Archive for June, 2012

Well the lack of time to play Poker has continued and Im just not going to get a chance to play for the rest of the month so had a look at my results and despite only playing 9K or so hands ive had my best month this year. I will post the results in the next couple of days or so.

So whats been keeping me busy then? Well my brother and myself have had our best month since we opened the shop and its continuing in to the next month as well which is really promising and we are really busy at the moment which is great. Besides that family life is keeping me busy and I had a really enjoyable trip to the Circus with my girlfriend and her daughter. Lets just say I wasn’t over excited at the thought of it but it turned out to be really good in a cheesy sort of way and I think I ended up enjoying it more than them two. For anyone who hanst seen the Wheel Of Death you are missing a treat, even an adrenaline junkie like myself was nervous watching the guy jumping at the top of that as it was spinning.

So July up next and Im going to try and shot take NL50 a lot more than I have because Im massively over rolled now for Nl25 and I really need to suck it up and try and move up. Poker is obviously going really well for me at the moment and Im feeling pretty confident in my game but unfortunately I dont have time to play but family and building the business have to come first because I think its fair to say Im never going to have the right tools to play poker full time but its all good.

In Poker people short stack because they think it gives them an edge. When we buy in for full we are going to have to make decisions on the Flop, Turn, and River a lot of the time where as most of the short stacks play will be Pre-Flop and then on the Flop largely taking away any further decisions on the Turn and the River because by that time most of their stack will be in the middle making it hard for them to make `mistakes`. Go to any Poker forum and you wont have to search far to find someone complaining about playing against short stacks.

Short stacks are obviously a reality and for the time being are here to stay so rather than whinge and moan about them the best thing to do is to learn how to beat them with as large a stick as possible. This is what this article is aiming towards and i am going to use a nifty little piece of software called All In Expert to give you an idea of how we can exploit the leaks that most of them have.

We are going to use three different types of short stack for this, and we are going over shoving ranges in the first part(We open, shorty 3bets, we shove) and calling ranges in the second. Just a note that we are talking about playing against `pro` short stackers and not recreational fishy players and we are mainly talking about late position wars ie. Co/Btn/Sb opens. Now most of these type of players will be using a HUD of some sort and will see us playing something like 15/12 – 18/14 so we will be an ideal target for them to 3bet us.

So this is the scenario and all hands are 9 handed:-

Poker Stars $0.10/$0.25 No Limit Hold’em – 9 players –
SB: $10.00

BB: $10.00

Hero (BTN): $28.69

Pre Flop: ($0.35) Hero is BTN with X of diamonds X of spades

6 folds, Hero raises to $0.50, SB raises to $1.75, 1 fold, Hero Shoves What Range?

So the first villain we will tackle is 9/8 with a 4% 3bet and who is folding less than 60% to a 4bet. This type of shorty is basically 3betting based solely on his hand strength rather than attacking weak opens.

So first things first and we have to construct a 3bet range for him which is going to be pretty easy, once we have done that we need to construct a range that he will call with if we decide to shove against his 3bet, again for this type its going to be pretty easy. once we enter them in to All In Expert it will then give us a range with which we can profitably shove when he 3bets us.

This is the range i came up with, on the left we have the range i think he 3bets with and on the right we have the range which i think he calls a shove with:-

Once ive entered those ranges along with money in the pot plus amount the shorty would have to call, All In Expert came up with the range on the right that we can profitably shove against this villain type. Not surprising that its going to be very tight giving how tight a 3bet range he has. So here we can shove 2% of hands and show a profit.

Now everyone is going to realize against this villain we arnt going to exploit him by getting in to 4bet shoving wars with him but we are going to exploit him by constantly stealing his blinds knowing full well that when he does decide to 3bet us we will actually exploit him again by folding nearly all of our range comfortable in the fact that we are taking his blinds constantly and that we practically get to play the BTN twice having him on our left knowing he never gets out of line.

Next up we are looking at a villain playing 13/12 with a 7.5% 3bet who is 3betting on average 10-12% from BTN/SB/BB and is folding to 4bet more than 60%.

