Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Bankroll management

It’s interesting to read people’s thoughts on bankroll management. Often you read that for full ring limit poker the required bankroll (for a winning player) is around 300BB. I assume that is 300 big blinds as opposed to big bets. Then people point out on the forums that 300 was the requirement of the old days – being a few years ago, when players were much much looser, and online poker was easy money.

Playing shorthanded, I obviously am subject to a higher degree of variance than full ring, so I’ve decided to be quite conservative with my bankroll management. At the moment with a $4k bankroll I’m still playing a lot of 1/2, however, I have no problem with playing 2/4 as well whenever I see a juicy table. I think I started taking shots at 2/4 when my bankroll was around $3k, but at that point the table had to be very fishy.

I’m not sure that I’m actually winning at 2/4 (I will have to check Pokertracker), however, there has been a dramatic increase in my bonus clearing rate, which would probably make up for fewer playing winnings.

So I guess as far as my bankroll management goes, I like to have around 1,000 big bets in my roll before I climb up limits. When will I take shots at 3/6? Hmmm, maybe when I have $5,000, but probably more like $6,000. I think I’m heading towards the upper limit of my comfort zone of how much I like to have riding on individual hands, although the actual $ don’t influence my playing decisions. The other reason I think I’m getting more conservative as I go up, is that the opposition is obviously a lot stronger, so my win rate will obviously go down.

So far I don’t think I’ve ever tilted enough to join a table that is outside of my bankroll. (and I don’t think I tilt too much at all, but that can be a topic of another blog).

With respect to SitnGos, I think commonly recommended is 30 to 100 buyins. I think that with the SitnGos that I play (double ups), I’m sure you could get away with the lower end of the scale. Admittedly after playing nearly 100 I’ve made only about 20 buyins profit. And this is only at the $5 or $10 level. Over that 100 I’ve never experienced a super bad run, although I did manage to only double up on 3/10 at one stage. I think I’ve doubled the last 7 out of 7 though, and have had a few similar runs in my 100 tourney sample. That being said, 100 tourneys I’m sure is an extremely small sample.

How has the poker been going otherwise – well up and down as per usual. I had a shocking run the other day where I
Received hardly any starting hands (VPIP around 15)
When I did get a hand, it never hit (WTSD around 25%)
When I did get to SD, I was getting sucked out on or had second best all the time (W$SD 18%) …. Someone hitting trips on the river 3 or 4 times in the few hands that I played was extremely frustrating!
I ended up losing a quick $100, however, at the same time cleared my $150 sun poker bonus.

On the plus side as well, I have almost cleared all my bonuses for the month, with only an hour or so to go on William Hill as a must clear. Cake I have a couple weeks to clear a $300 bonus, however that is released in increments of $10. I will focus on Cake for a while, and then try to clear my Chan bonus, and maybe do another $100 reload on Sun.

Current bankroll: $4,250

Sunday, February 24, 2008

table and seat selection

I can't stress how critical table selection is. I occasionally get lazy and don't table select or seat select very well, and inevitably it costs me some of my bankroll, or I dont make as much as I should.

My current rules for table and seat selection for 6max limit poker are:

  • VPIP over 40% (and preferably higher!)
  • Loose / passive to my right, and preferably 2nd to my right as well (better to be able to check the big blind rather than fold to a raise)
  • Tight player to my left and possibly 2nd to my left (I like to steal blinds!)

That's really about it ... although if there is a maniac on the table, I dont mind them on my immediate right. Sure i will fold a bunch, but when i do get a hand, he/she will pay :)

So, how is the poker going now? Well, I haven't really been playing too much, but maybe put in a couple hours. Had a decent run, with both luck going for and against me, and have made a few more dollars. Can't remember too many hands of note, as most have played fairly straight forward. The last hand I can remember was pocket 7s on the big blind, where I got raised. Flop 7d8dQs and I check raised. He checked, I raised a blank turn. River was an A which I still bet and got raised, so I reraised, and he flips over AQ.

I had someone else 4 bet me pre flop when they were in a steal position and I had the button with A9s (yes i knew he was an over aggressive stealer). He showed down with KTs unimproved!!

Current bankroll: $4,099

Monday, February 18, 2008


Thought i'd just start this entry with my current software that I use for poker (where sites allow it).

I currently utilise Pokertracker for all my statistics recording, and Gametime+ for a HUD. I'm debating switching to Pokerace, as i've found that Gametime+ needs at least an orbit for you to run it, whereas pokerace will come up straight away ... any thoughts out there?

I find Pokertracker to be vital in both analysing my own game, and then in feeding the HUD to view other players' styles, and to select my seat at the table - or whether to even play on a table in the first place if its too tight! (but that can be another blog entry)

So far playing 6max limit holdem my key stats per pokertracker show
  • a VPIP of around 28
  • PFR 20
  • AF 2
  • WTSD 40%
  • W$SD 51%

I'm currently pretty happy with my VPIP (voluntarily put in pot) where I loosely utilise the Stoxtrader guidelines, with some adjustments for opponents. I think I can comfortably say i'm happy with a preflop raise of 20% and an aggression factor of 2. For my went to show down, I suspect 40% is a little bit too high, and i'd like that to read closer to 38 or 39%, which should also increase my win $ at show down %.

