Summer Update

I know, I haven't posted anything in a long, long time. I haven't been that ill (thank God), I just got burned out on my OIC poker. No, I didn't lose. How could I, since I was only freerolling in the first place? But even with the free money I still didn't lose. I did quite well :)

I only play poker a bit here and there. I seem to do well online, always have. I am not very good at poker, really. I am way too cautious to ever be a real contender. It does crack me up, though, when people ask me if I'm losing money playing poker. No matter how many times I tell them I'm not playing "my" money, it's all a freeroll, they must assume I'm either lying, or they just don't get the concept. One cannot lose money one does not spend!

I'm happy to see some of my friends winning big events and/or cashing quite a bit. Congrats, guys.

One thing that people are surprised to find out about me is how conservative I am. Not necessarily in politics, I just mean in general. That is probably the biggest reaction I get when I talk to others. I absolutely cannot stand racism. I abhor racism. Some of my earliest recollections are listening to redneck racists spout all about anyone who is ISN'T a redneck racist like them.

So it is always a big surprise to me when others ask me to support racism. If I won't back up my own family's racism why would I back up perfect strangers??? Good luck with that one (not)!

The other day I think I shocked Glenn by telling him we were living below the poverty level. I guess he didn't realize it, even though we have been for years. I am so cheap, and being a shut-in, well, there isn't much I need money for. My biggest expenses are for food. Pancreatitis means either not eating at all, or eating things that are very low in fat, yet healthy. Which costs money. Everything else pretty much goes towards our post-65 retirement. We have been very fortunate, but I don't think anyone could possibly have too much of a nest egg these days.

OIC Stories

I get questions all the time about when I'm going to move up in limits. After all, I made about 2,500,000% on my penny stake! ha ;)

Right now I'm playing stuff like .01/.02, .02/.04 and .10/.20 Stud games. 

So the other day I was on a site where someone was playing 50/100 and up all the time. Well, he couldn't get a good game, so I guess he sat down in the .01/.02 blind game to play. And the reaction was typically hilarious. 

Another thing I've noticed about a player I admire is his willingness to play in good games, practicing game selection, regardless of his bankroll. His story goes something like this:

A middle limit pro played a lot of tourneys and some cash games a few months back. He played way too loose and aggro for the field. His results weren't that hot. He obviously was not adjusting to his opponents and FPS combined with his firm belief that he could "outplay" his competition post-flop gave him the false security which ends up crippling some players.

Eventually he did the wise thing and quit for a while, deciding to study and revamp his game. He was gone for about a month to six weeks, not playing even once.

He started fresh, getting back into cash games at the lowest micro-limits (sound familiar?). Regardless of his past performance and playing limits, he did the wise thing and went to the very bottom, only mixing in tourneys when there was some overlay/freeroll/guarantee/sponsorship available to make it worth his while. He also tightened up to the point of the Felicia-Rock proportions (really, really tight). He didn't get into that trap of HAVING to raise on the button when it was passed to him. He didn't always limp in the SB just because he was halfway in and there were no raises. He didn't auto-raise in the SB when HU vs. BB. He just put in his time and waited for good opportunities and big hands. Which is sometimes necessary, especially at those limits. I always crack up when "advanced" players try to outplay at the micros.

If I had a chart of this guy's progress it would look awesome. No, I don't use tools and trackers when I play, although many of them have been available for the decade I've been playing online. I try to play like I'd play IRL. I've heard both pros and cons about my decision to do this. Mostly cons from online players. Yeah, I could be missing money here and there. Yes, I could be playing higher limits, yadda yadda. But I never said I was trying to win big online. I said I was trying to take nothing (a freeroll win) and build it into something. If I used a whole bunch of tools I'd probably dislike online poker more than I already do!

Anyway, Joe-Pro is doing great. I'm sure he has already way surpassed my little scratch by far. Then again, like Carl's story, Joe-Pro actually started out with real cash, not a freeroll, so there ya are.

