A little break from the tables

Or: How to deal with running bad.

(I actually wrote this post last week but have been busy with some work and a fair few social obligations and so have not posted it up until now. Poker has yet to continue but will in the following days)

Take a break. That’s what I’ve done over the past couple of weeks. Luckily, I’ve had a lot going on in my life to keep me occupied, what with just having moved, meeting up with friends and some business concerns. Oh, and  a 2nd blog I’m starting (fitness & business oriented). And I’m not going to lie, it’s been a while since I’ve played some videogames, and Red Dead Redemption, Mass Effect 2 and MW2 were calling. But I digress…

Directly after starting my break I felt like giving up on poker completely.  And better to take a break from poker and writing this than yet again scouring my pokertracker database for the filth I’ve lost against and boring you with bad beat tales. Relentlessly putting it in good or in a place you simply can’t get away from a hand and losing gets tiring, as done running over $550 down on my all in EV. At 50NL and 25NL. Regardless of running bad and not hitting much of anything, the all in EV was a little too much to cope with.

On the plus side, while I’m down about $700 from poker (lol!), in reality that’s less than $300 with bonuses and rakeback.  Ridiculous, yet tolerable. I actually started this post after having lost nearly 10 buyins at 25NL, finally culminating going all in with a set of 8s in a reraised pot on the flop versus an idiot and losing to 72o. I know, I know, find that fold!

Anyway, that hand signified it was time to shut down. Running really bad is draining, emotionally more than financially. I started writing up some of the beats but I finished quickly because it’s horrible, dull  and no one learns anything from it other than “run better”. But here’s what I’d written in a flurry of anger straight after losing that last pot: Never hitting when you have 10 outs twice four times with a set while twice all in with the nut straight or flush and losing to 2 pair (yes, 2 pair) boating up. Lost both. All in with trips on the flop? Guy hits his two outer with an underpair on the turn. Gutshot straight on the river being your only draw with the money all in? That’s okay – you’ll hit. For 4/5 stacks. AK vs A3 on all in on A high flop? Hit runner runner one card flush with your 3 why don’t you? JJ vs T8o on ten low board no draw and all in on the turn? River T. Set under set. QQ vs QJ losing on the river. 88 vs 87o same thing. Then AK vs KK twice, KK vs AK lost, QQ vs TT lost, QQ vs KK lost. All against atrocious players. And 3 flips; I lost every one.

That was me pretty angry at the time, as they were mainly just a few of the hands from the last session. The problem was not once in that time did I have a similar situation with a really poor player making a move as described above and my hand held up, which I suppose is how you drop about 10 buyins in just a few hours. But I’m sure everyone here knows about running bad in some way! The painful bit for me was that this had been going on almost every day, over 29,000 hands, since I started (admittedly not that long ago!).  Some glimmers of hope appeared when I’d play for an hour or two and make some cash, only to get crushed three times worse soon thereafter. When it’s all coolers and bad beats, there’s nothing you can do except keep playing your A game and hope it turns around. Possibly taking a break first. Which is obviously what I did.

So back to the drawing (mouse & key) board soon. In the meantime, bankroll management concerns abound when you run like this. All I can do is keep playing and hope it turns around. I’d like to think this can’t last too much longer but you never know. And my main concern really isn’t even to do with the money (I only have a finite amount to lose, after all!) but with the fact that it makes something I really enjoy playing, studying and discussing, the beautiful game of poker, boring. And that is the biggest crime! I’d simply step away from the tables and not look back. Certainly with little in the way of fond memories at any rate. It’s not something I want.

And I’m not there yet! Oh no! I’ve moved down to 25NL (obviously), and I’ll continue to play again shortly after this little break. I feel refreshed and, positively, I have managed to get a fair amount done in the last couple of weeks away (yes, including the videogames)! I hope my return to the poker tables results in as good as a result as my pwnage on MW2.

I’ll update in the next few days this time around, and keep to at least weekly updates. In the meantime, good luck at the tables!


P.S. I’m going to set up a proper domain name for this account, because I already have the space and it’s always nicer having your own website. I will of course inform you all when I have made the switchover.


Day 2 – Ouch!

WARNING: very few posts will ever be this long. Or filled with coolers and bad beats. I promise.

Right now I’m going from having played maybe 40 hours in the last year to trying to play about 30 each week. Felt a little alien firing up the poker again two days in a row.

