selection that I have in the past. One thing that I don't do, however, is move from a table that starts off good but then degrades into a tougher table due to the bad players busting or hit and runs by the bad players or whatever. For the most part, once I sit down, the roots start to grow. I really need to pay attention to that as Absolute and Full Tilt have plenty enough tables to choose from at my level.

Anyway, as you will see in the graph again that my session started in a Southward trend. This trend is becoming quite disturbing. So the question begs should I be playing any differently at the beginning of a session as related to later in the session. If you would have asked me that last week, I would have said NO hands down. It doesn't matter when you are playing, you should be playing the same game. To tell you the truth, I still believe that.

To be honest, I didn't sit down with the best frame of mind. It was a little bit later than I normally start so I wasn't sure that I was up to putting in a full session. So the first hand ended up being a blind on blind hand with a know aggressive person. I went with the bluff re-steal as I believed he was on the bluff steal. Nope. No biggie, that's poker. So, here's the deal. Do I press more when I get down early? I would like to think not as my Poker Tracker stats did not seem out of whack. One thing that really stood out is that other than the one time I had AA, my A9(suited and offsuit) and better was not an overall winner for the night. Another words, overall for each hand over A9, they were overall losers for the night; albeit not gross loser as I think it added up to 10BB; but typically you want wins there to offset some of the others.

Speaking of the AA hand that I did win, it was a strange one. Not so much the hand itself but how the people played and what they played it with. I don't put too many raw hand histories; but this one does the talking for itself. Here it is:

FullTiltPoker Game #1025502206: Table Clark (6 max) - $3/$6 - Limit Hold'em - 0:29:18 ET - 2006/09/22
Seat 1: willwonka ($52)
Seat 2: RailCityCrew ($141.50)
Seat 3: dirtybird81 ($127)
Seat 4: KindOfBlue00 ($182)
Seat 5: BLUEHUT43 ($15)
Seat 6: kezinch8 ($254.50)
willwonka posts the small blind of $1.50
RailCityCrew posts the big blind of $3
The button is in seat #6
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to willwonka [Ac As]
dirtybird81 folds
KindOfBlue00 folds
BLUEHUT43 raises to $6
kezinch8 calls $6
willwonka raises to $9
RailCityCrew calls $6
BLUEHUT43 raises to $12
kezinch8 calls $6
willwonka calls $3
RailCityCrew calls $3
*** FLOP *** [4s 2d 9h]
willwonka bets $3
RailCityCrew calls $3
BLUEHUT43 calls $3, and is all in
kezinch8 calls $3
*** TURN *** [4s 2d 9h] [Ad]
willwonka bets $6
RailCityCrew calls $6
kezinch8 calls $6
*** RIVER *** [4s 2d 9h Ad] [8c]
willwonka bets $6
RailCityCrew calls $6
kezinch8 calls $6
*** SHOW DOWN ***
willwonka shows [Ac As] (three of a kind, Aces)
RailCityCrew mucks
kezinch8 mucks
willwonka wins the side pot ($36) with three of a kind, Aces
BLUEHUT43 mucks
willwonka wins the main pot ($57) with three of a kind, Aces
BLUEHUT43 is sitting out
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot $96 Main pot $60. Side pot $36. Rake $3
Board: [4s 2d 9h Ad 8c]
Seat 1: willwonka (small blind) showed [Ac As] and won ($93) with three of a kind, Aces
Seat 2: RailCityCrew (big blind) mucked [Qd Ah] - a pair of Aces
Seat 3: dirtybird81 didn't bet (folded)
Seat 4: KindOfBlue00 didn't bet (folded)
Seat 5: BLUEHUT43 mucked [5c 6h] - Ace Nine high
Seat 6: kezinch8 (button) mucked [Ts 9d] - a pair of Nines

Typically, at least lately, the crazy guys have been hitting their gutshots; but luckily not this time. I did lose drawing hands vs being drawn out on; but again, that is normal as I expect to be outdrawn more than I draw out on people.

