Jan 302010

Finally a good moment to write my blog, I’ll explain along the way why I didn’t write it any sooner. Tonight I’ll play the $100.000 VIP freeroll, then I’ll go to Utrecht and will dance till dawn! Ben Sims is in the house and he is one of my favorite DJ’s. Last year, Ben Sims in the Puma was my best night out in 2009, so the expectations are very high! It better be good 🙂

After my last blogged session on Tuesday I played a session on Thursday. It started out as a pretty normal session, but in the end I got my ass burned again. 6.883 hands and losing $2.698,50, how the hell did that happen? After 2.400 hands I was about to quit as it was Thursday and I had to work the next day. I wanted to quit as soon as I was even for the day and suddenly I get a real bad streak going and I’m stuck $1.600. Next thing I know I don’t want to go to bed, especially since I’m winning a bit back again. Then the real shit happens and I’m down $3.000 without even knowing why. Well, I remember I was really running awful at 10/20, I saw a player doing the most stupid bluffs and he was winning again and again. It’s 02:30 I’m not happy, especially since I have to work the next day, but when I wake up I remember it’s just a normal day at the poker tables.

After a good Friday night out in Amsterdam I consider playing poker on Saturday. I decide not to and call a friend to just hang out at his place. We decide to try a custom game of Warcraft III. I never really played Warcraft III and I haven’t played a lot of video games at all since 2007. I had a Diablo II revival back in September after reading some Diablo III previews, but that’s about it. We play Warcraft III Risk Next Gen and I’m insta hooked. I always liked Warcraft, Warcraft II was the first game which I played over a LAN for ever and ever with 7 friends. I really like Risk as well and this combination is really good. I’m happy I don’t have a Warcraft III copy myself and at 05:00 I go home to get a good night sleep before my next poker session on Sunday.

I was eager to do good after my loss on Thursday. I start at 18:30 play about 4.500 hands and PokerStars gets bugged. I’m still up a small bit and have to take a forced break. I can start my session again about an hour later and for the next 5 hours I go up and down but never really get a good streak of cards but I was happy with my play. I don’t want to quit yet and after a 30min break I log another 2.o00 hands but since I really wasn’t able to get anything going I decided to quit at 06:00. 12.178 hands, +$328 and take a look at the graph 🙂 It looks really swingy but if you check the numbers on the left, then you see that the actual money swings where not that bad.

I skip the gym on Monday and I’m happy to start another session. I’m down about $1.500 for a long time, manage to get almost back to break-even and then I get a streak of good hands but awful beats. It feels like this has happened to me a lot of times this year, after winning with an average distribution of cards I lose big time when I get a streak of premiums. It feels really fucked since those streaks normally get you a big boost in your graph, I take a break at 01:41 and I’m down $822. I hit the couch and watch another episode of The Wire S1, I’m still not sure if I like it that much, I need a bit more action, especially in the middle of the night.

The 2nd session of the day is a lot better. A good start but just like Sunday I don’t get to win a lot of money in the end. It’s 06:00, I’ve played 10.522 and lost $1. I’m okay with my results since I did win after all, but I would have loved to win some money back which I lost on Thursday.

Tuesday I hit the gym and cycle for 2 hours. I feel really fit already, not drinking and working out helps a ton. I want to hit 125.000 VPP and I only need about 1.700 VPP. The plan is to get those and write my weekly blog. That was the plan…. I hit my target and I’m only down a bit and I’m on the way up, I tell myself to stop as soon as I’m even (didn’t I want to same thing on Thursday?). I was playing really good, but saw a lot of 2/4 outers where people just played awful. Also every straight/flush draw completed when somebody was chasing it, people didn’t play bad in most spots and that’s just variance. I was better then my opponents and had a good feeling about my play, so there was no reason to stop other then that I couldn’t write this blog.

I refresh my Pokertracker every now and then, but I miss the 5 hands I’m up. What happens next is best compared with getting a dart thrown in your eye. 4.998 hands, -$2.030. 38% W$SD (Won $ at Showdown) at the $15/$30 with a WTSD off 43%. Translated: Lot’s of good hands/flops, but none of them won at the river. During my normal workdays (Sun/Mon) I do fine, but on my “extra” days I seem to always lose. This feels really bad, since when I play on those days I feel like I’m doing that bit extra which should get me to SNE. I know I shouldn’t think like that, but when you are not winning, loads of strange things creep into your mind.

I’ve played 150.000 hands and I’m down about $6.000. I was up almost $3.000 in the first week so I lost $9.000 in about 3 weeks. That’s serious money! Do I feel going for SNE has anything to do with it? Not at all! I would have played exactly the same stakes and exactly the same amount of tables if I would not go for SNE. I would have played less hours but I’m far from burned out. I’m super motivated and in general well rested. I’m above SNE pace, but even more important I’m ahead of my own goals for January, VPP wise.

I decide what’s always best when things don’t go your way: I take a break until Sunday. On Wednesday I play Risk on Facebook for 3 hours after hitting the gym, on Thursday I attend a farewell drink at work and on Friday evening I chill with some friends and play some more risk (I’m a little addicted after playing Warcraft III Risk Next Gen) and as already said, tonight I’ll dance till dawn on some heavy techno.

I’ll hit the tables again tomorrow to finish this month. January was a bad month in 2009, it’s even worse in 2010, but a year has 12 months so there is plenty of time to catch up!

