Moving along …

by PokerAnon ~ April 12th, 2015

For years I’ve been posting as PokerAnon. Before that, though, someone else had the domain, unused, so I kept checking to see if it came available.

It is, so I’ve claimed it, and likely all new posts will be there now.

See you there!

20,000 hands

by PokerAnon ~ February 8th, 2014

Just over a month, and I’m still on my project, $10nl, 6max, Zoom.

20,000 hands



I’m now at a point of playing the full four instances, the max allowed at any one type/buyin level. I started off with one, went to three (don’t ask me why; I just had been comfortable with three before) and now play four, while listening to episodes of “House, MD”. I’ve seen all episodes at least twice, so I’m not missing much there.

I have one hot key for ‘fast fold’ and have my bet slider short cuts for 2.5 pot, 3 pot, pot preflop, and 60, 75, and pot postflop. Otherwise I just rely on my mouse.

Mostly I’m happy with my play. I’m tilting minimally and have few situations where I need time to think. The lack of information from Zoom is an issue that I’ll never get around, but I color code players and use stats on those that I have stats for, but I’m still never going to easily identify those who 3bet with any suited Ace or those who like to trap with AA/KK, or a multitude of other otherwise exploitable plays. That means there is value that I’m still missing but also hidden traps, and to play Zoom you have to manage both ends.

The penultimate evaluation is bb/100. 5.5 is okay, though if I were crushing it, it would , be a little higher. And the ultimate evaluation; stats and hand review in HEM, is an ongoing project.

Zoom, 6 max NLHE

by PokerAnon ~ January 24th, 2014

So, current project, $10 NLHE 6 max Zoom.

Villain is loose, aggressive. I put him on a big flush draw, and with top pair, I’m happy to let him bluff the river.

Ever wonder what a min-raise means? Apparently it means a suited Ace, and it’s good enough to keep min-raising, even if the other player seems to want to get it in preflop …

These are the things that tilt me, and I’m not alone. Managing tilt is the toughest part of playing Zoom.

Un-Managing Zoom tilt

by PokerAnon ~ April 7th, 2013

My goal of managing my Zoom tilt is failing, and it’s time to do something that I haven’t had the gumption to do yet; hand history review.

I’ve pulled the biggest losing hands from the downswing period only, almost 7,000 hands worth.


Losing Zoom poker


I’ve returned to NLHE, at the $10 level, from my previous ventures into PLO.

  • KK: Against a nit, but I’m not sure if his 4-bet shove preflop indicated that it’s more likely to be AK than if he raised to say $5-6. There are 6 AAs, 1 KK and 8 AKs that he could have, plus maybe QQ/JJ once in a while so I thought I had to call. This was one of the early ones, one that started me on my way down the slope.
  • JJ: I 3 bet, but get 3 callers, but the flop is pretty unlikely to hit in a normal 3-bet pot. I think my c-bet is fine, but I call a check-raise from the OR because I think players at this level will think that their 66/77/88/99/TT is good here, but he raised/called the 3-bet after 2 other callers with 54s.
  • QQ: BUT raises, I 3-bet, he 4-bet shoves his AJ, I’m a 71% favorite but he rivers an Ace.
  • KQ: I don’t like calling OOP but I turn the nut straight, but he flopped a boat. Tough to fold this one anywhere but preflop, given the lack of reads/stats and the way $10 Zoom plays
  • 43: Flush over flush. I called flop and raised turn to protect against a fourth heart, but I was already dead. The dangers of suited connectors, but he’s a 11/10 nit so preflop I don’t think I need to play differently here. I’m looking for wide range hands against early position raises from nits.
  • 55: I flop the under boat and I don’t think the board is too dangerous so I let him bet into me. Unfortunately his QQ on the dry board hits a bigger boat on the river.
  • 66: I open raise from the hijack and get min-3bet from the blind. Flop a set on a mono board and we get it all in on the flop, my set against his KTs. So that’s what those min-3bets mean?
  • KK: 13/11 nit 3bets an EP raise and I 4bet from the blinds and I’m committed, but he has AA.
  • AA: I 3bet an EP raise and call from 0.30 to 1.30, so they have to call $1.00 and my effective stack is $8.00 remaining, so he’s getting 8:1 odds to set mine, and he hits with his 77.
  • I’ve gone through phases of not 3betting AK IP with a high frequency because I get frustrated with $10 Zoom players calling my 3bets and not folding flop, so here I flat a raise IP, but an EP limper with 72s flops trips on a K22 board.
  • 87s in a min-raised pot. I flop a flush and straight draw but against bottom set and I don’t improve.
  • QQ: I flop a set but he has a gut shot and and Ace, and his gut shot fills. I don’t know how easy it is to fold a set of Queens, though by the turn the board is ugly. Lots of two pair hands he could have though too.
  • AK: I raise from EP, flop an Ace, turn another Ace, but he called through for his Q which gave his KJ a straight on the river.
  • 22: Bottom set, he has 66 on a 275,4 board and rivers a bigger set. I bet two streets and check/call his 2/3 pot river bet.
  • AK: I flop top pair, two pair on the turn and he started with 55 BBs so we’re in, but he flopped a set of 8s
  • QQ: $2.45 EP open shoves, min-raised by player with $5.40, I shove over top with QQ, his K4 flops not one but two pairs.
  • AK: I raise to 5bbs when the button limps in. Fire two barrels because I suspect he’s chasing a flush draw. Unfortunately the flush fills on the river with an Ace, so I call his 1/2 pot river bet.
  • TT: I flat behind, call on a 347 flop, bet and get check-raised on a 7 turn, and fold to a 4 river. Not sure what else to do; raise/fold flop, readless?
  • JT: Another hand where the pot size got out of control. I raise, get min-raised and another player flats; I’m getting over 20-1 so I call. I flop an OESD OOP, but player IP makes smallish flop and turn bets so I call, and fold river.
  • I 3bet KJs from the SB over a BUT raise and he flats. I bet a low flop, he flats, I bet a J turn and he flats. I should fire river since I have only just over 1/2 pot, but I was hoping to check down and keep the pot small, and instead with an 8 river I fold to his bet.
  • AK: I 3bet an EP raise from a player with 40bbs, and he flats with just over pot left in his stack. QQ3 flop, he shoves, I call, he rivers an eight for his 98s.

