life, Poker

Vegas and Life Re-Evaluation

I want to start by saying thanks to the now 3000+ different people that have viewed my random and erratic posts, I more use this blog as a sort of diary to organise my thoughts and aims but I really appreciate that other people enjoy reading it too.


1. Where I’m at now

It’s been about 3 months since my last blog and again my position has changed severely, more based on my new aims instead of actual lifestyle. Lately I’ve thought a lot about whether poker has ruined my life or made it much better, and I think I have to gratefully conclude the latter. There’s definitely a big argument for the former but I like to stay optimistic. I think without discovering poker there’s a fair chance that I would either be graduating with a maths degree right now or in a stable job. This does seem like a very good option but at the same time I’ve always wanted to do something beyond the norm and I like to think I’ve got more potential than being stuck in a 9-5 job forever. Poker gives me more freedom than a job ever could as well as the opportunity for a very significant income and a lot of world traveling. I may have missed out on stability but I hate the idea of being stuck in a dead end job more than anything. It’s a strange thing to think about for me because I do respect people who do this as it provides for them and enables them to do what they want in their free time and I’ve actually just started working properly for the first time myself. For a while I considered getting a job as a failure as it’s an indication that playing poker alone isn’t enough to get by, but now I know it’s not as simple as that. For the last 3 years playing poker is all I’ve done and I’ve loved it but I’ve never got myself into the position where I can sensibly bank roll myself at the stakes I’m confident in playing, because of this I was constantly seeing tournaments I wanted to play and being unable to. There’s also the fact I technically don’t exist as a person and I could be claiming benefits as a result, but I wouldn’t feel comfortable doing this considering I’ve been making a living playing poker, although it’s legal it seems very immoral. The other major point is my livelihood, I think this can be overlooked but having a responsibility as well as a reason to leave the house and a stable income will be nice and help with saving for what i want to do. I’ve gone through stages of being kind of depressed just playing poker, especially on downswings so doing something else and knowing I’m getting paid X amount every month should help a lot. It’s just too frustrating sometumes when you have multiple 8 hour days and lose £100’s or sometimes £1000’s. The long term is always worth it but the pressure of bills and saving is just too hard for me right now without a consistent income. The true dream for me is to be able to travel everywhere playing all the tournaments I want and seeing the world as I go, it’s just about getting there now.

After the past few months I’ve decided to change my mentality to poker and essentially I’m going to focus everything now on a combination of improvement and volume. These are the 2 most important components to becoming successful at most things and I think it’s about time I really committed to what I (at least for now) want to do for a living. I’ve treated poker like a hobby for too long now instead of treating it like a job and considering it’s been the majority of my income over the last 3 years this is clearly not the best approach. I don’t just want to get by by playing anymore, I want to make enough to get to the next stage.

My ultimate goal is to be the best and therefore have absolute confidence in any cash game or tournament I play in, including high stakes. I’m far away from that at the moment but without this goal I think the game becomes too monotonous and my winnings can become capped. I don’t want to make £20-30 per hour for the rest of my life with no prospects and some what unsociable hours, I want the potential to go around the world, I want to win recognised world titles and I want to become a multimillionaire therefore never worrying about money again. So I’m setting the bar kind of high…

These aren’t easy tasks at all but poker enables these goals to become more attainable than most jobs and I won’t be content in this game until they are achieved. Because of this I’m now going to be playing a lot of online cash and trying to get to the biggest tournament buy ins I can in the fastest way possible. I’m starting relatively small playing 25NL Zoom on Pokerstars. I know a lot of poker players will read this and tell me not to do this and to play on one of the many easier websites as I’ll have a better win rate but my aim here isn’t to necessarily make the most money possible right now, it’s to play as many hands as possible and improve as fast as possible. I’m going to try get to the highest stakes possible and I want to beat 100NL zoom comfortably by the end of the year.

Lately I’ve noticed I’m slowly steering away from live poker and towards online as the variance is just soul crushing sometimes, I want to be able to go to tournaments and have near 100% of myself and also not mentally care as much with the result because I have enough money for losing to not change my situation. Essentially I want to be successful at the game but I want it to be earned. I’m going to continue to play tournaments online as I really want to perfect my tournament game, I’ve become too accustomed to cash games basically lately which is great because there is more pure poker skills required there but tournaments poker has a lot of other components which I need to re-address and improve on again.

At the time of writing my last blog I was very happy to have gotten a job, unfortunately this did not transpire and I spent another 3+ months without one. However my current financial situation dictated that I had to get a job if I want to continue to play poker, save for traveling and pay rent etc. Its quite annoying when I was making over £20 per hour playing cash games and I now will have to make about 35% of that with a job, but it’s necessary right now to enable me to do what I want. Life is a lot easier when you just win a tournament, but there’s no short term justice in tournament poker and you have to play a lot of them to get an idea of how you’re actually doing. Hopefully by the start of the next year I’ll finally be able to bank roll manage properly when I play, but rather counterintuitively by bank roll managing badly I’ve made a living for the past 3 years. These were my cash game results between October 6th 2015 and May 16th 2016 (majority of this is £1/1 with about 50-75 hours of £1/2):

Profit: £7,965

Hours: 396.3

Hourly: £20.10

This looks really good but considering this is less than 10k hands it’s not even a big enough sample to use really, this is another reason I’m leaning towards online poker. I can play more hands in 10/11 hours online than I did in 8 months of live cash. I should have played a lot more than I did as I may have had a decent amount of money now but playing live cash more than twice a week is too boring for me. Hopefully now I can commit to 15,000 hands a week online with a part time job and start to fulfil my goals and get somewhere.

2. Since my last blog

Vegas

This trip to Vegas for my 21st and dads 50th was planned for nearly 10 years, so the expectation was very high. I’m happy to say I think it did satisfy most of these expectations.


Poker

The poker in Vegas is amazing. The cash games are really soft and you can play at any time. However, the tournaments were not as good as I wanted really. The structures were good but the starting stack made it so in a lot of tournaments the average was around 30bb by level 4/5, this includes a lot of the WSOP events. This is OK but because I’m used to the same structures but deeper so the tournaments functioned much differently and your skill edge was reduced. Also the rake was a lot higher compared to the UK but I think this is excusable considering how soft the fields are, and the fact there are so many good value big tournaments on offer. My experience with Vegas poker was frustrating overall, I did fairly well at cash games but considerably bad at tournaments. I played 10 and cashed 0 and made 0 day 2’s (I bubbled 1 but didn’t even get to the last level in any other). This is by far the worst run I’ve ever been on and I would say I’m at the top of my game, so it’s actually extremely brutal. Even after reviewing hands with people I wouldn’t have played many hands much differently, and these were some of the softest tournaments I’ve ever played. Fortunately cash games stopped the deficit being too bad overall and I didn’t solely focus on poker while I was there and had a lot of fun too.

These were my combined results with Rich:

Final tournament roll: $0/8000

Final cash roll: $11,498/5000

Cash breakdown:

Brandon

Sessions: 15

Net profit = $2,523 over 34h 25m

Richard

Sessions: 18

Net profit = $3975

Overall combined net profit = $6,498


Lifestyle

The lifestyle side of Vegas was incredible. Everyday was a new experience, even just going sightseeing in the strip was spectacular, the pictures I’ve taken probably don’t do it justice, they literally had their own volcano.


When we weren’t all playing poker we had so much other stuff to do, we went to multiple pool parties, a shooting range, a zombie paintball experience and we saw Calvin Harris live. I would say the pool parties were one of the best things to do as they had a really good atmosphere and it was ridiculously hot all the time. The only annoying part was the extortionate price of drinks when you were doing anything other than gambling. This meant it was better to play cash just to get drunk and get however many drinks for $1 each rather than one drink for $10.

The shooting range was a new experience for me but I absolutely loved it. I don’t think it’s for everyone but I’ve always been slightly interested in guns and it was incredible to actually use one, I’ll definitely be doing this again if I get chance.


The zombie paint balling thing was quite different. I think it was more of a family type thing or maybe for younger people but I did try my best to just go with it and it was a lot of fun too.


Overall though the best lifestyle part of Vegas for me was the food, I can’t even describe how amazing it all was. I had some of the best steaks I’ve ever eaten and the portion sizes were perfect for me. I could honestly see myself going back to America just for the food.


I’m definitely going to be going back to Vegas at some point, hopefully I’ll be in a much better position and able to play the main event as that’s been one of my dreams since I was watching the WSOP on TV around 13 years ago.

Other

Besides Vegas there’s not much else I’ve done, I had a party for my 21st which was a lot of fun and I’ve became a bit of an alcoholic since coming home. I’ve lost in 4/4 cash games played too which is my biggest downswing ever and more annoying as I was playing more casually instead of committing properly so I can’t play enough to earn it back. As a result of this I’ll be playing a lot less live poker for the next few months. Online is going moderately well so far and I’m optimistic it will continue to go a lot better. Also I went on a night out with Jim Jefferies… So that was a thing.

3. Immediate aims and goals

 • Maintain my job throughout the year, work 500 hours – I believe this is very achievable at 24h average per week minimum.

• Play online cash 3-5 hours per day 3 days per week. This should equate to at least 10k hands per week – I’m going to keep doing this and working at it until I can move up stakes and make over 10BB/100 consistently, I’m starting with 25NL Zoom on PokerStars for now but I want to get to 100NL Zoom by the end of the year.

• Play at least 1 MTT day per week – likely Sunday. This might not always be doable but I want to make sure I don’t get too out of touch with tournament poker. I would also like to win $5k+ in one online tournament.

• Win a decent live tournament! – I’m far away from playing them with a high % of myself but I’m still very confident I can win one with a decent enough volume.

• Learn to drive and get a car – This is going to be a priority as I’ll save at least 1.5 hours per day with work if I do and I could potentially be saving a lot more time and maybe as well as being able to do so many more things without worrying about travel time and getting home after last train.

• Save £200 per month for Thailand next summer – Me and Kelly want to travel as much as possible and next summer is going to be the start of many months abroad hopefully. 2017 will be Thailand and we plan to go to Australia, America, around Europe and a lot more places in the coming years.

• Go to the gym and play badminton at least once per week – I’m a big fan of avoiding going to the gym so I’m hoping to not do that anymore some how.

4. Successes and failures

Failures:

– Still no long term life plan besides playing poker.

– I didn’t work at all between April and July.

– No big tournament win.

– Finished in significant make up for smaller staked live tournaments.

– Cashed 0/10 Vegas tournaments.

– After stopping playing cash for a living post Vegas I went on a huge downswing by playing infrequently.

– I’ve had to get a job as I ran out of money.

– I make more mistakes in live poker than I would like to.

Successes:

– I got a job that works well for me without restricting what I want to do.

– When I committed to cash games between October and May I had a huge amount of success.

– Made enough to play a lot in Vegas and get a good experience of everything.

– I’m staked online for tournaments and have maintained profit since February. This includes a 1k+ field win too which was my goal from the last blog.

– I feel like I’ve learned a lot from playing online cash and will continue to improve and make more money at it.


5. Upcoming events

£220 50/50

£120 Goliath

???

For once I don’t really know what I can play, I’ll have to just keep playing as much as I can and hopefully I’ll make enough to play some more GUKPT’s and UKIPT’s etc.

6. 5 most interesting Vegas hands:

Hand: 97ss

Position: UTG

Blinds: $2/5

Stack depth: 200bb+

Action: I open to $15 get called in 4 places including the blinds (everyone is bad) making the pot $75. Flop A65xsx I c bet $30 (wanted to go ~27 but can’t use $1 chips) and just the SB calls who so far seems very tag and doesn’t seem to bluff this makes the pot $135 and the effective stack is me with 840. Turn 8s giving me the nuts and a redraw I bet $125 and he raises to $250. At this point I think the correct play is the call and jam and river that doesn’t pair the board, however my thoughts at the time were that I want to get my whole stack in for definite and if I call and the river is a 4, 7 9 or spade I will probably only get paid 1 bet and not get my whole stack in, I still think flatting is correct as I have position and the super nuts but I decided to raise to $450 leaving $390 as this gives me the best chance of getting the lot vs his 2 pairs and sets, he calls making the pot $1035. River 2x he checks I jam he calls. I was sure he had a set and this was later confirmed by him.
Evaluation: First my open UTG is a tad light but I like to play quite aggro generally and it’s one of the worst hands I would open. In a tournament pre antes I would probably still fold and I would consider folding this hand at a tougher cash table too. On the flop I think my hand is too good to ever check fold when I have 4 outs to the nuts and everyone is really deep + BD FD. Also check calling seems bad as I lose my aggression. However the hand is 5 ways so it’s usually hard to get a bet through so I’m not entirely sure which option is best but I decided to bet $30 as this should fold out a fair amount of hands and some will otherwise fold to barrels, I think a $25 bet would achieve the same and will be entree for my full range. On the turn I have the best hand possible so I’m just trying to get max as he can have a lot of good hands too. I over-bet turns a lot now as I think it’s hard to play against and good to get more value or folds depending on the board texture. On this turn I think checking or over betting is best and given how deep I am, I think betting more would be good but I also refrained slightly because of the fact spades are good for me too. When i’m raised I know calling is the best option to then fold paired board rivers, decide on flush rivers and raise brick rivers. However my thoughts at the time were, this guy almost certainly has either a set, 2 pair or a straight and sometimes a FD but either way if I 3 bet small he just can’t fold and I can jam river to get called more or make more the times the river is bad for him. Both logics are good it’s just that the pot is big enough that I can always jam river anyway. So really calling is better because we get max when he bluffs rivers and we can always shove ourselves over a bet or a check. As played the result would have been the same anyway unless he manages to bet fold the river, but he shoud Aleays be shoving given the pot would be $635 and I would have had about $590. If I was deeper I think 3 betting the turn is better but given the SPR on the river with a call I think calling has to be better, although I do make more on the rivers he check folds if there are any.
Hand: K8hh

Position: MP

Blinds: 150/300/50

Stack depth: 60-65bb

Action: I open to 750 the new player on my left makes it 1650 and the new player on his left cold calls it folds to me so it’s 900 to win 5900 so I call. Flop KQ8r we all check. Turn Jd brings a FD I lead for 2400 they both call making the pot 13.1k river 2x I bet 4200 they both call, I show the 3 better mucks then cold caller has JJ
Evaluation: my raise pre is light but the ante % was very big and as I said in the previous hand I like to be very aggro. However, my second decision pre here is bad. I figured that my pot odds were too good to fold any 2 (900/5900 =15.25%) and it’s hard not to have that much equity. But it’s very important to consider being OOP and reverse implied odds in spots like this. Like the times the flop is 8 high or K high I will still be unlikely to have the best hand often, this is why hands like 76s are much better to call in these spots as they’re not dominated and will have very ‘straight forward’ decisions. I think this is actually the worst part of the hand as it will just lead to further bad decisions and -EV spots. On the flop I was tempted to lead but it’s already awkward as KK QQ KQ are in the ranges, but AA and AK will be more likely. Leading has the advantage of going for 3 streets and not allowing for pot control, this way I can easily fold t a raise at any point as AA and AK aren’t strong enough to raise. But 2 streets may be the max I can get too as we’re multiway with 3 bet ranges. When the flop is checked I should always have the best hand unless someone has KK which only has 1 combo left or KQ which is also blocked. The turn is pretty much the nut worst card for me as all of the following credible hands now beat me: JJ AT KJ. These are going to be in the 3 betters range a lot and JJ will be in the cold callers range a lot. So now I did think about check folding but there’s still the times I’m against AK AA TT KT 99 type hands. It’s strange because by betting I can get value but can also be value owning myself a lot, but there should be more hands that continue I’m ahead of so I decided to bet on the smaller side so I can re evaluate river and probably bet small again to get value from AA AK. As played they both called which is very weird as I now think the PFR has AA AK most of the time with KK KQ KJ AT infrequently and the cold caller will have JJ TT with an infrequent ATs KQs KK AK AA. So this hand has now gotten some how more awkward because I have no idea how of the I’m good. The river is brick so my situation is the same except TT will fold and AA AK may fold too, so again check folding might be the best option. I decided to bet less than 1/3rd pot to allow for the widest calling ranges assuming they will never bluff raise here too. The result was being called by the PFR which must have been AK or AA and over called by JJ so I think my hand reading was quite accurate but I think folding pre > check folding turn > check folding river > leading flop
Hand: J9cc

Position: UTG

Blinds: $2/5

Stack depth: 350-400bb

Action: Open to $15 called in 3 spots including BB making the pot $62. Flop T72css I c bet $20 just MP calls making the pot $102. Turn Ts I bet $115 he calls making the pot $332 river 3s I bet $205 he calls 88sx
Evaluation: Pre I think is fine. The flop gives me 3 outs to the nuts with a BD FD and a lot of equity vs calling ranges, good cards to barrel etc so I think a bet is standard. I decided to c bet small which I’m not too sure about as the board is quite connected but I just have to bomb a lot more turns. On this turn I think my default is always to check because it’s a much better range for my opponents range instead of mine as he should have lots of flushes, trips etc. So because of this checking my full range makes sense, but because I was OOP I decided to split my range and bomb it. I don’t think this is the best option overall as I should just check all my flushes, Tx AA boats etc. but I decided that instead I’ll check 88+ TT Tx with a spade and bet the NFD, 88 22 and Tx without a spade. But in hindsight I think this turn is better to check with every hand and would play a lot better. As played on the river I decided to continue with my thought process as I now have full houses and the nut flush in my value range but i got heroes by a hand I was targeting to fold. I think the fact this hand calls shows that it’s better to check full range on this turn.
Hand: 88

Position: HJ

Blinds: 50/100

Stack depth: 150bb

Action: I open to 300 the SB raises to 900

I call making the pot 1900. Flop J97ddd I have no diamond he c bets 800 I call making the pot 3500. Turn 7x he bets 1500 I call making the pot 6500. River Kx he bets 2500 (quite quickly) and proceeds to just stare at the board I call he has AQo no diamond
Evaluation: Pre flop my hand is way too strong to fold to a re steak 3 bet in potion deep stacked. On the flop I expect him to check a high percentage of his value range including QQ-AA AJ JJ some percentage with or without a diamond so I have a trivial call with a straight draw and showdown. On the turn I expect him again to check AJ QQ+ JJ affair amount so when he barrels he is a lot more likely to be bluffing do it’s similar to the flop decision with his range becoming more bluff weighted. On the river his triple barrel means his value range will be 99 (may check raise flop or turn), JJ, QQ KK AA (should check at some point) and now I can discount QQ AJ too. I think I will lose on this river a lot but hands like AK and KQ will check a decent amount too. I wasn’t entirely sure what I was going to do but I decided k go with the live reads at the end and call because there’s no definite hand he can have that should triple there OOP, this does assume he checks hands like AQdd AA JJ on the flop but I think his line is that polar a call here can be justified.
Hand: AKo

Position: BB

Blinds: 1500/3000/400

Stack depth: 55bb

Action: MP (new player) opens to 6500 I raise to 19k he snap calls making the pot 43.5k. Flop QT7r I c bet 14,500 he calls making the pot 72.5k. Turn 8x he had about 65k so I decided to barrel 24,500 he calls making the pot 121.5k. River 5x he shoves out of turn for 38k I tank forever get clock called and decide to call and he has 55.
Evaluation: This hand annoyed me more than any other in Vegas. I think pre is standard, I can low variance flat sometimes but I think I crush his calling range far too much with the tournament standard, the snap call should indicate he never has a premium too. On the flop I think I can check here but a bet should get him to fold 99 88 7x and worse and I can barrel him off Tx or get there with my 10 outs, also I’m in a good spot vs AJ KJ. On the turn I think a check fold is best but I felt like his flop decision was very marginal so I decided a barrel would be best, looking back now I think this turn is too bad to barrel because most 7x now improve to 2 pair or draws, same as most Tx and now 99 88 don’t fold either so by betting the turn he actually shouldn’t fold much he calls flop with. Because of this I think if I bet turn I should be jamming brick rivers to get max fold equity. So in this case he calls the turn so I’m deciding which rivers to barrel and then he jams out of turn. This is where I started to level myself. Realistically he only has 2 hands I beat which are KJ and AJ (we block both) but I also don’t understand what he can call call then jam with, and the out of turn part is what there me the most. Like by taking away my option to bluff it should mean one of 3 things:

1. He can’t call a shove but doesn’t want to lose the hand every time I go all in.l with my bluffs.

2. He is angle shooting with a value hand.

3. He is retarded and uses know logic behind his decisions and can therefore have anything.

The bluffs I beat are KJ (12 combos) and AJ (12 combos). But the hands he coukd have that we can now discount by this action are: QT785

JT KT AT T9 99 89 79 and by him calling a turn bet I can take out 75 55 and most of the time QQ TT QT J9 77 88 78 T8 KK AA as I’m sure these all jam the turn of they don’t raise the flop. This leaves him with AJ KJ KQ QJ but it still makes sense to say that QJ KQ and any other stronger hands should never make sense because by jamming I should (in theory) call or better and fold my bluffs that would have gone all in. Because of this logic (which I believe makes sense) I decided to call and I’m not sure whether it’s the best thing to do but I think the fact he takes every marginal hand out and it doesn’t make sense to play value this way that a call isn’t as bad as I initially felt. The result was option 3 from above where he was clearly very special as I genuinely believe he wasn’t able shooting. The fact he has 55 here is actually more irritating because he should fold the flop and otherwise always fold the turn, it’s more annoying because I made an overall bad bet on the turn because I felt he had a marginal hand like that and it still didn’t work. I thought about this hand a lot as I did think it was a massive spew at the time but after reviewing I think it’s no where near as bad as I thought, it’s just a very unfortunate situation.

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life, Poker

Can poker really be a long term sustainable income?

You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. – Wayne Gretzky

Contents

1. Where I’m at now

2. Since my last blog

-Poker 

-Holidays and breaks

3. Immediate aims and goals

4. Successes and failures

5. Profit Graphs

6. Upcoming events 

7. Top 5 interesting hands from Cyprus

————————————————————————


1. Where I’m at now…

My situation since my last blog hasn’t changed all that much, but my perspective has slightly. For a start it seems like I’ve got myself a job, albeit part time and near minimum wage. At the start of the year I came to the conclusion that a job will have enough benefits for me to justify getting one as long as it doesn’t get in the way of what I really want to do. I’ll be doing 3 days a week working nights so it should work very well for my schedule and allow me to still play live and online in my own time. It’s been nearly 3 years now since I started playing poker primarily for a living so getting a consistent income will be quite a change. Finally I’ll get to become a “proper” person to the grandparents who think I’m just a degenerate gambler that doesn’t contribute anything positive to the world, and that’s only half true…
I would say that everything is good overall right now but I still feel like something is missing. Lately I’ve just felt really bored about everything and I don’t know how to fix that. I enjoy my life a lot but it does still have a lack of responsibility, which is great but very unfulfilling. When my average day involves getting up between 3pm and 5pm then just either play poker live, play online or watch TV, play video games etc, it can become very repetitive. I’m still looking for a career path besides poker to pursue at some point but for the foreseeable future I’ll be committing all of my time and effort towards it. It’s actually a lot harder than perceived to be a professional in this ‘industry’ just because of the toll it can take on you mentally. It’s not as simple as being unlucky for prolonged periods of time too as sometimes you will do nothing but play your best and lose (from no fault of your own) and see people that you know to be very bad at the game having lots of success. It’s similar to life in that way though, some people are just ‘luckier’ than others and you have to just man up and follow your own path. It’s definitely a game that can often have no short term justice, and sometimes you can actually have months of running badly. But after basically having my life revolve around poker for the last 3 years I feel like I’m at my best mental state yet and ready to win something big. I didn’t realise until recently how important this was but a poker players mental game can literally be the difference between making a living and going broke. Because of all of the variables that are already involved in poker you simply can’t afford to make mistakes and expect to make enough of an income.
When you’re in that down-streak it does make you consider what you’re doing with yourself. About 30-40% of the time live poker is a very depressing game that makes you feel like all of your efforts can just go to complete waste, you can play for hours and make no mistakes yet still lose from being either unlucky or just coolered time after time. For me the main influence of poker is the detriment of losing, so for example if I take shots at £1/2 and get unlucky in every big pot I’m involved in it’s just like being repeatedly punched in the stomach. It’s the same in reverse though e.g. if I play smaller stakes or sell big percentages of my self in tournaments then I feel extremely comfortable as losing has much less or no risk. Most of my best results have came from risking very small affordable amounts, but this means my potential gain is extremely smaller too, so it’s kind of like no risk no reward. 
One of the more annoying parts about being unlucky at poker is that the best way to feel better about yourself is by telling someone about it. It’s like a way of conveying you didn’t play bad and it’s not your fault that you lost, but it’s always going to happen and the better you are at dealing with it the better you will be at maintaining a good mindset to play. I think deep down we all know that no one really cares about our bad beat story but letting it out has a kind of cathartic feeling to it. I try to avoid it whenever possible but it think if I carried on keeping everything in I would eventually just explode. I still thoroughly believe that confidence can be a huge factor in poker too as just your demeanour can influence your play. It’s easy to get into a state of mind where you always assume you will miss every draw, lose every flip and never hold with the best hand, so by that logic running good actually promotes the right persona for poker. I would love for there to be a form of poker where everyone just was paid there EV of the pot instead of running out the variance, but unfortunately this would only work for cash games and deter the gamblers that we need for the game to be profitable.
Another development I’ve made recently is going back to being staked online, I think it will be really good for me in the long term. The dream goal would be to be able to make a living online and thus be able to travel around a lot and fund bigger live tournaments. Being staked allows me to put a decent volume in without worrying about the swings of playing lots of tournaments. Hopefully I’ll be able to improve at a much faster rate too which is ideal for me. At the moment I’m playing live cash ~2-3 days a week (20-24 hours) and doing pretty well, so if I double that with a part time job I’m sure I’ll stay on track for Vegas. The plan for Vegas is to do a joint BR with rich of $5k for cash and $8k for tournaments including some WSOP events, we’re aiming to sell 40% of it all and we essentially have done already so I’m very confident we’ll be able to play most of the events we want to. Even if the trip doesn’t go well for us I’m sure the experience should be amazing, and if I brick everything I can go home knowing I’ll be able to build my roll back up and still play. The plan to go to Vegas for my 21st and my dads 50th has been in the making since I was about 12 so hopefully it some how lives up to the crazy expectations I have. That’s pretty much my full situation now, I’ll have to re evaluate my position after Vegas and decide what the best way to move forward is, but until then I’m going to just try play as much as possible. I’ve played a lot over the last few months and I’m really starting to see poker as a sustainable long term income.

  

2. Since my last blog…


Poker

I havnt been playing as many tournaments as I would have liked to but I’ve still played a fair bit of poker since the new year. At the end of January I went to North Cyprus (Turkey?) to play poker for a couple of weeks. The premise was that it was a 5* all inclusive hotel which was all paid for by playing either 5 hours of $5/5 cash per day or X amount of tournaments in the festival. Me and Rich sold 60% of a joint package for cash and tournaments, the total we brought was $4200 for cash and $4000 for tournaments. I’m very happy we did as it enabled the trip for me without more suicidal bankroll management, and overall it went well.

  
The hotel was incredible, like an actual palace. On day 1 I was just walking around in awe of the place thinking about how much of a great couple of weeks I was going to have. However the trip quality did fluctuate a lot over the 2 weeks. At first the food was amazing, the poker itself was really good, there was a games room and a gym (including pool and sauna) to stay active and entertained. On the 3rd day we had a players party which involved karaoke with a load of random Russian people, so that was interesting…

   
 Over the next week or so I had a good routine of playing poker, going to the gym, eating quite often and generally just chilling with cards, table tennis, pool etc. But the longer I was there the more the place seem to get kind of samey and boring. On the face of it it was great but after a week or so with all of the same food (which did drop in quality), the same regs (a lot of the bad players left) and a lack of other things to do (the casino/hotel was in the middle of no where). There’s only so many times you can do all of the same things before it does start to get very boring and samey. I think if I went for a week it would have been amazing but there just wasn’t enough variety to keep me preoccupied. Also the weather wasn’t really good enough to go to the beach or anything like that. 

