All the hands played in 2013

The poker year in review

December 29, 2013

At the end of last year I was going through a very difficult time poker wise. I was fed up with the sickening variance in online tournaments and couldn’t make money in live games if my life depended on it. Sometime in December, I can’t remember when I decided to take a break. Like many times before I told my poker friends that I was done and putting the game behind me. It was only because I took this break that I was able to reflect properly on this game called Poker and what it meant to me. I decided that online tournament poker wasn’t for me. I understood from watching other pros that the variance was insane and that even the best can go a few months before hitting that one score that changed everything. I wanted to play a game where the skill advantage was obvious to me and that it would make a real impact on a consistent basis. I turned to cash and decided to take an entirely new approach.
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too many choices

Earlier today I revisited a YouTube video (the video is embedded below) of a talk Guy Kawasaki gave on gaining social media followers. During the talk Guy gave an example of how Virgin America should use their social media accounts to promote Las Vegas instead of promoting themselves (this was a hypothetical example given by Guy). Why would an airline want to promote a travel destination and not their own brand or service? Well as you already know, if a brand does nothing but talk about itself, you as the content consumer will unfollow the brand because you are getting little value from these self promotion posts. Guy explains that Virgin America has a route from San Francisco to Las Vegas so if it succeeds in getting some of its followers excited about Las Vegas (by providing interesting content which is of value to their demographic) some of them may decide to fly to Las Vegas, and maybe they will buy Virgin Atlantic tickets. It is the “maybe” in Guys example that is so critical.

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At the beginning of the year my focus was on online poker. I set a specific goal which was that by the end of the year I would be playing 12 tables or more of 25c/50c and beating the level. After a few months of grinding I was on my way. I was feeling confident and thanks to playing tens of thousands of hands of cash game poker. plus the fact that I was working full time and earning a decent salary, I decided to go back to playing live cash game poker. Initially the results were great and for the first time in my life I kept my own and started crushing the live games. I downloaded a great poker app for recording all my sessions and was so happy to see that I was winning 7/10 sessions and making some nice extra cash every month.

Fast forward 2 months and unfortunately the results haven’t continued on the same trajectory. After 24 sessions over the last few months I’ve won money in 54% of the games I’ve played and only made money in 2 out of the last 10. It is runs like this that test your resolve as a poker player and make you question both your ability and approach to the game. Last week I had another losing session, this time it was a combination of bad play on my end and very bad luck, but it wasn’t the fact that I lost money that upset me, it was how I lost the money.
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For all the grandeur of Texas hold ‘em poker and the media hype it attracts these days, it is a fairly simple game to learn (and win money from).

A typical hand in No limit Texas hold ‘em Poker plays out like this:
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August has come to an end which means it’s time for a review post on my online poker activities for the last 30 days. This month was a milestone month for me because for the first time in my life I started playing 12 tables of 50NL (25c/50c blinds). At the start of the year when I decided to embark on this challenge the goal was to beat 50NL while playing 12 tables or more. I’m very close to achieving that goal but as the rest of this post will explain, I’m not quite there yet.
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I’ve always enjoyed reading, especially about things that I find very interesting. I also appreciate great writing because words have great power and can be very moving. When I come across an author I really enjoy I subscribe to that author via email so that I can get their posts delivered directly to my mailbox. I decided to do this so that new content arrives automatically without me having to check the numerous sites I follow on a regular basis. I thought I was smart by making this choice but I’ve recently found a way which blows my original plan out of the water which I’m both happy and sad about at the same time.
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poker milestones

50k hands at 25NL

June 16, 2013

This past weekend I reached a few mini milestones on my mission to be grinding 12+ tables of 25c/50c on Pokerstars. The first milestone was reaching the point where I have played over 50,000 hands of 10c/25c. This was an important milestone because in the past I had always broken even or lost when playing 25NL and it was important for me to beat the limit after a significant sample size.

Some people might say that 50k hands isn’t enough. I agree that it isn’t enough to determine someone’s true ROI but it’s enough to determine if someone is beating the buy in level or not. Right now my win rate for 25NL is 3.67 BBs/100 which I’m happy with and with every set I load I get more and more confident.

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Gold Star here I come

May 26, 2013

This past weekend I really wanted to push hard with poker because I realized the weekend before last that thanks to the higher rake I’m paying when 12 tabling 25NL, it was very likely that I could reach Gold Star this month. As of writing this I need under 400 VPPs to reach Gold Star and very confident I will reach the 2,500 VPP mark this month.

In addition to moving close to Gold Star, I also had my best weekend profit wise since starting to play cash. I made $225 this past weekend which took my account to just under $1,400 which is huge for me. There is no doubt that I have been running very hot lately. According to my all in equity I am running around $150 above expectation.

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