Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Comment Responses

Pokerdogg said in part:  

I am shocked at your results. I thought that you are a winning cash game player even though you have not been winning as much as last year, how could this be true? All along I thought you are capable of winning at ~10bb/100 at 10NL,  A 10bb/100 win rate at 2000 hands/day, 20 days/month, would have made $3200 since January. What do you think is the reason you didn't achieve that?

You're shocked??  I've gone beyond shocked to astonished, appalled, and dismayed.  Never in my wildest imagination did I think I was losing this year, but I chalk that up to not paying closer attention to the different stretches of downswings and because of not much of a bankroll amount change  due to the bonuses and rakeback. 

You asked me why I didn't achieve success in my cash game attempt and the short answer is because I'm not good at it, but the slightly longer answer is that I've had two people indicate that my thinking is more along the lines of tournament thinking and it's what comes to me naturally. Once was a discussion with my friend Michelle and the other time was when I made a comment on Rob's blog. In each case they both felt that my thought process on the particular subject we were discussing, or in Rob's case I was commenting on his blog, but in both cases they felt that my thoughts and opinions indicated and inherent tournament strategy mindset.

He also said in part: 

Speaking of data, to get a complete picture, how many hands of cash games did you play this year at each stake, win/loss for each, total buyins for tourny so that we can calculate ROI, what buyins. Same things for last year. What did you earn from bonuses, and how much would you have earned just playing tourneys.  Without a complete picture, it just appears to be selective reporting to support your latest decision. Not saying you are doing this intentionally, we all have selection biases by nature, you need to look at everything if you want to make the best decision. 

I did not keep a total accurate count of the cash game play in 2016, but I do know beyond a shadow of a doubt it is in excess of 100,000 hands played and probably closer to 150,000 well beyond the point of the sample size being considered too small and also at a point where one can realize if they are winning player or not.

Tournaments on the other hand there is no question about it. The website PokerProLabs tracks every single tournament played and for 2016, as of the completion of play on August 30th, this year I have 448 multi-table tournaments played with buyins ranging from $1 to $25.  Earnings over the course of this time are just over $993 with a 53.86% ROI. Out of 448 tournaments I have made 120 final tables and out of those 120 final tables I have 39 top 3 finishes. Now you have to take that 120 number with a grain of salt because a final table is counted as a final table so even if a tournament only has 24 players and I made it to the final 9 they consider that a final table finish so take that for what it's worth, but ($360) in losses at Cash games compared to over $993 in tournament earnings, you have to be a blind man not to see what is blatantly obvious and finally at least, my eyes are wide open and maybe for the first time in 8 months I'm actually seeing things clearly. There's been a lot of confusion over the last 8 months and that explains much of the flipping back and forth between the two venues of Poker I am convinced of this. Something kept drawing me back to tournaments but then I would recall how many people were saying cash games is the way for consistent money so I would go back and I would end up going back to tournaments and this repeated over and over and over again. I can guarantee you that action and behavior will not be repeated.

Seattleirish said in part:

You've run into issues when making "I will never..." statements in the past. 
"I am a full-time tournament poker player and I will say this here and now, if I ever play another no limit cash game hand online I will quit poker..."
I'm not sure why you continue to state things so definitively as to leave yourself no room to change your mind in the future without having past declarations thrown in your face. Of course, you can choose to shrug it off when people do so, but you do seem to paint yourself, unnecessarily, into corners.

You know SI ordinarily I would say you are absolutely correct and completely On Target but in this case I think the definite declarations are extraordinarily important. I know me and I tend to be somewhat of a stubborn individual and I don't like accepting defeat, but on the same token it makes no sense to try and keep beating this dead horse namely cash games. I purposely put that particular sentence about staying with tournaments or quitting poker so that it would be out there for all to see because instead of coming to a point where I start saying you know I'll bet if I improved this part and this part of my game I am sure I could make a profit doing that I don't want to go back and forth anymore and want to stick to what I love doing, what makes me money, and quite frankly what I came to Las Vegas to do in the first place just over a year ago. I am a tournament player, I always have been and for whatever reason I tried to step away from that and become something else, something I'm not. Tournaments are ingrained within me and it's what I've been doing for 12 years. I hate to even suggest the saying you can't teach an old dog new tricks especially being middle-aged myself, but why try to learn something new when what has always worked for me continues to. I also specifically in that statement put online cash games because there may be times where I get together with friends and we end up playing a cash game in a live setting just for fun and for that I would make an exception, but I am a tournament player, I love being a tournament player, and I'm going to be one till the day I die.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

