Saturday, August 4, 2018

A Crazy Test Run And Back To Poker My Way

I'm putting aside The Final Five and I will just make it The Final Four at the beginning of next month and the reason for this is because I decided that I am going 2 try a test this month and it may be the single most asinine thing I've ever attempted in my poker playing. I fully admit this going in, but when you keep having the words what if, what if, what if, going through your mind constantly, you have to find out what will be. The worst words in the world are what if or what could have been, so beginning tomorrow the August test begins.

And just what is this test you may ask. As you know in my last entry I stated I went 17 for 79 for an in the money percentage of 22% with losses of ($379.27). Those numbers are actually in error as I forgot to include the 9 a.m. $5 deepstack rebuy $350 Gtd. For this entry I separated the 4 No Limit Hold'em deepstack rebuy tournaments that I would play and this time I double checked the figures to make sure they came up correctly. From May 1st, the first day of the WSOP merge, until July 31st these are the results of the four specific tournaments.

$5 Deepstack Rebuy $350 Gtd 
2 for 14 

$3 Deepstack Rebuy $600 Gtd
8 for 39 

$5 Deepstack Rebuy $1000 Gtd 
7 for 30 

$7 Deepstack Rebuy $1500 Gtd 
2 for 10 

As I stated in the last entry these numbers do not make sense. 23% in the money should not equate to losses and quite frankly neither should 20% for that matter, but I admit on the $350 Gtd and the $1500 Gtd the sample size is extremely small. I believe the cost of the tournaments when you do the immediate rebuy and the add-on, in combination with the sometimes nearly 20% being paid in these tournaments, is a big part of what is overall causing these negative numbers, but it got me thinking. What if I bought into these tournaments utilizing one buyin, no additional rebuys, and no add-ons, what would happen. If I had been doing this all along the cost for the tournaments played would have been approximately $777.37 less than what they actually were. That is quite a large amount of money when you're talking cost vs reward, but the question is would I have had any deep runs by simply buying in and that was it, would I be showing a profit in each and every one of these or any of these for that matter if I had done that all along. I don't know, and those reading this don't know, and the only way that we're going to find out is to test it. It's quite possible that a 27-day test won't really prove one way or the other, but if I do this test the entire rest of the month it will be over 100 tournaments if I play everyday which I won't be able to do because two different medical appointments are going to interfere in the grind, but I want to at least see if there is any Improvement. I have posted the results that I listed above on the right side of my blog and right above that is going to be the August test results so that you guys can follow along.

Today, August 4th, was the pre-test to the test. Doing this is going to increase my tournament cost by $20 a day from $53 to $73 and considering this may be the stupidest experiment I have ever tried, I wanted to see if there was some way that I could offset these additional tournament costs. The beginning of the month once again I tried playing cash games and my heart just wasn't in it and to be honest neither was my full attention, and at times I didn't even care what was going on in them and I took a significant loss but under the circumstances I've just stated let's face it that's to be expected. I hate cash games, I hate saying the term cash games, I hate their ever-lovin guts, so why do I continue to try to play them? Because I'm an idiot that's why and one of these days I am going to learn don't go near what you hate. The reason I tried it once again was I was looking to offset costs, but today when I did the pre-test I went a different route and this was $5 heads-up SNGs.

I can only realistically do three tables because quite frankly 4 just goes too damn fast for me. I guess I'm slowing down as I get older, but when I try to do 4 tables I get sat out, but when I do 3 life is awesome, so if I only have two multi-table tournaments going, I was firing up a single heads-up SNG. I can only play those one at a time because if I try to fire up two of those, well talk about tables popping up left and right, it's a no-go, but during the course of the day I ended up playing 12 of them and I won 8 and lost 4 and earned $16.80 in the process. Now granted I may not average 8 wins out of 12 typically, but then again maybe I will, I've never played these things seriously just one here and there except that one time that I played a day of $1 ones and  one 50% of but except for that experience I have no idea what I am capable of, but no matter what I make from them, it will offset part of the additional $20 I'm going to be spending. I'm thinking tomorrow if I play the $10 heads-up SNGs even if I'm not winning 8 out of 12 it should completely offset the additional cost that is if the $10 ones go off as regularly as the $5 ones and if by some crazy chance I do go 8 out of 12 again it will totally cover that cost and more.

