Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Writing & Reading

I helped Gwen with one of her homeshows last week. I enjoyed it. We worked 8-hour shifts from 10-6, selling Gwen's kitchen design services. She receives several strong leads during the week. I was happy to help her out.

Back to life in Oakland, my book and poker. The edge is small for online poker. Everyone's playing fairly well; however, I am learning a lot about the game from the books I'm reading, and hope I can use my new poker knowledge at the Oaks and San Pablo and hopefully produce some respectable gains in my bankroll. I can see why players who aren't afraid of losing excel in this game.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Two- and Three-Outers

Those two- and three-outers are real killers. I don't do well when I lose contest after contest holding cards that have my opponent dominated, and yet they suck out on their three-outer. Or worse, when I have them dominated with an overpair and they get their miracle set. That seems to happen so often. I've had a losing week this week in poker, but I guess part of the skill set in cards is accepting these weeks while still trying to play the best poker possible. The players at the Oaks are not very good, but that $4 rake really affects play, especially in the late positions when no one has entered the pot. The rake really adds up. I've been playing a little bit online, but I don't feel as comfortable playing nl online. It's more difficult for me. I could do a better job of reading players when I'm in hands. I still tend to pay more attention to my own cards.

When I return from Seattle on Monday, I plan to play a consistent amount of cards. Then there's the WSOP, which I really want to try and win a seat for this year.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Learning Tells

I played a 3.5-hour session at the Oaks last night and lost $260. I couldn't win a hand to save my life, even though I was surrounded by lots of gamblers and players who played in an obvious manner. Lots of poor calling with inferior straight and flush draws. I lost my money on good starting hands with all the money in, QQ twice, AKs and AQs. I lost all four of those hands when the money was in pre-flop. I just wasn't my night.

One thing I notice is that folks with good hands stick money in the pot right away. I also notice that few people bluff but many will make horrible calls when they're on a draw. That's really a good way to make money, but giving people bad odds to make their draw. Finding out what folks have on the flop is good, and making a near pot-sized bet on the turn is where I can make my money with these gamblers.

My image at the table is tight and conservative, and perhaps a bit unfriendly. I wear glasses and dress in black clothes and say nothing. I will slowly get better and better at this game. I still have a lot to learn.

Monday, February 9, 2009

NL Cash Games

I played a session at the Oaks two days ago. It was my first session of the year playing live. I won $136 and thought I played well, but lacked focus for such a short amount of time. I only played 3.5 hours or so, but found it difficult to focus on the players. This is a skill I should develop. I had a couple of very interesting hands. One involved A3s (spades) and three spades floped, 679. Two other player were in and I was on the button. The first player checked, the second player bet $15, I called, and the big blind called. The turn was a blank 2. The blind checked, the second player bet $20, and here I wasn't exactly sure what I should do. Do I raise, do I call, what exactly is my optimum play? I decided to call, and the big blind called as well. The river did not pair the board and I had the nuts. Both players checked and I bet $35, a small value bet in a $105 pot. I got one called and took down a nice little pot. Did the second player have a set? If I had gone all in, I would have run roughly as much as smooth calling turn, but might have folded on the river had he gone all in with the paired board. Interesting hand. I play again tonight and will be playing more on the evenings to gain experience and win money.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

New Year

Today will be the first day I play poker live at the Oaks. I'm reading throught the Harrington cash game books and planning to play the low no limit tables regularly. When I played there a few months ago, the play was loose and typically weak, with lots of gamble. People get bored quickly and want to win a big pot. I won't be too reckless. Usually, in games like those, I wait for strong opening hands and raise preflop and push all in on the flop. Either the hand holds up or it doesn't. It holds up over half the time, maybe 60%.

I plan to play for 6 hours or so. I'm looking forward to it. I'm really going to work on my observation skills this year. I can do a much better job of paying attention to tells. This will be a top priority for me in today's session and the sessions ahead. I'm curious to know what the hourly rate is for a top player at these tables.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Poker about to begin for me in 2009

I will devote a lot more time to poker soon. I wanted to establish my writing routine first and work on things at home before I put too much time and attention into poker. I'm reading Harrington's cash game books right now. They are very thorough and should prove effective in some of the lower stakes nl games I come across at the Oaks and San Pablo. I see myself working on several aspects of my poker games: nl cash games to generate some consistent revenue, my limit game to increase my FPPs on Stars, my heads up game because this will make me a better player, and my MTT game because I enjoy them and this is where the money is. Everything else might have to be secondary for the time being, though I'd like to venture into the split-level games at some point.

I've put together my charts for the year. I continue to run poorly at Craig's. Last week I had two players dominated with high pairs, only to lose both hands to sets. That was disappointing. I played well though, and was very aggressive once the antes kicked in. We'll see what happens tonight.