So same again i have to go through the ranges again and see what we can come up with, obviously this is going to be a touch more difficult to do because its going to be quite debatable as to how his range is weighted with bluffs and value.

These are the ranges i came up with:-

So ive gone for a 12% range and feel he may call a shove with about 5% of that range, now that may be a touch out as he may be a tad tighter with what he calls with. As we can now see from the results on the right, it now becomes profitable to shove with around 15% of our range. This range is going to include all PP`s along with a lot of hands that hold blockers to big hands.

So now we have 2 ways of exploiting this villain, hes probably still folding his blinds to us a bit too much but now we are starting to exploit his wide 3betting range by shoving on him quite frequently. Most of these type of villains are not going to be good enough to adjust to our tactics and those that try to will either tighten up way too much which means more money for us, or will loosen up too much which again is going to mean more money for us.

Now we get on to what is my personal favorite and that is the shorties playing pretty wild 18/16 with a 10% 3bet but are averaging about 18% from BTN/SB/BB and going as high as 30% in some cases against opens from CO/BTN/SB. The great thing about these guys is that most of them are still folding to 4bets a massively exploitable amount of the time and usually a lot more than 60%

So that said here is the ranges that i tried to put together for these guys:-

As we can see above ive gone for quite a wide 3bet range but still quite tight when it comes to calling a shove(some of these guys are even tighter) and the first time you run a simulation like this you think that you must have done it wrong and it cant really be profitable to shove nearly 100% of our range against these guys but as is shown its theoretically correct to be shoving 88% of our hands when it comes to facing a 3bet from a villain like this.

Now obviously we probably arnt going to take it to these extremes but you get the idea, we can shove a very wide range against these guys time and time again to abuse them and make good profit.

So thats just giving a pretty basic idea on how we can play back at the shorties and make their life hell. Id recommend anyone  who hasnt used the program before to download it and have a play with it as its a really cool piece of kit. In the next part im going to look at calling ranges when we 3bet a shorty and they shove.

All the best.

So Poker Coaching, Is it worth the money? As with many things in Poker the answer is going to be it depends.

This is a question that I have asked myself many times over the past few years. Not been a person who can sit and read a book for hours on end and take in all the information or watch a coaching video, make notes and it all implant itself in my head, I turned to the rather expensive option of paying someone to work 1 to 1 with me in an effort to improve my game.

How do you find a Poker Coach? Go on most Poker forums and they will usually have a forum dedicated to different types of coaching. Take 2+2 for example, a quick look on there and its easy to find a couple of pages worth of coaches offering their services for a multitude of games.

I was beating NL25 at a decent rate but were having problems moving up to NL50 and were looking for someone who could help me take that extra step. I looked on 2+2 and did what I thought was a good bit of research and chose the person who I thought fitted best with what I was looking for. Luckily for me I found one of the good guys in NL_Fool and he was very helpful and we chatted a lot on Skype and he even went as far to advise me that I could pay a lot less money and probably find someone who could help me. The thing that swayed it for me was that he had a lot of glowing reviews from very established members of the 2+2 forums and after further discussions i parted with about $1Kfor 10 hours of coaching. If i recall i had about 6 hours out of those sessions before we had to cancel the rest because of personal reasons on his end but he was very professional over it and shipped me the money that i had over paid straight back no questions asked. As for those 6 hours of coaching, by the time I had finished those i was not only beating NL50 but i was also beating NL100 as well. I honestly believe that if I had kept working with him then I would be playing a lot higher than I am at the moment but it wasn’t to be.  Its fair to say though that those sessions paid for themselves many times over.