Going into today I decided to go back to playing poker my way. For quite some time now I've been trying to adapt to what the poker establishment says is correct, but it is not my way of playing poker. To hell with these preflop raises of 2.2 times the big blind and continuation bets of 1/3 the pot so you were just giving your opponent in a heads-up post-flop situation 4 to 1 odds. It is totally ridiculous to me and today I decided to go back to doing it the way. With no antes in play preflop raises of 3.5x, with antes preflop raises of 3x plus a little extra, sometimes five hundred. I watch Doug Polk's stream from time to time and specifically when it comes to preflop raise sizing I notice that anybody that bucks the system, that goes against what the poker establishment says is correct and plays old school he will get very excitable at times and it seems to him they're automatically a fish.

Like the other day when I was watching his stream and one of his opponents raised 4X, I mean I thought the man was going to stroke out he was screaming so loud on camera about it. The current poker establishment seems to think there's only one way to play this game, but I disagree.  2.2 times the big blind preflop raises screams for the blinds to be calling. I got news for you if I have AK I don't want 6 opponents going against me I want that mofo heads up and as far as I'm concerned why would you want to raise smaller preflop when a larger raise is going to steal far more blinds and antes without a challenge especially when you're doing it in late position and in late position you're raising a lot lighter than you are in early position. Why would anybody want to bet 1/3 the pot as a continuation bet when in a heads-up situation when you're giving your opponent four to one for a call, to me that is absolute insanity. Look I know Doug Polk is the professional and I'm a nobody,  but even if that's so I'm still going to do things my way and today I did just that and the 2nd tournament I entered on the day, and granted it was a small one, just a $5 KO so a $2.50 tournament with $2.50 knockouts and I ended up with 9 knockouts, 10 if you count my own since I ended up winning the tournament in a field of 104 and my $5 investment got me a $91 return. Coincidence? Very possibly, but is it a coincidence that it was my first outright win in the last 151 tournaments played, but for all the reasons I've just listed it this old school poker player is back doing things his way. After all, Sinatra said it best.

After the cash game difficulties I decided to pop $175 in a deposit on to my WSOP account starting the day with $1200 even and I also utilized the reload bonus code so I have $170 in pending bonus. The tournaments played today, plus the $5 heads-up SNGs got me 20 points, so if that's going to be standard,  every 5 days I will be clearing a $10 bonus. For today after everything was all said and done and the smoke cleared I walked away with a $47 profit for the day so I'm starting the August Test tomorrow with a bankroll of $1,247 and am going to be hitting up the $10 heads-up SNGs tomorrow provided they go off with some regularity.

That's going to wrap this one up. I'll report back in about a week to let you know how it's going and if I end up popping a good one you can believe I will be tweeting about it on Twitter. Until next time, take care everyone, and I'll see you at the tables.

Bankroll: $1247
Goal: $2500
Progress: 50%

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

The Final Five

The final week of July could have gone better. If you recall from my last entry I started  the final week of July with $1,254 and unfortunately I ended the final day of July with $1170. However I am starting the final five months with $1,100 as I decided to pull $70 of that off and send it to my PayPal which I will then send to my checking account. Why did I do this you ask? Actually there were two reasons. The first was I wanted to start the final five months of the year with a nice round even number in the and the second reason was I've got a few medical co-pays not to mention bills I need to take care of next month and that extra $70 is going to most likely go for that.

It has been 3 full months since the merge on WSOP and this is a paragraph that could be titled why do I wait so long, but of course that can be said for a lot of things that I figure out along the way during this journey. I recently discovered, once I actually took the effort and looked into it, that ever since the merge and this asinine increase in the amount of players paid in these tournaments to over 15% and sometimes just under 20% that it absolutely kills the ROI and more specifically it kills it in rebuy tournaments more than anywhere else because those, as you know, cost more than face value. Prior to the merge even a min cash in the rebuy tournaments would be about double the total tournament cost even if you did the initial rebuy and add-on. Now with this new payout structure there are numerous times, I kid you not, where a min cash is getting you 1.2 times you're buyin. The situation is better in freezeouts and knockouts. Yes, depending on the exact circumstances there are times where that will happen even in a freezeout, but those times are less prevalent. As a prime example the $20 deep stack freeze out I have found usually a min cash pays 1.5x to 1.8x the buy-in and believe me and trust me when I tell you those few tenths of a point make a huge difference in the long run. My results since the merge are a prime example.

NLH Rebuys
ITM: 17 for 79: 22%
Earnings: ($379.27)

I think it goes without saying that if you are 22% in the money you should be showing positive numbers in the earnings department and even if you don't agree to that line of reasoning you would have to agree that those earnings would have to be at least close to break even. 22% in the money in rebuys and down almost ($400) in the process. That doesn't even come close to adding up and I guarantee you if the payouts weren't so low because of the increased player payouts, those numbers would be in the positive. The final day of July was a prime example. $7 deepstack rebuy, total cost $20.37 for one initial rebuy and the add-on, 220 players, I finish in the top 10% and get $29 for my aggravation. No thank you rebuys are off the menu for the final five months.