The Accidental Discovery And Meeting Tony Bigcharles

The whole way this happened was a complete accident. A year ago I came to Las Vegas the sole intention of playing tournaments and for 2016 and over the last 8 months I have constantly flipped back and forth between cash games and tournaments. I got off the track of what I came here for. I was told on many occasions that cash games were the only way to make consistent money and as those giving me the advice were quite knowledgeable and experienced I have tried doing that on and off over the last 8 months, but I would seem to flip back and forth almost like some force was drawing me back and I usually always had a ready-made excuse that it was because I was going through a downswing or I was going through whatever that I wanted to switch off for a while, but the advice and input always stuck in the back of my mind and since these people were experienced cash game players and I was not they had to know what they were talking about so I would keep returning. Then something happened this month that was a complete accident as it turned out, but an accident I wished had happened a long time ago, but it couldn't have because I needed these months and the passage of this time to let the numbers show what was true and real without basing it on mere short-term variance. As you recall July was a rough month for me in cash games and August started out much better before I went into a nearly 18 buyin downswing. $157 in cash game earnings turned into $16 in losses and my account balance on WSOP was down under $300 and there was no end in sight to it and I needed a break from it. I had every intention taking a break from the cash games, playing some $1 in $2 tournaments for a week or so just to give me something to do while on my cash game break and then returning to the cash game grind once again. Man In Black and I had already agreed to him purchasing a 50% stake in August tournaments so just playing them exclusively for a week didn't seem like a bad idea, but like turning a light switch on and off as soon as I got into the tournaments exclusively on a serious level. In the $20 deepstack as an example, 3rd for $179, 1st for $407, 4th for $138. The $20 knockout fourth place for $103. $20 Midnight Madness Final Table finish and this wasn't counting the cashes that I was getting in other tournaments to go along with it. However I could just be having a good run. This could all be meaningless. Cash games still might be the way I need to go, so I decided to actually look the numbers and let those numbers speak for themselves and man oh man what those numbers told me.

The month of August I have earned about $400 in tournament earnings going into today so let's completely forget the month of August. Let's forget it because there will be those that say I am just on some sort of tournament heater and I can accept that opinion so let's just look at January through July. During the course of those months there were a lot of cash games played and there were some tournaments played. Going into today I had made approximately $500 in earnings in tournaments on WSOP from January through July. Clicking on the tab at the top of my blog for 2016 earnings I decided to calculate all the table earnings. Obviously I can't count rakeback and bonus money as earnings because I did not earn them at the tables so I calculated what my actual table earnings were for those seven months and it came to a hideous and paltry sum of $139. I'm telling you I saw that and I damn near became physically ill. How could it be that small??  It gets worse because now consider the fact that I made roughly $500 in tournaments over that same time period and what we come up with is over the span of seven months total losses of ($360) in cash game play online. Why the hell did I put myself through this bullshit over the last 7 months?? Have I completely lost my ever-loving fucking mind!!!  It's been staring me in the face the whole time I just never bothered really looking at it until now.  I came here to be a full time tournament poker player, I excel at being a tournament player, everything in my poker past and present says that I am a tournament player that's where my skills lie that's what I am best at. 7 months of my life I'll never get back, 7 months completely wasted. Can you imagine what my bankroll would be right now if I had stuck to my original plan of grinding tournaments for the last 7 months??  The $890 in tournament earnings going into today for 2016 would have easily been in excess of $5,000 and probably more. I don't want even think about it. I have no one to blame but myself. I was in control I had the numbers right in front of me but I never bothered looking at them well I've looked at them now and from and I am now doing what I have always been destined to do.  I am a full-time tournament poker player and I will say this here and now, if I ever play another no limit cash game hand online I will quit poker because it will simply show that even though I know everything that's been shown to me that stubbornness rather than discipline is dictating my moves.

There's a part of this that I'm actually happy about because I so much love tournaments more than cash games, but at the same time this is very very difficult for me because I've actually had to admit that there is a form of poker, No Limit cash games, that I am not successful in. I didn't think there was any form of poker that I would find myself in this position, but on the other hand it might not be too difficult to explain because there have been various instances that have happened in the past that might have predicted this. My friend Michelle and I were talking poker one day on one of my visits to her home and during the course of the conversation, which I believe had to do with raising certain hands in early position if I recall correctly, she looked at me dead square and said that's tournament thinking. One time on Rob's blog, Robs Vegas And Poker Blog I had posted a comment about a hand he had played and his response to the particular question I had was roughly that is something that you would more so in tournament play rather than cash game play and I believe on that particular occasion I had asked him about the potential of him isolating with his AK. The point is it seems that my entire mindset when I'm even talking poker even if I'm talking about cash games, but my mindset is geared towards tournaments one way or the other. So I guess it's not so surprising that I do well in tournaments and quite frankly I am not a cash game player. Pre Black Friday in 2009 and 2010 on one of the ranking sites back then when I was playing on PokerStars I was ranked in the top 3% of over 1.9 million online tournament players. The fact that my results for 2016 show a much much higher earnings rate for tournaments compared to cash games is no great surprise, but let's face it my cash games are a negative number so higher earnings in tournaments would not be too hard to accomplish but it is still difficult for me to have to admit defeat to anything regarding poker.