I've recently talked to a whole crop of players who are doing or have done what I'm doing. Like I said in the beginning, this is something that has been going on since the early days of play money online poker (and I'm sure in IRL poker, too). So it's no surprise that there are many of us. The ones who seem to succeed the most are the ones who don't get overconfident after some big scores and play above our little OIC bankroll. 

I've also seen a couple of players crash and burn by transferring wins out of the poker room and into online casinos, just to lose every bit of their hard earned grind in a few hands. But that is a problem for a different type journal, isn't it?

Anyway, after a stale week I'm finally doubling up here and there again on a given uML table. Again, I haven't had a really good heater yet, and I'm playing way way way too cautious/timid/passive. But I'm doing it to decrease my variance, not to play coinflips and hope I have a huge score. This is a slow, steady grind I'm hoping to play out for about a year or until I just get too bored and can't take it any more. At the end of the year I might buy something little for all of my trouble, but I'm NOT looking for some major cash or huge bankroll. I'm just trying to have fun!

1/22/12  -22 BB's (NLHE, PLO)

1/23/12 +72 BB's so far...(NLHE)

ChickyParm Grinder Update

Well, after that one bad day I managed to turn things around. On one site I play, one has to show down some pretty big hands. Another site plays more like a tournament (lots of all-in before the flop hands ~75 BB's, nonetheless). I have to constantly adjust my play not only depending upon the site, but upon the game and table dynamics in any given hand. On some tables, sitting back and playing the trapper like my old 1-5 Stud days is the only way to consistently double my stake.

1/17/12  +90 BB's

1/18/12  +47 BB's

Swing, Swong, Swung

11/16/12  -171 BB's

Some amazing hands. Some awful play by me, too. I didn't play well across two different sites. For instance, I stayed in a game way too long after it had gone bad just based on one or two fishy players. I should have gotten out. Some fab beats:

KK vs. J7o (86%) After flop and turn of 274T (87.5%)

TT vs. J2s (69.5%)

AQs vs. 54s (60.5%) After flop of QJ4 (60%)

AA vs. K9s (82%) After flop of K62T (81.8%)

I always say if there is a card left in the deck to kill your made hand on the river, it can and will come out. Yesterday was that day for me. I wish I could say I played my total A game through it all, but my play deteriorated during the swing, swong, swung.

What is Your Favorite Poker Hand?

I remember when people used to talk about this subject and I never had anything to say about it. First of all, I never really liked Hold'em that much. And that was invariably what they were talking about. Not Stud, not Omaha.

Well, let's fast forward a decade. I am not nearly as burnt out on HE as I was during the boom. Plus the five year hiatus from poker certainly helped!

While I don't have a favorite Hold'em starting hand, per se, I will admit to liking pocket nines. There are many reasons to like those nines:

  • It's tough for other players to put you on this hand
  • Pocket nines can be played for set value in certain circumstances
  • Pocket nines can be played as a made hand in many instances
  • You usually know where you are with pocket nines on a raggedy flop
  • If you make a straight with pocket nines, you usually know if you are good or not
  • In a hot & cold hand I will take nines over AKo
http://twodimes.net/h/?z=48579
pokenum -h 9c 9s - ac kd
Holdem Hi: 1712304 enumerated boards
cards win %win lose %lose tie %tie EV
9s 9c 943057 55.08 762551 44.53 6696 0.39 0.553
Ac Kd 762551 44.53 943057 55.08 6696 0.39 0.447

In other news, I have finally hit a very cold streak. I'm not even playing that well today, probably because of it. Here are the past two days results of the ChickyParm OIC Grind:

Monday 1/14/12 +12 bb's
Tuesday 1/15/12 -14 bb's

Open Internet Challenge - Felicia Style

Remember I listed my New Year's Resolutions before the end of 2012? One of them was this:

  • Play Cash Games Again (Felicia, this is where your bread is buttered...LDO)

So I decided to take my little stake and see what I could do with it, a la the Open Internet Challenge, WhiskeyTown's Challenge or Poker, A Love Story-Carl's Challenge. Well, whatever you want to call it.

