Monday, July 16, 2007

Return Of The Blog

It has been nearly a year since my last update. Where has Soultwister been?

Busting the tables still, or busting his bankroll?

A bit of both, but in my favor.

Around the time of my last update I switched from playing limit to No Limit. Why the switch?
As the saying goes, the key to limit poker is about trying to put your opponent to a decision for some of his chips. That was not good enough for me, I want them to make bad decisions for a large part of their chips.

Further, skill matters even more in NL than in limit, and it is a hundred times more fun. Correct bet sizing, position play, player reads, trying to make equity calculations on the fly, inducing bluffs for value and more factors like those make No Limit Hold'em the best game for me.

What limits did I play in NL?

I started out playing on $.10/.25 NL 10-max, working my bankroll up towards $.5/1 and a bit of $1/2. , though the later limits were all played shorthanded on 6-max tables.

6-max is where the real money in poker cash games is. First you will be playing a lot more hands per hour, secondly the average winning rate in BB/100 hands seems to be better. The combination of those makes it much more profitable then playing full-ring.

So how did I do?

From august up till march I withdrew a total profit of about €6000, so around $8200. I made a big mistake though, which is withdrawing too much money constantly spending it on RL things and leaving an online bankroll too small to adapt to big swings.

During april I noticed the error of my ways. At the end of april I had $2900 less online compared to the 10th of that month, even while the total loss of that month was only around $300, and actually still slightly profitable because of rakeback.

In the beginning of June I lost my last bankroll on Full Tilt Poker and leaving myself with an online bankroll of only $1200.

But was this because of variance, bad play or bad bankroll management?

It's a combination of all three factors, and this is also the reason why I returned to Blogging.

The last few months I've spent most my poker time analyzing my play and was shocked at the conclusions I could draw from it. I was terrible at making correct value bets, did not give other players enough room to make mistakes, did not look good enough at the pot odds I were offering my opponents and picked some of the worst spots for bluffing.

When analyzing a hand history the best way for me seemed to be to put it on paper, look at all factors involved in the hand and try to extract every bit of useful information you can find in it. Results of the played hand do not matter, even the most basic hand can be pretty interesting and give useful information to use at later times.

I also returned to the poker forum I used to post in when I played limit before, . It's a great place to post your thoughts, ask for other people's thoughts about played hands, or comment on their played hands yourself. Take a look at the forum if you haven't been there before, it is a great forum for beginners, novices and advanced players.

I will use a different approach here with my new posts than I used to. I'm no longer going to worry about the results of hands/situations posted here, or just worry about the optimal play, but rather am going to use these hands as a means to work out or explain concepts which can be used as a means to improve my game. And hopefully this will also help readers to improve parts of their game.

There will also be a lot more math involved in these posts. Even while the different calculations used to calculate the equity of a hand, required fold equity and other factors of the game will be very hard to calculate on the fly while in a hand, but after making many calculations like these, it becomes easier to estimate the expected value of different options or situations better.

Yours truly,

"Keep your friends close, and your enemies to your right."


Blogger Buzz said...

Great blog Soultwister ... good to see it revived. One thing, I'm curious as to your HH review method - do you mean you literally wrote it out step by step on paper? Be very interested to hear about your process, this is something I want to get much better at!

5:03 AM  
Blogger Soultwister said...

Good to see you like it Buzz :)

The way I am reviewing my hand histories is just by following a few steps.

First I schedule some time to review my hand histories from earlier session(s). That can be 30 minutes, 2 hours, or a whole afternoon.

I start out the standard way, which is looking at the big pots I won/lost in one or more sessions to look for obvious mistakes I made, and to make notes on players.

After that, depending on how much time I have left, I take some random hands and try to dismember them completely. I try to look at all the information available and all options I had in the hand. So if I called on the turn in the actual hand while raising seemed a viable option, I am going to figure out what the correct raise size would be.

I generally write those out as a draft as if I'm going to post them as well. I found out that reviewing HH's in more words makes it easier to discover inconsistencies or flaws in your logic.

Another important factor is bet sizing. At the table bets may get sometimes pretty automatic, but when I'm looking at HH's, I'm looking at bet sizes as if I am going to make a bet in that situation thousands of times. With the goal of making better estimates of proper bet sizing at the tables.

I am even thinking about buying a laptop soon and spending like 2 hours after work in the pub each day so I can do my 'homework' better. I seriously think that my bankroll will be a few digits larger in a few years if I study the way I play well enough compared to just playing and grinding out the game. Besides, it's fun too.

5:01 PM  
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