June 29, 2009

Life tilt, 1000 MTT SNGs, and modding Full Tilt software

Life tilt refers to a few days ago when I was in an MTT SNG session, playing 8 or so tables, had just made 2 final tables, and held the stone cold nuts on a table with huge stacks, a large pot and active betting as well...this was the point that Full Tilt decided to crash. I frantically tried to reboot the software so that I didn't miss the hand where I had the nuts....it crashed again. Shit. Then I kept trying to reboot it, and it kept crashing. My internet was working fine, so I didn't understand.

I ran downstairs to load up my old laptop, I ran back upstairs to try and find someone on MSN to log-on and play for me. A good ten minutes after Full Tilt crashed, and a good 7 trips running up and downstairs, and probably 15 attempts at reloading the software, I get hold of Amatay on MSN and he kindly offered to take the helm. He was the perfect person to take over and probably was more +EV than me playing...but those 10 minutes of getting blinded out, and undoubtedly losing that huge pot where I had the nuts, cost me big time, he scored a few shallow cashes after running gross on coinflips and I ended up losing $150 for the session where I had been in the position to make a decent amount of money. So sick.

As if you don't already have to contend with running bad, steaming, tilting all conspiring to make you lose, you get landed with something like this that you have no control over and costs you money. I sent an e-mail to Full Tilt explaining what had happened and how their shitty software had cost me $£$£$, and they told me to reinstall the software. Any mention of an apology, maybe some kind of refund? I guess that's too much to ask. But this whole thing made me really worried about playing on their site again, just as I'd seemingly found the game I want to play that can perhaps make me some decent cash. But I guess this was the first time something like this had happened and was (hopefully) unlikely to happen again.

Needless to say, I took the rest of the day off. I felt this whole MTT SNG experiment had gone wayward, even though I had had some really promising results throughout. I thought I needed some direction and motivation, and the staking proposal I did for Heads Up SNGs throughout March seemed to have a positive effect on my game, so I layed out something similar for MTT SNGs.

A $2750 starting roll, and will be playing the $24+2 45 man and 90 man tournaments on Full Tilt until I have completed 1000 games. If you are interested in tracking my progress you can do so here.

So far so good; 3 days in I have played 74 games and made a $767 profit at a 45% ROI. So running above expectation, as I think 20% ROI is the achievable aim in these things, but not complaining about that!

One last thing; I made the decision to search out some Full Tilt modifications after I called a raise with 8T off, certain that I had TT. I was interested with the QJ9 flop holding what I thought was tens, til I did a double take and realised I'd flopped the effective nuts! (Don't worry, I didn't get paid off, that would be too fairytail sick). Anyway, after a couple of hours of routing around on the 2+2 forums, and a couple of Paypal payments later I have got Full Tilt to go from this....

to this....

....which is just such a vast improvement when you're playing lots of tables!

So just 926 MTT SNGs to go for this latest challenge, lets just hope the Full Tilt software, mods and all, doesn't bloody crash again!!!!

June 24, 2009

Some plonker has given me a column!

Warning, thinly veiled brag! Lol...

Barry Carter, editor of UK.PokerNews.com (and to be fair, actually anything but a plonker), has recruited me to be a columnist on his website. For the first column I've been writing about my experiences of the PokerStars MTT SNGs.

If you fancy taking a peek, click here for the column, it looks pretty spanky to me (as does S&M.com...ugh terrible joke there, perhaps I could've just said it looked nice and left it at that?!)

The positive tone of the column (written a couple of days ago) is now somewhat unwarranted, as I had another sick day at the MTT SNGs yesterday. I think I've become a bit shove-happy and perhaps am calling too light as well based on all the donkey shoves I've seen over the last few days. I'm now $350 up on Stars when I was $1350 up a couple of days ago, which is all rather depressing because I thought I'd found a great game for me to play, but $350 a week isn't going to cut it.

I've decided to move my roll over to Full Tilt to give their games a shot, as I mentioned they have better structure, and better traffic, and although I'm not sure based on my sample, but I think the average player might be inferior as well. I'm also going to take a serious look at my game, I think I've become too complacent.

It also seems playing so many games at a time and in a day is taking it's toll. I genuinely thought in this hand that I had flopped a set of 55s, and turned a Full House. I have no explanation for this, perhaps there was a 5 on an adjacent table or something. I dunno, maybe I was just tilting so hard my subconscious wanted me to get it in with 55s on this horrible board to lots of action because it's an uber-donkey, and made the conscious side of my brain start seeing things that weren't there!