— Current Status —
2010 VPPs: 127.602
Ahead of Pace: 48.150
Total # hands: 148.418
Total # Hours: 117,38
Hands/Hour: 1.264
VPPs/Hour: 1.087

 Posted by at 11:22 pm
Jan 232010

I wanted to blog about some random things but since my previous blogs already contained so much text I decided to do it in a separate blog. I’ll start with a couple of questions I’ve received:

Tell something more about yourself?
Well I think most stuff is written on my Biography Page and what I’ve planned for this year you can read in the 2010 Poker Goals & 2010 Cycling Goals pages.

Do you like to become a poker pro?
That’s a question I haven’t answered and it’s a tough one. I think the answer is no, but it’s not that simple. I’m already employed for over 10 years with my current company and can’t complain about my salary. If I would be younger I would play poker full-time and start a career later, if I wouldn’t have real career options I would probably also play full-time poker and see what happens. Since I have a good career going I don’t want to leave the job-market for a couple of years as I think it will be very hard to roll back into it on the same level. I think poker will be there in <5 years but I’m not sure about the long term. Also if regulations change in the Netherlands I wouldn’t be willing to move, which is to me a really important factor. If you don’t mind living somewhere else, there will always be a country where you could play poker, but I’m not 100% sure how things will work out in the Netherlands. Not that I worry about this a lot, but it’s something to consider.

There are a lot of others things to consider. There is no such thing as a disability insurance for poker players. Poker earnings are treated as gambling revenue in the Netherlands, not income. My right arm is currently worth a lot of money! Sure, what are the odds? But I do have a history with different kinds of physical problems, so my chances are a bit higher then average. Also I have a mortgage and not having a job makes it hard to switch/change that mortgage.

Also since I started playing part-time I really enjoy work so much more. I don’t drag myself to work 5 days a week, I really enjoy doing it for 3 days. I really like to play poker 2 days a week I probably could do it for 5 days, but it’s also good to have some interaction with people and poker is nothing else then sitting solo behind your screen for hours doing the same thing every second. I love it, don’t get me wrong but I think if you would do it 5 days a week it could drive you really crazy, especially if things don’t go your way for a longer period.

When I started working part-time last year I saw it as the first step to become a full-time pro. My idea was that if things would work out in 2009, I would go full-time pro in 2010. Already half way I decided this duo job is really perfect. I can play enough poker without getting fed up with it and I’m still on the job market so whenever I want to boost my career again I don’t have to explain a gap in my résumé.

This would all change if I suddenly become a nosebleed regular and could earn $1.000.000 in a year.

What’s your edge in limit?
Another though one. Just looking at the numbers 0.2BB/100. Most NL players will laugh their ass of right now but I don’t think it’s that bad. A real good winrate is 1BB/100 in FR Limit. There are maybe 4/5 people with a decent sample in my database that have more then 1BB/100. People I consider really good in FR Limit have a little over 0.5BB/100. Other people who play 20-24 tables like myself have about the same winrate and a lot of people loose a bit (but still profit due to rakeback/VIP program). 

What a lot of people forget is that if you break-even, you are already beating the game by a nice chunk. Especially since you pay a lot of rake in limit games. I didn’t calculate this, so shoot me if I’m totally wrong here but looking at PokerTracker I see that you roughly pay 0.7 – 1.0 BB/100 in rake alone. I would be happy to break-even and still make all the money the VIP program offers. To me poker is about money ($/hour) not about my winrate, although a higher winrate of course would get me more money.

If I just think about my skill, well I could beat any limit game but it just depends on the players of course. In general I can beat the $2/$4 and $3/$6 games without any trouble. The $5/$10 game can be really tough and the $10/$20 and $15/$30 can go both ways. Sometimes there are really crazy people sitting there and sometimes it’s full of tough regs and I shouldn’t even be sitting there. I haven’t tried $30/$60 or $50/100 but I do see those same crazy people there, but also a lot more tough regs. Currently I say I have to stick where I am and since I’m down in 2010 so far, I should get better in beating the current stakes I’m playing and not even think about moving up.

Current skill level of the games in 2010?
It depends on the month. January is a tough one as people get in fresh with lots of new aspirations. November & December are clearly the best months to play poker as most people are playing over their head in stakes and number of tables to get SNE or a milestone. So far the games in 2010 are tough, but I did expect that. There are some direct opponents who did improve in 2009, but I don’t notice a too big difference, I do hope I did evolve myself as well. I saw some new players in 2010 having a really good start, but I see that so often. A new player moves up, he wins the first 2/3 weeks and then his graph will become a trainwreck. Some player moved up in stakes and started playing 20 tables at the same time. They are good players and play a real good game for the first couple of weeks. After that it becomes really hard to play 20 tables and still hold on to the level they used to play. Also regulars will pick-up there style and are able to counter it since they are more experienced. This happens all year long, but I saw a lot of new players in 2010 and to some this has already happened. Others are there to stay and any new winning regular at my tables is one to many of course, but besides new good players there are also plenty of new bad players.

There is a lot of stuff about limit to learn on the internet but there is so much more about no-limit. I think a lot of bad limit players are not learning players. They just like to play limit. There are also more games now then in 2008/2009. Just look alone at the number of players on PokerStars, where last year at the start 200.000 people was a lot, at the end 300.000 seems huge and now we go up to 350.000 every Sunday. Poker is far from dead and Limit games seem to stick around. I was afraid limit games would dry up when looking at the number of games during the summer of 2009, but the current state of the number of games is better then ever.