I did get called a donkey last night when I did call down to the river only to hit my pair on the river against his AKo that didn't connect. You know what I say, if you can't beat them, join them. My only response to him was...... HeeHaw. Enough said.

I did end up the night in positive territory so I can never complain too loudly about that.

Speaking of Donkeys, I did get a chance to play DADI last night; but I had to play on my laptop and the wireless connection was terrible. I chipped up nicely at the beginning; but lost it fittingly trying to draw to a flush or something in Omaha. Ooops. Thanks to 3Jacks for dropping the hammer on me when I had the best of it and making me fold. Nice play sir. I should have known.

Have a nice weekend!!!!!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

One more Round

Got in a good bit of poker in last night. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 600 hands. As per the normal rule, I play a bunch of hands if I find myself stuck or not so many hands if I am up. There are plenty of good reasons NOT to do Hit and Run Sessions; but sometimes you just like to book the profits and move on to other things; especially with the new Fall Shows coming on, I can see myself watching a bit of TV with Mrs Wonka. Apparently, there is more to life than poker.

Well, as you can probably guess, I again started stuck last night and again it was pocket Aces sticking me early. I don't know if I am ready to say that I don't want pocket Aces to begin a session; but they have not been kind to me over the past few days or should I say the past few days early in a session. Anyway, as you can see on the chart (did I mention that I really love these Poker Tracker Graphs). I got stuck early and went downhill from there. At one point, I was over $250 down for the night; but was able to work that back up to just being down $14. Since I had put a good bit of hands in and it was starting to get late, I did my obligatory "one more round" strategy.

One More Round??? Why do I feel that I have to make one more orbit around the table? Maybe it is the sports player in me as I have always had a cool down to any workout or practice. You know, you just can't stop. Easily work your way down to a good stopping point. Plus if you get a good hand, then play as normal. I'm also thinking that I am working off more of my bonus and getting rakeback so that makes it worth it. 8 or 9 times out of 10 I am just folding and calling it a day. Sometimes, you get the good hand and it holds up and you feel good about quitting; but sometimes you don't. Case in point last night. I get AK. EP raises and I pause and think. Do I want to get involved? He is actually one of the normal players at the table. Instinct takes over... Raise!!!!. He caps. Anyway, Ace on the turn and lose to his pocket rockets. Next hand or 2, AQ. OK, maybe this will make up for it. Nice Ace on the flop. I'm just getting called down, I should be good. What is that on the river? A Jack? Yep, he had AJ. Next hand or so. QJs. Flop open ended straight draw and a flush draw. Doesn't get there. And finally, A9s. Again Ace on flop and guy calls me down only to hit his gutshot straight on the river.

As you may have read here, people calling down on a gut shot draw really sets me off. At this point, I only had one table open as the "one more round" had completed on the other tables. I had $50 left at the table (I'm playing 3/6 SH by the way) and I even said to myself, you can kiss this $50 goodbye. Of course the final round thing was off and I'm back to try to catch up mode. This may come as a surprise. I lost the $50 when my ATo from the button open raising on a A2Txx board lost to pocket ducks.

So that is how you go from being $14 down (I was actually up including bonus) to $150 down in a matter of minutes. So, yes, I may to rethink my "one last round" strategy.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Survivor Fun

Not much in the way of poker last night, it took twice as many hands to win 1/2 as much money. That seems flawed somewhere. Nothing too exciting as I only played 200 hands for $120. Yes, my aces got cracked... la de da de da... move on... I'll take it.. positive sessions are just that. No room to complain.

Since I don't have much poker news I thought I would bring some Survivor Fun. Yes, Survivor started last night and yes I watch it. It is one of the shows that Mrs Wonka and myself enjoy watching together. Reading my comments last night, our good buddy CC has some questions that must be answered. Here they are (with his comments):

>> How long will they keep the tribes?
I'm guessing they'll have to combine to two fairly quickly, as well as nuke more than one person soon.
>> Will those two do the dirty deed next week, and will they show it?
>> Will the African American tribe be able to make fire with flint?
>> What in the world is the job of the hippie girl who let the chickens go? And isn't that automatic dismissal?

