Friday, September 28, 2007

Can’t wait to get home

Sorry for no posts this week. I am still stuck in New Zealand just finishing up on my contract. I can't wait to get back home to Australia. The reason for no posts is that my notebook computer got stolen last week. I left it sitting on a desk while I went to the restroom and when I returned it was gone. It had everything on it. All my poker stuff, work stuff, and blog stuff. I was gutted. I've been battling with the insurance company to get paid for it, but have to convince them that I made every effort to secure it before it was stolen.

No poker either for about a week now. It's a little bit hard to play without a computer. I was hoping to reach Supernova before the end of this month, but that gone down the drain for another month. I think I've got most of my important data backed up at home, but won't be able to check until next Tuesday. Fingers crossed.

So I'm now in the market for a new notebook, will do a bit of research over the weekend. I think this could be the time to get myself a nice big monitor to go with it. Maybe the 27" dell.

Hope everyone has a good weekend. Will be back up and blogging next Wednesday when I get back to Australia.


Monday, September 17, 2007

Head for the stars

Hope a good weekend was had by all. A couple of work issues have come up for me, so it means I'm in New Zealand for a couple more weeks. I don't mind being here but it does get in the way of my poker routine.

Pokerstars offered a rare reload offer over the weekend. You have 6 months to clear it, so you may as well stack it up even if you don't play on there at the moment. It sure has brought a lot of loose aggressive players to the site. I don't mind the loose aggressive games but they sure get expensive when you are running bad. I had a rough weekend at the cash games, with people hitting everything they were chasing. I don't really go on tilt much, but I do start to call more often than I normally would when people keep jamming the pot constantly. The problem was they had hit their miracle card each and every time. The games are fairly juicy on Pokerstars at the moment with a huge amount of players, often over 100,000, so I'll just keep plugging away.

Today's Topic: High stakes poker

Just to give everyone a little bit of inspiration I've listed what some of the top players are winning and losing in the high stake no limit cash games on Full Tilt Poker so far this year. For anyone who though it was impossible to make money playing online poker this might help change your mind. The figures are taken from


































































David Benya















Gus Hansen










Ram Vaswani










Ozzy 87










For anyone uncertain about the figures, yes the top winner is ahead over 2 milion dollars, and the top loser is stuck about 3.5 million. Fairly decent chunks of cash. Sbrugby (brian townsend) started playing 50 cent Nl holdem a couple of years ago, and is now over 1 million up for the year, not bad going. So keep struggling on and keep that dream alive

Today's Link:

For further information on the internet's top poker winners and losers and a list of games in progress, go to

Friday, September 14, 2007

Stacking them up

Played another frustrating Full Tilt $24 tourney last night. Made it into the money with a fairly decent stack. I had the second biggest chipstack at the table when I woke up with AA in the big blind. The chipleader made and early position raise and got one caller. I re-raised and after a couple of seconds of contemplation the chipleader pushed all-in. I called and he turned over QQ. You guessed it, out on the flop came the queen, and that was me gone. If I had won the hand I would have been a huge chipleader and a good chance at some decent money. It really hasn't helped my enthusiasm for MTT's. Up until now I have enjoyed playing the satellites on Full Tilt in which you can win $26 tokens to use in MTT's. Of a nighttime while watching TV or surfing the net I always have a couple of satellites running on my second monitor. I have collected over 40 $26 tokens, and up to now haven't had much interest in playing any MTT's with them. I even started using the $26 tokens to play single table satellites for $75 tokens. I've managed to earn 6 of these so far. I usually only play tourney's and satellites while doing other things, and most of the time if there isn't a tourney about to start I end up playing more satellites instead.

The problem is I have a stack of tokens without a big desire to play MTT's. I really enjoy the satellites, they are fast, soft, and fun. MTT's on the other hand usually just end up frustrating me. I spend 3 hours of my time to be sucked out on by a 2 outer on the river just before getting in the money most of the time. I know I must be due for a big win in a MTT soon and just need to keep persevering, but getting the enthusiasm to play them is hard. My plan is to use my tokens to play the satellites for the Sunday $215. That way when I do finally have a bit of luck in a MTT, it should hopefully be a big win. Last weekend in New Zealand so I'm hoping to get out for a few drinks for the next couple of nights. Have a good weekend on and off the tables everyone.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Slowly moving up

I finally had a free day to concentrate on poker. Played 3 tables of NL200 and 6 of NL100 on Pokerstars this morning and did fairly well with both. I think I will be mentally prepared to play 9 tables of NL200 by the beginning of next month. I haven't noticed a big difference in the skill level between NL100 & NL200, maybe just a little more aggressive. The main issue for me is getting my mind used to dealing with the bigger swings at each higher level. AT NL100 I'm used to being up or down $200 in an average session with a maximum $400 swing. Nine tabling NL200 with the tables being more aggressive, I can see that I am going to have days where I could lose up to $1000. I'm still getting my mind mentally prepared for this.

I easily have a bankroll to play as high as NL400 but I don't like to play at a higher level until I am extremely comfortable at the previous level. As a rule this cycle seems to take me about 3 months per level. I played exclusively Sit n goes for about a year getting all the way up to 6 tabling $100 SnG's before getting bored of them at the beginning of this year and moving to cash games. I enjoyed sit n goes but at the time the biggest games going were $200 SnG's and the level of competition at these was very high, giving a small ROI.

