Friday, December 31, 2004

This is the End, my only Friend

YTD: +$44955.06

Well no major surprises or upsets going into the last day. A nice little recovery to get me back in the black for December, which would have been even nicer but for some bad beats today :(

Some great hands to look forward to for next year, including my best ever call (?); shit to caviar in PLO8b; making a big move in PLO8b. Be there or be square!

Good luck and thanks for staying with me.

Have a great New Year.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

State of the Nation

YTD: +$ 44161.01

So a year in Poker is finally over. Or as near as we can get to it with Christmas and the New Year just over the horizon. As promised, I am going to share all my detailed stats on how I did over the year. All the win rates are taken in $ ph and are only used when they are a reasonable number of hours played. Yes, some of these results were the result of extensive multitabling; because the program I use for tracking Omaha results is less reliable than PTracker, all these figures are based off my spreadsheets instead of the more usual $/100 hands commonly used for the Net.

PLO + $27938.78

Although it certainly didn’t start off that way, this soon became my bread-and-butter game, contributing the vast bulk of my profits.

Best result: 5-10 at $159.40 ph; hours played 154 hours

PLO8b +$12,652.03

I didn’t play enough plo8b, which is strange considering I always considered it my best game. I guess I just lost sight of it and got caught up in other games. My 2-4 result was the best ph I had proportionally speaking. I was also disappointed with my result in the 5-10 game on Stars, where I basically broke even, although in my defence I only played very few hours.

Best result: 2-4 at $ 118.40 ph; hours played 93 hours

Limit Holdem +$5446.67

Holdem was the fallback position for when my play went awry during the year. It’s nice to know that I have a B game plan that I can turn to for a break. The main problem with it is that I basically find it too boring and routine, especially when I have to multitable to generate a healthy win rate. Also I found that my concentration tended to wane after a while and it was hard to put together long sessions.

Best result: 15-30 at $106.25 ph; hours played 112 hours

Limit Hilo -$2526.63

Despite pretension to the contrary I have to finally accept that I suck at this game. Last year was a mediocre set of results. This year was a slight negative. The game brings out the worse in me, putting me on tilt. And when the game gets short handed I’m mostly clueless and even more tiltful.

No real meaningful hours except 10-20, where I was a 21 bucks ph loser

Tourney -$234.04

Once again my tourney results have been nothing to shout home about, although I have played very few MTT at all. My worse game by far was NLHE, with 9 comps, $2736 outlay, no return! However this result was very skewed by the fact of a tilt/unlucky go at a $100 rebuy comp.

I have a 13% ROI on turbo 1 tables, which shows how little effort or focus I put into them. Most were $105 although some were $55. In general I returned a paltry 10% on NLHE across all types. I was a bit disappointed to see that I was -1% on MTT satellites for the big Sunday comps on Stars, especially as I had extolled their money-making virtues. But also I did play them kinda wild and often used them as a means to “let off steam” from the 5-10 PLO. I still think they are good value tho’. Surprisingly, I had a –VE PLO year, although again I only played a handful. PLO8b was a more impressive 52.5% although this isn’t as good as my 80% ROI across all kinds of Omaha comp over the last two years.

In general though, these figures highlight the main problem I have with MTTs. Even with a very good ROI, my hourly rate for them still ends up less than a good cash game. So why bother?

Best site

Stars of course with +$27k, followed by Party and its Skins with +$12k. Better still - no negative sites!

For Chaos – Rake was $10.5k as far as I could track it in cash games.

Goals for Next Year

Focus on PLO and PLO8b almost exclusively
Play even less tourneys but take shots at the big ones.
Don’t spend the bankroll :(
Win $60k (I think this is very achievable and I hope to be nearer 80 than 60)

Good luck and best wishes to you all!

Monday, December 20, 2004

Two Questions

YTD: +$40541.11

As I am on an extended break over the Christmas period, my "State of the Nation" post will probably be my last major post of the year. So I thought I would give you, Constant Reader, the chance to have a say as to what is in it. Tell me what stats and figures you are interested in and I will include them, no-holds-barred.

The second question is for the maths boffins out there? How do we calculate implied odds, but more importantly, how do we see if we have met them? This could be especially important in PLO where you not only need to hit your hand but have it stand up.

Let me give an example. I make a loose call in PLO and call a $24 bet getting 3 to 1 odds. But I really needed 6 to 1 odds. I now have a short fall of $74 I need to make up on the turn to break even on the call. Say I hit my hand on the turn, but it will only stand up to the river 60% of the time. Does this mean that I actually need to make $123.33 on the turn to justify the call on the flop? Any help appreciated.