The meeting of Tony Bigcharles

When I was playing over at the Golden Nugget in those two tournaments that day that I ended up finishing in third place in each of them I had the opportunity to finally meet the one and only Tony Bigcharles. Many many many of you know Tony through his blog TBCs Blog About Grinding Low Stakes Poker. Over the last couple of years since I began reading Tony's blog I knew that since I had moved to Vegas that sooner or later, one of these days I would end up meeting him in person. When that time would came I was ready for what I expected would happen or what the conversation would be and I have to tell you I was very very pleasantly surprised.  I had stepped away from the tournament table not during a break, to grab a few hits of cigarette by the bar which is right next to the Golden Nugget Poker Room, and Tony Bigcharles walked up to me and said hello. I instantly recognized him of course and the very first thing that was a pleasant surprise was that as soon as he walked up to me Tony extended his hand to shake my hand. I don't know why but I didn't expect that. He immediately invited to take me to lunch up in the buffet once I was done with my tournament, but quite frankly I was on a bit of short money that day and after I paid for the tournament I only had a few bucks on me so I politely declined. Once I finished third in the tournament and cashed for the $191 I decided to take him up on it, but the first thing I asked him was how much would it cost me because I heard about the incident of Tony taking somebody to launch on comps and trying to get them to pay for a portion of the meal and he explained to me it would cost me absolutely nothing, it was his treat, and that particular incident only happened once and it had a specific set of circumstances so off we went up to the buffet at the Golden Nugget which I had eaten at once before and so I knew that the food was going to be pretty damn good.

Tony can be a little on the loud side to say the least. While I was playing poker I could hear his voice coming from the other side of the poker room at times and as we were walking up to the buffet he was walking in front of me as we made our way up there at one point I had to tell him to keep it down I was right there I could hear him quite clearly. As we sat and ate our lunch we discussed things about poker and Tony's health concerns and I gave him the expected borderline lecture about staying away from Blackjack and staying away from machines, and overall I have to say it was a very very pleasant experience, I am very glad I had the opportunity to finally meet him face-to-face, and I hope that in the future we have the opportunity to meet up again in some poker related fashion.

So that's a wrap. My new goal to play live poker is $5000 which I feel will be plenty with my edge in tournaments overall.  Any of my readers that looks at this entry and says that I am just flipping back again would have to be out of their mind.  ($360) in losses over 8 months is more than enough wasted time to convince me what I need to be doing. I am not a cash game player and never will be.  It hurts to have to admit this, but I tried and I was not successful.  I need to accept it. Maybe cash games are the way for many many players to make their money, but not for me.  For me it's tournaments.  It was that was pre Black Friday and it has not changed and to be honest I am actually happy it turned out this way.  I am working on a daily play plan for September which will include MTTs from the $2-$5 range, including a return to $3 Deepstack Rebuys and a single $20 Deepstack daily.  September there will also not be any investors in the tournament play for that month.  Take care for now and I'll see you at the tables.

Bankroll: $530
Goal: $5000
Progress: 10.6%

Friday, August 19, 2016

Past The August Midway Point

First let's address a couple of recent comments.

Pokerdogg quoted me where I said:

"First off the short stacking idea. That is the last thing in the world that I want to do because quite honestly if I'm playing in a live setting, I do not want to run into an absolute monster be up against another absolute monster and lose large amounts of value to the tune of $200 or more because I was not sitting in with the maximum allowed which in most of the $1/$2 games in this town is $300."

And then he replied with the following:

There are a number of downsides to short stacking a live cash game, but this shouldn't be the one you worry about. Just think how much value you are losing by playing 10 or 20nl online instead of live cash. 50bb is short but not that short. It still allow you to play most hands you normally would play, maybe a bit tighter, but you can get more aggressive with your hands. Besides, once you double up a couple of times you will play with a big stack, you won't be playing short stacked all the time. In fact if you can play a short stack well, most of the time you won't stay short stacked.

Then xedx7 said in part:

IMO, you have a better chance of succeeding by short stacking than reaching $12k online playing 10 or 20NL.

My Response:

You both make valid points and I must admit there is a huge part of me that wants to play live, as you guys already know, and I would love to be able to utilize live play as part of my overall bankroll goals, but that poses a few questions. At what point should I incorporate live play into my plans meaning how much should I make sure I leave online. Should I make sure I leave enough online to grind 4 tables of $50NL??  If that were the case then I would have to make sure that $2,000 were available to me online in case the live play did not go well. That essentially would be 40 buyins for $50NL or perhaps 30 buyins would be sufficient since that is what  I am currently utilizing as the minimum which gives me the opportunity to play the $20 deepstacks for as long as the money holds out. 

Another question it would pose is how many buyins of $100 would I want to risk in a single live session??  Would I want to try a session of No Limit $100 buyins with at least 5 or 6?? If that were the case would I not be better off with 2 full buyins??  If I were buying into the live game with $100 at a time maybe the most I should risk would be 3 or 4 buyins. I just really have no idea on this and any thoughts you might have on this would most definitely be appreciated by those more experienced than I.

As far as August goes. We've passed the halfway point and there's been a slight change with the tournament 50% stake and also there has been a downswing in the cash games. If you recall I started out on a wicked heater with profits of $157 and since that high point I have dropped 9 buyins. Earnings at $10NL are only $67 with an earn rate of a paltry 4.0 and today's shortened session was a loss of less than $2 and that was after losing full Stacks with AA and KK and still only end up losing less than $2 so in some ways I consider that a victory.