All in all I don’t think that I’m playing all that badly, even given the level of players. Do I fold KK preflop against nits? Maybe. Or a 5 high flush against a nit EP raise? Those would have cut down on the variance and on the losses here, and there are some more questionable moves in the 50BB pot range.

One thing that I do notice is my attitude. I don’t have a lot of respect for these players, and reasonably so, having looked at some hands and the ways that they play out. But with the lack of reads and game flow because of the Zoom format it’s difficult to make maximum use of that very general knowledge. But when I’m in a downswing it gets difficult to keep that under control.

Zoom (Rush) Poker, and tilt

by PokerAnon ~ February 18th, 2013

I don’t know what it is about Zoom Poker (PokerStars’ version of Rush Poker) that tilts me so.

When I start new, like a new level, or switch from NLHE to PLO, or come back after not playing it for a long time, it’s fresh and I play well, monies roll in, I can’t believe the win rate. But after playing for a long-ish session or if I play a number of days in a row I imperceptibly start to tilt.

There is something that comes from not sitting at a table and seeing how these players play and the anonymity of the rotation, in spite of the fact that I have Holdem Manager and stats, that loses me. I don’t know how many times I’ve run into aggression from an aggressive player, shoved over top, only to discover that they had the goods. Or called down to the same result. So I force myself to fold and fold and fold, and then my non-showdown winnings line drops and drops, and still I can’t staunch the bleeding.

There’s a really fine line that I can’t seem to maintain over any length of time. It’s a much finer line, or a line that I don’t seem to run into in regular tables. If I’m too attentive I can get too involved, too wrapped up, too frustrated. If I’m too carefree, I’ll call down or shove too easily.

Part of this stems from playing really low levels, of course. I cashed out almost all of my Stars bankroll post Black Friday, and half of my small Tilt bankroll, which I now have access to again, but I’m playing the low levels of PLO trying to learn the game. I’ve got some 50,000 hands or so at $2 and $10 tables and the results are streaky as heck and the players are as annoying as heck. To learn the game I should sit at regular tables, but Zoom is just so convenient for me that I can’t resist.

by PokerAnon ~ July 1st, 2012

Had a second down session. It started off really bad, then I thought that I pulled out of it after going some 1,500 hands for the session. But I ended up down $43 or so obviously not quite back to even.


Then another session today, up $49 in just under 500 hands, and that in spite of this brain fart. I misread the board, I think I saw a 6 instead of a 9 so I thought that I barely had an overpair, so I was willing to flat behind a decent player and see what happened, when an idiot player check-raised. Because I thought I had the overpair I put him on a flush draw or top pair with an Ace or something, so I shoved ….

So without that screwup I would have been close to 3 buyins up over 500 hands.

To throw in one more hand, this is the reason that I steal wide, especially from the button. At $25nl few players play back or defend their blinds well. Most snap fold, and others 3bet too wide and then don’t have a plan if you call.

78o is not too wide for a button steal; it has playability even though PokerStove ranks it at about 55% or slightly under the middle of the entire hand range, and I flop nice and turn better against someone that I suspect doesn’t have a hand but has decided to play back against me (steal of 50% on this table). But I’m surprised at his river bet and snap fold after, I guess, deciding that he was going to bluff the flush. I don’t raise his turn donk because I’m afraid of losing him if he is bluffing.

by PokerAnon ~ June 25th, 2012

My first down session since returning from the land of Zoom, after ten or so up sessions. A couple hands that I wanted to look at.

First hand against a tight player, 12/10, almost a nit, opening only 6% from early position over 240 hands. 6% means 88+, ATs+, KQs. I 3 bet from the big blind and I expect him to shove or fold; calling I don’t know what that means since I have two Aces and it’s pretty unlikely that he has the other two.

Flop is not nice but unless he has QQ/JJ I’m ahead of KK and TT/99. I think he folds AK/KQ and I thought he would fold shove pretty much everything so I don’t have a good guess what he might hold. By the time the turn comes I think that I can’t fold because of his remaining stack size. I probably should have thought of this on the flop and bet so that I can give myself a better option on the turn. He’s only got pot left in his stack on the turn.

If I fold the turn, getting 2-1 (he only bets $5 but he has pot left total) I save $11, enough to have left me up for the session instead of down by $3.75. How often does do this with KK/TT/99? Probably only KK, some of the time, and it’s perfectly consistent with QQ/JJ. His TT/99 probably, though I’m not certain, fold preflop, and if not, probably fold flop. So I was pretty comfy, especially that I have more hands on him than most other players, that I’m dead.

Next hand I’m planning a float on this board, so I call the flop and bet the turn when he checks.

On the river I should bet almost all the time, I think, but I got myself afraid of him having 88/66 or pair that he wasn’t folding, or calling my turn bet because he picked up the flush draw.


After we both check the river I said, are you an idiot, or did you actually know what you were doing? Later I decided that he’s probably an idiot that hoped to hit his card on the river, but I think that this is one of those few times that firing more than one barrel is +EV at $25nl.