 
As for how the poker side of things they went well overall but had a lot of swings. The tournaments were good value and very good structures but they did allow re entries for an extremely long amount of time, there was one tournament you could buy in with 11 left and 7 paid from a total field of about 50. You would only have about 12bb but this meant a lot of tournaments would have a big influx of short stacks appear towards the end of LR which would be a bit annoying. Overall the tournaments went badly for us but we made up for it at the cash games. This was our final result:

Cyprus Cash:


My total time played:
 51h20m

My overall profit: $4550

Rich total time played:
35h5m 

Rich overall profit: $1230

Overall hours played:
86h25m 

Overall combined cash profit:
$5780

Combined hourly:
$66.88

Overall combined tournament profit:
-$4000

Overall combined profit:
$1780

  
The cash games were mostly soft but quite high variance and quite high rake (5% capped at $30), I think the rake is justified though with all of the benefits you get from playing. I ran pretty bad for the first ~8 days and then had a very sick spot where I got it in bad against a really fun player (whale) on the turn for a $3.6k pot and got there. Just because of this one hand I guess it’s fair to say I ran good overall but most of the <$1200 pots I did seem to run badly in, even when running the flop more than once. I’m happy with how I played overall which I think is more important than the end result and I’m confident I would be very +EV to do a similar trip to this again. Also on one of the last nights after the tour finished we had another players karaoke party, and it turns out drunk me thinks he can rap… 
(Video not found due to embarrassment)

  
Over the last few months I’ve started to become more and more enthusiastic about the idea of playing cash games for a living. Between the end of December and Valentine’s day there was another cash league at the Grosvenor’s in the Midlands area I wanted to try commit to but because of going to Cyprus I wasn’t really able to put the hours in I wanted. I some how managed to scrape in 19th/20 and make the local play off. The league went pretty well for me overall, I turned my free £200 into £450 and a £500 regional place. I ran bad at the regional but maintained my free £500 so it was a very profitable promotion. I think playing cash for a living actually starts to look very feasible when considering all of the rake back offers or “bonuses”. At the Grosvenor I play at there’s £7.50 food vouchers for every 3 hours played, a top 3 high hand bonus worth £100-300, £1 back per hour in points which is sometimes doubled or tripled and the cash league which has an extremely high potential (the first time I made £0 the second I made £950 and there’s a potential for over £7k). There’s also the bad beat jackpot which I don’t really consider much seeing as the amount it costs in rake is almost certainly -EV for me overall. But if I ever manage to win a considerable amount from it then I’m sure I’ll be very thankful. 
These are my overall £1/1 stats for the year (excludes London and Cyprus trips):

Hours played:
123h 55m

Profit:
£3017

Hourly:
£24.35 ph
My overall cash game results by month are below (I’ve committed to cash a lot more since October):

  
At the end of March I went to London with 2 other grinders for the APAT + cash. I wanted to play the high roller and main event + maybe some sides but the plans changed a lot as we went on. I played a lot of cash over the long weekend and got a proper feel for what cash in London is like, and tbh it’s amazing. The first 2 nights I played at a mixture of Aspers, the Vic and the Hippo but it was mainly just lots of bad beat stories so I’ll miss this part out. Fortunately on the Sunday night we decided we were going to have a big session at the Hippo and all had dreams of £1k+ profit days. After playing for a bit we realised we were all seated to the direct left of a whale and the prospect of £1k profit seemed attainable. The table was changed to a deep stack game and the whale bought in for £1k+ so I decided I was going to take a massive shot and do the same. I did heavily consider it and under usual circumstances I would never do this and risk over 50% of my “roll” because it would be stupid but I decided to take the shot because I already have my money for Vegas sorted and set aside + I will have a consistent income from next month. I was fortunate enough to flop middle set on a wet board vs the whale who donk bet £150 into £60 then called a £425 raise but folded the ~£675 turn all in, and from there the game started going well overall. I remember feeling weirdly like “you know what this is fair, I’m way below EV recently so I deserve this really good cash session right?” I’m not sure this is the best line of thought but it made me very happy and I finished up £600 after 6 hours. We also tried the Empire casino which was pretty bad in comparison, so it seemed like the Hippodrome was the place to play.
On our last day I played the APAT cash game tournament and the value was incredible. It was £15 entry to play for 3 hours at 50/50p blinds with no rake. Of that £15, £10 went into the prize pool so essentially it was £5 fee to play cash rake free for 3 hours. Also the top 8 stacks of the 40 players at the end go into a final table with higher blinds to play for another 3 hours where the £400+ is paid out. So as a concept it’s actually amazing, especially when there is a bracelet for first that everyone really wanted to get and thus would have to gamble towards the end to make the final. I decided I was going to play it as a normal cash game and not gamble at the end because i figured this would be more +EV overall this way, maybe if it got to the last 5 hands or so I would take a more marginal spot but I didn’t plan on it effecting my play. The game was really good as people were wanting to play a lot of hands to try “spin it up”, you could buy in for £50-100 so everyone was quite deep for the blinds. It was going really well and then all of the gambling started and annoyingly I did not win, which was ok but quite frustrating after investing so much time and dreaming of that title. Annoyingly I did run bad overall in London in terms of getting it in with the best hand but I was fortunate in other ways like making good hands vs the right players. The trip was still profitable even after expenses so I definitely can’t complain.
These are my cash results for the trip: 

Total hours played:
26h 30m

Total profit:
£905

Hourly:
£34.15
I’m hoping to get a decent sample for London over the next year or so.
(Breakdown below)

  
After playing at the Hippodrome I had quite a few realisations. One was that cash games are SO SO much better in London than in Birmingham. For example in Birmingham at £1/1 since October I’ve consistently made £15-25 per hour but I think this is very capped at this amount. However in London a £30-40 hourly is very feasible with the potential for more, especially on weekends. It makes sense really though as people generally have more disposable income and there’s nearly 8x as many people. This means more games, more bad players etc. Playing in London also made some factors of playing much more important, you can move table whenever you want so it becomes a skill in itself to spot the good tables and quickly judge whether one table is more profitable than another. These are not really issues in Birmingham as the most cash games there will usually be is 2 with no option to freely move table. After playing this weekend and from what I’ve heard from a lot of other players I’m starting to think that living in or near London would actually be really good for poker. The transport system is amazing but everything is more expensive, there’s lots of pros and cons but the game is so much better I think it’s actually looking like a good future idea. They have a decent tournament at least once a week and lots of really good tournaments very often too, as someone who enjoys tournaments more than cash this would be a good way to have a variety of options and not get bored. The ideal would be living somewhere kind of close but not too central so I don’t have to deal with central London except for the times I’m choosing to be there for poker or other things. Kelly has always kind of wanted to move to Brighton so this is something we could actually look into for the future. 
The only other poker related thing of note since my last blog is my move towards playing online more often. I’m staked to play roughly up to $22 buy ins on stars for $500 a day. I’ve tried to put in a decent amount of time and volume since this started and I’m feeling more confident each time I play. I’ve had a lot of deep runs and a few final tables but more importantly I feel like I’m improving and it’s starting to show. I’ve had 2 pretty big sweats in big tournaments too which I think is the best part of playing online. The thrill of running deep in a decent tournament can’t be beaten.

  
Holidays/breaks
A couple of days after coming back from Cyprus it was Valentine’s Day so I booked me and Kelly a mini break in Dublin. We did all of the touristy things and saw all of the sights and it was actually really good fun. We went to the Guinness Storehouse which was really insightful, it’s turned me into a bit of an alcoholic though as I finally found something alcoholic I can drink casually. The whole building was shaped like a pint with a sky bar at the top and a really good view, I would 100% recommend going here if you ever visit Dublin.

   
 On the theme of becoming alcoholics we also went to the Jameson distillery. A few months ago I discovered Jameson’s + dry ginger and lime and in my opinion it is one of the greatest drinks ever created. Not only does it taste amazing but its 40% so can get you drunk a lot faster than other nice drinks. I realise now that I sound a bit like I’m getting paid to promote them or something but these are all genuine thoughts. I did actually learn a lot here and we got some free samples so i would definitely recommend going here too.

   
 On the first night we went on a ghost bus. I’m pretty much the opposite of superstitious so I didn’t expect to enjoy this at all but it was actually pretty fun. The tour guide was very eccentric and got everyone quite involved, he used a lot of real stories which made it more enjoyable. Part of the trip involved us going to a crypt that was like 1000 years old and some old graveyard too. I’m just going to say I would recommend everything we did in Dublin tbh. As well as these we went to Dublin castle, Kilmainham jail, Temple Bar, Dublinia (basically a Viking museum) and to the university see the book of Kells. It’s weird to see how much you’re capable of doing just over a weekend, we pretty much did the lot and I actually learned a lot of stuff too. 

   
    
 For the last couple of years I’ve tried to make sure I’m not just having all of my winnings go back into poker and trying to have as many experiences as possible a long the way so hopefully I won’t ever think I’ve wasted any of my life since being 18. Kelly got us tickets to see the Book of Mormon which I’ve been wanting to go and see for about 5 years now. It was everything I wanted it to be and more, it was as cleverly funny as South Park and had a genuinely good story. The plan is to carry on doing as many random and crazy things as possible and hopefully poker will continue to fund the lifestyle I want. Next month we’re going tank riding…

3. Immediate aims and goals

• Start working in April and maintain the job throughout the year, work 400 hours – I’m relatively confident this will happen. It’s pretty ideal for me with the hours and it allows me to save for Vegas + keep afloat if Vegas goes badly. 400 hours is optimistic but at 20-24 hours a week that’s only 17-20 weeks.
• Continue to play a lot of live cash (~10-16 hours per week) and maintain a good hourly (£15+) – cash games have started to go really well for me in recent months and I’m confident I can maintain this good hourly overall and potentially improve it over time.
• Play at least 2 MTT days per week. Win a 1000+ player field and maintain profit – This may be tough at times but I know I can commit to it. I believe I’m getting closer to that decent win online too which would be really good.
• Make at least £600 a month at cash – lately this has been exceeded a lot but I just really want to maintain it to pay for my rent and general living. I’ve upped my old target because I think it’s very beatable, it’s not like I can really “try harder” but I could always put more hours in if this wasn’t met.
• Stay on track for Vegas – I’m actually a lot further ahead of schedule than I thought I would be. Me and rich are bringing a $13k roll for poker ($5k cash $8k tourns). Of this we plan to sell 40% (we have very little left to sell) for $6k. This means between us we’ll have $7k to find or $3500 each for our part. As well as this I want to bring $2500 spending money so that’s $6k I’ll need to get together in total. I currently have $6850 left over from Cyprus so now it’s just about like breaking even at life until Vegas.
• Win a decent live tournament! – this one will always be here, one day…
• Go to the gym at least twice a week – I’ve already joined and started so I’m confident about this one for now.
• Learn to cook more things – I think this should be a goal for everyone, if I can cook about 10 different things I’ll be content.
• Learn to drive and get a car after Vegas – I’ll be committing to this properly after Vegas and aiming to have it done by the end of the year.
• Keep doing new and unique things whenever possible – me and Kelly plan to save up for lots of traveling asap.

4. Successes and failures


Failures:

– Still no long term life plan.
– I haven’t started a job yet.
– No big tournament win.
– In Make up for smaller staked live tournaments.

Successes:

– All 3 months in profit so far this year.
– I’m ahead on saving for Vegas.
– Made profit in Cyprus + had a good ‘free’ holiday.
– I’m continuing to live the way I want to and enjoying life.
– Cash games are going really well.
– I’m staked online and able to play a lot. 
– I’m feeling more confident about my game all the time.
– I’ve found how extremely valuable London cash games are (Hippodrome) and this could be a potentially primary income for the future.

5. Profit Graphs 2015.

   

(Tournament and cash game profit/loss some Jan 15)

 
(Overall stats from tournaments and cash since Jan 15)

  
(Tournament and cash game graph since Jan 15)

6. Upcoming events.

WSOP Colossus $565
WSOP Millionaire maker $1500 ($1M for 1st and 2nd)
$600 Goliath $1M gtd
Goliath mini $350 $150k gtd
Goliath mini mini $300 $100k gtd
GPS $150 $100k gtd
ININJA $400 $250k gtd
$400 bounty Venetian $40k gtd

7. Top interesting hands played in Cyprus.

1. Hero calling vs an extremely narrow value range.


Hand:
A8o

Position: bb 6 handed 

Blinds: 200/400/50

Stack depth: 65bb

Action: CO opens to 1k I call making the pot 2500. Flop K43r I check call 1k making the pot 4500. Turn 4c brings a FD I check he bets 3100 leaving about 6500 I call making the pot 10,700. River 4x I check he checks and mucks.


Evaluation:
Pre seems standard. On the flop I think folding A high vs a Co range and C bet on this board is too exploitable, especially this A high. Also people have a tendency to check this board with their weak value hands such as QQ JJ TT AQ AJ and check some TP for deception so by betting I think he is extra weighted towards bluffs with the current poker meta, also we block 25% of the AK and 50% of the AA combos which would both go for 3 streets. On the turn I think our decision is quite similar, it seems like a bad turn for him to barrel but his sizing really made me think he was trying to make the bet look as strong as possible whether he had a draw or was just trying to use his stack size to get more fold equity. But for me it had the opposite effect as now on the river he is in a spot with what looks like 0 fold equity so in theory he should never shove a bluff. So with this advantage of never being bluffed on the river I decided to call. I think I have the best hand a decent amount here and he will be checking this turn sometimes with AA and Kx too. The river is a 4x which is a river I don’t think he should ever bluff so I would be folding to a shove in this case given my turn logic, he checks so I take my showdown and win. I think this is an example of someone aggressive not really considering his range enough, by betting 2 streets here with his extra wide CO range the value hands in his range become extremely small, with some players there is no value hand they would bet the flop and turn with so its an ideal spot to check either the flop or turn with full range.

2. Continuing when they don’t rep much.


Hand:
A9o

Position: btn

Blinds: 100/200/25

Stack depth: 100bb

Action: HJ opens to 450 (the CO isn’t there) and seemed like bad semi aggro so far I 3 bet to 1300 he calls making the pot 3100. Flop K43ccx I have the Ac I c bet 1150 and he raises to 2800 from a stack of around 15k I flat making the pot 8700. Turn 5x he bets 3700 I call making the pot 16.1k. River 7x he checks and has around 8k I shove and he tank folds.

Evaluation:
I think pre my hand is good as a re-steal and post antes it will get through a decent amount and the times it doesn’t I have position + the aggression and a decent hand so it will generally go well for me. If I thought the HJ would 4 bet a decent amount then I prefer just folding here. When he calls on that flop I think checking is better overall for balance but I decided to exploitably bet vs this opponent who will just have to fold this board too much, also I do bet a reasonable amount of hands here as it’s semi wet. I think checking may still be the better option but he seemed like one of the people who would take top pair out of your range if you check this flop so I would rather bet to keep my range stronger. When he raises I don’t think he reps anything besides 44, 55 and 45s. All his Kx should call so it seems most likely he was just air balling so I called. On the turn he bets again and some semi bluffs got there if he had 67s A2s or a random 56 57 now beats me, however I think I can get the latter to fold on the river. I think this turn spot is quite tough but I decided to call for a similar reason to the hand before where his stack depth does not allow him to bluff rivers enough and his flop raise is so polarised I think he will have to give up too often. Now the river is interesting because he checks so I can confidently say he never has a straight and probably never a set so that leaves random air that hit pairs and his 45. When he checks I probably could check and win a decent amount and I was very torn about shoving because I really don’t have many straight combos. However the type of player I was against was more likely to see the board texture and be very scared with all his weak showdown hands and even if he some how has a king he’s in an awkward spot. I think I like the shove vs this player but vs a good thinking player I may not, fortunately he folded but annoyingly I don’t know whether I had the best hand. The fact he tanked means I think he had a weird hand like 99 or TT.

3. checking TP on the run OOP


Hand:
QTo

Position: utg

Blinds: $5/5

Stack depth: 100bb

Action: I open to $20 MP tries to raise $15 and then sees my raise so calls HJ calls and BB calls making the pot $85. Flop T52r I c bet $55 just MP calls making the pot $195. Turn 9s brings a FD I bet $100 he calls making the pot $395. River Ax I check he puts me all in I fold.

Evaluation:
This open is very loose from UTG but with the table I was trying to play as many hands as possible and therefore opening about 25% of hands from UTG instead of my usual roughly 15-20%. On the flop I think I should be betting as my hand is vulnerable to another card multiway. However on the turn I think I would actually prefer a check, I’m not going to get 3 streets from my hand and his range will be Tx T9 34 5x 66-88 99 22 55 and some JJ+ AK AQ AJ too given what happened pre. So against this range I think checking will be the best option. I have a trivial check call and I can re evaluate on the river this way or V bet a lot when it’s checked behind. It also strengthens my turn checking range and there’s not too many bad rivers vs what I’m ahead of, he will have 3-6 outs when I’m ahead most of the time so this seems to make the most sense. I bet and he calls and now I’m in an awkward spot because I don’t really have any idea if I have the best hand and he shoves so with the sets 2 pairs he can have I think it’s an easy fold but against his whole range I believe checking the turn is better.

4. Marginal high variance spot vs a whale


 Hand:
AAhx

Position: BTN

Blinds: $5/5

Stack depth: ~375bb

Action: huge fish in BB. Fish 2 limps Tag over limps I raise to $30 BB and limper calls making the pot $125. Flop J73r I c bet $80 Fish 1 calls Fish 2 raises to $400 I call fish 1 folds making the pot $1005. Turn 8h brings a FD I have Ah he puts in $1300 leaving ~75 behind we find a call vs J3hh he doesn’t want to run it once and we get there.

Evaluation:
This hand is pretty key to my overall result in Cyprus, I would much rather have won all of my smaller pots as favourite and lost this one but at least my luck to change. Pre flop I choose a bigger sizing just because of the whale in the hand and the result is pretty good, on the flop I have an easy c bet but this is where the hand becomes pretty sick. The only factor in this hand is my player info and the info I had was very limited but also the only justification I had. This guy was playing big pot after big pot and I never saw him get to showdown and win but I was clear he was playing about 75% of hands or more pre. He was basically the table target from what I had seen too and the waiting list was pretty big + everyone was trying to just play pots with him (shown from the reg limping). The flop decision is tough because it basically is making me play for stacks by the turn and my hand is marginal. I was really deep so I really wanted to fold but after what I had seen so far I was just thinking he’s a whale he just has some dumb hand like top pair or bottom pair or something. The only things that made me not extremely happy to go forward was his sizing (really big) and the fact he has a lot more 2 pairs. This guy also seemed really call heavy with his draws so far calling for gut shots and flush draws etc but I hadn’t seen him raise one. So the weighing up factors are:
1. Very high variance 
2. He has more 2 pairs than he should
3. He could have top pair or even QQ KK (he did weird stuff like limp call them at times too) but 2 pair is probably more likely
4. I’m deep and I can’t really ever fold the turn.
In hindsight I’m still really on the fence about my decision, it’s really hard to compose his range when he was playing every hand and showing aggression a lot but I didn’t see his hand enough. I think it may be a fold but after speaking to someone that had been playing with him for longer I lean back towards a call. I think the best option may just be to fold and find a better spot against him as he will still be at the table. I was lucky in the end and it’s hard not to be results oriented and say it’s a fold but I don’t know. I’m about 55% sure on folding the flop in this spot If it came up again.

5. Assuming everyone who plays can think logically (this is always my biggest mistake in poker).


Hand:
AKo

Position: UTG

Blinds: 600/1200/200

Stack depth: 65bb

Action: I open to 2.5k get called from just the BB, he seems semi tight and had folded last 2 BB vs my UTG open and I think he made a stubborn call pre so his range is very wide, the pot is 7400. Flop J53r he checks I bet 2.2k he raises to 6k, at this point I think 53s J5s J3s all plausible but I don’t believe him yet so I call making the pot 19.4k. Turn 9x he checks I decide to check back as I think I should now have the best hand a decent amount. River 2x he bets 12k, I think 64 and A4 barrel turn or check call flop and I think sets and 2 pairs bet the turn + my read was he might a light call pre so I don’t think 55 or 33 are as likely, I said it doesn’t make any sense and he started to talk a bit when before when he got to the river and bet with the nuts he was very silent and still where as he seemed more relaxed so I got the impression he didn’t have it and made the call. He had T5hh.

Evaluation:
On the flop I can either check and bet, I decided to bet just because of where I had opened from, I’m much more weighted to really good hands like AA KK QQ JJ so I can think c betting more will be better, + it allows me to get to he river more and realise my equity. When he raises he doesn’t rep anything in my opinion as sets should flat, however people do things that you wouldn’t expect them to so I was cautious he could have more value hands, but when he defends the BB and my read was he was being stubborn I think 55 33 JJ are extremely less likely so it will be J3s J5s 53 or air here, because of this I don’t see how I can fold. On the turn he checks so I was a bit worried he had turned showdown, I think all his value hands should get here so I should have the best hand unless he has turned a 9 or is spazzing with like 22 or 3x. I’m not really sure if I should bet this turn but I think I would have preferred it. I just want to win the hand now really and if he check calls I should be able to bet him off everything on the river. The river is a kind of brick but 64 and A4 got there, I think they seem like check calls but if they do check raise they should always be betting the turn as if not they won’t get the fold equity they need, so when he bets nothing makes any sense, I think 22 or 23 is a possibility but that means he had to have spazzed on the flop. Because of his sizing It’s very polar, I ended up finding the call and was shown a hand which to me is utterly terrible. Like I genuinely don’t think he could have butchered the hand much more, his river bet doesn’t make any sense at all as I’m never folding better, he clearly thought he had lost when I had called too. I think I would, bet overpairs and Jx on the turn so I guess I seems like I have TT 88 77 66? But because he reps literally nothing I wouldn’t be folding those either. If he was value betting then I think his play would be more justified but he nearly mucked his hand on the river. His hand seems like a 100% standard flop check call to me so this hand really confused and annoyed me 

There was one more really sick spot I had in Cyprus but it wasn’t really a full hand and more just a really crazy spot to be put into.
I raise UTG with KTo to 4.5k at 1/2k/300 the SB hasn’t seen the raise asks to see the BB stack which is 22k and goes all in for 100k+. I have 95k stack. When the BB folded the SB took his chips back and pushed his cards forward to muck them out of reach so I’m next to certain he isn’t ever angle shooting. I told him I had raised (I probably should have let him muck but this seems like a scumbag thing to do in a $2k tournament). Now I’m in a weird spot where calling all in for my nearly 50bb stack is +EV with KTo. The guy was a reg tag so I’m confident he knows his SB shoving range and even better the BB was a tight player so he would be wider. It’s clear that if I was in the BB’s position I would be calling off my 22k here with KTo and I’m against the same range, so calling has to be +EV it’s just a ridiculous amount of variance in a very good structured tournament. This was a few levels into day 2 as well. It’s strange to think about as the way I played over a year ago I would never consider calling because I always used the logic of “+EV doesn’t mean optimal” an example of this would be folding AK pre knowing you’re flipping for your tournament life even though there is dead money. Avoiding flips is definitely a good idea but being +EV has to prevail long term right? I think it depends on how tough the tournament is now, in most tournaments I would much rather avoid a huge flip as it takes your edge out but you have to have the competence your edge and other factors. Sometimes the risk outweighs the fact I have a marginal + EV edge in a hand and I believe this is a spot like that. I think if I had A9s AT+ and 77+ I would 100% call because these hands just play so much better vs a SB 11bb effective shove. Mainly because of all the Ax in his range. I folded and was shown A5o but couldn’t help but wonder how different this tournament would go if I made the crazy high variance call. 

Standard
life, Poker

One year on as a “professional” poker player

“Greatness is sifted through the grind, therefore don’t despise the hard work now for surely it will be worth it in the end.”

– Sanjo Jendayi


Contents

1. Where I’m at now

2. Since my last blog

-Poker 

-Holidays, Breaks and Free time

3. 2016 Aims and Goals

4. Successes and Failures of 2015

5. Profit/Loss Graphs 2015

6. Upcoming Events 

7. 3 Interesting hands analysed


——————————————————


1. Where I’m at now…
I’m at a pretty big crossroads in my life at the moment; there’s a couple of pretty big questions that I need to answer as best I can. Is poker best as a primary focus, is it a feasible way to make a living long term, and is it the best thing I could be doing with my time at this stage of my life?

I’ve slowly started to realise that over the last 2 years, my life has essentially just been seeing Kelly, playing poker, gaming and pretty much doing whatever I want to do. I’ve had no academic or career achievements (other than my 5 shifts as a waiter) and it’s finally started to bother me. I would love to be able to live this way forever but at the same time I’m bored of it. Playing poker on its own just isn’t fulfilling enough for me at the moment. I just need to find some kind of new purpose or a way to get some prospects. I don’t think I’m ever going to stop playing poker but I need something else.

Since January of 2015 I’ve tracked basically all of my off stake poker results and it’s the best way for me to evaluate how sustainable poker is as a sole income for me. There’s a lot of ways to think about this question, I think the best way is to compare poker to whatever else I could be doing. So for me at the moment I think the most conventional other option I could potentially get is to get an entry level job which would be roughly £16-20k per year and 40 hours per week. I personally think the best option for me is to get a part time job for the mean time and go from there.

The Pros of getting a job:

• Consistent stable income – This is the key one, knowing my rent and bills will be paid is very important, especially in the extended future.

• Improved future prospects – I would gain more experience and potentially start career laddering. 

• Conventional life structure – I think this one is often overlooked and is kind of a pro and con. Most of the world runs on 7am until 7pm instead of the 7pm until 7am I seem to run at. I’m going to find it extremely hard to change this.

•”Becoming a proper person” – This one is similar to the last one. The reality is you go to school then you either progress into education or you get a job. Life kind of dictates that this is what you have to do to get by. It’s always kind of depressed me that you just work indefinitely to eventually get a house, a car, a mortgage etc, but there isn’t much of a choice.

• “Life skills” – I guess this one is less important but still worth considering. Poker has definitely gave me a lot of life skills too though, some invaluable.

•Appreciate money more? – One thing poker definitely does is devalue money. It’s so easy to win or lose such huge amounts in such a short space of time.

The Cons of getting a job:

• Bad hours – This is the biggest issue for me. I think the hours that work best for me are getting up between 11am and 3pm then sleeping between 3am and 7am (ideal for poker). The standard hours for a good job will probably mean getting up around 7am and sleeping at around 11pm. I don’t mind doing things I don’t want to do, but sleep has always caused a lot of issues for me over the years. For some reason knowing I have to be up at X time always means I can’t sleep so the lack of alarms in my life at the moment really helps me out. The best way to counter this is to get a nights job, but most of these don’t have that much potential for the future.

• Not necessarily being happy at work – This one is a little moany as it’s something that you just have to deal with. If I was lucky I could find something I enjoy or could at least tolerate.

• Less free time – A full time job would take up at least 50 hours a week accounting for traveling. That is a lot of time to be committing of the 168 hours there are in the week.

• Less Freedom in general – I love being able to spontaneously go somewhere or do something, even if it’s a week or a day in advanced. Having a job means booking time off and planning my free time around working schedule.

The Pros of playing poker for a living:

• My time – I can play whenever I want. There’s always a tournament, a cash game or online. There’s no need to get up early (majority of the time) and it’s all in my terms.

• I enjoy playing – I always like playing poker and I never seem to get bored of it. I can’t imagine this changing because there’s always a new goal and a harder challenge to give myself.

• I’ve made a consistent profit over 2.5 years – Albeit not as much as a full time job could potentially get me it’s still a good telling sign for the future. Also given the comparative hours, enjoyment factor and lack of tax it’s arguably better than a job (I’ll elaborate on the details of this later in my stats).

• Lots of world traveling opportunities – There’s lots of big tournaments all over the world and no job commitments tying me down.

• You are your own boss – I decided what I want to do and when I do it.

• Not tied down to a location – I can “work” wherever I want. Theres always another casino or place with an Internet connection.

• Better potential? – Poker could give you the chance to win ridiculous amounts of money in very small spaces of time. It’s not too unrealistic that at one poker tournament I could win what I would expect to make in a year if I was working.

The Cons of playing poker for a living:

• Inconsistent income – Poker is about the long term. You have to be able to lose a few buy ins and sizeable tournaments sometimes knowing you did nothing wrong whatsoever. I don’t think there’s any similar jobs where you can be potentially perfect at it and still lose money, it’s a weird thing to sign up for. I really enjoy probability side of the game and I know it’s just about putting in the volume and making all the right decisions. Basically the downswings should fade out over time but the bad beats never will.

• No career progression – Whilst just playing poker I’m not actually getting any closer to a “good” job. Getting a job is hard though and the majority I can get won’t necessarily give me much progression for the long term.

• Losing feels worse than winning feels good? – Unfortunately I don’t have any big titles yet so maybe one day this will change but as a direct comparison it definitely feels worse to lose £500 than it feels good to win £500.