As far as poker playing goes, I think i've done about 8 hours or so since my last blog (I had the day off work yesterday - but also had to keep my new kitten under control). It started poorly, as I dropped a quick $80 the day after my last post. I then proceeded to have a shocking run of bad beats, which included

  • Twice having the nut flush only for the board to pair on the river to lose to a full house
  • 3 times having the top pair or better, only to have a gutshot hit my opponent on the river
  • 3 times having AK with the flop including an A against AX where X is less than 10 and X hitting again on the river
  • Twice having the nut straight only for a flush to hit on the river

Having said that, I also received a Party poker reload, which I only took up for $15 (15% at 8x points), where i quickly proceeded to have a super hot run of hitting every flop on a super soft table with people calling me down and making $150 in about 15 mins on 2/4. I also noticed in my email today another one from Party offering a $60 bonus, so i'll have to see what kinda deal I get there, and might end up taking that one up too.

On the bonus front, i've got 3 hours to go on William Hill to finish that for the month, 150 more MPPs on Sun Poker to clear $150, and i've still got a heap on Cake left to clear within the next 20 days or so. The supersoft games on party are tempting as well though ....

I also played the William Hill RTR freeroll yesterday, and managed to crash and burn. Overplayed a middle pair, and then ran supercold eventually having to push with A6s .. oh well.

Current profit: $3,960

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Poker books and reading

I am the kind of person that likes to have a pretty good idea of what i'm doing before I jump in (as well as learn to improve as I go). So in order to do that I have purchased a few poker books and also regularly read websites/forums.

In the beginning I got bored quite quickly with full ring games, so I quickly narrowed down my game choice to 6max limit poker. (I really should look at no limit at some stage, but am doing okay with limit for now)

To work out what I should be doing, I purchased Stoxtrader's book, winning in tough holdem games and Limit Hold'em: Winning Short-handed Strategies by Terry Borer. Admittedly I do make a few adjustments because I play in softer games, but i'd highly recommend the book.

I also regularly go to the twoplustwo forums, in the bonus sections and shorthanded sections, which often provide useful pointers or reinforce particular strategies.

Now, onto yesterdays play. Probably played a little over an hour 2 tabling cake poker for a while, and then 2 tabling sunpoker for a while when the cake tables disappeared. At the same time i played a couple double up crypto SnGs. Managed to make about a $70 profit, including doubling up on both the SnGs.

Couple hands of note. One in the cash game where I made a pretty big mistake on the river. I had AK and was the aggressor, and on the flop QTs had hit, I continued to bet, and actually hit the J on the river, however that was also same suited, hitting the possible flush draw of the one caller. Out of position I bet the river before thinking that I am an idiot and should have just checked as its unlikely a worse hand will call, and a better hand would 3 bet. If I had checked it could also have induced a bluff ... end result was my opponent folded to my bet, and I breathed a sigh of relief.

One hand in the double ups I had a stack of about 2,500 chips, and UTG (v loose) had a stack of about 1,000. UTG limped in, couple other limpers and i was in the big blind with 94o and checked. flop was 947 rainbow, so I lead out with a pot bet of around 100. UTG called, rest folded. Turn was a K, and I pot bet for 200, which was raised for another 200 by UTG. I called. River was a Q, and I thought I may be in trouble but could still be in front. UTG pushed all in for the remainder of his stack. I decided to call having some faith in my read I suppose, and he flipped over AA. That gave me enough chips to basically fold for the win. I guess he shouldn't have slow played his bullets :)

Current bankroll (profit): $3,870

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Current sites and bonuses

Here’s the list of what I’m currently clearing / receiving:

  • Fulltilt – 27% rakeback, and earn 500 FT points per month to qualify for the freeroll
  • Sunpoker – 40% rakeback, and a $200 reload clearing at 5 MPPs per $
  • William Hill – 30% rakeback and £5 per hour for the first 5 hours
  • Chan Poker - $250 bonus clearing at 5 points per $
  • Cake Poker - 33% rakeback, $600 sign up bonus, 1,000 raked hands to qualify for the freeroll. (only a month to go and still half to clear!!)

argh, i have a lot of work to do over the next month or 2. I better not sign up for any more as i've only completed the fulltilt one so far this month!!!

Past bonuses completed:

  • Hollywood Poker - sign up bonus
  • Pokerstars PSO bonus – I still have to clear the $50 sign up part though (5 mths to expiry)
  • Party Poker - various reloads
  • Fulltilt - $600 sign up bonus, $75 ironman bonus, $75 bonus


I've been an online poker player since July 2007. Yeah i'm a noob, I know, but everyone starts somewhere.

I basically play short handed (6max) limit poker, and try to grind out decent bonuses/rakeback mainly through cash games, although i've recently started playing a few SNGs just for fun.

I started with a bankroll of $600 on fulltilt with 27% rakeback, and initially cleared the $600 bonus to get me started playing mainly on the .25/.50 and occasionally the .5/$1 limit tables . I currently have a profit of around $3,800 and play mainly $1/$2 and am now occasionally taking shots at $2/$4.

Okay I figured i'd start a blog as a bit of a reference point for the future, as well as to indicate my current thoughts, and hopefully people can make suggestions on where to play next, or what are the best bonuses!! I'm only a grinder so I can't see anything too exciting happening, but I am hoping for a (somewhat) steady increase in funds :)

Current bankroll (profit): $3,800