Mar 312010

Just like Jan/Feb I’ll do a recap of the month. This time finally with some good results which means dropping down in stakes worked out. I would love to get back to playing $10/$20 and $15/$30 but I’m 100% sure this is not going to happen anytime soon. I’ll start out with my month graph and the “basic” results followed by plenty of other things. 


— March Recap—
March VPPs: 80.022
March Ahead of Pace: -4.909
March $ @ Tables: $2.890,00
March $ FPP’s/Milestone: $7.281,23
March $: $10.171,23
March # hands: 116.668
March # Hours: 91,62
March $/Hour @ Tables: $31,54
March $/Hour: $111,02
March Hands/Hour: 1.273
March VPPs/Hour: 873 

These numbers make me happy! I did not only stop losing money, I actually won money at the tables. Also as the graph shows my game improved during the month which gives me something to look forward to in April. Including my FPP’s and 300K Milestone Bonus I’ve earned more then $10.000, not bad for a months worth. Also an hourly rate of $111 is something I would love to keep the coming months. There are 3 things which I’m not so happy with. 1) My VPPs/Hour is down from 1.084 in January to 873 in March. This is of course due to dropping in limits but the difference is huge! I play a little more Hands/Hour but still it’s more then 200 VPPs/Hour less. This somehow hurts my motivation a lot. I used to think: “I play one more hour and got another 1.000 VPPs”, now I’ve complete lost that feeling but I should just shut up and play. 2) The # of hours I’ve put in is also a bit disappointing, it’s still 6 hours more then in February but it’s not enough. February also had 3 days less then March! This has of course something to do with the fact that I lost a bit of motivation but the number should be at least above 100. 3) The amount of VPPs in March. Now this has everything to do with 1 and 2 but I didn’t even make enough VPPs to stay “on pace” in March. Sure I was plenty ahead in Jan/Feb but my whole plan was to get ahead enough during the first five months of the year so I could take it easy during summer. 

Well, that’s not likely to happen anymore! I wanted to finish at at least 500.000 VPPs at the 1st of June but that means I have to get 190.000 VPPs during the next two months. It’s doable but I doubt I’ll do it. I’ve given myself an absolute minimum of 80.000 VPP a month for April/May and to push myself a bit I’ve agreed to a sidebet with fellow Pokernews NL forum member Rock City King. He wanted a sidebet to grind at least 50.000 VPP this month, I want to grind at least 80.000. If any of us doesn’t make it, he pays the other $500. The idea is that we both make it and it’s for both not something which is unlikely to happen but losing a bet is just not an option. Those $500 at stake still count as money but those can be missed, I’m just not going to lose a bet! Now 80.000 sounds easy since my low for this year was 80.000. For the 1st week of April I’m playing a live tournament tomorrow evening, Friday evening I go to Awakenings and Saturday during the day I will be at the Pokernews PALOOZA and during the weekend of 16-18 April I will be cycling the Amstel Gold Race with lot’s of beer. I had my doubts about the coming month, the sidebet should cover those doubts so I’m confident that I’ll get another 80.000 VPPs. 

Last blog I said that I was winning again and I didn’t change my game at all. Well, I think this is not true. I noticed myself playing last week and I did notice a difference. I’m playing the exact same basics and I doubt I play any different preflop. My postflop play is changed a bit. I seem to be more relaxed and consider lines I normally didn’t take. This doesn’t mean I’m now calling down in stead of folding, it could even mean I’m raising where I normally strongly considered a fold. I have a better “feel” for these plays were normally when I tried this I would run into a set or two pair all the time. At least, that’s how it felt. I hope I can continue to play like this because I would love to grind back all the money I’ve lost in Jan/Feb! I’m still down $17.527,- but that’s a lot better then $22.000. It’s okay if that takes all year but my goal for this year was to at least play break-even and I would really like to achieve that goal. 

Now to complicate things my new boss, I changed department 1-1-2010, has really great plans for me. He wants to put me in a position as solution architect working for all group services domains. This could be a big step up in my career as I’m currently working in the HR domain only and this will give me the ability to spread out my wings and to become an expert in many other domains like Finance, Risk & Procurement. This will give me a great opportunity to extend my knowledge and to meet a lot of people to whom I could prove myself to. Since these people are often higher up in the organisation this could really be beneficial to my career. There is no extra money involved directly in taking this job but when I do things right it will definitely lead to a better position, thus more money in the future. So what am I complaining? Well, I doubt I can take this opportunity when working part-time. Switching back to full-time would mean I’m not only keeping the same income, my income would even drop since I earn more with playing poker then at my current job. I can’t finish my current SNE plans or really need to work my ass (60+ hours a week) off till the end of the year and it’s also a really different approach to life compared with what I’m doing now. I’m currently working 24 hours a week, I work hard but I’m not that challenged at work. I get my challenge out of my poker career and cycling goals. I’m really happy with how things are going and also I’ve never been so happy at work. If I get my “real” career going again my work will become a big challenge (which I like). I will have to leave my comfort zone since I will be doing work I’ve never done for people I’ve never met. 

