Wednesday, December 21, 2016


Well I've decided to take the rest of 2016 off from WSOP. This month I was faced with certain financial things that came up and I had to borrow a good amount from the bankroll anyway so I decided to clear out my online account and utilize that money for certain other things. Until I get back on WSOP I am going to play the On Demand freerolls over at ACR just to give me something to do when I feel the urge to do so. On January 3rd I will be depositing $200 on WSOP. 

Total earnings for 2016 have not been exactly calculated, but I will do so in the next few days and update the earnings tab at the top of the blog.  I think this is a good opportunity to make some poker goals or for lack of a better term, poker resolutions for 2017. There are only two of them actually and also list my bankroll management plan. 2016 was a year of profit, but there are things that I did throughout 2016 that I do not plan on repeating, but without further ado, let's begin with the points I want to get out there and my explanation to them.

1. Do not play anything except tournaments online no matter how strong the urge ma be to do so.

If 2016 showed me anything over and over again it showed me that tournaments have far less variance in them than cash games, that tournaments have a much much better risk vs reward ratio than cash games, that expected ROI in SNGs pretty much makes them a useless endeavor not even coming close to being worth my time, and finally that my complete major strength and overall enjoyment comes from tournaments, tournaments, only and nothing else in poker.

2. No withdrawals and no borrowing from the bankroll unless and until I achieve my goal of $7,000.

The goal has been seriously increased due to the fact that I will be playing the $70 Golden Nugget tournaments and at times the $75 Treasure Island tournaments when I go full time live. No matter what I made this year it could have probably been three times as much had I kept my mouse off the withdrawal button. When I borrow money from my bankroll with the full intention of paying it back something always seems to come up where I'm unable to do that so for 2017 the major goal is to leave the account balance alone and the only with withdraws that are to be made is to take money off the site and put it aside so that I do not have all my eggs in one basket.

Now for the bankroll management plan. It is going to be a somewhat aggressive approach whereas I usually have a conservative approach, but it will still be an approach where it will keep the bankroll safe.

$200 - $400
$1 Freezeouts
$2 Freezeouts
$5 Freezeouts

$400 - $600
$3 Deepstack Rebuys
$2 Freezeouts

$600 - $1000
$5 Deepstack Rebuys

$1000 - $2000
$10 Deepstack Rebuys
$20 Deepstack Freezeout
Saturday $25 Super Deepstack
$5 Evening Freezeouts

$2000 - $4000
Sunday $50 Deepstack Freezeout

$4000 - $7000
Sunday $200 $20k Gtd

Well that's going to be a wrap up. There will be no future posts until probably roughly I would say, January 10th or so.  So until then I want to wish all of my readers a very merry Christmas and a Happy and prosperous New Year and come January 4th I'll see you at the tables.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Comment Responses

Seattleirish said in part:

Your first quoted paragraph states that you believe tournament play requires more skill while Cash NLHE is more dependent on luck. However, you don't support that argument; why do you feel cash NLHE is more dependent on luck?

The next paragraph compared tournament play to handicapping horses (both require a great deal of knowledge and application of same) and compared Cash NLHE to scratch tickets. 
I'm certain you don't mean to imply cash NLHE is simply random chance. I know from earlier posts of yours that you recognize cash play does require a great deal of applied knowledge and skill. Both tournament and cash NLHE allow players to go all-in, both follow similar betting patterns and card progression. What is it about cash play that you feel is more dependent on the whims of lady luck? I'm not seeing that expressed in your post.

Obviously I did not word it very well. I'm not saying that no limit cash games are equivalent to scratch tickets what I am saying is that the degree that handicapping horse racing would have more skill to it than scratch tickets is equitable to the degree that No Limit Hold'em tournaments have more skill to them than cash games. 

Yes you are correct that they each have required skill sets but I still hold to my opinion the tournament's require far more. The main reason I believe this to be true is as follows.  Any tournament you are given a certain amount of chips and it is your job to do the absolute best you can with them and if you lose them all you are eliminated, you cannot play in it any further, you are gone until the next one. But in a cash game this is not the case provided you've got money in your pocket you get to try over and over and over again until you get it right or until your hand holds up. 