Weaned from Zoom

by PokerAnon ~ June 21st, 2012

I’m still having problems accessing my web sites from one of my locations, and apparently it’s the location that I write most of my posts from since I’m now posting almost not at all.

For the month of June I’ve almost entirely weaned myself from Zoom, with the exception of some 0.01/0.02 PLO where I figure that I’m still just practicing reading my hand and the board. I had to get myself off Zoom. 90% or more of my Zoom was played at $10nl FR and I had dropped $400; $200 at the start which took my PS bankroll down to under $200, and then another $200 after making a redeposit deposit and bringing the bankroll down to the high $100s again by the end of May. Down $400 at mostly $10nl means losing 40 buyins, and with no reason to expect an end in sight. The only thing I was cranking in was the FPPs.

So I wasn’t sure that I still knew how to play poker. On June 1 I had the day off work so I played a session during the day of $25nl and $16nl FR regular cash tables. My problem since Black Friday is that my most comfortable playing times are when the European players are in the middle of their night and I find it hard to get enough decent tables to play so I’ve been trying to play early in the day on weekends or when I get a day off. 9 sessions now, five to seven tables at a time. All winning sessions, though one I was only up 0.75 or 3 bbs. The rest have all been decent though, $20-$40 per session over 400-700 hands per, winning overall at 35bbs/100. Sustainable, right? I’m close to recovering my Zoom losses. I want to push past that so that this year at least ends up being a winning year. In 2011 I played so little that I don’t think I made much money at all.

I guess the down side is that it’s still 25nl FR, with some added 16nl that Stars added some time back. It’s where almost all of my money has been made over the years. Will I ever take shots at $50nl and $100nl again, post-Black Friday, when I’m afraid to keep any substantial amounts of money online anymore? June 1 I was playing four tables of $25nl and one of $16 with a bankroll of $175 or so at the time; hardly reasonable bankroll management, though as always I don’t consider my bankroll total to be limited to what I have online at any given site at the time. But I can’t see taking shots with less than say 12 buyins online at that time, especially if I’m playing four or more tables.

Zoom: Getting started

by PokerAnon ~ March 25th, 2012

[Zoom Poker is the next big thing on PokerStars. After some fooling around I’m starting at $10nl full ring, where I left off on Rush Poker, to get a feel for the game again.]

So it’s here, Zoom Poker, the godsend for cash game players who have families, jobs, and other things that make it difficult to multitable online cash games just because it’s so hard to set aside one or more hours to select tables, get on the tables, get reads on players.

I’ve donked around the lowest levels on various computers, mostly without statistical software, just to get the chance to play. Now I’ve settled in to grind $10nl to get a feel how to play again. Plus, since Black Friday (almost a year now!) I’ve kept my online bankrolls small so as to avoid putting too much money at risk, so I only keep a few hundred dollars at Stars anymore.

But now I’m really accumulating VPPs. The hands come so fast that the VPPs just roll in, even at 10nl. Even though Zoom only started half way through March I may actually make silverstar for only the second or third time in five years of playing there.

Here’s my fav hand so far. I’ve had more than a three buy in stack at Zoom before, but that was accumulated over time. This is the first time so far that I’ve tripled up a 100 bb stack in one hand.


On the flop I have to be ready to stack off; I’ve hit the flush but unfortunately it’s only a medium flush. I’m afraid of someone holding just the Ace or King of hearts but I’m afraid to build the pot so early so I just call the OR bet in hopes of thinning the field a bit and avoiding another heart. But there is one heart that I really like and it comes on the turn. When the OR stops betting I bet small now hoping that one of them does have a big heart card.



When the board pairs the OR jams, betting pot. I’m happy to call. The last player, at a better level, should fold his hand, but at 10nl I think he probably has to call too.

All that being said, I am winning at 25bbs/100 hands over a very small sample, but my play is inconsistent, as is my connection (I keep losing connection) and I should actually be doing better. I’ll post more about what I think one should be doing as I go along.

Hand Review: One bad hand

by PokerAnon ~ March 17th, 2012

[Current project: 6 max cash. Most of my cash game play has been full ring. To work on my 6 max game I have started at $10 tables]

Actually played my 3rd session in 3 days. Too many short stackers. Was up slightly, until this hand.

Player to my right I just made a note that I can float his 3 bets from the blinds, because his 3 bet stealers is 40% and I had recently done so. He’s not a bad player, and so I really knew that I should fold this hand when he flats my raise on the flop ….

Hand Review

by PokerAnon ~ March 14th, 2012

[Current project: 6 max cash. Most of my cash game play has been full ring. To work on my 6 max game I have started at $10 tables]

So maybe I’m picking up some momentum; I actually played two sessions within two days! Some 400 hands the first day and 500+ on six tables the next day.

I’ve had computer issues of varying sorts since late August of last year and I finally broke down and bought a new computer. I’m not totally settled in with it yet, but it is nice to have the laptop plus the 23″ monitor available again. The most recent problem was that the old laptop screen died and I could only use the external monitor, plus I wasn’t able to control the display settings properly so it’s a relief to have things back to “normal”. Now if the internet would only settle down and give me a consistent connections to Stars.

Eventually yesterday I was able to load up six tables on the external monitor and have the lobby on the laptop, which was nice. I’ve never played six tables of 6 max before that I can recall. I did get up to sixteen, or maybe even twenty of tables of full ring at one time but maybe six of 6 max is equal to nine of full ring? Anyway, it took a while to settle there. Rather than start four and add I opted to get on 7-8 waiting lists and jumped right into six. Not the recommended way to increase your tables, but I’ve been there before, plus the waiting lists seem slower than pre-Black Friday so I was impatient.