ITM: 7 for 28: 25%
Earnings: $166.05

Not the best, but then again not to worst at least I'm showing a profit and heaven to Betsy it's in freezeouts. Whoever would have thought that.

ITM: 13 for 54: 24%
Earnings: ($169.14)

This one takes a little explaining. On the surface it does not look exactly what you might call prosperous, but even though I am showing overall losses in KOs there is an interesting but to this. What I am about to say next is probably going to sound insane, but then again that probably is no surprise to my long-term readers anyway lol, but after running horribly for the first 21 tournaments I decided that I was not going to play a knockout tournament like it was a knockout tournament. I think you know what I mean. Going after the knockout with less-than-stellar holdings, calling somebody who's all in with a thousand chips and you have A7s. I think it can be agreed that in a normal tournament or a normal freezeout you're not going to call off a quarter or a third of your stack in that situation, but when you're in a knockout tournament it's played a little differently so I decided that even though I was in a knockout tournament I was going to play it like I was just in a standard freezeout tournament. The results from this decision was eight cashes in the next 12 played in the $15 KO including a fifth-place finish with $100 in earnings and a 55.5% ROI. Prior to this change of approach I was 5 for 21, all of them min and losses of ($254). Over the final three tournaments in the $15 KO that I played in July I seemed to slip back into that go after the knockout routine and I went 0 for my final 3 however I was able to get three Knockouts in two of those tournaments so even going zero for the last three in the $15 KO my losses for those three were still only $15. Obviously I need to get back on track in my thinking and approach, this much is obvious, and perhaps for others it doesn't matter, but for me in a knockout tournament I got to play it like it's a regular freezeout because I think 8 for 12 says everything and more than I could possibly say here.

So the title says "The Final Five" and obviously since I've already mentioned it a couple of times that indicates the last 5 months of the year. Since I am eliminating rebuys from my tournament schedule that only leaves me with five tournaments to play each day, three of them Knockouts and two regular freezeouts. Total cost of the daily tournaments are $53 with an average buyin of $10.60, but two of them make up $35 of that $53 cost. I'm starting "The Final Five, as I stated previously, with $1,100 exactly. I'm also starting the final five months with over 100 average buy-ins, 103 to be precise, so I do believe it is in my best interest to to supplement my earnings with PLO8 cash games. I'm choosing these over NLH cash games because first of all in a live setting I've done considerably better this year in the few hours that I have played in Limit Omaha 8 than I did in limit Hold'em and with the aspect of the low and the high makes the variance lower and makes it far more interesting to me than your basic and NLH cash game which as you know bores me to freaking tears and makes root canal without anesthesia or Novocaine look appealing. Another reason is I heard one of the streamers that I watch say that even in the micros $250 a week is possible and I would like to see just how close I can come to that. I do not on God's green earth expect to hit that number, but hell, if I could get half of it, I'd be happy.

The first seven months have been a constant struggle, but the first four months were definitely profit and ever since the merge it hit me hard with the changes, but I think I've got everything figured out. Total earnings over the first 7 months were a paltry $244 with $117 coming in online earnings. I'm ready and raring to go for "The Final Five" and I really feel that since I've got everything ironed out in just what I want to do and how I want to do it, that these final 5 months is going to be a volcano explosion that would make Mount Saint Helens look like a smoldering smokestack. I'm ready and raring to go, I've got the drive for it back, I feel like I'm totally in the zone, and the only thing that's going to stop me from making a hell of a run in "The Final Five" is myself.

That's going to wrap this one up. Less than 90 minutes until the first tournament of the day and I'm not sure exactly what time the PLO8 games will get going,  possibly by 11, but if not there should be at least one table going by 12. It will be a three table max so if I've got three tournaments going which I very well could in the afternoon, I will not be able to play cash games during that time. I'm only going to play these cash games while I'm in a tournament and if I'm not in one then I'm going to utilize that as my break time. With all that said that the other things remain the same such as the $2,500 goal to withdraw a thousand and keep 1500 behind online. Time to hit the tables soon, time to go to work, time to do what I do best so let's rock and roll this baby!! Until next time, take care everyone, and I'll see you at the tables.

Bankroll: $1100
Goal: $2500
Progress: 44%

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

The Tournament Trail Is Back

Well thanks to WSOP and also what turned out to be an error on my part, my difficulties with trying to decide what tournaments to be playing, do I have enough money in my bankroll for them, are they costing 150% more then they previously did but only increasing the top payout by 40%, and what else am I going to have to be playing since I'm so restricted in available tournaments for me personally as in am I going to have to grind cash games, or heads up SNGs, or PLO8 or anything else you can think of, all of that is a thing of the past and The Tournament Trail Is back!!