In many situations in a cash game there is no real thought process to it. A classic example is a typical cash game and somebody is under the gun with a pair of fours. Most players are going to toss their $2 into the pot and hope they can hit a set and they're going to do that pretty much every single time they receive that pair, in that position, under those circumstances. It's almost a mindless robotic action.
Now take that hand and position in a tournament and there is so much more to consider and tournament players are not going to do the same thing with those pocket fours every single time. Sometimes we're going to fold them, sometimes we're going to raise them, sometimes we're going to open shove all-in with them, and sometimes we are going to limp with them and what we do with those fours in the example all depends on what the circumstances of the tournament is at. What's in our stack, what are the blind levels, where are we in relation to the money bubble, what are the stacks at our table, dix the money bubble just burst, and I could go on. Obviously, at least to me anyway, when you have more things going on and more decisions that can be made based on what circumstances are this takes a hell of a lot more skill then throwing two $1 chips in the middle time after time and saying to myself I hope I hit a set. 

Pokerdogg said:  

I don't know who Andrew Neeme is, so I googled his name and found his website site. The first post I saw was a WSOP trip report. It says...
I fired at 5 lotteries tournaments during the WSOP:
WSOP $565 Colossus – 731st place for $4027
WSOP $1500 Monster Stack – dnc
WSOP $235 Daily Deepstack – dnc
Venetian DSE $600 – 13th place for $3275
WPT500 $565 – 164th place for $1667
In the cash games between May 27th and July 10th, I put in 203 hours of work and showed a profit at a rate of about $72/hr. The majority of my sessions were 5/10 at the Bellagio, with some 2/5 mixed in around town, as well as a couple 1/2 games at the Golden Nugget for a change of scenery. Total profits during my 2015 WSOP comes to $20.1k.

The man played 203 hours in cash games and made $72 an hour. It comes to $14,616. Subtract that from the $20,100 he reported in winnings overall that means he won $5,484 in tournaments. He only played five tournaments. How many hours do you figure he put in playing those tournaments, what 30 maybe 40. If you do the math his hourly rate was higher playing tournaments then it was playing cash games hell even if he put in 60 hours playing the tournaments his earn rate was over $91 an hour and he made $72 an hour playing cash games. Seems to me tournaments produced better earnings.

In conclusion let me just say that this debate has been going on for a long time. Which has more skill cash games or tournaments, who can make more money, cash game players or tournament players and those that believe one way are never going to ever believe the other way. In the end I guess the only thing that's important is what is best for each individual player. I will go on believing that we tournament players are involved in a much higher skill game then cash game players and the cash game players will believe the reverse but when it's all said and done as long as we can make money doing something we love and be good at it the debate will continue for many years to come. Take care everyone and I'll see you at the tables.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

The Conclusion Of The Half Action Stake And Comment Responses

First some comment responses.

Kat Martin said:

So your conclusion is that you win in low-buy-in NLHE tournaments which require a lot of skill, and are a consistent loser in NLHE cash games that require far less skill?

Very cute the way you worded that Mr Martin almost like you were setting up a river check-raise, but I will still try my best to answer this. In my opinion no-limit tournaments take far more skill than no-limit cash games with that said I do better in tournaments where more skill is required then and cash games where there is a larger degree of random chance or outright luck.

I think I can best represent my opinion in the following scenario.  I would associate it between somebody who handicapps horse races and who also buys scratch tickets. Obviously more skill is required to handicap horse races and there is much more random chance or luck required to win at scratch tickets so it would only be logical to assume that the horse race handicapper is going to do better and get more earnings  playing the horse races than he will in buying scratch tickets. As far as I am concerned the same thing goes with no limit Hold'em cash games compared to No Limit Hold'em tournaments. I will not state the same thing when comparing No Limit Hold'em tournaments to the Limit cash games as these are completely different scenarios.

You utilize the term low buyin and I don't know exactly what your dividing line is between low buyin, medium buy-in and high stakes is for tournaments. the highest that I have played live consistently is $65, but it is pretty much immaterial because no matter what the buy-in is when it comes to tournaments whether they are live or online I will be successful  over the long run and of this there is absolutely no question. 

