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I need to trust my reads. This is something that you hear often in poker. Seems like an easy concept, but, at least for me, is difficult to master.

Here are some memorable hands for me so far this month. I apologize for not posting the exact hand histories. I am writing these from memory so bear with me.

In a recent home game, I was UTG with AK. I 3 bet and am called in the BB. The flop comes K-10-rag. I put out a C-bet and am called. The turn brings a 9 and fire a second bullet. The button then re-raises. I am obviously beat. “He wouldn’t call an UTG raise with QJ would he?” I ask my self, channeling Phil Hellmuth. I talked my self into re-raising all in. I was hoping he was on some funky draw with AJ or AQ. A bad decision. He did have the QJ and I was ousted.

In a ring game this week. Again I was dealt AK in the BB. The button tries the squeeze and raises. I 3-bet and he calls. I had only been on this table for one orbit. But given the table chat, and the short history, I have pegged the villain as very loose and aggressive. The flop comes all rags with two diamonds and he raises. I call. The flop comes another blank, he moves all-in. I don’t know why, but I put him on AQ. I didn’t think this is what he had I KNEW IT! I called. When the cards were flipped, he had EXACLY what I put him. Stronger than what I thought but he did flop a flush draw and was lucky he didn’t draw out on me.

I was very pleased with my read. Poker is easy! I OWN these guys! This is going to be a good session!
A few hands later, I’m still full of myself. Again I’m in the BB with a different player on the button. Everyone folds to the button and. he 3 bets. I look down at a pair of fours. A button raiser never has a hand does he? I re-raise, he calls.
The flop comes all rags, he bets, I quickly call, turn is another rag. He bets, I call. The river is another rag. He bets again. I re-raise the minimum. He thinks for a few and he calls. He has pocket Jacks. BLEH!

What a dumb play by me. I thought he was stealing. Even if he was, there was nothing on the board I could beat. I liked my idea of raising on the river. Like Tony G says I was playing it like a set! But a min raise? What was I thinking? The play may have worked if I had bet more on the river. Too bad he didn’t have the AQ.

This month, for the first time, I started playing ring games on a regular basis. Previously, I would play cash games only once in a while. I’d get frustrated easily, and give up. Or I would play in a game that was too high for my bankroll, I would play too timidly in fear of putting a big dent in my bankroll. In short, I had no plan.

I’ve been reading many of the various articles on the subject of bankroll management and I have come up with a set of rules. Most of these were influenced by Chris Ferguson’s articles on Full Tilt.

1. 1000 BBs in your bankroll for the level I’m playing. I started with $20 so my current level is the 1/2 cent tables. When my BR reaches $40, I’ll move up to 2/4 cent. And so on.

2. Don’t buy into a SNG for more than 5% of my current BR.

3. I won’t buy into a MTT for more than 2% of my BR. I do have a couple exceptions to this rule. I will play in the TPL on Pokerstars, which is a $1.10 buy-in. The same goes for my home game on PS.

4. If I hit a losing streak, I MUST move down in stakes as my BR dictates.

This is probably a little conservative for micro stakes, But I’m sticking to it.

At the time of this posting. I have more than doubled my BR and I am almost ready to move up in stakes!

The new season of The Poker Stars Twitter Poker League has begun.  And, for the second week in a row, I have managed to cash in both tournaments.  A min cash, but a cash just the same.

While I’m happy to get the points and mostly happy with the way I have been playing, I would be much happier to finish much higher.

One of the things I’ve been trying is to be more aggressive as the tournament nears the bubble.   Now I’m not going to be a maniac and raise every hand, just try and push some of the smaller stacks out of pots, steals some blinds, you get the idea

But, at what point does this become too much of a gamble? Does playing to win mean risking not cashing?

Here is one hand that has stuck in my craw a little bit. We were about 30 spots away from the bubble, I raise from middle position with AJ off. BB re-raises all in. If I call, I still have around 3K left. (Earlier, the guy called all his chips off to me on a paired flop with AQ with me holding AK The board paired again and the luckbox survived with a split pot.) I figured I was a coinflip at best, perhaps I was easily dominated, so I adjusted my skirt, and folded.

PokerStars No-Limit Hold’em, 1.1 Tournament, 200/400 Blinds 50 Ante (9 handed) – PokerStars Hand Converter from HandHistoryConverter.com

BB (t3292)
UTG (t23206)
UTG+1 (t5626)
MP1 (t5762)
Hero (MP2) (t6620)
MP3 (t10774)
CO (t4449)
Button (t3575)
SB (t4375)

Hero’s M: 6.30

Preflop: Hero is MP2 with A, J
3 folds, Hero bets t1200, 4 folds, BB raises to t3242 (All-In), 1 fold

Total pot: t3050

What would you have done in this situation?
 

The Johnny Chan Play

I use this play several times in tournaments and it almost always works.

We’ve all played in these tournaments where there is always one guy that bets out at every flop, hit or miss.   This play is a good way to neutralize these players.

There, I’ve said it.  I’m done with Poker Star’s Freerolls.   They’ve been fun for me for a long time, but not any more.  Time to move on.

My disposable income has increased a little so maybe I can invest a little money and buy into some higher level tourneys and improve my game.  I’ve trickled up to 35 bucks through freerolls over the past year.  (playing off and on)

Before, I played just to unwind after work, just for fun.  But I’d just as well go to Pogo and play bingo the way some of these idiots play these freerolls.  It’s not helping my game.

I’ve never been much of a “blog guy”. I’ve started a few in the past, but for whatever reason, never followed through and quit updating after a few posts. This one may suffer the same fate but for now, I’m committed to it.

I’m going to use this blog to discuss, analyze, and bitch about my online poker results. Not an original concept, but I’m mainly doing this for myself.

A couple months ago, I started playing in the Poker Stars Twitter League. Its only a $1 buy in, Poker Stars re-tweets player comments, and broadcasts results over Twitter. It’s a very fun and sociable event.

I was able to make a few new friends through this, and I hope that this blog will be an expansion of that.

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