Omaha Instructional

YTD: +$40199.56

One of the significant weaknesses I see in many player's games is the overplaying of draws against a made hand, especially when a pot is small. This is a flaw which I see in the very best of the 5-10 game to the ok players in the 2-4. Because they "know" that they are probably no worse than 6:4 dogs, and they are getting 2:1 on the action, they then proceed to lump in their stack against what surely must be a made hand. But these can be very -EV plays. Perhaps an example will make it clear. In a 2-4 game, unraised pot, I flop top trips on a 2TJ rainbow flop. My opponent bets the flop, I raise, he reraises, repeat till his $317 stack has gone :-)

So what has happened here, EV-wise? He has put in $317 to win $341 strange. This is 1.08 to 1 money odds. His "wrap" was just the top cards AKQ and I had a blocker in the 9. So his chance of winning was 1.67 to 1. The whole play has a -EV of about 20% and continually playing like this will soon send him to the poker hospital.

So how do you play it then?

Just call. You will have the right odds, or near enough in most cases, to call a blank turn. And if it pairs up you can pass. Also if you do hit the turn with your draw, you can bet and make him potentially make a very bad call to fill up.

Aggression is good, but not when it drives you to bankroll extinction.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Odds and Sods

YTD: +$41033.96

Well I thought I would kick off with one of the amusing PLO hands I have had of late. No not the one where I won a showdown pot for $800 with a pair of twos (?) but the following:

I check raise from UTG with AA double suited and get one caller, the original mini-raiser. The flop comes Kh 4h 8h - which is my suit - so I bet about 3/4 of the pot. The turn pairs the four and I bet the pot, which he calls and he calls the river with his remaining small change when a rag 9 comes. And what does he have? 4c 6s 7d 7h . That's right he called on the flop to hit a middle pin against a potential already made flush and then proceeded to flush his whole stack down with it. Sometimes I do wonder how much longer this kind of madness can continue.

On some miscellaneous topics:

Doyle's Poker Room and the VC skins

Ok...I wanted the book :-) At the table the VC software is ok, but it is too buggy and you can only play two games at once. The games are fantastic however. Several times, playing 10-20 holdem, I had to double check I wasn't playing some kind of free money game. The action made Party look like Stars, mostly fuelled by clueless Brits. The PLO and PLO8b, whilst a bit small, were similar mindless. Never has so much been given by so many with so little.

The Hendon Mob Forum

I've sacked it now. I may post when I want something, like today, but no more for anymore. The incident with Mad Marty in the UK Championship and the responses it drew were just mind boggling. After all the tourney drones wittering on about the importance of the integrity of the game for it to become a sport they then, by and large, just shrug their shoulders when *one of the fundamental rules of poker is broken on TV* It was a bit like a forward scoring a goal and the referee awarding it to the opposition.

On a more amusing note, has been the comments about Grumpy, sorry "Burnley", John. Fair play to the guy winning a big chunk of life changing change. But all the nonsense about what a great player he is and what a breakthrough year he's having, by people who have never played with him, is taking Doyle Disease to dizzy new heights. I have played with John for a reasonable period of time. It wouldn't be rude to say that prior to his win, he was one of many subsistence players that you see on the circuit. And unless he has suddenly metamorphosed his play, I can't imagine he gets people's knees quaking when he sits at the table either.

Card Player

The battle of the giants continues; who can produce the worse poker "journalism" in a month - Rob V or Allyn J? Its tough this month, I just can't separate them.

The Poker Bastard

After a promising start he seems to be flagging. Telling us that poker players are cunts is not breaking news. Saying that THM is the best poker site on the web shows a fierce lack of judgment. Where was the expose, long overdue, of chronic Bolivian Marching Powder use amongst the tourney "faces" that he alluded to? He seems to have gone all toothless.

Coming soon this month...a state of the nation review and detailed win rates for all my games! Woo hoo!

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Right to Retort

YTD: +$40559.14

My Faithful Reader may remember my critical view on a Rolf Slotbloom article that I found on the web. I talk about it at

I guess Rolf heard about this from some of the guys from the Amsterdam game I was losing money to in the Stars PLO love-fest and he recently wrote me a reply. Here it is in full:

"Hi Dave,

A while ago, someone mentioned your blog, and told me that you commented on one my my works. So, as it turns out I am about a month or three late, but anyway, here's my response.