First my error. While it is true that some of the tournaments are costing me 150% more I was under the impression that they were only increasing in prize value by maybe 40% because of the extra spots paid, but looking it over today, and since today was Monday, one of the slower days of the week, it was a good day to look at it. Previously before the WSOP merge most of the tournaments I played 6 were costing me $6 and top prize being roughly $180 so 30 times my buy-in which I found completely acceptable. Today I took a look at them utilizing the top spot as the basis of it and since that's what every tournament poker player shoots for and it turns out that the top spot in the 12 noon and 3 p.m. deepstack rebuys are paying either close enough or more than 30 times the buy-in. The 5:30 p.m. in which the buy in will cost me $20.37 can't be compared to the $6 tournaments that I was playing previously, but instead would have to be compared to the $20 tournament I used to play from time to time that had the $2k guaranteed prize pool and paid $900 to $1,000 up top and that's what it still is doing. The main error I made was comparing certain tournaments now and utilizing the wrong comparison to previous tournaments. A prime example is the 5:30 p.m. $1500 guaranteed. I was comparing that to the previous 7:30 p.m. $3 deepstack rebuy $800 guaranteed. Don't ask I can't even begin to explain it I'll just blame it on the pain that I've been constantly going through. I don't know if pain can affect the thought process, but if it doesn't make me look as stupid it's all good.

In addition WSOP has assisted in  the tournament Trail being back as they have added some tournaments to their daily schedule that fit absolutely perfectly into what I want and what I need. Tournaments for the little guy because me and my $1,200 don't count as a big-time bankroll to say the least. Two of the ones that I will be participating in on a daily basis will be the 10:30 a.m. $5 KO $200 Gtd and the 3:30 p.m. $3 freezeout $250 Gtd. The main 8 tournaments played each day are the following. The cost of the tournaments that I list on the deepstack rebuys are the entry, the initial rebuy to start with a double stack, and the add-on. This is the maximum that the tournament will cost me and of course if I don't make it to the add-on then obviously the cost will be a little less.

1030am $5 Daily KO $200 Gtd

12pm $8.73 DS Rebuy $600 Gtd

1pm $20 DS Rebuy $700 Gtd

215pm $10 6-Max KO $250 Gtd

3pm $14.55 DS Rebuy $1000 Gtd

330pm $3 Freezeout $250 Gtd

530pm $20.37 DS Rebuy $1500 Gtd

730pm $15 KO $500 Gtd

Cost/Day: $96.65
Avg Buyin: $12.09
Required BR: $1209
Starting BR: $1254

I am dictating this blog entry while I'm playing in the $5 KO $200 Gtd and I'm still unsure if I want to add the 4:30 p.m. $2 re-entry $222 Gtd, the 5:15 p.m. $1 rebuy $400 Gtd, and the 8:15 p.m. $1 rebuy $500 Gtd. If I do end up adding these into my daily playlist they will not be considered as part of contributing to the daily average buy-in. First off each of these tournaments has only 8 minute blinds. They also start with much less big blinds in the starting stack with the 5:15 p.m. and 8:15 p.m. starting with only 125 big blinds even The Knockout tournaments that I play start with 200 and the 4:30 p.m. start only starts with a whopping 62.5 big blinds. To me these tournaments are so drastically different from the 8th that make up my average buy-in I feel that adding these three into that equation would completely skew the numbers in a negative way. Finally, the tournament structures they utilize what I call tournament structure B where are the other 8 tournaments or what I'll call the main 8 utilize structure A with 10-minute blinds. To refresh your memory I have posted two screenshots below this paragraph the first being what I call tournament structure A and the one below it what I call tournament structure B. Because of all these reasons and in addition not only that, by not including them, if I do in fact play them, it keeps my average buyin a little higher requiring me to have a slightly higher bankroll in order to play them which I feel is safer and a more conservative bankroll approach.

Because of some recent cashes completing action on July 23rd for this year it put me into the black in online poker which I got to tell you it's so nice to not have to see red numbers. A 2nd place finish out of 75 players in a $20 freezeout $700 Gtd for a $232.05 return and going 4 for my last 9 really helped. Yes, I know the overall amounts are hideously bad for nearly 8 months of playing, but you know with all the crap that I've been putting up with in my personal medical life this year, at this point, I'll take any black numbers signifying positive earnings that I can get. Going into today July 24th day 1 of the "Tournament Trail Is Back" my total earnings for the year were online $201 and live $127 for total earnings of $328. Yayyyy me lol. Hey I know it's pathetic, you don't have to tell me that, but the great thing about it is I still got 5 full months left in this year to pull out earnings that could at least be considered somewhat respectable. I never surrender and the grind will go on.