• No true life fulfilment? – A lot of people have said to me that playing poker for a living is bad because it has no purpose and doesn’t ‘help’ society. I can definitely see this argument as there’s no way I’m helping society in any conventional way, but I also think a lot of jobs have this problem. Also you can argue that any job I could be doing right now will be done by someone else if I don’t do it, being an accountant for someone isn’t going to change the world. However, I do feel like I have a lack of purpose sometimes because of my current way of life. I’m really hoping to work out what I really want to do this year.

• Time management – This mainly applies to playing online. It’s really easy to get into bad routines and procrastinate, if there’s not someone telling you to work it can be hard to find the motivation to do it.

• Unemployment Guilt – When you don’t work in a world where everyone around you does it can start to feel very daunting. Especially when I’m still awake at 5am when kelly is leaving for work and I’m asleep the entire time she’s there. Sometimes it makes me feel lazy which is never all that pleasant, but I’m taking a lot of new steps to be more active this year.

2. Since my last blog…

Poker

At the end of my last blog I was very close to being out of money and now I’m in an ok position with a half decent amount, poker has a habit of always getting me out of any money troubles I’m ever in. But it is always bad BRM and excessive spending that gets me there. Since August I’ve played a handful of tournaments, I tried to commit to online and started to put a lot of time into live cash games.

At the start of September was GPS Stoke. Now prior to this I had done pretty well at the GPS series having played 4 and cashed in 3 which included an FT bubble in the grand final, so I decided I wanted to play this even though my financial situation wasn’t the best at the time. Luckily I kept my risk minimal as I always try to do when I play and it went very well. I was feeling really good and playing my A game for pretty much all of the tournament but I ended up busting in 12th, it feels really good to make a day 3 but it’s brutal to come so close to these big payouts so many times and fall at the last hurdle. 
  
Around this time I started putting in lots of time towards online (staked MTT’s on party poker) and live cash. Online was very off and on but I wasn’t really enjoying it as much as I do live poker, so as much as I wanted to make it work it was hard to put in the volume. I would play once or twice a week and that unfortunately just wasn’t enough. As for live cash I’ve decided to focus on it a lot more and make sure I’m constantly trying to improve. Since the end of September when I started to commit to cash I’ve played 130 hours at £1/1 and made £2789 (~£21.49 per hour). This is not a big enough sample size to use but it’s nice to see things going in the right direction. Cash is the most comparable to a real job as it should eventually give you an hourly wage, although a potentially negative one. I’m hoping to fit 40-50 hours a month (10-12 per week) into my new year schedule and play 500 hours for the year.

I didn’t actually play that many live tournaments over these last 4 months, next year I want to average at least 2 decent comps per month. As well as GPS Stoke there was the DTD Deepstack (£330) , WPT main (£2200), 25/25 Birmingham (£220), GPS Sheffield (£440) and DTD 6 Max (£165). The Deepstack was quite uneventful except that I won a 700bb pot in level 2 and didn’t make day 2. WPT Main was really good fun, the standard was generally similar to most DTD comps but with more pros. I managed to double through Michael Mizrachi at some point too which is always good.

  

For GPS Sheffield I sold a package and it was quite eventful. I managed to completely blow up and bust out first hand by doing something I couldn’t imagine doing in a million years. I was quite annoyed at myself but knew I was still going to be able to play well so I re entered and ended up being coolered. I played my first £2/5 game and that went very well so I decided to fire a third bullet for day 3 which played out pretty standard. After 3 bullets in the GPS I found a convenient lift for the £165 at DTD day 2, I really wanted to make everyone profit so this would now be the only way. Luckily for me I managed to get 4 handed with just less than a chip lead and ICM deal for more than 2nd place, I think dealing was a bad move overall because of one very “fun” player that was left but the prospect of making everyone profit and not having to play 20-25bb deep was too good. 
  

Holidays, Breaks and Free time

For someone without any true commitments I do manage to keep myself very busy. Me and Kelly always like to do quite crazy and unusual things whenever possible which I’m sure will continue into the new year. We went to Stratford for Kelly’s birthday which was pleasant, it basically seems to be the place lots of posh old people go to happily die. We had an eventful Halloween dressed up as Mighty Boosh characters, it turns out green paint takes literally weeks to get off your fingernails. The 2 of us then found time to go to 2 different Comicon events and I concluded that dressing up definitely makes them 10x more fun even if I did look like a massive nerd. Finally we then ended the year with a pantomime and a ballet, i didn’t really get the latter as there was no talking so the story was told by music and dance, but kelly seemed to love it and that’s all that mattered. Next month we’re going to see Book of Moorman in February too so I’m making sure the adventures will never end.
    



3. Aims and Goals for 2016:

• Get a job by the end of January – Preferably 15-20 hours a week which would be 225-300 hours worked before Vegas and hopefully at least £6.50 an hour (£6.50*300 = £1462.50-1950 potentially made). Re evaluate position after Vegas then either get a new job or maintain old part time job, maybe even go full time.

• Live cash – Play 400-500 hours of live cash (mainly £1/1 with a lot of shot taking) aiming to make at least £6000. This would mean 35-40 hours per month making (hopefully) at least £500.

• Online cash – January – Play at least 15,000 hands of 25NL 6 Max Zoom on Pokerstars. Spend a lot of time studying and going over all hands too as well as getting some coaching asap. Will re evaluate stakes and how much I want to play after January.

• Vegas aims – Save a total of £5k for Vegas (£2k already saved) and sell up to 40% for a $7.5k package for Cash and tourns. Make everyone profit.

• Make (Net profit) at least £15k at poker overall for the entire year.

• Get a live poker title eg 25/25, GPS, DTD Deepstack. (Optimistic)

• Work at least 500 hours this year.

• At least 3 Holidays – Vegas, 1 other abroad and 1 other in England. 

• Exercise 40 minutes a day or at least 5 hours per week. 

• Eat better in general.

• Cook more often and learn to cook more things.

• Learn to drive and get a car.

• Publish a new blog every 2 months.

• Make and upload a new YouTube video every month.

•Have a new “adventure” with Kelly every month. By this I mean a new and unique experience.


4. Successes and Failures of the year
:


Failures:

– Still no idea what I want to do with my life.
– I dropped out of University.
– 3 Months of the year not in profit.
– I didn’t get a job.
– I didn’t learn to drive or get a car.
– I blew up at GPS Sheffield – very annoyed about this but will make sure it’s a 1 off.

Successes:

– I got engaged.
– I made over £12k net profit over the year from playing poker.
 – 9 Months of the year in profit, the last 6 months were all profitable.
– Live cash games have started to go very well.
– I did reasonably well in tournaments including a GPS day 3, a 25/25 FT, a UKIPT big side event FT, 2 DTD FT’s and a lot of cashes. I would really liked to have gotten a title but I definitely can’t complain with how I did overall.
– I had lots of new and awesome experiences and made sure to really enjoy my time over the last year.
– I was able to play a lot of the tournaments I wanted to such as WPT main, 2 UKIPT, 3 GPS and 2 UKPC. 
– I’ve improved a lot over the last year and feel like I’m constantly improving more.
– I’ve got enough money to not have to worry about rent and other outgoings.
– Met a lot of new and great people, the poker community is generally really great and has a lot of interesting characters.
– 15 Driving lessons complete.


5. Profit Graphs 2015:

    
   


6. Upcoming events:

-25/25 Birmingham

-Cyprus $750 warm up – not 100% sure on this one yet 

-UKPC DTD

– As many £100+ entry good structured tournaments as I can play

-Vegas – this ones far away but I’ll probably start selling for my package soon


7. 3 Interesting hands analysed

1. Hippodrome cash game

Hand: KKhx

Position: utg (btn bought) 

Blinds: £1/2

Stack depth: 250bb

Action: I open to £7 a good player calls in EP and a fish calls in MP making the pot £24. Flop J75hhx I c bet £16 EP calls and MP folds, the pot is now £56. Turn 4x I bet £34 he calls making the pot £124. River 6h I check he bets £55 I raise to £185 and he shoves for £374 effective. I fold.

Evaluation: The river is the key part of this hand, everything prior is relatively standard. The river is basically completely for his range as he called twice and all draws have came in. He will have a lot of flushes, a lot of 2 pairs and a lot of straights so I should always be checking here. However, because EP is a good competent player I know he will be betting this card 100% of the time with every hand worse than kings which includes QQ AJ KJ QJ JT J9. He can also value bet this river with 2 pair +, straights, sets and flushes which is a very wide range so in theory this is a trivial check fold as my hand is just crushed by his river betting range. But then I started to think what hands do I get to the river with? That will be AJ+ and FD’s which will mainly include the NFD and Broadway FD’s given the runout. I have the Kh in my hand so this will discount him having KQhh KJhh KThh AKhh. So because of the fact he will bet this river 100% this means that the best way for me to play my value range would be to check raise and get max vs his range. By check raising the river I’m repping exclusively flushes as even 89 doesn’t seem strong enough to check raise here. His river bet sizing was kind of small which (right or wrong) made me think he was more likely to have 2 pair or a straight. So because he is good enough to follow this thought process I decided to raise and rep the top % of my river range, I sized it on the bigger side as I really wanted him to fold everything that isn’t a flush. He then 3 bet shoves for £374 effective, normally this would be a snap fold but the more I thought about it the more I thought he is repping too small. By shoving this river I think he cuts his value range down to around 2-5 exact hands. The price I’m getting is £189 to win £872 so I need to be right 21.67% of the time. I think it’s debatable what his value shoving range is here,I think realistically it will be Q flush+ And I figure he may have raised at some point with the nut flush draw AND I have the Kh so by shoving I think he can only rep one hand. The combos of this are QJhh (he may well raise flop with a pair + FD) QThh Q9hh (if he peels this pre) so by this logic I can only put him on very few definitive hands when he shoves. Most people are never bluffing when they 3 bet shove the river but I honestly knew he was capable and I had to really consider what I could be against. I think his most likely hand will contain the Ah or Qh as they’re ideal candidates to bluff here but them again he could have bet small on the river to induce and raise and was always going to shove with all bluffs. I think his is one of the most difficult spots I’ve ever been put in and I ended up folding being very unsure. He showed me the 9c so I think he must have had either 69cc or J9cc, I spoke to him about the hand and he said he bet small on the river as he would with his full range and it was to induce a raise so he could 3 bet shove.


2. GPS Stoke day 1

Hand: JJdx

Position: sb

Blinds: 100/200

Stack depth: 140bb

Action: UTG raises to 600 MP calls BTN calls I 3 bet to 2900 and just the BTN calls making the pot 7200. Flop 345ddx I c bet 3200 he calls making the pot 13.6k. Turn 2x we check. River 9x I bet 4.5k he raises to 9k I call and he mucks.

Evaluation: Pre seems standard, the flop I could check oop for pot control but JJ are quite vulnerable. On the river I decided to go for thin value vs 77/88/TT but I’m not sure how I feel about this. The only problem with checking is I kind of have to check fold really. It’s 4.5k to win a pot of 22.6k so I need to be right 20% of the time. I think the only value hands he will get here with will be 99 (this might flat river) AQdd (might 3 bet pre) and ATdd. If he has the ace and therefore a straight on the turn he may bet the turn too. I also assume he will bet 66 on the turn to go for 2 streets. So all this means he actually can’t have at many value hands but I just didn’t know what bluff he could have either. Maybe KTdd QTdd KQdd but that’s 3 combos and a min raise is usually indicative of never being a bluff. I’m not sure how I feel about my call here on this river but the line was so unorthodox I felt like I had to call. It makes sense for him to have 99 or Ax but he may go bigger with those hands. Luckily for me I’m a station and he was bluffing, I would love to know what he had.


GPS Stoke day 2

3.Hand: K8cc

Position: bb

Blinds: 4/8/1k

Stack depth: 50bb

Action: 6 handed Deadman opens mp to 17k I defend the bb making the pot 44k. Flop T52ccx we check. Turn 5x I check he bets 22k I raise to 59k he calls making the pot 162k. River Kh I bet 72k he tanks for about 6 minutes (we were hand for hand) and says I just don’t want to see Kx of clubs if I call and folds

Evaluation: Pre seems like a standard defend. When he checked back the flop I assume he will always have show showdown whether it be 1 pair or A high so I think if I bet I always have to barrel river and it’s hard to know if he will fold so I decided to check and reevaluate. He bet kind of big so it was very close if I was getting the right price vs AK and I could have some reverse implied odds so I decided to raise. This isn’t something I would usually do but calling felt bad and I thought because I don’t rep much he would think I had it for some reason. On the river I should have the best hand unless he has AK AA TT 55 22 which are quite unlikely so I have to value bet, i can’t bet too much as I need him to call with all his worse hands but at the same time I can’t bet too small as I don’t really rep anything and I wouldn’t want to give him a good price with my bluffs. It felt pretty good to put such a good player in such a horrible spot as he was repeatedly saying he didn’t know what to do. I did have to get there but maybe I win on some other rivers too. He said he had T8s.

Standard
life, Poker

Going Broke In Style 

“Find a job that you like and you add 5 days to every week” – H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Where I’m at now…

Back at the start of May things were going ok, I had enough money to not worry too much, I was starting to feel more optimistic about the future and I was seeing the fact I had dropped out of uni as more of a stepping stone than a big waste of time. However at the moment I’m in a bit of a strange place. It turns out not having a proper consistent income + having consistent outgoings can lead to a sufficient lack of funds (who knew?). These last few months have been especially brutal for me with poker, It’s kind of annoying that every severe bad beat is another reason to never stop playing, another reminder that this game is very profitable even at relatively high stakes. I’ve noticed In that moment after it’s happened whether I’m out or I’ve lost a big pot at cash I just have to think to myself “I’m just on the wrong side of EV” and it has really hurt lately. The most annoying part of it all is this is what I’ve effectively signed up for when I decided to make poker my primary income. It’s knowing I can do everything right and lose whereas someone who does everything wrong can win. I never feel entitled to win when I play because that would be stupid as well as unrealistic in a game with such high variance but after around x amount of tournaments in a row of nothing but hard work and effort into playing my best goes effectively wasted you do start to feel like you deserve a result. Lately I started to feel like there was no justice in live poker, time and time again the players who are still making the biggest mistakes will win and players I know to be very good will go months without a good result. That statement alone would probably put most people off the game. The reason it’s so hard to ever stop is that the good times are really the best, but comparatively the bad times can be so miserable. Sometimes I have to just take a step back from the game and try not to be cynical about the world because I don’t think I can mentally deal with the emotional side of the game too much more. 

Something that has helped me deal with the brutal run I’ve had lately is one of Cairo’s tips, it basically says you should think of yourself as being on somebody else’s payroll and that you get paid your long term average win rate. This means you are paid as long as you are making good decisions and not based on results. So you make your hourly rate with no regard to results but if you start making bad decisions and mistakes you’re not being paid at all. I think this is a really good way to think about poker because it’s all about the long term, variance can be a bitch and it’s unfair that it can be a lot worse to you than others but you just have to deal with it, if you can’t deal with the swings don’t play. Sometimes you have to ignore the short term because the probability should catch up with you eventually.

One thing I imagine every professional poker player realises at some point is that when your income is exclusively poker it can lead to some bad situations. I think the main problem is the extra pressure, the fact that making that hero call I’m sure is correct could be the difference between running deep in a tournament and potentially whether I have enough to pay my rent this month. Obviously that’s a huge exaggeration and the fact I could be in a situation like that would be completely my fault, but when the lack of recent result is constantly on your mind it can be hard to deal with. One thing I did very wrongly is that I’m supposed to have a bankroll for poker and a separate sort of “life roll” which covers all of my living expenses and extras like holidays and other good stuff. This way I can balance my poker roll properly which may lead to me buying less or lowering my stakes etc. The key issue I’ve always had is from a combination of bad bankroll management or spending a lot more money than I can afford to, ie not having this “life roll” and thus not knowing how much I can use for poker. So I’ve decided now the focus will be going back to how I afforded to play back in November, which is essentially being staked for everything possible. This can be a little annoying as for example with my 2 biggest wins I only had 25-35% of myself, but without being staked I may not have been able to play these bigger events at all, it’s just the most sensible thing to do. I was hoping to be in a kind of better place by the end of this year with either a future plan or decent ongoing income from poker, unfortunately I don’t have either of those, but thinking back I have had an amazing and very enjoyable year. So assuming I can continue to play poker on stake for most things and progress as before then all I need now is a job. I had been hoping to start a higher apprenticeship in September but every one I have applied to has ignored or postponed me, I’m going to Vegas next year for the end of May/ early June so it would be good to save as much as possible. I’m at the stage now where I know I need to get a part time job but I’m very reluctant and fussy as I’m used to the leniency and enjoyment of just playing poker. On the bright side it should be good to get some experience in a what my nan would call a “proper job” but I was hoping to be working towards some long term skills. Who needs prospects though right?

I don’t know if it’s just me but I feel like I’m not prepared for real life at all. I was only ever told up to the go to uni part and now that’s not happening. There was no lessons on how to find something you want to do or work towards, nothing on how to find your purpose. Everytime I express this view to people all I get is “you’re still young and you have your whole life ahead of you” which is a very good point but it gives no indication of when will things start to move in the right direction. I’m still optimistic I will find something to aspire to but for the mean time it’s going to have to be part time minimum wage job and part time poker.
 

Since my last blog…

A crazy amount has happened since my last blog. There’s been a lot of tournaments, some holidays and I got engaged…                                      

I guess I’ll start with the poker.

Poker

Lately I’ve decided to focus more on making sure each of my decisions is optimal not justified. This is because it’s easy to justify any decision in poker but it is really hard to say you made the best decision possible based on all given factors. For example hero calling on the river when they should be bluffing enough of the time for your pot odds to be correct, but certain people are just never bluffing in some situations.

Since May I’ve played:

  • 25/25 Blackpool
  • 25/25 Leicester
  • GPS Mini Liverpool
  • DTD deepstack, 2nd chance and 6 max
  • Goliath
  • 50/50 Coventry
  • UKPC 6 max – Main event and MINI

I cashed in a few and got bad beat in a lot, the usual I guess. As fun as it would be to write out each and every bad beat I got I’m not going to bore anyone with them. The most frustrating for me was probably the 50/50 where I entered twice, played about 23.75 levels of poker (there’s 12 per day 1) and did not make day 2, at one point I had nearly 5x the average chips too. In fact over the 3 days I was playing in Coventry I played approximately 41 hours of poker and at one point at DTD I spent over 18 hours there over a day, so I guess that’s almost comparable to a proper job. One thing I did realise through it all of this playing is that I really really do love the game, even when I run the worst I just want to play more everytime without fail. I’m not too sure if this is a good or a bad thing but I guess it’s good to have a passion I can put a lot of time into and potentially gain financially.

  
Holidays/breaks

I guess the one thing I can see as a big positive about the fact I’m running out of money is that I have done a lot with it. Back in May me and Kelly went to Blackpool for my birthday weekend which was really fun, it was the first time we had went to a theme park together and it turns out she’s a massive screamer…   

A few weeks after this me and Kelly went on a crazy trip to Brighton to stay with her aunt. Kelly would like to move there some day so it was a lot of trying to convince me that I would also like to live in Brighton, meaning we had a casino night 😀 Overall it was really fun, we went to a concert, the sea life centre, the beach, the pier and all the other ‘brightony’ places. I think there would be a lot of pros and cons if we ever did move – the main being that I’m generally very opposed to change. But the transport was a lot better, it had a lot of new and fun places and it’s closer to London which could be quite useful. I was expecting that moving away from home would never be a consideration but after that trip I may actually be coming around to the idea… Provided I can get a good job that is.

  
A couple of weeks after being back from Brighton Mom told me she had gotten a week off of work and fancied a spontaneous holiday, so we booked Zante for a week later. I realise it sounds kind of strange going to Zante with your mom but we did go to the more family orientated area. Weirdly I wasn’t really up for going as I was quite content with everything I was doing and traveling abroad is a lot of effort, but it was actually one of the best holidays I’ve ever had. We went on a boat trip, an island tour, a trip to Olympia and it was a nice break from poker too. Normally the only thing I appreciate in different cultures is the food but we went to some amazing places.      

   

Engagement

This brings me to the beginning of July and my engagement. Even just typing that word makes me feel like more of an adult than ever. I basically realised quite a while ago that I was 100% sure I wanted to stay with Kelly forever so it seemed like a good logical next step to propose. It started off with me buying presents for her in Zante to bring home as well as postcards I was going to write nice messages in, then the idea of a treasure hunt hit me where I could give her clues that only we could relate to. Then I would have every clue lead to a nice message or present which would lead us to “our spot” where we used to say goodbye. I had always had the idea of proposing in the back of my head but it all kind of just came together the more I thought about it so I had to make it happen. It took a lot of time and effort but it was worth it. Turns out I can be the romantic type after all.   

  
That’s pretty much it for the last few months, my conscious decision to start trying to make more memories and think more about experiences has really helped. I was approached about taking part in a poker documentary based on young people but I haven’t heard much from that in a few weeks. I managed to make some more YouTube videos which are finally of a good quality so hopefully I’ll be able to progress on them  (Link here: https://youtu.be/Ddn7MWBSjkk), I’ve started streaming on twitch occasionally too which can be pretty fun. It’s nice to have a hobby that isn’t poker too. I was going to try and go out more as it’s probably been about once of month lately if that, the only problem with going out is I have to be the perfect level of drunk to have a really good time, however for Richards 24th I think I definitely found that perfect level…  

Future plans

This is going to be very key for me right now. I have a lot of vague plans but nothing is exactly in line to happen. My first immediate plan is to get a job, this will help in too many ways to list and I’m hoping to have one by mid September. My second plan is to save for Vegas, I would love to play the $1500 WSOP monster stack and as many tourns as possible so I will need to save quite a lot, a tournament bink would be spiffing. After a year or so me and kelly want to save up for travelling, we’re hoping to start in Thailand and in the further future maybe interailing in Europe or trek America. On top of all this there is a wedding to save for but I’m not quite sure how we’re going to do this one yet. I’m thinking either we wait for a few years and do it when we are ready to settle or we get married soon in like a registry office and then save for a big ceremony later in life. I think as long as I find a job that I enjoy and can fund poker the times I’m not staked I’ll be happy.

Immediate aims and goals…

  • Put a lot of volume into online MTT’s on PartyPoker (3-4 days a week).
  • Try not to go into overdraft.
  • Take every opportunity possible to play decent sized tournaments on stake.
  • Go out out more.
  • Make more YouTube videos and put more time into recording content and editing.
  • Stream on twitch more.
  • Carry on learning to drive.
  • Get a part time job for September to help save for Vegas.
  • Start regular excersise. (Still yet to do this)
  • Try keep sleeping pattern relatively in check.
  • Try work out what I want to do with my life.
  • Go to doctors, opticians, dentist etc


Successes and failures…

Fails:

-I spent nearly all of my money and can no longer buy all the pointless things I enjoy.

-May was a losing month overall.

– I didn’t hear from both of the higher apprenticeships I applied for.

-I still have no idea what I’m going to be doing in the future. (This one may be ongoing)

Successes:

-My lack of money isn’t as a result of poker loses as I’ve been up the entire year in excess of £6k (that’s my net profit accounting for times I have to give people big percentages).

-June and July were winning months.

-August is a winning month so far.

-I was able to play most of the tournaments I wanted to.

-I feel really confident with every aspect of my live poker game although I still want to improve.

– My Brm was better than ever even although it was bad overall.

– If I ever managed to get a BR of around £7.5-10k + an income I’m confident poker would go very well for me.

-11 driving lessons completed.

-I’m staked for pretty much every aspect of poker possible so I can continue to play a high volume.

Profit Graphs 2015…

   

   
Upcoming events…

It’s kind of hard to say, if things go extremely well they will be the following:

  • Poker fest DTD
  • GPS Stoke
  • GPS MINI Birmingham 
  • Any relatively local 25/25
  • WPT Nottingham

Top 10 Interesting hands played…

1. Weird spot with 2 pair

£1/1 deep cash Coventry

Hand: T7cc

Position: sb

Blinds: £1/1

Stack depth: 300bb+

Action: there’s 2 limps from ep (deep staked bad regs) and an ISO to £6 from a deep staked unknown player, I peel and the second limper calls making the pot £20. Flop T73r one club everyone checks. Turn As brings a FD I check the first limper leads for £7 (strange) and the pfr raises to £22, at this point I think he will be raising AJ-AK for value and it’s hard for him to have a better hand than me other than A7s A3s and sometimes 33 but by 3 betting I may only get action from better so I cold call, the £7 better folds making the pot £71. River 5x I think my hand is really strong at this point and I can potentially check raise but it doesn’t feel quite strong enough to do so, so I opt to lead as there are a lot of missed draws and this way I can control sizings, I lead for £47 (a little small) he tanks for a while and raises to £131 leaving £120ish behind. So now I think the only hand I should lose to is 33 (3 combos) TT (one combo) 77 (one combo) A3s (2 combos) and A7s (3 combos) so there’s 10 combos I lose to in theory and tbh when we’re so deep and there’s some draws on the board multiway I think he will bet sets so that brings his value range down to A3s and A7s and there’s also the fact he might raise a hand like AQ or AK on the river for value seeing as I don’t rep much and could be blocker betting a worse ace. As well as this he might have some semi bluffs himself on the turn that now have no showdown which he has to turn into a bluff if he wants to continue and I don’t rep very much with my line. Because of all these factors I decided to call and he had K9hh for air.

Evaluation: Pre flop my call is a little loose because I’m oop but when I’m sure the 2 bad regs who limped will call behind and we’re all deep staked it seems ok. On the flop I can either check call or check raise depending on how I think he will respond with hands like TP and overpairs but this decision isn’t needed. On the turn I assume the pfr will nearly always bet when checked to as it’s such a good card for his range to iso then check back a dry flop. So my plan was to check raise this turn but because of the weird lead it seemed too strong to cold 3 bet, however because we’re so deep I think a 3 bet here would never be bad. On the river I think I have a lot of options, I didn’t have much info but in hindsight I think a check raise would be optimal here considering his range should be Ax and semi bluffs the majority of the time which will probably all bet here. Because of my lead here I realised there’s a lot of bluffs I induce so I don’t think I can fold to the price I’m given considering I have blockers to nutten hands and every draw bricked.


2. Really awkward board run out with a set

Hand: 88

Position: utg

Blinds: 75/150

Stack depth: 200-250bb

Action: I open to 450 get called in 5 spots including the blinds making the pot 2700 (most seem like fish). Flop K85xcc I c bet 2100 the hj calls rest fold making me oop heads up and the pot 6900. Turn 9x so 67 gets there I bet 3600 he calls making the pot 14,100. River Qc which is really dirty for me but I think his range will have quite a few flushes like KJcc KTcc Axcc but a lot of others are blocked, but he still has KJx Ktx KQ K9 and other 2 pairs sometimes that may check back so I decided to bet 5025 to control the sizing assuming he will never bluff raise his river as I can have the nuts and he folds.

Evaluation: This hand was dirty, it’s a really good example of having the most awkward runout. Everyone was really deep so the 3x open pre seems standard. On the flop I’m third to act with 5 players so a check raise is very tempting but having this board get checked around would be too criminal so I bet pretty big, getting one call is pretty ideal here so I’m happy with this. The turn is quite good as only 67 now gets there so I bet again for value, I think I can go a little bigger here but I’m not going to be too critical about that. Now the river is really dirty and I’m oop so by checking I’m really going to have to sigh fold to any bet as he seemed like a relatively standard abc player, checking feels bad because by doing so I never have a flush so it would give a good player the option to destroy my range by always over betting their full range. So even though I never expect him to do this I really hate the spot I’m in if I check and he bets. So because of this I figured betting would be the better option, more because I can still have flushes in my range this way. By betting it is going to be for value so I need to size it in such a way that he can call with worse hands, having 88 on this river basically plays the same as a small flush but without blockers. I think his range on this river will be quite a few combinations of flushes which I lose to as well as KQ KJ KT K9 maybe 89 85 But not too many more. The combos of flushes will be JTcc 9Tcc AJcc ATcc for certain and for the rest it’s dependent on his calling range and how he plays some draws post flop. He may raise 67cc 79cc 69cc 64cc 74cc KJcc KTcc K9cc so these could be discounted and he may do the same with NFD combos like A5cc. All in all its hard to dissect his range too much as I don’t have enough info with live poker but assuming he always checks back every worse hand with showdown on this river and never bluff raises me then I think betting small is the most optimal as this keeps his calling range the widest and most players don’t turn showdown hands into bluffs enough, I just wanted to size it so it never induce a bluff and could still be called by worse, I figured just over 5k makes the bet appear bigger and gives him nearly 4-1 so it should be about right to be heroed sometimes. I’ve noticed time and time again in live poker where people find any excuse to hero call so I’m happy with this hand overall, I think checking to re evaluate and more likely fold would be fine here too.