Added by WillWonka

>>Who is the favorite after week 1?
>> Will the Medicine Man cure any more ailments?
>> Who is the hottest chick?? guy??

We shall see.. I will think about these and answer them in the comments a little later.

Have a good weekend!!!!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

What's Missing?

First off, if you are not reading Scurvy, stop now and go over there. Great stuff, as usual, over there. Apparently, another site is doing the Pittsburgh Steeler guarantee bet; albeit only $100 this time. Read about it here. He also wrote a great post about Poker Blogging which was outstanding. So True.

As usual, I have been puttering away at the 3/6 SH games. Do you ever get that feeling that something is wrong and you just can't put your finger on it. That is how I feel right now with my poker game. Playing Limit poker, especially low limit poker, is pretty much ABC poker with a touch of selective aggression for short handed play. I still believe there isn't much difference between 3/6 and 10/20; but it is what it is. Anyway, I am playing along. Yea, sure, I try a few things here and a few things there; but I've got my style and I'm sticking to it. While, I am always looking to improve, Scurvy was spot on when he said that I/we don't necessarily seek out strategy like I once did. But still, something has gone astray. I still love the game; but with this recent downswing over the last year, it makes you wonder.

First, let's look at some overall stats. Stats are what they are and never tell the whole picture.

09/11/06 358 hands 31.84 VPIP 15.36 PFR 1.30 AG 39.83 WtSD 39.83 WSD 63.83 W$SD +121.03

09/12/06 311 hand 36.33 VPIP 19.61 PFR 1.78 AG 40.98 WtSD 29.51 W$SD 58.33 -122

More or less same old stuff.

I've recently been getting into a feature on Poker Tracker that I never used before. It is the graphs. Here is a graph from Day 1 . As you can see,
I was down right from the get go and made a nice comeback at the end; but still up until that point, I was still winning over 60% of my showdowns. What is the "thing" that I'm missing that is causing the downswings. Yes, in the short term it could just be the draws not hitting or any other form of variance. I have another idea, which I will mention a little bit later.

Day 2's graph isn't much different. Again you see that I was down right away and then more or less straight lined the rest of the session. Something has to be causing these early downward shifts. Is it as straight forward as variance. For sure, short term results are meaningless; but as this trend has lasted a year, there is something to it.

Day 3 (last night) was days that you like to see; but are very few and far between. This session only lasted about 100 hands VPIP 32 PFR 19 TAF 5.55 wsf 47 wsd 29 w$sd 69... +203 . I did exactly what you are not supposed to do. I quit while I was ahead. Did I do anything different here to get ahead early. Nope. So, yes, variance does apply to short term results.

OK, moving forward. Let's look at a hand from Day 1. This came right at the end of the session. I would be very interested in your thoughts.

The table had moved down to just 3 players. Two of us sat at with $180 and another was extremely shortstacked. Both of these guys were pretty hyper aggressive. I'm on the button with As2d. Easy raise here 3 handed as I am pretty much raising any ace. SB 3 bets it here and BB (shortstack) calls the 2 the 2 bets. I'm certainly not folding; but choose to see a flop. Does anybody cap it here? Flop comes 7sKs4s leaving me with nut flush draw. SB leads out here and is raised by BB. What here? I'm getting 6-1 to call or should I be raising. I decide to call and SB re-raises and BB just calls so of course I call. Qs on turn and that is all she wrote. I win with the nut, SB had 2nd nut and SB had top pair with a middle spade. Any thoughts here? I wonder if I would have played this differently at the beginning of a session?

