Friday, January 30, 2009

Cold .. but could have been worse

Had to put in a few more hands on Ladbrokes to make sure I finished in the top 3000 for a $100 rake race prize. Here's the results of the session

Game level: 2/4
Hands: 144
vpip: 23.61 (and thats even with a passive fish on my right)
pfr: 20.83%
wtsd: 17.8%!!!!
w$sd: 14.29%!!!!
Amount lost: $29.75
BB/100: (5.16)

Interestingly with stats that terrible, I should have lost around 40BBs, but only actually lost 7.5BBs. Why? Well, mainly through cbets on the flop or turn getting everyone to fold. They basically kept me alive during the session, as can be shown in my AF:

Flop: 3.29
Turn: 2.5
River: 2.5
Total AF 2.92

If they hadn't been folding to my air cbets, it woulda been ugly. Was I playing against muppets? .. yes. Did someone 4 bet me preflop when I had AA and he had 87o only to flop 456r. Yes.

I still need to do an end of month summary for January, and give a bit of reload/rakeback/bonus news.

However, as a heads up, for anyone interested, RakeTheRake are doing a double rakeback on william hill for february and have increased their rake race. In total the rakeback is effectively 60%!!! So feel free to sign up :)

Current bankroll: $16,100

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Looking forward to next month

I am really looking forward to next month, and not really because this month has been relatively poor results-wise, but more for some additional table selection opportunities.

Since i've completed my Interpoker bonus, and raked enough on Ladbrokes for a race position, there's just no point in playing on either of those sites. I've also cleared my Cake bonus, so I rarely play there as well at the moment.

When you throw in my hour of play last night having very few tables worth even sitting down at (including ipoker), hardly any running on bodog, super tight tables on fulltilt, and its quite frustrating only having a single table open.

In the end I threw in a couple of the stars double ups, which I cashed in both. Also managed to actually make a few BBs on Bodog, and could easily have made a lot more, but the two muppets to my right managed to hit a 2 outer twice on the river for 15BB pots. Ack. Surely these fish are going to pay me off sooner or later .... I just need to keep plugging away.

Anyways, bring on next month, so I can also table select from Interpoker and Ladbrokes, and hurry up and give me a reload cake!

Current bankroll: $16,100

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A question of interpretation

If you read this, how much equivalent cashback would you expect to be receiving?

"100% up to $500 first deposit bonus released automatically at the same rate as the cash back deal (points are not deducted from your account) 30% cash back deal with our VIP Club. Points can be cashed at anytime. Both offers run concurrently. It’s like having double the cash back while you have the bonus."

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Bankroll creeping

Played about 40 minutes yesterday between Bodog and Sun. I'm getting somewhat skeptical on the rakeback rates quoted by Sunpoker, as it seems to be a lot closer to 20% at my VIP level than 30%. (and then double it for the deposit bonus). Might need to flick them an email.

I played up to five tables max in that time, but it was one of those sessions where the fish kept leaving or busting out so i'd have to close tables. I ended up playing on 20 different tables in the 40 minutes which is basically the opposite of when I had my cooler the other day and could stay at each table for hours at a time.

Having to constantly close tables and find new one's though is somewhat distracting for your game (although the HUD makes it manageable), but it means I also don't have much of a feel for how i'm going for the session as each time I close a table it will be effectively adding to or subtracting from my overall bankroll. I guess I don't really see it as that important to know exactly how i'm going during the session. As long as i'm playing well, and table/seat selecting well, I'm confident the results will come in the long term.

This time it was a nice surprise to see at the end of the session when I closed all my tables my bankroll had crept up around $100, and the majority of that was from Bodog. Finally the fish actually gave me some back. As long as they keep doing it for about another 400BBs i'll be back up to expectation.

I also played a satellite freeroll, which was another interesting experience. I decided to play it fairly aggressively, and was prepared to go all in with top pair early hoping to double up. For the first few blind levels no one really played back too much, and I tripled my stack. Then it went a bit pair shaped when my AJ was no match for an A9 short stack with A on the river. I stole a few more blinds to get back into slightly better than terrible shape, when my KQ was then no longer good enough versus a shortstack QJ on a Q high flop. A couple hands later I get AK UTG with only about 4BBs left and push all in. The medium stack in UTG+1 calls me with A4s. He flops a flush. gg. I still dunno how you tourney guys do it ....

