Thursday, June 26, 2008

Heading to Smoky Reno

Leaving tomorrow for Reno for the 3rd Annual Reno Brewfest Cardschat Meetup. Gonna be with some great people while having some great brews and playing poker. I really hope at least some of the smoke from the wildfires in the region goes away in time for Saturday. That stuff gives me a headache if I stay outside too long. You can see what it looks like in downtown Reno right now in this webcam view. Even at my house 2 hours away, the smoke is so thick that I don't even like to open my front door.

Anyway, I'm gonna try to rock 'n roll at the poker table. Last year, I was really serious but was a bit quiet and not too much fun at the table. This year, I'm gonna try to stay just as serious while trying to appear to be more loose and fun at the table. I like to win but I don't want to seem like a jerk to all my buddies.

Gotta get back to packing. I'll post a report upon our return. Cheers.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Finally! A Downswing That Isn't My Fault!

When I usually hit a downswing, I see a few hands that are my fault when I go back and analyze my losses. But this time, it's 100% luck. I've been on a pretty hard 2-day cash game downswing at 25NL. I went back to look at my 8 biggest losing hands over those 2 days and they were all suckouts or outkicks. I think I can safely say that I played them all correctly. Perfectly? No. But correctly. Here's an example:

POKERSTARS GAME #18229731743: HOLD'EM NO LIMIT ($0.10/$0.25) - 2008/06/18 - 20:55:30 (ET)
Table 'Ueta' 9-max Seat #8 is the button
Seat 1: MrSticker66 ($20 in chips)
Seat 2: chris2745 ($24.50 in chips)
Seat 3: glimppie1987 ($10.60 in chips)
Seat 4: bromsgrove ($22.55 in chips)
Seat 5: llludda ($18.55 in chips)
Seat 6: oakraiderfan ($32.65 in chips)
Seat 7: AmokTr ($6.15 in chips)
Seat 8: Freakakanus ($23.25 in chips)
Seat 9: BDC1911 ($15.15 in chips)
BDC1911: posts small blind $0.10
MrSticker66: posts big blind $0.25
AmokTr: posts small & big blinds $0.35
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to MrSticker66 [Js Ac]
chris2745: folds
glimppie1987: calls $0.25
bromsgrove: raises $0.50 to $0.75
llludda: folds
oakraiderfan: folds
AmokTr: folds
Freakakanus: folds
BDC1911: folds
MrSticker66: calls $0.50
glimppie1987: calls $0.50
*** FLOP *** [5c Jc Td]
MrSticker66: checks
glimppie1987: bets $3
bromsgrove: calls $3
MrSticker66: raises $7 to $10
glimppie1987: folds
bromsgrove: calls $7
*** TURN *** [5c Jc Td] [Qd]
MrSticker66: bets $9.25 and is all-in
bromsgrove: calls $9.25
*** RIVER *** [5c Jc Td Qd] [Th]
*** SHOW DOWN ***
MrSticker66: shows [Js Ac] (two pair, Jacks and Tens)
bromsgrove: shows [Tc Ad] (three of a kind, Tens)
bromsgrove collected $42.10 from pot
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot $44.20 Rake $2.10
Board [5c Jc Td Qd Th]
Seat 1: MrSticker66 (big blind) showed [Js Ac] and lost with two pair, Jacks and Tens
Seat 2: chris2745 folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 3: glimppie1987 folded on the Flop
Seat 4: bromsgrove showed [Tc Ad] and won ($42.10) with three of a kind, Tens
Seat 5: llludda folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 6: oakraiderfan folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 7: AmokTr folded before Flop
Seat 8: Freakakanus (button) folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 9: BDC1911 (small blind) folded before Flop

I know it's not such a good idea to check-raise TPTK against 2 players. But I knew the villain was loose and that the c-bettor had nothing. My read was perfect, imo. Again, the play wasn't perfect but I think it was still correct with my great read. Then just bad luck happened. I had 8 big hands like this over 2 days. At first, I did tilt a bit while 4-tabling and 3-bet pushed my AJo PF vs a tight player's KK and hit T89QT for the straight. That guy was pretty pissed and I don't blame him. As soon as I made that play, I realized what was happening and I quit for the night.

