devwil's avatar


366 points

Two consecutive sessions losing approximately 6 BIs or so means shots at PLO100 are on hold, sadly.

That's two fairly recent attempts at it that haven't stuck.

Being firmly bankrolled for PLO100 is one of my major goals, so any time I need to step back from that stake it's pretty disappointing.

Not super frustrated at the moment but I'm definitely not thrilled.

Oct. 20, 2019 | 11:38 p.m.

Definitely enjoying the run I'm on.

Approximately 22 BIs in the black this month (including my Parx misadventure), and I'm taking shots at PLO100 again.

Last time I took a shot at PLO100, it went horribly and kicked off an enormous downswing.

Much smoother sailing so far: won a ~380bb pot pretty much right away.

Oct. 17, 2019 | 6:39 a.m.

Checking in real quick:

Running above EV on Ignition, which is very unusual and welcome. Still in negative bb/100 with positive EV bb/100 this year over there, though!

It's disappointing my Parx session went so poorly, because I'd be having a really good month without that involved.

Not that I'm complaining about my October. I'm currently in the black overall, aided by an estimated double digit bb/100, running good in MLB bets (more in a moment), and a $75 bonus for being in the top 100 of the weekly leaderboard on Global.

I'm currently only playing half-time due to a gig I'm doing away from the tables, which is kind of a shame given how this Global promotion could be adding to my bottom line if I was playing twice as much. But it's not a big deal.

So, earlier this year I thought I might get into betting baseball but I either approached it poorly or ran bad and it just wasn't feeling profitable. So I didn't stick with it. (However, I did make some long shot World Series winner bets, including Washington, which is making for a nice sweat!)

It was also just taking more time than I was happy with given the slate of MLB games on any given day.

The postseason schedule is way more manageable, which has gotten me back into betting baseball and it's actually been going very well. Not that I'm putting too much stock in such a small sample. (And by the way: I've been very conservative with my bankroll management. I'm happy to have sports betting modestly supplement my poker results, but I'm not willing to have it fundamentally jeopardize my poker bankroll, which is the same pile of money that I'm using for sports bets. But, again, very conservatively.)

I like it though, and it seems like there's a lot of value to be had just by looking at data that's not especially obscure.

But with the World Series fast approaching, I've been thinking about whether I'd keep betting sports after baseball is done for the year.

As a result, I dipped my toe into betting the NHL (which I used to be a HUGE fan of but just kind of fell away from it), and I went 2 for 2 on my first day of moneyline betting.

It's been interesting to learn about Corsi, Fenwick, etc. None of this stuff was part of any conversation I had when my hockey fandom peaked. At best, we knew that plus/minus was extremely overrated.

Unfortunately, I don't think I'll enjoy betting hockey as much as I enjoy betting baseball, but I think I'll keep at it as long as it doesn't take too much of my time.

But come 2020, I do think I may carve out time for baseball betting on a daily basis. I just really like looking into pitcher stats and so on... and looking for value in strikeout over/unders and game parlays (i.e. away team and under x runs).

I'm trying not to be overconfident in my ability to find value in sports betting, but it seems beatable if you're willing to spend some time (and have modest expectations... just like poker, it's all about the long run... and it seems like even good betting only produces a modest number of units won).

Oct. 15, 2019 | 7:32 a.m.

Ahhhh. +6 BIs online tonight. Very welcome.

Oct. 7, 2019 | 8:16 a.m.

Went to Parx today, to play 2/2 PLO or the 6/12 OE mix. Got called for PLO almost immediately.

The positives:
First, I played well. I made between zero and three significant mistakes, one of them being the heinous crime of limping behind with JT85 single suited in middle position because I felt like I hadn't played a flop in two hours. The other two were in a single hand: I called a 3bet probably too light and then made a potentially misguided river bluff that didn't work, all of which cost me half a BI. But even this hand I don't think was too awfully spewy. And the rest of my session was pretty unassailable, I think.

Second, I stuck to my predetermined stop loss!

The negative:
I hit my stop loss (3 BIs) after about 4.5 hours of play. Very disappointing, and frankly a bit rough on me financially. 2/2 PLO may or may not be beyond my bankroll; I'm really not sure. The game is very likely to run all-ins 2-3 times, my limited experience is that pots tend not to balloon very much preflop (super passive play), and—like most live, low limit PLO—there are plenty of very beatable players. So I think I can be far more aggressive with BRM than I am with online 6max PLO. But I'm still not sure about how aggressive to be.

