Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Fifth is the new first

For the second week in a row, I somehow managed to finish in fifth place in the Tuesday night Bodog Blogger Tournament, hosted by $mokkee. It took even more lucksackery for me this week than last; there were at least two hands where I pushed with small pairs, got called by bigger pairs or overcards, and flopped a set to double up. Thanks once again to Bodog's generous overlay, I had $T109 added to my tournament credit balance, to go along with the real cash for my fifth place finish. I think I'll be playing more at Bodog, as I understand that they often have a nice overlay in many of their other tourneys too.

Pokerpeaker was the other luckbox in the game last night. He was down to 65 chips at the final table, made an astounding comeback, and took second place. Go read his blog for the gory details. Lightning36 came out on top at the end, for his fourth (!!!) Bodonkey tourney win.

Starting next Tuesday, the Bodog Blogger Tourney will become a series of 18 weekly tournaments which will include leaderboard points and a Tournament of Champions at the end of the series, with a "sick" prize (sez $mokkee) to be awarded to the champ, plus other prizes for the rest of the top finishers. The announcement of what the prizes will be is scheduled for Friday Feb. 1, so stay tuned to $mokkee's blog for the dirt on that. I'll be playing and hoping to keep my rush going.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

What's a donkey to do?

Has it really been three weeks since I posted here? Feels like longer. Occasionally I'll get an idea that seems like it might be worth posting, but that feeling usually passes quickly. But, if for no other reason than to pretend that I am still a poker blogger, I figure I'll throw something up here.

Let's get the trivial things like results out of the way first.

Cash games since last post = in the red
Tourneys since last post = in the black*

*The asterisk is because my "profit" has come from the tournament credits I won in the Bodog Blogger Game last Tuesday. I folded and luckboxed my way to fifth in that tourney, which got me $29.60 in real US money, but also $T109 in my Bodog account thanks to their generous bonus program for these tourneys. If not for that, I would still be well into the red for tournaments so far this calendar year. I plan to use the $T to play in the Tuesday night games as regularly as I can, and possibly to check out some of their other tournaments.

Because I am a consistent loser at tourneys these days, I am trying to play in more ring games to see if I can perform with some semblance of success. I stick to the micro-limits, to make my bankroll last as long as possible. I have no desire to jump through the hoops or pay the fees to fund my accounts at the poker sites, so I'd like to milk my meager stakes in the three sites where I am funded for as long as possible.

A problem with that is, playing for nickels and dimes means that any wins I bank don't amount to much, so my roll doesn't grow with any speed. That isn't to say that I am impatient; I can fold hand after hand with the tightest of them. In fact, I am doing that as I type this, in a $0.02 - 0.04 Limit O8 game on PokerStars. I have had a bunch 0f hands with middle cards, and very few Aces, so my Fold button is getting a real workout. What I need is a run of decent hands so I can win some pots from the any-four-cards playing fish in these games. Maybe I need to switch back to Stud 8, which I did OK at for a while last year.

I'm playing strictly Limit poker in the ring games, mostly because I feel more comfortable playing Limit outside of tournaments. I have not, however, played in any Limit tourneys yet, because they generally take way too long.

I'm in my usual quandary about what to do about poker. Am I enjoying it enough to tolerate the steady diminishing of my bankroll? Will it do me any good to read more poker books, or have I reached a saturation point with those? Should I find something better to do with the time that I spend on poker now?

Here's one I'm wondering about: Should I take a bigger risk, play at slightly higher levels where I can use what little I have learned about how to play correctly against other players who might actually fold their crap hands to my bets and raises? I have resisted this temptation for a long time, partly because I am a wuss and don't like to get in over my head, and partly because I know that variance could easily cripple me with a few losing rounds as well as give me a nice cushion if I were to have a few winning sessions.

I expect that I will just plod along as I have been. I'll play in the Bodog Tuesday night game as long as my credits and bankroll there hold out, and try to slowly build my roll on PokerStars and FullTilt as I get the chance.

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Sunday, January 06, 2008

Okie-Vegas 2008 - be there!

GCox has posted the announcement that everyone (who is anyone) has been waiting for:

Okie-Vegas 3 is go for launch this summer! Go check his site for the lowdown. I'll be there, good Lord willin' and the crick don't rise, so don't miss your chance to take my money, hang out with some wild and crazy poker bloggers, and have a whooping-hollering-yeehaw-good time.

And if you are wondering what Okie-Vegas 2 was like, check my report here, which also has links to other folks' accounts of the festivities.

See you there!

Looking behind, looking ahead

A new year has begun , so it's probably time to review how I fared in 2007, and what I plan to do in 2008.

I keep records of my play, so I have a pretty good idea of my results for online play for the past year. (I have left live play out of this review because I played so little live poker.) Here are some figures that I have to chew on:

Tournaments played (SNG and scheduled): 107
Tournaments cashed: 21
Tournaments won (finished first): 3
Cash game sessions: 88
Cash game sessions where I quit with a profit: 42

I don't even know what constitutes a "good" record for cashes per tourneys played or anything like that, but I definitely lost a chunk of change, compared to the stakes I play, in tournaments in 2007. I came out just a few dollars behind for the year in cash games, but I didn't spend nearly as much time at ring games as in tourneys, so I don't think I have a good sample to know if I am better suited for ring game play than tourneys.

Here are some more telling stats:
Tournaments played with buy-in of $11.00: 22 (of the 107 total above)
Tournaments cashed with buy-in of $11.00: 4

These $11.00 games were all blogger tourneys, and my performance in them was pretty poor. Other than one charity tourney where I put in $40.00, these blogger tourneys were the highest buy-in games that I played, and therefore put the biggest dents in my bankroll. Although my cashing percentage in lower buy-in tourneys isn't much higher than for the blogger tourneys, they also don't drain my roll as much when I finish out of the money.

What does this tell me about how I am doing as a poker player, and about what I should do in the coming year?

First, I have to look at my roll. I have funds on three sites at the moment: FullTilt, PokerStars, and Bodog. I only have money on Bodog because they offered to stake me in exchange for the link on this blog; the other two sites have been funded for a while, although I needed some help to get more money onto FullTilt when that account got low. As of now, PokerStars has the most and FullTilt has the least. One significant equation that I have looked at is this:

FT is where almost all the blogger tourneys are.
Blogger tourneys cost $11.00 or more to enter.
I have less than $100 on FT now.
I don't do well in blogger tourneys.

All of these factors add up to:
I won't be playing in any blogger games on FT until I build my roll there.

I don't want to deposit any more funds on any sites right now; I would rather add to my accounts the old fashioned way: by EARNING (read: winning) it.

I have less than $100 on Bodog too, so I will have to see if I can build that up through smaller-stakes tourneys and such so I can play in their Tuesday night blogger game more often.

I have a somewhat bigger roll on PokerStars, although it is still under $200, so I might be able to play in a few mid-level games there if I do so intelligently. Unfortunately, the blogger group that I know best doesn't seem to play much over there, or at least doesn't have regularly scheduled tourneys or games, so it isn't quite as much fun.

So, I know I won't be playing in the blogger games any time real soon. But what is on my list of things to *do* rather than *not do*?

1. Read and study more to improve my game. I know that I need to refresh my mind and memory on the proper techniques so I can make better decisions, which should help my bottom line results in the long run.
2. Work on playing my opponents more and my cards less. I really need to develop these skills a lot further if I hope to succeed at all.
3. Play more ring games and see how I do there. I want to be a well-rounded player and not narrow my focus too much onto tournaments.
4. Learn more about, and play more often in, several varieties of poker. I don't want to spread myself too thin and try to become an expert in everything, but I do want to have a decent working knowledge of multiple games and of poker in general.
5. Be more focused and in the game, and not allow myself to be distracted while playing. If I can improve at this, I'm sure it will help me perform better and, again, make better decisions.
6. Take more notes on my opponents, and use them to my advantage. I've done very little of this, although I know that it could be a huge help to me, so I need to be more disciplined about it.

How are those for New Year's resolutions? I'll bet they match those of some of the rest of the poker players in the world, and maybe some of you who read this. I wish us all luck in keeping up with them, and in becoming better poker players in 2008.