Seconding the love for the jorbs stream if that's who this is, good stuff!
May 31, 2020 | 10:35 a.m.
Thanks Doc, I can see now what's going on. Think back when I posted this I was a little overwhelmed by all the many stats and options within PokerTracker. Now I'm doing better haha
May 30, 2020 | 11:03 p.m.
May 29 2020
Bankroll: $284 (-24)
Hands This Week: 17.5k
HANDS THIS MONTH: 54k
Goal for May MET!
Winrate was 1BB/100, though if I'd run even with luck the graph says I would be closer to 3+BB/100.
This week I was studying pretty hard. I spent time working in PioSolver Free verison which is still really useful. Just looking at different turn and river scenarios helps me to think about the game in a more proper way.
In the last 2k hands of the month I experienced a significant shift in my mental approach to the game. I was putting the opponent on a range, but still putting myself on a hand, if that makes sense. Now I am visualizing and considering my entire range, as well as my opponent's range, with all my decisions. This is harder to do but everything makes so much more sense this way, I'm thinking in a more Game Theory oriented manner finally.
Doing 50k+ hands this month was awesome and I want to set the same volume goal for next month. I'll keep playing at 5NL with a little 10NL mixed in, mainly mixing in 10NL because it's the cheapest Blitz stake on America's Cardroom.
Study-wise I watched a lot of great videos. From Qing Yang I watched Equity Distribution, Non-Geometric Sizing, and 3Betting from the BB. That last video is quite interesting as it suggests using a 5x 3bet size from the BB versus small blind, maybe versus button too. That's a bigger sizing than I ever used to use, but it feels good as I've been implementing it into my game.
Overall I am highly focused on all the situations where the first three players fold in a 6max cash hand. Once it is down to button, small blind, and big blind, things simplify enough to have a plan for every situation. I can have a plan against different bet sizings, threeway pots and heads up pots, and all kinds of stuff. I think if I master all the hands featuring the "main three players," I'll be fundamentally good at poker and can fill in the gaps of strategy for the other three positions.
I also watched Peter Clarke's "A Day in the Life of KQo" which is fun and informative. I like the idea of focusing on one hand and seeing different situations that played out in a session, I might have to identify poorly-played hands in my strategy and do the same for my own hand histories.
Those were the main videos of the week.
I feel like just studying every day and putting in that 50k hands in for another month will be great for my game. I want to keep doing this until I can at least prove a real 3BB/100 or better winrate at these stakes. Hopefully in another month or two I can move to playing nothing but 10NL and take my first stabs at 25NL soon thereafter.
May 29, 2020 | 6:58 p.m.
I would call the river, the donk bet makes sets / two pair with the king more likely. call hoping they just have a king or AA or some weird hand
May 28, 2020 | 11:54 a.m.
Bankroll: $308 (+8)
Hands this week: 14.5k
Hands this month: 37k
This week was weird, I spent most of my time playing in the Ignition anonymous player pool at the NL5 stake. So many weird players. The pool seems very loose with lots of calling stations, so I had to really pull back on my bluffs. My redline tanked around the time I start playing there, it's really alarming on the graph, but my winrate for the month is still over 2bb/100 so idk.
At this point I am happy with my ability to put in volume but I know I need to study more. I should be watching at least one full video from RIO every day, there is still so much content I have not watched from the last 2 years that will greatly improve my game.
I should be doing more hand review too, just all the basic study stuff.
Sometimes I get sleepy during sessions, I am cleaning up my diet now because I think that's a big part of why that happens. I get good sleep and am running 3 times a week for exercise but my diet has been super unhealthy lately. I am cutting out most of the bread and sweets so hopefully that helps.
I have like $60 more of bonus money to unlock at Ignition so I'm going to keep putting in volume there until I get all of that. After that I'll go back to ACR because I think that is a much better place for me to actually improve as a player. I can see how anonymous play is really different from any other kind of poker, the skills don't translate perfectly.
On the good side, my bankroll is slowly growing. I'm getting close to being able to take some more shots at NL10.
My goal this upcoming week is to watch at least 5 videos from RIO and finish my volume goal for May. I only need another 13k hands, should be easy to do that.
May 22, 2020 | 11:56 a.m.
I don't understand your play here. A3 suited preflop is a fold to a 3bet, maybe a call at absolute most but certainly not a raise. On the flop I'd be looking to check as well as we have no draws. Your opponents range is also full of kings which will pair the board (AK, KQ, KJ, KK, even some lower suited kings if they're loose).
Why are you trying to play this hand so aggressively?