Again, these hands are sorted by size of final pot. All these are from the last session only.

First hand, against a 78/58 with 8/27% aggression maniac, and a 28/20 2.1/45%. After the hand someone else at the table asked what was going on, and I said ‘don’t ask me’. I flop the nut flush against two players who seem intent on outplaying each other.

(Note: The replayer would only show two players. I had to remove an equals sign from one of the players names “=” which the replayer site could not understand, to get the hand to show properly.)

Next, a 93/80, 4.3/50%. This session I came up with a new color code label; red for maniacs. This session there were at least three players that I tagged as such, and this is the first time in some 6,000 hands that I’ve really seen any, and three show up. Last hand had one, and this hand is against another. I really didn’t pay attention to this hand; a symptom of not being fully under control with six tables, but then, ?

Next hand is a misread of my opponent. He’s 28/21, 2/31% at the end, though I saw him as much laggier than this.

Here’s one of the last hands, one that got my session to positive just before quitting. This is a passive 33/0 fish who, in his first hand at the table cold called a 3 bet from a $2 short stack with T9o, which I immediately made note of. Some two orbits later we get this hand, and then he leaves.

Next is a 52/5. Note the awful 3 bet preflop, which obviously I can’t fold to, and then it’s a matter of what to make of his turn bet.

Another hand against the 28/21. I have to admit to not paying full attention again during the hand because I don’t remember whether he bet all three streets or not. Again, either he’s at the top of the range that I put him on for 3 betting, or I misread his stats/indicators, or I’m doing some sort of overreacting to 3 bets from other players, or, he just had a lot of good hands against me. He kept sitting out for some reason, so I’m pretty sure I only ended up with less than 50 hands total on him.

Next is a 53/21 fish. The flop is awful, but the fish will call with a huge range so I think I have to bet the flop and turn to get value from his 65/55/66/A7/K9 ect hands that he will call down with. On the river I don’t see hands other than a straight, which I think he raises at some point, that will call anything that goes over half a pot so I bet small. But, as it turns out, I think I’m wrong. With his specific hand he would have called a bigger bet.

26/24 5.5/26, whom I’ve noted before as betting a wet flop multiway with overcards, meaning he doesn’t really think. In this case, he’s been chipped down, and then doubled up his $1.60 stack against me earlier when he shoved Ax over my 66. Now I get a chance to get my money back, especially given his post flop aggression.

(Oop, lost the replay. It was my K4 that flopped two pair after he openlimped KJ from UTG. I check raised, he shoved and I collected my money back.)

Finally, a hand that surprised me, but there wasn’t much I could do about it. This is a 15/3, but who 3 bets from the blinds 40% of the time. It’s possible that either he actually had a hand, or, that he simply can’t believe it when someone 4 bets him. Either way, I don’t have anything to go with.

Hand history review time

by PokerAnon ~ March 6th, 2012

Time to get around to reviewing some hand histories.

I’ve grabbed hands since the last time I reviewed by editing HoldemManager’s filter and then clicking on bbs three times, which sorts the hands by the absolute value of big blinds either lost or won in the hand. In English, these are the biggest winning and losing hands from that period of time.

This misses the interesting hands where I folded preflop or on the flop or all my oppenents did so as well, but it’s a quick and dirty way of grabbing something to review.

First hand, I’m a 71-29 fav on the flop.

Next hand is against a 53/19, but there’s not a lot either of us can do. I flat the 3bet preflop 1) to keep the small blind in, and 2) because the big blind is fairly aggressive and I’ll have position I want to keep any random squeezing hands that he might have from folding.

I should look at his 3bet stats, but I don’t have HoldemManager on this computer. He may also have had high 3bet stats which makes his range wider as well, otherwise I’m not sure flatting preflop is the best choice here given that an Ace or King might flop and then I might have to call flop/fold turn, but 3 way in a 3 bet pot I don’t know if I have room to fold the turn.

Short stack that shoves is 69/46 over 14 hands. I don’t know if UTG limper knows this. If he does, then well played by him.

This next one frustrated the heck out of me at the time. Player 3 is a 51/0 with 1.4/34% aggression. In the blind with 66 with two limpy calling stations I don’t see value in raising preflop because most flops I’ll be OOP against two players who won’t fold. Flop is drawy but I don’t know how much I can bet. Turn adds another draw but gives me a boat so I don’t have to worry about flush draws. River fills a straight and when the calling station raises I expect a straight or J9 or something so I shove, losing to a bigger boat that outdrew me.

It’s frustrating when you have a bad player just where you want them, only to have them outdraw you on the river.

Last hand I had 66 in the blinds against two players who don’t fold. This one I have 55 but not in the blinds, and I open raise all pocket pairs and flop nicely, though I’m losing to 66 or 78 I’m not folding and I want to get the money in now in case he has 67/57 or two pair.

He wants to play some kind of min-raising game on the flop so I co-operate. My likely hand, if I like it on the flop, is an overpair; 99/TT or bigger, so his desire to get it in on the flop with a vulnerable two pair is reasonable.

Next hand is very situation dependent. Opponent is 27/11 with a 5.3/50% aggression, but I think the preflop stats were higher when this hand took place and he had high 3bet stats. I flat with a hand that I’m not going to get married to with only an Ace or a Ten. I’m looking for two pair or something with a flush draw or combo, or, a chance to outplay him with position if he has AK/AQ or something and no big cards come.

I flop what I consider to be a bluff-catcher that’s not vulnerable to an Ace coming later so that changes my plans slightly. He bets small so I call. The turn is a brick for his likely holding and only slightly more likely useful for me. Again, he’s aggressive and I have a bluff catcher so I call.