50% of the tournament action that Man In Black took on this month has been changed. It started out with me playing the for $3 rebuys and I did decent enough going 6 for 22 in the money, but in the end results were only $10 in profit in those specific tournaments. A relative deep run in the $20 Midnight Madness helped things, but in the end we only ended up making between $38 so only $19 and change for each of us. We decided that we would change it up for the remainder of the month. This will provide potential larger profits with less cost and what's happening is I am only playing the $20 deepstack each day. Just one tournament a day but binking one of these could produce $500 all at once and since I'm only playing the one tournament only per day the cost is only $20 or $10 each per day. As long as I can get back on the right track with cash games I will have no problem risking $10 a day in this particular tournament but I need these cash games to turn around pretty quick. I ended the night with a bankroll of $411.99.

Playing only the $20 deepstack is what I am calling tournaments part 2 and if you click on August 2016 tab you will see that I so far I have gone 0 for 2 for a loss of ($40)  Hopefully I can have a very deep run in one of these soon not to mention getting the cash games to turn around. There was a withdrawal that was made this month and I would like to be able to say it was an emergency situation that needed to happen, but that would not be truthful. The fact of the matter is this withdrawal came when I got the urge to go play $2/$4 and get out for the day. I'm doing my best not to slip in my discipline when it comes to this and July I did very well same with June when I got my head together, but I did have a slight slip up in August so I just move on from this point and hopefully not have any more discipline slip-ups like this.

From now on any live games that I play well either being on the weekends games are no limit tournaments. I still would like to play the occasional $65 tournament at the Mirage with which pays 1 and 7 or the Golden Nugget which has what I considered one of the best tournaments structures in all of Las Vegas I'll be a 20-minute levels. I won't be playing cash games anytime soon as you saw in my commenter response at the beginning of this century I'm still unsure exactly how to approach that and and hopefully awaiting the advice from poker dog and xtex and anyone else that is experienced in this area. As far as getting out and playing a $65 tournament at Mirage or Golden Nugget or even better a Friday night tournament at The Orleans for a $125 buyin. I figure none of this can happen until I have a bankroll in excess of $800 in order to play a $65 tournament here and there and in excess of $1,000 to sneak in a $125 tournament.

I haven't really got much volume in the last few days as Monday night my body finally decided to crash from the 12 to 14 hours sessions and some days in excess of 1000 milligrams of caffeine. I got more sleep in 2 days and I have the last week, but starting tomorrow I'm going to be raring to go. I had an appointment with Paratransit this morning but I will get started by 2 p.m. tooday and put in a full session. In order to stop my body from having these crashes I need to cut back on the caffeine but the pain pills that the doctors have me on really wipes me out and I'm too stubborn to give up any of my volume so for now I'll just have to put up with it. The volume must be put in the grind must go on under any circumstances. However, I am going to try something new where I don't put myself on a strict start time and allow myself to sleep until I wake up naturally each day and simply play until I'm too tired to play any longer. My next day off from poker will be on the 26th so I will be grinding from now until then. Until next time take care everyone, I hope everyone is running well at the tables and in life itself, and I'll see you at the tables.

Goal:  $12,000
Total BR:  $411.99
Progress: 3.4%


Sunday, August 14, 2016

Trying To Snap The Slump

First let me address some comments made on my last entry.

xedx7 said:  

Go for $4,000, buy-in for $100, and see what happens

KatMartin said in part:  

I agree 12k is unnecessarily conservative. 

Pokerdogg said in part:  

Take shots with 2k in a 1/2 game, buying in short $100 at a time. If I lose $1000, go back to grind online.

I wanted to address all three of these comments and I can pretty much do that pretty much at the same time. Both Xedx7 and Pokerdogg are of the opinion that short stacking with a short bankroll would be the best idea and Kat believes that $12k is being overly conservative. First off the short stacking idea. That is the last thing in the world that I want to do because quite honestly if I'm playing in a live setting, I do not want to run into an absolute monster be up against another absolute monster and lose large amounts of value to the tune of $200 or more because I was not sitting in with the maximum allowed which in most of the $1/$2 games in this town is $300. 

As far as giving it a shot and then going back to grinding again well yeah that is a possibility, but at the same time I do not want to find myself in the position of having to go back to online play. I've got the taste of live play on a somewhat steady basis on a couple of different occasions and when I have been forced to return to online play albeit last time it was due to circumstances beyond my control, but when I was forced to go back to online play it was such a letdown and a feeling of failure that this time when I start that live play I don't want it to end, I don't want to ever have to go back to the online grind because the disappointment that it puts is utterly overwhelming. There will be times that I will go back to the online play but it will be under special circumstances and completely voluntarily on my part. A prime example is reload bonuses. If I have a bankroll of thousands of dollars and all of a sudden WSOP is offering a 100% reload bonus up to $1,000 well it just seems to me that that would be utterly ridiculous not to go back to the online grind for a week or two or however long it would take to clear a bonus like that playing $50NL. Free cash is never a bad thing so it's under a circumstance like that I would temporarily return to the online grind and happily do so, but that is the only circumstance that I could think of in which I would want to do something like that.

