Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Play hard or don’t play at all

The main part of my game that I have been trying to improve over the last couple of months is playing more aggressively. It can be a hard thing to do as raising in the wrong spot will get a re-raise coming back and give you a difficult decision, or if you are behind in a hand to an opponent who just isn't going to lay his down it can be fair costly. On the other hand there are many situations in a game where you just know that your opponent is weak and a substantial raise (even with nothing) will often win the pot. It's all a case of picking the right times. The only way to get to know these times is with experience and not being afraid of raising sometime. It won't always work, but you will get better at it with practice. As a benchmark the general rule is that if your total aggression factor in a full ring game in Poker Tracker is below 2 then you are way too passive. I currently have mine sitting just under 3 and would like to see it moving up closer to the 4 mark.

Today's topic: Ergonomics

Anyone who plays online poker for any length of time will eventually start to feel a dull pain in their wrist and forearm area. This could be the start of a condition known as "Carpal Tunnel Syndrome". The bad news is that it is only going to get worse unless you look at a solution early on.

What is carpal tunnel syndrome? Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve, which runs from the forearm into the hand, becomes pressed or squeezed at the wrist. Sometimes, thickening from irritated tendons or other swelling narrows the tunnel and causes the median nerve to be compressed. The result may be pain, weakness, or numbness in the hand and wrist, radiating up the arm.

What is the Solution? When I first started getting the dull pain in my wrist I changed my mouse from my right to left hand. This worked for a while but then started to get the same dull pain in both my wrists after a time. My next step was to purchase a wrist brace, available from most chemists. This works by keeping the wrist straight and stopping the tendon from twisting which causes the inflammation. While this solution worked I found the brace to become cumbersome and uncomfortable.

Next I purchased a Logitech Marble mouse, which is basically a trackball. It works really well once you get use to it and goes a long way towards solving the problem if you use it in conjunction with a gel wrist pad.

The best solution that I have found is the Evoluent vertical mouse . This mouse is available from Amazon.com and really does a great job of keeping your wrist straight and stable. Some days I use the trackball and other days I use my Evoluent mouse and I find that the combination has completely alleviated any of the symptoms I have encountered in the past.

If you are starting to feel any pain in your wrist, or tingling in your fingers or palms, then I would recommend looking at one of these solutions sooner rather than later. Once the condition has reached a certain point it can be a lot harder to correct and in some case require surgery to fix.

Today's Link

For anyone not aware of or not utilizing the 2 + 2 forums it is one of the best poker resources on the internet. While there is a lot of average posts in the forums, if you spend a bit of time searching you will find some really valuable information to help you game.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Back to the Stars

Hope everyone had a great weekend. I went to the beach and watched a few videos, so nice and relaxing for me. Pokerwise I finished clearing my bonus at Full Tilt so I'm back at Pokerstars chipping away at that Supernova status. The one difference I have noticed between the players at Stars and Full Tilt is that while the Stars players are not necessarily better they are certainly a lot more aggressive. This means making a few adjustments to my game. I just need to be more patient and wait for the good opportunities, where on Full Tilt it is a lot easier to make your own opportunities.

I've got a $200 5x bonus to do at Tower Gaming sometime this week. Tower Gaming is part of the Ongame network an apparently the games are fairly soft. It's the best bonus available at Ongame and should clear quickly, I'll let you know what the competition is like.

Todays Topic: No Limit Holdem vs Limit Holdem

A couple of years ago Limit Hold'em was all the rage. Finding good games and making money was easy. Things have changed a lot since then. These days the limit Hold'em games are generally very tough and most of the fish have moved to NL Hold'em. NL is all the rage and the dominant game at all online sites. If you want to make the change to NL or have made the change and are struggling then here are my two best pieces of advice:

  1. To successfully change from limit to No Limit you need to understand that Limit Hold'em is a game of winning pots, and NL Hold'em is a game of winning stacks. This means in Limit you can play hand like K J, A 10 profitability and hands like small suited connectors (3,4 6,7 etc) don't always have a lot of value. The opposite is true in NL. In NL you always have to be focused on how you can win your opponents entire stack. Small suited connectors and small pocket pairs are hand which can do this. Some players will not throw away their high pocket pairs and hitting trips on the flop is a great way to win a person stack. At the same time hands like K J and A 10 are likely to be dominated if any decent amount of money goes in the pot in NL and need to be played carefully if at all. In NL you sometime have to throw away the best hand when against multiple opponents and a lot of draws on board.
  2. Purchase a copy of David Sklansky's "No Limit Holdem" book. It is the definitive guide to NL Hold'em and the advice in the book if followed is almost certain to make you a winning player.