By the river I’m pretty sure that I’m beat, but I want to see what he has.

Next hand is against a 25/21/2.8/44%. Flop is dry, on the turn I pick up a bluff catcher and am still ahead of AJ/AT or other Ax that a 25/21 might raise. He probably doesn’t bet most Ax on the river, but he’s agressive and this is only 10nl so I call.

There is the option to 3bet AQ on the button preflop, but in position I usually prefer to just play my position. I might end up losing the same if he calls the 3bet, I bet the flop, check turn, call his river bet, and if he 4 bets I can fold preflop.

Next hand, against a 42/19/2.2/58%. I like raising suited middle connectors or one gappers, just like small or medium pocket pairs. They play much differently than pair though, often giving bluff catcher hands with middle pair or draws rather than monsters. Player 1 weirdly shoves the turn, I guess he’s thinking he’s got all kinds of draws, but he’s going to fold out everything except strong made hands like two pair,sets, or better.

Next hand is strange. UTG is a weak player. The one I’d like to get in a pot with the the weak big stack who is unfortunately to my left so I just call 88 behind the UTG limp.

The toughest part of post flop situations like this is trying to figure out how to get maxiumum value from the types of players that you’re up against. On the turn I dearly hope one of them has a King but for some reason both lf them call. On the river the big stack folds (what the heck did he call two streets with? A straight draw? An 8 or 7?) but the UTG limper calls, with QQ? This is a strange post-flop series that I see once in a while at this level, where a player has a big pair but doesn’t raise, and then calls down when there is one or two bigger cards on the table. Calling down is better if I raised and he called preflop because 1) there are fewer players meaning less chance of a King and 2) because I raised preflop then I could be betting AQ/AJ/JJ/TT on the flop, especially if I’m OOP (IP it’s WA/WB), I guess. But in a limped pot against a non-spazzy opponent and you hold QQ you have to give up and just agree that you screwed up preflop by not raising.

Against these players the flop raise and the turn bet should have both been a little bigger. And on the river, if I assume one of them has a weak King, the bet should have been closer to pot sized. Instead, I think because they both just called the flop and turn I somehow became afraid that neither had a King and just some kind of 7.

Last hand. Player 2 is looking like a nitty-tag; 14/14/1/50% over 22 hands. It’s a little awkward; too many short stacks at the table. JJ is too strong and too vulnerable to flat behind a short stack so I should be 3 betting to $1.20-1.40, or 3-3.5X because I have position but to also leave him room to shove Ax.

The turn raise is on the small side but it’s designed to keep flush/straight draws and overpairs smaller than mine in the hand.


by PokerAnon ~ February 28th, 2012

My graph since the beginning of the year, all cash games, all trying to relearn $10nl 6 max.


Typical variance. Because I’m only playing 2 – 4 tables at a time and because I’m just not into really grinding I’m not getting much volume; only 4,600 hands in almost two months. But look at the movement. Down 4 buyins, then up by 2, then down by 2.5, then up one, then down 3 before last session took me positive again.

Relearning old lessons

by PokerAnon ~ February 20th, 2012

Last Friday night I played in the annual company poker tournament fund raiser. $20 buy in and rebuys for another $20, with half the money going to the prize pool and the other half going to Big Brothers.

As is normal I didn’t fare particularly well, slow rolling trip jacks against a min-raiser but folding on the river when a second Ace gave me a boat but also gave any Ace a bigger boat, rebuying after shoving 88 in the big blind and being called by two limpers, one of whom had QQ, and losing at the final table with a short stack when I shoved 88 in the blind again against two limpers, one with 23o and the other with K4s and the flop came with a King to finish my evening. I don’t expect to do well in general against players at these tournaments but it’s a company function and a fundraiser so that’s fine.

What was interesting though was the residue frustration that this left me with. The next day I tried to play a little online but had no patience. The Sunday afterward I had registered for a private freeroll and tried a couple $2.20-180s on Stars as well but again had no patience.

I thought that patience was a normal part of my game, almost second nature or at least third nature and that something had to set me off before I would lose it. But on the other hand I recall telling myself that I played those private freerolls best when I didn’t pay attention and just had my laptop nearby while I vacuumed or cleaned. The $2.20-180s need to be played almost the same.

This comes on the heels of some down sessions of $10nl 6max, where I got boat-over-boated on the river against a megafish after flopping a set and he flopped middle pair, and where I got limp/shoved on by KK over my QQ by a 30/4 who promptly leaves the table and so forth, so it’s building frustrations on top of losing sessions.

More $10nl 6 max

by PokerAnon ~ January 22nd, 2012

Still working on $10 6max, but very little. Three weeks into the year and I only have five sessions, 1,200 hands because I’m mostly playing only two tables to give myself time to check my thinking as I go. Finally got back to positive with the session before last after dropping a couple buyins in the first session.

Against a 53/16 over 45 hands, cbet 100%, 3bet 15% but I recall thinking it was higher at the time of the hand. Because I read him as prone to 3betting I choose to flat QT suited, a hand that can play well in position.

The worst part of this hand is the river. As soon as the J gets there I decide to flat, being now afraid he’s holding AK, which is pretty unlikely at this point in the hand, as is anything with a 9 or a set of tens or Queens since I hold one of each. Missed value on the river.

47/4 over 78 hands, fcb of 62%, aggression of 1.1/28%. I bet the flop small because it’s a bet/fold and check/fold the turn. Except I catch a bluff catcher. I don’t expect him to be bluffing here, but on the other hand I don’t see what he’s representing, other than an Ace or two pair, and if he had those why would he bet the river?

