Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Chat Attack

Normally I ignore the chat window but there was no avoiding this player. He had me literally laughing outloud sometimes and was doing a decent job of putting players on tilt. He even managed to goad me into two pots I shouldn't have played. I present to you some of the highlights of his verbal assault. I't's a little long and I had to edit out quite a bit of it.

Here I catch my flush on the river and it begins
AtrossMark: i am getting rivered to death the last 3 hands
AtrossMark: nice hand loser
lifeagrind: way to call K3o preflop loser
AtrossMark: you hit the str8 on the river
lifeagrind: flush moron
AtrossMark: go XXXX yourself lol
AtrossMark: 3 river rats in a row
AtrossMark: lifeagrind

Someone else beats him on the river
AtrossMark: i don't respect players who suck out on the river
AtrossMark: like you
AtrossMark: or lifeagrind
AtrossMark: esp after calling 3 raises
AtrossMark: lol
AtrossMark: that's called LUCK
AtrossMark: blind luck
AtrossMark: but it'll come back to bite ya in the ass
AtrossMark: hey capt pug
AtrossMark: u suck
AtrossMark: don't forget that, k

Here I take one down and goad him a little
lifeagrind: str8 didn't hit huh
AtrossMark: wasn't looking for a straight
AtrossMark: or anything else for that matter
AtrossMark: i wanted to see what you had
lifeagrind: satisfied
AtrossMark: very much so yes
lifeagrind: glad I could help
AtrossMark: just help yourself you need it
AtrossMark: just like don and capt pug
AtrossMark: 3 losers

He wins one
AtrossMark: that's what i thought beatches
AtrossMark: that's what I thought
AtrossMark: eat XXXX
AtrossMark: you pussies
AtrossMark: i thought you caught a flush mike
AtrossMark: but guess not sucker
AtrossMark: you caught nothin!
AtrossMark: i know you had Kings too epuss
AtrossMark: read you like a BOOK!
AtrossMark: LIKE A BOOK!
#1950099122: AtrossMark wins $37 from the main pot with a straight, eight to queen.
AtrossMark: yeah that's right PUNK BEATCH
AtrossMark: that's right
AtrossMark: eat it!
AtrossMark: eat it!
AtrossMark: all day
AtrossMark: all day you punks

Now he gets on a roll. Manages to win a few pots.
AtrossMark: don't make me beatch slap u like i did with the punks to your right
AtrossMark: pug wash is washin my balls
AtrossMark: and mick is dead broke on tilt
AtrossMark: broke as a joke
AtrossMark: broke as a JOKE!
AtrossMark: LOL!!!!!!
AtrossMark: OHHHHHH
AtrossMark: doesn't that suck
AtrossMark: doesn't that suck to be on tilt
AtrossMark: he's on tilt
AtrossMark: broke as a joke
AtrossMark: did u think u won those hands mick?
AtrossMark: i mean seriously
AtrossMark: did u think u had them?
AtrossMark: did u?
AtrossMark: honestly
AtrossMark: be straight
AtrossMark: u did, didn't u
AtrossMark: that's the beauty of that
AtrossMark: the way u and pug ball washer were betting into me
AtrossMark: it was like Christmas
AtrossMark: really
AtrossMark: it was
AtrossMark: i had to ask myself
AtrossMark: "is this Christmas"?
AtrossMark: it feels like April
AtrossMark: maybe Christmas has come early
AtrossMark: I have the nuts and these two morons are betting into me
AtrossMark: how could this be
AtrossMark: there are planters nuts in my hand
AtrossMark: yet
AtrossMark: these ball washers
AtrossMark: are betting into me
AtrossMark: and reraising me
AtrossMark: 2 and 3 times
AtrossMark: wowwwww

AtrossMark: here's a $1
AtrossMark: go buy youself a book on poker
AtrossMark: k bud
AtrossMark: "how not to reraise into the NUTS"
AtrossMark: you might learn something from it
AtrossMark: i was thinking u guys were hitting the wrong button
AtrossMark: for a secon
AtrossMark: d
AtrossMark: i was like "damn, is this a computer malfunction"
AtrossMark: what's going on
AtrossMark: must be another computer malfunction