Todays Link

This one is an Utube oldie but a goodie. The guy sold everything he owned, travelled to Las Vegas and bet it all on one spin of the roulette wheel. He bet $136000 and this is what happened. Link here

Friday, July 27, 2007

The Full Tilt freeze

One of the main problems with playing on Full Tilt is that when the site gets busy things start to slooooooow down. Even though they only have halve the players that Pokerstars have (with no slowdown issues ever) once the player count on Full Tilt starts approaching the 50,000 mark, all actions on a table start slowing down. It is something that normally I've got use to and don't worry too much about, but last night it went to a new level. The site crashed on at least 2 occasions shutting down all the tables on Full Tilt.

I wouldn't have minded so much but on the second crash was in a hand that went like this. I was in early position with AA I just called hoping to get a raise that I could then re-raise. The player on the button obliged and he called my reraise. On the flop came A44 giving me the nut full house. I checked hoping he would think that I had pocket kings, but he check behind me. Next card out was a 9 I bet and he called, final card out was a king, I bet and he re-raise all in for $140 and just as I was about to call with the nut full house the site crashed.

I contacted Full Tilt who to their credit send me a fast response, but it looks like at this stage any hand not complete when the crash occurred will have the money returned to each player. I sent them another email with the hand history and explained that their site crashing just cost me $140. I await their response, will keep you posted.

Played on Pokerstars since Full tilt was down, and for anyone looking for a soft game of poker the NL50 tables after 2am EST on Pokerstars are about as soft as it gets. Made an easy $100 with very few cards in about an hour.

On the sites to avoid list "Golden Riviera "would have to be near the top of the list. Deposited some money on their site ages ago. Went to cash out and they asked me to fax my ID to them, which I did. Two weeks later I emailed them since I had no response, they said they hadn't received my fax, sent another copy and emailed it to them as well. My cashout still hadn't happened after another 2 weeks so called them and they said that the cashout was canceled until they received my ID, and now that they had received it I needed to log on and cashout again. I went to logon and it said my password was invalid? Called support who said I had the correct password and to try again. Try again same thing, called support who reset my password to 1234. Tried again still invalid password. Called again they said that was the correct account name and password so there was nothing else they could do. I asked them to just return my money to me and close my account. They said the only way I could do this was by logging on!!!! After 3 more emails to them they now just ignore my emails. 6 months later still no further. Oh well I guess you win some and lose some.

Have a good weekend all, catch you Monday.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Poker Downunder

There is hope for mankind after all. The computer bot Polaris was finally beaten in its challenge against 2 poker pros.

Had a few suckouts against me on Full Tilt today. But overall things are still going well. Fingers crossed.

Though I'd give all my foreign readers a quick overview of poker in Australia. Five years ago poker had a very small following in Australia. How things have changed. With the evolution of online poker and Joe Hachem winning the WSOP main event, poker has taken off downunder.

There is a huge pub poker scene with over 250,000 members, with games available at your local on most nights of the week. Crown casino in Melbourne is leading the charge for casino poker, with one of the world's best poker rooms. Online poker player numbers are growing and looking down the signup lists on most sites shows plenty of aussie's playing. With Pokerstars rolling out the APPT Asia Pacific Poker Tour the profile of Poker is sure to keep growing. The future looks bright indeed.

Lastly for those of you wanting to see more TV poker go to NBCpoker. They have the complete achieve of the "Poker after dark" series available to view over the internet. If you live outside of the US then some segments will come up unavailable but just skip to the next segment and most play without a problem.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

No such thing as too many

Things are still going well on Full Tilt for me. I don't want to jinx myself but it could become my poker home for a while.

For those of you interested in the bot matchup currently Polaris the bot is winning by 1 game. Of course you need to allow for variance, but this isn't a good sign for the future of online poker. Go the humans.

Now for today's topic Multi-tabling. If you want to increase your profits while lowering your variance at online poker then multi-tabling is a must. If clearing bonuses is your goal then there is no such thing as multi-tabling to many tables. When first starting out playing 2 tables at once can be a challenge, but with much practice and the right tools multi-tabling up to 12 tables at once is quite possible.