So, yesterday it was Rush poker, two tabling the 25 and 50NL limits all day. I’m going to definitely keep playing because the players are generally so soft. But all the same, I had a bad day. A BAD DAY. I lost loads. I don’t want this to become a bad beat or cooler blog because these things happen all the time but losing this much this quickly needs explaining rather than just leaving you to assume I suck. Coolers galore today. At two points today I put in nearly two buyins at 50NL Rush with top set and not only lost each time but wasn’t even ahead when the money went in! In all my time playing, I’ve never had that happen before. So, without further ado, Day 2, over three sessions:

Session 1

Not great, down just over $70, mainly thanks to these two hands, where I managed to  be coolered pretty hard:

Full Tilt No-Limit Hold’em, $0.50 BB (6 handed) – Full-Tilt Converter Tool from FlopTurnRiver.com

SB ($50)
BB ($29.40)
UTG ($86.25)
MP ($49.85)
Hero (CO) ($51.65)
Button ($50)

Preflop: Hero is CO with A♦, K♠
UTG bets $2.50, 1 fold, Hero raises to $8.25, 3 folds, UTG calls $5.75

Flop: ($17.25) A♣, A♠, 6♥ (2 players)
UTG checks, Hero bets $13, UTG calls $13

Turn: ($43.25) 3♠ (2 players)
UTG checks, Hero bets $30.40 (All-In), UTG calls $30.40

River: ($104.05) J♣ (2 players, 1 all-in)

Total pot: $104.05 | Rake: $3

UTG had 6♦, 6♠ (full house, sixes over Aces).
Hero had A♦, K♠ (three of a kind, Aces).
Outcome: UTG won $101.05

I don’t think anyone is getting away from AK there… Note the recurring theme of not being able to get away from the second best hand (nor should I, I don’t think) which will flow throughout this post.

Starting here…

Full Tilt No-Limit Hold’em, $0.50 BB (6 handed) – Full-Tilt Converter Tool from FlopTurnRiver.com

Hero (BB) ($88.75)
UTG ($115.40)
MP ($284)
CO ($71.70)
Button ($126.65)
SB ($50)

Preflop: Hero is BB with J♥, J♦
3 folds, Button bets $1.50, 1 fold, Hero raises to $4.75, Button calls $3.25

Flop: ($9.75) 7♥, 8♦, J♣ (2 players)
Hero bets $7.30, Button raises to $14.60, Hero raises to $53.55, Button raises to $121.90 (All-In), Hero calls $30.45 (All-In)

Turn: ($177.75) A♣ (2 players, 2 all-in)

River: ($177.75) 6♥ (2 players, 2 all-in)

Total pot: $177.75 | Rake: $3

Button had 10♦, 9♦ (straight, Jack high).
Hero had J♥, J♦ (three of a kind, Jacks).
Outcome: Button won $174.75

That hurt quite a lot. The board just never pairs when you need it to!

Rush 25NL: 32.48
Rush 50NL: -104.90

The 2nd session wasn’t much better. This was the nastiest:

Full Tilt No-Limit Hold’em, $0.50 BB (6 handed) – Full-Tilt Converter Tool from FlopTurnRiver.com

BB ($58.20)
UTG ($61.25)
MP ($106.65)
CO ($110.65)
Button ($63.40)
Hero (SB) ($25.60)

Preflop: Hero is SB with A♥, A♠
UTG bets $1.50, 2 folds, Button calls $1.50, Hero raises to $6.50, 1 fold, UTG raises to $11.50, 1 fold, Hero raises to $25.60 (All-In), UTG calls $14.10

Flop: ($53.20) Q♣, Q♦, J♣ (2 players, 1 all-in)

Turn: ($53.20) 10♠ (2 players, 1 all-in)

River: ($53.20) 6♣ (2 players, 1 all-in)

Total pot: $53.20 | Rake: $2.65

Hero had A♥, A♠ (two pair, Aces and Queens).
UTG had K♦, A♦ (straight, Ace high).
Outcome: UTG won $50.55

Thankfully I’d just taken a horrible beat the very hand before and only had half my stack left without a chance to rebuy. Just by the by, I invariably rebuy to a full stack.