Here I manage to not put him on the nuts and he takes it down
AtrossMark: ohhhhhhhh
AtrossMark: another CHUMP
AtrossMark: steps to the table
AtrossMark: lifeagrind
AtrossMark: been waiting for that one
AtrossMark: YOU CHUMP!!!!!
AtrossMark: been waiting awhile for that one!!!!!!!!
lifeagrind: u da ma mark
AtrossMark: lifeagrind
AtrossMark: how did that feel
AtrossMark: to take it up the ass
AtrossMark: seriously
AtrossMark: be honest
AtrossMark: how did it feel
AtrossMark: cmon,
AtrossMark: be honest
AtrossMark: it felt kindof good
lifeagrind: refreshing, wouldn't want it any other way, you da man
AtrossMark: to reraise into the king
AtrossMark: lol!!!!

Now I'm his verbal whipping boy
AtrossMark: ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
AtrossMark: ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
AtrossMark: ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
AtrossMark: all day and nightall DAY AND NIGHT
AtrossMark: pug will be washing my balls next
AtrossMark: the pug wash
AtrossMark: washing my balls
AtrossMark: mick about to go broke
AtrossMark: lifeagrind
AtrossMark: paying me off
AtrossMark: with interest
AtrossMark: all day
AtrossMark: now who's talkin
AtrossMark: hey punks?
AtrossMark: now who's geting their asses kik'd
AtrossMark: all you all
AtrossMark: lifeagrind with his foot in his mouth
AtrossMark: GOD you suck, lifeagrind
AtrossMark: wow
AtrossMark: was waiting for that hand for an hour
AtrossMark: u jumped right in
AtrossMark: 2x in a row
AtrossMark: 2x in a row
AtrossMark: i read u and mick like books
lifeagrind: at least you have a plan
AtrossMark: then dumped your ass on queer street
AtrossMark: poor mick
AtrossMark: he has to fight back
AtrossMark: from getting his stack butchered by the master
AtrossMark: poooor guy

AtrossMark: u just lost to a retard dude
AtrossMark: how can u live with yourself
AtrossMark: seriously
AtrossMark: the guy played you like a beatch
AtrossMark: and u lost
AtrossMark: wow
AtrossMark: that's got to be tough to take
AtrossMark: that's like losing to lifeagrind
AtrossMark: the king CHUMP
AtrossMark: coco the monkey
AtrossMark: hey coco the monkey

Monday, April 25, 2005


I'm not going to Vegas yet. Last nights tournament was a hell of a good time. The play was top notch and the raibirds were providing some much needed levity. It was the first time I stuck around to watch the final table and I have to say I'll make a habit of it in the blogger events from now on. 78 players signed up and I made it all the way to 22. I was eliminated by Phill who took down second place. If your going to be eliminated at least be eliminated by a contender.

I played a pretty good game but in the spirit of things I tried to steal blinds with the hammer and got played back at. I saw others push back all-in and get lucky on the flop with those cards last night, but I didn't want to take the chance and had to lay it down. I went out when with AJ against 77. I was commited enough that I had to call his all-in which put me all-in. I hit my A but he hit his 7 and that was that.

Congratulation to Bob for winning it all. Make us proud.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Television Poker

I've always dabbled but never really put myself full force into the arena of Television Poker. It looked exciting. The suspense, the all-ins, the never knowing if your opponent was bluffing or if you were dominated. Seeing the pros push each other around and then eventually taking in the lovely girl on the floor as she perform their exit interviews. It looked glamorous but was tournament play really that cool?

The thought of forking over hard earned money for the chance of coming away empty handed didn't appeal to me in the slightest. When I first started playing poker I was of the firm belief that real poker was of the limit variety. Grinding out an acceptable win rate to sustain and improve ones bankroll. Having a 300 big bet cushion to survive the inevitable swings but always knowing that in the end I'd come out on top. Sure the occasional freeroll or $5 tournament was a fun distraction but there were just too many variables to contend with. Making these a steady staple of my poker diet just didn't make much sense.