Current bankroll: $16,050

Monday, January 26, 2009

Some volume - super cold streak

I did actually get in about 5 hours of poker over the weekend which is a fair bit for me.

On Saturday I played a three hour session on Bodog, where I had four tables open for almost the entire time. On three of them the two players to my right had a vpip of over 50% and on the fourth one player to my right had a vpip of over 60%.

What then followed was one of the worst sessions i've ever had, and in 900 hands I managed to only get to 30% of showdowns and of those I won 30%. A quick bit of math tells you that results in running at somewhere around -16 to -20BB/100. A little more math tells you, that's a loss of 180BBs. (And just remember how fishy those tables were to add insult to injury ....)

Obviously there were many horrendous beats in that time, but I think my play actually stayed fairly robust. I didn't play any more hands than I normally would, although I maybe have called down three hands a little lighter than normal versus a maniac who was bluffing all streets quite regularly. Then again, maybe I wasn't incorrect in those plays.

My next session of the weekend was an hour on Sunday, where I played a little bodog and won back about 20BBs, and also opened some $2/4 and $3/6 on Sun where I ran like turd again, to drop 10 and 15BBs respectively. So now i'm down about $500 in about 4 hours of play for the weekend ....

Monday I get in another hour (public holiday here), and finally run semi okay to win back around 10BBs at $3/6 and just another 10BBs at $2/4 whilst running down until the last few hands at $1/2 to end up by 20BBs there as well. Thankfully my Bodog reload bonus also came through for this month which gave me a bit over $150. It is kinda handy also when losing at $1/2 but winning at $3/6, every one BB win makes up for a three BB loss.

Having a look at bodog, i'm now 225BBs down from peak, with my downswing at worst hitting 275BBs. And that's against total fish. Ouch. Looks like $4/8 is a bit of a way off again on Bodog .. Like about 150BBs at $1/2 ...

Surely this month will turn around soon, and i'll get a heater???

That being said, if I take a big step back and look at my results for the month, i'm still up by $150 (with probably another $100 to come from the Ladbrokes rake race). I've also not put in a huge number of hours for the month, and I still really enjoy the game. It still feels very much like i'm playing for fun, and any win, no matter how small is like icing on the cake.

Current bankroll: $15,950

Thursday, January 22, 2009

A poker schedule

Given my main game is generally cash, i've really had no need to develop any sort of schedule as I can just jump in and out of games whenever I please. A small caveat on that however, is knowing that in the mornings (Aussie time) there are the most tables running (and hence the most fish) and evenings can be fairly dead.

That being said, now that I qualify for several affiliate or VIP freerolls every month I really need to work out when they all occur, as I managed to miss a couple this month. These tournaments are often worth playing as they can be worth the equivalent of a $100 buy in. So, for now i'm basically qualifying for Cake, Sun, Interpoker sometimes and occasionally Fulltilt when I play enough hands. Add in the occasional PSO freeroll, or another affiliate and I should be able to play 3 or 4 every month.

Admittedly i'm not going to get up at 3am to play in these, but if any are starting at a reasonable time (say 6am onwards) when i'm not working, i'll give them a punt. I think i'll just add them to a calendar somewhere with a reminder to make sure I don't miss any in future.

I played for all of 15 minutes last night, and got involved in the biggest pot i've ever seen on a limit table in terms of BBs. Here's the action (sorry for the lack of a converter, but I keep getting conversion errors with Bodog):