So now back to my original question. What's missing. Other than Online Poker being rigged, what am I missing that will bring me to the next level. At least for now, I am going to more deeply into my Blind Play. Of course, Blind Play is so important in short handed action. The more I read, the more I get confused. Some people will say that you should always just call from BB when somebody steals. I think Matt Matros might have written something about this. While other say that you should take control and re-raise. I think Matt Hilger wrote about this. What should your ranges of blind defense be? What should your ranges of blind stealing be? How should be adjusting to the amount of players and type of players. Too many times lately, I have been just calling with what I will say are just calling hands. I then miss the flop and fold to continuation bet.

What is a calling hand? Good question? Maybe a broadway card with some sort of 1,2 or 3 gap connector. Maybe just a suited hand with a broadway card. A small pair? A middle pair.

This will be my mission and hope to find something out soon; because whatever I'm missing, it has made poker more of a grind than an enjoyable experience.


Well, tonight starts the new season of Survivor. This is one of the shows that I agree to watch with Mrs Wonka. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy them. She really looks forward to the new shows. I've never been a real big regular/network TV kind of guy; but I do enjoy some shows and definitely spending the time with her. The Wire on HBO just started again and I am really looking forward to that series. We'll see how it goes.

Speaking of Mrs Wonka, we had our first "date" night that we have had in a long, long time. Talk about weird. We went to a restaurant and didn't have to worry about high chairs, crayons, crackers, balloons, etc.... It was almost too peaceful. We enjoyed it and we also saw the movie Invincible. We both enjoyed it. Nothing too original but a good story none the less. Doesn't really compare to Rocky or Rudy in my book; but good nonetheless. Wow, what is the deal with movie ticket prices. Our first movie in almost 3 years probably.. a little different.

While I'm on the subject of prices. What is the deal with gas prices. I just don't get it. OK, summer is over; but come on.. over $1 a gallon difference. Oh to be an Exxon exec.

I've rambled long enough...

Monday, September 11, 2006

Bitter and remembrance

For the most part week 1 of the NFL season and week 2 of the college football season are in the books. It's always such an exciting time; but then yet always a big letdown when your teams lay an egg. Starting with Saturday, Texas was in everyway was outclassed by #1 Ohio State. Apparently that Troy Smith can play. Yep, need help at QB. He's young so we will see how he handles this and moves on, so yeah, I'm a little bitter. At least Notre Dame looked good.

Things really didn't improve on Sunday as the Cowboys took it on the chin as well. Yep, we need help at QB. I don't know about anybody else; but I'm ready to make the move to Tony Romo. Not that I believe that he is a better QB than Bledsoe; but he is the future. I'd be interested to see listen to Dallas sports radio today. I usually hate pulling the referee card; but I'm going to pull it on this game. They gave Jacksonville a touchdown when Reggie Williams blatantly pushed Henry's head down before he caught the pass. And then a little later, they called Jason Witten for offensive pass interference and took a touchdown away from Dallas. Oh by the way, the contact was 10 yards down the field. I thought there was a rule against that. Oh yea, there is. The one thing that really got on my (and my brothers) nerves was their second and short play calling. They consistenly were making 7-9 yards on first down and then tried to run on second and short to only get no gain or most of the time actually lose yards. Sure, I don't mind running it sometimes; but throw in some passes once in a while. If me and my brother can figure out this tendency, I'm sure Jacksonville can. Oh well what can you do.

Not much poker this weekend.

On the now 5 year anniversay of 9/11. Please take some time to pause and reflect on what was and what is. We need to remember. My thoughts and prayers will be will all who were affected by 9/11 both on that day at the towers and the subsequent days/years that have happened since.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Bad... Bad... Bad... Good!!!

When can things be going so bad then turn on a dime and all work out.

Of course, I am speaking of the Steelers somehow besting the Miami Dolphins.

Bad #1. Benny Boy goes down... Now, any thoughts of Pittsburgh covering; much less winning are not looking good. Even worse, any thoughts of hedging the $1000 are out the window.

Bad #2. 2nd and goal from 1 (or whatever it was)... FUMBLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!. DOH!!!!!

Bad #3. $1000 Field Goal attempt..... Not even close...