As far as Kat Martin saying that $12k is overly conservative well, I guess one could say that, but I think it might be overly conservative by someone who easily replenish the bankroll, could easily find the money to keep on playing each payday and as you know that is not my situation. Also  this response to Kat Martin's comment coincides with the response that I gave to Pokerdogg and xedx7 a major part of it boils down to I don't want to have to go back to the online grind once I start playing these live cash games. The disappointment and sense of failure that it instills within me is almost overwhelming.

The $12k figure is based on 40 buyins which according to my research was standard for a full-time player. Now let's be honest about this I find it highly doubtful that I'm just going to grind up to $12k without ever taking shots at the live game here and there. I totally and completely see myself with $4,000 and then deciding to risk a few buyins on a live game. The fact of the matter is if I didn't do that I would be shocked but I am going to try to maintain the discipline not to do that too too often and simply grind up to the amount that I feel I need. You might think that 40 buyins is a little too much, but look at the swings that the Trooper goes through in his live game. live or online this game is filled with variance and I want to have that cushion that I feel I will need to not only play the live game successfully but not have to turn back.

There have been a couple of changes made. First off me and my tournament investor Joseph basically came up with this idea almost the exact same time. You know what they say great minds think alike or is that more along the lines of one degen knows another, but whichever it is we basically came up with this idea simultaneously. I ended up playing 22 of the $3 rebuy tournament and there was good and bad involved. I ended up going 6 for 22 which is an ITM percentage of 27.2%. In those 6 in the money finishes I hit the final table 5 times, but unfortunately I had no deep deep runs and within that 6 for 22 there was only $10.02 in earnings. During the course of this time I also played four the $20 Knockouts, never cashed, and only got one knocked out for a $10 return, and going into Friday I had played two of the $20 Midnight Madness tournaments and hit the final table in one and did not cash in the other. Now as far as the change goes. Since the rebuy tournaments each day have a total cost of just under $35 assuming that I make it to the add-on each time we came up with the idea that if I just played the $20 Deepstack at 4:45 p.m. and the $20 Midnight Madness, although it would be 2 less tournaments played per day, the cost for day would be relatively close, a difference of $5, and there would be a lot more potential money to be made doing this so that's what we decided to do. However, there's a but involved in all of this and that but has to do with the available bankroll.

The cash games obviously have to take the priority and I must make sure I have enough in the available bankroll to be able to grind the $10NL cash games. With that said I'm thinking in the range of a minimum of 25 buyins, so that means as long as I have around $250ish or more I can play these $20 tournaments. If the available balance falls below this the tournaments will have to be suspended temporarily until the available balance is in excess of $250 whether that be by grinding some cash game profits or getting a payment from my partner for his half of the current losses whichever the case may be, but we need above that $250 mark to grind these tournaments.  

The 3 Session Slump

After play was completed on Friday it also completed the third day of the downward variance slump that I am currently in. Started August off on fire with nearly 16 buyins earned at the $10NL cash games, but the previous three days going into today produced ($65) in losses at those cash games. Pretty much the whole story is the last few days my big pairs have been going down in flames however I've noticed since I have tightened up the starting hand requirements going into August, at least so far, I have seen and no huge swings within a single session. None of this $60 down and and of course I'm not seeing huge swings upward of $50 or $60 either, but it seems that I have found more stability however with less than 12,000 hands played the sample size is too small to make any absolute determinations. I've come to the realization, and this was also said to me by one of their regs on the WSOP site, that 100,000 hands is what is needed to make determinations about anything whether that be earn rates or success or failure or whatever. After the session lost last night of $17 and change that brought August earnings at $10NL to $89.23 in 11,687 hands with an earn rate of 7.6bb/100.  I personally believe my earn rate will be in the 7-8 big blinds per 100 hands played range, but until I have 100,000 hands recorded I am not even going to begin to make any predictions, but I am shooting for 7-8 as my personal goal. No matter how you look at it, slump notwithstanding, I am still up nearly nine buyins and that can't be considered bad by anybody's standards. Hopefully Saturday would be the day I would snap back out of this.

Since I am playing the $20 tournaments one not starting till midnight and one starting at 4:45 in the afternoon my schedule has changed where I don't get on the tables until about noon and I get off the tables when the Midnight Madness Tournament is completed. If I'm not playing in the Midnight Madness then I will grind from 12 to 12 if I am in the Midnight Madness I will grind from 12 to whenever the 12am tournament ends. Depending how deep I go that could create a grinding session of 15 or 16 hours which on the surface may sound a little excessive, but you have to remember during the course of that time I'm taking breaks, a half hour here, an hour there so it's not like it's one solid non-stop grind. The new schedule does allow me to sleep till after 11 in the morning which is a hell of a lot better than getting up at 8:30 a.m. for the 9 a.m. tournament. Friday because of the doctor's appointment I had I was not able to get started till 2 p.m. but still played almost 2000 cash hands.  Ended up losing $17 in the cash games and went over to and the $20 tournaments. This brought my downswing in the cash Games 2 about ($67) in losses over the last 4000 hands or so.  