Pokerdogg said:

Kat Martin's questions are fair and on point. Flushdraw can play whichever game he is best at, but if he is going to make his analysis of poker games public in his blog, then he should be prepared (and in fact welcome) challenges to his assertions. They can always agree to disagree.

FWIW, I agree with Kat's question, and on the issue of variance. However, things are relative. I believe a good cash game player is going to experience much lower variance than a good tournament player. But all tournaments are not created equally. For tournament players, variance is going to be affected by the blind structure+starting stack, the payout structure, field size, field toughness and overall opponents style, and player style/competence. I think when you combine small field size, easy competition, and relatively small sample size of 700 tournaments, one can be led to an questionable conclusion.

I think that you know by now that I do invite commentary and debate.  I agree with most of what you said, but I do not feel over 700, and in fact as of this posting over 750 tournaments is a relatively small sample size. I completely agree with you that tournament variance is going to be based on a combination of field size, competition, blind structure, and so forth and I especially think that blind structure is everything in tournaments at least it is for me because of my playing style the longer the blind levels and in some ways even more importantly the more blind levels in the structure the better. This is why I gravitate more towards the Golden Nugget tournaments when I am playing live because they have the best blind structure in all of Las Vegas for the $65 price range.

You say you agree with Kat Martin in that variance is going to be bigger for a successful tournament player rather than it will be for a successful cash game player.  Allow me to illustrate my point of view in simple dollars and cents. In one of Andrew Neeme vlogs he said a $1/$2 player can expect a $4,000 downswing at some point.  For that same $65 tournament player who I believe will make similar earnings if not better than that $1/$2 cash game player to experience the equivelant the $65 tournament player would be taking a downswing of over 61 buyins!!!  I am here to tell you right now that a successful live tournament player playing $65 tournaments in this town where they face at most four tables, less than 40 players is in no way ever going to lose 61 buyins. For a successful tournament player even with the lowest of our allies  it is practically a mathematical impossibility  yet according to Andrew  la $4,000 downswing for a cash player should be expected and I do have a lot of respect for that young man so I will take what he says on face value as truth and fact .  When you look at it side by side there is no question that cash game players experience more variance then a tournament player under the hypothetical circumstances that I have set forth.

Now let me be very plain and clear that if that tournament player is playing in consistent fields that are a hundred players or more than  that could be an entirely different situation, but even under that circumstance if we were to agree that tournaments have more variance in them than the cash games under those circumstances the tournament player playing in those tournaments which we are now probably talking $120 and $240 buyins is going to make a hell of a lot more money over the long run than that cash game player could ever hope to.

Now on to the half action stake. ManInBlack and I decided to end it a little earlier than originally planned with the holidays coming up it seemed like a good time to cash out the earnings that I was able to accumulate. I am happy to say that during these last 6 weeks or so I was able to accumulate a grand total of just over $746 in earnings which broken down was $373.11 for each of us. Had I not attempted SNGs or online cash games or made the attempt at the two live tournaments those earnings would have been $1,000, but live and learn. $746 is still a respectable outcome.

So at this point I owe my bankroll $50 which will be paid at the beginning of January and my current available bankroll is $323 and I am now on my own with no stake involved. I will be playing 4 tournaments a day with this bankroll that being the $3 deepstack rebuy tournaments which cost me $6 each for a total daily investment of $24. When I get that bankroll up over $600 I will then return to the $10 Deepstack Rebuys in which during the course of the half action stake I ended up finishing in the money in three of them and am showing a decent profit in them.

What will happen in January is still up in the air. ManInBlack and I may in fact do another half action stake if we each have a similar amount of money to put into this. I'm thinking that if I can work my $323 up to $500 and if ManInBlack could provide the same we could start a half action stake with $1,000 upfront where the $10 rebuys would be a daily staple also too would be the Saturday $25 Super Deepstack Freezeout and possibly the Sunday $50 $3,500 Guaranteed Freezeout but we will see just what each of our financial situations are in January.

