Saturday, December 31, 2011

Monday, December 19, 2011

Weekly Update! 12-19-11

Awesome video of the week:

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Combonator

Hey guys,

My weekly strategy segment was to update the Basic Bluff Odds series, completing it and answering some questions.

I did not create the video below, however Combonator is a tool I frequently use and consider to be very powerful. Watch this and you might find the same. Blows Pokerstove right out of the water.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Weekly Update! 12-12-11

Inspirational/Awesome Video of the week:

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Toolbox- Holdem Manager Database Export

Monday, December 5, 2011

Weekly Update! 12-5-11

Inspirational/Awesome video of the week:

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Mental Warm Up/Review

Steps to Mental Warm Up

Should take about 1.5 hours

1. Make five thought out strategy posts in your respective forum. Focus on the OP, not the responses.

2. Go over 10 key hands from previous session extensively.

3. Go over list of things to work on.

4. Go over weekly, monthly, 3-6 month, and yearly targets.

5. Go over game plan.

6. Visualize both A and C game each for 1 minute. Visualize triggers for tilt and ways to
deal with them.

Observations and notes:

Monday, November 28, 2011

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Friday, November 11, 2011

Saturday, October 15, 2011


I am scared of heights, so this was a big experience for me. Hope you guys enjoy!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Worst Case Scenario

A few days ago I was playing in the 5-10 at Capitol Casino, which has become my main game. It was just like any other Monday at a casino. In the game was a player who I had heard was pretty wild and had lots of money, so needless to say I was excited. These types of players can spew money like nobody's business if you can open them up a bit. However, they also can be pretty dangerous at times as well. I will post the first hand that I feel is relevant to the main hand.

Villain has been straddling to 4bb every opportunity, making blind raises PF a lot, 3-betting a bit. His VPIP is probably >80%. I open to 35 in MP with AcTc, villain calls on the button, blinds fold. Effective stacks are 1200$ish.

Flop is Td7c2h. I c-bet 45 into 80ish. My plan vs. a raise was to call, and probably call down on most turns and rivers. Villain calls pretty quickly. Turn is a 4s or some other blank, and I check, looking to induce. Villain bets 120 into 170, I call in about 5 seconds. River is Jd, I check, and villain bets 300 quickly and forcefully. I tank for about 30 seconds and call. Villain shows Q9o and I scoop the pot.

My observations:

Villain can float
Villain can bet large sizes as a bluff
Villain is not afraid to follow through when shown weakness
Possibly quick bet correlates with bluffs

Ok, onto the main hand. UTG ($700) limps, Hero in MP ($2200) limps with QdQc. Villain is in BB, and has been squeezing a ton (50%+) when limped pots get to him. Also, if another player raises, I expect villain to 3-bet or flat nearly 100%, giving me a super sick limp raise spot. CO ($1000) makes it 45, BB ($2100) calls, UTG calls, and I make it 120 more. Looking back at this sizing, I think it is too small. I am giving villains 3-1 preflop, which is just a little too good, esp given villain and my effective stacks. A better size would be a raise to 200 more preflop, giving villain just over 2-1, and giving me a more advantageous stack to pot ratio.

CO disgustedly folds, BB calls without much thought, UTG folds as well. I think BB's calling range in this spot is literally 70-80% of all hands, excluding the top 5-10%. Flop is 5s5c7s. This is not a flop I expect to hit villains range particularly hard. Given how wide his range is preflop, he will have air the vast majority of the time on this flop. Villain checks to me and I bet 200 into 400. I think this sizing is ok. It leaves plenty of room for villain to c/r bluff, gets value from worse and sets me up for 3 streets of value, and is consistent with my bluff sizing.

Villain c/r to 500. I think his range for c/r here will be pretty polarized to 5x+, and bluffs with and without equity. I think most of his bluffs will likely have some sort of equity, whether that be a FD, gutter, OESD, or just 2 overs with a BDFD. He will occasionally have a pure bluff like JT sometimes as well. I think for about 10 seconds and call. I feel my hand is pretty face up once I call here, as JJ+ or possibly AK sometimes. 3-betting flop COULD be ok if I thought he could really spazz out and level himself. However, I find it much more likely that he will barrel off when I flat than spazz 4b jam the flop with a gutter or something.