It all comes down to making choices and I’m a person that doesn’t like big changes. I don’t like to leave my comfort zone and I normally play things safe. That might sounds strange from a guy who plays poker for a living but for me doing that didn’t feel like a big risk at all. So do I see myself playing poker in five years time? No, not at the moment so long term it might be best to get my career going again. The thing is that I’m not even sure if I want to get my career to a higher level. If I would go back to working full-time my income is already more then decent and I’m not the guy who wants to work 50/60 hours a week for a boss. On the other side I do really like to spread my wings at work and to move up a step and use my knowledge to help the company. Possibly I can wait with going back to a full-time job till the 1st of January, this will at least work out a lot better for my poker & cycling goals in 2010. I need to make a decision within the next two weeks and it’s probably my hardest decision ever with the biggest impact on my life ever. Obviously I’ll let you know the outcome but I’m in a tough “turn” spot…. 

Back to less serious things. As you’ve all read before I’m watching a lot of TV-Series but I’ve found another good one. I have plenty of others to watch but I was hooked after 2 episodes. I doubt I can explain things better then the Trailer but before you watch it you should look at the list of movies the creator/writer of Flash Forward has worked on

And movies to come:



I watched all episodes which are out (13 so far) in 3 days and ‘V’ resumed yesterday as well so I have a tight schedule (Caprica/Lost/Spartacus/V/Flash Forward) 🙂 

I’ve been a bit sick over the weekend and I didn’t go to the gym or cycling for a couple of days. I did go to the gym again today and hopefully I can work a bit on the bike on Sunday/Tuesday because I only have 2,5 weeks to go until I have to ride the Amstel Gold Race. Looking forward to it and I think I can already handle it but a little training can do no harm! 

I’ll wrap up with my year to date results:

— Current Status —
2010 VPPs: 310.046
Ahead of Pace: 66.210
Total $ @ Tables: -$17.527,00
Total $ FPP’s/Milestone: $23.962,57
Total $: $6.435,57
Total # hands: 389.074
Total # Hours: 306,97
Hands/Hour: 1.267
VPPs/Hour: 1.010
$/Hour @ Tables: -$57,10
$/Hour: $20,96

 Posted by at 10:24 pm

It’s been 3 weeks since….

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Mar 222010

It’s been 3 weeks since I’ve last blogged and there is enough to tell! Let’s just kick start this with saying that I’m happy with how things are going at the moment. There is plenty of room for improvement but I’m still human, unlike some of those grinders out there 🙂

A quick catch-up first with a graph of my play from the 1st of March onwards:

Before yesterdays session (-$681,50) I was extremely happy with my graph so far. Now I need to at least win back yesterdays losses before the end of the month before I’m happy. Being up $2/3K for a month plus bonuses means steady income and a good profit. Especially if you compare it with what happened in Jan/Feb. My low for this year was -$22.000, I’m now down $19.000 so at least I’m already $3.000 up again but I’ve also gained a lot of VPP’s so I’m finally in the plus again for this year!

I’m only playing $3/$6 and $5/$10 and moving down made things really “official”. You still hope it’s sort of a downswing or money you will win back as long as you are playing the same limits. Now since I’ve dropped down I’m not thinking anymore about regaining my losses at $10/$20 and $15/$30. If I do well the rest of the year I can win back those $19.000 at $3/$6 and $5/$10 and be happy with a break-even year and SNE. Assuming I would break-even till the end of the year, then I’m still happy with what I’ve earned for this year, I did hope things would work out different of course but that’s poker. Now I could also run as god and come back to $10/$20 and $15/$30 but at the moment I’m not looking up, I first need to get a stable winrate at $3/$6 and $5/$10.

Strange enough I’m doing really good at $5/$10 and at $3/$6 I’m still slightly losing . It’s a lot better then it was in Jan/Feb and if you would ask me, I haven’t changed my game! I now have a winrate for March at $5/$10 of 0.73 while in Jan/Feb my winrate was -0.81. I really can’t explain that huge difference, I don’t even have the slightest idea! That’s a bit worrying but I’ve seen other regulars at the tables having the exact same thing in Jan/Feb.