Then I went and won what was at the time my biggest poker victory. I won the freeroll tournament for a CardPlayer Cruise. It was very exciting and things went my way but I still didn't take tournament play all that seriously. I thought I had, but really I wasn't putting much time into it. I played Sit-n-Go's every now and then, took in a few more tournaments but still, nothing hard core.

Then we fast forward to March of 2005. I posted a very nice win in an Absolute Poker $6,000 guarantee tourney. Then I tried another tournament and things began to click. The puzzle pieces were sliding into place and my play had improved. I'm even considering getting Harrington's book on Hold'em. This would be a big leap for me since I don't like reading poker books that much.

My improved play still hasn't helped me that much when it comes to the tournaments where I feel I must perform well. When I'm in a WPBT event or a PSO league tournament I always seem to end up middle of the pack. I don't know if this is due to trying to get fancy or just trying too hard. At any rate I hope I'm over that when the WSOP event tournament rolls around this Sunday.

I'm going to start making the effort to play one tournament a night while I multi-table 2 or 3 $1/$2 limit tables to clear my various bonuses. This should allow me to play ABC on the limit tables and concentrate on the multi-table tourney. Since March 5th I've played in 19 multi-table tournaments, with 7 money finishes, 4 final tables, and 2 wins. Not too shabby if I do say so myself.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

The Power Play

I’m sure there is a stamped and authorized name for this play but I don’t know it. I’ve decided to call it the Power Play and it seems to be appropriate.

To set this up I’m playing in a Multi-table Tournament last night at Ultimatebet when the following scenario unfolds. We started with 832 players and were down to 159. I have around 6800 in chips with the average being in the 5,000 chip range. I’m dealt AQo in early middle position and the current chip leader who has about 25,000 in chips limps in on my immediate right. I bet the pot, which represents around 1/5 of my stack. It folds around to the Chip Leader who reraises to 5,200.

The Chip Leader has just executed what I like to call the Power Play. She has feigned weakness, then come over the top when I chased off the other players with my raise. Although this play can be executed with any two cards, I believe only a fool would do so without a very large pocket pair. I’m talking K’s or A’s, possibly Q’s if the table conditions are right. You also want to be one of the large stacks at the table. If you are short stacked it is better to just get your chips in up front.

This is a risky play. If you get a raiser to isolate you from the rest of the field, it’s quite possible they also have a hand, and are willing to call your raise. The thing is, you want them to call. This is why it is best to have a large stack, and in optimum conditions have your opponent covered. I play a relatively tight tournament style. If I’m at a table where the other players are paying attention to that, and folding to my raises, this becomes a nice way to add to my chip count. When reraising you want to force your opponent to make a decision for all their chips. Performing a minimum raise only allows them to see a flop without mortal risk. This gives your opponent a chance to improve on the flop, or get away from their hand. You do not want this. If played correctly you should have the best hand preflop and you want your opponent to join you when you have that advantage.

The play is similar in style to a Stop-N-Go, but in reverse. The Stop-N-Go is used as a bluffing tool to force your opponent to fold. Here we are not bluffing but want it to appear that perhaps we are, thus enticing the call. Since we are only making this play in optimum conditions it becomes a nice way to mix things up without having to consciously make a decision to do so. The caveat is that it won’t always work. You can never foresee someone raising behind you. As such is the case it is best to be UTG or UTG +1 so there are plenty of players left to act. If you get a few limpers and then someone in late position raises, that’s all the better. The early limpers are likely to fold and the late position may have been on a steal all along. It’s possible to take this pot down without having to worry about being drawn out on. In the process you have also added enough chips to nicely enhance your stack.

When does this not work. Well, when no one raises. You are more than likely still best post flop and you should try to take it down at that time. Keep in mind that if you get a lot of callers you need to watch for the flush and straight draws. The discipline needs to be in place to even get away from A’s if your likely beat in this situation. This play can run the risk of wasting a good pocket pair. Remember your supposed to be in a good position before making the play so the short term loss of one hand shouldn’t affect you.