Why SNE? Why not move up? Change to NL?
I need to work towards a goal to get the most out of myself. Last year my goal was to get 600.000 VPP and I made it while playing 16 hours of poker every week. Since I’m working 24 hours a week it all adds up to a normal full-time job. Since my girlfriend is away the first 5 months of this year on a backpack trip in New Zealand and Australia I had the idea to play a lot more during the first part of the year. Also last year I was lazy for a lot of periods because I had no intention to go above the 600.000 VPP (ending up at 650.000 isn’t that appealing) and I was on pace. I had the feeling I could do more and SNE is appealing looking at the rakeback % jump, it jumps from 50% at 600.000 to 69% for SNE.

So why do I not play less tables and move up? There are a lot of reasons for this. The most important is that I don’t see myself as a talented poker player. I don’t think I’m ever good enough to play nosebleeds. I think I’m good at poker not because I’m good at the game itself but because all the other factors you need to be a complete poker player. I have a good discipline, I can focus for long periods of time, I hardly tilt, I don’t get emotional over losing money, I don’t play above my bankroll, I never play drunk and I’m good in playing a lot of tables at the same time. All these skills have a factor of how they add up to your total profit. The higher stakes you play, the higher the factor “real pokerskill” becomes and the lower some of the other factors should be rated. They are still needed, don’t get me wrong!

Also there are not so many higher stake games running and they are filled with good people. I think it’s easier for me (looking at what I just stated above) to increase my $/hour multitabling $3/$6 till $15/$30 then to move up. $15/30 is already on the high side, but if I beat the game why not add it to the tables I’m already playing? I doubt I’ll move to $30/$60 any time soon.

I’ve considered many times to switch to no-limit but there are a couple of reasons for me to stick to limit. One is that I can earn good money in it and I like the game. I like to play flop/turn/river and push small edges. Where most no-limit people think that it doesn’t matter that much if you miss a river bet or make any other mistake which only cost you 1 bet, they don’t realise that you only win 1BB/100. So every mistake of 1 BB has a huge impact on your winrate. 1 bet doesn’t seem much in a NL game but it’s all that counts when playing limit. It would costs me several months to learn NL and move up to a level where I earn the same as I currently do and I don’t even think I like the game, so that just leaves me with playing limit.

The only thing I do consider for 2011 is playing 6Max. I think this would improve my overall limit game, I would like to play HU as well as you can get a much higher winrate in 6Max and HU games. 2010 I’m planning to go for SNE and even when I get 5*FPP for 2011 I don’t think I’m going to do it for 2 years in a row.

Why don’t you give an overall $ status at the end of your blog?
Yeah, another valid question. When considering to write this blog, one of many considerations was that I don’t need everybody to know exactly what I earn. On the other hand when I’m reading a blog myself I do like to read about $, because in the end that’s what this game is all about. If I’m SNE at the end of the year, everybody can check what that’s worth. You can check PTR to see how I’m doing although it’s not 100% accurate. When writing my first blog I was thinking to post my graphs in BB’s but I think most people rather see $ so I sticked with it. I might add overall $ in the future but for now I’ll leave it like this because I feel I’m already really open enough about my financial situation. Nothing bad with being curious though 🙂

I hope I did answer your questions, feel free to ask any other!

Some more random things now:

When I play poker I always listen to music. Without my headphones on I think I can play for 30minutes max. I also need the PokerStars bleeps, if I turn them off I miss all the action. It’s like a bleep tells my head to starts thinking, I click and the next bleep sets my brain in motion again. I listen to all kinds of music, it’s either a mix of Pop and R&B (Michael Jackson, Alicia Keys, Kayne West, Rihanna, Jamiroquai, Lilly Allen, Joss Stone, John Legend, Micheal Bublé, George Micheal and many others) or I listen to Trance Music. The dance scene in the Netherlands is huge and we have a lot of different styles. When I go out I prefer Techno and I hardly go to festivals or clubs where the DJ’s play Trance but for playing poker it’s my #1. I listen to Trance/Goa mixes of Paul Oakenfold and the In Search of Sunrise or Magik Mixes compilated by DJ Tiësto. That music can really put me into the zone. Since it’s one big flow I really get into some sort of trance and combined with being fit and playing good I sometimes don’t notice that hours tick away and when looking at the clock it’s suddenly 3/4 hours later. Now the really weird thing I noticed last week is that at work, I miss the music. When I’m answering e-mails or in a meeting I don’t, but when I need to concentrate because I have to finish a memo or project documentation I need music to concentrate. Without it, I really miss something. It’s almost that I can’t concentrate anymore without music. I don’t know what to think about it, but I hope it doesn’t affect me in doing anything else in the future.

I’ve also been planning my next Las Vegas Trip. We are planning to go early September for 8-12 days. I would love to go 12 days but some guys don’t even like to gamble or play poker. Maybe I stay around a little longer with 1/2 people but the intention is to party. In 2008 I booked two trips to Las Vegas, one to play poker and one to party and the party trip was out of proportions. My birthday is also in September and I guess it will be my biggest birthday bash ever 🙂 We are with 5 or 6 other guys and are planning to hit the clubs as much as we can and I’ll combine it with some poker during the day, if I don’t feel too bad. I’m already looking forward to it, Las Vegas is really my town!