If you just look at the graph above, It’s scary! JaneTheHot, one of the best players at my stakes, got the exact same graph as I have. The first week of 2010 everything was fine (just like me) and then a huge downswing hit. These are only the stats from my own PokerTracker (so not all Jane’s hands), but PTR shows about the same. JaneTheHot sustained a much better winrate then I did in 2009 but it’s really scary that our graphs look so similar! Jane stopped winning at the exact same moment as I did and picked things up again at the exact same moment. The only difference is that I played a lot more, so I’m a bit further down still 🙁

I can’t really explain these things. I don’t believe that pokersites are rigged. If I would do that, why bother even playing? Most of it will probably be up & downswings but I believe some of it is the flow that’s going on at the tables which changes month by month. Some months people try to call down a lot, the other month people start raising all kind of things on the turn and the next they only play fit & fold. Now one of these matches my play style the best and others suck for my play style and while most regulars will continue to play the same game, the fish out there make up the most of our winrate. Me and my buddy have the complete opposite play style but often in months he is doing really well, I’m not and vice versa. Pretty hard to try and explain these things on paper without any solid proof, so considering it as just some rambling.

Besides the fact that moving down made my losses sort of “official”, grinding VPP’s has become a lot tougher. I was almost up till 1.100 VPP/hour and currently it’s about 900 VPP/Hour. This didn’t really boost my motivation while I should work harder! I’m at 282.000 VPP and my end-goal for the month is to have at least 310.000 VPP. That means a little over 100.000 VPP a month, but in January I made 140.000 VPP and in March I expect only to get 80.000. Now I’m actually not that worried if I’m going to make SNE or not. I must say, I was first when I moved down but when I do a simple calculation. 80.000 a month for the next 9 months means 720.000 VPP. I only need 690.000 if I get to 310.000 at the end of this month and getting 80.000 VPP a month isn’t really hard work. I wanted to get a lot more VPP during the first 5 months this year so I could get time off during summer but even if I don’t do that, SNE is still doable.

Knowing this (the fact that I’ll make it) is the worst thing for my motivation! Since I have the idea that I make it anyway I put in even less hours. Distractions are on the lure almost everyday so that’s really the thing I should watch out for! Getting a Starcraft II Beta Key was probably the worst that could have happened to me. I have a very simple gaming career: Command & Conquer (1995), Warcraft II (1996), Red Alert (1996), Duke Nukem 3D (1996), Diablo (1996), Starcraft (1998), Diablo 2 (2000), Planetarion (2001),  Counter Strike (2002), World of Wacraft (2005).

Sure I’ve played different games, but these are all games I’ve played so much that you could call it sort of an addiction. I had a struggle of almost a year to leave World of Warcraft and start playing more poker. I can only imagine what could have happened if I would have started playing online poker in 2005 or 2006, but I must say being guidleader of a WoW guild for 2yrs was a blast as well. I played WoW for about 3years and this month my WoW guild has it’s 5year anniversary, something I’m very proud of as well!

Now Starcraft II Beta is there and the game is just the same. Now you could say that’s pretty bad, but the game always rocked so I don’t really care. I got an “invite a friend” key and I’ve been playing this game over and over both 1 vs 1 and 2 vs 2. I play my poker sessions on Sun/Mon evening/night but else I try to play as much Starcraft II as possible. I’ve never been really l33t in this game like Elky or RaSZi, but I was proud to be #1 in the copper ladder last week!

What I didn’t tell is that the ladder system works like this: Platinum > Gold > Silver > Bronze > Copper and each ladder has only 100 people on it, which means I was #1 of the worst ladder out there and only out of 100 people but still it made me happy 🙂 I’m now playing in the Bronze ladder and I’m somewhere top15. Since my buddy now also got a Beta Key we’ve been playing 2 vs 2 and we are actually in the gold league and not doing that bad. I’m happy as long as my win/loss ratio is positive and it’s for both!

Besides Starcraft II I almost got back into Planetarion last week. It’s a text based strategy game which used to have ten thousands of players. It’s a tick based game (you only have to do things once every hour) but because of that the best thing is to really be there at least once every hour. I played the game to the extend that my sleep pattern looked like the following:
01:05 – Bed, so I was around after the 01:00 “tick”
02:55 – Alarm so I could do things in the 02:00 “Tick”
03:05 – Bed again so I could do things in the 03:00 “Tick”
05:55 – Alarm so I could do things in the 05:00 “Tick”

I then did this for the full 3 months of a round (and I did play multiple rounds), being top10 almost all ’round’ but I actually never ended really high myself. That means a max of 5 hours sleep and I would be awake for about 10 minutes during those 5 hours. When you had incoming, you would stay up all night to cover yourself and your friends. Well, I’m a geek but that game was both killing and extremely fun! I had a full-time job and didn’t look to healthy but a WoW addiction is nothing compared to this 🙂

I said sort of yes to an old friend who still plays the game. I would really love to play the game but when I spend last Wednesday evening on IRC (that’s what you use for the community chit-chat) I knew I couldn’t just play the game a bit for fun. Luckily I bailed out in time! I’m always looking for distractions but I just shouldn’t!