***** Hand History for Game 29704288405 ***** (Poker Stars)
$10000.00 USD NL Texas Hold'em - Tuesday, June 23, 09:38:03 ET 2009
Table 174114260 2 (Real Money)
Seat 3 is the button
Seat 2: swooshdog4 ( $2584.00 USD )
Seat 3: Miser66 ( $2775.00 USD )
Seat 4: donderkat ( $1430.00 USD )
Seat 5: ChrisB007 ( $2490.00 USD )
Seat 6: $$JBATYE$$ ( $275.00 USD )
Seat 7: Dchild10 ( $1390.00 USD )
Seat 8: epitomised ( $2860.00 USD )
Seat 9: lucca63 ( $2435.00 USD )
donderkat posts small blind [$50.00 USD].
ChrisB007 posts big blind [$100.00 USD].
** Dealing down cards **
Dealt to epitomised [ 5c 5s ]
$$JBATYE$$ raises [$275.00 USD]
Dchild10 folds
epitomised raises [$450.00 USD]
lucca63 folds
swooshdog4 folds
Miser66 folds
donderkat folds
ChrisB007 calls [$350.00 USD]
** Dealing Flop ** [ 2d, Kh, 7d ]
ChrisB007 checks
epitomised bets [$500.00 USD]
ChrisB007 calls [$500.00 USD]
** Dealing Turn ** [ 7c ]
ChrisB007 checks
epitomised bets [$800.00 USD]
ChrisB007 raises [$1540.00 USD]
epitomised calls [$740.00 USD]
** Dealing River ** [ 2h ]
ChrisB007 shows [Qh, Qd ]
epitomised shows [5c, 5s ]
ChrisB007 wins $4430.00 USD from main pot
$$JBATYE$$ shows [As, 8s ]
ChrisB007 wins $875.00 USD from main pot

June 23, 2009

Running baaaaaadddd (MTT SNG Day 7)

After a day off on Saturday, then another awesome day on Sunday (day 6, you can probably see by comparing the graph below with Day 5's graph), I had the sickest day today. I played 29 45-man tournaments and did not cash in one. Not only that, I did not make a final table. Considering these things start off with only 6 tables, that's so bad. With my edge, you'd hope I'd hit at minimum of 6 in this sample. I didn't play any differently to how I had been doing up to now, I just didn't win any showdowns...literally. Whether the money went in ahead, even, or behind, I lost. I guess this was to make up for me running overly-good the last couple of days.

Perhaps I need to evaluate whether I should play these during the daytime, it might be better to put in some late night sessions when there is more, and possibly worse, traffic. I'm not sure that made a whole lot of difference, but it's something I'll keep an eye on. I decided to take the rest of the day off after this gross session. I didn't want to start tilting, and tbh it seemed the only way to stop losing money was to stop playing. I guess I need to become accustomed to sessions like this, as they come hand in hand with MTTs.

So here is my 45 man graph on PokerStars. I noticed I had a 44% ROI with a Shark icon yesterday....how things have changed! However, I Sharkscoped some of the consistent winners today, and 20% ROI seems to be the ceiling for these 45 mans, so perhaps this run just made things a little more realistic...

June 20, 2009

Running gooooooood (MTT SNG Day 5)

Switched solely to 45 mans yesterday, and boy did I run good. Definitely way above expectation, so I'm bracing myself for a big drought in the near future to level things out. My favourite suck-out of the day was checking AJ in the bb, seeing a rainbow AT7 flop, and check raise shoving into a guy who had limped with AA. It duly came 2 diamonds to give me a Jack high four flush. Sick!

I dabbled on Full Tilt, playing 13 games, and I think the slower structure allows for a bigger edge over the field, and may well be the way forward when I move up from the $10/11 games I've been playing for the time being to the $24/25 games. Amatay's reminder that my sample size is still so small made think I should prove myself a bit more at the lower buy-in, and get used to the different poker room's and also the additional software I am using, before I move up. It's a shame that I prefer the PokerStars software, which seems to be more smooth, but I guess it won't be too difficult adapting to Full Tilt.

Although I can't be sure how reliable my results are in respect to my overall expectation, having not played enough games, my hourly rate playing these $11/12 games so far is now about the same as what I have earnt playing other forms of poker this year. This is promising in terms of continuing this experiment, and also promising in that I might be able to earn a fair amount more than this when I move up. Of course I could just be running good, and I could find the $26/27 games much tougher. Either way, I'm happy playing these 45 mans for the time being,
and hopefully I will have a few more days like this one in the near future.

Graphs below are now for 45 man tournies only. Obviously I just ran super sick in the games I played on FT, I would suggest a 200%+ ROI isn't quite sustainable!