GPS MINI Liverpool

3. Optimal way to go for max value oop

Hand: AKdd

Position: bb 

Blinds: 50/100

Stack depth: 250bb

Action: there’s a limp utg and utg+1 the btn who seems like he could be semi competent raises to 325 I 3 bet to 1200 the limpers fold and he calls making the pot 2650. Flop A84r one diamond I check he checks back quickly. Turn 4x I bet 1150 he calls making the pot 4950. River Jx I bet 2700 he tanks and calls then mucks.

Evaluation: I had essentially no info at all to start this hand. The btn had seemed to be at least semi competent from his mannerisms but that’s all I had to go by. To me his ISO sizing was a little small so I’m not worried about being behind his range ever, I decided to 3 bet to nearly 4x as I’m oop, we’re really deep and ideally I would like to be heads up. The flop is the key decision here, in spots where I’m likely to have the top of my range I like to balance ie because I would be checking KK QQ JJ here I should check AK and AA too. This is all well and good but being balanced means next to nothing for live poker, especially as I said I was against a table of complete unknowns. My hand is definitely strong enough to go for 3 streets but is he ever going to be comfortable calling 3 streets with a worse hand? Maybe a hand like AQ or AJ will sigh call 3 streets but what about the other hands in his range. Generally he will have pairs because he’s in position and were deep (he may limp small pairs behind 2 prior limps) so that gives him about 66-TT and I imagine a lot of suited Broadway combos like KQs JTs etc, maybe he can have T9s 98s Axs too but most players would limp these behind. Either way the tiny ISO means I assume his raising range is quite wide. If I bet here he will continue with all his Ax, whatever 8x he can have and 99/TT I imagine but my checking it lets him feel much more comfortable with some of his weaker showdown hands, potentially turn showdown with hands like KQ and JT or he may turn some hands into bluffs. I think given all of this information I like my default being to check here but because my hand is so strong I think I like it as a check raise seeing as this line is kind of abnormal and then allows me to bet bet on the turn and river because his continuing range should be strong enough to call + taking the strange line is usually the best way  to extract value from competent players. As played he checks back so I have an easy bet bet on most run outs, the turn is a brick but I imagine he will have some kind of weak showdown a lot when he doesn’t bet the flop and now I have to go for 2 streets after under repping my hand, he calls the turn so I assume he must have a pocket pair, 8x or Ax. The river is pretty good as AJ will probably bet the flop so only J8 should get there and I have an easy value bet. I’m very happy with how I played this hand because it was simple, but I did find myself thinking “could I have got more value and is this the optimal way to play the hand against an unknown player who didn’t strike me as a fish”.



4. How to deal with the worst turn card oop

Hand: Q5dd

Position: bb

Blinds: 1000/2000/300

Stack depth: 65bb

Action: ep opens to 4200 gets called by mp and the btn I call making the pot 20,200. Flop 655ssx it checks to the btn who bets 6500 I raise to 16.5k he calls making the pot 53.2k. Turn 9s I bet 19k he calls making the pot 91.2k river 3x I think he will have a flush a lot of the time here but could have a worse 5 or overpair sometimes so i wasn’t sure whether to bet or check but I figure he never bluff raises river so betting small is opt I bet 30k but I like 25k more and he calls Q7ss.

Evaluation: Pre seems fine as I’m getting a crazy good price. On the flop I think I can lead or check raise but with me first 4 ways I thought a check raise will more often get the most chips in, my only issue is my sizing, I’m oop and around 120-125k deep with a nutted hand where his flop calling range will be inelastic ie if he’s calling 9.5k more he’s calling 16k more too. On the turn this hand gets awkward, now my choices are bet or check and reevaluate. I didn’t have much info on the player but I think some of the time he will have a FD and others times he will have a 5 which is most likely worse than mine. I decided to bet on the turn because it was going to be hard to not check call turn and river which means I can’t control the sizing. I also thought by betting the turn there are also a decent amount of hands I will get value from like worse 5x and maybe pocket pairs, I could also argue he a lot of players may check a FD on this flop multiway. So my bet is basically for value but mainly so I don’t get put into too awkward a spot. On the river is the real awkward spot, I can check call, check fold or bet. At the time I was really thinking I don’t want to check fold but that may be optimal, I already got value from worse 5x on the turn so going for more is extremely thin, but I do see people make ridiculous heroes quite often. I think with this hand I should either check call turn to re evaluate river or bet turn to check re evaluate river. My line seems to overrep my hand a little which is never good and may even get him to hero fold a worse 5. A lot of live players seem to instinctively get scared when things like FD’s get there so I think I prefer check re evaluating the turn (most likely calling) and then potentially check folding brick river vs more aggression. Sometimes the best way to exploit your opponent with awkward value hands is to abuse the fact they will miss value with hands they should bet against you.


25/25 Leicester 

5. Over complicating trivial decisions

Hand: Q7cc

Position: HJ

Blinds: 400/800/75

Stack depth: 50bb

Action: I open to 1600 a tag defend the bb making the pot 4200. Flop A73ssx I c bet 1500 he makes it 3400 I call making the pot 11,000. Turn Jx he bets 4200 I call making the pot 19,400. River Ax he bets 14k, I think he only really reps A3 A7 77 and 33 which I block a small combo of but he’s generally on the tighter side of the spectrum. My stack at that point was about 32k so if I’m wrong I’m down to roughly 20bb it’s 14k to win 47,400 so I need to be right 30% of the time to call, I tried to get a read and I saw him swallow and he was smiling a little which I wasn’t sure whether was weakness or strength but he plays SHR tourns and really big ones on TV a lot so I figured he isn’t going to be giving anything away if he is bluffing, so I decided to fold. He showed the 6d so I assume I had the best hand. The main factor of me folding was this is such a bad river to bluff and I have an ace here so often.

Evaluation: pre seems standard for my live HJ opening range. On the flop I think I can check or bet, I only decided to bet because my pair is quite vulnerable and I figured he may get creative or float. What he actually does is raise which kind of only reps A7 A3 33 77 73 and maybe AK AQ sometimes so I’m never folding, especially when I thought he would try to get creative. The turn is an effective brick he bets and I call for the same reason I called the flop, seems pretty standard. My plan was to pretty much never fold river too. Now the river is where I over complicate and go wrong here. The river is essentially the nut worst card to bluff because of the following fairly obvious reasons:

1. Draws bricked so he may want to induce a bluff by checking 

2. It’s so likely I have an ace when I bet call then call

3. It’s less likely he has an ace as there’s way less combos now

This guy was competent so I really just always expected him to check seeing as I was sure he was bluffing, but then he bets. So this is usually where I think of the reasons I just listed and stick with my read and snap call. But I overcomplicated it so badly, I started thinking like “that’s such an audacious bluff, surely he has to have it” also it’s hard to check raise bet bet with air, especially when the run out is so bad. I was quite annoyed at myself for this fold as everything pointed towards call but it’s put me off giving people too much credit which is always good.



50/50

6. Really awkward turn decision vs 2 all ins

Hand: KJss

Position: btn

Blinds: 200/400

Stack depth: 140-150bb

Action: Mp limps co limps I raise to 2000 the sb cold calls the limpers both call making the pot 8400. Flop 632ssx I c bet 2800 get called by the sb and the mp player making the pot 16.8k. Turn 2s giving me the K flush and pairing the board. The sb leads for 6500 mp raises to 12k and is made to make it 13k (decision 1) I decide to flat and try re evaluate based on rivers and what sb does the sb shoves 56k total the player in mp asks for a count and tank calls I have about 50.5k total. The player that called seemed to think it was only him in the hand left and asked why the sb hadn’t shown his hand yet, so this info was key for my decision here, mainly because the fact he didn’t snap call should now indicate he never has a full house or nut flush, obviously this could be a fake tell but the guy didn’t seem all there so I was convinced it was genuine. Mainly because of this I found the call, the sb had T8ss and the other player had J2o for trips and I held.

Evaluation: Pre I have an easy ISO raise, my default is to at least 5x it over 2 limps in position so 2-2.5k seems best here. On the flop I was quite tempted to check behind but I decided I wanted to try build a pot when I have so much equity and get rid of all complete air hands, vs a check raise here I would probably always flat depending on the sizing. On the turn is where it gets interesting. The sb leads, I assume he always raises sets on the flop and can’t have any 2x so it’s extremely likely he will have a flush here or some kind of weird over pair, many something like AJsx occasionally too. Now the mp player raises to minimum, he had been limp calling a lot and not folding much prior to this hand but I was yet to see him play a hand aggressively so I was thinking he is going to have a flush almost every time as he will be raising all sets and 2 pairs on the flop so this puts me in a really dirty spot as I’m against 2 ranges which will heavily consist of flushes and there are more combinations of the nut flush than any other, I was really wanting to fold but I’ve made bad folds in these spots a lot because of assuming people think like I do when some people are just crazy, I think calling or folding are my only options here and I really didn’t want to fold vs these 2 players so I called, I think shoving will get them to fold whatever other crazy hands they can have and maybe small flushes sometimes so I’m happy with this. Now the sb shoves which means he must be top of his range so I was really hoping mp just folded so I could work out combos and probably sigh call but he tanks for a little (around 20 seconds) and calls. So now I have a really dirty spot, online I’m 90% sure I would fold here. I think the sb should have ATss AQss QTss maybe T9s 98s sometimes but if he’s good he should probably only have the first 3 but some players can probably have A9s 78s and a lot more combos, so against him it’s a horrible spot, having the king and jack in my hand blocks so many combos it’s probably nearer to a fold. The player in mp calling should consolidate this fold really but when he indicated he didn’t know I was in the hand it should mean I’m always ahead of him here. So weirdly in this hand the fact someone else called the all in actually meant my pot odds became about 1.3x better to make the call. So assuming player 1’s range is exclusively QTss ATss and AQss then I need 2-1 on a call (33.33%). With the other player my odds are 50.5k to win 168.3k which means I need to be right 30% of the time, where as if he folded it would be 50.5k to win 130.8k meaning I would need to be right 38.6% of the time. I did think about this decision for a very long time, I thought best case scenario the sb has a smaller flush and mp will either have a pair + spade eg 44/55/77 or he will have the ace of spades. This means he will have 4/5 outs too. So in this spot the times I’m ahead I still only win about 90% of the time making this decision even closer. I still don’t know if I would call or fold if I had this spot again, seeing the hands they turned up with blew my mind a little as I has their ranges much stronger than they were, plus the mp player somehow had 10 outs here. The thing that further blew my mind from this hand was that the general table consensus was that I nit rolled and should have snap called. I guess it’s because I couldn’t even fathom them having those 2 hands here but I know I’m not going to over credit people’s ranges with live poker anymore.


7. Sometimes they have it 100% of the time

Hand: A9ss

Position: co

Blinds: 2/4k/500

Stack depth: 80bb

Action: utg tight abc player opens to 10.5k the HJ other tight abc player calls I call and the sb tag calls making the pot 50.5k 4 ways. Flop 772ssx the pfr c bets 26k I call the sb raises to 62k utg tanks forever and folds I call making the pot 200.5k and the effective stack is his of around 220k. Turn 3x we check river 5s he bets 108k I call he has 22.

Evaluation: Pre flop here I was going fold to the open because I had only seen this player turn up with premiums over a few hours but with the HJ call in front and no aggro player behind I decided to call, I think folding here is fine too but I was very comfortable vs their ranges here. On the flop I have an easy call vs the c bet which I was sure would be a hand like TT JJ QQ most of the time as I have way too much equity. Now the sb raises small which is pretty dirty as it gives me a really good price and feels really strong, I was hoping utg would shove so I could fold tbh but he folds, at this point it’s 36k to win 200.5k meaning I need about 18% equity. It’s important here to note it’s only my turn equity that matters as calling here won’t guarantee I’ll see a river because I assume he will shove most turn cards, I really wanted to fold but with 9 outs to the nut flush if that will be the best hand my price is just too good, so I call. The turn is a brick and I fully expected him to bet and for me to fold but he checks, this confused me a lot because if he ever hand a 7 he has to bet it and if he played 22 this way he should be betting small to set up a river shove being oop. I was ok with it as I now get to see a river too for my flop price but I did think it was strange, maybe he could be check shoving a 7 because it’s too much to just shove but with that logic he should just raise the flop bigger, maybe he isn’t as comfortable with his 7 and wants to go into check call mode? I was quite baffled but thought I’ll just re evaluate on the river. The river is the 5s giving me the nut flush and he bets 108k. My instinct was Yh he must have 22 but I just can’t fold. I’m not annoyed at my call at all because it’s just brutal if he played 22 in that way and got that dream river but I’m going to try be extra critical now. The sb was someone I had played with before, he definitely was capable of raising FD’s on the flop but in this situation why would he? He’s getting a really good price of 26k into about 135k and he’s multiway. I get that some players would raise a FD here but I just don’t think this guy would have. At the time I remember thinking Yh whatever that’s a cooler but I honestly think there’s a chance I could have folded, I do always try not to be results orientated but I think the way he played this hand he has 22 100% of the time. On the flop he raises small which often indicates “I’m not worried about being called” and on the turn he checks which gives the same impression. If I assume on the flop he can only ever raise with 7x and 22 (which is entirely plausible with this player and a lot of live players) then if he had a 7 I just don’t understand why he would not bet the turn or raise bigger on the flop. These are good clues to the fact he should always have 22 but you might think maybe he’s going crazy with an overpair like 99 TT but then there’s no way he checks the turn to then bet that river, especially not over 50% of the pot. I know it’s really brutal but I honestly think with this hand he has 22 100% of the time. It’s easy for me to justify a call but I just keep thinking is it optimal giving every piece of information I have, being optimal is the only way I’m going to progress further at this game. I’m not going to lose sleep over this call but next time I would like to find that hero fold.


UKPC 6 max

8. Credibly bluffing vs the wrong players

Hand: T7ss

Position: btn 

Blinds: 250/500/50

Stack depth: 150bb

Action: I open to 1100 the sb (150bb deep) who seem tight 3 bets to 2850 the bb fish cold calls from about 60bb so I call making the pot 8800. Flop Q86sdd he c bets 3700 the sb calls I make the light peel in position with BD so the pot is 19.9k turn 3s giving me a FD he bets 8k the sb calls leaving around 20k I call making the pot 43.9k. River Jd sb checks so he probably has AQ KK AA the bb checks too so I think he always has Qx maybe QJ sometimes I bet 17.5k as I have all my flushes and it’s probably my most likely hand to over call flop and turn. The SB snap calls with KK and the bb over calls QJo.

Evaluation: Pre my open is a little small but seems standard, vs the 3 bet I was going to possibly fold because this guy seemed like he always had it but with the cold call I’m never folding. On the flop it’s 3700 to win 19.9k, I would usually fold but I notice DTD players never seem to fold there premium hands no matter how badly the board runs out so I thought my implied odds were very good (this contradicts something I do later in the hand). I need 18.6% for direct profit which I definitely don’t have with only 3 outs to my straight and BD spades, I think I would have preferred a fold here just because even if I do turn my gutter and the FD doesn’t get there I still don’t have the nuts but I won’t be too critical of the call given I have position and a good idea of both players ranges. On the turn I just have too much equity to ever really fold to a bet and the bb calling makes me even more committed with 9k to win 43.9k, I need 20.5% and I should have 11 outs and good implied odds. The river is the Jd completing the double gutter draw 9T and all flop FD’s now my plan was to just take my equity with my draw so check/fold any river I don’t improve… However, they both check, so now neither of them ever have a flush (in theory) as they should always be betting or shoving. I should have just gone with the plan and checked because people just really never fold, this is where I contradict myself too as the main reason for me calling the flop was because of the implied odds by overpairs on bad runouts. I decided that I was extremely likely to have a flush considering I overcalled the flop and turn + neither of them had a flush so they should both fold (in theory). My bet here is on the small side in hindsight and I think I should be shoving this river but I wouldn’t be surprised if I was still called in both places if I did. So I think my river bet is actually the worst, if I’m going to bluff I should shove, especially as it looks extra strong and risks a similar amount vs the bb but really I should just give up and be happy in the knowledge that if I got there I would have made a lot.


9. Range abused by a good player?

Hand: AJss

Position: btn

Blinds: 2.5/5k/500

Stack depth: 40bb

Action: I open to 10k a competent bb peels making the pot 25k. Flop j94r he leads for 10k I call making the pot 45k. Turn 6x he checks I bet 17.5k he tank calls making the pot 80k river Qx he leads for 76k I fold.

Evaluation: Pre seems standard with the stack depth. On the flop the lead is weird and I have flopped pretty much the best possible. At the time I wasn’t really sure of what range this lead would be, he had been defending 100% of big blinds vs my opens and was leading sometimes, my only decision is whether to call or raise. There’s lots of pros and cons for both, I think by calling I keep in all his air + lower variance and there’s not too many hands to worry about, also I keep my range wider. I would like raising here vs a bad player or if I had around 20-30bb to start the hand, this is because by raising this flop I’m basically going with my hand and getting it all in if he 3 bets so I don’t really want to be doing that with 40bb, my hand is probably strong enough to but I wasn’t too comfortable with it, I had folded to his lead before so I think by raising he will generally think I have it and just fold a lot of the time so with all points considered I’m happy with the call. The turn is basically a brick and he checks so now I have to V bet every time and I decided to go a little smaller to keep his range wider for the times he turned or already had weak showdown and he calls. I think because the turn brings a FD and the fact I don’t want my range to look too weak I should probably be betting a little bigger here around 25k. The river is a Q which is is horrible for my range and he leads for nearly pot. This decision was horrible but I decided pretty early that I would fold because there are better spots and I had a good passive table. But thinking about it more in depth I do think it’s nearer to a call. His line is really weird and for him to lead for pot the only hands that he is really repping are QJ T8 KT Q9 Q6 66 99 JJ 44 J9 J4 94. Now this is a lot of hands but I can probably rule almost all of them out. Firstly I’ll assume the top of my range will be AA KK here with QJ and maybe QQ on few occasions + T8, KT sets 2 pairs etc sometimes too. So firstly flopped/turned sets or 2 pairs, he took the aggression on the flop so why would he check call the turn, surely he would only check to check raise with hands this strong. Secondly striaght draws T8 KT why would he lead and then check call oop with such little showdown, again this doesn’t make any sense and should be either played passively or aggressively and not a weird mix. Thirdly rivered 2 pairs, now this I guess makes the most sense because he may leading flop to try and just win incase I check behind and the hand gets awkward for him so I get the bet and check call with these then he may have a Q4 Q6 Q9 or potentially QJ which rivers so strong that he can go for max against my over pairs and hands like I have. So this makes sense to a point but realistically I don’t think he ever thinks I’m calling with AJ here and I could even fold KK AA too, on one level his bet is so big it makes it impossible to get value from my range, + I can still have super nutted hands in my range, so how can he ever bet pot and hope to get value. Considering he knows that I’m generally a lower variance player, the table is good and the river bet is for around half of my stack I just don’t think he should ever be value betting this size. Straight after I folded it just felt like my range was being abused because I should never call this sized bet. I think the nutted hands we get to the river with are actually very similar but he will have a lot more weaker hands given his line leading up to the river so I actually think this is a call. I was later told he apparently had K high for a turned FD which I really wasn’t surprised by thinking back. I wish I didn’t fold as quickly as I did because now it just seems like a relatively trivial call.


UKPC MINI day 2

10. River bluff squeeze

Hand: A8o

Position: HJ

blinds: 3/6/1k

Action: I open to 12k get called by btn sb and bb making the pot 54k. Flop Q32chh we all check turn Tx we all check and the btn looks extremely uninterested in the hand and is on his phone. River 9x the sb leads for 15k and the bb calls, I figure the sb can be bluffing here or sometimes will have Tx at best most of the time with his sizing + he will have the very occasional J8 KJ T9 but he may bet bigger with these, the bb is capped at Tx or a very weak queen sometimes but I think he has to bet the turn with all queens. I can easily have KJ 99 T9 too and I’m certain the btn has air so I raise to 45k and they both snap fold saying they had tens and a straight was good.

Evaluation: Pre seems standard especially with a bad table. On the flop and turn I’ve basically given up as I don’t expect anywhere near enough folds if I bet. On the river however I noticed a spot I don’t think I’ve bee noticed before, I had already said I was never going to bluff the river again at DTD but I just couldn’t help myself here. So the sb leads for just under 30% of the pot and the bb calls, I’m 99% sure the btn is folding so I ruled him out. I was sure that the sb would almost definitely have Tx, 9x or air and the bb would have the same range but without air and never the nuts so it just seemed like too good of a spot not to raise, I think it’s a raise so audacious that even calling stations instinct will be to just fold, it’s just too hard to call there with worse than top pair and they’re essentially capped at second pair. It’s strange with live poker that most players seem to have like a switch that either finds any excuse to hero or any excuse to fold. Like a “you alway have the nuts” or “you always have a missed draw” type thing and I was convinced if I raised here they would fold 100% of the time. This spot was made even stranger to me when I realised if I did have say KJ here I know I would be thinking “I have to raise but I know they’re always all going to fold” so it was nice to be in the reverse where I didn’t have it and kind of knew they would always fold. I’m going to try look out more for these sort of spots because they were both certain I had the nuts here.

Standard
life, Poker

The Toils of Live Poker

Since my last blog…

At the end of my last blog I was very optimistic, I had finally realised I wasn’t going to get a degree and poker was going well overall. I think my happiness with life and poker is just all perspective. For example, this time last year I had been looking forward to playing UKIPT Nottingham so badly, it was like a sensational dream to have another chance at a 6 figure cash. Whereas now I’m much more realistic about these events and actually annoyed if I miss them. Since the start of this year I’ve been trying to commit a lot of hours to cash games as that seems to be the way most decent players can make a living at the game, however after putting in around 150 hours now, I know this is not what I want to do. When I’m playing live cash it will just feel like a grind and for me it can really take the fun out of the game, the downswings feel so much worse than the upswings and it reminds me more of a job or a chore. I’m having a pretty big downswing at the moment with cash games and it can be extremely depressing to think about . With tournaments I feel like each one is this new start and a kind of journey where I’m working towards a trophy/title and sometimes life changing amounts of money, also I enjoy them throughout whether I cash or not. So because of this I’m going to take some advice I was told when I first started playing, which is stick to what you’re good at, for me this is tournaments. I think I haven’t put in enough volume with online MTT’s and SNG’s so I’m going to try and have more days where I play a lot of them and try get some coaching for online and improve as much as I can. I think overall the last 2 months have gone well, I had 2 deep MTT runs with 5 figure scores up top and a few near cashes and deep runs in a few other MTT’s. Midway through March I played the 25/25 Coventry where I came 5th, I ran horribly 5 handed otherwise I think the tournament was mine but I ran relatively well to get there so I can’t complain. At the end of March Pokerstars staked me and my family to play the £275 UKIPT series event and put us up in a 5* hotel on Leicester square. The whole experience was really good, I went down to 3bb during day 1 and found an 11th place finish which was pretty good for a freeroll, also it was the nicest hotel I’ve ever seen. It’s kind of weird to think that a family day out for us is a poker tournament. Also trips like these can help remind you of the opportunities poker can give you, if I ever get to the stage I want to get to then I’ll be playing all over the world.

   
     A few weeks later was the UKSPC which was really fun overall, I got drunk and had a good time which was a nice change from how serious poker usually has to be, I guess I should get out more. I spent a lot but made a decent profit at cash and the 6 max event so it was a very good weekend. One thing I noticed from this event and a few others was that people generally knew who I was, it was a strange situation to be in but I think I liked it. After committing 2 years of my life to the game it is nice to think I’ve made an impact of sorts. The week after this was the 25/25 Birmingham and UKIPT Nottingham, I decided I was going to take a shot with this one whether I satellited in or not, I sold about 40% at 1.25 for the main and £330 side meaning I would have to wager about £1300-1400 of my roughly £7-9k bankroll. I think this is a higher amount than I would have liked to spend but because it was 3 different tournaments the variance wouldn’t be too high and I like to think my edge is big enough to make me profit a decent amount of the time. Luckily I won a seat but I did end up spending $825 on satellites as they were very soft and all overlayed a few thousand. I ended up coming about 200th with 151 being paid at the UKIPT main and not playing the £330 side as I didn’t feel in the right frame of mind and not having to sort hotels and travel for another day was very relieving. I did 2 bullets at the 25/25 Birmingham selling 20-30% at 1.25 and flipped out so overall the weekend went badly but I didn’t commit too much to it.

It’s crazy How fast everything has gone simce November it’s actually really scary, 6 months has felt like less than 2 and when things go that quick it can maks me really anxious about the future, it has got me thinking about life after finishing school and it’s pretty much been 2 years of poker which has paid for everything I’ve wanted and more. Sometimes I think about it and I’m really sad because in terms of academic skills I’ve literally done nothing and I’ve made no progress towards getting a real world job. But then other times I’m really proud, poker has enabled me to do whatever I want, the freedom I’ve had over the last 2 years has been crazy. I feel like I’ve achieved a lot as well, so I think the best way to think about it is like 2 gap years I’ve had for poker before I try and settle into anything. So now that time is nearly over and I’ll have to move back home and try progress in another way. I remember being at school and every weekend or day off or holiday was amazing because it was freedom without requirements, now I’ve had that for so long I actually miss school. I would love things to continue as they have been but I genuinely think I could go broke so easily and that’s kind of scary. I’ve been trying to find more things to do to occupy my time and I’m enjoying trying to make a half decent YouTube channel at the moment. I finally uploaded another video and plan to do it a lot more regularly now. It’s fun to have a side project to work on that isn’t poker and I do like the challenge of trying to make something that hopefully people will find entertaining. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t6-ts65Dvjc There’s the latest video, the audio problem has been since fixed for future videos.

These next few months goals and aims will be very important because life is going to have to start now for real.

Immediate aims and goals…

– Put more volume into online tournaments and SNG’s try to have at least one tournament day a week and play 500-1000 $2.50 $8 $15 turbo 180 mans.

– Play less live cash.

– Play more £100-1000 events if possible.

– Go out out more.

– Make more YouTube videos and put more time into recording content and editing.

– Learn to drive + get a car.

– Look for a part time job to help save for Vegas.

– Start regular excersise.

– Make a good routine for when I move home.

– Do my exams although it’s certain I will fail.

Successes and failures…

Fails:

-April was a losing month overall.

-I’m not going to get a degree.

-I have no idea what I’m going to be doing in the future.

Successes:

-Able to play UKIPT main with 60% of myself.

-March was a winning month.

-Made a few deep tournament runs.

-I still have lots of time to figure out what I want to do in the future.

Profit Graphs 2015…

   
   Upcoming events 

I don’t have as many plans for the next 2 months, I’ll probably have a lot of last minute tourns.

May 7th 25/25 Blackpool.

May 27th GUKPT Cardiff.

Top 10 Interesting hands since last blog…

UKIPT London

1: Hand: KJo
Position: mp 
Blinds: 600/1200/200
Stack depth: 25bb

Action: I open to 2400 the bb that liked to get creative in a few spots tank flats the bb leaving about a 21k stack so the pot is 7200. flop KK9r he checks I bet 2200 to try and induce a raise as he raised me on a paired board before, he makes it 4500 leaving about 16k I figure if I flat my hand is pretty face up unless I’m floating him but it’s hard to get value from my hand as it becomes face up when I play it aggressively and I imagine he will give up so I try get him to spaz and click it to 7700 and he tank flats, at this point I think he either has 99, K9s (both extremely unlikely and I go broke vs them regardless) sometimes a king like KT KQ or a JT QJ A9 sort
of hand potentially, so the pot is now 22,600 and he has a stack of 14-15k. The turn is a 9 so I figure he never has K9 or 99 so I think im either chopping with a K or I’m winning so I just want him to try get me to fold, I looked at my stack for ages and try to get in the persona of “I’ve given up now as he’s never folding so I’ll shut down” and I checked back river 5 he shoves I snap call he has QJhh


Evaluation: pre flop open is standard, I think Broadway hands are favourable to open from a 18-25bb stack. The flop is extremely good and I like to bet small on these boards regardless as they’re really hard to continue on and checking back is too ‘suspect’. I bet really small to try and induce a raise from a nothing hand or a float as he was trying to own everyone. He raises extremely small as I expected so I can either call or 3 bet, I think I probably would call here a lot as it’s such a good price I would float a lot as it looks very strong so because I actually had it I figured I should make my hand look as weak as possible by clicking it back. I think it’s very anti meta to 3 bet on paired boards when you have trips and it causes a lot of people to spazz out, in this case he calls and the turn is the best card in the deck as I’m now chopping with K9 and KQ and there’s only one combo of 99 left although I think he would shove this pre, so now I should always have the super nuts. On the turn the SPR is about 0.66 so because I have position I think my only option is to check back and try rep nothing, this is because the scenarios will be either he has air, a king or a 9 so either I want him to bluff shove the river, or feel like his 9 is the best hand and when he has a king is won’t make a difference. The river is a brick and fortunately he had air and did shove with it.

