Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Englightenment... my short history

I was reflecting on the defining moments of my poker career. I can map them out perfectly, as they are well known points that most of you probably know already and have for sometime. (For me, I'm a little dense, and it takes me longer to learn things.)
  • The ability to count outs and determine the equity my hand holds. I first read about hand equity when Justin "WPThero" Rollo of PokerSavvy Plus fame wrote an expose' on the If you are unaware of how to count outs, it is along the same lines as the article written by the same author: Making a Tough Call By Justin Rollo. I remember that I immediately followed it up with a ton of research on odds and found the rule of 4x and 2x (essentially counting your outs and multiplying them by 4 for the flop and 2 for the river for your percentage of winning the hand), which is a bit easier to use. Based on that information, I formulated a spreadsheet to quickly figure out my equity at each round, as compared with the pot odds that were being offered. I was now able to figure out how to quickly know where I was in each and every hand. I can approximate that I became aware of the rule of 4x and 2x back in early 2009, 2-3 years into my unsuccessful (but lucky) poker career. You can read a few of the original posts on this blog to see what a donkey I was.
  • However, I was still finding myself running into situations where I was completely unsure as to whether I was ahead or behind in the hand. Back in the days prior to using Poker Tracker or knowing my co-blogger, omgitsjoshua, situations would arise where I would limp Js3s in the UTG and a J high flop would hit a 2 flush (diamonds) drawing board... Was I ahead or behind? Was my opponent calling my bet because he was drawing to a flush or because he had a better J? I would commit way too much stack on way too weak holdings only to find out that I was dominated the whole time by AJo. I always knew enough to fold Ace rag, which likely kept me out of trouble for the most part, but my pattern for online poker was usually deposit $20 -> play $10NL poker for about a month -> re-deposit. Upon meeting up with omgitsjoshua back in June 2009, after 2 hours of talking and watching him play, I understood how to play a tight aggressive style. (Hint: TAG is not limping Qs3s and folding to a raiser.) I immediately understand ranges and positions. Within 2 months of playing TAG, I earned back all of my prior lost poker money (and continue to this day to show strong profits).
  • Finally, learning bankroll management is the last critical piece to become a poker semi-pro. I learned that I was playing in games FAR above my bankroll when I first started out on Full Tilt and other sites. I never had a huge problem with bankroll management, though. I started with $100 on, where I was able to run my bankroll up [and down] I would deposit $20 at a time on my prior poker site, (Cake Poker network), play $10NL and sometimes go broke by night's or week's end. However, when I joined Full Tilt, I built my roll up to $100+ and immediately broke into 1-tabling the $25NL games, which far exceeded my bankroll. I posted a nice table of how to properly manage a bankroll, taking care not to enter into games where you cannot afford the buy in. Learning bankroll management miraculously kept me from going broke. I honestly believe that joining Full Tilt was my last straw - I told myself that if I went broke on FT (lost my initial buy in & 100% match), I was not going to continue feeding the credit card into the site with regular deposits like I had been on my prior site. I had spent ~$500 to that point in the 3 years I had been playing online, and I thought it time to give up if I could not figure out how to profitable. Fortunately, the rest, as they say, is history...
I think anyone with ambition can learn to become a good, profitable poker player. It takes dedication to get there, but you can certainly do it. Start with fundamentals and work from there. I believe the above 3 bullets outline the basic tenants a poker player should have - adding in the finer details such as button steals and 3 bets as he or she become accustomed to how the game is played.

1 comment:

  1. nice recap. took a few nuggets of information for my play.



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