Hold'em Limit ($1.00/$2.00)
Table 'Oakland Hills (max 6)' 6-max Seat #5 is the button
Seat 1: txbyrd ($82.25) (23/5)
Seat 2: wod8o5 ($57.75)
Seat 3: kzkam ($91.00)
Seat 4: edtilldawn ($127.00) (unknown)
Seat 5: SCRAPPY4441 ($32.00) (fish 60/3)
Seat 6: HERO ($96.25)
HERO: posts the small blind $0.50
txbyrd: posts the big blind $1.00
HERO is dealt [Qd,Qh] SWEET!
wod8o5: folds
kzkam: calls $1.00
edtilldawn: raises $1.00 to $2.00
SCRAPPY4441: calls $2.00
HERO: raises $1.00 to $3.00 (always prepared to cap here obviously)
txbyrd: folds
kzkam: calls $2.00
edtilldawn: raises $1.00 to $4.00 (okay that's not really a good sign - AK? AA-TT?)
SCRAPPY4441: calls $2.00
HERO: calls $1.00
kzkam: calls $1.00
--- DEALING FLOP [Qs,2h,4s] (amazing flop apart from the flush draw)
HERO: checks
kzkam: checks
edtilldawn: bets $1.00
SCRAPPY4441: calls $1.00
HERO: raises $1.00 to $2.00
kzkam: calls $2.00
edtilldawn: raises $1.00 to $3.00
SCRAPPY4441: calls $2.00
HERO: raises $1.00 to $4.00 (omfg i've gotten to cap this 4 ways still!! yes)
kzkam: calls $2.00
edtilldawn: calls $1.00
SCRAPPY4441: calls $1.00
--- DEALING TURN [5h] (sweet, basically a blank)
HERO: bets $2.00
kzkam: calls $2.00
edtilldawn: calls $2.00
SCRAPPY4441: raises $2.00 to $4.00 (fish reraises? bah, i'm happy to 3!)
HERO: raises $2.00 to $6.00
kzkam: calls $4.00
edtilldawn: calls $4.00
SCRAPPY4441: raises $2.00 to $8.00 (hmm fish caps. odd ... trips? surely not a flush draw?)
HERO: calls $2.00
kzkam: calls $2.00
edtilldawn: calls $2.00
--- DEALING RIVER [8s] (hmm flush draw has hit with 4 runners .... not nice .. maybe someone had AsKs pre?)
HERO: checks
kzkam: checks
edtilldawn: bets $2.00 (hmm)
SCRAPPY4441: raises $2.00 to $4.00 (oh oh)
HERO: calls $4.00 (now I could lay down here, although i'm getting 18:1 so I decide to call with top set even though it doesn't look good)
kzkam: folds
edtilldawn: calls $2.00
SCRAPPY4441: shows [3h Ac] (ummm .... grrrrr ... and no one even had the flush ... f me)
HERO: mucks
edtilldawn: AsAd
SCRAPPY4441: wins main pot($75.50)

Anyways, scrappy the fish then donked most of that off in the next few hands, and at least gave some back to me. Wish I could have stayed to take the rest of it. Overall I ended up about even for the session between Bodog and Sun.

Current bankroll: $16,150

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Bankroll tracking - where is my money?

I've had a few queries recently about how I track where all my bankroll is when i'm playing on so many sites.

The simple answer is - an excel spreadsheet. Its pretty basic, but does the job, with each day running down the rows, and each individual poker room, rakeback accrual, ewallet, total withdrawn and interest accrual running across the columns.

Every time I log out of a site I update the current balance on the spreadsheet for that particular site, and at the end of the day or start of the next day copy the row down.

I also use the comments field to note any transfers made, normally between my ewallet and a poker room.

Effectively I have my bankroll currently spread across ten different poker rooms which is down from twelve the other day when I cleaned out a couple. I have one more to clean out which will take me down to nine active rooms.

For interest my current nine active rooms are: Fulltilt, Bodog, Pacific, Interpoker, Sun, Party, Cake, Pokerstars and Ladbrokes. Of those i'm mainly playing Bodog, Interpoker, Cake, Sun, Fulltilt and Ladbrokes currently. (Although once I get the handgrabber I may play some more pacific. Would be nice to receive a reload bonus first there though).

How much bankroll do I leave on any particular site? Generally I will withdraw down to 100BBs if I get up to 200BBs on any site. Since I make this assessment at the $3/6 level, effectively I withdraw every once my bankroll goes a bit over $1,100 to put my balance back to $600.

I actually played another 45 minute session last night, and made my deposit on Sun to pick up their first deposit bonus. Sun is now on the ipoker network so I have been set up with a grandfathered deal from raketherake. Ipoker actually looks fairly good - a lot of tables running so plenty to choose from, although almost all had active wait lists, and many looked too tight to be worth playing on. Still, managed to open a couple up with position on a fish and made a few BBs - which was offset by losing a few BBs on bodog. Bodog struck again when I turned the nut flush on a board that read 5339. The middle position villain obviously had 53 for a flopped boat.