Either way, it's irritating to have ended up in a big hole dollars-wise when it was such an unremarkable session in a lot of ways: 3 BIs in PLO is nothing. Except when it's 12 BIs in your regular game (which, thankfully, I'm still rolled for a full monitor's worth of... I don't need to drop down at all).

Speaking of, I'm off to the virtual felt for a short PLO50 session so I can start making up this $600 I lost at Parx.

Oct. 7, 2019 | 5:35 a.m.

Pulled into the black today for October, but I'm still not winning big all-ins like I'd like to.

Got all-in as a 2-to-1 favorite today in a 360bb pot and lost.

Yesterday I lost another deep-stacked pot all-in as a 4-to-1 favorite. Lost a BI the session before that all-in as a 90% favorite.

Not being 100% favorites in any of these cases means I'm liable to lose some of them.

But I'm losing them at an irritatingly improbable rate.

These are just huge difference makers in my bottom line, and it's just frustrating to lose in so many of these spots where I find oodles of value just to have none of it actually come my way.

Oct. 4, 2019 | 7:50 a.m.


Folding flop is more viable than you might think. We only have 3 nut outs (two kings, As) and we're OOP on a texture where we're doing an awful lot of guessing. For a smaller bet it's probably always a call with this combo, but I'm not really comfortable with how big the pot is getting when we're in really mediocre shape.

Turn is pretty unquestionable as-played imo. Price is just undeniable.

I fold river fairly comfortably. We're folding the best hand sometimes, but we're really pretty far from the nuts and I think it's kind of hard for villain to bluff much here. AA with As and a Q or 4 (and no flush or FH/quads) is sort of the only bluffing range that comes to mind, and that's really ambitious for a PLO20 bluff.

I mean... I think you'd need to really see villain as not only capable of running big bluffs but being overanxious to run them.

Because they also just don't have a ton of value shoves here. A lot of FH+ combos are unlikely unless it's weak side cards with AA (AA84, AA43, AAQ4, AA44), but 88 and QQ aren't out of the question. And anything short of a FH risks value-cutting itself (especially when your line fits QQ with spades fairly well).

And, while I'm just thinking out loud (as I think this is interesting and I don't have a confident 100% bulletproof suggestion to make overall), while I don't think villain is super likely to be bluffing here, I do think they have some incentive to bluff. 56 with weak spades is a reasonable winning hand for them to want to fold out here.

But given the narrowness of their best bluffs versus the narrowness of your otherwise winning check/folds... I just don't think it's super likely and I don't think villain's sizing makes the most sense for that scenario.

Interesting spot. And while I think solvers can sometimes lead us astray for micro/low stakes (name of the game is explo), I'm curious as to what an unexploitable strategy for villain would be. (I'm interested in hero's strategy too, but I'm especially interested in how BTN's range is optimally constructed on the river, because my guesses at bluffs above are really just intuitive.)

Oct. 4, 2019 | 7:30 a.m.

I'm down less than 2 BIs this month after three sessions but I'm honestly so frustrated.

I'm just running so bad in the pots that should be providing the most value to me.

I just have this crazy expectation that I'd like to win more often than I lose when I'm all-in as a favorite.

And I'm just so tired of feeling unlucky. I don't need to win every all-in, obviously. I just want to have my results mimic my EV better. It's not unreasonable.

Oct. 3, 2019 | 7:21 a.m.

Ran like trash in my first session of the month, so I'm digging out of a hole again.

Oct. 2, 2019 | 7:07 a.m.

Comment | devwil commented on PLO MTT HUD


Maybe 3bet/cbet%.

Anything beyond that and I doubt you'll have useful sample sizes very often.

Oct. 1, 2019 | 11:19 p.m.

I mean, the short answer is "I didn't".

In August and September I won about 14 BIs total. But it was an extremely rough ride, with a 61 BI downswing in the middle of it.

Oct. 1, 2019 | 8:09 p.m.



Wow. Man. I was really, really not expecting that, but the games were great and I got some cards and basically only ran bad a teeny little bit.

So, I bottomed out at 35 BIs in the red roughly halfway through September.

This was following a ~26 BI downswing from the end of August, which ate into (but did not utterly erase) otherwise healthy winnings for last month.

So we're talking a ~61 BI downswing that is included in me having a winning record over my past ~320 hours of primarily playing PLO cash online.