I also have a 2010 Cycling Goal Page and although most readers are interested in just Poker I will keep you guys a bit up to date with the progress. I signed up for the Amstel Gold Race and because all the other guys wanted to go for the 100Km I’ve also signed up for that distance. I wanted to go for 125Km or even 150Km but I don’t like to do it alone as I’m a really inexperienced cycler. I didn’t cycle outside yet but I think I can start doing then from next week on, depending on the weather of course. I did cycle in the gym on Sunday & Tuesday each for about 90 minutes. It’s really boring to do in the gym but at least I get some training. On Monday/Wednesday/Friday I also work-out in the gym and that’s going pretty good as well.

I’m still not drinking any alcohol and trying to eat less and already lost some pounds. Not drinking benefits in more ways as I feel a lot more fit after the weekend, which helps when playing poker. When going out I do miss it and I can’t wait for June 🙂 I do have to sleep a little more, since last week was really crap. I was tired all week and that didn’t help my game at all. Being well rested is really important for both my poker and sport goals so I have to really force myself going to bed. Often it’s not even that I’m doing something useful, I just can’t drag my ass to bed since I’m used to staying up late (06:00-07:00 when playing poker). Definitely something I need to work on!

It’s Saturday and I had a good night out in Amsterdam yesterday so I’m thinking what to do tonight. I was planning not to play any poker, but I’m not sure now. Tuesday another blog with the results of this week sessions. Thanks for the positive comments and I hope you liked the read again!

 Posted by at 5:55 pm
Jan 202010

Tuesday, time for a new blog! A very busy week, but that’s nothing new and also something that won’t change the coming months. Let’s go straight to poker.

After last Tuesday’s session I was in the green for the month again. I just want to log as many hours whenever I can, so on Wednesday I played a small session after going to the gym. I played 1.407 hands and won +$97,50. I just wanted to think about my game for a bit so I only played $3/$6 and played 14 tables at the same time. This was a great help, I can’t even describe what I’ve learned. I think 2,5 years ago I thought I was good enough to go semi-pro. A year later I learned so much and was really good enough to go semi-pro, at least that was what I thought. Another 6 months later after my October 2008 Las Vegas trip I really saw the light, there is no way I can explain to people what the difference is, but after I came back from my trip, I just knew I was good enough.

I played maybe 40 hours of live poker in Las Vegas at the $15/$30 Limit tables during that trip, but because I had so much time because live play is so slow, I could think about every decision and I spotted some things that really helped my game a lot. It’s to0 long ago to remember exactly what it was, but one thing I remember is that I learned to play 2nd pair a lot more aggressive then I used to do. Probably there were some other things, but that’s something that sticks out. The remaining of October, November and December were great months and in December I decided to really go semi-pro starting the 1st of January 2009.

Back to last Wednesday. Last Year you could categorize 99% of the players in two categories. 1) Regulars 2) Fish. Most regulars play a same sort of style and every fish plays different but it’s not that hard to figure out how to get their money. Now there was a really small group, which played a different “winning” style of poker. The most important difference was their unpredictability and the fact that they were playing more hands (higher VPIP) and played more aggressive then the average winning player. They probably play ABC poker (like most regs) vs the fish and play different against the regulars, so they can maximize their profit. I think there was only 1 regular who I saw a lot who played this style and some other players dropped by occasionally. I hated these players as it was really hard to play against them, I tried to avoid sitting close to them at the tables, but didn’t really have a counter strategy against these players. I was happy most of these players seemed to play 6Max or just didn’t play that many hands, also most didn’t play to much tables (maybe 8-12) at the same time.

Now this year, I saw a lot more of these players, also because I play more $10/$20 and $15/$30. I wasn’t really sure how to play against these players. Sometimes I did really good, other times I felt like I was really a noob compared to them. I considered trying to play like these people as it seems to be a very good strategy (winrate is good), but it’s really far away from my current style and I also think it’s impossible to play 20-24 tables, as it requires a lot more thinking. Wednesday I saw the light, maybe I’m not there yet, but I finally can understand how these people play, how these people win and because I can now understand their strategy myself,  I can counter it. I really had the feeling during my last sessions that I did a lot better against these players. I think playing some 6Max would really help me in improving against these players but I never really needed it. I did fine on the FR tables, so didn’t care that much, there was plenty of other things to focus on. I think I’ve made a big step in poker again and it’s crazy that after so many hands, there is still so much to learn.

It’s funny if you meet people and you tell them you play poker. Some tell you that they think that they are really good, but just don’t have the time. They played 50 times with friends and family and won about 15 times. It’s impossible to explain things like sample size and variance to these people and they often really think they are good players. If you think about how much those people still need to learn, it’s impossible to explain it to other people. Sure there are some people who can learn these things in a couple of months, but most need years. I feel I’m not a really talented poker player, my key success factors are discipline and the ability to concentrate during longer periods. I might be a small winner in the games and learn slow, but I do learn and I never have huge losses due to tilt or bad bankroll management. I’m not sure if I really got the “key” now, a good sample size during the coming weeks will need to prove this. I do know for sure that I again have reached another level, it might not be that huge but it feels really good to still learn in this game and get better at it, maybe not every time, but at least once in a while.