Turn is the 8s. This is a bad turn for a lot of reasons. First of all, all of his range has improved to a better hand or picked up equity. Flushes have hit, 2 of the gutters have hit, other straight draws have picked up a pair and will probably stop bluffing, and his BDFD's have picked up 9 outs. Villain bets 600 into 1150 or so, with about 800 behind. Given that most of his flop c/r range has some sort of equity, I think villains bluffing frequency on this turn will be pretty low. Also, because my hand is face up, villain can value bet pretty thin on river. When he is bluffing, he will almost always fire the river, because my range is pretty capped in this spot, and his isn't. Given that we will always be facing a river bet, if we do call turn, it is a spot where we must call almost any river. However, I think the correct play is to fold the turn as shitty as it sounds. This is the nut worst card for us, and he just isn't bluffing enough. I hem and haw and call turn in about 20 seconds.
River is the 9c. This river is also pretty bad, though I don't expect it to hit him too often. Some of his random airball bluffs have gotten there. Villain jams for 800. At this point, I was not too excited at all about the situation. I am getting around 3-1, so I need about 25% equity to call. However, the only hand I can beat is a total random airball bluff. His value range is very wide because my hand is faceup as an overpair. Looking back, this is an easy fold, even given history. He just is not bluffing enough here, purely because this board is so good for his range. I ended up calling the river. Villain shows 5d3d. At the time I wasn't sure what I thought about it, now I realize it was quite a poor call.

Now that we've found a mistake, the next step is to go over WHY I made this mistake. At several points I misidentified ranges, and focused too much on one portion of his range (pure bluffs). The reason I made this mistake was because I was over-adjusting to my agro opponent. I let his LAGgyness get into my head, and at some point I told myself "this guy is insane, I'm not ever folding anything to him". Because of this, I became overcommitted to my hand, and made mistakes. The solution to this problem is simple but difficult to implement all the time. I must never categorize an opponent so strongly that I am not open to new pieces of information. Just because someone is insane in one situation, doesn't mean they always are.

This was pretty much the worse case scenario that could have happened in this game. However, now that it has happened, it doesn't feel so bad. If I work hard and focus, I will do better next time. Hope you guys enjoy this,


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

I make a mistake, or do I?

Today I ventured over to Capitol Casino to play a 4 hour session of live cash. During my drive home, I decided that this hand/situation was by far the most interesting of the day, so I'll share it with you all.

We're playing 5-10 NLH, average stack is probably about 900 or so. There is a fair amount of preflop looseness, but not a ton of aggression beyond open raises. Postflop I would describe the game as moderately aggressive. On to the hand:

It folds to me in the hijack (1k$) with KdJh, and I open to 30. Cutoff toys with a raise quickly and calls (700$), however I do not think this means much as he was doing this pretty often. He was the only player at the table who had 3-bet multiple times and squeezed in obvious spots. Button folds, SB folds, BB calls. BB (1kS$) seems to be weakish, has weird bet sizing and seems to way overvalue hands.

Flop comes KhQc6c, and BB checks to me. This is obviously a pretty decent flop for me. I toy with checking flop to induce bluffs BU, and also for pot control, but decide quickly that I will be missing out on a lot of value if I check here. I bet 60 into 90. Button thinks for about 15 seconds and min raises to 120, BB folds.

BU's raise is pretty confusing to me here. First of all, the size seems pretty small with a value hand, as it allows me to call very profitably with any draw. A larger sizing also would allow me to 3b shove flop with more Kx type hands, whereas here, I am sort of forced to call. 3-betting would only fold out his bluffs, and with the pot-stack ratio as it is, that is not too attractive. Villains range of value hands in this spot are (KQo, KQs, 66). It is also possible, but not likely, that he can occasionally have (KK, QQ, K6s, AKo, AKs). I would weight these hands at a frequency of 10%ish. Given that the value range he is representing is pretty narrow (10 combos) and the possibility of bluffs and semi-bluffs, and how good of a price we are getting, we def need to call flop. 3-betting would be poor, because again we would just be folding out his bluffs, and getting in against a range we have 35-40% equity vs. I call in about 10 seconds.

Turn is the Ah, and I check pretty quickly. I am looking directly at villain, he makes eye contact for about 2-3 seconds, mumbles something nervously while smiling in a thick Chinese accent, and checks. I think that it is likely that he bets a fair amount of his club draws without a pair on the turn. I also think he would bet the top of his range (JT, 66, AK, random sets) on the turn. If he checks, it is likely that he has some sort of showdown value, but feels that it is too strong to turn into a bluff, or too weak to value bet. I would define this range as (AJ, AT, KQ, K6, AXcc). There is also the possibility that he has a total airball bluff and is giving up.