Now back to my situation. The chip leader had not been using her stack to push people around. She had also been playing a tight game. As soon as she made her move I knew I was behind in the hand. My options were to lay the hand down and pick a better spot, or push all in for the remainder of my chips. A call was going to leave me pot committed anyway and when this occurs, it’s best to push. I would spout off all the percentages and statistics that reflected my hands chance of winning against what I thought my opponent had, but I don’t have these things memorized and I didn’t consider them when I made my decision. If I was looking to play a good sensible game I should fold in this situation. By not folding I am giving my opponent everything she is looking for.

I knew I was against a pair of Q’s or better and at best I was less than a coin flip, and at worst a huge dog. I let external influences guide my decision. If I wasn’t going to make the top 8 in this tournament it wasn’t worth my time to continue playing in it. The real money didn’t come till this point and I didn’t want to spend 5 hours only to make $20 or $30. I was also tired and looking for an out. If I could double up through the chip leader it would hurt her and put me within the top 20 in chip stacks. I could then be in a decent enough position to make my run for the final table.

With the decision made I pushed all in and she called. Sure enough she had pocket K’s and I called for an A on the flop. My request was granted and I figured I had the shot I wanted. As fate intervened a K came on the turn so I was drawing dead. She gave me the obligatory “gg” but I knew she was secretly thinking, “sucker”.

The computer was shutdown and off to dreamland I went. At least I got a post out of it.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Happy Anniversary!

This blog is one year old today!

It's been a little neglected over the last few months with posts coming few and far between but I'm going to work on improving that. I also haven't been good at updating my blogroll but I'll get that cleaned up over the next day or two. Other bloggers try to list everyone so I only link the blogs I'm currently reading.

When I started the blog I was gung ho and ready to write about every little item involving my poker adventures. The first blog I ever came across was Felicia's. I found her blog through her Yahoo! Group and quickly began adding others to my daily reading. Iggy, Pauly, Chris, Liquid Sword, and Poker Nerd were my firsts. I became inspired to start my own blog not because I wanted to write about my play so much as I wanted in this blogger community. I remember reading one of Felicia's posts about a blogger tournament she set up. I thought this was so cool that a group of people had gotten together to have a private tournament and share their poker thoughts with each other. I wanted to be part of all that so I began this blog. I didn't want to admit my "aw shucks" feeling about the tight blogger community so I never really revealed that before. I always quoted the patent answer about wanting to improve my play. That was certainly part of it, and it has helped my game beyond explanation, but it was only part of the full reason.

I never became the integral part of the community I had hoped to. I'm an introvert at heart and I never felt qualified to comment on others posts so I never garnered much exposure. I hadn't asked Iggy to link me up, but back when only a few of us were starting up new blogs he found my little corner of geekspace and gave me a few lines in an uber-post. I thought this was nice of him and I know every new blogger today hopes to make it into one of his posts. He has helped propel our community into the big time along with other notables such as Hank, and Otis. It's been amazing to see the growth that has occurred over the last year. I remember playing in my first blogger tournament and I think we only had about 30 players. My how things have grown. I've been fortunate to money in one but that was long before the WPBT ever came around or Maudie designed our own chip logo. Of course I will win my entry for the $1500 WSOP through the next blogger tournament and who would have ever thought a setup like that was possible. It's nice to realize that as a collective group we have a voice that can reach deep into the poker world.

I still don't feel as though I've found a set pattern for this blog. Most of the time I'm considered a diarist type blogger but I try to throw in some strategy posts when I feel qualified to do so. When I was recently browsing through the searches that have brought people to my blog, I found that an old post of mine was generating some hits. I remember being very proud of it when I wrote it. Going back and rereading it, it could use some perspective changes but I still think it's an interesting post.

As the year has worn on and my experience increased I found it sometimes tedious to sit down and do a full analysis with write up. I've also found it easier to write when I'm winning and much more difficult when I'm losing. Even with it being more difficult it is certainly therapeutic to write when losing. The contemplation involved in working through the sessions often yield the knowledge and drive necessary to turn things around. Ego also has a lot to do with this. If your writing about how your losing all the time your self confidence takes a big hit. Your ego drives you to improve so that others will read about how good you are, not how bad. I've prided myself on being honest in this regard. I've documented the downswings but probably not with the zeal that I've documented the upswings. I'll try to continue to be honest and if others can learn from my mistakes, it's all that much better.