 
London Cup

2: Hand: AJhh

Position: bb

Blinds: 1.5/3k/400

Stack depth: 27bb

Action: Aggro 200k stack opens to 6k I defend the bb so the pot is 16.7k. Flop T63r one heart I check he bets 6.5k I call, pot 29.7k. Turn 2x I check he bets 7700, I should fold but I figure I can lead out on any 4 or 5 and I have ok ish pot odds to hit my A or J (assuming he doesn’t have JT) it’s 7700 to win 45,100 so 17% equity needed. Potentially a bad call, so the pot is 45,100. River 4x so I feel I lead all 2 pairs and sets and straights here for value I bet 19k he tank finds the call with 88

Evaluation: I hated this hand. Pre flop I think with my stack size my only option is to call, if he had opened from the co or the btn I may opt to 3 bet to get it in but I like protecting my range here. The flop is one I would expect him to c bet 100% of bluffs so my hand is simply too strong to fold and I also have cards to improve that he will continue to bluff at. On the turn the pot is 29.7k and he bets 7.7k which is extremely small, I felt like by folding I was getting owned but in hindsight I think it’s so hard for him to be bluffing I should just fold as I have some reverse implied odds vs hands like JT and AT with only 6 outs to improve. The river is a 4 so the board is 2346Tr, this board hits my bb defending range a lot more than his mp opening range, I think if I had 22-66 TT 45s 75s 63s 64s 65s 34s 35s 23s 24s 25s A5s I would lead this river for value as I expect him to check back too many better 1 pair hands so I have to lead here with some bluffs, I think the bluffs I get here with will be 78 79 and 89 and maybe some weak showdown hands I turn into bluffs like 76 but I would more likely just check those, there’s also hands like the one I have but I should fold it on the turn. I was a little annoyed that I was called here but I can’t complain as all of my value range would have for called by by a worse hand. I think I should fold the turn here in future as I’m oop and shouldn’t beat anything, I think my river lead is fine and hopefully next time I have it.


3: Hand: 53dd

Position: sb

Blinds: 5/10/1k

Stack depth: 40bb

Action: The co competent aggro opens to 20k with me just about covered I 3 bet to 55k he calls so the pot is 128k. Flop JT4xxd i c bet 42k he calls so the pot is 212k. Turn 6x I check because I now have 260k ish a really good stack to check jam and rep AJ+ he checks back the river is a king I bet 72k he folds

Evaluation: Pre flop I would usually opt to fold here because we’re at the final table and the money jumps will be quite big but because we were both top 3 stacks and their was a few 10-20bb stacks I decided to 3 bet thinking his opening range will still be very light here as he seems aggro but I had played relatively tight and had one of the only stacks that could damage him so I think he will continue in the hand very cautiously giving me more of an edge later and more fold equity throughout. My hand doesn’t have a blocker but it’s very good for hitting the disguised nuts and doesn’t have any reverse implied odds which hands like A5s will. He calls which I think means he was in the top portion of his range as I would expect him to fold all his Ax hands, smaller suited connectors, off suit Broadway’s hands like QJo and his suited gappers a lot like T7s so I feel like his range to call here will be every suited broadway hand 98s T9s TT-88 AQo and maybe more pairs and suited connectors sometimes. The flop is JT4r with a diamond so I have 2 BD draws, annoyingly there isn’t too much of his range I can expect him to fold to one bet here as he hits that board very well nearly always having a gut shot of a pair at this point, so I can check fold which I think is a fine option but I do expect him to check this board for pot control most of the time not expecting me to check fold too so I can still rep AQ AK type hands by doing that. Because I have no showdown and the pot is quite big I think either checking to check raise or betting to at least double barrel are my best options, I think because he checks back so often that basically kills my chances of winning the hand unless I get there so I decided to bet small to allow me to barrel him off the hand and also get him to fold his smaller pairs + lower suited connectors. He calls as I expect he would most of the time making the pot 212k and giving me a 260k stack, because of the SPR at this point I planned to bet all queens kings and aces and check most other cards potentially check jamming diamonds or cards that improve my draw. The turn is a 6 giving me 8 outs to the nuts for the river, I think if I was deeper I would always barrel this card but because of the stacks I think by betting he will continue all the same with his draws and pair hands like KQ and QJ and the hands I should get to fold like 9T QT will still fold to a river bet. Because my range at this point still contains JJ+ and his is capped at TT JT and maybe JJ with the rest of his hands being quite unable to call a check jam so I decided to take this line expecting he will probably bet some one pair hands but fold to a shove and he may have also raise the flop with the part of his range I don’t expect to fold. I think if he bet 70-100k my 260k shove would get folds from all hands worse than queens and I always have my 8 outs to fall back on. On this occasion he checks back so I think he will have showdown almost all the time unless he doesn’t bet KQ so I planned to bet if I got there and aces as I still have AJ AQ and AK and re evaluate on kings and queens. The river is a king which is a weird spot because it improves a lot of his hands but puts pressured on a lot too so by betting I think I get folds from QTs ATs 9Ts some QJs but he will also have KJs KTs AQ and maybe QJs KQ he won’t find a fold with, or on the odd occasions AK or QQ but I ruled those out with his image. I think its a very awkward spot on the river where I may not get enough folds with a bet but u decided I had to with my exact hand as there is 0 chance of me winning the hand without betting so I do and I get the fold.


4: Hand: 98dd

Position: btn 3 handed 

Blinds: 15/30/4k

Stack depth: 20-22bb

Action:This was 3 handed with 3rd getting just over £9k and 1st getting around £19k so there’s a lot of ICM considerations, the sb has around 2M the bb has 580k. I figure if I raise the bb has a good shove spot but by limping he shove seems a little too big and I lose less if he does, my hand flops so well I limp the btn, the sb calls and bb checks so the pot 102k. Flop 922hhs they check I bet 50k the sb calls and the bb folds so the pot is 202k. Turn 3x he checks I bet 86k he calls quite quickly so the pot is 374k. The river is Ax I think I have to check as if I rep the missed draw there’s not much worse that can call he says do you have about 300k I say no count out get to 400, I have 480k as I’m about to say in have 480k he goes all in I find the call he has AKcc

Evaluation: This is probably the biggest hand I’ve ever played in terms of monetary considerations. Pre flop I felt like this was an ideal spot to limp the btn given the stacks and that the bb was competent. By limping it also puts the sb in an awkward spot where he will have to raise bigger and be more committed to shoves so I think he will opt to limp some stronger hands such as Broadway hands. The flop is very good for me and they check so I should always have the best hand here, I bet kind of big to deter floats as I would rather just win the hand now or get value from a draw, also just the sb calling is better because it’s hard for him to have many 2’s in his range. The turn is a meaningless 3 unless he can have 33, but he may open jam his pocket pairs pre. I bet again for value to check back most rivers and play low variance, he calls again so I think he will have a FD, A2s, 9T J9 Q9 K9 A9 if he doesn’t lead them on the flop which given my info I think he would, I was sure at the time that I did have the best hand and he had been playing overall quite badly tbh. He calls and the river is an Ace, this blocks his A2s down to one combo and the FD bricked, he shoves for my effective stack of over pot. This was a really difficult spot and potentially the longest I’ve ever taken to make a decision at this game. I figured the only hands I could really lose to now we’re the nut flush draw and A9, but I’m not sure if he will think these hands are strong enough to shove. My river decision was 480k to win 1,334,000 meaning I had to be right 36% of the time for profit, however with the ICM considerations I think I would want to be right much more. I wasn’t sure if he would shove an ace here and I was now chopping with every other 9x hand, I’m not sure if he would always shove a missed draw here but it seemed like the perfect spot to in some respects because of the extra pressure on my decision. I thought he was on a level where he would do this and expect me to fold a hand as good as KK, all in all because my range is going to struggle to call this overbet shove I decided I couldn’t fold and he had a hand I didn’t consider he could have in this situation.


25/25 series Coventry

5: Hand: KQcx

Blinds: 1200/2400/300

Position: bb

Stack depth: 35bb

Action: A bad player limps utg with a slightly smaller stack than me, a fish raises to 7k it folds to me I flat and utg flats so the pot is 24,900. Flop QT3ccx the OR c bets 8k I flat and utg flats so the pot is 48,900. Turn 5x I check utg donk shoves 52k the OR tanks for ages and calls so I super sigh fold. Utg has JTo the OR has ATo
Evaluation: This hand tilted me really badly. Pre flop I think folding is a valid option but with the bb already in I decided to call with my discount and the fish calls. On the flop I think I can lead here as there’s some bad turns but as I have the Kc I have good backdoor equity too so I prefer a check calling line. When the fish over calls I’m still expecting to have the best hand most of the time, on the turn nothing changes and the fish shoves which really makes no sense, I would expect him to get it in on the flop with a hand better than mine or a draw so I really couldn’t put him on a range at all, the OR tanked for quite a while and called, it’s a really dirty spot but because of my stack I cant shove with any fold equity, I think he can have hands worse sometimes but there’s AA (6 combos) KK (3 combos) AQ (8 combos) that I lose to as well as 3x TT and 1 combo of QQ. I do think he can have JJ and AT here too but there’s simply too many better hands and vs 2 players will be a lot of variance so I folded and on this occasion I had the best hand but I still believe it’s a sigh fold overall.

London Cup

6: Hand: QJdd

Position: sb

Blinds: 5/10/1k

Stack depth: 50-60bb

Action: utg 6 handed opens to 20k I peel the sb the bb calls pot 66k. Flop A72ccd (7d) I check the bb checks and utg bets 26k I make it 66k bb folds utg clicks it to 119k I tank for AGES and call and I figure he has to check turn with a FD and give up with his air and I can improve a lot on the turn plus if that’s his range I always win with a river bet, I call. Pot 304k turn 8x I check he bets like 130k i fold

Evaluation: I didn’t like this hand, pre flop I think my call is fine, on the flop I can call fold or raise. Out of these options obviously folding seems to be the best but I remember being slightly experimental in this tournamnet. Utg was competent and aggro so I would expect him to c bet this board with a very high percentage of his range, I have 2 BD draws with my hand but not a lot of showdown value, I think floating here us ok but I’m not closing the action and I’m oop so it’s going to be hard to make money from that play so I decided to check raise. I don’t think this play is bad and especially not with a hand like mine. I’m not sure how I feel about it overall as it’s high variance but my thought process at the time was that because we were 6 handed with big ICM implications this would be a good spot to put pressure on the other big stack. I don’t think I’m balanced here as I would probably call with my FD hands a lot and only raise AK 22 77 A2s A7s and sometimes AQ for value. I think smaller flush draws may be better to raise here as a whole but this hand is the next best thing because I expect to get so many folds. Now from here is where the hand goes a little strange, he 3 bets from 66k to 119k which was really annoying and not something that I expected to happen. I think this is where I should have an easy sigh fold because my hand is so bad here but it kind of puts me in the same position I put him in as he now only reps the value hands I was repping  by raising. At the time I was a bit levelled and figured by calling I look super strong and can rep clubs or win when he has clubs so because it was 53k to win 304k directly and I think he can do this with air and then give up on turns if he thinks I rep so little. I think generally this hand isn’t as bad as I initially thought because I thought it through and had a good plan but one thing I didn’t consider doing was 4 betting, I usually don’t ever 3 bet + the flop without the nuts as people don’t usually believe you but I think this is a very decent spot to do it. My stack on the flop was about 530k so I could make it around 180k to look as if I’m not folding and sometimes get folds from FD’s and things like AK A2 on occasion if he takes it as being stronger than a shove but this is being very assumptions and unnecessary, also it arguably doesn’t do much more than my flop raise. In hindsight this play is just unnecesary variance in my opinion and I will opt to fold in future.

25/25 series

7: Hand: KJxc

Position: bb 5 handed

Blinds: 12/24/2.5k

Stack depth: 20-25bb

Action: the btn aggro with over 75bb opens to 60k I flat because their are 2 relatively short stacks and I think he’s snap calling an ace, this way his range stays really wide. The pot is 142500. Flop KQ8ccx I check he bets 95k I call so the pot is 322500 and I have about 400k behind. The turn is a 6x I check he checks the river is the 3c and the dealer accidentally exposes the burn card Ks I decide to bet 142,500 to fold to a shove and he calls with 62cc

Evaluation: I think pre here I can shove or call and both are very good, I noticed he was opening extremely light and I felt like he was going to fold not of the time if I shoved which is good but I would prefer an Ax type hand or small pair that doesn’t Flop as well and has really good equity vs his calling range. So because I don’t want to “waste” my hand I call. On the flop I have an easy check call with TP good kicker and good BD outs. The turn is checked through and on the river a king is exposed and a third club is dealt, so now I can either bet fold, check call or check fold. I think checking to re evaluate based on his bet sizing is a good option as I can induce a bluff on this river or potentially fold if I notice a difference in bet sizing. However I felt at the time my hand was strong enough to value bet knowing but I don’t know if I like it, especially with the king exposed there’s less worse hands he can call me with. At the time I figured he will call with a worse king or a queen but when the texture changes like that I think checking to re evaluate would be a better option 


8: Hand:44

Position: HJ 

Blinds: 500/1000/100

Stack depth: 23bb

Action: I open to 2k the competent player on my left calls and the bb player who I havn’t seen play a hand yet calls. The pot is 7200. Flop 873r we all check, turn 3x the bb checks quite quickly and I was sure he wasn’t interested in the hand, I bet 1900 the co folds and the bb tanks then makes it 5500. I tank for ages and figure he only reps 77 88 and 3x and based on what I’ve seen I don’t think he necessarily peels things like 63s 23s so he may only have a limited amount of combos. I decide to flat and re evaluate the river, this left me 15,500 with the pot being 18200. The river is a Qx he asks for my stack and immediately picks up 3 5k chips then puts them back and bets 6600. I thought he was going to shove the river so the fact he didn’t was as if he wanted to make his hand look stronger, I started at him for ages and he was just riffling chips and I just felt like he didn’t have anything and I found the hero. He mucked

Evaluation: I liked this hand a lot, I remember really thinking about it at the time. Pre flop I have slightly too much to open jam although it is viable i decided not to in this particular spot. On the flop I think the flop hits the bb’s calling range too hard to get enough folds by betting but if I was deeper I may bet to make the hand potentially easier to play by protecting my hand and possibly taking position. The turn is a 3x and the bb checks as well as looking uninterested so I should nearly always have the best hand now, I bet to protect my hand and maybe get some value from draws and no folds which is good as he can still have 55 or 66, I didn’t think he was bad enough to have a 3 but it was good to take him out of account. Then very strangely the bb raises, I think by checking that flop and then betting (I bet small) it looks like I have an A high type hand a lot, the combination of betting small and having a weak range here I believe means I shouldn’t ever fold to this raise, as well as this he doesn’t rep anything played conventionally, if he had a 3 I would expect him to lead the turn, the same applies to him having a 7 or 8, also I would expect him to check call these and never check raise, in hindsight this spot is a relatively trivial call I was just swayed a bit by him seeming so tight prior to this hand. On the river technically nothing has changed unless he had a complete air ball with a queen but then his sizing made his hand even more polarising , everything about the hand gave me the impression he didn’t have it so I went with my read and called and he mucked.

UKIPT £1.1k day 2 HH

9: Hand: AKo

Position: btn

Blinds: 1200/2400/300

Stack depth: 30bb

Action: utg player I don’t have much info on but seems semi tight competent opens to 5k it folds to me I flat as I think if I 3 bet my range is really nutted and I would flat JJ and TT too, the bb calls so the pot is 18,900. Flop 966r the pfr bets 6600 I call the bb folds so the pot is 32,100. Turn 9x he checks I bet 12,700 he calls so the pot is 57,500. River 5x he checks I have about 51k I check back he has A3s for a chop

Evaluation: The first major inflection point in this hand is pre flop, I can call or 3 bet. I think if I had <20bb here I would shove and with a stack like mine I would be happy to 3 bet get it in vs the majority of the field but because he opened from utg and it folded to me I think it would look very strong and make it easy to play against me where as by disguising my hand if I improve I will be much more likely to double up or win a big pot. On the flop my hand is too strong to fold especially when I expect him to barrel cards that will improve my hand, I’m expecting to still have the best hand often. The turn pairs the board again, there isn’t too many 9’s or 6’s in my range but when I call the flop I should have a 77 88 TT JJ AK AQ AJs ATs 9Ts 98s range most likely. So when he checks here my range is a lot stronger than his although I think he can check JJ-AA 6x and 9x sometimes as it looks like he’s check folding. I’m not sure if I prefer a check or a bet here, the pro of betting is I should win the hand a good amount of the time which protects my equity. The pros of checking is that I will lose less vs his nutted range and might induce a river bluff. Because of my lack of info I felt like betting would be better as it prevents a potentially difficult river decision. The last inflection point is the river, here I can check or bet. By checking I basically forfeit the hand as he will always have A high or better but the times he wouldn’t fold to a bet I lose less. This option is fine but I prefer barreling the river here as I can get folds from 77-JJ and QQ-AA a lot of the time. At the time I didn’t want to commit anymore of my stack but I think in the long run barreling the river will win me the hand a lot. Luckily it was a chop here so I didn’t lose out.
10: Hand: A9ss

Position: sb

Blinds: £1/2

Stack depth: 300bb

Action: tag opens the co to £7 Tag calls on the btn I call and the bb calls so the pot is £28. The flop is 742r one spade I check the bb checks and the OR c bet £15 The btn folds I decide to call as I should have the best hand a lot with good BD equity and he he will likely barrel an ace and were extremely deep etc, the bb folds so the pot is £58. The turn is a 6c bringing a club FD we check the river is a 3c so the flush gets there and it’s 23467 so any 5 is a straight I check and he bets £90 so it’s £90 to win £248 which means I need to be right 36.23% of the time. I call he has 9Ts and ace high is good. 

Evaluation: I think the only part of this hand of note is the river. The main component of my decision here is that my range is capped to literally 2 pair at best. This is because when I didn’t lead the river, so I figure by betting this he doesn’t expect me to have a calling range so I immediately figured calling is a very valid option her. I think he barrels FD’s a lot here and I think knowing my range he may not bomb a 5. Normally I would snap fold here and he could be turning a pair into a bluff sometimes but I think he probably checks this river with showdown a decent amount too. At this point in thinking about the hand he started talking to the dealer and I got the impression he was trying to appear confident, I tanked for ages and got the chips ready to call still 50/50 about the decision and then he told me to hurry up, it looked like I was going to sigh call and he said something to me which from my experience is usually because the other person wants me to change my action. So I found the hero and he had T high. I’ve been told this was bad because he can turn a pair into a bluff but I wasn’t convinced for sure that he would and because he knows my range is weak I don’t think he can ever have a straight or a flush considering he doesn’t think I will have a calling range vs an overbet, this was confirmed by him saying my call was bad meaning to me he would bet smaller with his nutted range. I think here in right more than he 36.23% necessary so I’m happy with the call.


Standard
life, Poker

Variance , optimism, Media and future plans

I’m going to try structure things better so I’ll be doing actual sections from now on.  They will consist of:

-Since my last blog

-Immediate aims and goals

-Successes and failures

-Upcoming events

-Interesting hands played

 

Since my last blog…

“It’s only money”

A lot has changed in the last 2 months or so. It started with Rich winning the DTD £330 deep stack at the start of January for £26k, he was then contacted by the local Nottingham paper. He told them about our recent results and they were very interested in the story about our family because we all play and as far as I know we’re the only family of 4 that all play somewhat professionally. A few weeks later we went to London for the UKIPT, me and rich did a similar joint package deal to our grand final one selling 50%+ at 1.33 for us both in the £770 main + £330 side. We  had a bigger percentage than last time because I won a seat online, because of this I had 37% of myself in everything and 12% of rich. I made day 2 of the main relatively short and found a table with Jake Cody, I busted in level 2 but made day 2 of the London cup side later in the day. The next day I came back and binked 3rd place for over £9k which made everyone who staked me and Rich profit again. A week after this the local Birmingham Mail sent a photographer round who had already interviewed rich and took some very cringey pictures of me, him and dad. I really didn’t expect anything from it I just thought it’s kind of a nice memento to have to be in the local paper and maybe the occasional old teacher that told me I wouldn’t amount to anything would see it and be slightly angry inside. Within 2 days the story had been taken on by the Daily Mirror, Daily Mail, seemingly nearly every online news site as well as poker forums. By this point whatever Richard told anyone had changed completely and we apparently had some mathematical formula to win and all quit our jobs and obviously neither was true. The same day we were asked to be interviewed on the radio where me and rich managed to not wake up on time and did it over the phone, everything was getting quite surreal. The next day we were contacted about going on radio 5, the one show and by a company who wanted to film a documentary of our family produced for channel 4. It’s crazy how much things spiraled, there was people commenting on the story saying we had a gambling disease or that we would be on the dole in a few weeks, others saying we were nothing special and that people would do anything for money. Most of it was just ignorant views of poker and it’s association with gambling and calling us very lucky. It never really bothered me but it is crazy to think so many people that never met any of us were just completely trying to belittle and insult us, it’s like if you’re in the public light people feel they have the right to just say anything because it’s just what people do. The only input to the story I had was on the radio talking to Adrian Chiles just to make sure nothing could be misconstrued, luckily you can’t get it on iplayer anymore as I pretty much just said the word ‘like’ 50 times over 2 minutes. The one show said they would  set up an interview and film us playing but their producer never confirmed it and I never got an arranging email. As for the the documentary they wanted our story to have a direction and an end point we were building towards which is difficult when poker is more a lifestyle. Soon after this we were contacted by the UKIPT marketing team on behalf of poker stars who said they saw my recent UKIPT event cash and they wanted to stake all 4 of us in the upcoming UKIPT series at the hippodrome and pay for our accommodation in central London. They want to use us for PR apparently so I’m not exactly sure how that’s going to go but it’s at the end of March, I’m just hoping they let me wear a team pro badge tbh.

In the radio studio

In the radio studio


Team pro badge

That’s the goal

 

I’ve tried to try and put most of my winnings towards experiences instead of things because if I lose money at poker it’s just gone, at least with something like a holiday is like a happy experiences that won’t go away. Of course I bought an iPad too because things are good too. As long as I can buy the occasional game, shop at Primark and have 2 short holidays a year I’m content. Near the start of January me and Kelly went on a London weekend trip to watch Wicked the musical, which was surprisingly good. In mid February I took Kelly to Pisa for valentines day week which was really nice. The tower doesn’t look real tbh and is a lot smaller than the Eiffel tower, at one point we spent a few hours looking for it and eventually realised we were right next to it. Also if you ever go to Tuscany or have the opportunity to, get a Florentine T bone steak as it was literally perfect.

It was Wicked

It was Wicked


1KG of Steak goodness

1KG of Steak goodness


Obligatory touristy picture

Obligatory touristy picture

Since January I’ve played a few more tournaments including the 25/25 series, the next £330 deep stack where rich won another £7k and the UKPC. With the UKPC main (£1k £1M gtd) I entered twice and risked nothing overall in the 2 entries but it still really hurt to bust so early as it’s probably the softest £1k event of the year. Around this time I had the possibly the worst couple of weeks of poker I’ve ever had. In those bad weeks I had 5 bullets in the UKPC mini and lost a few sessions of cash from just not winning with the best hand and actually tilting off roughly £200. During this i found out I was kicked out of university. It’s really easy to deal with losing at poker now because really it is just money and even if it hurts all I can do is play profitably and whether I’m 60%, 80% or 99% favourite and lose it’s still going to happen a lot for how often I play. But actually finding out that uni was over really hurt, I think I’ve kind of always known I wasn’t going to get a degree but it wasn’t official until now and it’s actually really scary. It was always my only aim in life to get a maths degree (until I played EPT London) and now that is never going to happen and it’s a strange feeling. I’ve never known what I wanted to do with my life but now I feel further away than before because I’m technically not doing anything right now. I feel like i don’t have enough money to just play poker for the long term, also the pressure of bills while just playing poker makes it quite a stressful job when £1-2k+ downswings can just happen so easily. If I ever came remotely close to running out of money I would just get a job but it’s going to hurt to do a mundane £6.50 ph job when poker has been getting me £20-65 ph this year, of course with a “proper” job you can’t lose money so theres that. I still didn’t know if not being at uni was the best for me but I didn’t have a choice at this point. Luckily after a lot of emails and meetings etc I have been reinstated at university, being kicked out meant I would lose roughly £3.8k in grants and loans so whether I pass the year or not this is a big deal as that money is to pay my extortionate rent. I’ve made a routine that I believe is very achievable and the position I’m in now requires me to get roughly 50%+ in every exam to pass first year and it’s my last chance, I’m almost certain I will fail but at least I will have tried I guess. These are my Aims from Match 9th:

Immediate goals and aims.

-See Kelly 4-5 times per week minimum.

-Attend uni 3 days per week (Tuesday-Thursday) and work on those days too ie try do homeworks and revision.

-play at least 5000 hands per week at online cash (10-50nl).

-play staked on coral one day per week ($500 on tourns).

-play live poker at least twice per week (cash or tournament, not on uni night).

-put spare time towards working on my YouTube channel, writing blog, studying poker, revising for uni.

-Start saving for Vegas May/June 2016.

-start exercising e.g. Swimming.

-go out more, preferably once every 2 weeks (not on uni night).

I think the only way I function well as a human is with a good routine so I’m really hoping to stick to this and hopefully make more money at poker or at least make money more consistently, as well as taking my exams with some sort of knowledge of my course and I might just scrape a pass.

Successes and Fails:

Fails:

– February was a losing month overall.

-I was kicked out of uni.

-I had a terrible run at cash and some of the worst luck I’ve ever had in the game.

Successes:

-I was able to play the tournaments I wanted to (UKIPT, UKPC etc).

-January was a very good winning month.

-I came 3rd at a pretty big event and made money for myself and everyone who staked me.

-I was reinstated at uni.

-I believe my poker game is constantly improving still.

-I knew my cash game loses weren’t a result of playing bad (at least the majority) and I didn’t let it effect my focus for almost the entirety and stayed optimistic. I’m proud I only tilted off only roughly £200 (as bad as it sounds) because I felt myself going towards a really bad place. More recently I got it in as 98.5% for a £1k pot and just laughed when I lost. I like expecting the worst because you can only be proved wrong but I have noticed being confident in my game seems to bring me much better results, so I’m going to try stick to this.

-I have a routine now that should help me do well at uni, continue to improve at poker and play enough to make money and most importantly it should balance the 2 which has always been the hardest thing for me.

-I have no immediate problems ie a health problem

I’ll start uploading my monthly graphs here too. Here’s my 2015 so far:

Profit breakdown

Profit breakdown


Results by month


2015 graph so far

 

 

Upcoming Events:

Saturday March 14th Grosvenor Hill Street £55 £6k gtd

Sunday March 15th SM $215 $9M gtd (plan on a big Sunday $800-1.35k)

Thursday March 19th-22nd £220 25/25 series Coventry

Saturday March 28th-29th £275 UKIPT mini series London April 3rd-5th £330 deep stack

April 2nd-5th £330 Notts cup

April 5th-12th UKIPT mini £110 DTD (probably not as it might clash with moms birthday)

April 7th-11th UKSPC ( think I’m just playing the 6 max and high roller)

April 12th -19th £1100 UKIPT main

April 19th £110 Super deepstack EPT edition
Interesting poker hands

Hand: 45hh

Position: btn

Blinds: £1/1/2

Stack depth: 100bb

Action: there’s a straddle and 2 limps I call the sb who is competent calls, bb calls the straddle checks so the pot is £12 going 6 ways. The flop is K45sss the competent player leads for £8 all fold to me I call, pot £28. The turn is a Qx he bets £15 I call, pot £58. The river is the 9s he bets £42 I tank fold.

