Harrington is Here!

April 13, 2008

I was surprised to see a parcel waiting for me when I got home on Friday.  It was Harrington’s Cash Books, which I wasn’t expecting for some weeks yet, given that Amazon had indicated they had a big backload to fill and I had a mail from them saying expect it sometime in May.  Have only had a brief skim at this stage, but it seems like they are written in the classic Harrington easy to read style.  Having read some of the early reviews, I’m a bit divided on how useful they are going to be.  On the one hand its Dan Harrington, and noone conveys poker information and concepts like Dan.  On the other hand they seem to be focusing on deepstack full ring cash – something I never play anymore, focusing on six-max like the majority of the online community.  Still, I think there will be plenty in there, plus its a must read for another reason – every semi decent opponent I’ll play will have read them!

Despite the fact that results wise its been a so-so year, I’ve also decided to start dabbling back at 100nl.  My first experience (about 7.5k hands) at this level was quite painful … a mixture of bad beats and bad play.  But I’ve got my roll back to a point that would indicate that I should be looking to move up again.  I’ve been a bit gunshy of doing so, esepcially when I’m doing things like running KK into AA all the time – but thats just a mental hurdle that needs to be overcome.  So I’ve had a couple of sessions and nothing to significant so far – slightly down, but nothing more than the usual rhythm of the game.  At this point I’m feeling comfortable playing one table at 50nl and one at 100nl, we’ll see how that travels for a while.

 


I Seen it But I Don’t Believe It …

April 6, 2008

…well anyone that is even semi-regularly reading my blog will realise by now I’m trying hard to avoid the bad beat stories.  It has to be the most tempting thing in poker, to cry to the world how if only you just ran normal, then your winrate would be awesome … and yet noone wants to hear it, becuase everyone struggles with variance to some extent.

So with that out of the way … I’m not really going to tell a bad beat story – more of a cooler story.   Becuase in the last 72 hours, I have run KK into AA no less than SIX TIMES.  Yep 6 … in what could not be more than 1000 hands of poker.  5 online and one live.  What are the odds of that ???  I’m getting to the point where I flinch when I see the first K dealt!  Fortunately the last one I sucked out and hit a K on the river, or otherwise I think my mouse might have been in danger …

Despite what it fairly obviously just a horrendous short term run of variance, it is more interesting becuase I have been playing more and more on UB where the average VPIP of games is usually over 50.  This means the games are ultra juicy but the swings are obviously going to be way bigger.  I have trouble giving 55+ VPIP players for a hand, I get three or four bet and assume that because they are mega loose their range must be wide.  I think I need to start realising that this isnt necessarily the case in raised or re-raised pots.


Rebuy Fun

March 29, 2008

Over on the private forum I am a member of, called the Plus One, back in January I ran a series of tournaments which proved quite successful.  The most entertaining of these was the $2 Rebuy, with 26 entrants we managed a prize pool somehwere in the region of $1500, total degeneracy!  Anyway given it worked so well I organised another which was played last week.

We only got ten starters this time which was a bit of a disappointment, however there was still a lot of rebuying :) I managed to take it down for $222, not bad considering I was in for only $15.  I had a set of nines cracked early but then had a few hands hold up to mean I didnt need to rebuy a lot.  Two big hands helped me on my way, once I had TT on a T88 flop where my opponent held an 8, and then when 3 way I made the nut flush with AdQd and my opponent made a smaller flush.  Heads up went for well over an hour considering how many chips were in play, thats the other difference with these rebuys … you end up with enormous chipstacks relative to the blinds if you actually go deep.  A lot of fun and that puts my limited tourney record for the year into the black.

In other news my “How to Read a Book” book arrived yesterday.  Having looked at the opening chapter I think it is going to be quite valuable.  Interestingly it was first written in 1940!  Subsquently revised in the seventies, it still looks good and relevant today.  Amazon says my Harrington books are going to be delayed, I assume due to the demand, so that should work out by giving me time to read the current tome and try and absorb the content.  How ironic … here I am hoping I can learn to read the book about learning to read effectively!