May 20, 2020 | 8:49 p.m.
What is your hand sample size? These ranges are fairly similar other than the button, I feel like you're going to need a pretty huge sample to reliably tease out how much the difference in winrate has to do with preflop play. What if you're losing money on postflop play at NL100 and not realizing it? The stats could be pretty misleading here
May 20, 2020 | 11:20 a.m.
May 15, 2020
Bankroll: ~$300 (+$25)
Hands this week: 7.5k
Hands this month: 22.5k
WINRATE GRAPH (May so far)
Well, things have taken a drastic turn for the better this week. After another 7.5k hands I've been running reasonably well and playing solid B or even A-game poker whenever I sit down.
Honestly at the low stakes this feels like a game of mental fortitude. The studying I did in the first few weeks seems like it was enough to give me a huge technical edge over the microstakes pool. I know that my current skill level is not nearly refined enough to make it work at higher stakes, but every table I've sat at from NL2 through NL10 so far is, for lack of a better word, not scary at all.
Of course the hand sample is still too low to make major conclusions. The main reason I feel good is that, by all-in equity, I've been winning the entire 22.5k hands. Even now I'm at a winrate of 4+BB/100 while running well below equity.
I love the game and really enjoy my poker sessions, just chilling and four-tabling with music or some bland podcast in the background. It's so zen. Waiting, watching the cards come down, contributing my decisions to the process and trying to stay sharp.
The biggest risk now is for me to get lazy on studying -- I've watched a few videos this week but admittedly did not learn much new stuff on how to improve my game.
THE REST OF MAY - ON TRACK FOR 50k?
On the other hand, I think it might be beneficial to mostly focus on volume until I can complete my goal of 50k hands -- if I'm still winning handily at that point, I will probably start looking to play more NL10 and NL25.
For now I'm playing mostly NL5 with a little NL10 mixed in, since the lowest Blitz stake at ACR is NL10. Bankroll management is important to me, but since this entire bankroll is still lower than one week's pay working at McDonald's, I think it's okay to focus more on learning and volume. And besides, taking "stabs" at NL10 with 30 buyins isn't that crazy given how low these stakes are. My risk tolerance is OK with it, but wouldn't be OK with the same risk at say NL200.
It's one thing to run bad and lose a hundred bucks, quite another to run equally bad and lose $2,000!
I don't have any specific hands or strategy notes to share this week. Just feeling super good about poker in general, loving how it's become one of my main hobbies, and cautiously optimistic that I might even be able to turn this into some kind of part-time income stream if I'm able to establish this win rate at NL25 or even NL50.
Goal for this week: At least 12.5k hands. This feels like a lot, but I'm going to prioritize poker sessions this week because I know now I can hit 50k hands within May.
If I get 50k hands in May and stay above 3ish BB/100, I'll be feeling very optimistic about my chances at moving to / crushing NL25.
I might not be perfect, but so far for anybody who is reading, I just wanna point out that I have met every single goal I have set for myself. Lots of people let themselves down each week on volume and study goals... nonsense. In the context of online poker right now, if you want it, you gotta fucking go and get it.
LET'S WORK! See ya next week for another update.
May 15, 2020 | 11:47 a.m.
Looks like you gotta go to basics! Study preflop ranges and learn about preflop "opens" as opposed to calling preflop. Also can't be shortstacked, if you want to be a winning player you must buyin and maintain the full stack at all times.
What have you studied so far?
May 13, 2020 | 9:52 a.m.
Not enough sample
May 13, 2020 | 9:49 a.m.
Nvm I'm not looking close enough -- With the caps it's lower. I guess you can estimate the average pot size to determine real rake % with the $8 cap? Maybe 2-3%? Idk what the average pot size would be or if that's even reasonable to try and estimate
May 13, 2020 | 9:46 a.m.
Meh, looks standard. I don't think you want to protect a queen high pair with middle kicker, hand is too weak to worry about protecting. This is a "check/call" kind of hand for me, especially in the three-way pot -- I'm not trying to aggressively win this pot, I'm trying to bluffcatch against mild c-bets and weak value bets (worse queens and low pocket pairs, maybe some JTs J9s Jto J9o kinda stuff on the turn) from opponents.
IMO you can consider this hand completely standard. You made the right move every step of the way, river call is good, the board kinda sucks with the king on the river but it's way too easy to overfold rivers even at this stake so imo you've done the right thing.
May 13, 2020 | 9:44 a.m.
Understandable to get confused in this situation, it's hard. You have this super strong hand preflop and now the flop comes down and gives you nothing.