As I began Saturday I did get started on time at 12 noon and was on the waiting lists by that point.  Since I started playing on WSOP the $20 Deepstack at 4:45 p.m. which I am hoping to be one of my regular daily tournaments played has been my nemesis. Since I started playing on WSOP going into Saturday I had zero Cashes in 15 attempts. I don't know what it is about that tournament but I seem to suffer the most bad beats on that particular one amongst any other. Of course once again the changing of the starting hand selection for both cash games and tournaments may or may not have an effect and I'm not going to know until I get several played, but today I finally overcame my nemesis for a 3rd place finish in a field of 81 runners for a $179.92 return. That meant no matter what happened in the Midnight Madness tournament at midnight I was going to end the day with tournament profits in August of $80 give or take a dollar on either side. 

The Midnight Madness lasted exactly one hand. The very first hand I got was UTG and am dealt AK and pot raised it to $70. Everybody folded and the big blind goes all-in for $2,000. When something like this happens you never know just exactly what the case is. Is he just a complete idiot trying to double-up real fast, does he really have something, and so I had to decide whether or not I wanted to put it on the line immediately. I know if he has does not have a pair that I am ahead so I made the call and he was just one of those idiots with 77, but unfortunately no A or K showed up and I was out on the very first hand.  

The cash game downswing continued on into its fourth day unfortunately, but today's losses were only a little over ($10) down. It was a fluctuating day where I was down ($30) at my low point and up $9 at my high point and seem to run everywhere in between. This however has brought my cash game downswing to losses of ($77) in the last 5500 hands or so, but I'm hopeful that today's session was a sign that I am coming out of it and I will be back at it tomorrow. It did drop my earn rate to under 5.9 big blinds per 100 hands played, with $78.49 in earnings over 13,344 hands played but right now I'm just concentrating on grinding and we will see exactly where we stand after 100,000 hands are played.

That's going to wrap this one up. My doctor's appointment on Friday was with a surgeon who basically said he could probably help the circulatory problems in both legs with some laser surgery, but in order for him to do the surgery I would have to be off blood thinners for 5 days and the last time I just missed a couple of doses of my blood thinner I ended up back in the hospital with a pulmonary embolism which is a fancy way of saying blood clot in the lung and this was after almost dying at the beginning of February from the very same thing. There's no way I'm going to take a chance like that with my life and I don't think my primary doctor would be none too crazy about it either. Sometimes in life you just seem to be caught between a rock and a hard place. Take care everyone and I'll see you at the tables.

Goal:  $12,000
Bankroll:  $471.71
Progress:  4%

Sunday, August 7, 2016

A Change To The Long Term Goals

As you all know my goals are to get to a certain amount so I can start grinding limit games because I enjoy them. The times that I have played no limit live I did not particularly enjoy those games and even felt they were boring, but am I making the same error as I did when I said that I found $2/$4 limit boring, but it wasn't the game itself, but the place I was playing that actually brought about those thoughts and feelings and I'm starting to ask myself is that the same case with the live no-limit cash games that I have played??  The predominant place that I did play live no-limit cash games was at the Stratosphere and there is no doubt in my mind that it was a struggle staying awake during those games, what would that be the same way at Planet Hollywood, Venetian, Aria, Bellagio, or any number of other places?? I'm thinking probably not.  There are a couple of factors that has brought about this thinking in the first place.  The first is I rather enjoy grinding these no limit cash games online playing for stacks even though the stacks may only be $10 or $20,  I find the whole atmosphere of online no limit cash games to have that excitement and constant adrenaline flow and it makes absolutely no sense to me that I wouldn't feel the same way  about live no-limit cash games.  The logic does not add up. 

I also have to admit part of this rethinking of what I have stated as my choice for the future has to do with what I see others accomplishing in these games. It is a very rare occasion where I would look at something that TBC does as an example and find a positive from it, but the fact of the matter is even with Tony's demons with VBJ and video poker the fact of the matter is he does accomplish steady and rather respectable earnings in live No Limit cash games. My friend Michelle known as 9ontheturn on Twitter if you saw her tweet about her poker session on the 4th of August the picture she posted on Twitter was of her cashing out over a $1,000 in chips after that session she played. Then there's Coach who writes the blog Three Chips Poker who recently moved to Las Vegas, grinds No Limit live, with sessions of $100 here and $200 there.  There is no way on God's green earth that something like that will happen in the limit game and furthermore when I see these things, when I see Tony making $16 or $17 an hour, when I see pictures of Michelle cashing out over $1,000 after a session, when I see Troopers Vlogs and he's pulling in winnings in excess of $200 per session for many sessions in a row I look at this and the only thing that is going through my mind is I want this. I want to get in on this action. I want to be part of what they accomplish and accomplish it in my own right, the fires are burning inside, but suffice it to say there is a substantial roadblock heading down this road.