Besides having a good time playing games there is so much more out there. I try not to drink as you might have read but two weeks ago I had one of my “pre-selected” off days. A pubquiz in my local pub and every team had to dress up, see result below:

It was a really fun evening and I ended the night completely wasted but didn’t even had a real bad hangover the next morning! I really can’t wait until it’s summer again and I can have my weekly beer!

The sun has been out every now and then the last weeks and that also means I can finally cycle outside. Last week I had a nice run but yesterday I really outperformed myself. I solo cycled 80km in less then 3hours and when I was home I was really exhausted! I have to do 100km on the 17th of April (Amstel Gold Race) but that includes loads of hills so I’m not there yet. Since I’ll be cycling with a group I can probably hide from the wind a bit more so I feel confident that it’s not going to be a problem.

On the 22nd of May I scheduled another trip of 100km together with 4 colleagues. We will visit some of the famous dutch hills in the south 🙂 Probably the same as I will be cycling in the Amstel Gold Race, but that’s fine. Then on the 5th of June it will be probably my big day! Cycling the Alpe D’Huez! I can’t wait, I really can’t! The cycling season started again a couple of weeks ago and seeing the pro’s going up a mountain complete wasted just gets me even more excited!

Next to all the gaming and cycling I’m still watching Spartacus, Caprica and Lost. I’ve also finished the last 7 episodes of Heroes S4 which I still had to watch. I think I’ll start to watch Entourage S6 but there is still so much more out there I’m sure I don’t have to feel bored for the coming years!

I also live next to Bloemendaal which is the party beach in the Netherlands. The grand opening was yesterday, I did miss that party but I’m sure I’ll spent some time partying on the beach again. On the 2nd of April I go to Awakenings Indoor which always is a really good techno party. I already bough tickets for Awakenings Outdoor (26th of June) and Loveland (14th of August) and will definitely go to Mysteryland as well. Defqon1 and Welcome to the Future are also both festivals I want to attend so I’m really up for another year of outdoor (dance) festivals!

When all the festivals are over the biggest party still has to come. On the 3th of September I will be leaving for San Francisco, spending 2 days downtown before driving to Los Angeles. I’ve already visit Los Angeles for a long weekend so we will not be doing a lot over there, but we are visiting LA only for Six Flags Magic Mountain 🙂 About 10 extreme roller coasters should get our blood pumping before we go to Las Vegas for 8 days of party. My birthday is the 14th of September which will probably be a party which we will never forget!

Poker, Gaming, Parties, Cycling, TV-Series, Festivals and Holiday. I think a nice break-down of my life in just one blog! Unfortunately since all these things take their time it’s hard to put in the weekly hours to blog! Hopefully I do better in the coming three weeks. Thank you for your patience!

— Current Status —
2010 VPPs: 282.019
Ahead of Pace: 62.841
Total # hands: 348.757
Total # Hours: 274,10
Hands/Hour: 1.272
VPPs/Hour: 1.029

 Posted by at 4:44 pm

February Recap – Dropping down in stakes

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Mar 012010

Yesterday I’ve played the last session of February. After a horrible January I had the idea the worst was behind me. I couldn’t have been more wrong! I’ll start with the numbers and explain from there:

— February Recap—
Feb VPPs: 89.716
Feb Ahead of Pace: 12.996
Feb $ @ Tables: -$12.411,50
Feb $ FPP’s/Milestone: $7.624,10
Feb $: -$4.787,40
Feb # hands: 108.203
Feb # Hours: 85,97
Feb $/Hour @ Tables: -$144,37
Feb $/Hour: -$55,69
Feb Hands/Hour: 1.258
Feb VPPs/Hour: 1.043

As you can see even if I add all the FPP/Milestone money I’m still down $4.787,40. That means that it’s just impossible to continue at the stakes I started out with this year. Last week on Sunday I made the decision to drop down in stakes. I had given myself the time until the end of this month, but it just had to stop right there. I was playing my session and I can’t even tell what happened. I play my normal game, I won my pots but somehow I don’t win enough of them. The end result is one steady line that goes down and there is not one moment were I had a nice flow going. I think you could compare it the best with what would happen if you would fold every hand, so you only play the blinds every round. The real reason why I decided at that moment to drop down is that I just didn’t care anymore.  I was down -$3.500 and I felt num. I refreshed PokerTracker and was like: “Oh, -$3.500 well that’s nothing new”. It just isn’t the state of mind you should be in. Sure you have your swings in the game but there should always be a positive spirit to grind that money back as soon as possible. I completely lost the spirit as I had the idea I couldn’t have done things any other way.

