Wednesday, February 26, 2014


I don't know exactly why but I always seem to do it. Things will be rolling along quite nicely at the tables and then I'll suddenly have the need to become a playmaster in order to squeeze the maximum value out of my hourly. I'll start by changing the winning formula from a tight-aggressive approach to a cold-4betting happy, 3bet-isoing aggro superstar. Of course, my hourly does not increase as I evidently learn that while I may try to rep the nuts, they actually have it. I either do that or I try a different game (see PLO experiment from the past).

This time, I'm trying a different game again :) Over the past few days I've been playing a bunch of zoom 6-max. I've dabbled in 6-max before of course but have never really focused on it 100%. The reason why 6-max is appealing to me is because it's a much more realistic approach to get SNE. You earn much more VPPs at 6max relative to full-ring at comparable stakes and I also think that the ceiling for stakes/profit is higher at 6max. Zoom 500nl runs all of the time and there seems to be much more higher-stakes 6max games running than full-ring. Not that my sights are set on those tables but it's always nice to have something to chase.

Anyways, all of this info isn't exactly new to me and I didn't just have some sort of epiphany but for whatever reason, I now have a craving to learn and play 6-max :/ I do think that it's important to play something that you enjoy playing, especially when you're mass grinding for something like SNE, in order to stay engaged and motivated toward your goals. The full-ring grind is great and even though winning at any game isn't easy, I've been able to consistently win there for 4 years and know it will be there for me if and when I fail at 6-max.

I do think that if I'm going to attempt to increase my daily VPPS, I might as well do it early rather than before it's too late. I'm a big advocate of working hard but also smart. That said, I could easily be back at the full-ring tables as early as tomorrow ;). I'm not sure exactly how much time and money I want to invest into this little experiment as it's gone pretty poorly so far. Obviously I've got a lot of work to do to become a better player but I think that I've been making strides and getting a bit better everyday. I'm down about 13 buy-ins but ten of that is EV so I think that my play has been almost good enough to breakeven but I also am not going to wait a long time to find out. It's a bit unfortunate that this will be cutting into my monthly profit but that's just taking the short-term into consideration and the potential payoff of beating 6-max could be big later on in the year. I would imagine that if I hit a loss of 20 buy-ins that I'd probably frustrated enough to go back to full-ring, at least for now. Hence my statement that I could "be back at the full-ring tables as early as tomorrow ;)."

My ankle is feeling much better since the fracture about a month ago but I still can't really do much. I've abandoned the crutches for the most part and haven't taken any Tylenol in weeks but the ankle is still pretty weak and I've been trying to keep my weight off it for the most part. I have an appointment coming up in about a week to see that it's healed properly and then I can start doing some rehab on it...I can't wait to be able to exercise again and get back out on the ice.

I managed to get downtown on the weekend for my uncle's 50th birthday dinner at the Shangri La in Vancouver. It's not the usual spot for our family gatherings (very luxurious) but we had an amazing 5-course dinner and I actually ended up having 7 because my girlfriend didn't like a couple of the seafood plates :D I had a bunch of wine too, which ended up spoiling my plans of waking up at 4am to watch the Canada-Sweden gold medal hockey game. My alarm went off and I knew it wasn't going to happen but I did get up to watch the replay at 10:30am and didn't check any social media so I didn't know the result. It was awesome to watch Canada win gold again even though the game was pretty uneventful as the Swedes were outmatched in pretty much every way.

Alright, I'm off to bed. My friend Ben is in town for a job interview and is crashing on my futon tonight so I'll probably start the day tomorrow going for a coffee (somewhere close enough to hobble) and breaky and then get back on the felt. Just a few more days until the monthly review, which I have not checked but am no longer thrilled about to say the least. Talk soon,

gl at the tables!

Friday, February 14, 2014

February Mid-Month Results

Well, I've put in a whopping 6854 minutes of play this month according to HEM 2, or about an average of 8 hours a day with no days off. The heavy volume has been a result of my fractured ankle and me wanting to try and achieve SNE status by the end of the year. Fortunately, the results have been great at the tables so far and it's always nice to be rewarded for putting in a lot of effort because in poker, that's not always going to be the case.


By Stakes:

By Day:

I often get asked what my daily swings are like, so that should give you an idea of how all over the map my days are. I could literally play no different from day to day and win over a thousand dollars on one day and lose that much the next. There's just a lot of variance in the short term but if you choose to focus on what you can control, such as putting in the hours, taking the best lines, working and tweaking your game etc. it will help you feel satisfied even on losing days.