Finally the personal medical update. My main doctor, the nurse practitioner who I absolutely love to deal with as my primary care physician even though she won't let me get away with slacking off on anything medical is completely and utterly insistent on what she wants to see done and not done and for some reason I listen to her at least I try to. She saw firsthand exactly how bad the leg was as when I came out of the exam room I could barely put any pressure on it and it was so bad she ordered one of her assistants to go grab a wheelchair as fast as they could and insisted that they push me in that wheelchair outside so I could get my Uber. For some reason I prefer a woman as my primary care physician and actually it's not for some reason it's actually for specific reasons as I find women in the medical field to be much more compassionate and have much more empathy than their male counterparts. So many people want to discriminate against a woman medical professional, but when it comes to me they're the ones that I gravitate to for the reasons just stated.

The ultrasound showed that there is some blockage in the femoral artery, but she feels that the major major pain that I'm going through might be two fold. Part of it because of the blockage, but she feels that the lower back problems for which I had an MRI done nearly two years ago for is also contributing to this. She explained to me that nerves in the back actually wrap around you much like a belt would and when I asked her why I'm only having pain on one side she told me it's very rarely bilateral and usually attacks the dominant side and I am right handed so that makes all the sense in the world.  She is so concerned about the lower back she referred me to Nevada Neurosurgical because she wants them to potentially do back surgery on me even though I am too heavy for what would be usually be considered to go through that procedure. I told her that there's one thing that I fear about potential back surgery and the word is. She looked at me dead square and told me point-blank that if I don't have the back surgery eventually I will be paralyzed. I'm fairly certain she is utilizing paralyzed in an over-exaggerated way, and probably means that the ability to walk will be taken from me. She also told me that if these back problems do not cease and desist I could end up losing a leg. She also referred me to a place to get a colonoscopy done but that is not something that I am wanting to rush into so I'm putting that one aside for now and will ignore it later lol.

She also instructed me that I am on 1200 calories a day starting today. I haven't had anything to eat yet just been drinking water and if I can go lower than that 1,200 that would be even better, but we will see how it goes. Because of the ultrasound results and the fact that the MRI on the lower back is two years old she has ordered me to undergo a CT scan on the aorta and descending femoral artery and she wants an updated MRI. Each of these tests will cost me a $50 copay for a total of $100 but Desert Radiology told me that if I did them both the same day it would be a single $50 copay and there's nothing wrong with saving 50 bucks so both of those tests will be done on August 15th. I also have to go over to Quest Diagnostics to get a blood draw done at least 4 days prior and I have made that appointment and will be doing that on August 8th. She also ordered a walker for me and I'm going to be having one delivered on August 6th with just a $30 copay for that. It's one of those ones that actually has a seat for you to sit on and I have to tell you I'm going to feel very self conscious about using such a thing considering I'm only 50 years old, but when the cool season hits us here in Vegas if it means that it will be a lot easier for me to get out and about I'll do what I have to. She also put in a prescription for one of those motorized disability mobility scooters, but 10-1 odds are going to say that that's going to be one hell of a task getting that by the insurance company and if a walker has a $30 copay I can imagine what a co-pay on a scooter that cost $3,000 or more would be and I wouldn't be able to afford that anyway, but we will just wait and see what happens.

Well, that's going to wrap this one up. Today being the first day of the "Tournament Trail Is Back" we will see how things go. I can only do a maximum of four tables or four tournaments at any one time so if it comes to a case where I have to choose between a less expensive tournament or a more expensive tournament that start with an a half hour or hour of each other and it looks like I won't have room for them both I will be going with the less expensive one. It's just continuing my conservative bankroll approach which I feel is the safest for someone in my situation. I will be reporting back at the end of the month to let you know how the final week of July went grinding tournaments and I am just so happy I don't have to force myself into playing other things like cash games are SNGs. Tournaments is where my first poker love, my last poker love, and everything else in between. I have increased my goal from $2,000 to $2,500 before I will take $1,000 out for live play. This will  allow me to keep $1,500 online which will allow me  to continue with my  preferred daily tournament play on days that I'm not playing live or if my next live run goes a little unfortunate . So until my end of the month review, take care everyone, and I'll see you at the tables.

Bankroll: $1254
Goal: $2500
Progress: 50%