$4,000 won't even scratch the surface which means I'll be grinding online for approximately the next 40 years or at least it seems that way. Doing a little researching on the Internet I found that an article from AVP by their resident pro Benton Blakeman 3 years ago gave his guidelines for bankroll management wbere he wrote that many pros go with 40 standard buyins. If it's good enough for the pros it's obviously good enough for me, but that is a bankroll of $12,000. Damn!! What the hell happened?? I started out looking to earn $2,000, was 25% of the way there. I'll tell you what happened. What happen is I got sight of the bigger picture and in some ways I wish I didn't, but it's too late. I've already seen what I've seen and I can't close my eyes to it. I can't close my eyes to what's available. I want it, I crave it  and come hell or high water I will have it, but how the hell am I going to accumulate that kind of money. Even at $50NL and an earn rate of 6bb/100 which may be stretching it at that level, it would still take six months and that's if I could get in 2000 hands a day at $50NL which is an impossibility when you consider the fact that at just after 6:30 p.m. on a Saturday night which is definitely prime time online poker there were two tables at $50NL running so even when I have the bankroll for that level it's obviously going to be a mix of $20 and $50NL tables and me having the bankroll for that level is a ways off to say the least, at the very best of circumstances.

Live tournaments once or twice a week could help this issue if I could hit something decent. Perhaps start out with $65s at the Nugget or the Mirage once or twice a week. The Nugget has the better blind structure but the Mirage has the better payout structure.  Work my way up to the Friday night $125 NLH tournament at The Orleans. That puppy pays about $4 grand up top. However this would obviously be money spent from the online bankroll and before I could even think of spending a hundred and thirty a week out of it I better damn well be making more than that. The combination of $20NL and $50NL tables seems to be the magic area  where I can comfortably invest in other areas and facets of poker. Once I get the bank roll up to a certain amount I will also be playing the $20 deepstack online, the $20 Knockout, and possibly from time to time the $20 Midnight Madness, any one of these can produce hundreds of dollars in earnings, but that's a ways down the road as well.  Criminy Christmas everything seemed so easy. I finally got myself where I knew what I wanted to do, didn't need all that much money to do it in the grand scheme of things, and then I had to see that picture Michelle tweeted cashing out over a thousand in chips and my eyes lit up. I know I can do this, but suffice to say, when the time comes, it will not be at the Strat. 

I had planned on taking two days off, the 3rd and 4th, but that 2 days got extended to a third day and it's also a day where I ended up playing $2/$4 limit live and losing $140. It is hopefully my last time playing a limit cash game in this town. I'm hoping to stick to tournaments only and no limit cash games eventually, but it's not going to be easy. I know there are going to be times I'm going to want to grab $300 and go try to grind a profit at the Golden Nugget in the $2/$4 game, but I have to try my absolute best to avoid that temptation. Now is not the time for making $4 or even $8 an hour, now and in the future is going to be the time for making hundreds If not thousands in one shot to add on to the bankroll. I am simply counting that $140 as a withdrawal and a day out for fun. I will be keeping track on my session app any tournaments played in August and the months following. 

My third session played in August was also my third consecutive winning session at the cash games. 1634 hands played and earnings of $30.59. I also went 1 for 4 in the $3 deepstack rebuys  with a final table 7th place finish, but overall on the day tournaments only showed a profit of a buck or two.  Overall 5716 hands played with earnings of $113.27 over 11 full buyins made with an earn rate of 19.8bb/100 again as stated previously completely unsustainable and I already know this. Overall in all of the deepstack rebuy tournaments I am for 4 for 11 which is the absolute best ITM percentage that I have had since I started playing on WSOP even though it is in the very short-term. Earnings are in the neighborhood of $22 so far in these deepstack rebuys and although I have not made a deep deep run yet I have seen 3 final tables in those four in the money finishes which is pretty respectable in his own right so although overall I wish the profits were higher I accept what is and hope to improve on it.

Well only 2 hours of sleep yesterday and the caffeine pills wearing off it is definitely time for a good night's sleep. Back at it at 9 a.m. tomorrow and this upcoming week is going to see several partial days played as I have at least for doctor appointments that I must attend to. Until next time take care everyone and I'll see you at the tables.

Goal:  $12,000
Bankroll:  $481.36
Progress:  4%

Monday, August 1, 2016

Starting August On Fire

July has mercifully come to an end. An absolutely hideous month on just about all levels. As far as money-wise goes I ended July with just under $5 less than I started it with, but losses at the online tables totaled ($199.76)  It was only $90 in cleared bonuses, another $45 and rakeback, and $60 in live earnings that allowed me to salvage the month of July and even with all that I still ended up with a small overall loss. Good riddance to July and I could only hope August would be the start of some run good and extended heaters.

August is the start of a few things in my poker. First of all playing the $3 Deepstack Rebuys and the cash games simultaneously each day I play throughout the month. I will also begin documenting all live play in a new app that I just downloaded called Session Logger. It's a free app and I like the looks of it although I don't have anything to log into it as of yet. The only sessions or tournaments that I won't record is ones that I am staked to because if someone stakes me to a $2/$4 game or a live tournament anything I make I would obviously only be getting 50% of it and I can't for the life of me figure out how I could record those sessions along with any cash game sessions and live tournaments that I play on my own dime that would not skew the overall earn rate and standard deviation. I suppose I could record the actual session results and then simply record half the earnings as a withdrawal, but what if I end up losing?? It was a steak it's not exactly costing me anything and that would totally suck you the bank while I'm out coinciding with the earnings or losses. If anybody has any ideas on this please let me know.  