For me I'm probably flatting the 3bet preflop, checking the flop. Preflop 4bet is ok but I'm going to lean towards flatting when it's AKo as opposed to suited. (this could be wrong idk) -- On flop we don't have a value hand and we have basically no draws. If they bet small I can see calling one street, but facing a 75+% bet I'm just folding.
Most players especially at NL5 aren't going to c-bet into you after you show a lot of preflop aggression unless they have value. Given that you 4bet preflop, you can pretty safely check and then fold to any bet above 60-75% sizing. Lower than that I feel comfy with calling in case they have some worse hand, basically suited Ax Kx Qx hands that miss the flop is the range we are hoping to beat if we call.
Problem here is so much of their range hits the flop -- mid-range suited connectors, AJ, KJ, QJ, A8, A7, T9o, pocket pairs 7 and up, etc etc, it's just not a great spot to be in.
Overall, don't be sad to fold strong preflop hands when they just miss the flop. Just having overcards isn't really worth defending or bluffing over when the stacks are deep.
May 8, 2020 | 12:31 p.m.
Whenever I have one table open at a higher stake than the others, it tilts me. I can be playing A+ game on all my other tables and then one mistake or bad beat on the higher stake table will wipe it all out... ugh!
May 8, 2020 | 12:22 p.m.
May 8, 2020
Bankroll: $270 (+$15)
WHAT A RIDE!
My first 14.5k hands were rough. I was improving my play and thinking more clearly with each new day. I was also losing a few buyins per day, results seemingly getting even worse as I made adjustments to my game.
I knew the adjustments I was making were good. I was fixing basic holes in my game based on educational content from a variety of sources. Just, the winrate would not improve at all.
Then last night. On the eve of my 29th birthday, the poker gods smiled upon me. LOOK AT THIS GRAPH BRO!
DUDE. To everybody saying that volume is bad for learning, idk what to say. Imagine if I'd ended this week a few thousand hands earlier? Hell, if I'd signed off literally 250 hands early, I would have ended up down like 10+ buyins for the week. INSTEAD I'M BACK UP TO EVEN BABY! FLUX CHAMPION UNSTOPPABLE. FLUX CHAMPION IS THE CHAMP FOR A REASON.
Most importantly, this all happened within the confines of my plan. I didn't change stakes, number of tables, or my process. I just kept playing for a few hours, watching/notetaking on 15-30 mins of study content, then playing more hours. Back and forth, sort of like Peter Clarke's recommended approach but a little less extreme on the studying.
It works! I basically play until I feel like I'm slipping from my A or B+ game to my B- game, then take a break. Elliott Roe's A game vs. B game vs. C game type of mindset evaluation is so awesome for this.
Here's the content I consumed since last post:
Upswing Postflop Game Plan
very very helpful, a lot of content for $7. I've been using their four categories to evaluate my hands ever since reading it. I feel like this gave me my first real foundation for postflop play that makes sense and lets me start to balance ranges and think properly about the game.
Ryan Henry - 3bets OOP (RIO) (from march 21 2020)
Didn't realize this was an MTT video at first -- kept asking myself "why are there so many 50BB stacks in these examples?" but just didn't connect the dots
Even so this video is great, helped me to understand how to think about 3betting a lot better from the small blind and just in general. I was implementing some more aggressive 3bets after watching this and had great results so far.
That's it from the last few days apparently, keep in mind that the Upswing postflop thing has like 2+ hours of video content so that one took a while! I have a lot more RIO stuff to watch in the next week.
PLAN FOR REST OF MAY
I'd like to keep studying and improving my game. My total bankroll across two sites right now is $270.
Part of me wants to do the full 50k hands at NL2 just to be slow and careful and keep learning. Another part of me wants to move to NL5 since, even when I'm in practice mode, the idea of crushing poker tables 30+ hours a week for literally $0.40 an hour is kind of soul crushing haha. At least at NL5 I can make like $1+ an hour which feels like some kind of mild bankroll progress.
Also I'm a little worried, not to be a jerk or anything, but worried that NL2 might be too easy, like what if I still suck horribly at poker but I think I'm decent because I'm winning at NL2?
Just to be clear none of this is considered real income in my mind, it's "beer money" at best at these stakes, but it does feel like it makes sense to add to my bankroll a little faster than 40 cents an hour if possible.
So I will go ahead and move to NL5 for the upcoming week, then I can reassess.
Future Goals - update
Looking back at my first post here's the stated goal: Establish a winrate at NL2 or NL5 over a 50k+ hand sample. After doing that, the longer term goal is to aim to win at NL10 and beyond in 2021.
