Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A long time...

It has been a long time since my last post; I never stopped playing, though, with the help of a friend, realized I was playing the wrong way. For the longest time, I could never figure out why I can win - if not CRUSH live poker, but get killed in online poker. The reason is summed up very neatly: boredom. I was playing FAR too loose, in a single table game.

I had a friend come over last Friday - a player who continuously wins at the .5/$1 level - show me how to get it done. He showed me 3 tables and how to approach the game. Even though it is fundamental poker, I realized that I am raising FAR too wide out of position. I realized I am playing FAR too many hands. I realized I am calling FAR too many raises.

In addition, I changed my site from the Cake Poker network ( to Full Tilt at the end of March. This change enabled me to begin using Poker Tracker 3; the client does not support sportsfanatik. The results out of Poker Tracker showed me immediately that I was playing FAR too loose of a game at sportsfanatik. I'd imagine my VPIP (voluntary put into pot) was around 50 on a regular basis. At the .1/.25 or even .05/.1 games, I was getting crushed continually.

Prior to Friday, I realized the target for VPIP was around 30 (to not become a total maniac), yet I was still having trouble keeping my VPIP at those levels. Simply stated, you CANNOT play every KT / KJ / AT / etc. type hand in every position. You cannot - and SHOULD NOT. I know this is basic poker strategy; a look at Sklansky & Lederer's basic starting hand charts would tell me this. However, I never "got it."

Well, now I "get it." A single table is going to kill me; I need to play Sklansky's / Lederer's strategies (actually my own derived strategy with the help of my friend) while playing upwards of 3 tables. Since Friday, I moved down in stakes from .1/.25, where I was breaking even after rakeback agreements and such, to .05/.10 where my bankroll can fully support the 3-4x $10 required as buy in for each of the tables. I have been averaging a 5BB win rate thus far (I know my data is limited to 4 days), but this method of play just feels better. I am a LOT more confident, and opponents give me A LOT more credit when I am betting. On c-bets (continuation bets when raised pre flop), the range my opponents put me on is credible (i.e. they give me credit for the hand), and where they see me show down, I have good to great hands every time - when I choose to go to showdown. Obviously, I realize I'm going to have bad runs, and a bad run is what prompted this change, but my game is much tighter and simpler. I will continue to pad by bankroll and move back to the .1/.25 stakes when my bankroll reaches $250-300. I think I can support 3-4x $25 with a $300 roll. FYI: currently, my bankroll stands at $150. I project that within 2 months I will be moving up.

As a result of my newly found tight play, I am actively seeking out loose tables with high percentages of players seeing flops, whereas, in the past, I would look for extremely tight tables, which would match my aggressive, wide range. It's very interesting how things turn 180 practically overnight!

Look forward for me to start posting hand histories.

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