GOOD!!!! Dante throwing for a touchdown... What??? Oh yeah, he threw it to Joey Porter... Game, Set; but not match... Miami has ball and 2 minutes... didn't work for them... Match... Of course, it doesn't hurt that I have the Pittsburgh Defense on my fantasy team...

I am truly blessed...

As far as poker goes...

My last post really rang true over the last few days. I wish there were a way to track Drawing hands. I'll have to give that some thought. Other than manually doing it which I did over the last two short sessions... I drew out on the river 0 times; however, I would have drawn my gutshot once had a called the turn bet. I need to work more on my fishy tendancies. Draws against me.... 5.... I did hit my set of 5's on the river once; but I was being called by Ace high so I don't really count that. I did end of the positive for the both days; but both days total a whopping $25 which ain't bad considering where I was at one point.

I've started playing on Absolute poker again for the bonus and rakeback. You just can't beat getting both at the same time. OK, maybe their rake is a tad worse than others; but hey, you still come out ahead at the end of the day.

Have a good weekend!!!!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Judging Sessions

First and foremost... I AM READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL!!! My new HD 56" TV is awesome. Watching sports has been taken to a completely new level. So of course, I got some football in this weekend. I have 3 teams that I profess to follow and they are (in order). University of Texas, Notre Dame and Georgia. Texas for obvious reasons (I was born in Dallas). Notre Dame for no other reason than when I was a kid, they were about the only show in town and I remember watching the repeats of the game on Sunday mornings before church with my dad. That is something that I will never forgot and hope to experience now with my kids. Although, with girls, it may not be football. Georgia is kind of weird one. I have no real ties there. I think during the Herschel Walker era is when I became a fan. I've always been a SEC fan and Georgia is the team that I most followed.

Anyway, I watched the Notre Dame game on the new TV and it was awesome. For you Georgia Tech fans out there (CC). You may have been gypped on the late hit out of bounds on Quinn which then eventually ended up as a ND touchdown. OK, sure, they have hit head on head; but for crying out loud, they are both running a million miles an hour and towards each other. Bad call, but what can you do?

OK, while on the subject of football. As we all know, I am a huge Dallas Cowboys fan so it goes without saying that I detest the Pittsburgh Steelers. Along comes this Mansion bet a $1000 thing. OK, I have to bet on the Steelers, that hurts; but I did it. As usual, the Steelers do me in as Benny boy isn't going to play. Some weak excuse about his appendix. So now, Miami is actually favored so there will be no hedging of the bets. Maybe Charlie Batch will get it done. That is why they play the games.

Oh yes, this is a poker blog.

Sometimes, I just don't get this game of poker. What does it take to be a good long time winner. If you are looking for an answer to that, you won't find it here because I just don't know. This post is going to touch more on the subject on how to Judge your sessions as either good or bad sessions or should I say what can cause a sesion to be good or bad. Yes, we can all review our sessions and try to judge how well it went. Heck, I have even written about it in my Finding Leaks posts, Click here for Part 1, and here for Part II. But this time, I want to look at it from different perspectives.

Of course, I have an opinion on the subject and of course I will tell you and of course, it will come later; but in the mean time, let's talk about some of the things that might be good indicators of how well your sessions will go.

First, let me define a session as simply as a sitting. Whether it be one table, two tables, or multi tables, to me that is a session. It can be mixed games, ring play and tourney. It doesn't matter, if you sit down to play whatever, it is a session. Quite possibly, you can even call a day a session depending on how long the breaks in between playing are.

So, here is my list of things that can determine how a session will go. In other words, will the session be an up session or a down session.

Cards - Yep, this is a pretty obvious one. If you get cold decked, you most likely aren't going to have a winning session; but I think you can prevent yourself from having a disastrous session. This is where patience and all that stuff that we have heard a million times comes into play; but in my mind that is not the biggest factor that will determine how your session goes.