I carried on playing for a couple of months and decided to look for another coach, again hopefully to help me move up. This time though I wasn’t as lucky, I thought id done good research again but this time the coach didn’t have the great reviews from members of 2+2 and as it would turn out he forgot to mention that he was traveling the world and that it may be hard to schedule sessions. Obviously all this is partly my fault but I paid just over $1K again for 10 hours of coaching with the CardRunners coach Fooz . Now don’t  get me wrong the sessions themselves were quite decent and we had some good discussions but we would go 2 or 3 weeks without been able to schedule a session because of connection problems due to the area of the world he was in. The final straw was that I waited in on a Sunday for the full day because he “may” get a connection and we would be able to do a session, needless to say I never got the call and that was that. I started to fall out of love with the game and didn’t contact him again to try and arrange another session. I used 6 hours of those sessions and have never heard anything from him in regards to a refund for the time not used.

By this time my confidence and probably my game was shot to pieces and I was floating between NL25-NL100 when Full Tilt got shut down. That is history and I moved to Ipoker which meant that I was going to have to learn 6max. This time I made sure that I did plenty of research and after a lot of looking around I decided on the DeucesCracked coach threads13 and paid approx $50 per hour and in total had about 10 hours of coaching with him which included a couple of leak finder videos for DC that were thrown in for free. His approach to coaching was very professional and we did a lot of work on the math side of Poker that I really struggle with and by the time we had finished I was really confident in my 6max and FR game again and from that point I have kicked on and a lot of that is thanks to threads13.

So that’s my story when it comes to coaching but a quick look in the forums and there’s always stories of people who have not been happy with coaches and its very easy to see that it is a very shady area. After all its very easy to manipulate a HM/PT graph to make you look like the worlds best player and its going to be even harder to check peoples results now that PTR has stopped tracking Stars. You only have to look at the oldschool scandal on 2+2 where the coach was very reluctant to give out his screen names and also post a lot of graphs that people were asking for and then when it all came out in the wash the reason he didn’t want to release screen names was because on one of them he wasn’t even able to beat NL25 yet was making out he could beat NL100 at a good rate and also offering coaching for that level. The worst thing about this is that 2+2 have now allowed him to pay for another coaching thread so the only thing that is in place to protect people from getting ripped off is a few savy posters who look to protect the community against people like this.

So is it worth it then?  For me personally even though I did have a bad experience I would estimate that the coaching has paid for itself many times over and for someone like me who has a very short attention span, the 1-1 method is very good for me and I can get a lot out of it. It is a big chunk of money though and before you shell all that out you really have to do your research. I cant stress that enough because a bad decision can send you backwards instead of sending you forwards. If you can sit and watch a video or read a book and are able to learn best that way then there is a ton of good information out there but if that’s not for you I would recommend giving 1-1 Poker coaching a go if you really want to improve your game.

I am going to do a follow up on this piece called Poker Coaching – Do’s And Dont’s which will simply be a list form of tips to use if you decide to go down this coaching route.

Ive got to admit that I looked at HM today. It was at the end of a longish session and Tiltbreaker had just kicked in and I were slightly tilted and had a look.  To my surprise I was actually break even for the session and even better than that i was up 6 buyins in the 3K hands that I had played since starting the challenge.

So I lasted a grand total of 7 sessions before breaking but tomorrow I will start again and try and beat my new record. I do feel to be playing really well at the moment as well and im sure doing this has helped, infact my redline seems to have improved no end and im almost certain its because im not passing up some steal and 3bet bluff spots that i would normally pass up.

Anyway thats pretty short and sweet and will keep updating but other than that theres not much happened Poker wise so until next time……..

So i am sat looking at my computer screen, the date is 18th December 2010. The reason I cant take my eyes off the screen is because I have just had my biggest winning day playing poker. I’m up nearly 10 buyins at NL100 earning nearly as much in a day as I do in a month working my `real life` job as a Carpet Fitter. I’m delighted and feeling truly baller and although I am not one to brag about things I cant wait to tell people how much Ive won. I think I have made it.

Fast forward 4 months and I am once again staring at my computer screen. Again I cant take my eyes off my graph, this time though I am looking at the graph in disbelief because I am in the middle of a 35 buy in downswing. December 18th seems such a distant memory now as I prepare to move down to NL25. I’m in shock at how fast things have turned around and never believed I could have a downswing so bad as the most I have had in the past is about 10 buy ins.