Then it was just a series of unfortunate positions where I was second best by the river. A lot. I ended the session when this happened:

Full Tilt No-Limit Hold’em, $0.50 BB (6 handed) – Full-Tilt Converter Tool from FlopTurnRiver.com

MP ($104.75)
CO ($63.70)
Button ($104.85)
SB ($25)
BB ($157.90)
Hero (UTG) ($51.10)

Preflop: Hero is UTG with A♣, Q♣
Hero bets $1.75, 3 folds, SB calls $1.50, 1 fold

Flop: ($4) A♦, K♠, 7♣ (2 players)
SB bets $4, Hero raises to $24, SB calls $19.25 (All-In)

Turn: ($50.50) 5♣ (2 players, 1 all-in)

River: ($50.50) 10♦ (2 players, 1 all-in)

Total pot: $50.50 | Rake: $2.50

SB had 7♠, A♠ (two pair, Aces and sevens).
Hero had A♣, Q♣ (one pair, Aces).
Outcome: SB won $48

Not able to get away from AQ there for half stacks so just pushed knowing any Ace was calling. The poker hasn’t been tough to play today but the beats have been a little nasty.

Rush 25NL: -11.59
Rush 50NL: -144.35

Session 3

This was a long session that at one point left me several buyins lower than where I finished. AKo was my biggest loser, down $118. Again, I put my money in bad here:

Full Tilt No-Limit Hold’em, $0.50 BB (6 handed) – Full-Tilt Converter Tool from FlopTurnRiver.com

CO ($52.75)
Button ($55.45)
SB ($23.70)
Hero (BB) ($49.55)
UTG ($65.80)
MP ($91.30)

Preflop: Hero is BB with A♥, K♦
2 folds, CO bets $1.50, Button calls $1.50, 1 fold, Hero raises to $6.25, CO calls $4.75, Button raises to $55.45 (All-In), Hero calls $43.30 (All-In), 1 fold

Flop: ($105.60) 9♥, 9♦, J♣ (2 players, 2 all-in)

Turn: ($105.60) 6♦ (2 players, 2 all-in)

River: ($105.60) 8♠ (2 players, 2 all-in)

Total pot: $105.60 | Rake: $3

Button had A♦, A♣ (two pair, Aces and nines).
Hero had A♥, K♦ (one pair, nines).
Outcome: Button won $102.60

And this was pretty disgusting:

Full Tilt No-Limit Hold’em, $0.50 BB (6 handed) – Full-Tilt Converter Tool from FlopTurnRiver.com

UTG ($19.25)
MP ($61.45)
CO ($54)
Button ($104.10)
SB ($50)
Hero (BB) ($89.50)

Preflop: Hero is BB with K♠, J♠
1 fold, MP bets $1.75, 3 folds, Hero calls $1.25

Flop: ($3.75) 10♠, 5♠, 9♠ (2 players)
Hero checks, MP bets $3, Hero raises to $12.75, MP raises to $59.70 (All-In), Hero calls $46.95

Turn: ($123.15) 9♥ (2 players, 1 all-in)

River: ($123.15) 6♠ (2 players, 1 all-in)

Total pot: $123.15 | Rake: $3

Hero had K♠, J♠ (flush, King high).
MP had A♠, K♥ (flush, Ace high).
Outcome: MP won $120.15

He has 6 outs there. The Q gives me a straight flush.

And this one was pretty much identical to the first session beat, and really painful once again for pretty big stacks:

Full Tilt No-Limit Hold’em, $0.50 BB (6 handed) – Full-Tilt Converter Tool from FlopTurnRiver.com

MP ($90.15)
CO ($14.75)
Hero (Button) ($97.85)
SB ($53.10)
BB ($159.80)
UTG ($85.20)

Preflop: Hero is Button with 9♦, 9♥
3 folds, Hero bets $1.75, 1 fold, BB calls $1.25

Flop: ($3.75) 9♣, 8♦, 5♣ (2 players)
BB checks, Hero bets $3.20, BB raises to $8, Hero raises to $27.75, BB raises to $158.05 (All-In), Hero calls $68.35 (All-In)

Turn: ($195.95) J♣ (2 players, 2 all-in)

River: ($195.95) 6♦ (2 players, 2 all-in)

Total pot: $195.95 | Rake: $3

Hero had 9♦, 9♥ (three of a kind, nines).
BB had 7♣, 6♣ (flush, Jack high).
Outcome: BB won $192.95

Rush 25NL: -65.84
Rush 50NL: -39.30

On another day, with a few less coolers and a few more boards pairing, or people missing their ridiculous one card draws… Well, I might actually make some money. We’ll see! I will at a later stage go into depth on more interesting hands on occasion but right now there’s not much to say. Just running a little dire with the coolers and bad beats over a very small sample size. It happens. I just hope it doesn’t keep happening!