I decided that to progress in poker my best option was to move to cash games. I started playing NL25 at the beginning of the year for about 3 months. It was a great level to learn at, and after losing money for about 2 months, thing finally started to click in March. I moved up to NL50 and was a steady winner until I moved up to NL100 in June. My first month of NL100 was a shocker and I actually lost money playing poker and had to rely on bonuses to survive. I found that adjusting from NL50 to NL100 took a bit of time as players put a lot more pressure on you at NL100. I reduced the number of tables I played to six and quickly got used to it, before moving up to 12 tables at one stage. I plan on playing NL200 from the start of October and stay at that level until the end of the year. People tell me that NL400 is a lot tougher than NL200. I hope to start playing NL400 at the beginning of next year and I guess this will be the true test of whether I can make it as a serious poker player or not. I imagine if I struggle playing NL400 I'll switch over to multi table tourney's and try my luck at those next year.

Things could well change before then, but I think it is important for all aspiring poker players to have a detailed plan for their poker future. It gives you something to aim for, and can help keep you going during the difficult times. Work out what you want to achieve from the game, and then plan how you can realistically achieve it.

I've just reached the cash in a $24 Full Tilt tourney with a fairly decent stack, so I'd better go and concentrate on that. Good luck at the tables everyone.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Fooled by randomness

Hope everyone had a fun weekend. This is my last week in New Zealand. I've got most of my work done, so should have more time to concentrate on poker this week.

After taking a few days off, it sure is hard work getting back into the poker grind. If I'm playing regularly I get used to playing each day and mentally prepare for it. When I take time off I realize how much I enjoy doing other thing and struggle to get back into my usual poker routine. Hopefully it will just take a few days to get back into it.

I've been trying to catch up on some reading while over here. I've reread the "Full tilt strategy guide" which is a great book, and I've just finished reading a book called "Fooled by randomness" by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. It's an excellent book and gives some great insight into both the mental aspect of Poker and life itself. The book examines what randomness means in business and in life and why human beings are so prone to mistake dumb luck for consummate skill. This failure to recognize randomness leads us to make various cognitive errors. First, we ride our luck and eventually encounter what he calls a black swan - an event that should have been incredibly unlikely. Second, we worship those who have enjoyed even more luck than us and attribute to them guru-like status. Reading the book it is easy to see how some of the top poker pros have achieved a degree of their success by pure luck, and why a lot of players fail to live up to their potential because they are fooled by short term randomness.

In one section of the book the author talks about how people react to positive and negative events in their lives. The general idea of the section is that negative events are felt more strongly by people than positive ones. He estimates that negative events are thought to be as high as 2.5 times stronger than positive ones. An example of this in poker is if you get dealt AA and get all-in preflop and get called by KK, then a king come on the river you feel gutted. Conversely if you have KK get all your money in preflop and your opponent turns over AA and then a king comes on the river, I don't know about you but I usually feel it is owed to me to make up for all the suckouts I have taken. I certainly don't get the same emotional return as I get from the negative situation.

I think the moral of the story is that in both poker and life a person need to try and place more emphasis on the positive things happening and try to place less emphasis on the negative ones. Easier said than done, but worthwhile working towards. Pick up a copy of the book if you get a chance.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Not much poker

Sorry for the lack of updates this week. Things have been a lot busier than I expected. I went snowboarding over the weekend and had a great time. Stayed down at the snow for 3 days rather than the 2 that I had planned for. This means that I got a bit behind on my work and have spent the last couple of days catching up. I won't have too much time to blog for the rest of this week as I'm off down to Queenstown for a couple of days. I'm back over the weekend, so will get back to posting every day from next Monday.

Most of the poker I have played this week has been tournaments. Played both the big Sunday tournaments at Full Tilt and Pokerstars. I didn't find the level of skill much higher than what I am used to in the $20 and $30 tourneys. Both of them I got all my money in with the best hand and got sucked out on fairly deep. I'm going to keep playing satellites into them and hope to play them both next weekend. The latest soft satellites I have found are the Full Tilt $13 heads up, to win a $26 token. After midnight EST the level of play in these is so poor that of the 23 of them I have played so far I have won tokens in 18 of them. I then use the $26 tokens to enter satellites for the big weekend tourneys.

I really want to improve my tournament play and have been rereading the "Full Tilt Strategy Guide" book. This book is an excellent read, but some of the information in it is fairly hard going. Even after reading it a couple of times I am struggling to utilize a couple of its concepts. I will keep reading and hope to improve my game with the effort I am making.

I have started playing a bit of NL200 cash games, but have played too few hands so far to get a feel for how much tougher they are. I'm down a little bit so far, but you can sure clear bonuses quick 9 tabling them.

Party poker gave me $100 of free money this week for no deposit. If you haven't played on Party in a while check your account as I think the bonus was given to most players. It was free money that you can't cash out, so I played a $100 sit and go with it. I came second for a $200 profit which I cashed out, and plan to play in a $100 tourny with the $100 of Party poker money still left in the account. Hard to beat free money.

Will try and make an update on Friday and get back into it next Monday. Hope everyone has a good week.