The funny thing is, the more I look at the graph the more I seem unable to stop the rot. With every bad beat comes a bit more tilt and with every bit of tilt comes a bit more bad play. This all contributes to me never playing my A game for sustained periods because I am petrified of what monsters lurk around the corner.

Anyone who has read any of my posts knows that I am ultimately results oriented, almost to the extreme, almost to the point of looking at my graph and if it goes up I am happy and if it goes down I am sad. It isn’t just a case of how I am doing over the month or week that effects me. It can be how I am doing in the day or at the extreme how I am doing at the very minute that I am playing. It matters not how I have played in a session all that matters is the graph goes up or the graph goes down. There are times that I look at HEM while I am playing and find myself delighted to be up but from then on every hand that I lose and every time I check and see the money I won fritter away just sends me deeper in to unhappiness and usually deeper in to tilt.


How To Stop Being Results Oriented

Bloody hell if i hear one more person say poker is a game for the long term i think i may scream. Thats the point though, i know poker is a game for the long term but even though i know it for some reason it dosnt register in my head while i am making my decisions at the table or taking a few bad beats. All i can think about at the moment in time is money that should have been mine that is no longer mine. This is the thinking that i have got to find a way of getting out of. When someone sucks out on me i shouldnt be dissapointed, i should actually be pleased as this usually means that i have outplayed my opponent and got him to put his money in while behind. We all know that once the money is in the pot theres nothing more you can do so if you get your money in good more often than your opponents then you will profit in the long run. Every decision that you make at the table should boil down to a simple question of what action will make me the most money in the long run? Yes its ok to get it wrong occasionally as unless you make mistakes it is impossible to learn.

Below is a list of things that i hope can help with this aspect of the game:-

1. Stop Checking HEM Repeatedly

This should be quite an easy one but i have struggled with this in the past as theres no real way to stop HEM been available while im playing. The steps i have taken to help me in this aspect are to take out all the winning indicators in HEM so i no longer have $won or bb/100 won displayed on any of my reports tabs. Theres no way to take it out of the sessions tab but i will have to show some discipline here by trying not to look at this section. Even with those things not displayed it is still quite easy to review hands as we can use the filters and really we should be checking over most of the hands in a session where we have put money in the pot anyway and not just the big hands. Im hoping this will cut out some of the instant tilt i feel when i check HEM and see that i am down money.

2. Realise You Can Play Well And Lose And Vice Versa

This speaks for itself really but it is something that i obviously have trouble understanding because i am results oriented. On any given day i can play the best poker i am capable of playing and still lose money to the worse player that has played the game. In the short term varience is at its highest but as long as i realise that by making more good decisions than my opponent i make money in the long run. Realising that the graph can go up when i play bad and can go down when i play well is the begining of getting out of results oriented thinking.

3. Work With Ranges Not Specific Hands

Im really bad for doing this mainly because i know the hand that beat me. Although we should be doing session reviews on a regular basis i have found it quite interesting to go back through my database and pull out random hands in medium to big pots and run through the hand and try and put my opponent on a range. When i am tilting though i never do this instead just going over big pots and not really considering my opponents actions or range and just saying to myself that i got unlucky here or my opponent got lucky there.

4. Make Good Decisions More Often

I mean this in the context of just because i know i am up for the session i may decide just to call with Ak instead of 3betting and facing getting shoved on by a loose player and getting my money in on a flip or as slight favorite. Ive done this many a time and it all boils down to been results oriented. Every decision i make at the poker table has to be what i think is the most +EV play regardless of whether i am up or down for the day or session. If i get my money in as 60/40 favorite then in the short term i am going to lose some of these and thinking of results i am going to be dissapointed when i lose and elated when i win yet its just simple maths that says we look in to the future and i make this play then i win in the long run. So basically every hand i play has got to be seperate and not just looked at as part of a session which i do at the moment.