Here’s a problem. UTG is a Lagfish, 50/39 over 18, undersized raiser is a nit; 13/10 over 40. I’m afraid to 3 bet JJ against this raise, and I get caught because of it.

On the flop I check-raise to try to get rid of the nit and iso against the bad player, but after he call/shoves I’m pretty sure I’m dominated.

I don’t know what people flat 3 bets with, but here’s a 29/27 over 49 with a steal of 40%. I 3 bet AJo rather than flat because it’s ahead of his range but not significantly ahead. I c-bet and check/fold the turn, in spite of his 5.5 and 42% post flop aggression.

$10nl 6 max, for a change of pace

by PokerAnon ~ January 9th, 2012

Yesterday I was watching NFL and decided to play some poker. For a change of pace I decided to try some 6 max.

Post-Black Friday I cashed my Stars account down to $200. For the rest of 2011 I didn’t play much and the bankroll was somewhere just over $400, mostly due to some donking around on some $2.50 180-seat turbo tourneys. I just never felt much in the way of inspiration.

But maybe I’ve found some. The $10nl 6 max was weird. I felt like a fish out of water. First off, I haven’t played much 6 max at all, and the range has been $10nl to $50nl but very few hands in total. Still, my full ring game is really based on a 6 max starting hand selection with added tightness in the earliest 3 positions for full ring.

But I found the $10n 6 max to be unreadable to me. Maybe it’s just time away from poker in general but the betting and chasing didn’t make much sense. I tried to adjust but it was like trying to get your sea legs.

And I couldn’t remember how to play against players who can’t read board textures. And how to play players that call down with any pair on the flop or call preflop raises with any two suited cards. Or have no idea about pot control and assume that it means no hand. I’m just way out of practice.

So maybe I’ve found a new project. $10n 6 max, few tables, until I feel like I’ve figured out these players again.

Today I won more than I lost. Yesterday my confusion was over losing hands. Here’s a winning hand. I don’t understand what he’s doing. He’s repping a very narrow range with AK or sets, but I called down to see for sure.

And here’s one where I lost, but I had a bluff catcher and I wanted to see what he had. On one hand I don’t understand his betting given the board texture, but on the other hand maybe at this level one should be betting even given the board texture because people (other than me who’s partly doing this out of curiosity) will call down with worse.

I call this flop because I’m planning to try to take it away on the turn. I guess I could have raised the turn to try to take it away, but when I picked up the bluff catcher I chickened out. But, I’m really not sure that he folds even if I do raise the turn, simply because they don’t read board textures or won’t fold overpairs. I didn’t yesterday with KK on a Q high board, but then it was to a raise on a dry turn, and his AQ rivered a third Q after we were all in.

A bit more for posterity

by PokerAnon ~ October 15th, 2011

I forgot the tournament hands, but I don’t play a lot. Mostly what I’ve played are the 180 seat turbo sit and goes that used to be $2.20 and are now $2.50 on PokerStars, plus some sit and goes and some Rush tournaments on other sites.

The 180 seat turbos are what I use my T$ for or, sometimes I’ll also play them while I’m watching a movie or football games. Over two years I’ve┬á played 141 of these with an ROI of just over 100%. For 141 I’ve paid $325.80 to play and my net, after buyin costs, is plus $377.09. Or $662.89 before deducting the entry fee. This means that for every┬á $1.00 that I pay to enter I get $2.02 back. Easy bits of small winnings.

Posting for posterity

by PokerAnon ~ October 10th, 2011

I requested the last two years of my PokerStars hand histories. Often if I change computers I ignore hand histories older than a year since I don’t expect to run into the same players again so I don’t often have this much history.

This probably amounts to about half the hands that I played during that period of time, with the bulk of the rest being at Full Tilt and some at Party and Entraction.


So not a lot of hands in total. Only for brief periods of times have I ever spent time grinding. I never did lose that $100 one buyin shot at $100nl before giving up and lost a couple big hands where I was ahead, therefore the big +EV compared with the winnings at that level. It’s interesting that my EV is half my winnings at my main level of $25nl.

If I graph just those hands from $25nl I can see that I’ve run above EV almost from the start and stayed at twice EV. And my non-showdown winnings are a huge negative, meaning that the showdown winnings of the blue are way positive in order for the net to be positive.

by PokerAnon ~ October 9th, 2011

Recently I’ve run across BlackRain a couple of times. He’s a microstakes grinder and coach who plays predominantly at $10nl FR and I’ve felt somewhat inspired by him to do some $10nl.

My bankroll at Stars is still under $400 due to some variance and very little playing so it’s a little comforting to sit down at $10nl tables where I’m rolled and where the play is not much of a challenge. I don’t even play more than four tables at a time, but then I’m usually doing something else while I play. The real poker grind mindset is just not with me any more.

But here’s an awful hand. Limped pot, I’m in the big blind. On the turn with a three flush on the board an aggressive player in position makes a min bet stab at the pot. I call and a 37/0 calls. I river the straight flush and hope that someone had the Ace of clubs or at least the King.



So he stacks off with an eight high flush or eight high straight? Either he thinks a straight beats a flush or he just doesn’t see the four flush sitting there.

Gold star

by PokerAnon ~ August 29th, 2011

I actually made Gold star this month on PokerStars.

Not much of an accomplishment because this is the month that Stars dropped it’s VPP requirements. I think you can currently get Platinum for the VPP points that used to be required for Silver star. I’m not sure why they’re doing this. Maybe they’re planning to insert new levels in between Platinum and the SuperNova levels.