June 18, 2009

Where to go with this?... (MTT SNG days 3 & 4)

As you can tell from the graph at the bottom of this post, I've been having a bit of a torrid time of it the last couple of days. These games are so high variance. I thought about jacking it all in at least twice, but every time I was near that point I would get some donkey gift me the chip lead in a tournament and think "surely this will be profitable in the long run"

I am no better off financially than I was at the end of day 1, and at the end of day 2, which really sucks considering I have put a decent number of hours in. However I have been able to draw some conclusions over the last couple of days...

I am exactly at $0 profit and 0% ROI for the 180 man games; I have run really bad in these, and whenever I've had a sniff of a deep cash I've got screwed over with 2 tables left or something. I have decided that the 180 mans are just too high variance for me. I like steady profit curves, which is why I think my roots are in Heads Up STTs, where variance isn't too bad. This experiment is essentially about finding a steady income to pay the bills that is an alternative to Heads Up SNGs, and to find a game where I feel I can put more hours in. I am getting a good number of 2/3 sessions in, and playing a solid 10 or 11 tables at a time without getting bored, which is good.

Although I don't think I can deal with the 180 man swings, I have got a 25% ROI in the 45 man tournaments I have played, which from research I have done seems to be a very solid winrate. Obviously 160 games is still a small sample, but I think I can safely say I'm +EV at these things, and with the payout structure benefiting 15.6% of the field instead of 10%, and the fact you only have to go through 38 players to cash instead of 162, I think these are a more viable option to pursue.

Another aspect I am looking at is the buy-in. I don't think I'm going to win enough playing the $11 games on PokerStars to make me want to play this MTT SNG format instead of something else. The problem is there aren't that many $27 games running at a time. However, Full Tilt has an abundance of games at the $22 level, so I am currently intending to move my roll over to Full Tilt and give their 45 man games a shot. Or at least mix them in with the games on Stars. There are also 90 man Knockout tournaments on Full Tilt, where you get a bounty for eliminating each player. I might experiment around with these too, as perhaps the bounty element helps to reduce variance a bit.

So still more experimenting to be done. 45 mans could be the way forward, but I shall have to see. I do know that if I had to pay into a swear jar whilst playing these MTT SNGs that there would be no point! Even if I was paying a penny for each time I told my opponent/PokerStars/poker in general to f*** off it could make it negative EV! Perhaps there's a swear jar affiliate who could hook me up with a good "swearback" deal?

June 17, 2009

Variance City (MTT SNG Day 2)

As those who commented on the first day of this 'experiment' have alluded to, these 45 man and 180 man games can be bloody swingy! It looked like I was going to lose all my profit from yesterday. There was a phase when I couldn't win a hand, and I kept getting shafted in important pots deep in tournaments, I think 3 times in huge pots late on I flopped the nut straight to be out drawn by a flopped set. However, right at the end of my second and final session of the day, I started actually winning hands; the tables seemed to be making up for my horrible day.

My roll diminished to -$1050 at one point mid-play in that session, but a couple of 45 man victories and other cashes left me with $1625 for the day. Somedays breaking even (or in this case winning $20) feels like a winning day.

I was hoping the playing of so many tables would help ride out the variance, and would diminish the effect of running bad. I figured that as soon as you lost a couple of coinflips on one table, you would be winning a couple elsewhere. However, you still have the prospect of running bad on all tables, which feels really brutal, as if the cards are conspiring against you! I'm sure there will be patches where I run like God and the opposite is true, but I can see that if I end up playing these beyond a trial period, I will need a strong mental frame of mind!

I'm still tweaking with how many tables I'm playing. I plugged in 2 monitors to my laptop yesterday to try it that way. I think I might be trying too many, so am planning to cut down a little today and see if I do any better. Perhaps playing 9 tables tiled small, with one game on my 2nd monitor filling the screen for final tables and such. I've been tiling my tables up until now, I might try cascading a little down the line.

June 16, 2009

MTT SNG Experiment (Day 1)

A couple of people on Blonde have been talking about 45 to 180 man Sit and Gos, and how potentially profitable they are. I have been at something of a crossroad the last few weeks trying to find a game that I want to persue at the moment. I have decided that these tournaments could well suit me very well, so I am going to give them a shot over the next week or more.

I've whacked a $1200 roll on PokerStars and am starting with the $11+1 turbo tournaments.

My first day of play, I managed to rack up 72 tournaments in under 5 hours of play as I was up-to13 tabling when I could, though the rate at which games got going usually meant I was playing 10 or 11 tables. It's a shame Hold 'em Manager HUD lags up my computer too much when playing this many tables, as I would be interested to know how close to EV I was running to give me a better perspective of my results.