A Small Break

March 21, 2008

I’ve taken a few days off playing this week.  I think I’d started to feel the grind a little, the constant up down swing and not feeling like I’m making any progress.  Having looked at pokergrapher, this year has just been one big rollercoaster so far without making great progress.  Here’s my graph for the year to date:

As you can see its been a tough time, terrible downswing in the middle, battle back to profit, hit the skids again, and now back to break even.  Adding on the last 15k hands of 2007 leaves about the same position.  All in all it just goes to show how tough poker can be mentally, you can go through long periods of not seeming to achieve much at all.  Career wise I’m still running at about 3bb/100, so I’m confident that this is just one of those inevitable swings.  But it really can be longer than you think.

So by the end of last week I was feeling jaded with the whole thing.  Battling back only to run into some more coolers and slump again.  I think the toughest part is when you feel you put people on a decent range, decide you are ahead of that range, and play strongly – only to find that their hand was at the top of that range :)  Of course this is going to happen, the mental challenge is not altering your game when you go through a run of sessions where the villians always seem to be at the top of the range.  This is certainly what occurred in that most recent slump – running hands like QQ into AA when the villian’s stats are like 30/20/5.

In other news I have decided to make a purchase from Amazon – a title called “How to Read a Book”.  One of the things I have been groping for is a really good METHOD to learning from books.  It’s all to easy to read a good poker book, like the concepts, but how much really sinks in?  This new book is supposed to teach a method for efficiently absorbing the contents of an instructional book, and actually understanding the information that is written.  It’s currently in transit, I have high hopes for this title. I will post an update and review once its arrived and I’ve had a chance to have a decent read.


Betting Mediocre Hands on The River

March 15, 2008

Read an interesting article by Mike Caro in this months edition of Bluff Australasia, which I thought was really relevant to my play.  Essentially, it was a simplification of scenarios to demonstrate why you shouldn’t bet mediocre hands on the river.  If I recall correctly, it goes something like this.

 Assume we are playing a game of poker using a deck with only three cards … As, Ks, and Qs.  We get dealt one card each, and no draws.  Lets say we get Ks, and the question is should we bet.  Ignoring bluffs for the moment, the answer should always be no – becuase the As is always calling as the best possible card, and the Qs is always folding as the worst possible card.  Hence there is no value in betting.

Obviously bluffing would come into the equation – perhaps the Qs may check raise for deception now and again to get the Ks to lay down, but in the long run the implications of this are pretty clear.  So extrapolating this principle out to the full deck, its pretty clear why you shouldnt bet marginal hands on the river.  It’s an interesting concept, becuase I think the river is my weakest street – I think I lose value in a lot of situations and perhaps overplay in others.  A useful concept to keep in mind.


Finally Got Around To It …

March 11, 2008

… I pre-ordered the Harrington on Cash Games Vols I and II yesterday.  My poker library is fairly extensive, but I’m really looking forward to these ones.  Harrington’s Tourney Editions were my first real reads – I had Theory of Poker, but when I got that I just wasn’t ready for that level of detail :)  I think Dan Harrington manages to convey the game in plain English better than anyone else around.  Apart from the fact that they should be good reading – its going to be essential to read these as every other half serious player will be as well.  I need to know what they will know.

In other news I am trying a lot harder to incorporate Pokerstove analysis into my post session review.  It’s a great tool, but I think I am not so good at putting villians accruately on ranges yet.  That’s a critical part of it of course – if the range analysis is skewed then the analysis isn’t real flash.  Would be interested to hear if any other readers use this approach regularly and how they go about it.

 Talking about readers it seems people are starting to drop by here more and more regularly now.  Hope you are enjoying it … feel free to stop by the HPC Forum and join up if you are keen, its a much better place to chat than just the comments field here.  Please post a comment though to say you intend to sign up – I’ve had so many spam users there I’ve had to make it pretty hard to register :)


A Great Poker Story

March 10, 2008

My second post of the day – I have to write this one.  A few weeks ago I was home unusually early on a Monday night so I tuned into the final table of the Stars Sunday Million, and an entertaining table it was.  There was a fellow Aussie going great guns by the screen-name of S0Stndrd.  After a battle and a two-way deal, he eventually took the thing down.  I noticed he was posting on 2+2 and sent him a congratulatory PM … we got to talking and he’s since given me the link to his site.  I was going to tell his amazing tale but he of course tells the story best, so you have to visit http://www.acehighwine.com/  to check it out.  Simply the best story of your local poker enthusiast making it huge on the online world’s biggest stage.

Congrats S0stndrd, an inspiration to all those low level grinders out there who one day dream of hitting the big one.


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