That kind of stretch sucks. It's just horrible. Not only were non-all-in situations brutalizing me, but in August and September I ran 25 BIs under EV on Ignition alone (I can't be sure re: Global).

I was ready to give up at the bottom of that downswing, and I'm so glad I didn't.

Let alone the continued downswing from August; I'm so proud that I persevered to finish September up ~6 BIs after bottoming out at 35 BIs in the red.

I took a break, refocused, thought hard about the reasons I believe in my poker career... and I kept at it.

And things turned around.

Now... if I could PLEASE just have October not be a third consecutive month that starts with a painful downswing.

We'll see.

Oct. 1, 2019 | 6:58 a.m.

I can't only complain here:

Since taking a break for a few days earlier this month, I've honestly been on a really comfortable upswing. Since said break, my bankroll has increased by more than 25% (and I really don't use aggressive BRM, so that's a really nice result).

I'm still in the red for September, but by WAY less than I was at my floor for the month.

It's probably ultimately going to be a losing month, as I only expect to play about 2k hands more before October starts, but I'm glad to have gotten things moving in the right direction.

Sept. 27, 2019 | 7:15 a.m.

It's so creepy how often my opponent has JJ when I reduce the SPR to almost nothing with AA and there's a J on the flop. It's happening so often.

Beyond that, I'm pretty tired of running like garbage on Ignition in particular. It just keeps getting worse. Most sessions I'm running under EV: tonight to the tune of $100 (which, as a guy who isn't even playing all PLO50 tables at the moment, I still feel the sting of).

Over my last 25k hands on ignition, I'm 28 BIs under EV (which, of course, doesn't really quantify the situations I've described re: JJ on J flops).

I'm currently in a place where my BRM and mental game and living situation has me relatively comfortable with losses in themselves, but it's frankly kind of tilting when I'm doing pretty well on one of two sites and almost busto on the other. I just hate the minutiae, fees, and delays of moving funds around.

And I wish I could just decide "well, I'm being colluded against by Ignition players and that explains my EV woes", but I really think it's absurdly unlikely. More often than not, I'm losing to players whose VPIP is just too high to beat the rake. I just keep ending up in creepy, maddening situations.

Despite my horrible luck continuing, I'm still making money over the past little while. I'm actually doing very well in the past week, but it's frankly distracting knowing that I should be doing so much better.

And it gets hard to stay patient. I'm pretty good at it on the smallest scale (hand to hand), but session to session and month to month I'm just tired of waiting for my results to catch up with my skill level.

I've said before that my poker goals are really pretty modest and it's absolutely true... and when it feels like the universe is conspiring to make me fail to achieve even the basic goals I've set in this game... it's just not easy to stay positive.

Sept. 25, 2019 | 8:19 a.m.

Small update:

Been back to it, at the tables.

Went to Parx on Sunday and got on the $1/$2 NLH and $6/$12 OE lists. Ended up playing NLH the whole time (didn't get called for OE for a while and decided to just play with a NLH table I felt I had a grasp of, exploitatively) and unfortunately lost $102, partly due to double barrelling KcJc on J66tt and calling $3 more to J6o's turn shove.

I raised preflop. Dude wasn't in the blinds. He didn't seem drunk or anything.

...J6o? Really? I mean, when he shoved I figured I was against a 6 fairly often but for $3 I wasn't folding.


I'm still climbing out of what bottomed out at around a ~60 BI downswing. I've made about 12 BIs in the past week, which is nice, but I'm actually still running really bad. I'm losing more than my share of flips and way too many big pots in which I'm a big favorite.

I've been playing on Global a lot this year, but I tend to have a couple of Ignition tables open too. On Ignition this year (across all cash games), my negative bb/100's absolute value is now greater than my positive EV bb/100, after just under 50k hands.

Anecdotally, I've generally run better on Global than Ignition, but I've run bad (both all-in and situationally) there too, especially recently.

It's just really frustrating to know (with a lot of justified confidence, if only via the absurd difference between my bb/100 and EV bb/100 over my past 50k hands) that my results are so persistently and dramatically (negative versus positive) below my skill level.

But it's either keep playing through that bad luck or stop playing, and the latter is less attractive to me, so.

Sept. 24, 2019 | 10:15 p.m.

Happy to answer:

OOP with a high SPR, mediocre showdown value, mediocre draws: I don't want the pot to get bigger.