A small disclaimer already 🙂 I do understand that if I would always play 10-12 tables, I would learn a lot more and might improve my winrate a lot faster. That’s a choice I’ve made and I think that could be a nice topic for another blog. One big factor that plays a role in that choice is that I’m currently not willing/ready to play games higher then $15/$30 (due to the monetary swings) and I have the feeling I can currently beat those games. I’m already really happy I can beat the mid-stakes while still playing 20 tables. If I ever want to really play high stakes (or nosebleeds for that matter), I will have to drop down the number of tables and have still an awfull lot to learn, I do realise that!

This all sounds very positive right? Hold that feeling and continue to read 🙂

It’s Friday and I’m at work and I’m thinking what to do during the evening. Since I’m not planning to go out and weekends are the best days to play, I planned a nice and long poker session. The sessions starts pretty normal, up & down but the swings were not that bad the first 4.000 hands. At that moment I don’t hit a single hand and I’m down about $1.200, just variance. I win most money back right after and I’m almost back to break-even and again I see beats everywhere. I think I didn’t play bad at all during the 1st session. I played 7.939 hands, lost $1.165 but you can’t always win. I was unhappy with the fact that I was almost back to break-even and lost again so took a break and started an hour later again at 02:30.

Yeah I learned a lot, but I don’t know what happened next. Something that really sticks out is my WTSD at $15/$30, 46.67% where normally this is somewhere between 35-37%. This is either due to a lot of bad luck (just having the 2nd best hand all the time) or I was feeling paranoid and called down every single hand where I had Ace high or higher. It wasn’t just the $15/$30 where I lost a shitload, also at $10/$20 I was running really awfull. At $5/$10 it looks pretty bad as well, but not as bad as the higher limits. The first 2.500 hands of the session I wasn’t playing bad at all, I just think I can blame most to variance. Possibly I was playing against a lot of good players, but I haven’t really checked that to be honest (I come back to that later).

After the first 2.000 hands I was down $1.700 and got a nice streak and run it back up till -$900. Because of this I was feeling I was playing good and should be able to win some more back. I took a quick bathroom break and from there everything went wrong. It was somewhere around 04:30, I worked all day and was already playing for more then 7 hours and during the last 2 hours I went from -$900 too -$2.868 for a total score of -$4.033 after playing 12.227 hands in almost 10 hours. I think those last two hours I just didn’t admit I was too tired to keep playing. I was feeling pretty energized during the time of the bathroom break, especially after winning those $800 back, I don’t think the decision to keep playing wasn’t bad at all at that moment. That said, about 30min after the break I lost some money, I did feel tired but didn’t want to stop since I was down a lot. It’s hard to quit after losing money due to variance and right after a break, but I should learn from this. I will learn from this, but I’m human, ain’t we all 🙂

For your entertainment (and to remind myself) the numbers in a graph:

Did I surprise you? Still got that positive vibe? Well, I did! All I need to forget a session like that is one good night sleep. If you would talk to me right after that session, I would have probably lynched you at the spot 🙂 Losing motivates me, motivates me a lot. If I lose, it means I need to learn, I need to improve myself and that’s exactly what I like. I like the challenge, I need the challenge. Losing $4.00 means I need to win it back, that’s a challenge, in this case I think I made mistakes, which means I need to improve. With my new knowledge which I gained on Wednesday and with even more motivation then at the start of the year I started a small session before going out on Saturday. The result: 2.904 hands, +$215.

After a nice night out I wake up at 11:30. Trust me, this never happens but it did. Debating my options I choose to go to the gym and cycle for 90minutes, not a bad start. After doing all sorts of stuff I sit down at 18:11 and after 40minutes I realize that I didn’t get a full bottle of water out my fridge. I take a break roughly every 2,5 hours, so that shouldn’t be a big problem. What I didn’t know at that moment, was that for the next 7 hours I was in the zone! For 7 straight hours I didn’t drink, eat or get off my chair! The first 6.700 hands it felt like I didn’t lose a single showdown. I was up $2.300 and feeling on top of the world. The next 2.000 hands almost made me puke. Trust me, this was plain simple variance but I lost $1.900 and was so pissed at the pokergods but still completely in “the zone”. I run it back up to +$1.688 in 9.255 hands total and was extremely pleased with my poker skills.

It was time to take a break, since I finished Entourage (really good, go watch it if you didn’t yet) I started with a new TV series, The Wire. The first episodes are a bit slow (just like the start of Dexter), I’m not sure what to think of it yet, but looking at the rating at IMDB (9.7) it should be brilliant so I’m definitely going to watch the first season and go from there.

Time for the 2nd session on Sunday. Still happy, this time with a full bottle of water I’m totally ready for total ownage. I think after reading a couple of blogs, you can already expect what happens, swings! I guess this will continue to be the red line in all my blogs during the coming year and it’s inherent to playing Limit but again I lost a shitload of money. 2.600 hands into the 2nd session -$1.550. That means I was only up $138 for the day, after being up $2.300 not acceptable! Pedal to the metal and my hands where bleeding since I was squeezing my mouse so hard! It paid off! After being down that -$1.550 I run it back up till +$44,50. In that 2nd session I had a better winrate (1.25BB/100) then I had during the first session (1.21BB/100) which means I was running bad at the higher limits and really good at the lower limits. That indicates to me that I was not playing bad at all during that session, I was just unlucky at the higher limits and that happens! Final result: +1.732,50 after 14.804 hands (shitload of VPP).