I have been grinding-grinding the past couple of days. I did manage one free SNG and one Frequent Player Freeroll, but for the most part it was back to the cash game grind. I haven't done that in years.

You might recall that I said I started with freerolling. So I used a penny to calculate my bankroll increase. Since I had a 2,500,000% win, I took that money and used it as my starting OIC bankroll and went to the super micro-limits (uMLs).

For recording and accounting purposes, I have played the past two days, maybe four hours of grinding altogether, not counting the FP Freeroll and SNG (just cash games). I am up so far 250 BB's. I also have some FPP's, but I only mention it since it buys access into freerolls, etc. I know it sounds like a lot, but at the uML tables, 250 BB's is a trivial cash amount. I'm certainly not complaining, however. I haven't really hit a heater yet, but I did get lucky on a couple of coinflips and when I was dominated once.

I also found one site that is so good it reminds me of the old days of Party/Pacific/Stars. Not in the sense of traffic (I wish) or aesthetics  but just the softness of the games. Another site is easy, but I absolutely hate the software and have to force myself to play there. I also think there is more cheating going on there than the norm, unchecked. I haven't fallen prey to it, myself. But when I see a total of about 3000-5000 players at a site, and there are the same "team" of players sitting at multiple tables/SNG's, sitting out, waiting for it to fill, I usually avoid them.

Okay, so grand totals so far:

  • 48 hour grind (about four total hours actually played)
  • uML Stakes (.01/.02 NLHE; .01/.02 PLO8; .02/.04 O8; $15 FP Freeroll)
  • Starting Bankroll: ~6000 BB's
  • Current Bankroll: ~6250 BB's

ChickyParm Grinding Gurl Going GOOT ;)

Poker - A Love Story

Every once in a while there is a story worth telling. I guess before the modern Internet as we know it, RGP had a fun open challenge. This was copied and translated in many different ways both online and live. Heck, I even did my own Great Bellagio Experiment.   Glenn did WhiskeyTown's OIC. One that seems to be remembered and copied the most was Chris Ferguson's busto-to-bankroll run. These challenges seem to run closely to this: How can you take a mini-stake and run it up thousands of percents by playing a range of buy-in's from the lowest micro-stakes up to whatever your skill level and bankroll can manage?

I heard of a story a few weeks ago that personified this challenge. Since I love these tales, I'll reproduce it here, although I don't have any facts nor am I claiming that the story is totally accurate. It is the point and the excitement of it all that counts!

Carl is a tight aggressive player. He played Stud in the old days and became a pro during the poker boom when anything was possible for a good player with a winning history, proper bankroll and few obligations.

He transitioned from Stud to NLHE and basically any game where the money was good and easy. He also played a lot more tourneys during the boom, but they weren't his forte and he seemed to do better on side games surrounding the big festivals.

Fast forward to the crash. Carl got mega burned out on poker. Things got even worse following Black Friday. Poker just wasn't fun or even that profitable anymore. But Carl is a cautious man by nature and had saved up his easy millions. He invested, he has a pension. He didn't need to "work" anymore to survive.

About a year ago, Carl decided to chill for a while, until he knew what to do with the rest of his life. He went down under for a walk-about, and also spent time exploring New Zealand. Once he returned home, he couldn't decide whether to leave the states, only play live, get into another field altogether or simply retire and continue to bum around. Since he was still under 40, it seemed like a long time to be retired for good.

A friend of his suggested a play money site to practice on to see if he still had any fire left for poker, and online play specifically. Carl tried it out a few times and found that he still liked poker. So he decided to put a little stake on a pay site and see if he could run it up a la the OIC.

Starting with just $10 he played the super micro-stakes. The money was pretty easy at those levels considering Carl had been a middle/high stakes pro. Plus Carl played the lowest stakes available and always stayed within his $10 bankroll. He grinded big time. He didn't sit around and complain about not playing 'real poker' as so many players do. He just put in his time, rode through the suck-outs, put away false pride and raked in the money.

Soon he was moving up to the next level. Moving up meant that he was able to play more than just NLHE. He incorporated PLO and O8 into his routine. He didn't play every day, after all, it was supposed to be fun, not a job!