Stats - What do I mean by stats? Well, mostly I am talking about Poker Tracker stats. Things like, VPIP, and Won$ at Showdown, Aggression Factors, attempts to steal, Aggression Frequency (I love this PAHUD stat). Yes, those are all nice; but can be misleading; especially if you are playing NL (which I am not). I've had almost identical looking PT stats and the end of the day/session story couldn't be anymore different. I've had 10BB up and down days while having almost the same stats. For example, I won$ at showdown yesterday a nice 56% of the time; but still had a down session. Another day, I won 40% of the time and had a nice up session; so obviously, this is not the best indicator.

Psychology - This is a huge factor to me. How are you feeling when going into a session. Are you sitting down just to play for a few minutes. Are you tired? Are you anything but focused on playing poker. These are big questions. OK, let's say that you are good to go at the beginning of a session and things go bad for you right off the bat. My very first hand yesterday was AA. Cool, this might be a good indication of a good day. Uh... no... Mr JJ flopped a set against me and immediately I am in the hole. Same time, different table. AKo.. flopped K... oops lost to J9o. So very easily, I could go into a tilt rage and start really pressing so yes, Tilt can be a determining factor; but in my opinion, not the biggest.

Aggression - This one makes sense because if you are over aggressive and don't hit any flops or anything, it could add to a big down day. Conversely, if you are not aggressive enough, you may not get paid off on the big hands. For most of us, aggression is one of the most important things in poker or as I like to say.... "selective aggression". This is where some of the things that we talked about above such as Poker Tracker and other tools really help. If you have a read on a person, you that amped up aggression will work on that guy who will lay down middle pair. On the hand, you may know that it isn't worth because he is going to call you down with pocket 2s.

Luck - Luck, either or good or bad can definitely determine which way your session is going to go. Another hand from yesterday. KK. flopped a K for a set. There was even an Ace on board which is usually even better as you set will obviously beat a pair of aces. Well, Mr "calldown" called me down and hit his gut shot on the river. At the same time, it is not unusual for me or any other player to hit a runner runner flush, or hit that second pair on the turn and get paid off when TPTK won't lay it down. We've all been on both sides of luck. Typically, the better players have more bad luck as they don't get caught in too many hands that need gut shot type help on the river; but needless to say, it happens and can determine how our sessions turn out; but in my opinion, it is not the biggest factor.

Let's recap, our mission today is find out what I think is the biggest determining factor in whether or not a poker session will end up positive or negative. We've talked about getting cards, statistics on your session, the psychology of poker, aggressiveness and luck. All of these are vital in determining how your session is going to go and in all truthfulness, my answer is going to include bits and pieces of all of the above.

My #1 reason for determining whether a session will be good or bad is:

Draws - Yep, that's it (in my humble opinion). Flopping those open ended straight draws and nut flushes happen often enough that they can determine whether your session goes South or whether it goes North. So how you play draws will determine how aggressive you are, how often you go to showdown, how lucky or unlucky you are and of course how you will react (psychology) of hitting or not hitting. This goes the other way as well. Mr 60% (especially mr 60%er) is going to hit his draws as well. The actual number of draws you hit vs draws they hit can absolutely have a huge factor on good or bad results.

So there you have it and there you are. My 2 cents.

Have a great week!!!!!!

Friday, September 01, 2006

Cardinal Rules

I broke one of the biggest Cardinal Rules tonight; but as usual, more on that later.

This Mansion betting thing is getting pretty widespread. Pretty cool. I'm not going to make my decision on whether or not to hedge until Tuesday or Wednesday. I'm seem to be flip flopping on this one. Today, I am at 70-30 in favor of the hedge which is down from 90-10. Miami didn't look too impressive last night against the Rams; but neither team played anybody.