I’m already typing for 1,5 hours, I’m ready to blog the last session 🙂

Monday was a start just like any other day. After 1,5 hours I’m down $2.300, plain simple variance! But wow… I was finally running normal and after 4.497 hands I was only down $1.141,50.  After watching another episode of The Wire the start of the 2nd session was pretty awful as well. Down about $800 but not really worried, I had the feeling there was still money to get at the tables. Some very bad players joined the $10/$20 and $15/$30 tables, I was lucky that the worst was sitting close to me at almost every table and could really win some easy money there. At 06.00 I was only down -$230 and had to take a quick bathroom break again. I considered two options: 1) Be happy that I got back from -$2.300 till -$230 or play some more. I came back and the bad player was still sitting at the tables, I just couldn’t leave his money to someone else and in about 30minutes I won $600. The player was still sitting, but at 06:42 and up +$361 I was happy with the result.

Something worth mentioning is something I suddenly start doing Sunday night. After being in the zone for 7 hours, the 2nd session started pretty bad. I wasn’t playing that bad, but I’m far from a perfect player. I made some notes in notepad, these things are all things that are not even close to new for me, but I did write them down:

  • Don’t try to hit 2pair at a paired board
  • Better pay attention at completed draws at the river when betting
  • Donkbet made straight/flush on the river
  • Gutshot + backdoor flushdraw + 1 overcard is not a bad flop
  • Raise the turn in position for a free showdown at the cost of the same amount of bets

Nothing special, some might even be extremely basic (and don’t apply in every situation). Some might even think how could you write down those things? Well, when playing 20 tables for such a long time, you sometimes make pretty basic error, at least I do. I saw myself making these mistakes and I think writing them down helps in improving my “error-rate”. It’s not like I make hundreds of mistakes while playing, but every mistake I can reduce saves me a bet and since I win 0,5BB/100 you can imagine what every single bet could do to my winrate.

The last thing worth mentioning is the fact that I didn’t play 24 tables since last week. I played 20-21 tables most times during my session and this really feels good. Playing 24 tables is sometimes okay and some periods I play in overdrive just clicking every single second. Playing 20-21 tables plays okay all the time and sometimes gives the feeling that I have sort of a break while playing (when things get slow). This helps me during my session and I intend to keep doing it for the coming period (or year). I don’t even think it makes a huge difference in hands/hour as I play all my hands a little faster which improves my hands/hour per table.

I wanted to type some more, but I’m already typing for two hours! I’ll just stick to what I typed now, another week in the books. A really positive start of the week on Wednesday, a dramatic Friday and a good weekend. If this isn’t as real as poker should be, I don’t know it anymore! Yeah I’m still down for the month, but not -$4.000 anymore! I’m confident, motivated and disciplined and that will get me to where I want to go!

————————————— EDIT ———————————-

Wow! I completely forgot to report about the status of my SNE run. Only 3K till I’m Supernova. I was planning to get 100.000 VPP in January, so getting there tomorrow feels really good!

— Current Status —
2010 VPPs: 97.140
Ahead of Pace: 47.825
Total # hands: 113.847
Total # Hours: 88,02
Hands/Hour: 1.293
VPPs/Hour: 1.103

 Posted by at 12:57 am
Jan 122010

So it’s definitely time for a new blog. I’ll just pick up where I left, which was Tuesday. As said I went to the gym in the evening to do some exercise. I only cycled an hour, but it’s a start and better then just sitting at home. Since I want to put hands in whenever I have time, I jumped behind my PC after coming back from the gym and played a short session where I managed to win $297 in 2603 hands. I played 160 hands of $15/$30  and won $1.040, I lost on any other limit I was playing, more on that later in this blog.

For Wednesday I was planning to go to the gym followed by another poker session. I was at work in Amsterdam and my sister called me at 16:45 that there was no public transport running to my home town. The last 3 weeks the country is covered with snow, which is great. I love “real” winter, I don’t mind the cold and I like the snow but the public transport has screwed up more then once these weeks, which is really shitty. Since I didn’t want to be at a train/bus station with thousands of other people waiting for the first train/bus to ride, I decided to just go to a nice restaurant in Amsterdam with my sister and a friend and have a good diner before deciding how to get home. My sister travels by car, but was to afraid to use it due to the very slippy roads. At 20:45 we decided to give the car a go, I would drive which wasn’t that bad, but the roads where stuck all over the place. Eventually the 50 minute drive took us 2,5 hours and I was home at 23:30.

Because of this I decided to work from home on Thursday as I didn’t feel like spending another evening in Amsterdam. Most of my work concerns meetings and reading/sending e-mails and since I only had one conference call in the morning it was no problem to do most of my work from home. Because I was off from work on Friday I could play a nice long session on Thursday. I still had to get up at 09:00 to help my grandparents moving so wasn’t planning to play thru the night. I wasn’t doing great, was down about $1.000 but won most money back till I got a huge streak of premiums on almost every table. You can look at the graph what happened, AA was beaten by sets,straight ans flushes, KK/QQ/JJ almost always had an A on the flop where my opponent either won the hand or didn’t put any more money in the pot after the flop. Sometimes I play break-even poker for hours and when a streak like this happens I’m suddenly up $1.600, this time I was down $1.600 and was kinda unhappy how such a good streak could end in such a disappointment.

