Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Breaking The Downswing And Live vs Online

As I played tonight's session I was considering what title I was going to make this blog entry and the way things were going I had pretty much settled on How Long Can It Go, How Bad Can It Get.  As I entered action today my downswing at $20NL was -$140 in 7700 hands.  At first the session seemed like it was going to be a positive one as I was turning a small profit early, but back to back 3 outers against me on two different tables put me into the red and after 880 hands at $20NL I was down -$74 so it increased the downswing to -$214 in 8600 hands down nearly 11 buyins since December 31st, then all of a sudden everything exploded.  It started with this hand.

On the same table 4 hands later this happened. 

After those two hands I went from -$74 to -$17 and all of a sudden everything started going my way.  Flops started hitting, I flop two pair fours and fives on a 457 board, Villain flops a straight and I hit the full house and from $74 down I blew the roof off of the tables in the last 500 hands a $158 turnaround, almost 8 full buyins in a final 500 hand rush.  A little under 1400 hands and $84 in earnings.  Definitely the wildest single session ride since I made the transition to cash games.  I also made $15 at $10NL in a little over 600 hands and after it was all said and done, with "rakeback" it was a $100+ session. 

Online vs Live Cash Games

Coach suggested I incorporate in a post about my comparisons of online cash games to that of live cash games after my four hour session at the Strat this past Thursday where I was staked by "Alan" and I thought this a very good idea.  First and foremost for an online grinder like myself the very first thing that someone like me has to get used to is the lack of constant action.  Online I usually always have a decision to make because I run 4 tables, 1800 hands a day, sometimes playing 200 hands an hour, but in live play this drops to 25-30 hands an hour.  To replace this constant action is constant observation.  Watching every move that every opponent at the table makes, trying key in on their betting patterns, seeing if you can pick up any reads, and doing this each and every hand whether or not I'm involved in it.  I love live play, I can't wait till I'm doing it on a daily basis, looking at and touching the cards, the feel and sounds of the chips, the sites, sounds, and even smells of the casino lure me in like a moth to a flame.  Everything about the live poker room, everything about the Strip, screams to me "Flushh your home."

The first and foremost difference between live play and online besides the amount of hands being dealt is that live tables are much much looser.  It has often been said that the competition is more difficult online which makes it a prime training setting for a cash game grinder and after my experience at the Strat I would have to say that's definitely true.  The competition online plays a much more disciplined tight game where these guys live are willing to throw $10 or $12 in preflop on almost anything at times.  Online I raise 5x preflop and 80% of the time the entire table is going to fold, but when you do that in a live setting 50% of the time half the table is going to call.  For obvious reasons you can not blindly fire a continuation bet and your decision to do so or not must be tempered by the situation at the time.  Another major difference is if you raise preflop in an online setting and decide to check the flop because you are out of position or you have a few callers, somebody is going to fire a bet, half pot or three quarters especially and most likely on the button or the last player to act, but that case cannot be said for the live game.  That's one thing I noticed they don't do a great deal of the time is bet in position much unless they actually have something.  I'll be quite honest in an online setting I bet in position constantly sometimes with a monster, sometimes with top pair, sometimes with a piece of the board, and sometimes with absolute air and 75% of the time it's enough to take down whatever is in that pot and I noticed that's not something generally done in a live game.
During the 4 hour session at the Strat the best that I did was up about $50 and the worst I did during the course of the session was down about $80 or so.  It was at that point when I was down about $80 that I did a positional preflop raise with cake you. There were three limpers I believe it was and I fired a pre flop raise on the button of $15 or $16.  Lo and behold everybody that had limped called.  I flopped top pair with Queen kicker and so everybody checked to me and with about a $105 in my stack and approximately $60 in that pot I felt I only had one move and that was to shove.  There was only one person on the table that I found somewhat annoying and he was the one that in fact called me and I had a sick feeling in my stomach that he was going to show me AK, but as it turned out he had the same hand that I did and we ended up chopping that pot, but because of the other callers we were able to in fact make a few dollars.

One hand I really feel I screwed up on was I had AA in the big blind.  UTG had just sat down and was in fact a little old lady who had to be in her seventies.  I talked to her a little bit at the table and she seemed like a very nice little old lady. She limps under the gun and the button also limps and I raise to $15.  The little old lady calls and the button folds so there's $33 in the pot.  The flop was A3X with two clubs.  I have flopped top set, but as I wanted to see what the little old lady was going to do even with the two clubs out there I checked the flop and she bet $15 into that $33 pot.  Here is where the mistake was made.  I should have jammed it up to $50 right then and there, but I didn't I simply flatted.   The turn put three clubs out on the board and those three clubs made me extraodinarily nervous.  I checked the Turn and into a $63 pot the little old lady bets $15 again.  To me there's only one of two things going on here.  The third club either scared her or she is doing a beautiful value bet.  Again this was her first hand at the table and I had an absolutely no information on her.  I simply called.  The river was a harmless card and I checked again and the little old lady check behind me.  She did not have the flush and in fact had flopped a set of threes so it was a set over set situation and I should have won so much more than I did.  I believe the little old lady sat in with $100 and if I had played it absolutely correctly I have no doubt in my mind I would have had the entire hundred from her instead of just $30.  Bottom line I screwed up bad.  Go ahead you experienced cash game players let me have it in spades, I already know I deserve it.

