Friday, April 18, 2014

Paper lion

Tonight's blog post title is appropriated from the excellent book by George Plimpton, made into an excellent movie starring Alan Alda. Last night, I was a lion on paper, but a lamb in reality. I didn't win a single pot. Here are the lowlights of my woeful session:

- on hand 19, I lost $39,363 to hit the felt for the first time when my pair of kings with a ten kicker got beaten by a pair of kings with an ace kicker

- on hand 22, I lost $17,500 when my three of a kind, fives lost to a nine high straight

- on hand 30, I lost $22,527 to hit the felt for the second time when my jack high straight lost to a queen high straight

-on hand 32, I lost $49,750 to hit the felt for the third and final time when my ace high straight lost to an ace high flush

Why do I claim I was a lion on paper? For the simple reason that I was a heavy favorite in my "percent at river" statistic; that's the percentage of the time I should win with my hand in combination with the board. Here are the "percent at river" numbers:

- hand 19: 83.94%
- hand 22: 95.86%
- hand 30: 71.01%
- hand 32: 83.33%

During current Hold'em session you were dealt 32 hands and saw flop:
 - 3 out of 5 times while in big blind (60%)
 - 1 out of 3 times while in small blind (33%)
 - 10 out of 24 times in other positions (41%)
 - a total of 14 out of 32 (43%)
 Pots won at showdown - 0 of 6 (0%)
 Pots won without showdown - 0

delta: $-150,000
cash game no limit hold'em balance: $5,742,231
balance: $8,799,934

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Going out on top

In the cash game, it's important to know when to leave the table. You have the option to do so at any time, but the trick is in picking the right time. It's always nice to go out on top, but you don't want to leave too early if there's more money to be made. Also, no matter how much you may have won, it's dissatisfying to leave when you feel like you've just begun. A big part of the reason to play is for the sheer enjoyment of it, and it's hard to enjoy something if you don't allow yourself enough time to enjoy it properly.

Last night, I left at the perfect time. I'd had a reasonably long session, and had just brought my stack back up to the high water mark I'd set about a dozen hands before. I didn't have a perfect "quit signal" hand, which for me is any hand with a deuce or a three in it, but it was close enough for government work :-)

During current Hold'em session you were dealt 64 hands and saw flop:
 - 7 out of 9 times while in big blind (77%)
 - 4 out of 8 times while in small blind (50%)
 - 23 out of 47 times in other positions (48%)
 - a total of 34 out of 64 (53%)
 Pots won at showdown - 2 of 6 (33%)
 Pots won without showdown - 5

delta: $25,589
cash game no limit hold'em balance: $5,892,231
balance: $8,949,934

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Nearing my first AKo play million

When I first started playing online poker, my goal of winning a million play dollars seemed quite audacious. I had no guarantee that I'd be able to do it, just a gut feeling. Five and a half years later, I've achieved goals I never thought to set, and am very close to achieving others. For example, I've now won 1,742,909 play dollars with a single hand type. Granted, that hand type is pocket aces, but still :-)

Last night, on hand 38, I won a pot worth $101,307 with AKo, also known as ace king offsuit. $58,115 of that was o.p.m. (other people's money). That brought my career AKo winnings up to $946,941. Given that AKo is just one of 169 possible starting hold'em hands, that's not too shabby!

During current Hold'em session you were dealt 47 hands and saw flop:
 - 7 out of 7 times while in big blind (100%)
 - 3 out of 6 times while in small blind (50%)
 - 13 out of 34 times in other positions (38%)
 - a total of 23 out of 47 (48%)
 Pots won at showdown - 4 of 9 (44%)
 Pots won without showdown - 3

delta: $77,438
cash game no limit hold'em balance: $5,866,642
balance: $8,924,345

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Getting it in bad but not awful

Poker players always like to get it in good. However, that's not always possible. The next best thing is to get it in bad but not awful :-) That's what I did last night on hand 43. I was dealt 9d 9c, and the flop came 2c 6d 7h. I got into a raising war with an opponent, and ended up going all in. My opponent, who'd been dealt 6h 2d, called. I was a 28.69% dog, and hit the felt. I didn't feel bad about it, though; I'd made the right play. I reupped for the max, and finally got back into the black on hand 105.