My friend Joseph decided that when he heard about my plans for August he wanted to purchase 50% of the deepstack rebuy tournament action. I play all month and if I show an overall loss he pays me half of the overall monthly tournament losses and consequently if there is a profit we split the profit. Initially I tried to talk him out of this because my record and rebuys as far as making it in the money is absolutely hideous. You could check Poker Pro Labs and see that for yourself, but because my ROI is relatively strong he was absolutely determined that he wanted in on this. I don't want my overall inefficiency in these tournaments to garner any resentment as in a worst-case scenario this could end up costing him $350 based on $700 worth of tournament entries, but he told me over and over again and he was absolutely sure he wanted to do this so I finally agreed to it.

I had to come up with some sort of bankroll management plan for playing the cash games and the tournaments simultaneously. Even though 50% of the action has been purchased I still need to make sure that I have enough in my account for the cash games should I run into a cold spell with the tournaments.  40 buyins for the cash games is still my magic comfort level amount so if my account balance should drop to $400 or lower than I will have to suspend the tournaments and only grind the cash games until I can grind up a few more tournament buyins above the $400 mark.  A $600 bankroll is still required to start grinding the $20NL tables. I am going with the full potential on the rebuy tournaments where I pay my entry, immediately rebuy to start with a double stack, and if I make it through the rebuy period then do the add-on. The rebuy tournaments will cost $8.73 each usually 4 played per day and should I get knocked out before the add-on I will not be buying back in to that specific tournament. I was considering cutting costs, but I want as many chips giving me as much ammunition in these tournaments as I can possibly get and it doesn't make sense to not immediately rebuy or not add-on putting myself in a disadvantage.

I'm not going to attempt to make any specific goals for August with the single exception to not get off the road that I have set for myself meaning playing the cash games and the rebuy tournaments simultaneously throughout the day. No matter what kind of cooler I may run into I want to be determined at least for the month of August not to surrender or otherwise give up on it. I can't even begin to estimate how many cash hands that I will play although I'm running now at 2000 minimum a day, but I've got so many doctors appointments this month. Between my regular doctor, another MRI, getting a blood draw, the dermatologist at the Cancer Center, the vascular doctor, the blood doctor, The lung doctor, it's freaking ridiculous. These appointments will seriously interfere with the grind and unfortunately there's nothing I can do about it so on those days it will not be full poker days only partial ones. A big part of me wants to say screw it all because all these doctor appointments do is interfere with the grind however I do know they are probably needed and besides if I punked out Joe, Michelle and several other friends both here in Nevada and elsewhere would see to my early demise I'm sure lol. 

Going into August I revamped my starting hand selection. Utilizing some advice from a particular website which I will keep to myself I reorganized my entire starting hand selection, certain hands moving from one position to another along with reapproaching certain raise situations. I am also actively working on what I consider to be a couple of small leaks that I have found in my game. Like most leaks for anyone that takes poker seriously it basically bottoms down to small things that need to be adjusted, but over the long run the money it cost can start adding up. Certain actions may only cost me $0.60 every time I do it but if I do this 20 times in a 12 hour, 2000 hand session, that adds up to $12 in unnecessary losses per session and now multiply that by 20 days of playing and a single mistake that only cost you $0.60 can add up huge even over just a single month.  I cannot divulge details about this because I know for a fact some of the regulars on WSOP are reading my blog.  I actually implemented this at the end of July and ended that month off with a couple of winning sessions in the last few played so I continued this revamped approach going into August. 

The first two days of August I completely started on fire and the way things have been running it has completely surprised me. In the first two days I have played 4082 hands of $10NL with earnings of $82.68 which is over 8 full buyins with a 20.3bb/100 earn rate.  Totally completely unsustainable of course, but still a nice way to start things off.  I have played 7 of the deepstack rebuys in the first two days and have gone 3 for 7 in the money, two final tables, and total profit of $21.60 thus far. Unfortunately the final tables have not been deep deep runs, but me going 3 forv7 in the Deepstack Rebuys is outrageous and not something I would have ever expected or even hoped for.  The revamping of the cash game starting hand selection and other adjustments that I made, I also transferred over into my tournament game. Now I don't know if I'm just on a heater or if that has also helped my tournament game as well. Only time will answer that question. all I know is in the first two days of August total earnings are at $104. I ended the night with a total bankroll of $588.52.  If, and this is a big if, but if tomorrow after I run some errands and get started on poker, if I can get this bankroll up to the $600 mark I fire up $20NL tables as they become available.

That's going to end this entry. Tomorrow will be a partial day as I have errands to run.  My medical insurance pays for a PCA (personal care attendant) 8 hours a week and so he will be here at 12:30 so I can go do some shopping and a Walmart run.  At first I wasn't even going to take part in it when the prospect was offered, but it really helps utilizing a PCA with a vehicle to bring groceries back to the house, runs to Walmart and  getting to doctor's appointments in a much more timely manner. I was foolish for not accepting it from the get-go because the fact of the matter is it really does help and with all the medical appointments and this intense heat really sucks for the breathing condition, I guess when it comes down to it I can use all the help I can get. That's a wrap for tonight. Take care everyone and I'll see you at the tables.

Goal:  $4000
Bankroll:  $588.52
Progress:  14.7%