The first thing you need to start with is always thinking and acting as quickly as possible when playing online. Even when you don't need to, it gets you in the correct mindset. Using the pre-action buttons to fold is also a must. Start with 2 tables and once you are comfortable with this move to 3 tables. At first it will seem difficult but you might be surprised how fast you get used to the extra table each time. If you see your results being affected don't add another table until you are not making bad decisions. If you are a losing player then multi-tabling will be a disaster as you will just magnify your losses. You can contine doing this all the way up to about 6 tables. Even if you don't have a big monitor (I 12 table on a 20inch) you can still play up to 9 tables on most sites. Full Tilt, Pokerstars, and Party Poker all have resizable tables so you just need to make them smaller, It takes a bit of getting use to but works well. Ipoker, Ultimate bet, Ongame, and Prima all have a function called miniview, again it does take a while to get use to miniview, but once you do it can be hard to return to the full view mode. The only sites I have trouble multi-tabling on are the Boss network, Pkr.com, and Bodog, just because the sites just aren't setup well for it.

To multitable more than 6 tables you will probably need the help of additional software. Autohotkeys is a program that you can write script for to automate online poker actions. A lot of scripts have already been written and are available at overcards.com. There are scripts mainly for Party poker, Pokerstars, Full Tilt, and Ipoker. The ones I recommend are betpot and table navigator. Using these 2 scripts playing up to 9 tables is not hard with practice. If playing on Full Tilt then I recommend a program called Full Tilt Shortcuts. It's options are amazing and setting it up is very easy.

I often find with small stake NL holdem that you will often make more money playing one level down from what you are used to 9 tabling than 4 tabling your normal level. The bonuses you can clear 9 tabling are also huge. Just remember to take regular breaks when muli-tabling, I find anything more than a 3 hour session starts to negatively affect my game.

That all for today.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The bots are coming

I've got off to a great start on Full Tilt this week. In the past Full Tilt is a site that I've had my share of bad beats on. This week the level of opposition has been quite soft, certainly a lot softer than Pokerstars. So if you are a small stake NL player looking for a change give Full Tilt a try. They currently have a great $600 bonus on offer for new signups use bonus code "DAZZA".

Big poker news this week is the start of the Man vs Machine poker playoff.
Polaris vs. The Unabomber (Phil Laak) and Ali Eslami are going to match up and play 2000 hands against each other.

The Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence is putting up the prize money of $50000. This is not like chess or backgammon that have proven a bot can beat a human. Poker is a game of incomplete information. It's essentially a psychological game with elements of chance as well as mathematics. I think that currently man still has the edge, but with continuing advancements in AI it is only a matter of time before online poker succumbs to the ever looming bot threat.

If you want to catch up with the latest happening in this match up then follow this link.

I've been watching ESPNs coverage of this years WSOP and so far it has been disappointing. There is very little poker shown, the bracelet events are packed into1hour segments. After introductions, and player profiles, there is very little time left for Poker. Hopefully this won't be the case with the main event.

Good luck at the tables all.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

HORSEing around

I played some H.O.R.S.E on Pokerstars over the weekend. For those of you not familiar with the game, it is a combination of Holdem, Omaha, Stud, and Razz. You play 10 hand of each game before moving onto the next one.

While NL Holdem is currently dominating nearly all poker sites I feel that over the next couple of years it’s popularity will start to shrink. Everyone just keeps getting better at NL Holdem and it’s getting harder to get a big edge over your opposition.

Meanwhile jump into a HORSE game on any site and even though I’m a below average Omaha 8 or better and stud player, finding even weaker opponents is easy at the lower limits. The main difficulty I have with HORSE is playing multiple tables, I can just manage to play 4 tables at a time, and can’t see myself being able to increase that in the near future. Playing NL Holdem I normally play a minimum of 9 tables at a time and can easily handle up to 12 tables. So while I enjoy HORSE and want to keep improving my game, at this stage I can still win more money in the NL Holdem game.

Just got an email offering me a $500 bonus at Full Tilt. The last time I played the games were not very soft at Full Tilt. I’ve had a bad run on Pokerstars lately, so a change could be just what I need, so Full Tilt here I come. I'll report back on the level of play in a few days time.

For new players just starting out or anyone busto at the moment VC poker (Part of the Ipoker network) is offering a FREE $35 no deposit required bonus to get you started. Just click on this link to VC Poker. As the saying goes “Free money is always good money”.

Hope everyone has a good week on the tables, see you all tomorrow.

Friday, July 20, 2007

High stakes poker

Congratulation to Jerry Yang. Winner of this year World Series of Poker main event. He beat 6,358 players to win $8.25 million in prize money.

The overall amount of players was unsurprisingly down from last year’s record of 8773, but still a very good turnout considering the effects of the American UIGEA legistation. Overall the amount of players competing in all WSOP events was up from last year, which is encouraging for the future of poker.