Evaluation: the interesting part of this hand is the river decision. He bets £42 so it’s £42 to win £142 so I need to be right 30% of the time to make the call +EV. I think sometimes he turns better 2 pair and sets into a bluff here but I don’t think he can really bet anything worse than a ten flush for value, realistically he can bet fold a Q flush or have an A flush. When he leads the flop a lot of his range will be small flushes, 2 pair, sets, top pair and he occasional NFD. I ended up folding which I think is close as he is going to turn all of his TP into a bluff here and when he bets so big he takes the small flopped flushes out of his range, however I only beat the times he has TP with no spade and turns it into a bluff which will probably be less then 30% of his river betting range. I fold and he shows K7o no spade so on this occasion the fold was wrong but I think overall it is fine

Hand: A6o

Position: HJ

Blinds: £1/1

Stack depth: 400bb

Action: fish limps £1 I raise to £5 the blinds call he calls pot £20 flop A76r I bet £14 just fish calls pot £48 turn 6x I bet £21 he makes it £50 leaving £160-200 I flat river 7x he bets £125 I sigh call he has 75o

Evaluation: pre flop I make a light raise but I was told before the hand that he was a bad player, still I think I should probably fold. On the flop I should nearly always have the best hand and with bad players there’s going to be too many hands that continue here not to bet so I bet 70% pot and just the limper calls, at this point I’m 90% sure he is never going to have AA 77 66 A7 A6 67 thus I always have the best hand. The turn is a 6x which should mean he will always be calling a second bet whether he has a straight draw, now 2 pair or occasionally now trips so I bet again just under half pot, I think I should I bigger here just because he should be continuing 100% of the time given he called the flop. He raises to £55 so I think he will either have the case 6 or something he doesn’t really want to fold but he perceived my smaller bet as weaker like maybe a 89 type hand. I think my only option here is to call and get another bet from all his bluffs, he still most likely goes role with the 6 or he may improve his hand to a straight and sill go broke, also he has just over a pot sized bet on the river so I have an easy shove. The river is the only dangerous card for my hand as now I lose to a 7, but really what 7 can he have, in my opinion he raises the flop with A7 and 67 and if he is under repping a hand like 77 or 67 on the turn he may just call as his hand is so strong. He bets £125 so at this point I ruled out raising as with the change in board texture and his sizing it seems like the nuts or air. I told him I had a full house on the turn and he started I look very uncomfortable and I decided to make the call, him showing up with 75o was very surprising but I don’t think I can fold. I think annoyingly I can’t play the hand any other way. Potentially I could 3 bet the turn small just to see how he reacts but calling seemed like too good of an option.

Hand: AKcc

Position: HJ

Blinds £1/1

Stack depth: 250b

Action: there’s 3 limps I raise to £10 get called by co btn and the limps pot £62 flop KJThhd I c bet £22 the btn calls and first limper shoves £128 I tank rejam as I think btn folds 2 pair he tank folds KJ face up it runs out brick 5h and he mucks when I say 1 pair

Evaluation: pre seems standard. This flop 6 ways is really interesting because I should smash the limp-call and call a raise ranges. I wanted to just check fold but I’m not sure if that’s the best idea. Normally here I would think bet big or don’t but here I decided to bet relatively small because t folds out all the nothing’s and hands that beat me should always raise ie KJ KT TT JT Q9. My hand seems too strong to just check fold so I think by betting this amount I can re evaluate and potentially lose minimum. The btn calls and I was pretty sure he had a stronger hand but didn’t want to go crazy because we were so deep so maybe a KQ JT type hand. The fish who limped shoves and I thought about this one for ages but now I had all of the I do that no one should have a super nutted range, the fact he limped meant he will more likely have a semi bluff here, if I’m behind I have some equity vs any hand and if I shove here the btn should fold most of his range and will be in a tough spot even with a hand like 2 pair as KK AQ JJ are part of my range but the fact I c bet small might discredit some of those, luckily he was like a semi competent player and I had seem him bet less than half pot in a few situations too so I don’t think he would perceive my range as weak because did my c bet sizing so I decide to shove thinking I’m ahead of the all in and the btn may have the best hand but he will fold a lot of the time and I always have some equity. The end result was perfect for me although I’m surprised he found the fold with KJ and that blocks my sets but that makes my shove more +EV I guess. The all in just had a Q I assume as the flush got there. I’m quite interested on feedback with this one and the flop is really awkward and I’m still not sure what the best option is.

Hand: KJo

Position: btn

Blinds: 50/100

Stack depth: 250bb

Action: A slightly aggro player that doesn’t really like to fold opens ep to 250 I flat and A tag flats the bb, the pot is 800. flop J43r he c bets 600 I call the tag folds pot 2000. turn 7d brings FD he bets 1100 I call river Kx he bets 2600 into 4200 I make it 7600 he calls and has 77

Evaluation: pre I think folding is a better option but I had a lot of history with this player and I felt that have me a bigger edge in the hand and I don’t believe I’m doing too badly vs his utg range. The flop seems standard. On the turn his sizing relative to the pot is a little smaller I think again I have to call. The river gives me top 2 pair so I only lose against 56 33 44 77 JJ and KK and I block the latter 2. He bets again 2600 into 4200 when I have about 22k I think from playing with him before I have to raise because I think he never folds AA or AK and he may not open 56s utg, he also may not c bet 77. So there’s 3 combos of 44 and 33. There’s 1 combo of JJ and KK. That’s 8 hands I lose to and there’s 6 combos of AA and 8 combos of AK so 14 I beat that call a raise. This was my thinking at the time and the more times he has stuff like KQ the better my raise will be. He had 77 and decided to not 3 bet the river which I was always folding to anyway. This means there’s a few more combos I lose to. But tbh I think he maybe even bet call AJ on the river from past experience I’ve seen a lot of bad river calls vs raises with one pair hands. I’m fine with the raise although it does being some variance into things which I do like to avoid with tournaments so maybe I’ll call in a similar spot next time.

Hand: A4cc

Position: mp

Blinds: 76/150

Stack depth: 100bb

Action: utg opens to 425 (seems bad) I make it 1200 he calls pot 2675 flop 923ccx I c bet 1200 he calls pot 5075 turn Jc I bet 1900 he makes it 5700 I have 14725 total and tank jam (maybe I should flat) he finds the call with 88 no club

Evaluation: pre flop I think every option is fine, I would be more inclined to call with peely table so there’s more chance of going multiway, I’m more likely to fold of there are lots are very aggressive/good players after and I’m more likely to 3 bet if the pfr is bad. My hand looks really strong pre flop so any action to follow makes the hand an easy fold and I have a lot of implied value the times I hit 2 pairs, straights and flushes + I have an ace blocker. Pre went pretty idea as I got the betting lead + position + heads up vs a bad player who has a reasonably capped range. I think sizing generally I would go to 3x the raise here in position so 1275 but I figured as it’s my first 3 bet I could go a touch smaller without their being any sizing tells and it have me more took to 3 bet smaller later as I planned to do so more with my table. I flop pretty much the nuts as a 5 or a club gives me a really disguised nutted hand and the SPR is less than 6 so there’s a good chance of getting my stack in if I want to. I think my flop bet should be sized bigger because if I want to bet bet shove I need to bet around 55-65% of the pot and the flop and turn to shove river for nearer to pot and have the best chance of doubling up. He calls so the pot is now 5075, the turn is a Jc a card that should be bad for my range but it should also be bad for him as he should have either a pair in his hand less than jacks or some kind of 9c hand so I bet a smaller percentage to try and get more calls and at the same time maybe induce him to spazz off, and if he has a flush too he’s always going broke. He raised to 5700 and I think at this point if he has a two pair + or a draw like Kc then he isn’t folding to my shove and if he has air I think he gives up on the river seeing as calling looks so strong so I tank shove and put on my best please don’t call me face and he tanks for a bit and says “I just don’t think you have anything” and finds the call drawing dead

Hand: AQo

Position: ep

Blinds: 100/200

Stack depth: 100bb

Action: I open to 600 the whale calls mp a competent tight player defends the bb flop QJ2r I c bet 1150 the whale calls and the bb makes it 2850 I fold

Evaluation: I wasn’t sure how to feel about this hand, pre seems standard, on the flop I think maybe a check would be better but with the whale in the hand I was confident I could get 3 streets from a hand like Jx or even 55 and he played very face up. I think when the tag raises knowing the whale isn’t folding enough he can’t have a semi bluff like KT or 9T and I can’t see him raising KQ for value. AQ is a possibility but I think that’s the bottom of his range so I figure he either has 2 pair or a set every time. It’s a narrow range to put someone on but in my opinion he was never going to raise this flop light with the player dynamics. He said he had top 2 after the tournament which I believe. I felt really exploitable by making this fold but I think it’s the right one.

Hand: AQhs

Position: ep

Blinds: 100/200

Stack depth: 200bb

Action: I open to 600 the fish in the sb calls and bb old player (I’ve been told he is very good but have no info)
calls flop Q34hhx the fish donks 900 leaving 8400 the old player calls I make it 3600 the fish folds and good player calls pot 9000 turn Jx we check river Q he bets 16k I said this is so sick if you have QJ but I think he 3 bets the flop with a set and I have the Ah blocked so I said I guess you have QJ or maybe KQ or sometimes a bluff and I called and he mucked

Evaluation: standard open pre, the flop should be pretty much the nuts for me so I’m happy to raise and get it in vs the fish as I assume the bb now can’t have a set do I raise and just the bb calls so I’m expecting him to have Q9s-KQ and flush draws, I think he back raises a set even of he did flat the donk lead so I ruled that out at this point. I think I should bet the turn here tbh as I’m so far ahead of his range and he doesn’t fold a FD and doesn’t fold KQ maybe QT he may fold some worse hands but that’s not too bad either. I decided to check for pot control to induce bluffs from his FD hands and guarantee an extra street vs Qx and lose min vs QJ, I think betting the turn would be better. The river is a Q which should confirm he has a FD, the only slight problem is I have the Ah blocker so I think he will have a double draw like 25hh 56hh 67hh 57hh or a K FD. I think all his other FD folds the flop as he’s a good player. He bombs nearly 2x pot so at this point his range is the same as before so QT QJ KQ and FD with their being less combos of QJ which is all I lose to so I can never fold. Especially as by checking the turn I weaken my range and shod probably have weaker showdown than I do, also he probably thinks he can get me to fold AA and KK with this bomb so there isn’t much I call it with in his head, I thought about it for a little bit and called and he mucked. I think I should probably snap call the river really but it’s not often you get a 1.78x pot river bet. So checking the turn accidentally made me a lot more here unless he raises in the case I bet bet bet but I think he more likely folds river as I am more likely to have it.

Hand: JTcc

Position: mp

Blinds: 150/300/25

Stack depth: 300bb

Action: I open to 800 the btn calls sb makes it 2350 with 33k I flat btn folds, the pot is 6000. flop J93sss he bets 2925 I call, the pot is 11850 turn 9x he bets 4100 I sigh call (should fold) river 2x we check he has KK no spade

Evaluation: pre I like opening to 2.5x with everything now but that’s nothing too critical. The sb 3 bets really small oop after a caller which I thought was quite suspect but obviously I can never fold my hand and some how the btn folds. The flop is good but not the best as I can’t do anything but call and it’s hard to know if I’m good. The turn is a brick and he bets again, this should be enough of a sign that he has it and I should fold, even if I’m ahead which I don’t think I am I have to find A, K and spade rivers + I only have 2 outs to improve. In my head at the time I planned to call turn and fold to a river bet or rep spades when he checks but that’s assuming he gives up with the As or Ks if he misses. I think because I have the added times I bluff him off on spade rivers maybe the turn call is ok but I think I should fold. I was slightly swayed by the smaller sizing which was 4100 to win 20,050 so I only need to win the hand 21% of the time so if he does check fold over pairs on spades and check gives up The bare As or Ks on bricks then I think the call is ok but I don’t have anywhere near enough info to know that.

Hand: AJo

Position: mp

Blinds: 50/100

Stack depth: 350bb

Action: there’s a limp utg I make it 400 the btn, bb and limper call pot 1650 flop J94ddx I c bet 1100 the bb and co call pot 4950 turn 6x I bet 3600 the bb looks at his 12.5k stack tanks for a bit then calls so I’m
Sure he has weak show down or a FD the river is a 3x he checks I shove and he finds the call with 83dd

Evaluation: I like this hand, I feel like I always used to play very pot control and making sure I don’t value own myself or go for thin value but now I get pretty annoyed of I ever miss value. Maybe this hand is standard but a few months ago I would never dream of bet bet shoving in this situation. Pre seems standard although maybe raising bigger would be better with a bad table, on the flop I bet pretty big as I should only be losing to J9 and 44 and there’s heaps of worse hands to call me so when they flat I’m almost certain I have the best hand. On the turn 96s, 66 and 46s gets there but that’s all so it’s actually one of the better turn cards so I bet again for pure value knowing there are too many worse hands to call and the manor in which the bb called made me sure he didn’t have better than AJ ever and he looked like he really wanted to fold. On the river some 2 pairs do get there but only 43s is plausible and I think he folds the turn or even the flop with this, maybe he can have 52dd or 57dd too but I feel like there’s too many combos of worse for me not to shove. Also I felt like by bet bet shoving he was going to think I was really polarised to like a set or nothing and then find the light call (he had called by river shove light before) and that’s what happened. Everyone always thinks I’m bluffing when I shove the river and tbh I pretty much never am

Hand: A9o

Position: utg

Blinds: 2.5/3k/300

Stack depth: 45bb

Action: I open to 6k the whale lag calls sb the bb calls pot 19800 flop Q23ddx I have 9d the whale donks 17k and with the way he bets and played I was sure I was ahead so I flat from a 130kish stack, pot is 53,800. turn 5x giving me a gut shot he bets 37k and I’m sure he doesn’t have a value hand so my hand is like the nuts and I jam 113500 he tank and says he has to call with his K FD and does I turn over my A9o like it’s the nuts and he has K5dd for a pair 😦

Evaluation: light open pre but the table was very bad. On the flop it seems like a standard fold and I do prefer that option but from playing with this guy for a while I was pretty sure with his betting tendencies that he was bluffing so I called to re evaluate the turn. On the turn he bets again with the same kind of arm movement as if he wanted to make it look really strong and used lots of small denomination chips as well as a few more subtle physical tells so I was still pretty sure I had the best hand but the pot was so big at this point I leant towards shoving and I’m not sure if I’m happy with this tbh. On the turn if my read is correct then he will have a hand worse than top pair hand but he could have a lot of equity or potentially be ahead now with a hand like 45 but I figure if I shove he has to fold or make a bad call with a flush draw, he was a whale but he wasn’t stupid and he would have folded almost everything here and potentially a FD too, I had also seen him 3 bet AT prior so I think if he has the NFD he still has to have a worse A high so I’m sure I have the best hand and I shove 113,500 meaning it’s 76,500 for him to call. So for him it’s 76,500 to win 204,300 so he needs 37.5% meaning if he thinks I have an overpair (he verbally said he thinks I have a set) then he’s getting a really bad price and obviously he’s a whale and he can’t know this but he did say I don’t feel like i’m priced in and obviously still found the call but that’s fine given what I thought he had and it’s just annoying he turned a pair too. I think in hindsight I should call the turn because of my read and the fact I have position and then re evaluate, ie I can shove if he checks as he won’t have a hand he can call with or maybe check and win as I still have a showdown hand. I’m still not sure which I prefer tbh, the only issue with calling the turn is that if he shoves river on bricks then I’m calling when he could have back doored 2 pair or something weird, I think I’m happy with my play but maybe calling turn would be better. Folding flop would be much better in terms of variance so I’ll be sticking to that

Hand: A4o

Position: co

Blinds: 1.2/2.4k/300

Stack depth: 20-25bb

Action: it folds to me as the break starts the btn is short (15-17bb) and the sb has stood up as if to fold and the bb is a whale that overcalled 2 shoves pre with 67s earlier. I make it 4.8k the bb calls pot 12.8k. flop J82r we check turn Q he checks I bet 5.2k he tanks for ages and looks really annoyed at his stack and the spot and calls leaving 32,400 pot 23,200 river 6x he tanks for a bit and counts out like 11k then tanks then goes I’m all in. I call he has T4hh

Evaluation: pre I only open vs tight passive players or whales. The flop is pretty bad so I’m going into weak showdown/check fold mode. On the turn I think I maybe a check is better but I didn’t want to have to fold to a river bet and I can awkwardly get value from all his 9x and Tx because he’s so bad, I ever hoping he would fold all his pairs between 33 and 77 + all his air and better A highs, I think checking is ok too. On the river only 66 and 68 get there really and he shoves and with the live tells I was sure he always had Tx or 9x and I doubt he turns 1 pair into a bluff so I snap called and was good

Hand: KJss

Position: utg

Blinds: 1.5/3k/300

Stack depth: 34bb

Action: I open to 6k A tag calls in mp with 80k behind rest fold pot 18.9k flop K52ddh I c bet 6600 as I think checking is quite suspect vs a good player and I made it a bit small to encourage floats from hands like ATs AQ and keep my range wider he calls, pot 32,100. turn Qd the FD gets there I check he bets 10k I call, pot 52,100. River 8d I check he bets 26k I thought this is a weird spot now because I think you only bet the Ad and more than likely the Jd but I’m so likely to have it here how can you bet the Jd this big. I think I should call, I hate spots like this because I know there’s much better spots and if i call and I’m wrong I’ll have to tell someone and they’ll lecture me about better spots. Then I said it’s 26k of my now 80k stack which is still over 25bb, so I guess I’ll fold this time and he shows me 66o no diamond

Evaluation: this hand was quite dirty, pre is standard, on the flop I would bet around 9-14k vs a fish but I think this guy was trying to own me and I wanted to encourage him to spaz out so I bet around 1/3rd pot to try make it look like a one and done. On the turn I think I’m still really far ahead but I want him to bluff with all his air and if I bet again and get raised I’m in an awkward spot so I check call. The river is a really annoying card but it’s also quite likely I have a good diamond when I c bet small then check call the turn, I have a lot of JJdx-66dx and Axdx. I check and he bets half pot so realistically he can’t value bet worse than the Td because he shouldn’t be called by worse and even the Td wouldn’t want to bet so big as the calling range I’m behind the Td is weak. So this leaves me to think he has the Jd or Ad. Annoyingly because of my small c bet I don’t think he’s folding any Ad on the flop, so his river bet is really polarised but he seemed to be acting slightly over confident which I read as weakness which I should have gone with. I’m happy with the fold anyway as there’s loads of better spots

Hand: A2hh

Position: sb

Blinds: 6/12/1k

Stack depth: 20bb

Action: it folds to me 8 handed the bb is semi competent and is the only person with me covered I limp he checks, the pot is 32k. flop J83r we check turn T brings FD I check he bets 25k I call river Tx I check he bets 25k I call with a soul read he has KQo

Evaluation: here I like a limp pre because my hand isn’t strong enough to raise call a shove. On the flop I was checking to fold and he checked back and in certain he never checks TP or any draw from playing with him before. The turn improved Q9 97 T8 T3 which are all plausible but he likes to get to showdown with anything worse than top pair and avoid thin value so I think T8 and T3 are his value range here on the then. I check again and he bets quite big (nearly 80% pot) when previously he had bet around 30-50% pot for value and I hadn’t seen him bet this big, he is definitely good enough to know when I check twice I have nothing or weak showdown so I think he’s betting big assuming I have to fold everything so I call. The river is an inconsequential ten (I’m sure he never has a ten) and be bets 25k again so I’m sure if he ever has me best he has a straight because of his sizing and I think he bets the flop with gut shots, the fact he didn’t bet big again made me think a bit more but I stuck with my read and called and A high was good

Hand: AJhh

Position: btn

Blinds: £1/1/2

Stack depth: 400bb

Action: utg opens to £6 from a £120ish stack a player that seems to be punting a lot with a similar stack to me makes it £18 I cold call and the bb whale calls and limper calls pot £74 flop AJ4ddx they check to me I bet £37 because I figure the pfr has a weak range and the other stack are both only £100 deep the pfr tank calls, pot £154. turn 9d he leads £25 and has about £280 total I figure he either has AK one diamond or KK one diamond so I want to give him a bad price to call so I make it £130 he tanks for ages I calls the river is the Qd so I’m always gg he checks I check he has 88 with a diamond :/

Evaluation: pre I think I can call, 4 bet or fold and all are fine. Because I wanted to keep the initial raiser in I decided to flat as my hand plays well post and I have position, we go 4 ways which is fine and I flop pretty much the super nuts. I figure vs the bb and utg it’s very easy to get stacks in so I don’t want to bet too big and the pfr should have quite a weak range to check that flop so I want him to potentially call lighter with a hand like kings queens etc. just the 3 better calls so I know I’m way ahead. The turn is the third diamond and I’m pretty sure he c bets FD’s and if not he would check raise as he can only have QTdd KTdd or KQdd when he 3 bets (in my opinion because I had seen him flat small suited connectors). He leads which seems like a blocker bet so I’m sure he must know he is not ahead and also has a diamond (I was pretty sure he had KKdx) so I wanted to raise so he would shove sometimes and also so he is getting a bad price for his FD so by making it £130 meaning for him it is £105 to win £414 so he needs 25.4% for a profitable call and kings with the Kd has 25% equity. I think with that in mind I should raise bigger here, but I wanted to give him the leniency to shove sometimes with a vague idea of fold equity although I don’t think that’s possible with the stacks. Maybe a raise to around £150 would be better here. He calls and my intention was to check/fold all K and diamond rivers and shove the rest (maybe not a queen river) and the diamond comes so I know we’re almost always dead and he some how has 88 with the 8d. I have no idea how he called the flop or turn but I guess that means our like looked bluffy which is good.

Hand: AKss

Position: bb

Blinds: 800/1600/200

Stack depth: 40bb

Action: ep old guy that hasn’t played too many hands but doesn’t seem like a rock opens to 3200 it folds to me I decide to flat and disguise my hand as I’m oop and probably won’t be able to get it in too good anyway, the pot is 9200. Flop 972r one spade we both check the turn is the 9s I check he bets 6600 quite quickly and I don’t think he ever checks an overpair from his player type and tendencies so far so he will either have a hand like 78s A7s, 88, a FD or air and I have lots of outs vs the range that is ahead and some implied odds vs a FD + good cards for me are good for him to bluff so I call, the pot is 22,400. The river is a third 9 I check and he goes for chips straight away and it seems like he’s always bluffing to me, he didn’t really think about it at all. Also his value range is so small here I don’t think I can fold to a bet very often on this run out. He bets 16k which I think takes small pairs out of his range as it’s also likely I will have a 7 here. I was sure if he was ahead he must have exactly 88 and I snap called, he had QJss

Evaluation: I think flatting pre is a good option when I don’t want to get my stack in and my hand flops really well. I planned on check calling the flop and he checks back so I don’t expect him to him anything unless it’s maybe weak showdown 88 or worse. When he bets this turn he should have 88 7x and bluffs but with his sizing and the way he did it I was sure he was bluffing. On the river his sizing reaffirmed my read on the turn so I called and he was bluffing.

Hand: A6o

Position: bb

Blinds: 600/1200/200

Stack depth: 150bb

Action: new player in mp opens to 2800 with 35k behind I defend the bb, the pot is 8k. Flop A45r I check he bets 3100 I call, the pot is 14100. The turn is 4x I check he bets 7k I call the river is a 5 I check he snap jams 23k into 28100. I was like I have so many 4’s and 5’s here how can you a hand like AK you must be bluffing right, I call he has Q5o

Evaluation: This is a defend I would never make before but I’ve started to defend the bb a lot lighter lately. The flop is a standard check call. On the turn nothing has really changed so I don’t think I can ever fold. On the river it’s really weird because I don’t think he’s good enough to shove AQ and AK for value just from his tendencies. So I figured what can he have when he opens and bet bet shoves like that. He should check all his 4’s on the flop and maybe 5’s but he should always check the turn with is 5’s and I ruled out him bet bet shoving an ace, especially when I can potentially have a 4 or 5 here, theres definitely a lot more in my range than his. So I found the hero thinking it seems like he has AA, 44 55 or air here and theres only 1 combo of each of them. He can potentially have like a 67 78 68 63 type hand to be bluffing but I didn’t really know how light he opened, either way I thought about it for a while and was happy with the call. I have no idea how he has Q5o here but I just labelled him as a whale and moved on, also I found out later he’s won a bracelet 😥

Hand: 53hh

Position: mp

Blinds: £1/2/4

Stack depth: 110bb

Action: I open to £12 a competent player calls the sb (has me covered) and the fish that straddled calls (kind of short), pot £38. Flop 766hhx I c bet £27 smit calls and the straddle folds, pot £92. Turn 9h he leads for £41 I call, the pot is £173. River Tx he bets £130 I call he has 77

Evaluation: My open pre is a bit light but I’m comfortable playing these sorts of hands, especially when the fish probably  won’t fold his straddle. The flop gives me a straight flush draw so I bet pretty big, I think betting smaller  is ok but my hands potential is so strong and I think I can get stacks in good vs the fish very easily, when  the competent player calls when I size it like this I think his range will be 66, 77, JJ+ (if he doesn’t 3 bet) and better flush draws like QJhh KQhh AThh. I think if he has a 6 (which is unlikely) he will more likely raise because my range looks so strong and theres so many bad cards for it, also I think he may just fold 88-TT type hands because of my sizing. The turn gives me the flush and he leads for less than half pot, I thought about it for a while and realistically what do I beat? The small donk lead is confusing but my hand is so strong I called thinking i can re evaluate river, also I have 2 outs vs a full house. On the river he bets a much bigger percentage of the pot. Tbh I think his range to do this is going to be flushes (all beat mine) and full houses. It’s hard for him to have an 8 unless maybe he has 89 or 88 and I don’t know if he would take that line with that hand and bet the river this big. I think I should fold the river.

Hand: AKhh

Position: straddle

Blinds: £1/2/4

Stack depth: 70bb

Action: competent player opens utg to £12 the fish that gets getting it in bad against me call, I make it £44 knowing utg will fold most of his range knowing I have to have it when I 3 bet with the fish in the middle, just he calls so the pot is £103. Flop 866hdd I check to check shove my £230ish as he likes to bluff a lot and he checks back. Turn Th I check to check jam again and he checks the river is the Jh. I think he will have small showdown pretty much every time like 22-55 so I bet £39 to induce a raise or so he finds the light call and he makes it £126 I snap he mucks.

Evaluation: Pre seems fine, I can size my 3 bet bigger but I didn’t want the fish to fold. On the flop I think he’s going to stab with everything that missed the flop so if I check shove he is calling with his 6’s, some 8x but he might even find a fold + I have decent equity against them. He will probably call with 97 or 75 from playing with him before, and he folds out all other equity. Also I had seen him 3 bet TT so 99 is the only other hand I think he can bet call with. When he checks back I’m sure he has a small pair tbh. On the turn I think the only hand he might not bet the flop with that improves is AT, but I block that and I think he would turn it into a bluff on the flop with the info I had. On the river I always have the super nuts and he was a weak range so I think betting small both allows him to turn his hand into a bluff and call light so I think (especially vs this player) it’s the perfect play and it went how I wanted it to.

Standard
life, Poker

Poker plans and GPS Grand final hand history

So the last few months went pretty well for me…

It’s crazy to think I started this blog because I was £1700 overdrawn and literally struggling to pay rent, get a job and being unable to do a lot of the things I wanted. Now I’m booking holidays, planning on playing most of the major events I’ve always wanted to, actually starting to BRM properly which was the main problem before and I got a part time job. In the last 2 months me and Rich have cashed for a combined total of £63,465 (Me: £24,165 Rich: £39,300) over about 16 tournament entries ranging from about £15- £880 buy ins. It’s crazy to think how consistent we’ve been doing and I feel like we’re constantly improving. After all the recent run good I’ve decided to try and play as many bigger tournaments as possible for the new year, also going to them with Rich helps us motivate each other to do well and make less mistakes, and we can discuss hand history etc. I thought selling for the GPS at 1.33 might be a bit steep because we didn’t have the years of results although I did think we were worth it, but the fact that we both ran deep and felt very comfortable in the tournament I think confirms that we are. Lately every tournament we play 1 or both of us run deep and we’ve both managed to both get 5 figure scores and win pretty big tournaments. Our next plan is to sell a joint package for UKIPT London (£770) and the £330 side at 1.33 so we’re doing 10% = £295, 5% is £150, 1% is £30. We’ve already sold over 50% of the 75% we plan to sell. Also a newspaper is coming over to interview us (‘the poker family’) which all seems quite surreal. The first year I was playing poker it was like my dream to be winning consistently and now it’s literally happening. I may not have got to keep all of the money I won but it’s more about how it feels for me, I’m starting to feel like I can actually make a living from this game. I’ve always thought  if I get to a stage when I can play the WSOP and EPT’s and I’m winning then I can truly say I’m successful at the game and I feel like I could be well on my way towards that. The plan for this year now is to try and play as many £100-£1k events as I can and get more of a feel for them and hopefully win an even bigger event, or at least make profit. 🙂 There are negative aspects to this however, I’m more than likely going to drop uni because I just don’t have the motivation to be there. I’m always told I’ll happily have 2 hours sleep to make it to a poker tournament but I would never make a lecture on that. I’ve never known what I wanted a degree for I just always thought it was the next logical step and now I don’t know. Poker is going really well at the moment but it’s hard to know if it always will and I would like to have a decent job for that sustained guaranteed income, as most players know it’s hard to know you can pay your rent if you just play poker. I’m trying to postpone this decision as much as possible as I feel like that’s when my life will start properly and things will get quite serious. The annoying thing is I’ve sorted a house for next year and it’s a hard thing to get out of when you’ve put a £400 deposit down. I guess I have to work this all out as well as what I want to do properly, but for now everything is going really well and I wish I could stay in this bubble of “at home between terms at uni” rather than “quit uni and lives at home”.

