Sunday, August 31, 2008

Stick's HUGE Milestone

I just hit a hugely meaningful milestone in my poker career. But before I reveal what it is, I must give some background history on how I got to this milestone.

I started playing online poker in August of 2005. I joined Ultimate Bet because a CD ROM with Annie Duke's picture on it came in the box to a poker video game I bought at Target. I think I spent only about 2 days at the play money tables before I was itching to deposit some funds. So I hooked up with Neteller and deposited $50. Then I dove into a 1/2 Limit Hold'em table and doubled up in about 2 hours. I thought "Man! This is easy!!" 3 days later, I busted and deposited another $50 so I could keep earning my deposit bonus. So to make the story short, I kept up the bust/deposit/bust routine for a few months while not having a clue about bankroll management or hand strength even. The only thing that didn't destroy me was the fact that I picked Limit Hold'em to tinker with and not NL. At the time, I thought hands like KTs and A6o were the nuts. And I actually didn't know what a "freeroll" was. I literally had NO CLUE about poker except for survival instincts that would kick in when I realized I was spewing cash. I think I was down as much as $1200 in my first 3-4 months.

So in November 2005, I joined Cardschat after just lurking there for 3 months. I got a little education in poker there, bought PokerTracker, and picked up a couple poker books. Then when I found out that I was going about poker all wrong, I did a complete 180 and started playing tighter than Chelsea Clinton on prom night. I mean ULTRA tight. I just got very afraid of losing more and more. I eventually switched to No-Limit Hold'em, but still was way too tight in my play to make any kind of profit. But I still was reading poker books, studying my PT stats, and learning from the forum. I think I stayed that way for about a year and then did another 180 by starting to play too aggressively. I saw a few players on Cardchat growing and winning and I thought I needed a drastic change in my playing style in order to start making a profit. So the roller coaster began and I would have big runs, both up and down, but never really grew my BR.

I actually started this blog in 2006 and began to eat, sleep, and breathe poker in mid-2007. I finally got a handle on some major tilt issues I had from the beginning of my poker venture and things started to click about 6 months ago. I kept very precise records of my poker funds from the beginning in August 2005 onward and my all-time low was in February 2008 when I was down over $1500 for my entire career. Now that might not seem like a lot to some of my readers, but keep in mind that I played mostly 10NL and 25NL for 3 years. I did play 50 NL for a month or so last year and I have played quite a few $5 SNGs in my time, but micro-cash was my game for the most part. There were times when I felt like a failure since I had pretty much made the decision to make this my career in late 2006, but still couldn't make much profit. But 6 months ago, things started to click and I started feeling like I really knew what I was doing. I would anticipate my luck running out, but my bad runs were short and easily withstood.

So my huge milestone happened a few days ago. I didn't want to write about it right away in case it didn't hold up, but it looks like it will. So the HUGE milestone that I just achieved in my poker career is...

I CAN NOW CALL MYSELF A CAREER WINNING POKER PLAYER!!!!!

I now am showing a small profit for my entire poker career and it means the world to me! I mean, it seems like a huge weight is off my back. It also means I've made over $1500 in the last 6 months, which includes only a month at 50NL. Plus about $500 of that will be just in August. I think I can credit my success to my switch to 95% of my play being cash games and to having read the book "The Poker Mindset" to help me with my tilt issues.

When I saw my career number change from negative to positive on my BR spreadsheet, I actually thought I was going to cry. People have sold me short my whole life and even in poker, but now I have a confidence boost that makes me feel like I can go up against almost anyone. Now, the whiz kids on Cardschat and anywhere else can BRING IT ON! I'm ready now.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

I Used To Be A Fan

I used to be a big Devilfish fan until I saw him act up on ESPN during an Omaha event at last year's WSOP.

Now, let's just say I used to be a Scotty fan.



Scotty has issued an apology, but it's not the greatest IMO.


** Thanks to Wicked Chops Poker for finding all this stuff.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Stick's Update: 50NL Multi-tabling & Mikogo

The move to 50NL FR on Pokerstars is going surprisingly well. I've been doing mostly 5 tables but I've done 6 a few times. I think I will eventually get used to 6, but it could take a few weeks. Another Cardschat member named BW07507 does 10 tables at 50NL FR and made $1224 last week. I'm not sure if I'll ever be able to do 10 tables at a time, but I could try to do as many as I can. I'll have to ask BW how many hours a day he usually plays.