Now there will be plenty of players who know what my flaws are (feel free to comment/mail them) but the only wise thing I can do is dropping down to stakes I’m comfortable with. I will have to win some money again and most important, build up my confidence. I’ve dropped down to $3/$6 and since there are no 24 tables of $3/$6 running I play some $5/$10 along with them. I considered playing $2/$4 to get to 24 tables, but the VPP rate is really low there and I don’t even think I could play enough hours to get to SNE if I have to play to much $2/$4. Below a graph of what happened so far after I’ve dropped down in stakes:

It feels a lot better. In stead of losing money, which lately often were sums in the range of $1.500 – $4.000, I’ve actually won money! Sure it’s only 22.000 hands and only two days of playing but it feels good. I’m up 1.21 BB/100 at $3/$6 which I think is really good and I’m down a small bit at $5/$10, -0,28BB/100.

I don’t get why I do better now at the $3/$6 & $5/$10 as I was playing them as well when I was playing the $10/$20 & $15/$30. It could be because I focus more on the higher stake tables but if you would ask me I’m doing the exact same thing now. I’ll just have to drop the “why?” questions for the moment and focus on winning. If I look at my $3/$6 graph for 2010 I see hope!

I’ll grind back those $414 I’m still down and I hope to do the same with my $5/$10 graph but that will be a lot harder.

When both graphs show a good result I might consider going back to $10/$20 but I should forget about that for now and just have to face the fact I’ll have to play more hours to reach my goal.

I didn’t reach my VPP Goal for February, which was 100.000 VPP. I must say that the Olympics didn’t help at all. If I would run good I would have probably played poker and turned on my TV to watch all the Speed-Skating but since I didn’t want to risk losing even more money, most of the days I just watched the Speed-Skating and didn’t play any poker. I was easily distracted the 2nd half of this month, because I had lost most fun in playing poker and there were plenty of fun things to do. I hope to do better in March, the positive last two days should help with that and I’m planning to get at least 100.000 VPP in March, putting me again a good amount above pace.

This week starts pretty bad since I switched my work schedule a bit to have a bit of fun on Thursday evening. That means that this week I have one night less to play poker, so I will have to catch up in the evenings. I will actually drink alcohol again on Thursday, the first time after New Years Eve, so I expect to have a huge headache on Friday 🙁

Not only poker was really bad the last two weeks, also sport didn’t got its needed attention. Last week I hurt my back doing some biceps exercises and I couldn’t do anything for a couple of days. It seems to be over now, so I’m back in the gym tonight. Only 7 weeks until I have to cycle 100km and today is actually the first day it’s really good weather to cycle outside. To bad I have to work tomorrow and since I really wanted to type a new blog I’ll cycle in the gym tonight, hopefully for the last time.

Part of my normal distraction are TV-Series and I’ve actually started watching a new TV Serie which I really like.

Spartacus: Blood and Sand – Official Trailer

I watched all 6 episodes yesterday. It’s a mix between 300 and Gladiator and I’m a big fan of both! Check it out. Besides watching Spartacus I watched the new Episode of Caprica, which isn’t that good but I’m just still in love with Battlestar Galactica! Also I’m keeping up with Lost, but I don’t really like where it’s going. I’ll finish it since it’s the last season but I think the writers are really trying to put in as many weird things as possible and write a story around those things, in stead of focusing on writing a good story. I noticed that a lot of people still like Lost a lot, so maybe it’s just me.

February was my worst month ever, I dropped down in stakes and I’m actually down in money for the year. On the other side the Olympics were really good to watch and after dropping down stakes my last two sessions were hopeful so I can start March with a positive attitude. I’ll be back!

 My year to date results below:

— Current Status —
2010 VPPs: 230.023
Ahead of Pace: 68.379
Total $ @ Tables: -$20.417,00
Total $ FPP’s/Milestone: $16.681,29
Total $: -$3.735,71
Total # hands: 272.406
Total # Hours: 215,35
Hands/Hour: 1.265
VPPs/Hour: 1.068
$/Hour @ Tables: -$94,80
$/Hour: -$17,35

 Posted by at 4:12 pm