Here’s most of my Hand History from the GPS Grand Final, feel free to message with questions and different lines you may take in the hand and why.

 

GPS Sheffield Day 1

Hand: 44

Position: co

Blinds: 50/100

Stack depth: 300bb

Action: there’s 3 limps and the HJ raises to 525 I call and the bb makes it 1525 it folds around to me, I haven’t played a hand yet and I figure putting in 1k of my 29300 stack with the imply odds of 300 bb in position is fine so I flat flop AJ5ccx he checks I check turn Ax he bets 2k I folds

Evaluation: I think the call is pretty standard in position with the potential of going multiway in a decent sized pot with really good implied odds, however when the bb 3 bets and everyone folds it’s questionable. The guy was quite tight and I figured my implied odds in position vs his range would be really good and the 3 bet size was small meaning it was 1000 to win 3925 with direct odds to win, we were 300bb deep, and I’m putting in less than 5% of my stack. I think post is standard as the play is profitable purely to set mine and I’m ahead of none of his range on that flop.

Hand: ATdd

Position: mp3

Blinds: 50/100

Stack depth: 300bb

Action: I open to 300 (tight table image) the btn and bb call flop QJJccd I c bet 400 the btn calls turn 8x giving me a double gutter I bet 1100 he folds

Evaluation: standard open to 3x really deep pre antes, post I have position on a pretty wet board so I think checking flop may be better here vs 2 calls as I have a gut shot and BD equity as well as a lot of showdown, when the btn calls I think I should probably be checking the turn here too even though I pick up a double gutter as I’m only getting him to fold floats and underpairs so I think check calling is the better option.

Hand: KJhh

Position: sb

Blinds: 50/100

Stack depth: 300bb

Action: a fish limps ep and the btn limps I call the bb checks flop 952hhh I lead for 300 the btn calls turn Kx I bet 700 he folds

Evaluation: I think pre completing the sb is optimal as I have a hand that flops well multiway especially vs limping ranges, also being oop with no fold equity pre antes I don’t see much point in raising. My raising range here is probably AKo AQo JJ+. Post I feel like I don’t want it to check around or miss any value so leading for 75% seems fine and when I get called I’m trying to just get max and just barrel bricks.

Hand: 55

Position: mp

Blinds: 75/150

Stack depth: 200bb

Action: limp utg from a 40bb stack I make it 525 all fold to the limper who calls flop J99hhx I c bet 600 he calls turn 3x we check river Kx he leads 1500 leaving 2600 which is weird as this card is supposed to hit my range so I think he’s polarised to a jack, or air so I call and he had A high

Evaluation: Pre I think is fine as the limper seems weak and playing post as the aggressor with position is going to be profitable. The flop is pretty bad for me but I feel like if I check I’m just giving up and folding the turn whereas if I bet I keep my full range and have a lot more options in the hand, I can take it down there and I can have the best hand. The turn is a brick so I’m happy to try get to showdown now, the river is a Kx which is pretty interesting as I was expecting a check and considering whether to turn my hand into a bluff. I think on this river he should be check jamming all of his value range as the pot is 2475 and I should be bluffing or value

betting this card almost all of the time so I think the lead means his hand should be weak almost all of the time so I hero and I’m good. Also his sizing on the river is like he’s trying to make the bet look stronger than it is with the stack size.

Hand: AJhh

Position: utg+1

Blinds: 75/150

Stack depth: 200bb

Action: utg who lost the hand prior open jams 2600 I fold as there’s too many players to act and it’s too many bb he had KJ and 77 busted him. I’m happy with the fold
Evaluation: This was a pretty tough spot as I’m well ahead of his range but it’s a high variance play with 7 people behind and I feel like just over 17bb is a little too much to risk here.

Hand: 55

Position: utg+1

Blinds: 100/200

Stack depth: 150bb

Action: there’s a limp utg I make it 650 all fold to him he flats flop A83r he donks 1200 so I don’t really ever expect him to have an ace but I’m not sure what he can have, more than likely air so I flat. Turn Jc brings FD which is pretty bad for me and lots of air hit so I think I should rep the ace as my showdown is too weak. I bet 2100 he tanks says “hmm” and calls river 7x so I’m only really beating QT KQ Q9 but the pot is now 8200 and I’ll probably have to bet around 4500-5500 to get the folds I need and he seems fishy

and might not, also he could have a really weird 2 pair or set sometimes so I check he has KJo.

Evaluation: Pre vs a weak player limping who I don’t expect to trap I’m happy to iso 55 here, I think I would only ever limp behind if there was 2 limps before me. Pre flop goes well I take the flop in position and he donks one of the driest boards possible. I figure he just can’t have an ace here so I float with some BD equity, the turn is annoying as he gets ahead of my hand
with a lot of bluffs but I was planning to double barrel which should always win the pot vs his range here. He check calls the turn so I’m pretty sure he does have a Jhere, the river is basically a brick unless he has 9T I ended up changing the plan because I wasn’t sure enough he would fold a J and I would have to bet pretty big on the river so I gave up and he had a hand which I guess made sense but I don’t mind the way this hand went.

Hand: AJo

Position: sb

Blinds: 100/200

Stack depth: 140bb

Action: a good player opens ep to 450 and mp calls I just fold as oop, off suit and not the aggressor so it seems like a bad time, I think post antes I would consider 3 betting or maybe flat but it’s a hard spot to make money so I’m happy with the fold especially pre antes

Evaluation: I’m happy with this, I’ve became more reluctant to play hands like this oop at least pre antes.

Hand: KTo

Position: co

Blinds: 100/200

Stack depth: 150bb

Action: fish limps mp I make it 650 the btn calls and the limper calls pot 2250 flop T56ccs I c bet 1400 the fish calls turn Tx I figure he will something like 77-99, a 6 or a draw most of the time and still not want to fold his hand on this card so I bet 3700 he tank folds, I think if he wasn’t a fish I would go smaller

Evaluation: I think this is a little loose pre antes but I was very confident post against the weak player especially as I had position. The flop is pretty wet and I can get value from a lot of hands so an over half pot bet seems good. I take position and get pretty much the best turn card, I think against a good player I would check all my range here as I’m always checking my overpairs here, but vs a fish I think I can get more value from betting this turn as he wont know I have to have a really strong range to do so. He folds here which is surprising, I think my sizing should be a little smaller to get him to continue with more hands, maybe more like 2300 into the 5050 rather than the 3700 I made it.

Hand: 67o

Position: bb

Blinds: 100/200

Stack depth: 150bb

Action: utg opens to 400 and had opened the last 5 hands or so and had a sizing tell so I defend flop T82hhx we checks turn 2x I bet 500 he folds

Evaluation: This defend is pretty light but utg has generally opened to over 2x and had been prety aggro pre and weak post. I think he can be giving up a lot when he checks the flop as he was quite passive so I was happy to stab the turn and TII

Hand: TT

Position: co

Blinds: 150/300/25

Stack depth: 100bb

Action: tag opens mp to 600 I make it 1500 the bb cold calls and the pfr calls flop K84ssx we all check turn 4x they check I bet 2100 just the bb calls river 7s we check the bb has aces…

Evaluation:Sometimes I flat here but I like to start 3 betting a lot more when the antes kick in. The bb cold call was quite surprising but he seemed tight/bad so I wasn’t confident with my hand. I think out of position I would be more inclined to c bet this board but I wasn’t too confident with my hand so I checked to re evaluate the turn. The turn is good for me and when both players check again I’m expecting to have the best hand almost all of the time so I bet for value and the bb calls so now i think he range is probably QJss JTss QTss AQ and 55-QQ which I’m doing ok against. The river is a spade so 77 and all his FD’s get there and I think I can only get value from maybe 88 or 99 but theres lots of hands that beat me so I just check and
very surprisingly he has AA. I think the hand is fine.

Hand: QTo

Position: sb

Blinds: 150/300/25

Stack depth: 100bb

Action: folds to the co who opens to 700 he is quite aggro and I’ve seen him play a few hands badly, I’m ahead of his range but oop, I flat and the bb calls. Flop QJ3r we all check, turn 2h brings FD I bet 1100 the bb calls river 9x I figure he has a queen a lot and a jack a lot but that river completes a lot of draws and 2 pairs so it’s a bit of an awkward spot, the pot is 4525 and I decided to bet fold to a raise thinking he has one pair a lot and might hero with the way the hand played but has to raise all better but shouldn’t bluff as I can have it. I bet 1900 he calls and mucks.

Evaluation: I think pre is questionable here, someone said I should 3 bet or fold oop but I think my hand is too strong to fold and turn into a bluff here vs this particular guys co range. It’s an awkward spot but most hands that call my 3 bet will have me crushed so I would rather have a hand like 78s to turn into a bluff. I’m a little unsure about this call but with a weak player in the bb I think it’s fine. The flop checked around means I should have the best hand so I have an easy turn value bet but the river is interesting. I figure his range is all suited queens so Q2s-QTs, a lot of jacks say JT-J8 and maybe some J7s type hands and theres his KT KQ (he might 3 bet this) 9T T8 maybe QJ 98. I think the worse he is the wider it is and the more I can get value from on the river and he seemed bad so I went for value and he called and mucked. It’s an easy fold to a river raise vs this player too and I think I miss too much value from his 1 pair hands to check.

Hand: AA

Position: co

Blinds: 150/300/25

Stack depth: 100bb

Action: a kind of bad player opens mp to 650 from a 12k stack I make it 1800 he tank folds and said he was close to shoving.

Evaluation: I think I should size my 3 bet a bit smaller here vs his stack and considering my image was quite tight at this point. 1600-1650 I think would be better.

Hand: KJo

Position: btn

Blinds: 200/400/50

Stack depth: 80bb

Action: there’s an open utg to 1k from a loose/bad player and a call from a tag that 3 bets quite a lot I make it 3200 the sb who has around 80k cold calls it folds to the tag who called the initial raise and he makes it 8400
leaving 23k I fold the sb shoves he calls the tag has QQ the sb has AKs.

Evaluation: I think pre with my image and vs these 2 particular players this is a good spot to 3 bet in position and I have blockers to a lot of hands that
will continue. However the sb cold call is quite scary but I’m still happy to play post and not go crazy, but when the pre flop caller then 4 bets it’s clear
he has a hand like QQ+ and an easy fold. A good spot badly timed I think. The table consensus was that I had JJ

Hand: J8ss

Position: btn

Blinds: 200/400/50

Stack depth: 75bb

Action: a good tag opens ep to 900 I make it 2200 he calls flop AQTr i c bet 2600 he calls turn Jd brings a FD we check river 4x we check he has AQo.

Evaluation: With my image I think this was a good spot to 3 bet. On the flop I think in hindsight I should check the flop as my range of QQ+ AK would
all check this flop. I just saw my double gutter and wanted to c bet, and I should get him to fold all his under pairs but most of his range will be pair
and straight draws or better which won’t fold. The flop call means I should never have the best hand on the turn so I’m happy to just give up with the hand.

Hand: ATo

Position: mp

Blinds: 200/400/50

Stack depth: 50bb

Action: fish limps ep I make it 1300 get called by mp big stack and the sb the limper folds flop KTxr we all check turn Ad brings FD I bet 2100 into 5150 mp calls other guy folds river is a brick I figure he’s going to have a worse 2 pair, an ace or bricked draw when he doesn’t bet flop so I check to induce and he checks back with an ace.

Evaluation: Post antes this seems like a standard ISO, I think anything from 1100-1600 is fine here for sizing. Going 3 handed I think checking the flop for pot control makes the hand easier to play. On the turn I should have the nuts and can start going for value so I bet 2100 into 5150, maybe I should go bigger but I have some bluffs and semi bluffs in my range so I don’t want to be betting too big. The river is annoying because he either has 2 pair (most likely worse) he value bets, an ace he may value bet, or a missed draw like a Q, J or FD he will most likely bet. In hindsight there is a lot of pair and draw combos he can have that he will check so I think I should be value betting this river, the pot is 9350 so I think I should either bet around 2600ish to induce a raise or 4900 for straight value, I prefer the latter option here vs this player.

Hand: 55

Position: utg

Blinds: 200/400/50

Stack depth: 60bb

Action: I open to 1050 the bb defends flop 752hhx I c bet 1700 he calls turn 2x I bet 2700 he calls river 3x he donks 5600 I shove 21k he tank folds

Evaluation: Open seems standard, I made it just over 2.5x to discourage more calls and keep in line with my utg range. The bb was really bad so I was very happy to get heads up vs him in position. The flop is obviously one of the best possible and I’m happy to go for 3 streets if possible, I bet 1700 into 2750 which seems fine and he calls. The turn is interesting because my hand is so strong and there are literally no bad rivers so I think the old me would always check here but realistically when he calls the flop and this turn is such a brick I think he should have a hard time folding the turn, I figure if I bet big he may fold his draws as they’re no longer to the nuts but if I bet small he should continue with his entire range and it builds the pot for me to bet bigger on the river. I bet 2700 into 6150 and he calls. The river is a brick 3 so some straights gets there, the FD bricks and he donks 5600 into 11,850 so I assume he now has either a missed draw, some kind of showdown he doesn’t want to check call with or a worse full house, trips etc. So with my 21k stack my only option is to shove and hope he either has his nutted hand range or makes a mistake and he folds.

Hand: KJs

Position: sb

Blinds: 200/400/50

Stack depth: 80bb

Action: there’s a limp utg and a good player raises to 1100 the btn fish calls I call and the limper calls flop K88r one spade pfr c bets 1600 into 5250 I call rest fold turn Kx we check river Ax I bet 5400 he snap folds an 8

Evaluation: I think pre I can fold but knowing the limper will call too with a hand that flops well, getting a good price and quite deep stacked I think calling is justified. The flop is a standard check call although the c bet is quite small so I think I’m not doing well vs his value range but he can potentially have some bluffs and calling is my only option. I find the best turn and we check. Annoyingly I think I made a mistake on the river here because realistically I shouldn’t have 22-77 here which are my only bluffs and with 99-QQ I would check this river so by betting my hand is too face up vs a good player, I should check repping my 8’s or 99-QQ so he can bluff the river. The fact he snap folds an 8 confirms this is a bad bet.

Hand: AKo

Position: sb

Blinds: 250/500/50

Stack depth: 90bb

Action: utg opens to 1200 from a 25k ish stack and mp calls from a 16kish stack I make it 4850 all fold

 

Evaluation: I think once I decide I’m not folding to either of these stacks pre it’s just about sizing my 3 bet so they will shove as wide a range as possible. I think oop my standard size is 3-3.5x + 1 for every caller when we’re 100bb deep so 4800 is my minimum here vs a 1200 open and one call oop, but with their stack sizes I don’t think I have to make it anymore as they should be shoving or folding, utg can flat but the hand shouldn’t be too hard to play if he does. Maybe I could make it nearer to 5900 to deter utg from ever calling but I think his AQ, JJ TT type hands might flat my sizing regardless.

Hand: 88

Position: ep

Blinds: 250/500

Stack depth: 90bb

Action: I open to 1200 get called by the co and the rest fold flop 654r i c bet 1400 he calls turn 4x I bet 2100 he calls river Ax so I figure the only hand I can realistically beat is like 67s 68s 56s 79s and 77 so I check thinking he should check back and hopefully I’m against that part of his range rather that some 99 TT type hands. He bombs 7k quite quickly so his value range here should be 78s 66 55 54s and 64s but I think he raises sooner and I’m so likely to have an ace or TT-KK it’s really hard for him to have the best hand but for some reason I ignore my instinct and fold just because he doesn’t have enough of a bluff range, realistically only 79s should get there and bluff and there’s more combos of boats so I fold, he shows me KJo…

Evaluation: I was pretty annoyed about this hand because I made a mistake by playing it different to how I usually would, normally I would either check flop or turn as it makes the hand easier to play. Pre flop the open is standard, on the flop however I think I should check oop here with most of my range. As played I think I should definitely be checking the turn as I shouldn’t be able to get 2 streets of value from much worse. The river I kind of realised my line was really bad and was hoping he would show up with 77 or something like that which he then doesn’t turn into a bluff. However on the river as I did play the hand I think the river is nearer to a call, the only hand he is comfortable enough to play this way in my opinion is 45 46 55 66 78s  and I don’t think the first 2 are in his range but when double barreled I figured there isn’t many bluffs he could show up with, even A7s got there although I didn’t think he was good enough to bomb an ace here. The main problem with the hand is the fact I bet twice and not folded the river as it’s high variance. I’m not too bothered about the fold but the fact he showed up with KJo here really surprised me so I think a check call reevaluate line makes more sense here.
Hand: A7o

Position: co

Blinds: 300/600/75

Stack depth: 60bb

Action: I open to 1300 the btn calls who has been calling a lot of my raises in position he rest fold pot 4175 flop AK5r I check he bets 2k quite quickly I call turn 2x I check he bets 3500 I call river K I check hoping for the check back he does and he has A4 and my kicker plays

 

Evaluation: post ante I think Ax is strong enough to open here with no aggro player to act after me. The flop is dry and I like checking to under rep here when theres not many draws to get value from, I think betting flop to check turn is good too. He bets the flop which usually indicates he has an ace or air and the fact he flats pre usually means A9 or worse so I think the call is standard. The turn bricks and he bets a slightly smaller percentage of the pot so I think his range is the same but he will have more gut shot draws now so I call again and the river is a king so my kicker plays so I think he should be giving up on this card and checking all his aces and I beat slightly more of them, he checks and I win. If he bets here it’s a really horrible spot for me but his A2 A5 2 pair hands are counterfitted so if he does bet I think I would find a call thinking he probably won’t value bet AT meaning his value range is really skewed to like 55 only which he might even check the flop  with.

Hand: 84hh

Position: bb

Blinds: 300/600/75

Stack depth: 120bb

Action: folds to the btn who is relatively tight and plays quite abc he opens to 1600 I call flop KTxhh He c bets 2000 I flat turn Ax I check he bets 3800 I flat river Jx I lead for 9800 he folds

 

Evaluation: This hand is kind of interesting, I think the defend is slightly light but 1000 to win 4175 is fine odds. The flop is too good to fold, 2000 to win 8175. The turn ace should improve his range but at the same time is a good card to bluff so I planned on donk leading the river on a J, Q or heart, also he seemed weak and not too confident in his hand. 3800 to win 15,775 gives me good odds and I think my plan to lead these cards will be profitable vs this player. The river is the J bringing 4 to a straight and I stick to my plan and lead for 9800 (just over 60% pot) just to make sure he folds all his 2 pair hands which I’m quite sure this particular player will here.

Hand: 77

Position: btn

Blinds: 400/800/100

Stack depth: 90bb

Action: new player who is also 90bb deep joins and opens utg to 2500 I flat rest fold pot 7100 flop QQ4r I c bets 3500 I call turn 4x he bets 5500 I fold as I think he should have JJ+ everytime and I can’t make money from the hand and the only hands I beat probably bomb river and give me a tough spot

Evaluation: I had no info on this player but he had me covered so I think calling with a pair in position vs his range is going to be very profitable. The flop is kind of annoying because he bets pretty big and I don’t beat very much. I think spots like this are my biggest problems because on a board like this I’m checking AA KK AQ JJ etc so when he bets I struggle to put him on a range so I guess I call to hope he gives up. The turn is basically a brick and I’m always checking full range on this turn as hands like AA and Qx shouldn’t be called by worse and have nothing to worry about. So I really didn’t want to fold here but I did because I just couldn’t put him of a range. I really wanted to call turn to hero river but I think it’s a high risk play vs an unknown player

Hand: KQhh

Position: utg

Blinds: 500/1000/100

Stack depth: 60bb

Action: I open to 2200 the co calls rest fold flop KT7r we check turn Ax I check he bets 3700 I call river 6x I check he bets 8k I fold

 

Evaluation: Open post antes standard, the flop is quite ideal but I figure if I check I can under rep my hand when the only bad card for me should be an ace vs the CO’s calling range unless I’m already behind. I think betting this flop might be better as there’s quite a few worse hands that can call but I’m really not sure tbh. I like to check my TP hands on dry boards to get 2 clean streets and induce bluffs. The turn is horrible and I think a have to check call with second pair and a gut shot but I’m not confident with my hand at all, the fact the CO didn’t bet the flop usually indicates he has showdown such as Ax QJ type hands so I should be behind unless he is turning weak showdown into a bluff or didn’t bet a hand like J9s on the flop. When I call and he bombs the river brick it’s pretty horrible as I didn’t think he was good enough to bomb a hand like AJ so it should be 2 pair plus but he does have more 2 pair + than air in his range I think so I’m fine with the fold

Hand: QQ

Position: sb

Blinds: 500/1000/100

Stack depth: 65bb

Action: co opens to 2100 with 21k behind I make it 5700 he folds
Evaluation: I think here I should 3 bet a little smaller to try and induce as many light shoves as possible so maybe the 4900 range would be better as he won’t want to fold but he might be inclined to shove his weaker hands or call lighter so it will be a <2 SPR pot when I have queens which is very good for me.

Hand: K9hh

Position: utg

Blinds: 500/1000/100

Stack depth: 70bb

Action: I open to 2600 a 15bb stack calls and the co makes it 8k who has me covered, all fold the short stack shoves and he calls with 77 the short stack has AQo

Evaluation: I think my only change here is that my open here is a little too big, post antes I like keeping it at 2-2.5x no matter how deep.

Hand: QJo

Position: btn

Blinds: 500/1000/100

Stack depth: 70bb

Action: I open to 2k the bb defends who has about 16bb ish behind flop AJ5ddx we check turn 8 he checks I bet 2700 he folds

Evaluation: I think potentially I should bet the flop here but I’ve started to not c bet as much in general and it’s going quite well, however I think theres a lot of worse things to get value from here.

Hand: A9o

Position: HJ

Blinds: 500/1000/100

Stack depth: 70bb

Action: I open to 2200 the bb defends who has me covered flop T74r we check turn 8x he bets 2100 I call river brick he bets 3k into 10k I sigh fold he shows a 10

Evaluation: Open is semi standard but a bit light, the flop isn’t too bad but I think I have decent showdown and don’t get many folds from worse or good equity with a c bet. The turn is like the nuts for me so i have to call and can still have the best hand although not often. I brick river and he bets small so it looks like thin value so it’s a pretty easy fold
Hand: AKo

Position: bb

Blinds: 500/1000/100

Stack depth: 64bb

Action: utg opens to 2500 it folds to me were both 60bb deep which is awkward and too much to get in vs his utg range so I flat, flop T7xr we check turn 8c brings a FD I figure my range smashes this board more so I turn it into a bluff and bet 3200 he folds and shows AKo

Evaluation: I like my flat pre because my range looks so strong if I 3 bet I just don’t feel comfortable vs a 4 bet also I get all the extra value from under repping etc. The flop isn’t great but I might check call one street and try get to showdown but he checks back. The turn is really good for my bb defend range and when he checks back flop I think he takes TP+ out of his range and should fold to 2 barrels with his most of all of his range.

Hand: AJo

Position: co

Blinds: 500/1000/100

Stack depth: 65bb

Action: 16bb stack opens to 2k ep I flat the sb shoves 18.7bb the short stack folds and I sigh fold. It was 16.7k to win 41.2k so I need 41% for the call to be profitable and I think because of the first short stack he can’t have a wider range and he should have AT+ 66+ and maybe KQ but it might be tighter and I’m not doing great vs his range, also it was over 1/4th of my stack which I didn’t want to risk. Maybe I should fold pre

Evaluation: This is quite an interesting spot, I think when a 16bb stack opens ep his range is going to be boadway hands and like JJ+ as he will probably shove most pairs so I’m doing decent vs his range but not amazing, also the more worse hands he opens with from the stack the better I’m doing. I think 3 betting small to fold might be better here in general. As played it’s a really tough spot because the sb has a good squeeze stack but if he’s stack aware of the utg open he shouldn’t ever be light here. I probablt have the right equity vs his range but even so it’s high variance in a very good structure so I’m happy not to take it.

Hand: AKss

Position: btn

Blinds: 500/1000/100

Stack depth: 65bb

Action: he bb is missing and a good competent player opens utg 8 handed to 2200 I think flatting my hand in position is fine but because of the situation and the fact I’m on the btn I think it’s a good spot to 3 bet as it looks like a re steal, I make it 5500 it folds to him he tank makes it 12,700 I decide i can’t fold with the situation so I want to induce a bluff shove if possible or get him to fold his equity. I make it 20,700 which is just under 1/3rd of my stack and because it’s just over 20k I think I could look like I want it to look like I’m not folding to a shove when I am so i have to snap the shove, he jams I call he has 44 and I win the race.

Evaluation: This hand was very key to my tournament and I think the pre flop action is quite crucial. I would probably usually flat in this situation but with the extra dynamic of no bb and my position + hand strength added to the fact utg is capable of 4 bet bluffing I think 3 betting with the intention of never folding is my only option. I make it 2.5x which is my standard sizing in position when we’re pretty deep and I’m happy to go from there. He 4 bets to 12,700 so at this point I feel his range will be his premiums he is happy to get in which will be AK QQ+ and his bluffs that are too weak to flat with such as 22-55 and A2-A5s as I think he flats all his suited broadways and middle pairs and folds the awkward middle ground hands. There was also a hand previously I had 3 bet his utg open and he flatted AQ so I think he will be flatting his TT 99 maybe JJ hands so vs this range I just want to try and induce a shove from all his weaker hands. vs most players here I would probably make it just less than 20k so it looks weaker so 19,900 but here I figured I should make it look like I’m trying to make it look like I can’t fold… Usually putting in over 1/3rd of your stack is like a never fold rule so I figured by making it just a tiny bit under 1/3rd it will be like I’m trying to make it look bigger with over 20k but because it’s less than 1/3rd I can fold to a shove, so I make it 20,700 from a 65k stack. This might be thinking too much into it but I think the more he shoves here the better it is for me if I’m correct about his range as I block aces and kings. Theres 6 combos of aces and kings and roughly 36 combos of bluffs I think he can show up with which I have good equity against,  the more things he 4 bets the better my equity will get, he shoves I call and win the flip.

Hand: 72cc

Position: bb

Blinds: 600/1200/200

Stack depth: 100bb+

Action: folds to the btn who opens to 2600 he had Opened Q4o here previously so I peel with the 1/6th ante making the pots pretty big. Flop K86r one club I check call 3k turn 2x we check river brick we check he has T8o

Evaluation: I think this defend is fine vs a weak player btn open with the huge antes, the flop I have a lot of backdoor equity and figured I could get him to fold everything that wasn’t a king. Annoyingly I turned very weak showdown and changed the plan to check down and hope he had A high but I think betting river quite big would be better here vs his range.