I took the day off from poker today and was planning to do the same tomorrow but quite frankly I may end up playing tomorrow late afternoon or early evening. I have to see two doctors tomorrow. One is a 10:45 appointment and one is a 1:40 appointment both in the same office so I'm going to be stuck over there for a while.  Second appointment will be to discuss that sleep study that I had where I stopped breathing 68 times in the first hour and I'm sure that doctor is going to want to get me set up with a machine at home.  I believe they call them Cpaps.  Hopefully I'll be able to get in at least one tournament and possibly two depending what time I get back.

I wasn't sure if I was going to relay this but I have now gone three full days without any cigarettes however it should be noted that I have not gone without nicotine. I made the switch over to the Vape system 3m5 days ago the first day along with the Vape I had approximately 6 or 7 cigarettes, the second day I only had three cigarettes and for the last 3 days I have had absolutely none. Some people may look at this as not really giving up a lot since I am still inhaling nicotine in the Vape system, but the Vape system, and this is according to WebMD, is probably 80% to 85% safer than smoking cigarettes. I am utilizing the juice that you add to these Vape things that is 12 milligrams of nicotine and that is actually even less nicotine than the Step 2 of the nicotine patches and I've been getting through this very well. I do not at all plan to be on the Vape system for the rest of my life and to me this is simply a tool to the ultimate goal of at some point being nicotine free. From the 12 milligram juice that you buy for The Vape system I will then cut down to 6 milligrams and then hopefully be able to be off of it permanently at some point. The only question I have is how long should I utilize the 12 milligrams before I cut down to 6 and that I am not quite sure of yet.

That's going to wrap this entry up. Hopefully I will be back on the tournaments for at least a couple of tournaments tomorrow and if not it will be a full day of all 4 on Saturday and beyond. So until next time take care everyone and I'll see you at the tables.

Bankroll:  $373.11
Goal:  $4000
Progress:  9%

Sunday, December 4, 2016

The Charming AgSweep

On this past Friday I had the opportunity to meet someone that I have been associated with on Twitter for quite some time who is part of the poker community, the lovely and charming AgSweep. Ag had sent me a message on Twitter that she was planning to be in town and if I was going to be available maybe we could finally meet in person and have a drink and this is definitely something I looked forward to because I enjoy being able to meet people from the poker community that I have communicated on Twitter with.  Ag to me has always come across on Twitter as a particularly classy individual and meeting her in person did nothing to change that opinion and only enhanced it.  We ended up meeting at a sports bar in the Linq and talked for well over two hours. We talked about anything and everything from poker, to poker players, to some more personal aspects of my life, to pretty much anything you could think of and it was an absolute pleasure talking with her and meeting her in person. I look forward to her next visit where I hope we will have the opportunity to kick back with a couple of drinks and continue the conversation once again. 

Saturday it looked like we would take our first rather significant loss as I was in for tournament buy-ins in the neighborhood of $100 but a 4th place finish in the $10 Deepstack Rebuy for $151 turned a potential $100 loss into a $50 profit for the day. We ended the day with total earnings of $752.36 with $50 of that being held offline for reasons that I will make clear shortly.
With just over $700 available and it was done the previous day as over $600 was available I have started delving into the $10 Deepstack Rebuys and which like the $3 Deepstack Rebuys I do the immediate rebuy only so it's a total cost of $20. The schedule for Sunday looked like this. 

0900am:  $3 DS RB $350 Gtd
1200pm:  $3 DS RB $400 Gtd
0400pm:  $3 DS RB $350 Gtd
0430pm:  $5 DS RB $500 Gtd
0530pm:  $10 DS RB $1000 Gtd
0730pm:  $3 DS RB $800 Gtd
0830pm:  $10 DS RB $1250 Gtd

I seem to have been in if not a cold stretch then a chilly one since I won the 12 noon $400 guaranteed $3 DS RB on Thursday for a $176 return.  As I progressed through today I found myself in a 1 for 12 stretch with that one cash being the fourth place $152 return in the $1,000 guaranteed, but no other cashes.  Sunday started out with me making an error which got me kicked out of the 9 a.m. when I shoved over the top on the flop with AQ top pair top kicker against an opponent who had significantly raised me on the flop, but because of my previous experiences with this particular opponent and the knowledge that they can be overly aggressive to the point of recklessness at times I let that dictate my decision when I really should have simply folded the hand. The 12 noon tournament I got knocked out when I flopped a set of fours against my opponents set of queens and I was out of the 4:30 p.m. $5 DS RB within the first hour when for the second time on Sunday I was eliminated from a tournament with a hand of three of a kind.  It was a bad day dropping a solid ($75).  After the completion of tournament play on Sunday the profits in the half action stake stood at a total of  $677.36 with $50 offline. This coming Friday that $50 will be utilized in a live tournament at the Golden Nugget. $627 available going into Monday.  Only 5 tournaments scheduled the four $3 Deepstack Rebuys and the $10 Deepstack Rebuy $1250 Gtd.