I'm still in awe of how much growth we've experienced and will continue to experience. I'm sure there is an end in sight, I just don't believe we'll see it for a while yet.

This blog has helped me to have a great year of poker. My hope is that it will continue for years to come. I'm sure we can all prosper through our little community in cyberspace and if any of you think I can help you, please let me know.


Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Can You Hear Me Now?

I left off with a post on Sunday resolving to pay attention to my play that night and not chase when I was beat. I didn't get a chance to test that out. When I logged onto Absolute to check the tables out I found that one of their 10,000 Player Point buyin tournaments was getting ready to start. I had points to spare and with a guarantee prize pool of 5K a money finish was well worth my time.

I wanted to concentrate on just the tournament so I didn't play any limit games that night. We had 193 entrants and only the top 18 paid. I finished a respectable 14th making it to the final two tables. The payout was decent and since I didn't have anything to spend my points on, it was like a freeroll from a bankroll perspective. Even though it wasn't a cash buy-in none of the players played it like a freeroll. It was nice to have a tournament that wasn't an all-in fest from the beginning.

On Monday I decided to play at UltimateBet because the tables at Absolute are becoming rock gardens. It's difficult to have a nice win rate when you all shuffle the chips back and forth. With so few players on the site, we are all getting to know each others play and that makes things slow. With my bad run as of late I don't want to spend the -EV trying to loosen things up so it's better to just move on. I still have almost $400 in bonus to clear so I'll have to spend time there eventually. I may take a week or two off and then go back.

Anyway I have bonus to clear at UltimatBet as well so it's all good. I fired up two tables and happened to notice a $5 multi was getting ready to start. One of the nice things about UltimateBet's tourneys is that you can use player points to buy into any of it's cash tournaments. I had the points so I figured what the heck, it'll be like another freeroll. Unlike the Absolute tourney of the previous night this was an "all-in fest". It became obvious early that it wouldn't take much of a hand for these guys to push with. I really felt I could take advantage of the situation and in order to concentrate on the tournament I closed down my cash games with a single BB profit.

My diligence was paying off and by the second break I had firmly planted myself in the top ten in chip stacks. Out of the 620 entrants most were without skill. It was nice to come to the realization of just how much my knowledge of the game has grown. Being able to see the mistakes unfold and knowing who were the weaker players had me at a nice advantage.

With 77 to go I had taken the chip lead. It was short lived since the top few were very close in chips and the blinds had risen to the point where just stealing them and the ante's would net you 10,000 in chips. I stayed in the top ten until we were down to 18. I played a pocket pair of 10's to hard post flop with an overcard showing. I passed off a majority of my chips to someone else and I finally went out in 12th. Again I made it to the final two tables. I really had a guaranteed spot in the final table for this tournament. I was getting tired and things had tightened up so much that time seemed to be moving in reverse. Another one in the cash column though so I won't complain.

Last night I finally made it in earnest to the limit tables. The cards finally made a nice shift as my hands were holding up. I also made a concerted effort not to chase. This resulted in a nice 10BB profit in an hour.

I'll hit it again tonight and see if I can make it two in a row.

As a side note, while I was playing in the tournament I noticed another blogger was playing at the NL tables. I decided to crash her table and sat down. My username at UltimateBet is my real name so she would have had no idea who I was. About the time I was going to say something, she left. I'll have to catch her next time.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Why Oh Why

Since doing, and posting, about my review of first quarter play I haven't had a positive session. A down turn is still occurring and on the first session I quit with a -4BB loss. On the second session I finished down with a -2BB loss. Considering the recent past I wasn't upset about these results at all. I looked at them as break even sessions and I was happy to be showing some progress. Then last night all hell broke lose. I finished down 40BB's playing 447 hands.

Why did this happen?

Let's take a look.

The hand I lost the most money with last night was 99. I saw this hand 3 times and lost 7BB without a single win. On two of these hands I folded when it was obvious I was beat and minimized my loss. On the other hand I dropped 4.5BB. I raised this particular hand under the gun which I'm thinking may have been a mistake, I'm still not sure on this though. The only caller I got was the player to my immediate left and he rated out as a slightly loose neutral player. The flop came down Q 5 3 rainbow. Since I represented big preflop I felt I had to bet out at this or loose control of the hand. He called and another Q hit the turn. I strongly felt that if my opponent had a queen on the flop he would have raised me. This was the read I had so I bet out again. At this point he raised and I called. The river brought a 10 and I check called to see him show pocket 3's for the full house.