Like I said, fortunately this month I've been running pretty well and playing fairly well overall thus far. It's been a bit of a struggle to stay sharp when playing so many hands each day and especially these last couple of days, I've found myself playing pretty awful from time to time and I think it's from mental fatigue. When I say "playing awful," I'm not spewing off stacks left and right or anything but am just not making some folds that I might normally or am not looking for good spots to steal pots enough. There was a hand yesterday where I cold 4bet a BTNs 3bet with AKo, planning to get it in against that player but then the initial opener in the CO jammed and the BTN folded. I thought the CO was a bit nitty and probably had only AA here. I think that a lot of people might just click call and chalk it up as a cooler anyways but I told myself about 4 times to fold and then just clicked the call button. They had AA and I lost. The outcome of the hand doesn't really matter, nor does the debate about whether or not folding or calling is even the right play...what matters is that my brain was telling me to do one thing and I was unable to listen, instead relying on the "standard play," all the while completely ignoring my reads and instincts. Anyways, I'm sure we've all been there and hopefully I can at least continue to recognize when I'm not playing my best and work around that.

As for volume, well my vpp/hand is probably the equivalent to the average 25nl grinder lol so my VPP count is not great. I was hoping to have close to 28K VPPs at this point but am instead at almost 23.5K, so not too far off but a bit behind my ideal target. I'll be looking to continue with 8+ hour days and hopefully get as close to my 60K month target as possible.

I said that if my profits were over $3,000 by this point that I'd add some 400nl+600nl tables into the mix so that is exactly what I'm planning on doing. I'm not sure if any sort of significant volume will come from these tables but they should help out with the vpp/hand rate a bit. I know that if I want any shot of actually making SNE that I'm going to have to eventually play all mid-stakes cash games (possibly including 6max) so if I stick to the plan of keeping as close to pace as possible, hopefully I'll be able to hold off moving up until I feel totally ready.

You also might see me grinding some micro+low-stakes MTTs while I'm grinding cash. I have some T$ (bit over $1k) and I'd like to use them to grow into a healthy MTT bankroll (like $3K+) so I might fire up a few tournies each day during my sessions. I've been playing both MTTs and cash games over the last few days and I've found that it can be overwhelming at times and my focus on both the cash games and MTTs can be lessened by playing both at once. Playing the tournaments does make the time pass by a lot faster for me though so I'll need to see if it's possible to find a comfortable spot on the spectrum between being too bored and too overwhelmed. I'll keep you posted on how the MTTs are going probably only if anything significant happens, otherwise my attention will be given to the cash game grind.

Biggest pot won this month: Pretty standard flop top set vs bottom 2 and FD and hold...;)

PokerStars No-Limit Hold'em, $2.00 BB (9 handed)

SB ($259.69)
BB ($83.38)
Hero (UTG) ($203)
UTG+1 ($100.47)
MP1 ($200)
MP2 ($118.64)
MP3 ($160.43)
CO ($220.47)
Button ($312.96)

Preflop: Hero is UTG with 9, 9
Hero raises to $4.56, UTG+1 calls $4.56, 2 folds, MP3 calls $4.56, 4 folds

Flop: ($16.68) 2, 4, 9 (3 players)
Hero bets $10, UTG+1 calls $10, MP3 calls $10

Turn: ($46.68) K (3 players)
Hero bets $32, UTG+1 calls $32, MP3 raises to $144, Hero raises to $188.44 (All-In), UTG+1 calls $53.91 (All-In), MP3 calls $1.87 (All-In)

River: ($424.33) A (3 players, 3 all-in)

Total pot: $424.33 | Rake: $2.80

Results below:
Hero had 9, 9 (three of a kind, nines).
UTG+1 had J, Q (high card, Ace).
MP3 had 4, 2 (two pair, fours and twos).
Outcome: Hero won $421.53

Biggest pot lost this month: Just happens to be a pretty sick bad beat, so I get to post it :D Super lame since their hand is so obv face be fair it's a tough spot with kings since I usually fold all worse if they 4bet but I probably slow down with worse after the cold-call as well. Not sure if having a cold-calling range here is better than just having a cold 4betting range, I can see pros and cons to each.