River is a total blank, the 8d. I check again fairly quickly (I regret this now, giving away free information here). Villain thinks for about 30 seconds, and counts out a bet of 120. I am getting 3-1, so I need 25% equity to call. Looking back, this is an obvious fold, or a decent spot to turn my hand into a bluff. Given my assumptions about his turn betting and checking ranges, it is just so damn difficult for him to have a bluff here. Even if he shows up with a bluff here occasionally, it is not outweighed by the vast majority of the time when he has a better hand. Not even my good pot odds can justify a call here.

The meat of the hand here though is in the body language. After villain initially bet, he was quiet for about 15 seconds. After I muttered a few words, he began to become very animated. He began to play with his card protector (a large, rubber crawdad), zooming it around his chips and making odd noises. At the time I found it annoying as hell, looking back it's just comical. Typically, when someone is animated or talking a lot (again, typically) this is a sign of being comfortable. People usually are most comfortable with a strong hand, and thus, you should assume that people who are animated have a strong hand. Typically, those who are bluffing are uncomfortable and try not to draw attention to themselves.

What is interesting to me is how quickly his body language changed. Initially, he bet because he thought his hand was too good to check, but was a bit uncomfortable because I could have better. Once I took 15 seconds, he KNEW he had the best hand, especially after I muttered something under my breath. Immediately his body language had changed. The type of hand that match up with this body language are exactly the turn checking range I described (AJ, AT, KQ, K6, AXcc).
Given the analysis I have just done, it seems that in the future these spots will be fairly obvious.

Now, say I were to be able to put all of this together and put him on that range, should I go for it and turn my hand into a bluff? Yes, and no. If I had not given off so much information throughout the hand (checking turn and river quickly, muttering under my breath when he bet river indicating I had a bluffcatcher) I think this would be a great spot to bluff raise. There is no reason I can't have JT, AK, AQ, AA, perhaps even KK. In addition, his range is capped because he didn't bet the turn on a card most live regs will consider to be wet (lol). I would probably raise to about 375ish, risking 375 to win 360, which would need to work just over 50%. Given that his range is capped, and I can credibly rep the nuts, I think my raise works far more often then that.
However, given that I did give off all of that info, raising would be suicidal as played.

So the two things that we should take away from this are:
1. Look for body language changes in your opponent in reaction to your timing. There is a lot of info there.
2. Giving off little pieces of information DOES matter, and restrict you from running some bluffs. Always be vigilant, and NEVER give off information you do not have to.

So I made a mistake in the hand, but it lead to an epiphany and growth. Is it really a mistake then? You decide.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Interesting hand I've just played

So I'm playing live 2-5 today at my local cardroom (capitol casino). I found this hand that just transpired interesting.

Table has just started, maybe 5th hand at the table. I'm in the bb with 9hTc. Young guy who looks reggish opens to 15 in co with 500$ effective, folds to me and I flat. I realize this is sort of loose, but I think its ok because we are in an information vacuum, and hence we will be able to get away with more bluff postlop in a reg on reg situation.

Flop comes 2s4sks, and I lead for 15. I do this for a few reasons, mainly because I think villain will play very straightforwardly vs this. My bet needs to work 33% of the time, and I think he will fold that often for sure with his random no pair no draw hands. If he does call, his range will likely be unable to withstand multiple barrels. I expect him to raise most of his strong hands on the flop. So my flop lead is effectively splitting my opponents range. Villain calls in about 10 seconds.

The turn is the 3c, and I lead again for 40. In retrospect, I think this turn barrel is bad in a vacuum, as he will be peeling it very wide because this turn improves the absolute equity of his range. However a turn barrel COULD be good couple with frequent river barrels on the right cards, given that the range he gets to river with will be pretty wide. Villain calls again in about ten seconds.River is the Ac. This is a pretty meh card overall. A lot of his range (AsX) will have hit this river, along with occasional the occasional 5x hand. However, a lot of his range will not like this river. Mid pocket pairs, that almost certainly peel flop and turn, will fold this river. Also, a lot of his random Broadway+fd will have to fold this river as well. Thus, I think a bet is appropriate, but sizing is pretty important.

The range we are attempting to fold out has a nearly inelastic folding frequency, meaning he will fold those hand almost regardless of bet sizing. Therefore, we should bet the smallest size possible that won't effect his frequency. I chose to bet 55 into a pot of 140. My bet will need to work about 28% of the time to be +EV, and I think it def works more often then that. It should also be noted that my bet sizing is consistent with how most live players perceive value bets with the top and middle of my range. The only concern with this sizing is that it CAN induce bluffs, however I think this will happen with a pretty low frequency.