Innocuous board that doesn't favor my range especially and no important blockers, really: I probably don't get to deny equity very effectively.

So, given Matthew Janda's dual premise that we bet/raise to deny equity and/or increase the size of the pot for if we win it... there's not so much merit in betting.

Sept. 20, 2019 | 3:40 a.m.

Everything makes sense to me as-played.

I don't like a turn shove. I just don't think it accomplishes very much.

Sept. 19, 2019 | 9:44 p.m.

I honestly think I prefer squeezing versus 3betting one player at low stakes. We get to reduce the SPR even further, which makes our decisions easier postflop. And if we're squeezing a reasonable range versus opponents who call 3bets too wide, we should be creating a lot of value for ourselves.

WRT AA42ss... that's on the weaker side of nut-single-suited AA combos. One thing that I think all players should learn from preflop solutions is that wheel combos are really pretty trashy in PLO high. For example, A2xx single-suited to the ace is folded a lot more than most folks would expect in an unexploitable preflop strategy.

It makes sense when you think about it, though: on a 53x flop, with A42 our wrap is severely compromised by its lack of nuttiness.

Anyway, how you would play AA42ss is also situationally dependent. I just finished up a session where I was at multiple tables against a player who 4bet way too light: against them, I'm 3betting 100% of AA combos. Other opponents? It's less obvious to me and it depends on a variety of factors.

Sept. 19, 2019 | 7:16 a.m.

Played my first session in almost a week.

Came out ahead thankfully, but ran under EV. Lost a 55/45 flip 200bb deep and a 75/25 for a stack, and just generally wasn't doing well in coinflips.

Oh well. Just need to be patient...

Sept. 19, 2019 | 7:09 a.m.

I think this is both an important question and an overly general question, and I would actually recommend getting away from relying on PLO Matrix.

I think PLO Matrix is a pretty good product (especially for refining one's preflop strategy to cut out some of the less profitable but still tempting combos) but I also don't think that playing unexploitable ranges preflop is going to be the best approach in low stakes PLO.

In short, using PLO Matrix gives your opponents too much credit.

Keep in mind that at low stakes folks just don't fold to 3bets very often and they won't 4bet (or even 3bet) much outside of AA.

From that point, you should be trying to exploit your opponents' tendencies, which—broadly—I think can comfortably include 3betting all AA combos, most or maybe even all AKK combos (preferably with good postflop playability), and double suited (MAYBE single-suited) rundowns plus double suited A with a "3-rundown" hands (A876).

But I also don't think you need to 3bet that wide. I think that you can exploitatively flat more AA combos than is unexploitable, for example.

It ultimately really depends on who raised (and who called).

And I'm still working on this question myself after feeling like playing unexploitable (PLO Matrix) ranges was not the best approach to my games, so take my perspective with a grain of salt here.

(And it's not like PLO Matrix is going to lead you super far astray. I'm curious what you mean by PLO Matrix not working out... sounds perhaps results-oriented but I don't know.)

Sept. 18, 2019 | 5:32 a.m.

Comment | devwil commented on Mobius Poker Blog

Re: the tax question, are you concerned at all about the particulars of filing as a poker pro and having losing quarters (possible) versus losing years (less probable)?

If memory serves, the US tax code recently changed in a way that is less hospitable to losing periods for a poker pro... so I just wonder how you approach that whole question (not that you want to get too preoccupied with plans for losing!).

Sept. 18, 2019 | 5:14 a.m.

Would have gotten back to it tonight but I didn't sleep well last night and I want to be in my best mental shape getting back into it.

As you can see above, I still need to get better at losing. Playing a winning strategy with proper game selection and bankroll management is in the bag, frankly.

Until my games get really tough, it's all mental game from here.

Oh, and winning a 75/25 for once ffs

Sept. 18, 2019 | 5:09 a.m.

Hey, just a reminder for anybody who might read this:

There's nothing that keeps you from running bad forever.

You're not necessarily ever going to catch up with your EV line.

Every hand is independent.

You can land on 00 on every spin. You probably won't. But you can.

Sept. 13, 2019 | 10:16 p.m.

I think I'm done.

I played this afternoon and I think I'm done.

Sept. 13, 2019 | 9:56 p.m.

Mustered the enthusiasm to play this afternoon and within the first five minutes I lost a BI all in as an 86% favorite, which isn't an easy edge to find in PLO.