PokerStars No-Limit Hold'em, $2.00 BB (8 handed)

BB ($200)
UTG ($209.93)
Hero (UTG+1) ($216)
MP1 ($266.28)
MP2 ($207.84)
CO ($425.57)
Button ($145.70)
SB ($80)

Preflop: Hero is UTG+1 with A, A
UTG raises to $6, Hero raises to $19, MP1 calls $19, 6 folds

Flop: ($47) 6, 5, 8 (2 players)
Hero bets $32, MP1 raises to $64, Hero raises to $197 (All-In), MP1 calls $133

Turn: ($441) 4 (2 players, 1 all-in)

River: ($441) K (2 players, 1 all-in)

Total pot: $441 | Rake: $2.80

Results below:
Hero had A, A (one pair, Aces).
MP1 had K, K (three of a kind, Kings).
Outcome: MP1 won $438.20

I got possession of all of the photos that I did at the PCA photo shoot back in Jan! I've updated my twitter and facebook page to one of them and that's what that pic from the top of this post is from as well. I'll probably post a bunch of them in one spot once becomes my home base again but for now I'll trickle them out on various blog posts and spots to fulfill some of your creeping needs ;)

Man, there really hasn't been much else going on for me right now with this ankle besides poker. I've been watching the Olympics when I can, usually during poker breaks and my girlfriend has been stopping by occasionally to hang out and bring me groceries. Even the simplest things like getting food for yourself become difficult when you're carrying crutches around and it's a difficult task just to crutch to the store in the first place. My roommate and I went out together today to do a big Valentine's shop for our gfs...we both have similar nights planned and I'm cooking a nice steak dinner for my girlfriend tonight at my place. I also picked up the finest $20 bottle of white wine that the liquor store had to offer and a couple other surprises so I'm looking forward to a good night!

All right. I'll be back on the grind tomorrow and am looking forward to the first Supernova Freeroll of the year! I have a pretty decent cash % in these things I think, although to this point I've been left on the sideline to watch my fellow grinders take home huge scores at the Final Table. Nevertheless, the opportunity to make a deep run in the tournament is always exciting so gl to all those that are playing.

gl at the tables!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

SNE February Progress


I woke up a bit early today (730am) because I wanted to crutch up the street to a nearby coffee shop and enjoy the start of the morning and write a blog update for y'all. I've been looking for excuses to get ouf of the house whenever I can. However, By the time I rolled out of bed and had a shower, found a couple of things and actually got to the coffee shop it was already almost 9am. Normally, 9am would still be incredibly early for me and in the past I would routinely start grinding after noon on a regular basis but this ain't 2010 anymore! This year on the SNE grind, every day has felt like there aren't enough hours in the day and it's going to take extreme discipline and time management if I want any shot at making SNE this time around.

I've been fighting to stay on pace for my target of 60K VPPs this month and so far I'm just the slightest bit behind but am doing pretty good. I'm planning on making up ground this weekend when the games will hopefully be bumping the whole day.

I've learned a couple of important things so far this year with regards to the SNE chase. The first is that I really need to take advantage of when the games run during peak hours to maximize hands/hour...during roughly 10am-6pm, I seem to be able to play consistently close to 24 tables and average around 1250 hands per hour. On off peak times, I can still get 20+ tables but the startup process is longer, tables break more and my average hands/hour seems to be closer to 1000. The difference might not be huge but enough when VPPs are this tight.

The second thing is something that I'm not entirely sure if it's true or not but I seem to be able to play better at night. During the day, I just have this rushed feeling a lot of the time and don't seem to play as relaxed or as calm. I think that a lot of factors play into this feeling, such as knowing that I still have a big grind ahead of me, more noises inside and outside of the house, the bright lights shining through my window tempting me to be outside etc. I guess a lot of it could also have to do with the fact that the games are a bit slower, as I mentioned earlier, and I have more time to think about decisions for the most part and play a bit better...I suppose that has the most to do with it, actually. Anyways, it's not like I'm going to start playing only at night but I found it a bit interesting.

I haven't checked my results yet this month, aside from 1 single session I think, and will try to continue to do so until halfway through the which point I'll post them publicly as well. Things seem to be going pretty good though, thanks in large part to a big heater last night. It was kind of only the 2nd or 3rd session this year where I've really felt like I've been running great and got put in many situations where I have Aces against another premium hands and held, stacked fish in standard spots and managed to avoid the big coolers the other way too. I feel like my play is progressing as well and there were only a few hands that I was unhappy with how I played and fortunately they didn't cost me too much.

The only one that I can remember really is when a reg opened from EP, an unknown flatted and I flatted AJo in the BB instead of 3betting...I didn't like it at the time even but for some reason I thought the unknown was sort of a reg-fish and not a standard rec and didn't really want to 3bet against what I thought were tight ranges. I wanted to fold but the open was basically a min-raise so I decided to peel instead of fold. Flop was Axx 2 diamonds, reg Cbet, reg-fish called and I check-raised trying to iso the reg-fish and fold out the initial raiser. EP called, reg-fish folded. Turn was a brick and I decided to fire even though I know EP has a very strong range there...was basically hoping to fold out a flush draw but EP shoved and I had to fold. All of that could have been avoided if I just 3bet pre! I think that my biggest mistake that I seem to keep making is flatting instead of 3betting in a ton of spots. Either that, or check-calling in spots where it's just so much better to bet. Got a couple of things to work on but other than that I think that I'm feeling the games pretty well right now, have a strong grasp of people's overall ranges and am just playing much better than January. Or maybe I'm just running better, who knows.