During current Hold'em session you were dealt 106 hands and saw flop:
 - 12 out of 15 times while in big blind (80%)
 - 10 out of 16 times while in small blind (62%)
 - 38 out of 75 times in other positions (50%)
 - a total of 60 out of 106 (56%)
 Pots won at showdown - 5 of 15 (33%)
 Pots won without showdown - 11

delta: $21,282
cash game no limit hold'em balance: $5,789,204
balance: $8,846,907

Monday, April 14, 2014

All in radar

On Saturday night, on the final hand of the session, I got it in good but came up short. I was dealt Ac Qd, and the flop came Qc 3h 2s. An opponent went all in, I called, and another opponent called behind me. I was a 75.30% favorite to win, but the opponent who'd called behind me, who'd been dealt Tc Qs, spiked a ten on the river. He raked in a huge pot worth $206,541.

Since I had two sessions in a row where I'd gone all in at the end, I decided to do some research related to my all ins. The results were both surprising and illuminating. Although I don't have the full hand histories for my no limit hold'em career, since I didn't turn on the feature which auto saves the hand histories until after I'd been playing no limit hold'em for some months, I do have a large percentage of them. The really interesting fact which emerged is that in no limit hold'em, I've only made a profit on the hands where I went all in. On the hands where I didn't go all in, I'm operating at a deficit. Here are the numbers:

$29,839,753  gross amount won on hands where I didn't go all in
$30,616,197  gross amount lost on hands where I didn't go all in
$  -776,444  net amount lost on hands where I didn't all in

$10,922,997  gross amount won on hands where I went all in
$ 5,184,969  gross amount lost on hands where I went all in
$ 5,738,028  net amount won on hands where I went all in

At first blush, one might think the answer is to spend less money on hands I'm not willing to go all in on, and/or go all in more often. Of course, there are at least two things glaringly wrong with that idea:

1. it confuses correlation and causation
2. poker doesn't work that way

What can be deduced from these numbers is that I have good all in radar; when I decide to go all in, I'm right significantly more often than not.

During current Hold'em session you were dealt 59 hands and saw flop:
 - 5 out of 6 times while in big blind (83%)
 - 7 out of 8 times while in small blind (87%)
 - 27 out of 45 times in other positions (60%)
 - a total of 39 out of 59 (66%)
 Pots won at showdown - 4 of 9 (44%)
 Pots won without showdown - 6

delta: $-50,000
cash game no limit hold'em balance: $5,767,922
balance: $8,825,625

Saturday, April 12, 2014

One Hand to rule them all

Last night, I had the warmest welcome back to cash game poker imaginable. I had the biggest hand delta of my poker career on the penultimate hand of the session - $145,680. Since I'd been dealt pocket aces, you could say I "said it with bullets" :-) It's certainly a momentous occasion when you've played over 50,000 hands and then play a hand which tops them all.

During current Hold'em session you were dealt 27 hands and saw flop:
 - 1 out of 2 times while in big blind (50%)
 - 2 out of 4 times while in small blind (50%)
 - 11 out of 21 times in other positions (52%)
 - a total of 14 out of 27 (51%)
 Pots won at showdown - 1 of 4 (25%)
 Pots won without showdown - 4

delta: $144,895
cash game no limit hold'em balance: $5,817,922
balance: $8,875,625

Friday, April 11, 2014

My good old bike

It's exciting to drive a souped-up, flashy sports car with too much horsepower. Of course, it can also be very dangerous. There's a lot to be said for getting around on your beat-up old bicycle. That's what cash game poker feels like to me, after two months in the tournament biz. My trusty old bike always gets me where I want to go, and I never forget how to ride it :-)

During current Hold'em session you were dealt 106 hands and saw flop:
 - 10 out of 15 times while in big blind (66%)
 - 8 out of 16 times while in small blind (50%)
 - 24 out of 75 times in other positions (32%)
 - a total of 42 out of 106 (39%)
 Pots won at showdown - 7 of 14 (50%)
 Pots won without showdown - 4

delta: $-20,809
cash game no limit hold'em balance: $5,673,027
balance: $8,730,730