My initial read was correct about him not having a Q but I refused to lay down when he represented a strong hand on the turn. I was convinced he didn't have a Q and I didn't consider his hitting trips on the flop. My only thought was that he held an A5 suited and was trying to push me off my hand. Even with my feelings about his holdings, when he bet at the river I should have finally conceded. He can't expect me to fold the Q I was representing, so his proper play would have been to check the river with me. By his final bet he was telling me I was beat, I just wasn't listening.

Next up is KT suited. Out of 4 times I had this I lost 5BB. Again I didn't connect for a win with any of these either. The two hands I took past the flop were both big blind hands. One was checked down past the flop and the other was when I tried to push around a fish. I had a flush draw so I was betting into him and it never materialized. I had to let this go on the river so I don't know what he held.

KQo represented another 5BB. Held this twice and 4BB was invested in one hand. I lost when I flopped top pair with the K and my opponent hit two pair on the river. I called his turn raise and his bet on the river.

I'm seeing a pattern here.

As I continue through the hands they all appear to be valid preflop plays, I just got married to them and couldn't let go to the turn raises. Sadly even if I had folded them I still would have ended up down for the night. Certainly I would have saved myself about 15-20BB.

I'm running cold and getting married to hands on occasion. I'm sure this is the result of some type of tilting on my part so I'll watch out for this tonight. I'm hoping to post a few wins in a row soon because this is getting a little discouraging. My limit play used to support my tournament play. Now it's the other way around. This just doesn't feel normal to me.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Ever Fold AA Preflop?

I actually considered this last night.

Let me set it up for you. I was playing the $12K guarantee at Absolute Poker and we were down to 47 players. Payout started at 45th place so it was crunch time and I had been playing for a little over four hours. The blinds are at 500/1000 with a 75 ante and I sit in the small blind. At this point I'm in no danger of busting out of this tournament. I have 15,831 in chips. This is a little short but their are plenty of players that will be out before I have to even worry about it.

I get dealt the beautiful hand of AA and suddenly my feelings of great joy are replaced by apprehension and self doubt. As the hand gets underway a middle position short stack calls. It folds around until the small blind who raises it up to 3,000. The predicament involves the fact that the small blind is a very tight player. I haven't seen him play anything that wasn't of premium quality. Since this means he's holding big cards, he's also not likely to just let them go. He also has me outchipped by about 8,000 making his call feasible.

I have a tough decision. I know I'm favored preflop against any hand save another AA. If I push all in at this stage I believe that it send the signal, "hey, I don't want any callers." I believe he will call an all-in and my mind drifts to a hand earlier in the tournament. Four players manage to raise each other all-in pre-flop. The hands were QQ, KK, AK, and AA. A king hit the turn and the player raked a monster pot while sucking out on the A's. The voice of Howard Lederer then invades my consciousness and even though I can't remember the exact quote, I recall him saying how he has laid down the rockets when at the bubble to guarantee a money finish.

I'm so close and throwing away four hours of work because I got sucked out on just wasn't appealing. After weighing my options I decided there was just no way I could sacrifice this hand for the purpose of coasting into the money. Since I also thought an all-in was sending the wrong message I went for a reraise to 10,000. This represented 2/3 of my stack and I hoped he would read that as, "I have a big hand, I'm pot committing myself, but by not going all-in I'm inviting you to join me."