It looks like a promising start though, my Sharkscope results for the day are below...

June 15, 2009

Sky Poker Tour, if only I flipped better

Sigh, I'm afraid an earlier exit than I was hoping for...

Early on in Day 2, at 1200/2400 (300), I flatted a fairly tight player's 6.5k raise with 99 in position. A guy shoved on the button for 28k. He'd been shoving a lot so it was a no-brainer that when original raiser folded and getting 2:1 on a call that I called. He had AK and spiked a K.

Winning this pot would have put me amongst the chip leaders, but as can happen in poker I was soon out when I shoved 66 and got looked up by AK. They spiked a four flush on the river and I was out.

A shame I don't flip better!

June 14, 2009

Have made Day 2 of Sky Poker Tour Grand Final...

Have managed to make day 2 in the biggest donkfest that I can recall. Will be going back with 66,000 chips (average approx 50k).

Dominated my first table I felt, one guy would just call whenever I raised whatever his cards, and I had a huge tell on him so that was nice. As soon as I moved tables though I ran a bluff against the wrong player. Ironically I was bluffing with the best hand until she binked the river with AJ on QT55A and decided that despite my calling her on the flop, raising her on the turn (when a 3rd spade hit) and shoving the river that she was still good.

Fortunately my table image of being v.active got someone to 3 bet shove on me with 99 on an AAT flop when I held A2s in the big blind, that helped me get back on track along the way.

Was quite lucky to win a big pot at the end of the day when a guy I've made friends with, who chopped the £300 last week and is one of the good players in this tournament, lost a 60:40 against me.

59 players return, hopefully I can take advantage of the weak field and go deeeeep!

June 11, 2009

DTD £300 Deepstack

Am getting a bit behind myself with my blog so thought I'd better at least mention this before I play my next tournament (which will be the Sky Poker Tour Grand Final at DTD on Saturday).

I was bought into the June DTD Deepstack by Black Belt Poker, which was my sole reward as a green belt. At least I got something! I ended up getting the shallowest cash for £450, finishing 29th out of 325 runners. I was bust by Adam Vinson, another grader ironically, who called my button shove at the 3000/6000 level with 44 in the small blind. I actually had shoved blind and was fairly happy to discover I had two overs (K5 offsuit), but missed. I can't really complain as I think this was only the 2nd coin flip I had lost out of 6.

The previous day I got a bit of a shock when I was given an orbit sitout penalty for absently flashing my cards as I passed, thinking the pot was dead when actually the bet I was folding to had been called. I felt this was really harsh, as no-one complained, the tournament director just happened to be loitering closeby, and I've seen this done numerous times with no punishment. I couldn't really afford to miss a round at 300/600 with a 10k stack either. Ah well, I guess I will be more observant in future!

It was nice to go deep in tournaments back to back, I'm impressing myself with my tournament play right now. I was only unhappy with 2 hands I played in the tournament, where I payed off 2 guys. Something I need to learn is how to re-evaluate hands as they progress. For example I made a call holding a decent hand against a bet that looked like a stab at the pot by the button in a multi-way pot on the turn; which I think was fine/standard. However I should have been able to lay it down when he value-bet the river.

Hopefully I can make it three cashes in a row this coming weekend, but lets hope I can ladder up a little higher in the payouts this time!

June 08, 2009

£1000+90 DTD "The Main Event"

Apologies for the delay in mentoning my cash in the £1k DTD tournament which borrowed the WSOP main event structure. What a great structure tournament it is, definitely the favourite tournament I've ever played in because of this. It just allowed so much play. At no point could it ever become a shove-fest or a crapshoot. It really was a thing of beauty. A lot of players failed to adapt to the deepstack nature of the tournament, which I felt increased my edge against the field.

I had to trek back and forth to Nottingham for 4 consecutive days. Was both disappointed to not get into the big bucks that the final few made, but pleased with an 8th place finish (for £6,250) and the fine performance I put in over the 4 days and 30+ hours of poker I played. I definitely felt I was playing my A-game for most of the tournament, and a final table appearance is a great confidence booster after the downer of the Blackbelt Grading last month.

I intend to do some kind of report on the tournament in the near future if I get chance...

June 04, 2009

2 Radio Interviews...

I managed to get a fairly decent result in the recent £1000+90 DTD tournament, which had the The WSOP Main Event structure, finishing 8th for £6,250. Along the way I was down to 8 big blinds, and was given a brand new nickname which looks like it's going to stick. More details to follow, along with a full tournament report.

In the midst of the tourney I did a couple of interviews, links are below:

Day 3 Interview:

Day 4 Interview: