by PokerAnon ~ March 11th, 2014

A few hands into trying out Full Tilt.

It’s moving slower than on Stars. I’m only playing 2 instances rather than 4, partly because Tilt seems to lag more than Stars, partly because I’m now watching Game of Thrones instead of House, and I need to pay a little more attention because, unlike House, I haven’t seen every episode at least twice already.

I think I’m adjusting.

10nl Rush


One thing that’s nice is I seem to be tightening up slightly, raising less, calling less, cbetting less.

Odd how little I’m losing from the BB at this point. Also odd that my winnings from all the other positions is too even, not slanted heavily to later positions as it should be.

It’s likely that I’ll stay focused here for the rest of March, then decide what to do, when to move to $25nl.

Moving to Full Tilt

by PokerAnon ~ March 9th, 2014

Taking my $10nl 6 max Zoom game to Rush at Tilt for comparison.

It’s bad. I have to downgrade my game to adjust for the play.

This one I post for the preflop action. An open limper, I raise, get flatted, then min-raised before it comes back to the open limper, who, with great pot odds, though I may raise again, folds. After a checked flop, note the wonderful min-bet, followed by a lovely min-raise of the min bet.

Next, a brilliant donk on the flop. Then note the bet for value on the river.

And a final check-raise on a flop, with an under pair, with two overcards.

I post these three hands because they took place within 30 hands of each other.

Along with these, there are countless min or undersized 3bets or min-raises or limp-raise of raises. And, like any level of bad play, any play is potentially a huge undervalue out of fear, or to make sure you call, or a huge overvalue of bottom pair on a flop.

I haven’t played lower levels at Zoom so I can’t compare or say that it’s like X level of Zoom, but it is going to require some adjusting.

by PokerAnon ~ February 15th, 2014

After a month and a half I’m still on my $10 6 max Zoom project.


I guess eventually I should move up to $25nl. I’ve got the bankroll, I had the bankroll for that when I started, but I kind of like this training ground.

My non-showdown line is flattening slightly; I’m firing slightly more turn cbets and 3 betting preflop a bit more, which should help that out.

PFR, VPIP are okay; PFR is ahead of the average which is where it should be given the players at this level.



Postflop aggression looks okay, I guess. I’m almost an outlier but that’s a function of the high PFR and doing a lot of cbetting flops. I’m making a conscious effort to slow the cbetting down, especially out of position and multiway, but it’s difficult given the wide range that I open raise pre, meaning I wiff most flops. And, this needs to be managed along with firing more second barrels because players call flops with almost anything at this level.

If they were smarter, I’d suspect them of floating OOP, and I think some actually do this without thinking. Call flop because they can’t fold or because they don’t believe me, checking turn, donking river. What I suspect they are doing is betting river because I don’t bet the turn because I’m trying to control pot size and I know that any pair on the flop isn’t folding anyway. They interpret this as weakness and bet the river, which, if I have any hand strength, I call.


3 bet preflop is hard to judge. Some overuse it, some never use it.


The unpredictability of Zoom (Rush) Poker

by PokerAnon ~ February 9th, 2014

The toughest aspect of quick-fold poker like Zoom, Rush or their equivalents on other sites, is not knowing enough about how your opponent plays.

Here I flat an UTG raise from a TAG; 24/19, 1.7. My plan is to call flop with any pair or draw, possibly bet if checked to. But KQ is one of Brunson’s ‘trouble hands’ for a reason; it’s dominated by AK or AQ on a K or Q high flop, so I have to be careful how deep I go if I get only a pair.

When he bets all three streets, and large on the river, I expect to be losing to AK/AA much of the time.

But I make the call anyway.

Next hand, I get 3 bet from the blinds by a 20/14/2.0. This is very similar to the previous hand because players at this level 3 bet all kinds of garbage; suited connectors, any Ace, a suited King. This guy 3 bets steals at 14% and 3 bets generally 17% so I don’t think he has absolute garbage, otherwise I would test him by 4 betting.

This time I actually feel more comfortable with my hand when I call the river bet than the previous one, probably because of his 14% 3bet steal stat, meaning that he doesn’t have to have a premier hand preflop, especially if he has a HUD and sees my steal percentage.

All of these stats are of marginal accuracy since I only have 200 hands on the first guy and 50 on the second. Yet I was surprised that the first fires 3 barrels with 22, and that the other had a hand as good as AA. In both cases if I were them I probably slow down after two bullets because the board hits my range much more than theirs, especially in the first where he only has an underpair. What hands call that you’re beating, what hands fold that are ahead of you? I almost folded the first, but that’s a narrow range, and I called the second, but again there are a lot of hands when the flush completes that you’re losing to.

Things for further consideration

by PokerAnon ~ January 29th, 2014

Even though I wrote about patience and playing like an automaton in the previous post, my game always changes. I change. Some days I’m more attentive, or less attentive, happier, or less happy. And there are always things to look at, to see if I can find out where I’m playing sub-optimally and to look for ways to tweak that.

Here are my questions for my current project; $10NL 6 max Zoom. These are the areas where I’m less automatic and where I suspect I may be most sub-optimal:

  1. When to 3 bet from the blinds
  2. When to 4 bet
  3. When to 3 bet IP
  4. When to flat preflop
  5. When to 2 barrel
  6. How to play set/two pair on the flop

For 1, 2, 3, and 5 I’m not talking about when I have value, but about marginal or crap hands, the times when I’m playing the player more than the cards.

When to 3 bet from the blinds: There are a lot of high frequency stealers; 30%, 40%, even 60%. If he’s 35%+ (Q9o and up, on average for CO, BUT and SB) I’m 3 betting anything from the big blind. From the small blind I need some sort of hand because players open call 3 bets far too often, making it impossible for the button to fold, and then I’m OOP 3 way in a oversized pot with crap. I’ll bet 3/4 pot on almost every flop when called.

I need to learn to 3 bet small/medium pairs against stealers as well because I flat too often against their weak range and I hate having to consider calling two barrels from them when there are three to five overcards to my pair. I can do this in a regular cash game, but Zoom doesn’t allow me enough confidence.

When to 4 bet: I’m 4 betting light against 3-bet-steal percentages of 20%+, betting small enough to look like I might want a call, but also small enough to fold to a 5 bet/shove. And obv this is only against full stacks.

It looks like someone has espoused the theory of 3-betting-steal-attempts with any Ace as I’ve seen this happen with all kinds of crap Aces. Then there are players like the one I ran into when I raised AK from early, got min-3bet, I 4-bet, he min-5-bets, I shove, he calls, with A2s. And flops his flush.

I 4 bet light less often if I’m going to be OOP; ie. the 3 bet comes from behind me. The 3 bet non-steal percentages are a lot lower than the 3-bet-steal-attempts so I assume a stronger range, though it seems pretty indiscriminate for some, like those who have a really high 3-bet rate and do it against EP raises.

When to 3 bet IP: I don’t do enough of this. I’m much more willing to 3-bet steal attempts, probably because their open raising range is much stronger. But even a 15/12 opening from mid or cutoff is likely to fold or play fit/fold on the flop when 3-bet. If there are no big cards on the flop though, I may need to 2ble barrel because a tighter player may need more convincing to fold their middle pair. On the other hand, I’m building a huge pot by doing so.

When to flat preflop: These are probably the biggest potential winners; the pairs or medium or medium-high suited connectors, but I have to learn to restrict this to when the raiser’s hand range is strong. I started off flatting these hands even from the blinds against stealers, but when the raiser’s range is weak, I’m not going to get paid off when I hit. Not much different from flatting when the opponent’s stack is short; not enough implied odds, either because of lack of chips, or lack of post-flop value.

Against weak ranges I should be 3-betting instead, against short stacks I should just get out.

When to 2 barrel: For value, even thin value, against calling stations. I’ve been getting calls with 40% pot sized river bets with pretty weak holdings, even Ace high in a small pot.

But there are a lot of players that will call the flop with absolute garbage, and others that will call with bottom pair on the flop. My flop cbet success rate is 50% and my turn cbet success rate is 50% as well. I should filter my data for heads up and IP and look at board textures and opponent stats to try to figure out the best times to 2ble barrel. Again, this is much easier at regular cash tables than at Zoom.

On the other hand, a lot of players look for what they consider ‘weakness’, so if you bet flop, check turn, they will bet river with bottom pair or garbage, including busted or faked made flushes. Sometimes betting flop, checking turn, calling river with marginal hands can get two bets from some players where they might have folded to a turn bet.

How to play set/two pair on the flop: I’m beginning to consider min-raises and min-check raises here. Even a min-raise will build the pot so that I have more to work with for turn and river bets, though, players at this level will fold to even puny river bets.

My standard play OOP is call flop, donk turn, but if I min-raise flop, I can donk turn much bigger, or, smaller as a percentage of the pot but bigger in dollar value. Plus there will be some players like me that hate min-raise and won’t be able to fold.

Two bottom pair on a flop is different; I have to play this as fast as I can because of it’s vulnerability. This happens relatively often to me because I raise with crap from the button, like a J83 flop to my 83o that I raised with.

Way Ahead/Way Behind: This isn’t an issue for me, but a reminder. This works pretty darn well at this level. Kx will bet an Ace high board on the turn and river if you check the flop with QQ/JJ.

Which brings up something else; most players have no concept of pot control. KK/QQ is not a big hand on an Ace high or highly coordinated board. They will build huge pots with marginal hands like top pair no kicker. And players will often spaz out with top pair, or with some type of flush draw. 3 bet them with AA/KK/QQ, flop a ten high two tone board, and if they shove with a wild overbet they usually have some kind of ten, or a flush draw (not a combo), or even two unpaired overcards that they can’t fold.

Unless their stats look totally reasonable (which is unlikely if they overbet) call, and hope your hand holds. I raised two limpers with AK, and UTG donks pot on a K high board. I flat and another K comes on the turn. He shoves, which is about 2x pot, I call. He has K8s and apparently couldn’t consider that I had a better K and assumed I couldn’t fold my AA/QQ or whatever he thought I had.


by PokerAnon ~ January 25th, 2014

I’ve tried various mantras while playing Zoom poker on PokerStars.

  • Focus
  • Don’t get upset
  • Pay attention to stats
  • Breathe

But maybe this one is the answer:

  • Patience

It started with telling myself to wait, knowing that besides getting bad runs of cards or situations or players or suckouts that eventually things will turn around and I just have to wait for them. I know this. I’ve played enough hands, done enough analysis, evaluated my play, seen runs up and down over longer terms to know that things will turn.

But what tends to happen is I start a challenge of some form, run well, then run into difficulties. Then insecurities set in. Analysis doesn’t buoy my confidence, instead it starts me questioning my game and I start tweaking it, trying to fix it. Open more, call less, cbet less, cbet different amounts, open less, call more, and around and around, trying to find the sweet spot.

It’s not a problem on cash tables. On regular cash tables I can play the player much more since I don’t usually run more than, say, eight tables at a time. I don’t tile or stack, I only play as many as I can easily see. And, because the players stay at the same location, they don’t have the anonymity of Zoom or Rush to allow them to make wacky plays over and over without being identified.

So because I’m playing Zoom, I’m sure I’m leaving a lot of money on the table, not knowing what a pot overbet means from someone, or what a flop shove or min bet, then half pot bet, then pot sized bet on the river means from any one particular player.

My game is solid enough that I should win, at $10NL 6max, without tweaking. I can tweak when I move back up, but for now I need to be able to max my returns for this particular level to adjust for these players. The biggest, biggest thing for me is to is wait, be patient. Essentially this means playing like an automaton except for maybe one hand in every 50 where I should hesitate for a moment and check stats, or one in every 500 where I need to tank to think.

Patience. Wait for it. Let the big hands come to you.

I’m back

by PokerAnon ~ January 13th, 2014

I’m back. At least writing. I never left poker entirely.

But I’ve had a lot of other things going on, and poker still, since Black Friday and even though I’m not American, lost some attraction for me. Being on the west coast of Canada I lost most of the volume of fish that played during my free time.

Just after the new year (Happy New Year) I decided to try another project. Zoom is so convenient for me, but so frustrating because of the lack of quality reads and because I tilt easily. I’ve tried numerous Zoom projects, the most recent being some low level PLO, but I haven’t tried 6 max. So that’s what I’m doing.

Zoom Challenge

My results to date, in the handy dandy HEM graph export format. Sorry it’s oversized, but if you click on it you can view it, and shrunk to fit it’s hard to read.

Mind you, the details are irrelevant. Even the results are statistically irrelevant, but I have to be happy that I pulled out of the dive that always follows the opening upswing.

I often start a session too wide and I try to pull back. Overall I’m 29/23, steal of 59, which is fine, I think. Two stats I’m working on are my 3 bet of 3.4 and cbet of 82.6. But at $10NL too many fish flat the 3bets or spazz and shove their short stacks over top. And because I steal so wide I tend to cbet too often because my range is so weak. In other words, I miss the flop so badly when called that I cbet out of desperation. I need to give up the flop more often since I’m only getting folds 52% of the time and bet the turn.

Another 10-20,000 more hands and if I still feel okay with my game and tilt management I’ll move up to $25NL

Managing Zoom Tilt

by PokerAnon ~ March 31st, 2013

Playing Zoom, and winning, and on a long weekend, it’s easy to roll in some hand history.

NHLE Zoom $10

So far I’m liking it. Still only 6,000 hands, but the only down session was the first. A run of up sessions is always a good thing.

Winning sessions is a nice contrast from all the other times that I’ve played 0.01/0.02, 0.05/0.10, or 0.10/0.25, or 0.25/0.50 NLHE or PLO of Rush/Zoom, where I’d start with a couple winning sessions, and then the inevitable following spew would more than erase that.

1/3 of the way to my target of 18,000 hands.