Friday it was time to move my grandparents. I’m not handy at all, but managed to follow the instructions to build two bedroom cabinets and did all sorts of other stuff to help out with the move. In the evening I had a party, since the pub which I very regular visit had its 10 Year Jubilee. The pub also organizes a SNG every Tuesday with 20-30 people which has been running for years now. I’ve organised two leaderboards last year and played almost every week. Since I’m to busy with my SNE chase I stopped playing live poker but I also just come there to have a drink on Friday/Saturday. The owner of the place is also really into poker, playing tournaments in the Dutch Casino’s and online and his poker tables where up for replacement. The group of regulars bought two new poker tables with the publogo printed on the felt. The tables looked really great and he was extremely happy with his present. It was a really fun evening where everybody was wasted, except me…. One of those days where I really hate I’m not drinking, but if I start making exceptions already I know where it ends up.

Saturday I had to wake up again at 09:00 to help out with the move. In the evening I had two birthday parties and at 03:00 I was really tired and happy to see my bed again. Sunday at 10:00 we continued at my grandparents and when I was home at 15:30 I jumped intoed to catch some sleep before starting my Sunday evening session. Within 700 hands I was already down $1.300 and couldn’t win a single hand I was playing. After a half hour break things got a little better, but suddenly lost every hand again and was at a day low of -$2.700. I managed to fight back to -$1.043 after 11.620 hands, somehow I was very happy with this result as this wasn’t that bad looking at the total graph of the day. Again I only won money at $15/$30 and lost at any other limit.

On Monday I continued to help out with moving and was really fed up with it. I was planning to go the the gym in the evening, which I did after a quick hour sleep before diner. I started playing pretty late around 22:00 and finally had a good start. Around 23:30 a lot of tables were breaking, this always happens between 23:30 and 00:30 and always comes with big swings. People play their last hands of the evening and this normally has a lot of influence on people’s hand selection and aggression. I normally take a break right after this moment or in the middle if I win a nice chunk of money. This time I was up when it started, but down after (It’s the spike around 2.300 hands). I can’t give any other comment then “variance” and after a half hour break I picked up playing again. After the break I was playing pretty good and won some money again, but I was getting really tired. There were also no $10/$20 & $15/$30 tables open so my VPP rate was pretty low, so I decided after losing  some pots that I liked the fact I was still a bit up and called it a day pretty early at 03:53. After losing the last couple of hands there were only $30 buck left, but at least I got some VPPs again. Again I was up at $15/$30.

So I was actually down for the month since my session last Sunday. I knew this week would be extremely busy with the move and the parties on Friday and Saturday, so I was already happy to log my hands. Also last Year, January was one of my worst months, which was pretty scary back then, since it was my first month going semi-pro (working part-time at my regular job). My expectations for January were and still are pretty low. I’m happy to break-even in the games and just getting ahead of pace. I think in January a lot of people play better then during the end of the year. People tend to play less tables then in December, where they still had to rack up VPPs to get a milestone or SNE. Also people start a new year fresh with new years resolutions like: “I’m not going to tilt”, “I’m not playing any limits  above my bankroll” and what else. This has its impact on the games and also impact on my winrate.

Also my poker career is always going in cycles where I win 2/3 months and then get a losing month where things suddenly don’t go as easy as before. This is happening to me now as well. You could refer to it as ‘the zone” which some pokerplayers always mention on TV. Especially Sunday when I was playing I could notice I wasn’t in “the zone”. Where if I’m in the zone I don’t really have to think whether or not I’m 3-betting or calling in the BB, Sunday I was doubting to many decisions. I try to recall how I did things back in Oct-Dec, which were all great months, but I just can’t play the same. If I doubt things, my decisions take a second longer, if you are playing 24 tables, you don’t have the time to think 1 second longer about your decisions, so you feel rushed. Normally when things don’t go as planned I drop down in limits, but here comes the issue. I’m up big time playing $15/$30 and $10/$20 and down a really scary amount $5/10 and $3/$6. Moving down in limits might be a good thing and I have done this so much in the past that I’m not worried about it at all. But with my current winrate of 2,97 BB/100 at $15/$30 there is no way I stop playing these games. Also, moving down in limits will require to put in a lot more hours to stay ahead of pace, something to think about!

What I normally do during these periods is read a lot about poker, check my Pokertracker for leaks, maybe watch a pokervideo (I’m not a member of any training site at the moment) and move down a limit until my confidence level is back. When I feel like I’m in the zone again, I’ll move up until the cycle happens again. Today I’ve spent a lot of time reading blogs, which is also a big help. I saw some good points on displaying stats in my HUD. I haven’t changed my HUD since September and found some helpful tips of stats to add to my HUD. I’ve added CBET Turn, CheckRaise Flop & CheckRaise Turn to my HUD display which should help me in making decisions in my post flop play. I’m not at the level were my confidence is really gone, this did happen before last year, but I’m just a bit surprised that I’m a big loser this month in the $3/$6 and $5/$10 games. There are some good new regulars and I’ve seen some regulars playing a lot better since they play a lot less tables after December. I’ve also seen some other regulars struggling with the new players so I’m not that worried at all but I’m not playing as confident as I did in Oct-Dec.

After going to the gym the afternoon, where I cycled for 90minutes but at the same time was also reading SNE blogs, I was ready for a poker session tonight. I played only 1861 hands with my new HUD, since I wanted to make some minor adjustments to it and was up $493,50 putting me in the green for the month again. I also really wanted to get a blog posted, since it has been a week now and I don’t want to disappoint my readers 🙂

Now before I post my current status I would like to ask what you think about these long posts? I rather post more often with less text, but I doubt I could find the time to do that. About one blog a week seems like the pace for this year but when typing it out it feels like a huge amount of text and I would like to know it if most people just scroll to the bottom and only check the overall status 🙂 Also if you would like to see anything else in my blog or have questions, feel free to ask!