So, aside from the fun times yesterday, what else?

Well, the Full Tilt Mini Series of Poker is starting tonight. FUN! I’m going to give some of these tournaments a go, starting later today.

Wish me luck!

Day 1

Deposited $600 into Full Tilt, and sat down at a few 6 max 50NL tables. Nothing too exciting happened. I didn’t get away from QQ for my stack on a low flop which was definitely a bad call on my part given the action, and clearly wasn’t aggressive enough in a couple of spots where I had position which cost me. Otherwise, an okay 2 hour session where I spent most of my time trying to work out why PokerTracker wasn’t importing hands, and why all the HUD stats were out of place, but finished with it all working and very slightly up, eventually playing up to six tables. It all felt very comfortable at least and I eased into play quite nicely. I was playing tighter than what I would consider my normal game, but then it’s been a long time since I’ve played properly, so baby steps!

Then a short break, and then I tried some Rush. Starting with 50NL, this is something else! I spent the first hour just playing 50NL, then opened up the 25NL table as well, promptly dumping a buyin. And then making 4 back. There were a few nasty spots but nothing massively out of ordinary. I laid down Kings preflop once for 3 buyins at 25NL, because I’m a massive wuss and it felt wrong to me, and everything else largely played out without too much excitement. Lost some silly hands where I was dominating with all the money in the middle against short stackers but if that isn’t standard then I don’t know what is. There were some huge pots, of which I won most, and when I didn’t it was pretty standard stuff when all the money went in: Set vs TP & Nut flush draw type stuff.

I played a couple of sessions of Rush and after 6 hours finished up $173 from all that poker, while clearing over $30 of the sign on bonus at Full Tilt and no doubt earning a little rakeback too. A nice starting session then, even with it ending with my wireless mouse dying on me while my PC crashed as I flopped the nut flush on the flop with A8c and someone raised me. Worst beat of the night.

Poker! Starting from the beginning.

NOTE: I have copied over this blog from tumblr as when I started trying to post hand histories there, memory usage was astronomical and my whole PC almost gound to a halt. I don’t know why but all is well here it seems anyway!

If you’re not interested in poker, then look away now. If you are, read on. And if you are confused or interested by anything, just ask.

I have a $1,000 bankroll.  Right now the idea is that any rakeback, bonuses and significant tournament wins (ha! That might be a while coming) go to me, all other poker winnings stay in my bankroll, though that may well change depending on how well (or badly!) I’m doing.

I want to see how far I can go and have fun while I’m doing it, mixing up my games and continually trying to improve by playing at least 30 hours per week, reading books and forums and watching videos. I will start primarily with 6 max cash games (at 50NL) and whatever tournaments I fancy, within my bankroll. Talking of which, these are going to be my simple (rather conservative) poker bankroll rules:

Hold ‘em

  • 20 buy-ins at 50NL, 30 at 100NL, 40 at 200NL, 50 above
  • 600 Big Blinds for Limit HE level
  • Tournament entry <1% of bankroll


  • 40 buy-ins at 25NL and 50 NL, 50 above that

I’ll be taking shots, particularly in NLHE cash games, as soon as I have enough buy ins for that level but not before. And I’ll probably stick to smaller tournaments, omaha or other poker games than I could afford, simply because I’d rather build the roll up with winning play throughout my game rather than jump in to stakes where I have no edge at all.

As regards how well I think I will do? Well, I hope that I’ll make the move to 100NL relatively quickly, then who knows after that? I’ve played for a few years and I did quite well making a comfortable living playing online for a short while a few years ago, playing Limit up to $5/10 and short handed NL up to 200NL. Nothing too exciting but quite nice nonetheless. However, it’s been a long time since I’ve played in any volume and times have changed, and I hear (though haven’t played enough to see) that the games at these levels are significantly tougher than they once were, so we’ll have to see how it will go.

I’m starting on Full Tilt Poker, where I have never played before. I have the standard 27% rakeback there and the $600 sign on bonus to get through. I also play a little on Party and on PokerStars, have a couple of other accounts elsewhere and am open to trying other sites if they offer substantial bonuses and rakeback. And that’s it for now. I’ll keep track of how it’s all going here, talk about anything interesting that comes up, add in any other thoughts I have around the subject, and we’ll see what happens!