5. Stop Using Negative Words

Words like `Always` and `Never` are words that dont leave any room for any middle ground. When posting in my thread i find myself using words like this more and more often when i am running bad or playing bad. One of the regular posters in the thread actually pulled me up on it at one point. How many times have we asked ourselevs ” Why do i never get any luck?” The more and more we type things like this or say things like this the more and more our subconcious starts to believe it. When related to poker eventually we convince ourselves that we dont get any luck and this makes it very hard to be objectional when we are doing things like reviewing hands.

Anyone who knows me knows that i have a huge problem in that i check HEM constantly during sessions to see if im up or down and occasionally some of my decisions at the tables are influenced by that. Ive decided to give it a go to try and get out of this habit. Ive been playing poker long enough now to know that im a winning player at the levels that i play and i dont do too much in the sense of hand review or DB reveiw which could make this really difficult in that i have to look at HEM to do those reviews.

So thats the problem and now im going to try and fix it. Its going to be an ongoing thing as at the moment i cant get through a session without checking it so anything longer than that will be a bonus. I think if i can do well it can probably add to my winnings and i might just treat myself if i do really well.

Im going to keep this thread updated as to how im getting on and how often i slip up, wish me luck.

So made it through my first session without looking. Unfortunately the session was ended when TiltBreaker kicked in due to a couple of suck outs. So tempted to look but i know i played both hands fine, one of them was quite tilty which makes me want to look more. Got 3 limpers and one is a big fish and i make a big raise with JJ and the fish comes along flop is something like 478 and he leads, i raise and he calls, turn is a 3 and he shoves and i call, he flips A2 and i make the mistake of saying no Ace. Unfortunately i forgot about the 5 lol.

18/6/12 Played another hour long session and managed not to look. Probably made 2-3 buyins and played really good poker. Going to see if i could make it to the end of the month which would be pretty cool.

So ive finally managed to get round to the final part about the bots on Ipoker. Im going to continue on from the last part and the website address that i was given by William Hill support. Now the link i was given was meant to be to some sort of Poker school that had got all these hoards of players playing the same kind of robotic style and after a bit of fishing round i managed to translate the page and have a look round on the website.

What i found shocked me. In one of the forums was a topic that was clearly discussing people using bots and one poster went as far to say they(the affiliate) had been contacted by the Ipoker network and warned not to use their bots for longer than 8 hours at a time because it was starting to arise suspicion. Obviously i brought this to WH attention and posted about it on the 2+2 forums. Within hours the thread had disappeared from the Poker schools website. this just says to me that Ipoker know exactly what is going on and are clearly turning a blind eye to it.

Why Would They Turn A Blind Eye?

Thats a question that i asked my self many times and it wasnt until i started messing around with a few figures that it actually started to make a lot of sense. Below is some of them workings out that i posted on 2+2.

Just to put a little bit more in perspective and in no way are the figures that im going to show probably anywhere near accurate but this should give you a fair idea of the sort of money these bots are earning the sites.

Now im not sure that all 40 that i have got on my list are all used by the same owner but i am presuming they probably are due to not playing against each other. So straight away that should give you a very good idea what sort of money is involved in this just to bankroll them.

Right ive gone off the figures that i use in regards to my rake.

Im saying that the bots generate about $1.50 per table, per hour. This is less than what i earn because they play a bit tighter than me so ive reduced it a bit.

At this very moment there are 24 USD tables running and at the moment there is one of these players sat at 17 of these tables. Again my figures are going to be on the low side because when i add the other tables in theres 64 running and they are sat at 29 of these tables.

The bots collectively seem to be running all day round so if they average 17 tables for the day then they will make $36 per day per table.

So if between them they run on 17 tables for a day then they will rake $612 per day.

If we then average that out on a 30 day month they will rake $18360 per month.

We have to assume they have a 50% rakeback deal so per month it will make the owner $9180.

Some things to consider though:-

At peak times there are more than the number i have used running.

I have also not included Euro and GBP tables in my equations to keep it simple.

You have to remember that each and every one of the bots lose money so i would suspect that the actual profit is at least half of the money that they get back in RB.

Going on that its pretty easy to see why some sites turn a blind eye to the bot.