Personally I was a little down playing on Ipoker poker today. Flopped 3 sets but was outdrawn by 2 flushes (people just love flush draws, doesn’t matter what the odds are most people at NL100 are going with their flush draw no matter what the price), and a straight. That’s the way it goes some days.

Saw an interesting article on http://highstakes.nu regarding biggest winners and losers in online cash game poker so far this year, the figures are amazing. Most of the action seems to happen on Full Tilt Poker. Some great hands to view.

NL Holdem Winners

Alias Results Sessions Hands Hours

Sbrugby $3.142.267,55 680 85702 665
pr1nnyraid $1.698.352,65 144 25542 157
durrrr $1.200.998,55 435 61553 501
Till_I_collapse $966.090,50 35 2908 24
jinsokkp $775.572,10 547 59562 464
mjorgenson13 $766.410,00 431 44390 338
traheho $740.711,50 426 47165 382
Genius28 $699.822,50 321 37503 290
whitelime $694.392,90 113 16504 125
93TilInfinity $692.183,70 236 27470 212

noataima $-3.429.854,75 190 38458 377
D Benyamine $-1.300.177,90 289 45217 353
magicpitch1 $-1.207.884,35 112 22848 191
SheFaLLs $-531.084,45 80 9640 84
Gus Hansen $-522.607,55 95 8007 91
A_Hoffman $-505.281,70 37 5037 31
Ram Vaswani $-485.786,50 42 8144 52
Luigi66369 $-470.426,10 119 14366 149
Mike Matusow $-441.525,55 177 18270 174
Ziigmund $-416.237,05 102 8533 58

Nearly all of these high stake games take place on Full Tilt Poker. So if you fancy doing a bit of rail birding and checking out the action Full Tilt is the place to be. If you’re not familiar with some of the aliases above then I can tell you that Sbrugby is “Brian Townsend” a high stakes player who only started playing poker about 3 years ago. The biggest loser Noataima is “Guy Laliberte” the owner of Cirque du Soleil he has a reported net worth of over 1.4 billion dollars, so I guess 3 million is neither here nor there to him.

Heading off to see the Transformers movie now, so until Monday always remember that there is no such thing as a bad hand in poker. Only a bad flop.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Hard work at Pokerstars

Since the beginning of the month I have spent a lot of time playing NL100 on Pokerstars. The goal has been to reach Supernova status in their rewards scheme before the end of August. I started off well but then have had one of my worst runs in ages.

Not pretty at all. Includes getting all in before the flop for $100 3 time against KK twice and QQ once and losing all three

I have to say that the level of play at the NL100 games on Pokerstars is a bit higher than I am use to on other sites. Most players are fairly aggressive and of course even though they might be bad players making poor bluffs at least they give themselves a chance to win the hand either by their opposition folding, or hitting their miracle card on the river. Passive players are a lot easier to play against as they have no chance of winning a pot against you when they fold to a bet or raise.

Over the last 6 months I have noticed that the level of play in no limit holdem on all sites is improving at a rapid rate. Players are starting to get more and more aggressive and while this is good when you are hitting your hands it can make for some very tough decisions when holding average hands and making continuation bets.

I felt that I needed to take a break from Pokerstars and have spent the week playing on a newish site called NOIQ poker (stupid name I know). It is part of the Ipoker network and as well as having a great bonus offer for July the level of play is certainly a lot worse and more passive than I am use to on Stars. This has resulted in me booking some good wins and I think that I’ll continue playing on NOIQ until the end of the month before returning for another go at Stars.

For users of Pokertracker you will be interested to know that a new program has been release called “Holdem Tracker”. It is meant to be better than pokertracker in many ways and a free beta version of it is available at holdemtracker.net. The program looks very promising and I’m going spend a bit of time with it over the next week or so. Pokertracker is also hoping to release a much needed new version in a couple of months time, so looking forward to that.

Saw a funny video yesterday Phil Hellmuth was suppose to arrive at this year’s World Series of Poker Main event in a race car to celebrate his 11
th bracelet win. But on a practice run crashed the car into a pole. View the video at Raw Vegas

Have a great day everyone and remember to win at poker raise more and call less.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Hello Everybody

Welcome to my new poker blog.

I'm sure a lot of you are thinking great, just what the world needs is another poker blog.

I read many poker blogs myself and think that over the past couple of years I've had enough experience with both live and online poker that I can help new players improve their game.

I will try to make posts each and every weekday, and will keep you all up to date with my poker activities as well as reviews of useful poker books, software, and sites

If any fellow poker blogger's would like to swap links to my blog please let me know.

Thanks for reading everybody and good luck at the tables.

See you all tomorrow