There was one pretty funny hand that I played last night that ended up working out great for me. I ended up squeezing out of the BB with Queens pre-flop against 2 regs and a whale and everyone came along. The whale and I were pretty deep. The flop was J-high and I Cbet and one reg and the whale came along. The turn was gross, another J, and my HUD was placed over the reg still in the pot and I thought that they actually folded on the flop. With stack sizes a bit awkward between the whale and I, I decided that I had put too much money in to fold vs their range and wanted to induce a bluff or check-shove and hope to get called by a 1-pair type hand. I checked, the whale shoved and I snap-called without realizing that the reg was still left to act lol. Fortunately, they just folded and I ended up winning vs. just a straight draw. It was pretty lucky since I think that I normally would have to just check-fold that turn card and give one of them credit for having a jack at least, especially the reg :/

In other news, I had my first checkup on the ankle a couple of days ago and the news is good and bad. The good news is that it seems to be healing properly and I should be able to avoid any surgery as long as I don't damage it further by walking on it. The bad news is that it's going to take 6 weeks for the bone to heal and I can't even do any rehab on it until then. It looks like I'm going to be out of crossfit and ice hockey for at least 2 months! It's pretty brutal but I obviously want to get my ankle back to 100% and at least poker should continue to be productive.

Alright, back to the tables. As I said, I'll post results in about a week on the 14th. My plan is to start including 400nl and 600nl if I'm up over $3,000 at that point, otherwise I'll stick to my current filters of 100nl/200nl. What I'm doing now is basically trying to play all of the 200nl tables that I can and fill in the rest with 100nl...which usually ends up being more 100 than 200 anyways. It will be nice for my vpp/hr to start including the higher midstakes tables, although I'm not sure how much they'll run anyways. It also sucks to play with a spread of 100nl-600nl since it's hard to care about the smaller stakes when there's so much riding on the bigger tables but in the end it's all about hands/hr and VPPs/hr :)

Also, quick link to the PokerStars blog about my upcoming PSO class. I'll be doing a member review class, which was very popular last time and was a lot of fun to do so if you have any hands that you'd like me to analyse please send them in and attend the class. I took literally a page of notes per every hand last week, going over every street in detail so I take this pretty seriously. That's all for now, - Get your hand analysed by Tyler "frosty012" Frost!

gl at the tables!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Back To Work - January Review

January proved to be a swingy month full of awful play, great play and pretty much everything inbetween as I had to endure running well below EV the entire time. As I mentioned in my last post, the month ended up being profitable due in large part to a couple of sessions that went particularly well and held things together for me. I got off to a pretty good start and climbed to around $2,500 in profit over the first few days of playing, only to lose most of it back in short order right after that. I then swung back in the good direction to basically bring things full circle and ended the month with about $2,500 in profit before bonuses kicked in. Graph:

By Stakes

As you can see, the majority of the runbad was all at 100nl, where most of my volume was played. In 82,000 hands I was down about $70 (although I actually won a buy-in when HEM wasn't running :)) but up almost $1900 in EV. At the end of the day I'd rather run poorly at the smallest stakes that I'm playing obviously rather than the higher but it's just very frustrating to run so bad at the stakes that I'm playing the most often. Anyways, I know that this sounds like a lot of complaining but I'm actually pretty stoked on how the month turned out. I'd much rather run below EV and know that I'm playing EV+ poker than run way over EV and actually be playing break-even/losing poker. The fact that I ran lousy and still made a decent profit in a short month makes me even more optimistic for things to come and now the challenge will be to stay mentally sharp as I increase my volume significantly in February, March and pretty much the rest of the year!


$2,496.69 Table Winnings
$1,262.80 FPP Value
$332 tournament Winnings
$4091.49 USD

Factor in some coaching and salary and a very favourable US exchange rate at the moment and that number is much prettier. I ended up only earning 22.5K VPPs in January and have got to get at least 60K to keep myself in the hunt for SNE in February. Now that my ankle's busted up, I really don't have many distractions to deter me from logging in some heavy hours. There's the Superbowl this Sunday and Valentine's Day mid-month but other than that, I'm going to be pushing 8-12 hour days while I can! I'm going to try to not check my results very often but I will post them mid-month at the latest and update inbetween as to how things are going both on and off of the tables. Anyways, hope everyone had a solid start to the new year and keep going strong in February!

gl at the tables!