I have no idea if that's how he read it but he folded and I increased my chip stack. Wouldn't you know it the very next hand I get dealt AA again but this time I didn't even consider laying it down. I made a large raise and everyone folded preflop including an early position limper. I went on to play pretty well but became severely shortstacked and had to venture and all-in holding Ad7d. The button had AK and called me. I never caught my seven or any diamonds and was out in 14th position. It wasn't the big cash but I managed a little over $30/hour win rate for the tournament, and I'll take that anyday.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

If It Weren't For Bad Luck, I'd Win Every One Of These

That's the way I've been feeling lately so I took the plunge and finally got around to purchasing the PokerTracker Guide a few days ago. After reading through it I've been inspired to perform a 1st quarter of 2005 evaluation of my play. Now this could be a rather broad topic since I've played Hold'em, Omaha, and Tournaments (both single and multi). Not only have I played different games but different levels so in order to really narrow things down I'm going to take a look at only my limit hold'em play, and only at the 2/4 and 3/6 levels. These are the levels I'm playing right now so they will be the most relevant. The data is somewhat incomplete as well since I also have play at Full Tilt, Bodog, and Golden Palace. Since PokerTracker does not support these sites the hands played there will not be used. I'm also only going to look at the 2005 statistics to date. No past performance stuff to get in the way, only current play. There will not be any bonus money used in the discussions of bankroll either. I actually have never considered bonus money when talking about whether I was winning or losing. Just actual table play results. I also want to preface this whole little analysis thing by telling you that as I do it, I'll write it. I haven't gone through anything yet so we'll be discovering my bad play together as we go on this journey.

Lets start off by auto-rating. For the year to date I have 11,315 hands combined for the two levels that PokerTracker supports. Up until this point I've been using Bison's auto-rate rules that I snagged off of the 2+2 forums. They have shown that for most of 2005 I had been a SL-A, or Slightly Loose Aggressive player. This changed a few weeks ago and I dropped to an SL-P, or a Slightly Loose Passive player. After loading the guides rules, I am shown as a Tight Neutral. If I had run these rate rules a few weeks ago I would have fit into the Good Player (Tight Aggressive Solid) category.

Why the change? As previously reported the months of January and February were particularly brutal for me. I dropped a lot of BB's during that time. As a result of the constant losing I became a bit weaker post flop to try and curb the losing. This resulted in the lowering of my post flop aggression factor to a 1.32. I haven't fallen too far off course and if we make the assumption that according to these rules you want to be rated as a "Good Player" statistically, then I should be a winning player for the year to date.

Unfortunately I am not. Well that's not entirely true. I am an overall winning player in 2005, just not at the levels we are looking at for this analysis. My tourney cashes and no limit play have given me enough to be even more profitable than all of last year combined at the present time. Were not looking at that though so why am I losing. For the year to date I am down $1,032.34 at these two levels. It works out to a -2.04BB/100 loss which is the exact opposite of what it should be. Statistically I should be profitable so lets go searching for some holes.

We'll skip over the individual session review, although I do do this on my own, and go straight to "Finding mistakes in your play". I don't want to give away everything that's in the book so I'm going to cover the points without going into detail about how I retrieved the information.