First of all, thanks for calling me "one of the favourites" - I don't get compliments that often. :) Now, as to the KKxx hand in question. The only time I have written about this hand, was not in an article, but in the "What's Happening" section on my site. You are 100% correct that in the situation described here (deep money / multiway pot) going all-in with kings single-suited is a very marginal decision. In fact, if you read some of my older PLO articles I have more than once shown the dangers of moving in with KK. And in this case the situation was even more dangerous: not just was I up against three players, my kings were very crappy, so even if my reads on my three opponents were excellent, then I would still be ahead by just a fairly slight margin. In fact, no player that I know would have made the final (massive) raise with a hand this weak, because they would have reasoned "with so much action, someone must have aces"- they would either have called or folded. So, I was proud that I had the courage to trust my read and be correct, being a clear favorite against the person with the second-largest stack, who had QQ22 double-suited, while if I remember correctly one other player had JJ22 and another QQxx - meaning that for a large side pot I was in fact an (unexpected) large favorite, and for the main pot I was in good shape as well, no one even holding a single ace or king (!). More than all this, if you read my piece, you will notice the word "fortunately" on more than one occasion, because I *had* been very fortunate. But I had also made a daring but correct decision to not just flatcall to see a flop, but to come back over the top of not just one, not two, but THREE raises with nothing more than crappy kings, and I was obviously proud of that decision. Wouldn't you be proud if you trust your read so much, that you know that if your read is right, you will probably be ahead by just a slight margin, but if it's wrong you will be a massive dog - now, if you still trust your read in a difficult situation like this and you turn out to be right, wouldn't *you* be proud?

I will discuss this entire night of poker into depth in one of my upcoming CardPlayer articles, including this final hand. I have sent over the article already and I cannot make any changes now, so I'll just hope that indeed I have acknowledged how lucky I had been! :) Anyway, Dave, just thought I'd send you a reply, also to compliment you on your blog: it is well-written and contains some excellent info. Keep up the good work, man.

Rolf Slotboom"

Firstly, thanks for the response and the kind words. You were/are one of my preferred writers and I am prepared to forgive this one "lapse" :-)

I guess I would like to add two further points. I still don't like him referring to a short stacked approach as a successful style in PLO; I'm not convinced it can be a good approach except in very unusual conditions and moreover it's a style that will limit a player's ability to develop his game longterm.

More importantly I think that in such highly marginal decisions "backing my judgment and I was right" is not enough; those of you who went through my plo8b example earlier in my blog will see why that is flawed thinking. The reason is that for this play to be correct he probably has to be 40-60% certain that the hands he is against are so bad and so counterfeited. Any permutation of either an AA in there or just better hands as a whole, with an A flush in there, make his hand very much weaker. This means that on the balance of probabilities he is at best zero EV or even losing money on the coup, unless he has a very large headsup sidepot involved, which would affect matters somewhat and this was not mentioned in the original article. Sometimes the weight of mathematics outweigh instinct.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

A Taste of the New Part 2

YTD: +$41029.90

I guess you all prefer PLO hands then! Thanks for Simon for his thoughts on the's my reasoning through the streets:

Party Poker 15/30 Hold'em (10 handed)

Preflop: Hero is dealt Ks As

UTG raises, SB calls, Hero calls.

The standard play here would be to reraise. However I have no clue as to how these two foes play. More than likely I will still end up with three players to the flop, but with my hand more exposed and caught in a sandwich between the SB and the UTG. Normally I would follow the typical pound, pound, pound Abdulian strategy, but in this spot I would be somewhat exposed to tricky plays from either side. So I am sacrificing some short-term EV and gaining some deception by just calling instead.

Flop: (1.66 SB) Qd, 5h, 8s (3 players)

SB checks, Hero checks, UTG bets, SB calls, Hero calls.

I may have check raised here if headsup. I want to see what the SB *really* has.

Turn: (2.33 BB) 5c (3 players)

SB checks, Hero checks, UTG bets, SB folds, Hero raises, UTG calls.

Now the SB is gone I can spring my trap. By check raising here it puts real pressure on nonsense no pair hands and *may*, although very unlikely, make an AK or small pair pass.

River: (6.33 BB) 2d (2 players)

Hero bets
, UTG folds.

I'm committed now. It's very hard for him to cling to AK in this spot, which is his most likely holding.

Final Pot: 7.33 BB

The nice thing about this play is that I end up losing about the same against a stubborn pocket pair, but also give him the chance to pass a hand that splits the pot. Also the % increase of him passing that underpair is now significant, as opposed to the "I'm putting him on AK so I'm calling all the way down" which mostly happens.