So hopefully that just gives a little bit of an idea about the figures involve and also gives a very good reason as to why Ipoker cant afford to remove these bots from their rooms.

The Players And Exploiting Them Like A Boss

Now ive decided not to list all the players in my list but i will list some of the main ones that i had just to give people an idea. So for anyone wanting to check them out on PTR here`s a few to be on with along with a few of their stats when i was actively tracking them:-

Demsen 17 Vpip 14 PFR 5AF 1.6M Hands Down $5K

Gaivers 17 Vpip 14 PFR 5AF 1.6M Hands Down $3K

judged66 17 Vpip 14 PFR 6AF 588K Hands Down $2.5K

kochancha 17 Vpip 15 PFR 5 AF 540K Hands Down 1.2K

lowride72 17 Vpip 14 PFR 5 AF 472K Hands Down $2.7K

moshalexx 17 VPIP 14 PFR 5 AF 500K Hands Down $1.7K

Silleks 17 VPIP 14 PFR 5 AF 1.7M Hands Down 2.7K

Now i could go on and on but you probably get the picture. I have about 50 players like this and yes a lot of players stats look imilar but i could add in 3bet/4bet/CC/Cbet/WTSD and they all are very similar.

Funny thing is that each and every one of them is up when you take in to consideration their RB deals.

These players are all playing 6max and to be honest they got tougher and tougher to play against and they do play a pretty solid pre flop game so it was a case of coming up with ways to make money off them by exploiting them. So it was a case of playing a lot of pots with them and getting in some spots to see how they react and how best i could make money off them. I ended up with a long list of ways to exploit them along with a load of notes about how they play, heres a few of them:-

Flat raise in CO and then backraised with AK after i squeezed – So as you can see here they arnt just playing a really simple style they are capable of mixing it up a bit.

Seen them 3bet AK and then not bet the flop oop after missing – this became a common theme for them and it was really easy to bleed them dry in 3bet pots because they played so face up simply because they had no choice because they cant read opponents so it was hard for them to not leak money yet i exploited them so hard because they tried not to get exploited.

folding B V B when i make it $1 –  this was NL20 so thats a big raise but the problem was that they had a ridiculously high 3bet B V B and then an insanely high 5 bet so it was hard to make money off them by making normal sized raises.  I discovered the 5x raise would get folds by everything but premiums and even then they would only flat with 88-QQ/AKand raise only KK/AA, the rest got folded equaling lots of profit for me.

if they 3bet to $2.50 they are folding mainly when i make it $6 – Their 3bet sizing is the thing that makes them obvious to spot as it is always on the large size, once again though i discovered $6 seemed to be the optimal amount to stop them 5bet bluffing so it was a case of make it smaller when i had premiums to let them bluff an make it bigger when i wanted to get them to fold.

they will raise min bets with air – This was a fun one. they play quite face up post flop because their cold calling range is just about PP`s so they fold over 60% to cbets so the times i hit i could min bet and get them to raise with air and then most of the time they would fire the turn which was great fun.

stab at orphaned flops and fold to min raise – Again an example that they are capable of making some plays but again this was easily exploitable because they would simply fold to a min raise.

$0.70 raise is a premium – they did this for a while which i though was hilarious because its so readable and i had some fun 3betting and 5bet shoving over them when it was obvious they were weak because of their open size.

Again thats just a sample of some of the stuff i had on them to exploit them and take their cash.

Conclusion

I put my money on Willam Hill because i wanted to feel that it was safe after the Full Tilt debacle, I ended up leaving Ipoker thinking it was one of the most shady sites that i could ever imagine playing on. Seriously anyone thinking about putting money on any of their sites really wants their heads examining.

To make things worse it looks like recently some of the bots have had a large profile change and some of them are now winning at the tables and if im honest i wouldnt put it past the network themselves to be running these bots to try and generate traffic to their sites. I would love to see the Ipoker network fail miserably and with traffic dropping recently hopefully its going that way and if these articles stop even one player from signing up then i can only imagine thats a good thing.

Good luck all and thanks for reading.