Now let's fast forward a couple of months. Carl is playing middle stakes again, using his initial $10 to build up a bankroll to grind 10/20 games. Carl is sitting on a bankroll of about $12,000.

120,000% BABY!

In the meantime, this chickyparm grinder has turned her one penny stake to $250 in the past three weeks. Hmmm, 2,500,000% BABY!

lol ;)

NLHE Turbo Strategy

It seems like everyone and his dog has a NLHE strat posted these days. I remember when Glenn wrote up his back in about 2006 and everyone wanted it. It was distributed around the Internet and discussed on forums. Of course, Glenn winning freerolls to WSOP events year after year didn't hurt his cred' at all!

So since there are so many, and the good ones are readily apparent I decided to do something more like bullet points about things NOT to do. I will try to throw in occasional tips on the to-do side as well, but for the most part, these are the things I've noticed in NLHE Turbos on the Internet that players regularly do, guaranteeing that they will never win.

Before I get the whole "Yadda yadda yadda, you think you're a great player" bash, let me say that I'm losing recently, and most of it is my own fault. I'll make one or two fundamental mistakes during HU play and go from hero to zero in one or two hands, when I had the win virtually locked up. I have done that once yesterday and three times today so far. As well as one larger MTT non-turbo, four from the money, with the FT pretty much locked up (I believe I was 4th in chips). So I tend to reflect more and my theory is better when I'm losing. I think that is pretty typical.

Here we go:

It is MTT, but it usually only consists of about 2-4 nine-handed tables, so it's almost like a STT, it so quickly gets to the final table. Maybe 15 minutes. The levels are only three minutes, mostly double blinds. Starting stacks are never much above 10bb's at any given time (unless you truly chip up).

~Get rid of the pride, just because someone went all-in on your SB and you have 62o doesn't mean, "How dare you try to steal my blind? Fine, you want to play for stacks? All-in fine with me!"

~Stop trying to bluff AI in a multi-way, often raised pots

~Don't leave yourself with one blind or less just because there are players raising every hand and you haven't found a good enough hand to go with. Think of it this way, even if you double or triple up, you still have no chance to win leaving yourself this short! The blinds rise every 3 minutes, plus there are antes. You can't really afford to wait another ten hands just trying to find something worthwhile. Pick your spots, figure out how you can get HU with the raiser or take the chance while someone behind you is sitting out temporarily (peeing maybe?) or doesn't have the type of stack that can take a hit even with your short-stack. You don't have to be rash or stupid to find a good opportunity to get it in with a mediocre or even bad hand. Pick your spots (position, position, position/opponent/HU pot/suited connectors/high card/any pair/decent connectors, etc).

Remember that in a WTA scenario that 2nd place pays the same as dead last!

~There are some players who take on tight players consistently. You don't need to do this. Most people at the table are extremely loose and horrible. I always think, "Oh, goodie, so-and-so is here for an easy double up!" Don't take on the person not playing many hands, when you can double through the big stack maniac, and then double again as he is taking on all comers left and right and sucking out a fair amount of the time, not even counting when he actually does have a hand and gets excessive action.

~Don't steam and target one player because he doubled up through you and sucked out majorly. Yes, watch when you can get it in good against him, especially HU, but don't keep saying to him, "Come at me, bro!" with your crap hand. Because he will.

~Stop timing out just because someone keeps raising in front of you and you want to 'teach him a lesson' by refusing to fold, just letting the clock time you out. This is really juvenile and petty. I can just see them sitting there, "You won't get ME to fold! Don't you see that was MY blind? Don't you see, I limped? I raised FIRST?" (whatever the case may be). You don't look 'cool,' you just look like a douche, because you refuse to fold on your own.

~Stop stalling. Waiting for the blinds to double before they get back to you doesn't exactly help you, dude. This is a WTA scenario. Stalling with a short stack does not help your case, just gives you even less BB's to work with.