Villain ended up folding river after toying with a raise. Turns out you can still be creative in live poker!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Session Review Example

Here is an example from a lesson I created on how to do hand history review. It's a bit long and wordy but if you're a poker player it's worth your time.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

I got published

I found out that I got published in a local paper a few days ago. Here it is. Pretty cool I think. Repping all the online players in Northern Cali!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Live Play Review 5-27-11

This is some raw content of me reviewing a session I played. It has not been edited and may be difficult to understand, but it gives a basic idea of how I do review.

Friday, May 20, 2011

VLOG 5-20-11

This is a couple months old, but I think it is worth posting. Here is the relevant thread:

New Student Orientation

  1. Fill out the New Student Questionnaire
  2. Buy your lesson
  3. Schedule your first lesson on my scheduling page
  4. Decide what type of lesson structure you would like
  5. Register at my forums, and start posting (optional)

Please get and familiarize yourself with the following items. The more prepared you are, the more time we can spend learning!

  • Some sort of poker tracking software. I prefer Holdem Manager, though Pokertracker3 is fine.
  • Equilab
  • Screencast-O-Matic Account
  • A basic microphone.
  • Skype software and account.
  • Teamviewer software and account.
  • Google Docs account. If you don't have a Google account, you can register using your regular eMail.
  • Some sort of spreadsheet software. Open Office is what I use, it's free and open source.
  • The ability to use spreadsheets for basic functions. Here is a link to a very basic tutorial. Don't be intimidated, you will be glad you learned this!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

A letter to the Editor

This a letter I sent to the Daily Democrat, Davis Enterprise, The Sac Bee, and San Francisco Chronicle. Don't really expect to get published, but you never know :).

Dear Editor,

The issue that causes me to write to you today is online poker legalization. When the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act (UIGEA) passed in 2006, internet poker essentially became illegal. It was grouped in with all other forms of gambling (excluding horse racing and stock trading) and categorically banned from operating within the United States. The argument was made that online gambling errodes the moral fabric of society, and can be highly addictive.

The first argument is contentious in my opinion. However, that is irrelevant, due to a simple fact: it doesn't matter what other peoples moral judgements of an individuals actions are, so long as the actions of that individual do not directly and negatively effect others. In short, it is none of their business what I do in my own home.

As for the addictive side of gambling, I have a fairly simple counterargument. We permit many things to be legal, despite a minority of the population who become addicted to it. Our concern for the individuals who become addicted is valid, however concern for the small minority should not trump the rights of the majority. The current situation only pushes the act of playing online poker underground, which makes it harder to keep those who should not be playing away from the game. Our efforts should be made towards educating individuals on the possible risks of addiction, rather than categorically denying people the right to participate in an act.

A clear distinction must be made between Poker and other forms of gambling. Poker is a game of skill, while other forms of casino gambling (excluding blackjack at times) are inherently negative expected value, meaning that mathematically, you cannot win in the long run. This is because in traditional casino games, "the house always wins", as they essentially rig the game against you. Poker is different, in that you are playing against others. Each player receives a limited amount of data (the cards, their knowledge of the opponentand his/her tendencies) and has to make the best decision possible. The player who makes the best decisions is always the winner in the long run. In fact, Poker has more in common with Chess than with it does with other forms of gambling.

Ten million Americans play online poker each year. A small percentage of those are professionals who make a living playing the game. For the past three years I have played online poker professionally. It has given me the freedom to travel, pursue my hobbies, and intellectually enrich myself. Recent action by the Department of Justice, enforcing the UIGEA, has taken this away from me, and I am forced to considering leaving the United States to pursue my career. Tens of thousands of other professionals have lost their livelihoods as well, while the millions of recreational players have lost a form of stress relief and entertainment.
If online poker were legalized, it would bring in an estimated forty billion dollars over the next ten years, according to the Poker Players Alliance. It would open the market to U.S. Companies, creating tens of thousands of jobs! Given the current state of the economy, it would seem reckless not to use these viable options to help us.

In sum, we have an obligation to the individuals of this country to not restrict their rights needlessly. We also have an opportunity for all to benefit from this via regulation and taxation of the online poker market. Legalizing poker is a win-win scenario for the United States.

Monday, March 28, 2011