In retrospect, the idea of trying to win at NL10 in 2021 seems way way too modest. I think my new goal is to become a winning player (over 100k+ hands) at NL25 in the next 6 months.
That will involve working outside of poker to add more money to the bankroll probably, I doubt it makes any sense to grind even NL10 as opposed to just working more as a freelance writer (my main gig) and saving money from that to invest in my poker life. Hell, maybe I can find some writing gigs in the poker world now that I'm slowly getting into it.
For now -- I need to keep playing and studying. I'd like to hit 50k hands by the end of May. This week will probably be slower, I'm going to set a tentative goal of 7.5k hands at NL5 this week.
May 8, 2020 | 12:18 p.m.
Can you explain more about your thought process throughout the hand? Why did you feel it was a good idea to c-bet the flop with that sizing and then again on the turn?
(I'm only saying this because I do the same thing up until recently, firing c-bets without a great plan)
I'm seeing a lack of strategy here -- lots of bets, hoping for fold equity, but not a clear plan. IMO this could be folded preflop, as played I definitely don't fire the second barrel on the turn cuz villian has shown no signs of weakness yet, I don't see the need for most of the aggression. Like if the king didn't show up on the river you'd be losing to anything that hit the flop, even just JTs or QTo type of stuff. I know villain's range is super wide but idk if it makes sense to try and push off draws here, esp. with the villain's line preflop and flop indicating a passive calling station kind of player
May 6, 2020 | 11:40 a.m.
Awesome, thanks for the info.
May 6, 2020 | 11:11 a.m.
Nice dude! It's good to see someone posting actual sample sizes up in here, too many journals offering up 10-15k sample sizes as if that can tell anybody anything.
I'm in Philly right now too but PAStars thinks I'm in New Jersey and I can't be arsed to fix it as of yet. How's the action the site in general?
GL on the rest of the hands, that downswing is all in the past.
May 5, 2020 | 1:30 a.m.
May 4, 2020
Played a lot of hands since the last post! Up to over 10k hands for May now.
CURRENT GRAPH (spoilers: bad luck, good play)
Peter Clarke's Key Concepts: Fold Equity (super good, as are all of Clarke's core concept videos)
By the graph of this month's first 10k hands, my all-in equity adjusted BB/100 would be around 6 (awesome!), unfortunately I am running a little bit bad so in actuality I am at -1.8BB/100 so far.
The sample size is still too small to make real conclusions from, but hey, it feels good to see the yellow line so high. There's a clear red line improvement after I changed my strategy at around 5000 hands which is cool to see represented so clearly in the data. I think that's from a combination of improved preflop ranges (tighter opens) and more aggressive river play (more bluffs AND more calls).
I spent some time 6-tabling today even though I said I wouldn't. I felt good for the first 2 hours or so, then definitely saw my play quality tank in the third hour. I switched back to 4 tables after a short break and was able to rally. You can see a downswing towards the end of this graph around the hour that was "bad" but I honestly think that's a coincidence, maybe I made one or two bad calls but I definitely don't feel like I was in tilt mode or anything, just slipping into my C+ game. Not like D game or F game territory -- but that might only be because I was smart enough to hit the brakes before that happened!
If anything I kept my cool really well while running into 3bets and postflop villian-shoves over all of my bets, it was insane for that hour. Tilt can't get me! I just keep trying to play that GTO style.
I do think I'll keep the 6-table option open but it can't be too often for now, I need to do mostly 4 tables to improve my game for the long run.
Looking forward, I think I will need at least 50k hands at NL2 to really feel confident that I'm a winning microstakes player.. If my game feels good and I can get my actual BB/100 up into the 2+ zone across that large of a sample, then I will feel ready to move on to NL5.
Not that 2BB/100 at NL2 is remotely satisfactory, but it's more of a safeguard against total donking before I head to NL5.
I suspect NL2, 5, and even 10 to all be about the same difficulty-wise. I feel like 10NL would still be pretty low stakes for a recreational player, not like anybody is playing professionally at stakes lower than about 50NL at the absolute lowest. IDK. The reason I do NL2 first is simply that it's the cheapest place to learn the basics.
Hoping I can get all 50k of those hands in during May -- a bit ambitious, but we'll see. For now I'm still focused on the week one 15k hand goal, which should be easily met by Friday's post.
New Schedule -- I'm going to update this blog once per week so I can have time to collect hands and put together a high quality post every time. Next update will come on Friday (the 8th) and I promise I'll have a postflop hand situation for discussion in that post, I promise!!