While I'm on the subject of football, Mr Owens finally made his debut with the Cowboys. Is anybody else a little distraught that the Cowboy fans gave TO a standing ovation when he came into the game and continued standing throughout the whole series. Maybe, I am just one to hang onto a grudge too long. I will never, ever forget (or forgive) his little antics at mid-field a few years back... and now Cowboys fans want to give him a standing O? Not this guy. I am normally quick to forvige and forget. I guess Sports is the one exception (yes, I still haven't watched a major league baseball game since the last strike) To tell you the truth, I was hoping this Hamstring and Groin was going to keep him out all year. Yes, he is a great player and yes he will probably help the Cowboys in the short term; but as for me, I dont need nor want him in a Cowboys uniform.

Ahhhh, It's that football time of year. None better. I have two fantasy drafts next week. I can't wait. One of the drafts, I am down at pick #12.... again (4th time in 6 years). I'm trying to work some predraft magic with some trades. No luck yet. Draft number 2 has me in the #3 slot so it is probably a forgone conclusion that I will take one of the Big 3.

No poker for me last night; but I did play a for a bit on Wednesday. As with others, I'm returning to the Party tables to get their reload bonus. I've had a few nice nights (up about $1K for the last two weeks) and its always nice to know that Mr Variance won't let you get too comfortable. Flop a set of Kings, no good. Lost to Mr Moron who capped preflop, flop, and turn (with KJ) on an Ace high board only to hit his gut shot on the river. How about flopping a straight. Nope. Apparently runner, runner rivered flushes beat a straight. And of course my nemisis of the last week. Flopping bottom 2 pair. Mr counterfeit card comes on river. Dang. Now of course, I'm not too happy; but at the same time, I have worked myself down to be down only $70 (from a high of over $200 down) when I broke the Cardinal rule. It's even possible that I broke 3 Cardinal rules on this one.

Cardinal Rule #1. Don't play on Tilt.
Cardinal Rule #2. Don't play when you are tired.
Cardinal Rule #3. Move tables when getting killed. This may not be a cardinal rule.

I don't really go into Tilt; but I sure do remember the guys that put the bad beats on me and I tend to push back on them. Sometimes with mediocre hands. I had been 2 and 3 tabling things, as normal. 2 of 3 tables, I am doing fine and even very good on one of the tables; but one of the tables, nothing was going right and was down around $250. I got back $100 of it; but it was starting to get late and I was getting tired. I had just gotten 3rd in a $25 SNG with my crowning blow running my mid pocket pair from the button running into Aces in Big Blind. Same thing happened to me in the Mook. In the Mook, I shouldn't even have gotten as far as I did as I got a runner, runner gut shot to survive that long. Anyway, finished in the middle of the pack there.
Back to ring play. I closed down everything except for the trouble table. I had just lost half of my table holdings on something that I don't remember. The next hand I had T9s and limped in and saw a multi hand pot. For some reason, I thought I hit my straight on turn and went crazy betting. I lost to KJ (top pair). I saw the chips go the other way and I was wondering what happened. Oops.. apparently 89TJ does not make a straight. OK, I get it. Go to Bed so all in all I lost about $150 for night. It could have been worse; but should have been a lot better.

Switching subjects...

I have been contemplating moving back to NL poker. This is where I first started many moons ago when I first deposited my first $60 into this thing we call poker. I remember being so conservative that I would open a 10c/25c table with only $5 and if I worked it up to $20, I would quit and go to another table and start the process again. Anyway, fast forward to now.

What should my thought processes be around swithcing from Limit to NL. I always try to do a little studying before I do it. I'm not much of a book reader so that is probably out. I'm thinking of going the video training route. The two prevelant NL ones out there are:

Cardrunners and PokerxFactor.

If anybody has ever used one or both of these, please let me know your thoughts. I have been using stoxpoker lately as that has a bunch of limit on it and I highly recommend it. Lately, it has even been free via ThisIsTheNuts. ThisIsTheNuts has a promotion going that if you attain $500 of rake on a site that you sign up with them on you get a month of training for free. Of course, you are also getting rakeback so it is a nice little added bonus. I definitely reccomend those guys. They have also just added a site (SensePoker) where you can get up to 60% rakeback. Just click on the links here or on the right and check them out.

That shoud do it for today. Have a great Labor day weekend!!!!!
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