I'm pretty proud of not finding any horrible plays during this swing and for not letting my tilt get out of control. I'm still holding my own in SNG's for the month, also. About 20% ROI% so far. $5 6-player games are my thing right now. Always good to fall back on when things go bad at the cash tables.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Book Review: "How to Turn Your Poker Playing Into a Business" by Ann-Margaret Johnston

Finally, the book review I promised. I think I have a good one in me now, so here goes:

When many people start reading book reviews, they may just skim the first paragraph and decide if they want to continue reading the review based on if they think the book applies to them or not. So let me hurry up and mention right away that I recommend this book to EVERY POKER PLAYER who files a tax return in the US. Whether you play once a year or 10 hours a day, this book has tax tips and info that I think is definitely useful to any poker player. You don't necessarily have to make poker your business for this book to be useful. So everyone read on.

This 122-page book from 2005 might at first seem like it could be too short and outdated to be any good. That couldn't be further from the truth. All the info packed in this little book is very useful, quite functional, and it should remain that way for a long time. The author is a poker-playing CPA who knows her stuff and has made this book poker-specific. She gives insight and helpful tips regarding tracking play and claiming items in a way that every poker player needs to know about. It really opened my eyes to what I was doing with my tracking and I learned many things regarding poker and taxes that I had no clue about.

The author describes the detail needed in tracking poker play and what can be claimed and what cannot. She also helps the reader decide whether he wants to claim as a "professional" or as a "hobbyist" and the differences in each one. One issue I found interesting is the type of detail a poker player should keep of his play in order to be taken seriously by the IRS. It boils down to keeping a record of poker play in sensible intervals. Not per hand or such but maybe per table session during live play but maybe less often during online play. It's somewhat of a gray area, but one that a player must get right if he wants to avoid an audit by the IRS. I have gone back to recording my online play per day and have separated my winning days from my losing days. That brings up another interesting fact that I read in this book. You can only claim losses up to the amount of your wins. So if you win $800 but lose $1000, you can only claim $800 in losses to match your $800 in winnings. And you can't make the total zero since the losses and winnings match up. You must claim winnings and losses separately. That is why tracking play a little more often than usual comes into play.

Some other interesting things in the book are the fact that other expenses like the cost of travel, your computer, and your Internet service can only be claimed if you are claiming to play poker for a living AKA you are a "professional". If you are only a "hobbyist", you must still claim your winnings and losses but can't claim other expenses. Plus there are certain interesting characteristics to your poker playing that you must have in order to be considered professional.

So as you can see, this book applies to all US poker players. After reading this book, I'm so excited about the advantages I will have when I file my next tax return. Since I rely on updated tax software to help me figure my tax return, I have full confidence that I can file an accurate return and everyone who reads this book should gain that same confidence, also.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Stick's Poker Library v.2

I acquired a few more poker books for my library recently and added them to the bottom of this list:

Still getting great deals on them and I found a used book store that takes trade-ins.

Again, I promise that a review on a "poker & taxes" book is coming soon. I just want to make sure I write the review as well as I possibly can and I've had too many distractions lately to be able to put forth my best effort. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

May Results Mixed

I ended May with a profit of about $68, but a disturbing development has occurred. While my STT/MTT results have improved dramatically, my cash game results took a tumble. The disturbing part is that I have been concentrating most of my effort over the past few months on improving my cash game skills. I have made some good progress in those months until May. I'm not quite sure what happened. I do remember a few bad calls along the way, but not too many.

I was -$45 over 5600 hands in cash games, but it was my post-flop aggression factor that I have noticed. It was only 1.75 and I think it is due to being lulled by the passive style I have fallen into at the 25NL level. I have had some success with it in the past by flat calling PF raises with semi-strong hands and trying to hit a big flop, but now that seems like "swinging for the fences". Now at 25NL, my pre-flop raise % has dropped to 6.5. I know that is way too passive to be profitable and I have had success when it was around 7.5 or 8. My c-betting has suffered, as well. It seems I've become a bit too weak in cash games and I need to snap out of it.

But the good news is that my tourney game has improved immensely (hope I don't jinx myself by saying this). My ROI% was 31.6 over 68 tournaments. I even had some players comment on my good run after they looked up my latest Sharkscope or Top Shark stats. I'm not completely sure what the key has been to my latest success. It might be that I have been mixing up my play quite well between patience and bluffing. It also could be that I have been getting great reads on my opponents and have been really tuning in to the flow of play. Concentration has been an issue for me in the past.

With these new developments in my progress, I feel like playing more SNG's. But I am afraid my cash game will suffer if I get lax in my efforts to improve it. I think I am at a crossroads between developing my overall game OR trying to make larger profits in a way that is easiest for me. Lately, I have read very little of the current book I am on since I have been playing so much. I haven't even taken the time to post the latest book review I have been promising here for a few weeks (it's coming, I promise). Time to choose a path, I guess.

I would also like to lose about 10 pounds before the brewfest on the 28th, but that's a different story...