Trouble Hands
A9o - This is a hand that I used to play from any position. I was way overvaluing it based on the fact that so many players you go up against will play any A. I won with it a few times having the best kicker against these type of players. This led to being lulled into a false sense of security. I have already made adjustments to my game for this hand and now I will fold it just about every time unless I have position against known players. (There will undoubtedly be hands that I became aware of a month ago when I did my own analysis so I'll point out whether or not the hand is new to me. Sadly if it's still showing up even now so you know just how bad I played it previously.)
A6o - This is surprising to me. I fold this hand a huge majority of the time. After checking it out I have seen this hand 113 times. That makes it one of the most seen hands this year. Throw in the blind situations and the few times I've played it from late position and it accounts for the loses. I really don't see where I'm playing this one badly it's just a combination of not hitting when I do, and the frequency with which I see it.
I run into the same thing with A5o and A3o. For some reason these are among my most seen hands. In my style of play if it's folded around to me and I sit in the cutoff or button with an A, i'll go for the blind steal. Since I've seen each of these hands over 100 times that is where the money is going. It's obviously not working often enough to be a profitable play so I'm going to have to be more subjective about this in the future.
A4s - This is the only suited A that shows up. I've seen the hand 35 times and taken it to a flop 33 of those times. I've either had to abandon it on the flop or I'll catch enough of the flush to hang around and end up not hitting it. I'm only profitable with this hand from the small blind and that also happens to be the position that I've rec. It the most in with 8. I've also caught it 6 times in the BB so I feel this is more of an anomaly than a trouble hand.
JTo - Now we look at my biggest losing hand. I've always had trouble letting this hand go preflop. I just see so much potential in it. That potential rarely materializes but when it does its often for a big score. So I keep playing it, waiting for the next big one. Looking at it in more detail I see that other than the blinds I'm only losing with this hand from the later positions. One, Two, and Three off the button. These are also the positions that I've seen the hand the most in. My top four losses were to 3 flushes and a full house. Each of those times I had either the straight, a flush, or two pair. I was second best on each of these hands and one player even caught runner, runner, on me. If I eliminate the cold calling raises in late position with this hand I think I'll be OK judging by the data so far.
KJo - Another hand I've had problems with in the past. The good Dr. Pauly pointed this hand out as one of his trouble hands about a year ago and that's when I first took a look at it. When I made an adjustment to my play for this hand I was again lulled into a false sense of security. I found I could be effective raising from early position with it. It paid off at first and when it no longer did, I didn't change my MO. This hand has had a history of being my worst but I made further adjustments to how I play it recently and now it's only my 3rd biggest loser. I'm no longer playing this hand from early position at all. I've had to cut myself off completely at these positions to keep from getting in trouble with it. The button is actually my worst position this year. I'm holding it for to long postflop but it's hard to let top pair or that straight draw go sometimes.
QJo - Another of the offsuit face cards. With this particular holding It looks like I'm just not hitting with it as often as I should. These cards should be about a marginal winner. I'm just not getting that margin right now. I'm only calling raises from late position with it. I'm going to cut that out and see if I can save myself some BB's.
98s - The numbers put this as a borderline trouble hand. It looks like I'm playing it alright, just not catching when I should be. I don't consider this a trouble hand but since it was borderline for the criteria I'm listing it.

Leak Finding
Looks like I need to quit cold calling with KTo from the button. I thought position was giving me the right to make the call but it looks like when I even make my hand, I'm losing to a bigger hand.
Aside from the above mentioned KJo, and the QJo, it looks like I'm playing ATo to the river too often. I'm chasing that pair of tens to far. I've lost to a bigger pair numerous times. Upon further review I believe I have found the cause. I have a tendency to raise this hand preflop if I'm first in. I'll then lead at it if I hit my 10. Players behind me with bigger pocket pair are content to let me have the lead till the river, where I feel obligated to call that extra bet. I think if I quit raising with this from anywhere but the button it will help eliminate this. These players will likely tip off their holding before I get involved so I'll have more information.

Position Statistics
I was amazed when I looked at this data. Now we are getting some where. I've filtered the data for full tables (I don't play 6 handed tables) and had 10,973 hands left over. The positional plays looks exactly like it should as far a VP$IP goes. On the button I'm at 28.24 and it decreases at every position until I reach 15.3 7th off the button. I am also profitable at every position up to the blinds except for 7th off the button. Here I have a $30 net loss or 0.02BB/hand.
The blinds are where I'm losing my money. Now I need to find out if it's because I'm playing them wrong, or I'm just on a bad run. Using the criteria in the guide my BB loss rate should not exceed 0.20. My loss rate is 0.28. In the small blind my loss rate is 0.21. Neither of these are good. If we look at "Diff w/ the Blind" I'm even losing money from the small blind. It looks like I'm running bad in the small blind. My biggest losers are AKo and 87o. Even when I've caught AA I've only won with it 60% of the time. My overall win % with that hand is 72.5%
In the big blind it looks like A9o is kicking my ass. You'll remember that it was listed as a top trouble hand. Half of my money losses with this hand are in the big blind. It is followed by JTo and KTo. Seems the trouble hands are really trouble in the big blind.

Based on the above data I would say it is a combination of just running bad and sum sub par blind play. I'm relieved and yet disturbed by this finding. I was really hoping to be able to have an "AH HA" moment to instantly turn things around. It looks like I'll be able to concentrate on my blind play and make in roads there, but overall I'm just going to have to ride out the storm. Well at least I'm learning, and after all, what more can you ask for.

Well, maybe a million dollar tournament win, TV time, endorsement deal, fan club .....