— Current Status —
2010 VPPs: 61.611
Ahead of Pace: 31.474
Total # hands: 72.285
Total # Hours: 55,17
Hands/Hour: 1.310
VPPs/Hour: 1.116

 Posted by at 10:48 pm
Jan 052010

So it’s about time for a new blog. Like in the old days when I was doing my Las Vegas blogging, get some popcorn and coke, this is going to be a long one!

After writing my blog on Saturday I watched some episodes of Entourage S3 and jumped behind my computer at 15:30. I downloaded TableNinja and was up for a test. This software should help you multitable, although I can handle playing 24 tables fine with using a mouse. I was hoping TableNinja would make it even more easy and might also help a bit in preventing RSI. I fired up about 10 tables and as you might have already picked up, I didn’t like it at all. It sometimes performed actions where I didn’t even press a hotkey yet, autojoining tables isn’t a help because sometimes it’s really useful to do seat selection and having my timebank getting automatically clicked works fine, but I never need my timebank unless I’m using TableNinja.

So I switched off TableNinja after about 30minutes and since a lot of tables fired up I kept playing. I was hoping for some nice profit as it was Saturday so there should be enough bad players around. Well that didn’t work out as well, I couldn’t win at all, quit at 22:15 on the day low after 8.327 hands, -$1.990 and 6.762 VPP, ouch!2010-1-2

I quit the session because I was finally going to see Avatar in IMAX 3D. I was expecting a nice movie but I wasn’t only nice, I really loved it. It was a spectacular 162 minute ride where I didn’t get bored a single minute and loved the 3D affects. This is something you have to see in the cinema’s, so if you didn’t have time yet to see it, make time!

So Sunday it was time for some more chilling on the couch, which means more Entourage S3. At 18:00 I made myself a little dinner and started my session at 18:30. Since TableNinja really should be a big help, I gave it one more try. I was playing about 16/18 tables and did fine, but every time things got busy (lot’s of action), I seem to lose it. I couldn’t focus, I just couldn’t click the right hotkeys but even more important, I needed my timebank at about every table. TableNinja should make you play faster, not slower! I’ve played over 1M hands with a mouse, often playing 20-24 tables and I’ve got a routine working which is really hard to change I guess. After losing $600 I killed TableNinja for good.

So after I quit TableNinja the amount of $10/$20 and $15/$30 tables was getting crazy! I think at one time there where about 10 of them opened and all the other tables where $5/$10. I never racked up so many VPPs/Hour, I think I was far over making 1100/Hour. Besides making a lot of VPPs, I was doing very good on the tables as well. After 7.646 hands I was up $1.958,50 and took a small break to watch another episode of Entourage and to get some food in.

The second session was a nice and swingy one, where I was down $700, up $1000, again down $700 and finishing at +$268,50 at 05:35. I played a total of 13.652 hands, winning +$2.226,50 which is my best day ever! and getting almost 13K VPPs! which also is the most VPPs If ever made in one day.


So yesterday was my last session before I have to work again tomorrow. Tonight I will be going to the gym for the first time this year, as I skipped it yesterday and I don’t want to slack on the gym already! I fired up my tables and was listening to some nice music and got a really good flow going after being down 2.500 hands. After 6.000 hands I was up about $1.200 (after being up $1.500) and had to take a toilet break. I came back to the tables and completely lost the flow, I wasn’t winning a single pot for 30 minutes long and lost $1.100 in those 30minutes. I hardly ever tilt, but this really freaked my out, what the hell happened there and all I could think off was what could have happened if I didn’t take the break or took my “big” break as I normally do around 00:00. Since I was in such a good flow I decided to play an hour extra in stead of doing my big break and I was really steaming thinking about what would have happened otherwise.

Well, as this can’t be good for your play, I closed all my tables and jumped on my couch to take a good long break. In stead of being up $1.500-1.200, I was now only up $106 but I should expect this to happen a lot more often this year. I did the right thing by quitting my tables, but still wasn’t amused at all. I got back in the game after a little more then an hour and the slaughter continued. Around 05:00 I pressed refresh in PokerTracker after not looking for a long time, down $1.100…. I was extremely unhappy, but calm in my head after my long break. I saw no reason to quit the tables yet and got really motivated to end this session good.

I was doing okay winning some money back and suddenly won a $540 dollar pot where I didn’t even thought I would be the winner after seeing preflop/flop capped on a Q8xA board holding 88. I won some other nice pots and after seeing that I was in the green again it was time to wrap up the session at 06:45. I had played another 13.500 hands, winning +$323,50 and gaining 11K VPPs.


So tomorrow it’s back to work. I’ll bet that will feel a bit strange as I would rather keep grinding, but I also like the change. I think it also might help in keeping my sanity during the long grind ahead. I’m extremely happy with the start, but we are talking about 4 out of 365 days. I’m now making loads of VPPs, but I also expect days where the tables are slow and I have to play some $2/$4. I’m anxious to see what more will happen this year along the road.

— Current Status —
2010 VPPs: 37.084
Ahead of Pace: 26.124
Total # hands: 43.386
Total # Hours: 33,85
Hands/Hour: 1.281
VPPs/Hour: 1.095

 Posted by at 5:16 pm