Current bankroll: $16,150

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Lobby table selection

Often it seems pretty obvious on which tables to select when you're in the lobby of a poker room - just pick the one's with the highest percentage of players seeing the flop and jump into the table or add yourself to the wait list.

There can be a few problems with this though - if a huge fish has just left the table, then the players seeing the flop percentage may now be significantly lower (particularly in 6max). Even worse if you're on the waiting list and one or two of the fish have just busted out, and then you take your seat to replace them often you'll find yourself sitting next to good players and potentially on a table full of TAGs.

Furthermore the accuracy of the players per flop figure may also be questionable, as it depends on how many hands it is calculated over. If its calculated over a lot of hands, then the actual players on the table may be vastly different from the average calculated due to player turnover.

Natural variance may also impact the figures displayed if a number of players have been dealt decent limping hands several times in the last couple orbits.

So, how do you work around this? Well I rely on my own player notes and HUD to actually check the individual players on the table I sit down at. Normally I don't bother to check them before sitting down unless there are two vacant seats to sit down at. However, once i've sat down, priority number one is to check that the player to my right is a loose fish. I will occasionally accept a tight, but very passive player on my right, if the player to his right is a complete loose passive fish.

Where I don't have a HUD I still rely on my own player notes, but I also go back to the Lobby every so often to check that the table hasn't tightened up too much overall.

For example, I put in a 45 minute session last night between Cake and Bodog. The only decent table on Cake was a $3/6 table showing a very nice looking 60% players seeing the flop. I added myself to the waiting list. About 30 seconds later I was sat down when a seat became vacant. To my left was a player that my notes said "Huge fish. Nrly 100% vpip. Will SD ANY pr on dang brd m/way". To my right my notes said "Tag? OR first in. T8s or co. Vbet top pair". Given that, I stood up straight away, waited for the seat to fill and added myself back onto the wait list.

After about only another two minutes I was seated again, on the left of the fish. Happy days. Even happier when first hand in Tag raises, fish calls, and I have 44 in the BB and flop 864r. So about 10BBs up after one hand. Next hand KK, and I end up heads up with the fish, who actually has JJ on a T high flop with two hearts. Third heart on the river gave me some concern but he just checks, so in two hands i'm up 15BBs, and have great position on a big fish.

Next 30 hands I get nothing though, except probably a decent chunk of rakeback with the fish playing every hand and another fish also playing most hands with the other three on the table being quite aggressive three betting preflop and the flop, leaving me to simply fold. Eventually I did score a couple more decent hands that the fish called down with me in position, and left the table 20BBs up.

On Bodog I added myself to the wait list of the two $1/2 tables that were running. Eventually I was seated, but had a tag to my right, so again stood up without playing a hand and added myself back onto the waiting list. A couple minutes later I was on both tables with good position over a couple passive fish. They promptly sucked out on me a couple times, and I was quickly 15BBs down. Ack. However, by the end of the session, they'd given me back all my losses, and donated me another 20BBs before one of the fish left and was replaced by a TAG so I closed the table.

Add on a bit of rakeback, and the day's progress was actually very good.

Also got an email from Sun saying that on top of the 30% cashback, they are doing a deposit bonus that will match the cashback, which is not deducted from MGR, so effectively 60% cashback. I sent a query email on how long till it expires and am waiting on a response, but i'll probably take up the offer.

Current bankroll: $16,150

Monday, January 19, 2009

Just one showdown ....

.... win would be nice.

Well, the best laid plans didn't come to fruition last night, and I ended up playing for a bit under half an hour in total instead of putting in a longer session.

I had no trouble finding some great tables, albeit mostly at $1/2, however, I managed to get pounded by the Bodog fish again, and in 80ish hands I did not win a single showdown. Its not like I wasn't getting decent starting hands, although admittedly my VPIP was down a little at 23%.

However, AA got cracked by T3o, and then again five hands later against the same player's JTo. KK couldn't stand the heat of Q6s, and my QQ failed versus 83o. So for those hands that I actually could play, I got more than my fair share of premium hands. They just happened to go quite badly.