Hand: AJdx

Position: HJ

Blinds: 600/1200/200

Stack depth: 100bb

Action: I open to 2500 the co makes it 6500 and had been starting to 3 bet me more this level the bb just lost a huge pot and cold calls I call flop JT7ddh we all check turn Qd giving me a gut shot and the NFD as well as second pair top kicker it check the btn bets 10k so I’m expecting him to have AK a lot but the times he has the Kd I have lots of implied value so I flat the river is a 2d I lead for 25k he folds and shows AKo no diamond

Evaluation: I think pre this might be a good spot to 4 bet to fold but I tend to avoid this sort of stuff and I can still have the best hand here sometimes, I just have an awkward hand to play post with some reverse implied odds but I don’t think I will be losing a lot here. The flop is pretty good and maybe I could consider a lead to get the btn to fold out his equity, I think I don’t donk lead enough and this could be a good spot. Also I vs calling ranges I should have the best hand but if the btn raises I can fold as I have the Ad blocker and he shouldn’t raise worse than QQ. The turn is a tad annoying as I can’t fold it but AK and AQ are a huge part of the btns range so I check call. I think I should probably check the river here tbh as I might miss value vs the Kd if he only calls my lead but might bet/call if I check. I think the main purpose of a bet here is to be called by hands like the 9d but he shouldn’t have this very often but if I check he will value bet his Kd or maybe turn AQ or AK into a bluff

Hand: KQo

Position: utg

Blinds: 600/1200/200

Stack depth: 100bb

Action: I open to 2600 get called by the btn rest fold flop Kt7r we check turn Ax I Check he bets 3700 I call river brick I check he bets 8k I fold

Evaluation:This hand was almost the same spot I got into earlier, both time I didn’t bet the flop in position with KQ on a K high rainbow board the turn was an ace and I had to fold to 2 barrels. I think once I check the flop I have to play the hand this way and it’s just annoying with the runout. The bb in this hand had lots of tells so I’m happy to fold to his river bet that was pretty big.
DAY 2:

Hand: A6ss

Position: bb

Blinds: 800/1600/200

Stack depth:100bb

Action: folds to the HJ who is competent he opens to 3300 I defend flop 235r one spade we check turn Ah brings FD we check river 6h brings flush I bet 4100 he tank folds

Evaluation: This hand seems quite standard it’s just how much I bet the river or whether I check call instead, I decided to lead as I should get value from most aces which I think he is likely to have and if he has a hand like KQ or some other weak showdown he probably checks back.

Hand: AKhx

Position: utg

Blinds: 800/1600/200

Stack depth: 100+

Action: I open to 3500 the bb defends, flop A87hhx I c bet 3700 he calls turn 5h we check river brick he hacks I bet 7600 he calls and mucks

Evaluation: The flop I think is a must bet when it’s so wet and we’re against the bb defending range. The turn is a horrible card and I would hate to be blown off the best hand here so I like a check, especially because I have the Kh so there isn’t as many bad rivers. If he leads here I would probably sigh fold sometimes depending on sizing but when he checks the river I pretty much have the nuts so I value bet  decent sized, I would probably sigh fold to a river raise too as the bb didn’t seem like he would check raise bluff river and it’s hard for him to get here with a complete bluff.

Hand: 54dd

Position: mp

Blinds: 800/1600/200

Stack depth: 120bb

Action: I open to 3500 get called by a bad player on the btn and the bb flop 345dxxr I c bet 7500 the btn calls and the bb calls turn Kc brings FD the pot is 35,200 the btn has 60k ish and the bb has 40k I jam and the btn has 67o with 67k :/

Evaluation: This is a pretty crucial hand I was a little annoyed about. The open is a tad light but I had a very good table that was deep and the antes were over 10% as well as a bad player in the bb. The flop is like the nuts but my hand is quite vulnerable so I c bet 7500 into 13,100. I think if there was a FD I would be making it nearer to 9600 here. Very surprsingly I get called in 2 places, the turn is a K which is a card I would barrel all my bluffs and semi bluffs with and at this point the pot was 35,200. This is where I really wasn’t sure what to do, I figure checking vs 2 players can be ruled out but theres still a chance I’m crushed by flopped sets and straights. I don’t like my shove here in general because it’s just so  huge compared to the pot but it’s hard to say what the best play is. By checking I rep hands like JJ and QQ but the most likely range of the callers is 66-99 type hands and maybe 56s type hands. I figured I just wanted to make my hand look the most blufffy and maybe someone finds a hero but I think a better option in this case would be to bet around 12-16k and re evaluate vs the players actions. I think by betting this the btn can’t shove as a semi bluff so if he shoves I can find a fold and if he folds and the bb shoves I would probably sigh call. Also if the btn calls I can either check call brick rivers or check fold, bet fold etc and definitely not lose max vs the hands I lose too and maybe make more from worse hands sometimes. Either way I think my turn jam is bad and I should be taking the more calculated options throughout the hand. The few people I asked about this hand did say they would shove too but I just don’t like guaranteeing I’ll lose max vs the nuts. The fact the btn was bad leveled me a little into thinking him calling the flop means I’m always ahead when I shouldn’t have necessarily thought that.

Hand: QQ

Position: utg

Blinds: 800/1600/200

Stack depth: 70bb

Action: I open to 3500 the blinds call flop 662ddx I c bet 3700 the sb calls turn Q we check river 3x I put him all in for 30k he folds 77

Evaluation: If this flop was rainbow I might check but I was thinking bet bet bet will get his stack in. I think my mistake in this hand was not betting the turn small, this way he will continue with his full flop calling range which is dead and I can shove river for < pot and make him more inclined to call or maybe he feels more committing to the pot and donks missed draws sometimes. If the pot on the turn is 17,000 I can bet around 4900 and build the pot as well as lose less when I’m bluffing this card which will be often. This way the river pot will be 26,800 and he will have just less, this way the shove seems more realistic and I can potentially have more bluffs and rep the missed FD.

Hand: AQo

Position: mp

Blinds: 1/2k/200

Stack depth: 65bb

Action: utg good player with me covered opens to 4k I flat the rest fold pot 13k flop T62r we check turn Qd brings FD he bets 5300 I call river brick he bets 7600 I call he mucks.

 

Evaluation: Pre I should be very far ahead of his range but because he is good I feel he will 4 bet or fold with most of his range and I’m not happy to get AQ in pre flop 65bb deep vs utg. When he checks this flop with his utg range I’m expecting him to have a reasonable amount of showdown so I think his range is most likely 22-TT KK AA AJ-AK and maybe hands like  Axs or KQ sometimes. So I should be way ahead or way behind and I have a lot of showdown and position so I like a check back, I think he bets all his non showdown hands on the flop so he is most likely check calling. The turn is my nut card as he will rep it if he doesn’t think he has enough showdown because I checked back, also he could have turned a FD so I have an easy call, I don’t like raising here because I fold out too much air which he might continue with. The river is good for me so I have another easy call vs what I believe his range is.

Hand: A9ss

Position: mp

Blinds: 1200/2400/300

Stack depth: 55bb

Action: I open to 4800 the bb defends flop 3JJr we check turn Jd brings FD he leads for 5500 I call river 6x he bets 10k I call he has 64dd

 

Evaluation: I had a pretty hard decision on this hand, when I check the flop my range is quite face up as pairs and A highs. When he bets the turn I don’t think I can ever fold as I have the best hand a lot, I have good equity when I’m behind (7 outs to what should always be the best hand) and I have position. The river doesn’t change much so it’s hard to say what he can bet. It’s either he is going to be all full houses for value (22+) or he is bluffing and I think he fact that I can have a full house myself here as the flop was rainbow means it’s not like an easy bet here for him even with a hand like 3x. The fact I think he is bluffing the turn means I think I can’t fold but in hindsight I think I should raise the river because I still have all my 99+ hands in my range which I would raise with for value whereas his range is capped at around 99 when he flats pre but he had been calling the bb really light. Obviously he can have quads here and then I lose my raise but I think he was competent enough to be folding his full river range is (bar quads).

Hand: A3dd

Position: bb

Blinds: 1200/2400/300

Stack depth: 50bb

Action: competent tag opens the co to 4800 I defend flop A83ccd he c bets 3300 I make it 11k he snap folds and shows an ace

 

Evaluation: This hand was pretty sick, at the time I figured a lot of people are perceived to raise these small c bets when they miss because they hate folding to them even with 0 equity. I would fold to this bet if I had missed or sometimes float and call with all FD and showdown so when I raise here I do have to have AT+ so I guess the fact he snap folds means he has to know this. He gives a FD such a good price I think he knows I don’t raise with one. I felt like I got quite owned at the time, I raised quite big because I figured I would if I were to raise with air but I guess I should call here in future vs a good player.

Hand: QTo

Position: btn

Blinds: 1200/2400/300

Stack depth: 50bb

Action: I open to 4800 a competent but semi bad player in the sb makes it 12100 I flat he’s about 35bb deep flop QTxhhx he bets 7k I make it 20k he folds

 

Evaluation: standard btn min raise, the sb seemed semi competent and had been 3 betting light at times and was quite aggro so I actually think I’m doing quite well against his range here and I have position. I think theres a huge argument for folding here or maybe 4 betting, I wasn’t certain what to do here but was happy to call 7300 to win 29300 in this situation. The flop is really good but there are lots of bad turns, also it’s very hard for him to fold this flop with a lot of his range so all his TP+ and straight draws should find a shove and I’m obviously very happy to get it in here. I made it 20k so he would have a good stack to shove over the top.

Hand: K9o

Position: btn

Blinds: 1200/2400/300

Stack depth: 70bb

Action: I open to 4800 the bb defends flop 976r he donks 11k leaving about 45k I call then Ah brings FD we check river Qh we check he has J9

Evaluation: I think one of the parts of my game that needs improving is donk betting, I’m not very good at putting people on the correct range when they do it. On this flop when he donks I was close to just folding because I just assume they have it, I assume a hand like 2 pair that didn’t want me to check behind as theres lots of bad turns but I don’t like folding when I hit the flop so well. When he checks the turn I should have the best hand I guess as he should barrel all his hands that he needs to protect but it’s hard to put him on a range so I check and the river is another bad card so I just check and expect to lose and I win. I think this is something I need to work on.

Hand: A2ss

Position: bb

Blinds: 1.5/3k/400

Stack depth: 60bb

Action: player opens to 7500 from mp it folds to me I flat, flop QT7ddh we check turn 9h I lead for 9700 he tanks and days he doesn’t want to be bluffed and calls, river 6h I bet 21,500 he folds

Evaluation: Pretty standard defend here the flop is pretty bad but he checks back so I’m expecting to be against AJ AK type hands as I think this particular player  c bets the flop with most pairs. This player also doesn’t like to fold but I think I can make it happen with 2 barrels on scare cards so I bet the turn and he tank sigh calls so I bet big on the river and he finds the fold.

Hand: AJxd

Position: bb

Blinds: 2/4k/500

Stack depth: 45bb

Action: Player opens ep to 9k and mp good player calls I call pot 33k flop A9xddx Turk c bets 18k mp  folds I call turn 2d I check he bets 27k I call river Kx I check he checks back and shows Kd

Evaluation: Pre I like a call, my other option is to squeeze as my hand has a lot of reverse implied odds and I have a good stack that makes it awkward to jam vs me. If I were to 3 bet here from my 180k stack I would make it 31k to fold to anymore action. On the flop I have no choice but to check call, on the turn I’m less confident with my hand but I think again I have to call, especially as I have the Jd. If he had bet the river here I would have been in a tough spot but I think I may fold, I don’t think he bets AQ on the river ever but theres too much I lose too at this point. Thankfully he rivered showdown and checked river.

Hand: 55

Position: utg

Blinds: 2000/4000/500

Stack depth: 75bb

Action: I open to 8k a competent player 3 bets mp to 21k (3 bets light and I open a lot) I 4 bet to 39k he puts in 121k (half stack) I sigh fold

Evaluation: Standard open, vs his 3 betting range here I probably do have good implied odds to set mine and we’re 60bb deep effective but I’m going to be oop. In position here I would call or maybe vs a smaller 3 bet, at this point I hadn’t ever 4 bet or even 3 bet bluffed that much a we were on the same table for quite a few hours. I figured by 4 betting I get him to fold all of his bluffs and maybe some hands he might 3 bet for value but fold to a 4 bet like sometimes AQ or TT type hands, it makes his JJ really awkward too. I think this would be better to just fold and maybe leave my Ax to 4 bet bluff as I block more of his hands. I don’t think he was bluffing here so I don’t mind the result overall.

Hand: Q5hh

Position: btn

Blinds: 2.5/5k/500

Stack depth: 55bb

Action: I open to 10k the bb defends who seems kind of bad, flop T86r one heart we check turn Qx he checks I bet 12,500 he calls river Ax he checks I bet 18,500 he calls and mucks

 

Evaluation: Standard open, the flop will hit his range really hard so I think check giving up is the best option, when he checks the turn I have an easy value bet and he calls the river is actually quite good for me, theres no FD on the turn so when he calls and doesn’t lead I think he has a really linear one pair hand and I beat all of those except better queens and he may lead these of the turn. So on this river I still expect to have the best hand almost every time and the ace is a good card to bluff so I think it makes the bet even easier. I would imagine he has an 8 or a 10 when he calls the river and I think I got near max value. I considered bombing it but theres some valid hands that got there like AQ KJ type things and I’m pretty sure his turn range is always Tx 8x 6x and maybe Qx, theres a small chance he can have like an A8 but not often but atleast this way on those rare occasions I’ll lose less. Also he might have played a straight weird.

Hand: KK

Position: bb

Blinds: 2.5/5k/500

Stack depth: 55bb

Action: ep opens to 12k a competent player 3 bets mp to 29k from a similar stack to me, I make it 70k him it folds to him and he tanks forever and calls meaning the pot is 158,500 pre and the effective stack is 160kish so I think his range is AK and QQ like every time maybe JJ or KK even AA sometimes but I’m always jamming boards without queens and aces. The flop is T high I jam he folds

Evaluation: This is a tough spot as when ep opens and mp 3 bets and I’m in the bb when I 3 bet the bb I’m supposed to have a really strong hand but I think I just have to here and hope mp has AK or QQ and goes with it, I’m just never folding KK pre so I just decided to 4 bet to slightly less than 1/3rd of our stacks and I thought I was forcing a shove or fold but very very surprisingly he called. At this point I think he has to have QQ KK AA or AK literally every time. I’m sure he folds AQ and TT and JJ is quite awkward but I think he folds. I was very confused on the flop tbh but I think my range is more than likely QQ+ AK too, because of this I decided to shove every flop that was J high at most and re evaluate on others. Because I have KK here there are 6 combos of QQ, 1 combo of KK, 6 combos of AA and 8 combos of AK so his range is 29% QQ and AA 5% KK and 38% AK so I think the times he has QQ he can’t really fold less than a J high board because he will have such good odds and I would have more AK than AA or KK. This is why I think I have to just shove full range on the flop. But on the other hand I know he has more AK and against some player I could check to call a jam but I don’t think he would “fall” for that and if he takes a free card It’s bad for me. Then I have to consider if he will shove QQ if I check to him on a J high or less board every time then I should check as I don’t miss any value vs QQ and AK may find a shove sometimes. I think I a Q high board I would be sick but check fold. I think A high flops would be the most tough but I would have to check and re evaluate, most likely fold to any action. The flop came T high and I jammed and he snap folded AK. Maybe I should check the flop but when the pot is literally 32bb and if the turn is an ace or a queen it could be so detrimental to my stack deep very deep in the tournanet I just wanted to avoid it.

Hand: 75hh

Position: co

Blinds: 3/6/1k

Stack depth: 55bb

Action: I open to 12k the bb defends flop 234hhx so I have an open ender with 3 outs to the bigger straight and a FD I bet 22k into 34k he makes it 55k from a similar stack I flat, turn 9h he bets 65k I call river 8x he bets 75k I snap he has A5o no heart for the flopped straight

Evaluation: This hand happened to be against the same guy who had got me earlier in day 2 with 67o for a huge pot so it felt really good. The flop is obviously crazy good for me but when I’m over 50bb deep I don’t want to get my stack in on this flop as his range to get it in will be sets, straights, pair and flush draws, nut flush draws and maybe 2 pair and I’m doing terrible vs them all. I bet pretty big on the flop, 22k into around 36k. He raises to 55k so I think when he raises his range is really strong here almost every time so I think flatting to re evaluate is best as my draw is so strong. The turn is really good but at the same time I have one of the worst flushes so my options are either shove and hope he has a straight or set he will call with or to flat to then call most rivers. The only problem I have with shoving is if he has the nut flush or pretty much any flush I’m out of the tournament. However if he checks river I have an easy value bet and if he bets I have a standard call. The river is really good as nothing changes, I still beat sets and straights and whatever else and the fourth heart didn’t come. He showed up with A5 with no heart so maybe I should raise the turn but I hate the idea of just always busting if he does have it when I can still make a lot vs the hands that might call. Also he might fold all worse hands on the turn.

Hand: 9Tdd

Position: co 7 handed

Blinds: 3/6/1k

Stack depth: 85bb

Action: ep tag opens to 15k I make it 36k he flats flop K9xccs we check turn J we check river Ac we check he has QJss

 

Evaluation: I like 3 betting this hand pre instead of flatting especially vs ep range which should make the hand easier to play post. I think I should be betting more on flops like this as checking turns my range quite face up a lot of the time and I can get owned and also I can fold out equity such as the hand he had, when I check the flop I pretty much have to check down and hope to win.

Hand: 63cc

Position: btn

Blinds: 3/6/1k

Stack depth: 75bb

Action: I open to 12k the bb defends flop 655hhx he donks 15k I call turn Th we check river 8x he bets 20k I sigh call he has 78o

Evaluation: This is another annoying spot when I face a donk bet but obviously I can’t fold the flop. Maybe I should raise but these spots do confuse me most of the time. In hindsight I think the river is a fold as the bet check bet line is normally always a value line and I don’t beat beat much I guess.

Hand: AA

Position: bb

Blinds: 3/6/1k

Stack depth: 70bb

Action: mp opens to 16k from a 150k ish stack I make it 40k he flats flop AJ9r I c bet 24k he say “40k pre and 24k now? I’m all in then” he has JJ and I hold.

Evaluation: This was 67o and A5o guy so we had had some battles before this hand and he had made a few sarcastic comments so this one felt extra good. I think pre my sizing is pretty standard with the stacks oop. Flatting here would be fine too but I think this player might have spazed off to me vs my 3 bet. The flop I figured betting small might cause him to spaz off too. It really made me laugh with the speech that he showed up with what he thought was the nuts.

Hand: 66

Position: HJ

Blinds: 4/8/1k

Stack depth: 75bb

Action: I open to 16k the bb relatively unknown shoves 103k I call he has ATo I win

 

Evaluation: I opened with the intention of calling the 13bb jam as I would be getting good odds vs his range and I win the flip. I think this is a spot you should always already know what you’re going to do vs a shove. E.G. 98s is an easy raise to fold AT+ 55+ and KQ are all raises to call and theres probably some grey area hands, I think 22-44 are more awkward but I wouldn’t want to raise fold them.

Hand: QQ

Position: mp 6 handed

Blinds: 4/8/1k

Stack depth: 90bb

Action: utg tag but kind of unknown opens to 16k I make it 40k he flats flop J74r I c bet 36k he calls turn 6 brings FD he checks I bet 64k he calls leaving about 160k river Kx we check he has JJ

Evaluation: Pre I think I have to 3 bet to get it in when we’re 6 handed (he had 30-35bb) The flop looks good for me but I had a strong feeling I was behind I bet slightly smaller than pre as I would in a lot of 3 bet pots. The turn is quite good and creates potential for a lot more bad rivers so I bet a little bigger with the intention of folding to anymore action and checking back every non queen river. The river is kind of bad but I wasn’t going to bet anyway and he has JJ. I think I lost minimum but more importantly I think I wasn’t ever going to lose anymore, I just had a strong feeling I didn’t have the best hand here so I guess the hand was ok  overall.

Hand: AKo

Position: utg

Blinds: 5/10/1k

Stack depth: 55bb

Action: I open to 20k the sb calls flop Q8xssx I have As we check turn brick spade so I have NFD we check river Tx we check he has 55

Evaluation: I think this is a good spot to bet the turn to protect my range, I think when he doesn’t bet the turn he is either going to fold equity which is always good or call and we have what should be 10 outs to the best hand, also I can barel river if I think he’s going to fold.

 
Hand: K8dd

Position: bb

Blinds: 5/10/1k

Stack depth: 55bb

Action: HJ opens to 20k from a 235k stack I defend flop AK7r I check call 20k turn 5x we check river A I check he checks I win

Evaluation: I think this is a good hand to defend vs the HJ open, the flop is a simple check call and when he doesn’t bet the turn I should have the best hand but it’s also hard for him to have showdown. I think I can value bet the river but he shouldn’t really ever be able to call with worse, because checking I think he will check back and value betting I think he will fold I think this is a good spot to induce a raise, so if I bet around 18k-23k he might find a random raise sometimes which we have a good hand to call with.

Hand: AQo

Position: mp

Blinds: 6/12/2k

Stack depth: 40bb

Action: guy that’s opening literally every hand opens to 25k I make it 60k the bb shoves around 200k it folds to me I call he has AKdd I get there

Evaluation: I think I can flat the open here but AQ is going to be so far ahead of his opening and raise calling range I think it’s a better way to play the hand here. I wasn’t sure how competent the bb was here but it is actually a really good spot to jam and even if he doesn’t have any bluffs here I have to call so I do and unfortunately he has AK and luckily I get there. Pre it’s 140k to win 449k so I need 31.2% for the call to be profitable so it’s a snap.

Hand: AKdd

Position: sb

Blinds: 6/12/2k

Stack depth: 60bb

Action: utg opens to 24k from a 350k ish stack utg+1 calls from a 15-20bb stack I make it 80k everyone folds

Evaluation: Pre I’m against a 30bb stack and a 17.5bb stack so I just want to 3 bet to get it in, I think I can size it a little smaller because of the stack sizes, my standard size would be 96k 100bb deep but with these stacks I think 72-76k would be a little better. Also in hindsight I think flatting here would be fine because I’m suited and my hand plays well post, if I flop TP it will be TPTK and i’ll be happy to get it in and i’ll lose minimum if I miss and also I don’t waste my hands value the times both players fold. I actually think I like a flat more in this situation.

Hand: 23dd *(Michael added this but I left it because I found it funny)

Position: bb

Blinds: 500/1000

Stack depth: 1000bb deep

Action: nit 15xs utg I snap flat bb because the hand is too good to 3bet but can 3 bet to induce to 5bet get it in. Flop a45ddd I decide to flat call and turn comes a. I snap overjam and he snaps. He’s drawing dead.
Overview
I’m golden

DAY 3:

Sheffield grand final day 3

Hand: QQ

Position: utg 6 handed

Blinds: 8/16/2k

Stack depth: 50bb

Action: I open to 32k the big stack calls from mp rest fold, flop 943r I c bet 39k he calls turn T brings FD I bet 81k he folds

Evaluation: standard open pre, the flop is really good for me and I’m going straight for value as I would bluff this flop a lot, the turn is an ok card and I figure I can go for 3 streets here sometimes so I bet 81k into 178k which is a slightly bigger percentage of the pot than I bet on the flop, I think I prefer a 75k bet here as it looks a little weaker, I don’t mind a check but I want to secure 2 streets of value as a minimum if I could and when he calls the flop he should have showdown of a float and he didn’t seem the type to go crazy or bluff excessively so I thinking continuing on the turn can get my more value from the hand overall.

Hand: 86hh

Position: btn

Blinds: 8/16/2k

Stack depth: 50bb

Action: I open to 32k the bb big stack defends, flop 875hh so I have TP and an open ended straight flush draw we check turn 7x he checks I bet 37k he calls river Ax he checks I bet 75k he folds

Evaluation: This flop is crazy good, I literally have everything. I check because I would check this range a lot to give up so it can be a good spot to induce bluffs. Also all the “scare cards” for my range that he can barrel will be good for my range. He checks the turn so I bet for pure value and he calls and the river is a good card for my to value bet so I bet kind of small so I can be called lighter and also with the intention of calling a raise as all the draws bricked, I do block a lot of them but I should always have the best hand here unless he has the nut flush draw on the turn but this I’m almost certain would lead the turn.

Hand: KQo

Position: bb

Blinds: 8/16/2k

Stack depth: 50bb

Action: folds to the sb who opens to 32k I flat, flop 345ssd we check, turn 6d he leads for 33kish I flat river 6s he bets 65k I call he has T7o

 

Evaluation: I can 3 bet for value here but he was a good player who would probably 4 bet or fold and my hand plays really well post as well as being under repped so I think calling is the best option especially with my odds. The flop is one I’m expecting him to almost always check and I can bet but I do still have showdown and I can never get worse to fold but I do fold out his random hands equity so a bet here might be ideal considering I have my full defending range which should(?) hit this flop better than his opening range. The turn is pretty bad and he leads which I expect him to do with full range now and I flat, I don’t like this call tbh and wouldn’t normally make it but leveled myself a bit. On the river he bets again and I was thinking I should  have a straight or 2 pair type hands every time here so it’s awkward for him to bet without a 7 when I flatted in position on the turn, I was thinking he will show up with A7 or air and found the superhero when it’s a clear fold tbh, more because he can be turning 1 pair into a bluff here too as well as A high. I think this was probably one of my worst played hands of the tournament.

Hand: 98ss

Position: sb

Blinds: 8/16/2k

Stack depth: 35-40bb

Action: the btn opens to 32k I make it 81k he flats, flop AQ6ccc I c bet 63k he calls turn 9x I check he bets 75k I fold

Evaluation: The btn was competent and aggro and he had been opening every btn and I had folded every sb so far so I was waiting for a good spot to 3 bet bluff and this is the perfect hand to do it with as I’m not dominated by his calling range and it flops really well, also I think I can get folds a lot. my default size oop here would be 80-96k and I wanted it to be a spot where a jam was too big and it would be with my stack, I think 96-99k would be better sizing here to deter more calls and still know a shove would be too big for him. The btn flats which isn’t the best result but it isn’t too bad. The flop is really bad and literally gives me 0 equity so I can either C bet give up or just give up. Generally I always bet really small on these boards as the times people have no FD and no pair they’re just going to fold so I’m happy with my c bet sizing of 63k into a pot of 188k meaning i’ll only have to generate folds a kind of small percentage of the time. When he calls I’m just giving up as it’s a tough spot for him to float with air and I don’t think I can generate enough folds with multiple barrels and I didn’t want to just bluff out of the tournament on day 3 of a big tournament.

Hand: QQ

Position: co 5 handed

Blinds: 10/20/2k

Stack depth: 27bb

Action: I open to 40k the big stack in the sb calls and kasouf calls in the bb, flop J75r they check I c bet 50k into 130k the sb makes it 120k I flat, turn 9h brings FD he leads for 155k I have around 400k in my stack I shove he has 55

 

Evaluation: So this was the hand. It was one of the toughest spots I’ve ever been in tbh, I generally don’t tank very much but I must have tanked on the turn for about 2 minutes. So my open to 2x is completely standard with my stack and I get 2 calls which is fine, so the pot is 130k and the flop is J75r, the key thing with this hand is that the flop is rainbow. So I c bet a pretty standard amount multiway 50k and the sb raises to 120k. So I have to put him on a range and figure out how I’m doing against that. Prior info here is this guy 3 bet the sb vs my HJ open before with AT and he was happy to 3 bet get it in before so I think I can auto take out AK AA KK and QQ from his range. With the stacks I believe I can take out AQ and JJ too. I don’t believe he can call pre here with J7 J5 or even 75s because of the stacks and his position, also the bb can still have pretty much anything so his range is very strong here in theory. I don’t believe he would raise AJ for value here although I’m not sure and my hand is only one better which means if he has a value hand I have to be behind and these are 77 and 55 after what I’ve ruled out. So I have to try and work out a semi bluff range which could be 89s (double gutter and BD FD) 64s 68s(I think he 3 bets or folds these) and maybe T9s. I haven’t played with him enough to know if he could ever show up with 89s or T9s type hands here or maybe a KQ type hand he has turned into a semi bluff, I’m clutching to find these hands I’m ahead of tbh but it’s really hard to say whether he is balanced when he makes this raise. I was told he was a cash game reg so I figured he must balance in most spots but theres a lot of other factors here. My thoughts at the time actually took 55 out of his range because realistically he can’t set mine here with my stack depth and he’s oop so to me 22-66 would be a 3 bet to call a shove or a fold pre flop. I think 77 is on the edge too but I think a flat is very justified but 55 will just play so bad with a flat there and I assume he’s a very good player. So I decided to flat the flop raise instead of shove and re evaluate on the turn but most likely not fold as 77 was in theory the only hand I lost to and he could probably show up with 98s sometimes maybe and potentially a KQ or AJ maybe. The turn is a 9 and brings a FD and he bets again and all I was thinking was does he really have a set, is he really going to raise a set on this dry board and the more I thought about it the more I just thought it’s so unlikely for him to have one of these 3 combos of sets and to have played it this way too and I just thought I guess at this point he can’t fold much to my shove but I’m sure I only lose to 77 and I shoved over his bet and he had 55. This felt pretty horrible because if I can get away I have a very playable stack and I think I should. There just isn’t enough bluffs and can put him on here and I just can’t see him going crazy with a worse hand and value owning himself. I think calling the flop isn’t the worst but I honestly now believe the turn is a fold. I think it’s a really tough one and if theres a FD on the flop I always 3 bet jam and go broke but in this situation I think I should fold. The fact I was deep in a £200k gtd tourn almost made me make it but I just couldn’t and it’s really annoying but hopefully I’ll be able to next time.

 

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