And the serious daily (even hourly) swings at 50NL continue. It's crazy. There have been a few days this month where I've lost $60-70 the first couple of hours of the day and then I've made it all back up in the evening and then some. I don't know for sure what causes these wicked swings. Do I change the way I play between day and night? Is it the difference in the type of players between day and night? (I notice more Euros playing during my day sessions. Are they better?) Or are these swings just normal for my new stakes? Stay tuned as I try to find out.

I've also started talking a lot of poker with my buddy Freakakanus. We started out using Skype to engage in our poker talk. Then I discovered a "Skype extra" called Mikogo. It is a very simple screen-sharing program that that works with Skype and allows us to discuss PokerTracker stats more extensively, sweat each other's play, etc., etc. It worked like a charm the first time we tried it and I'm thinking of making a video of one of our sweat sessions as we use Mikogo. I fully recommend it to anyone who wants to hook up with a buddy and seriously study poker or any other subject.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Official Move to 50NL = Swingy

Well, I finally made my full move from 25NL to 50NL on PokerStars. For a while this month, I was playing 3 50NL tables and 2 25NL. Then it was 4 50NL and 1 25NL for a few days. Then yesterday, I went to 5 50NL tables and felt fine. Overall, I'm doing well. But there have been a few days when the roller coaster was running full speed. I had 2 days in a row where I lost big early and came back for a modest overall profit for the day. I'm having to reinforce my anti-tilt techniques since the beats at 50NL cost more. It was rough for a few days, but I think I have a handle on it now. But a big advantage of multi-tabling 50NL at PokerStars is that achieving and maintaining a Silverstar VIP ranking is a piece of cake.

A buddy of mine asked me a couple days ago about the differences between 25NL and 50NL. After a bit of thought, I said that the bad players at 50NL seem to come up with a good play from time to time and that there are more Euros at that level. I've also noticed more 6-handed flops at full ring and more min-raising on all streets. Seems to be more fear of risk at this level.

After ChuckTs talked some sense into me about buying in for the full amount at a cash table, I seem to have gotten over that problem. I think my issue was wanting less risk while multi-tabling, but no I've determined that I may have missed some profit when playing for stacks. Problem solved, I guess.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Robby's Uprising Forum: What Happened?

This is a call for anyone who knows what happened to the forum for fans of NASCAR driver and legendary off-road racer Robby Gordon called "Robby's Uprising". I was a member and read posts on it every day until it just went down a few weeks ago. No warning, no explanation, and it never came back up. I've googled and searched the 'net for info, but nothing so far. Before I start emailing his website or his fanshop, I figured I'd put out the question here on my blog. If anyone knows what happened or knows someone who knows, please comment here. I bet I'm not the only one who is wondering about it and if there might be another forum coming up like it. Thanks and cheers.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Great July Results, a Silverstar, and a Possible Move Up

I'm very happy with my July. I ended up with a $284 profit for the month and 95% of that was from cash games. Even though I still enjoy SnG's and an occasional MTT, I think I am best at ring games. I think my reads on cash players are best and being able to treat each hand like a new situation helps. I've read about a few good players on Cardschat dedicating themselves exclusively to cash games and I think I'll go right along with them. Even though the poker world recognizes successful tournament players more, I don't mind. I'll take the money over the fame.

Anyway. I think I have quite a ways to go before I have to worry about anything like fame. Even though I had a successful month, I feel like my game needs vast improving. I recently made a video of me 4-tabling 25NL on Stars . Not only did I post the link in Cardschat's Poker Videos section for critique, but I also took a good look at it myself. Seems I am back to playing nitty and in the grips of passiveness. My PFR% for the month was still 6.32 and my Postflop AF was 1.83. I would like them up to 8 & 2 respectively. I did notice something about game conditions at 25NL that I didn't notice before. I noticed that 4-, 5-, and 6-way limped pots were more common this month. I'm not sure if that was a new thing or just that I finally noticed it. I did take to occasionally putting in a hefty PF raise in position when I saw a limpy pot developing. But I also would limp right along with hands that I thought were too weak to confidently raise like AJ or KQ suited. I'm not sure if that is the correct move, but I often perceived my pot odds as good enough to try for a big flop. Again, not sure if I should do that.

I did take a 24-hand stab at 50NL in July. After having my KK outflopped by a set of 7's and blindly pushing that flop with my overpair to lose my stack, I thought better of the move and went back to 25NL. I did take to 5-tabling well and I believe that it is what helped me earn SilverStar status on PokerStars. They did have a few days of double FPP's, but I still think playing one more table helped to a greater extent. Now I do have the bankroll to move up to 50NL, but I think I'm going to ease myself into it. Last night, I multi-tabled 2 25NL tables with 2 50NL table and it seemed to work fine. I'll probably stay that way for a while until I get more comfortable with 50NL.