My volume is way down, due to a number of things: 1) I was running bad playing 4x$25nl, 2) went away for a few days, plus 3) my hard drive on my 10 month old laptop died. And I mean really died. I swapped it with another computer and the other computer’s drive booted in my computer and my drive didn’t even register as being inserted in either computer. I got a warranty replacement sent and it arrived in three days, but then had to spend the next few days installing Windows, drivers, and software.

With the dead hard drive I lost the last ten months worth of hand histories, which is not too awful as I restarted my hand history database after Black Friday anyway since the player pool changed dramatically. But I do need to remember to back up my HEM HUD configuration; that’s a really pain to re-build. After the run-bad, the hard drive crash, and the vacation, I started donking around at $3.50 sit and goes and $10 cash tables, all while surfing the ‘net. In other words, typical fish/casual player approach to the game. Bankroll somehow hit $400 again and I was getting close to Gold star, but it takes forever playing $10 tables so at the end I went to $50 tables. It didn’t take long to finish and I gained a few dollars when I flopped trip 8s from the SB on a T8x board, check-raised the two tone flop, turned quads and bet under half pot on the turn and river trying to rep JT or something and assuming that since he called the flop he had an overpair. It turned out to be a 97 OESD which apparently wasn’t worried about me having TT/T8 on the flop that turned a boat, and where he called my river bet because he paired the 7 on the river. I also tracked a bad player who was overbetting the pot on the first table that I was on. He left after raising me on a low flop after I iso-raised and c-bet with AK on a missed flop. I found him at another table and opened 99. Flop is 442 and he overbet-donked so I raised, he folded and went to another table. I found him again at a $200 table with only one player and where he buys in for $80. I saw him call a raise, then raise the flop on a 633 board and shove the turn with K2s and the other player had 66. Then I didn’t see him again.

There are bad players at every level. But the higher the level you play, the fewer there are.

Losing aggression; how did I get there?

by PokerAnon ~ August 4th, 2011

I want to track a series of events.

  1. While grinding Rush poker I open up my stealing range and frequency. Many other players are doing so as well and so I also start to open up my 4betting range against players who 3 bet from the blinds often.
  2. Black Friday, April 15, 2011, happens. I cash both my PokerStars and Full Tilt accounts down to ~ $200. Full Tilt goes into stasis. American players are removed from Stars which changes the play. I start to try to regrind my $200 account at $25nl FR tables.
  3. I bring with me my preflop aggression from Rush Poker to the cash tables at PokerStars. At first I run into a number of players who steal often and then don’t seem to know what to do when I 3bet so they call, and then I’m not sure what hand range they have because it’s probably wider than it should be.
  4. I start to become hesitant after being stuck in a few bloated pots with these players. I feel a little out of my comfort zone because the player base has changed after Black Friday and I’m wondering whether I need to adjust.
  5. I start to pull back on my preflop aggression; slightly less stealing and less 3 betting from the blinds. This leads to calling more often preflop and not having the initiative postflop. This puts me in the situation of having to play medium strength hands passively which sometimes allows my opponent to draw out on me. It also puts me in difficult situations with these marginal hands and with draws.
  6. Postflop I become passive with draws. I also get stuck in WA/WB or SA/WB situations and get outdrawn.

I’ve never been overly comfortable playing passively out of position. I know that against a player with a wide raising range I should 3 bet marginal hands and sometimes value hands but just call with hands that dominate his range (AQ/AJ/KQ) because I don’t want to chase away hands that I dominate, but I find it difficult to play AQs OOP even against a player who is opening 33%.

In position it’s a different matter as I can be happy calling a continuation bet and then seeing what happens on the turn, or raising or betting the flop since most of the time if called that will be followed by a check on the turn and I can manage the pot size more easily.

But I’ve become so hesitant to 3 bet preflop or to semibluff with a raise postflop (another loss of initiative result combined with fear of bloated pots and fear of players that don’t know how to fold) that today I almost flatted AJo from the button behind an average player raise, a loose player call, and another average player call.

$2.28 + .22 turbo

by PokerAnon ~ August 1st, 2011

End of a $2.28 + 22 180 man turbo on PokerStars. These are the ones that I use most of my T$ on.

These are the last 5 hands of the tournament.

  1. My KQ gets a walk.
  2. The big stack raises from the small blind. He’s been aggressive, as he should be, but I get a hand, and have him dominated. He flops an OESD, but I hold.
  3. I’m the dominating stack and willing to get in with a stack 1/3 my size with an average hand, but I’m dominating again.
  4. Next hand my KQ is dominating his QJ and I hold.
  5. Next hand, last one, heads up, QT is fine to get in against the short stack. Not dominating this time, but I hit.

It’s nice to win one of these again. That makes three firsts and two seconds, mostly played with T$. I wish I could easily get HEM to isolate those tournaments. OPR says I’ve played 67 tournaments this year and 46 last year, cashing $613. The buyin has changed slightly from 2.20 to 2.50 but I’m still up some $330 or so, and even at that most of the $250 or so in buyin costs were T$.

Losing hands review

by PokerAnon ~ July 22nd, 2011

Collection of my biggest losing hands recently. No stats.

