Monday, October 24, 2011

Doing Some Homework

This month has been very annoying and frustrating on the poker front for a bunch of reasons. Due to computer issues and having to spend the early days of the month moving into my new apartment, I've once again put myself in a position where I need to cram in non-stop volume here on out to land around 50K VPP's by month's end. This target is pretty much essential if I want to fulfill my end of year target of 600K VPP's-something that I don't feel like compromising on. Anyways, I've been in this spot all year and the volume-cram isn't even that tilting anymore...the main issue is that the mid-stake games are always reg-infested at this time of the year and there are very few tables running that aren't all regs, especially during weekdays. As a result, I've found that rather than spend a few hours trying to get enough decent mid-stake tables up and running, my time is better spent jumping onto a bunch of 100nl tables and cycle in any decent mid-stake tables that I see. If I didn't have to hit my volume quota, I'd probably be happy to chill on 8-14 decent mid-stakes tables and put more focus on table winnings rather than rakeback. However, looking at the overall picture, it's much more likely that I will earn more money by collecting the 500K and 600K milestone bonuses by the end of the year (and of course, the FPP's from that volume) rather than table select a handful of good mid-stake games to play and likely not even hit 500K VPP's. With all that said, all this really means for me is that I'm going to have to put in more hands to reach my target goal since the vpp per hand rate is obviously lower at 100nl.

The thing I hate the most about mixing different stakes into a session is that if any big hands go down on the higher stakes tables, the rest of your tables become almost irrelevant as your profit/losses will be so heavily impacted by the highest tables that you are playing. You can imagine my frustration then when I say that I've been running pretty badly at the higher limits this month. Nothing catastrophic but lots of stupid stuff like this (and of course, according to good ol' all-in EV I was supposed to lose because I was behind! Nevermind that half of his stack was in on the flop ;) Hands like these are really why the all-in EV stat is pretty useless (of course, it also can't measure obvious coolers like KK < AA in the blinds)):

Poker Stars $400.00 No Limit Hold'em - 9 players
MP2: $861.25
CO: $220.00
BTN: $400.00
SB: $296.10
BB: $305.05
UTG: $550.30
Hero (UTG+1): $406.00
UTG+2: $988.85
MP1: $400.00

CO posts a big blind ($4.00)

Pre Flop: ($10.00) Hero is UTG+1 with K of clubs K of diamonds
UTG raises to $16, Hero calls $16, 5 folds, SB calls $14, 1 fold

Flop: ($56.00) 7 of diamonds 4 of hearts 2 of diamonds (3 players)
SB bets $40.00, UTG folds, Hero raises to $126, SB calls $86

Turn: ($308.00) 3 of hearts (2 players)
SB bets $154.10, Hero calls $154.10

River: ($616.20) 9 of hearts (2 players)

Final Pot: $616.20
SB shows 4 of spades 3 of spades
Hero shows K of clubs K of diamonds
SB wins $613.20
(Rake: $3.00)

Anyways, I was down just over a couple $K a day ago, which isn't really even enough to be considererd a downswing by most but it's frustrating nonetheless. With so much poker left to be played this month, things could get pretty ugly or they could shape up's all going to depend on how I run and of course how well I play.

Alright, enough of this negative tone because here's where things get positive. For the most part, during my entire poker career I've really put off doing any extra-hour poker "homework" to help my game. It's not because I think my game is perfect or that I'm really lazy-it just can be hard to spend even more time at the computer after a long session when you know how much poker needs to be played ahead of you (even now I feel like I should be grinding and not writing this post, even though I'll have more than enough time to play later). Anyways, this mini-downer is what I've needed to put myself in the mood to do a bit of learning so I hit the net yesterday to do some surfing for some free poker-training vids. I don't have a subscription to any training site and I don't have plans to subscribe in the near future but I thought it would be a good idea to see what I could find just to get a different outlook on the game. Most of the stuff that I found was pretty meh but a couple clips that I stumbled upon were pretty great. Most of the free content that I found was pretty outdated (or like 2-5 min samples) but it gave me a refreshing outlook on the game nonetheless.

Perhaps the most beneficial thing that I took away from one of the videos had nothing to do with strategy at all and instead has to do with aesthetics. I'm taking about the look of the table theme, cards and chips. For the longest time, I've just stuck to using the Hyper-Simple table theme provided by stars (with custom dark-grey background), along with the standard deck and chips. I've always been aware of sites like that provide different table/card/chip mods but haven't really like many of them...enough to purchase anyways. However, in one of the videos that I watched I saw the most amazing deck...I've never been a fan of 4-coloured decks (they kinda tilt me even though most people love them) but this one that I saw was so slick and refreshing because it was so simple. It's called the "Solitude-Stars" card mod on tiltbuster and I just went ahead and bought it for $10.


Now, I also didn't even realize that you could change the look of the chips as well but after a bit of browsing and another $10 purchase later I'm now sporting these puppies (Stars Paulson Chip Set on tiltbuster):

I didn't really prefer any of the actual table mods that are available as I think the hyper-simple with grey background is pretty much the nuts.

I've only played one session with the new look and found it very confusing for a while but was in love with it by the end...especially with the deck, it certainly makes it easier on the eyes for grinding out long sessions to see everything so clearly.

Getting into more technical stuff, I also finally got around to reconstructing and understanding my HUD in Hold'em Manager. Currently, this is my HUD for those that are curious (and I allllways get emails asking to see it lol):

It's quite simple but at the same time provides me with a ton of info. If you're wondering what the stats mean here's a link to the vocab index that you might want to bookmark:

There is so much info that HEM can provide you that it can be overwhelming and even though I still feel as though I'm still under-utilizing my HUD, I'm comfortable with it and can always continue to learn more about it in the future. Also, a quick click on the players HUD stats will bring up much more info so even if it's not in your small HUD you can still find out specific things about your opponent very quickly (for example, I don't want to put 3bet by position in my HUD to avoid cluttering but if you're 3bet by a player on the button you can just click the stats to expand the window and find out their 3bet percentage from the button/each position).

One important thing to realize is that by simply having all of this info made available to you, it still means nothing if you don't know how to interpret it. So what if someone's 3betting 15% of the time? Is this a often or infrequently? These are things that you'll need to determine by either doing your own research away from the table, getting a coach/teacher or most simply, by playing yourself!! It shouldn' take a heck of a long time to get a feel for the stats and compare other players to yourself to better understand the pros/cons of different playing styles

With my new look I booked a small profitable session today and thanks to a decent sized win yesterday I'm down less than $1K at the moment (which is often 1 bad day). It's going to be a rocky road from here on out, no doubt about it but I'll try to keep a level head and look to run well and get back in the black. Here's hopin' it gets better before it gets worse lol!

gl at the tables!


  1. How do you get the grey background on the hypersimple theme? Silly quesion I know. I'm stuck with the standard blue background on hypersimple.

  2. Hey man, you just go to Table Themes and upload a custom background pic. I just googled "grey" and saved a picture that I liked lol.

    view-table themes-background-enable custom background-upload pic-win!