~FPS pretty much goes out the door with this one. Sure, there are a couple of spots to get creative, but they are few and far between. Why raise a hand you have to call all-in with? Seems elementary not to do this, but I see it all the time. Every table, every game. I always say, "Give them the opportunity to do the right thing first!" Don't just let them call a baby raise and then put YOU to the test. Yes, sure, sometimes they have you beat all along (99 vs. KK, etc), but most of the time they don't, and even with the 99 vs. KK scenario, unless it is a horrible flop for you, the money is going in anyway. Don't be the caller, don't be the scared money player, be the bettor, the raiser, the all-in'er First. MAKE THEM PAY.

~Stop overcalling in multi-way raised pots. I don't care if you think you are getting a good price. That theory goes right out the window in a tournament where the entire event might last 30 hands. If you don't have a shoving hand and no ammunition there aren't many reasons to overcall multi-way, NOT as the closer in a raised pot.

~Don't just keep calling in the SB because you feel like you are getting in cheap. If you wouldn't play that trash for a bet, why play it for a half bet? You need that half blind as ammunition to make your move. That extra half blind might be the difference between getting a bigger stack to lay down a marginal hand later. Not to mention you might actually win the whole thing simply because of saving bets here and there by not playing trash hands. Continually bleeding off chips simply because the pot hasn't been raised is a losing strategy and one of the most common mistakes I see.

~Once you get HU, if you have a good stack and the other guy is virtually handing you the win, stop doubling him up unnecessarily. I see this all the time. And I also win these HU matches most often as the underdog, when a big stack keeps doubling me up with marginal hands. I am a tight player, I fold a lot. So why in the world would you keep doubling me up when you know I'm picking my spots carefully? Someone told me that I am wrong in this theory. Well, I have been told I'm very wrong by several players. And I am certain they are correct in many situations. But I'm just speaking of a particular situation that seems to happen very often in these WTA turbos. You have the chip lead, by far, the blinds are outrageous and the short stack is handing you the win. You just have to wait for him to blind himself off and get it in bad, desperately. So he has a three blinds left or something like that. He has never raised once, mostly won't even complete. So suddenly he goes all-in on you. You have Q5o, you insta-call. Why? I was told this was a pretty premium hand in this situation. I disagree. DON'T KEEP DOUBLING UP A PLAYER WHO IS GIVING YOU THE WIN ALL ON HIS OWN.

Binking a Tournament

Remember me telling you about the "big" online tournament last Sunday? Then the winner/scammer problem? Well, this week it was my turn to win. Here is my story:

I guess I should have know things were going to go well for me. The first hand I had KQ in decent position and took it down with a pretty standard raise. Yeah, yeah, you could say everyone is being cautious that first hand, so it was a gimme, but let's say it was fate, just to be funny ;)

I got a lot of good hands during this event. More importantly, I got a lot of action during those hands, and players who often had the 2nd best premium hand. I will say, however, I never had AA. Things simply collided so that I was able to get the most out of my great hands/flops.

For a while I held the chip lead or the top few. I eventually lost that and got blinded down quite a bit when desperate stacks started making moves pretty much every hand. I didn't beat myself up about it, although I was pretty rough on myself after one misplayed hand. Looking through the hand history makes me cringe a little, as I'm sure better players would have made more of these good to great holdings and the flops they were getting. Then again, had I played more hands, I might not have won, so there ya go.

When we got HU, I think I was a 3:1 dog in chips. Fortunately for me, my opponent liked playing small ball and limped, almost never raised. He did bluff a lot post-flop, but would fold to be bets/raises as well. Eventually I got the chip lead, then stupidly doubled him up with a marginal holding. Yeah, amateur hour here, but I only made that mistake once. Never again.

Not long after wrestling back the chip lead, things were over. Funnily enough, not one beggar on this rail, nor since in the main chat. Guess people aren't as dumb as I give them credit for being ;)

All and all, I had a great time. I was going to post more hands and thoughts about them, but it's been long enough since the win, and I can't seem to get the motivation. And I'll leave that problem along with its resolution for the next post!

Cheers.