Frustrating times

This post is later than intended because, yes, I have been busy finishing off the work I was supposed to be doing yesterday. Pity me.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I’m making a concerted effort to improve my poker game online. While I’ve been on a great run in general since I started recording my results, I’ve hit something of a slump in the past couple of days. Bad players are getting rewarded for silly moves, and it’s getting a little frustrating. Of course, I’m far from the finished article myself, and I’m all too aware that although skill plays a big part, poker is still very much a game of luck in places. A couple of examples:

 10-seat SNG

Six players left, I’m holding Q7o in the Big Blind. The guy in the Small Blind, who has been agressive the whole game, calls. The flop comes Q-J-x, so I’m in decent shape here with top pair. I raise around 2/3 of the pot, only for the SB to re-raise all-in. From studying his play so far, I read this as a huge over-bet because of a weak hand. I call, and he turns over KJ. My read was spot on, and I’m very happy. Until another Jack comes down on the turn, of course.

$5 MTT

899 entrants, around half of those are left. I get moved to a new table, and in the first hand there I get dealt pocket Kings in first position. I raise a little more than three times the Big Blind to show strength (I’m new to the table and so have no information about the other players; it’s best to play ABC poker here). The guy to my left calls. The flop comes J-J-10. I bet out big, he calls. That’s a worry. If he’s got pocket Jacks, then fair enough I guess, but any other hand with a J would be a strange call to such a strong pre-flop bet from first position. When the turn card is a low card, I push all-in. He calls instantly and shows J9o for trip 9s, and I’m out of the tournament. I have no idea how he’s calling a big raise with J9o pre-flop, but this is the kind of thing I’m talking about.

I don’t go in for slating other players for making money with ‘bad’ moves, for a number of reasons:

  •  It’s not really necessary; I find some of the slagging off you find online a little unsavoury
  • What’s the point in telling somebody they’ve made a move that will lose them more money than it will make them in the long run? If they take note of what you’re saying, that’s one less person to make easy money from in the future
  • Although I’ve moved up a level recently, I’m still only playing $10 games. I shouldn’t really be surprised that there are still people who haven’t studied the game to the same extent that I have at this level. After all, $10 isn’t exactly huge money

The problem is that I consider myself good enough to be playing at a higher level where these kinds of things will happen less often, but I’m realistic enough to know that I need to build up a significant bankroll before I even think about playing higher up the ladder. I just need to get my head down and ride through it. And more importantly I need to stop whinging about it on here. Sorry.

I will never say the word ‘procrastinate’ again

I’ve been messing around with the layout of the site a little, as I didn’t bother with it too much when I first started. If you’re wondering why I’ve spent so much time updating the site today when the last post beforehand was written back in November, well let’s just say that I’ve got an article due in tomorrow. You’ll find my productivity on here rise whenever I’ve got actual paid work to be doing. I am an idiot.

Anyway, a big pat on the back for me. That’s right, I’ve become the last person on the internet to sign up for a Last.fm account. You’ll see the results over there on the right. At least that’s the plan, but I don’t really know what I’m doing.  No worries if not, you’re not missing much — it would probably just say THE POSTAL SERVICE in ten-storey high block capitals anyway.

Building the stack

First off, yes, I know that new image at the top of the page looks awful amateurish. There’s a good reason for that (clue: it’s not because that’s the look I was aiming for). We’ll call it a placeholder for now, and we can all pretend that I’ll get around to replacing it. Okay?

 The reason said image contains poker-related paraphernalia is that I’m going to be writing a fair bit about it in subsequent posts. I’ve been playing the game online and in ‘real life’ for about a year now (tournament play mostly; I’m not too interested in cash games just yet), and I’ve had a few nice results along the way. It’s only recently, though, that I’ve been keeping detailed results of my online play. I want to see exactly how I’m progressing, with one eye on taking steps up the ladder as the stats tell me its appropriate to do so. I don’t have the exact figures with me at the moment, but since I started noting down my exact results from November 22nd 2006, I’ve made around $550. Admittedly, a big chunk of that profit came from a fourth place finish in a $10 Multi Table Tournament, so that skews the overall picture somewhat. That said, I showed a good profit at $5 Single Table Tournaments (10-man Sit-and-Go or SNG) too. I played 100 SNG at $5 levels and showed a healthy profit, so I’ve now moved up to the $10 games. That’s started fairly well too, but I won’t be making any decisions until I’ve played at least 100 of those. 

 I have a couple of friends who are undertaking a similar push to further themselves when it comes to online poker, which helps immensely when it comes to comparing strategy, etc. He’s just started his own blog, Road to the Final Table, so pop along and give him some encouragement. Yes, he’s an Arsenal fan, but try and look past that for now.