One hand that I was very careful about was where I called a small raise with Q3 of spades in big blind.  I flopped a flush.  Now in this hand they were four other players also in it, me, the preflop raiser, and 3 others.  I checked my flopped flush and the preflop raiser bets $15 into that board.  The other 3 folded if I remember correctly and I called the preflop raisers continuation bet.  I could have raised, but my reasoning behind not doing it was that I felt that if he's betting into that board then he's got at the very least the Ace or King of Spades or a set and most likely no matter what I do he's not going to be laying anything down and it would be best o wait this out and see how the board played out.   The turn was a non spade and I checked again and he checked behind me.  The river brought the fourth spade and the preflop raiser bets $45 into roughly a $105 pot.  Damn. Do I make the call or do I let it go.  Would he really bet into that river if he didn't have the Ace or King of Spades??  I'm sitting with the third nut flush which I had on the flop and maybe if I had raised it would have been a different story, but I made the $45 call.  It was a damn good thing I didn't raise that flop because it would have been different alright because the preflop razor had AJ of spades.  There is no doubt in my mind if I had not played that particular hand as conservative as I did I would have lost my entire stack at the preflop raiser had me covered.

Other than that I was pretty card dead or simply did not hit flops.  I hit a straight with a Q9s, but villain folded to my raise and I also hit the low end of a straight and a different Villain folded to my River value bet and other than that I did a lot of folding.   Alan and I had a talk about the session after it was over and he asked me what mistakes I thought I made and I pointed out to the AA hand as being the major mistake that I made during the session.  The Q3 of spades hand could also be considered an error although if it is it saved me from losing my stack so I'm not sure what to make of that one way or the other, but overall Alan was satisfied with my play and as I told you in a previous entry all he said I had to do was email him if I wanted to make another run at it and that ladies and gentlemen brings us to this coming Thursday, two days from now. 

First off the bankroll situation.  I ended the night with a bankroll of $631.06 with $463.91 available to me online.  My profit from the Linq tournament after tip was $100.  I pulled that out tonight and am awaiting processing.  That leaves $363.91 and I owe my online bankroll $267.15.  My roommates still owe me $215 and according to my estimations the actual amount I will need to pay my online bankroll back is $159.15 based on clearing $40 in bonuses and approximately $68 in "rakeback"so that is covered by months end.  On Thursday I will be meeting up with "Man In Black" for another 8pm tournament at the Linq the only difference is Joe is staking me to the 8pm tournament.  He felt my performance last week warranted him risking his hard earned cash on me, but tournaments are tough to cash back to back, but I will be trying my best for him.  Standard deal.  He gets his buyin back and we split the profits 50/50 after dealer tip.  I may also buyin to the 11pm Linq tourney, but not sure on that one.  Will depend how tired I am, how I do in the 8pm and how many entrants they get.  Since I will be on the Strip I sent off an email to Alan asking if he wants,me to play another session and am awaiting his reply. 

Well, that's a wrap up.  Gonna grab some sleep for a 2-12 online grind tomorrow or later today if you want to get technical.  Already looking forward to Thursday.  Take care everyone and I'll see you at the tables.  


  1. its gonna be fun on Thursday. I cant wait. Win or lose it doesn't matter, we will have fun

  2. Thanks for writing up the cash session, and congrats on the online comeback. I have a question - on the flopped flush, when you figured had at least A or K of spades, so you'd wait it out, why did you decide to call the river bet after the 4th spade did indeed hit?

  3. The Q3 suited hand, fold preflop. It is a terrible hand to have out of position in a multiway pot. You will almost never have a nut hand, and if you flop a flush draw, it is likely going to be expensive because the pot is bloated and multiway.

    The AA hand, just bet out. I don't like the heck raise or check call lines. When you are heads up against a shortish stack, just play straight forward, you are losing value by trying to get fancy.

    The AQ hand (at least I assumed you had AQ) brings up some questions about your bet sizing. You made a overbet shove on the flop, and rightly so, you were worried you were beat when you got called. When you make bets which only get called by hands that beat you and folds out all weak hands and draws, it is a leak. But I think the bet sizing issue originated preflop. If you are in a typical loose passive game, you can pretty much predict the pot size on the flop based on your raise size on the button. In this case, you had around $115 in your stack, a $15 raise OTB would probably result in a $45 to $75 pot (depending on what the blinds do, and sometimes you get one fold out of the three limpers). You know you will end up with a stack to pot ratio of around 1.5 to 2 (assuming you were the short stack). Personally I would have preferred a smaller raise say to $10. The pot would be around $30-$40, and allows you to make a smaller flop bet say $30, and get the rest in on the turn.

    I have been wondering about your daily swing online. It seems to be fairly large relative to the type of style I thought you have. I wonder if that is due to the larger than usual preflop raises. Do you typically raise to 5 to 7x BB preflop?