Anyways, that's another 40BBs off the bankroll, but hopefully if I can get in a bit more volume over the next week or so, I can make some up. I'm still confident I should be smashing the bodog muppets, even though i'm again showing a loss at the tables after 17,000 hands, and i'm now a bit further away from $4/8 again.

Current bankroll: $15,950

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Freeroll fail

As planned fired up my freeroll, which ended up having about 80 runners for $5k prizemoney. Interesting at least 20 of them would have been sitting out, so with the top 15 being paid I figured I had a fair chance of making the money.

First hand I find myself with 44 in the CO, and its folded to me, with only one real player to come after me with two others sitting out, I make a small 3BB raise which surprisingly gets called by the only player. Flop is 10 high, so I make a half pot cbet, which gets called, turn check check, river check check and he shows 77. So after one hand i'm behind the guys who havent even bothered to turn up.

After that I get nothing ... absolutely nothing for then next 30 hands, and only manage to survive by stealing a blind every orbit with complete trash, and for some reason nobody ever plays back at me. The structure seemed pretty quick as the blinds were up to 100/200 after only 40 minutes. At 100/200 though I find myself down to only 6BBs, and decide to push with 88 UTG. I get one caller from the CO who has me covered by about 300 chips, and he flips over A9o. WTF? And of course an A flops, and my gutshot or 8 misses on the river. gg.

Played a few cash tables at the same time, and Bodog continues to mess with my head. I seemed to get rivered consistently, and in my hour and a half for the weekend I had a went to showdown of 30% and a W$SD of 35% to put me 25BBs down at $1/2. F me. On the other hand the Cake tables were at least slightly more generous, and I ended up about 20 BBs on the $3/6 tables but down about 15BBs on the $2/4 tables. At least I ran about even for the weekend, and finished off my monthly Interpoker bonus for a small profit.

I'm getting further away from playing $4/8 on Bodog, but a lot closer to making a withdrawal from Cake as I am still running hot there by the looks.

Its a slow month so far, but I should get in a few more hours later in the week. Hopefully I'll have a decent run.

Current bankroll: $16,050

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The fish come out on Thursday?

Pity I only had about 20 minutes to play, but it was almost the opposite of yesterday. Fish everywhere, although most tables were full so I had to wait, but even so I basically had 5 tables up and running simultaneously with good position on at least one fish.

Also unfortunately for me I had a horrible start on an Interpoker $2/4 table and found myself down about 20BBs in the first 5 minutes, including some muppet 3 reraising me on the turn with only a gut shot draw, only to obviously hit it on the river. His T7o was too good for my AJs on a J82r flop.

I made most of it back on a $3/6 table though where the guy on my right was playing 90% of hands, and if checked to would bet with any two cards. I called two river bets, one with K high and another with A high for him to show down 8 high and 9 high respectively. Admittedly he was sucking out quite often versus a couple other guys on the table, so it was nice for a change that the fish was giving me their money.

Although I ended up basically even from the tables is looks like the pound has lost against the dollar again, so my bankroll actually dropped a few $. Oh well.

I signed up for another site through RakeBackStat just in case I ever get stuck without a large site to play on without any fish.

I've also qualified for a $5k freeroll on the weekend and surely i'm due for a decent tourney performance ....

Anyways i'll leave you with a bit of an inspirational link. If i'm ever feeling like whining or complaining about life i'll have a look at this. He also has some good tips on exercising at the gym. A quick warning though - there may be a swear word or two in the clip.

Current bankroll: $16,000

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Finding the fish - Wednesday's suck

Played about an hour and a half last night, and is was a huge battle to find some fish to play against.

Not only were there relatively few tables running across Ladbrokes, Bodog, Interpoker and Cake, but those that were tended to be fairly tight, or the vacant positions were to the right of the fish.

I ended up playing mostly $3/6 and a handful of $2/4 tables but rarely got up to having 4 tables open at the same time. I probably should have opened fulltilt as well, like I usually do if I can't find enough fish, but it just didn't occur to me last night. I did play a couple sitngos instead though, but busted out of both of them to the usual 3 outer when my big pocket pair got cracked all in preflop versus a muppet.