Also lost 3 high-equity races in 15 minutes, and then just quit. I can usually keep going, but not today.

Down 30 BIs this month and last month ended with a downswing that I don't even want to go back and quantify.

Maybe I'm done playing.

Sept. 11, 2019 | 8:13 p.m.

So exhausted by nonsense like this.

Dealt to Hero: 6s 9h As Ah

CO Calls $0.50, BTN Calls $0.50, HERO Raises To $2.50, BB Calls $2, CO Calls $2, BTN Calls $2

Hero SPR on Flop: [1.78 effective]
Flop ($10.00): Qh 8s Kh
HERO Checks, BB Bets $9.50 (Rem. Stack: 43.31), CO Folds, BTN Folds, HERO Raises To $38 (Rem. Stack: 9.50), BB Raises To $52.81 (allin), HERO Calls $9.50 (allin)

Turn ($110.31): Qh 8s Kh 2c

River ($110.31): Qh 8s Kh 2c 3c

BB shows: Jc 3h Tc 2h

BB wins: $102.00

I'm down big this month and when I can't even win spots like the above it just feels so hopeless.

It just feels terrible.

Sept. 11, 2019 | 10:27 a.m.

My impression of MP is a player type I've encountered many times in PLO: LAG pre and weak-tight post.

I'm not going to go through the process of node-locking with Monker to confirm, but I suspect that raising sometimes and flatting sometimes here is likely fine.

But if we have to pick one option (and, because of the rules of the game and—like—spacetime, I guess we do):

Knowing that I'm biased due to seeing villain's raise, I do think that raising opens us up to too much expensive bad news. I think it's important to consider our aggression in light of how it manipulates our opponent's range, and when our flop raise strengthens our opponent's range to be only QQ and wraps... I just think there's a lot of merit to keeping the pot smaller and keeping our opponent's range weaker.

We have backdoor nut diamonds as well as backdoor broadway, and being in position on this board I think we'll realize our equity pretty well. We unblock wraps and block the lower set (as well as one of our FH "outs", whether we're already ahead or not)... so I just see a lot of merit to a more cautious line here.

But, again, I can feel my bias showing.

Sept. 11, 2019 | 5:08 a.m.

Let me reiterate that PLO5 rake will punish loose preflop strategy even if your opponents do not.

Sept. 10, 2019 | 7:34 p.m.

It’s very modest at the moment, but I’ve launched a poker strategy website called Poker Syllabus:

I’m honestly not sure how much bigger it will get than a web page to help folks put together a basic (but diverse and effective) poker strategy library, but I knew I wanted to do that and now I’ve done it!

Sept. 10, 2019 | 7:32 p.m.

Still putting up losing sessions.

I'd be more demoralized if it wasn't so obviously a running-under-EV issue to a huge extent.

...earlier today I was honestly feeling like not playing poker ever again, but that's just something I needed to feel and get past.

I still need to get better at losing, as I said just a day ago.

Success can just feel so distant when you're experiencing a string of losing sessions and a lot of bad luck.

I'm sure I wouldn't consider it if not for this variance, but I'm feeling motivated to sharpen my NLHE game. Not as a means of abandoning PLO, but... maybe it could be good to diversify my cash volume somewhat and keep my NLHE sharp.

I don't know. I'm still planning on focusing on PLO cash, though being in such a deep hole to start September just really has me feeling down. And I just hate the feeling of knowing that I have a lot of ground to make up just to break even for the month.

But I'm going to continue to do my best. I don't really have too much of a choice if succeeding in this arena remains a fundamental goal of mine. And while I can't pretend to have played my absolute best for the past week or so all the time... I just have such a hard time imagining anybody doing much better with the same run of cards.

So, ultimately, I'm both very disappointed and feeling more patient than I could be (or have felt even recently).

But it's hard not to be frustrated and my confidence isn't invincible. It's still too easy for me to let short- and medium-term results cloud my judgment and disorient me with regard to winning play. The trees of PLO variance just so easily obscure the forest of profitable PLO strategy, and I need to continue to work on not being myopic.

But my bankroll is still relatively small and I'm still trying to prove to myself that I can do this... so I'm still feeling every downswing pretty viscerally.

So... I don't know, I guess I just need to try and "exhale" the past ~20 hours of my play and remember that for the preceding ~200 hours I was playing a pretty similar style (against similarly beatable competition) and making money... and just keep at it...

Sept. 5, 2019 | 8:09 a.m.

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