  1. He may know that I’m squeezing, so my range may be ahead of what he thinks I have, but low flop so I commit with QQ. I’m not a big fan of his flop shove. Unless he’s intentionally trying to represent a panic shove with AK I realized at the time that it’s only around pot sized but there’s two more streets yet and the flop doesn’t really hit a squeezing hand range, more of a calling in position type of hand range. Would I shut down to a Ten or 7, or would those help me, or would I shut down to an Ace or King turn? Probably not if he made it a 1/3 pot flop bet and then we’re stack committed. On the other hand the whole reason for my flat of his small 4 bet is to consider folding to an A or K flop and committing to anything else.
  2. Min-raise and call of my 3bet. And then an annoying min-raise of my c-bet. I have overs and he’s shortish and not good ….
  3. Another half stack
  4. Almost a min-3 bet at a short table (it was still filling up at this point so few hands). Basically he gets lucky with his flop shove. All sorts of options this hand; I could have shoved pre, I could have flatted rather than raise the flop.
  5. AK vrs a 40 bb shove, probably okay.
  6. An undersized 3 bet, but boy he didn’t get much value for his hand. He gets lucky because I hit the set on the river.
  7. Another AK vrs a 40 bb stack.
  8. And KK vrs a 40bb stack who sucks out with AQ.
  9. And KK vrs T9 who was prepared to go with this top pair and catches a second pair on the river
  10. QQ with an OESD vrs a very tight full stack. He’s repping at least two pair/set but I have a hard time folding
  11. Early at this table so I just check AT. I check-raise the flop and decide to call down, losing to an open limped pair of tens.
  12. Accidental min-3-bet; I didn’t see the early position raise and just clicked the “raise” button twice. Then I’m in trouble with only top pair/non-top kicker.
  13. Rare flop┬áraise with a draw at this level, so I didn’t expect a draw.



I’m down over this time frame, though I don’t know how much? I figure there’s no point checking unless I think that I’m either close to bursting the bankroll or getting close to the $500 that I’m targeting for playing $50nl, and I don’t think I’m too close to either one atm.

Not awful play by me but I am aware that 1) I’m not running good, and 2) I’m not feeling confident in my game. If I had 2) then 1) wouldn’t be as much a problem, as well as vice versa. Run-good is random but it would make sense that it would take a few thousand hands to resolidify my confidence after not really grinding for some months.

Session 8

by PokerAnon ~ July 11th, 2011

A 60/20 over just a few hands. I expect him to call my raise of his min-raise with a huge range, so raising bigger would have been a good idea. When he check/raises a dry flop I think I’m ahead 97% of the time against this type of player with 3% or less of the time he’s flopped a set. Probably 30% of the time he has a pocket pair and hopes that I’ve missed, 50% he’s got one pair and the rest he’s missed altogether but can’t fold. In other words, I’ve run across a lot of players like this.

Next hand is my fifth hand at this table so no reads.

His donk bet is an awkward size as usually the donks will be one or two bbs, but I’ve got an over and a gut shot so I raise, intending to fold to a reraise. The option would be to flat, keeping the pot smaller, and evaluate the turn but I was hoping to get the third player out and I do think that some of the time I have fold equity all around. This time I pair the turn and he commits his stack by donking again. I’m getting 3.3-1 pot odds but he’s only got 1/4 pot left if I flat so calling is pointless.

I suck out. His play is not awful but I probably check/raise or at least donk/raise and try to get it in on the flop. As played I did pick up enough perceived equity on the turn whereas I fold to a flop check/raise, but meh.

Here I’m against a 57/0 over 7 hands. Standard raise flop, c-bet on the smallish size because of his stack size and I missed the flop. I suspect that he decided to bluff having the king.

A 10/7 over 30 hands and I decide that I don’t want to play JJ OOP so I 3 bet. On the flop I’m WA/WB but OOP so I c-bet. If he calls I’m done. If he had AQ/TT then good for him.

Last one. Opponent is 15/4 over 171, 26% agg freq, 1.5 agg factor. The flop has some draws but a Q or set could be raising me for protection. I call since I do have a hand but when he bets the turn and it’s a card that fits his range better than mine (though not necessarily his flop raise range) I decide it’s getting too pricey to keep calling.


I wanted to add some observations for post-Black Friday at 25nl FR on PokerStars.

Volume of players seems down slightly but the mix is different. The players seem afraid of playing short tables. I see some forty tables running, maybe five or six with VPIP above 30%, and waiting lists for pretty much every table, even down to ones with VPIP of 6%!

I’ve taken to starting tables myself, or joining ones where a single player does not have $25 or $10, and playing loose passive for a few hands. This generates a high VPIP and the table fills up within minutes.

Problems with this include regs who then proceed to sit to my left to make things difficult.

On the other hand the open table also attracts fish, but sometimes they have to be caught quickly. The saying “wait for a better opportunity or situation” doesn’t apply here because often these fish will lose their stack in one or two orbits and then be gone. That means extrapolating information from stack sizes, small sample size stats, and from general observation and guessing what kind of fish they are and getting chips quickly from them, before they disappear or someone else takes their chips.

Session 7

by PokerAnon ~ July 10th, 2011

Still keeping it up

This is against a 70/33 who stacked up a few hands earlier against the player in between us.

Turn is a bad card but I think sometimes he (or his fellow players like him) check/raise the turn with A7/K7/99/TT or 78 type of hands as well. On the other hand there are a lot of hands in his range that also just made two pair.

Here he is again later. An example of how bad he is. An undersized isoraise from me; the play that I’ve been using against players who don’t fold pre and don’t fold easily post flop either where I’m trying to iso without making the pot too big preflop.

He left the table after losing his stack to the player in between us who was the other one who he chipped up on on an early hand.

Here I’ve got QQ against a 14/6 over 193 hands, 3bet from the blinds of 8%, postflop frequency of 32% and cbet of 67%. I opt to flat. When we get to the river I’m pretty sure that he doesn’t have an Ace and I hope to get a call from JJ/TT or something like that. If I’m him I bet the river for the same reason that I bet when he didn’t.

So QQ was not good to me this session. But still, with help from $25 from a couple cashes using T$ the bankroll is up to $350. I’m targeting $500 before I start to take shots at $50nl again, unlike the first session after I cashed out and tried to four table $50nl and ran out of bankroll.