On the cash tables, I actually ran pretty well, even though I had to keep closing a table here and there when a fish left, and then had to patiently wait for another fishy table to appear. Several times I found myself down to a single table. I guess midweek is a bad time to be playing online poker - there's a severe lack of fish.

I probably should also sign up to another deal or two to give me some additional flexibility in site choice.

Anyways in total I made about 10BBs on each of the $3/6 and $2/4 tables, although it could easily have been a lot more in a couple big pots, where either I missed a big draw - once had the nut flush draw/oesd draw v two other opponents drawing to the same flush - that would have been a big payout. And a couple other pots where i'd flopped trips and some numpty had drawn to their gutshot on the river after huge action on the flop and turn. A decent turn around though compared to recent efforts. I figure i'm due for a good positive run now though so keep it coming.

Current bankroll: $16,000

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Limit holdem = high variance

I've been reading a few articles lately on variance in limit holdem and then general consensus is that since it is a game of very small margins, variance is huge. 300BB swings can often occur and some people even mention up to 750BB swings!!! That would be painful.

What does this mean for me?
  • Well, it means downswings can happen often, and for an extended period of time.
How do I combat it?
  • I keep reviewing my game, and making sure i'm playing correctly.
  • The rakeback and bonus deals I take advantage of also help to smooth out the downswings.
  • Also by ensuring good table and seat selection, and the discipline to quit tables when the fish leave maximises my potential to win at the tables.

Im not really sure what else you can do, other than just put up with variance as a fact of life if you're playing poker.

Given i've written on this topic, its probably relatively obvious that my session last night didn't go well. Again. I played about an hour in total, and whilst I held about even on the $2/4 and $3/6 tables, I again managed to get smashed by some super fishy players at $1/2. I probably lost 40BBs at the $1/2 level in around 120 hands when I couldn't win a showdown to save my life as the fish playing any 2 suited were hitting flush after flush. About 50 of those hands were on fulltilt where I literally did not win a single showdown.

My last hand that I saw a flop in of the session on the $2/4 tables ended with me picking up AA on the button, and managing to get it heads up and capped preflop versus an UTG raiser. Flop was 7 high rainbow, and I ended up capping the flop as well as my opponent is most likely on AA or KK and possibly QQ when he 3 bets the flop. Given I have AA i'm fairly sure i'm ahead. Turn was a blank which he checks and I bet and he calls. River is a Q, and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to guess what he had when he leads out for a bet. And there's my final beat of the night for a 15BB $60 pot. Irritating.

Overall i'm down around 160BBs in my last few sessions. Still hoping it turns around soon! Variance by its nature will eventually turn around and go my way. Also fortunately for me, most of the loss has been on the $1/2 tables, with the $2/4 and $3/6 tables holding up relatively well.

That being said, i'm actually still showing a positive return for January ... just (thankyou rakeback and bonuses!), and I almost have enough points on Ladbrokes to ensure a rake race position.

Current bankroll: $15,900

Monday, January 12, 2009

Poker site review - Interpoker

I thought it about time to post my second poker site review and decided on Interpoker, as it is one of the few remaining skins on Cryptologic, and i'm not sure where the future lies for them. However, I can comment on how they are running currently. (with respect to fixed limit holdem anyways).

  1. Solid rakeback deal through RakeTheRake with 30% rakeback
  2. Additional rake race through RakeTheRake
  3. Monthly freeroll through RakeTheRake
  4. Monthly bonuses simply by entering a code. No need to redeposit. You pick the size of the bonus you want from a number of choices
  5. Bonus is paid in pounds if your account is in pounds, and clears almost twice as quickly as a $ account. (trap for young players - open your account in pounds to get the best bonus deal!!). It was even better before the pound dropped so much in valuen against the $.
  6. Bonuses are NOT deducted from rakeback
  7. Works with Pokertracker
  8. Low stakes double up sitngos are fishy - even I can win :)


  1. Traffic is fairly limited and getting a little worse due to skins leaving the network. Not as big of a drop off as I had expected though
  2. Often every single table in my range ($1/2 - $3/6) is full of tags. But then you get some random times where every table is full of fish. Go figure
  3. Pound or euro tables have a higher max rake - trap for young players
  4. The best bonuses require your account to be in pounds which will incur conversion fees when you deposit and withdraw

Rake structure

Above $5 its a flat 5% of the pot which is actually pretty poor. I'll have to check it as I can't recall it being that bad.