You'll notice that my current schedule of tournaments no longer contains any of the what WSOP would consider normal stack freeze-out tournaments as looking over my results for my entire playing time on WSOP utilizing PokerProLabs it is blatantly obvious that I do best in tournaments that have the most starting chips aka the rebuys in which I do the immediate rebuy for a double stack. Don't get me wrong I have done significantly well in the $1 and $2 MTTs, but those are no longer in my playlist as the available amount of money has increased.

The half action stake is tentatively scheduled to end when earnings reach $1,000. If the earnings jumped up to $1,200 as an example we would then utilize $200 as a stop loss to try to increase the earnings even further and if it fell to $1,000 we will cash out. If we turn that $1200 to say $1,500 then we would up the cash out plan to $1200 and utilize $300 in tournament buy-ins as a stop loss in an effort to increase the profits even more and so on and so on. With my half of those $1000 in earnings I would utilize that $500 to play 4 tournaments a day, the $3 Deepstack Rebuys and like I am doing now as soon as I got it up and over the $600 Mark delve right back into the $10 rebuys, but would be doing so on my own and no longer in a half action stake obviously.

Kat Martin left a few comments on my last entry and it is readily apparent to me that he completely disagrees with my statements about tournaments having less variance for me than cash games. The fact of the matter is those statements that I make are not towards anybody else but simply about me. I know that it goes against the common beliefs of the poker community in general, but I'll give you another one that many will disagree with and the fact of the matter is in my opinion no limit tournaments take far more skill to do well in than no limit cash games. I'll go a step further  and tell you that it is my belief that there is more skill to do well in a limit cash game than there is in a No Limit cash game. This also goes against the general poker communities view, but the way I look at it when you are in a tournament it takes more skill to do well in something where if you lose all your chips you are done, you are gone, it is over, but in a no limit cash game if you lose all your chips you can simply take more money out of your pocket and reload your chips and try again.  Again this is my personal opinion and I do not expect anyone to agree with it although some might and I know most won't.  As far as the comparison between limit games and no limit games to me there is no comparison. To me it takes a hell of a lot more skill to grind out a profit in a limit game where your bets are obviously limited than it does for some fool to overbet a pot and throw out a $100 bet or more in order to take down a pot.  Disagree with me all you want but this has been my opinion since I started playing poker back in 2004 and it's not about to change anytime soon. 

His last comment that he left he gave me a link to a site that basically gave the pros and cons to being a tournament player to being a cash game player and this site like many others out there and many people out there feel that the variance is less in cash games and they gave side-by-side hypothetical graphs to prove that point 

Now here is my 2016 tournament graph and to me mine looks more similar to the hypothetical cash game graph yet mine is for tournaments.

I won't pretend to understand why it works this way for me, I simply know it does and that tournament graph is not some small sample size as it cover over 700 tournaments played.

Well that's going to be a wrap. I will be taking Thursday and Friday off from online poker. Thursday I have two doctors appointments in the same office that have to do with my pulmonologist and the other one is actually his brother who works at the same office who deals with sleep apnea. It turns out when I had a sleep study done a month or two ago I was told by the nurse at my doctor's office that in the first hour I stopped breathing 68 times!!  Damn!!  That's pretty severe so undoubtedly they are going to want to get me one of those crazy machines that you have to sleep with at night, but we will see what they say on Thursday and then of course Friday I will be playing in the 11 a.m. tournament at the Golden Nugget. Until next time take care everyone and I'll see you at the tables.

Bankroll:  $338.68
Goal: $4000
Progress:  8%