My performance

This is another site where I have had a horribly cold start. Early on I was at -8BB/100 and have gradually pulled that back to a -0.5BB/100. I'm actually positive 2BB/100 at $3/6 and positive 1BB/100 at $2/4, so my stats are being dragged down from getting slaughtered early on at $1/2.

Overall i've deposited $570 onto Interpoker (although my deposits were actually in pounds, hence the odd number), but I am yet to withdraw any money, and have a current bankroll of $1,100. So overall up around $530 in around 5,000 hands.

Included in that i've played around 50 double up sitngos for a profit of $50. The majority have been just $5 games that i've played as a bit of fun for a break from the cash tables.

My current plans

I will continue to take up the minimum monthly bonus that requires 300 points to clear. I'm finding I can comfortably get the 300 points needed even with limited table availability and my limited play schedule. I suspect that the bonus pluse rakeback is equivalent of somewhere near 60% rakeback.

I will also use interpoker for my double up sitngos whilst I still require points to clear my bonus for the month. Even when cash tables are empty, the low stakes double ups often fill up pretty quickly.

I will cease playing Interpoker when either the games dry up even further so that I can't find good games from $1/2 to $3/6 to play while clearing my bonus, or if the pound drops significantly further against the dollar.

Who am I signed up through

As noted above i'm signed up through RakeTheRake. As one of the bigger rakeback providers they've always paid on a timely basis, although with Interpoker it has to go directly to your Interpoker account as it's actually paid by the room direct. RakeTheRake have enough added extras (rake race / freeroll) to make signing up through them worthwhile.

Overall opinion

Interpoker can be a bit hit and miss I find. There are often times when there's not a single table worth playing and its a case of opening the software, having a quick scan of the tables and closing it. Other times you can spot the fishiest of fish and sitting down at several tables is a no brainer.

If you're only playing on a single site, again I couldn't recommend it due to the lack of volume. However, if you're looking for a relatively high rakeback site and have other sites you're playing on at the same time its a pretty decent deal.

I will have to watch the site fairly closely though to see what impact the skins leaving Cryptologic have on the traffic for Interpoker, and whether it remains viable to play on.

Still cool

I fired up Ladbrokes, Interpoker and Bodog in search of some fish to play against. Found a single $2/4 table on Ladbrokes worth playing so I sat down there, and rapidly found myself down 15BB when I couldn't win a showdown. KK was no good versus 67o, KK then ran into AA, and my JJ got rivered by an A. Superbly hot starting hands in the first two orbits .. horrible result. And after two orbits i'm down 20BBs.

On Interpoker I found two tables that had potential out of about 10 that were running at the right stakes. Of those two the first that I sat at ended up being full of tags, so I left after one orbit but was up a few BBs. The second was a little better, until my fish on my right left after a couple orbits and was replaced by a tag. Managed to drop 10BBs in that time though as I again managed not to win a showdown.

Bodog I found three fishy tables, where I had position on a very loose passive on every single one of them. My form from the previous day continued though, and I was soon down 30BBs. I received relatively few premium hands, but they were good enough to see a flop, and continue. Only takes a few suckouts though and i'm getting spanked again. My fish disappeared relatively quickly on two of the tables though, so I didn't get the chance to win it back.

Ladbrokes did turn around though, where the fish decided to call me down a few times when I was betting hard. One had I had A6s in the big blind on a flop of A64, so I was more than happy to reraise a flop bet and take the betting lead on all streets. My QQ also held up against my earlier 67o fish which was the first one that had held up for the day, quickly followed by JJ holding up, and before I know it, i'm back in front on Ladbrokes, and the loss for the session isn't that bad. Hallelujah.

Current bankroll: $16,050

Sunday, January 11, 2009

A cold start to Ladbrokes

For some reason I can't work out how to put a picture in the middle of my post. Anyways the graph above relates to sitngos on Interpoker which I will talk about later in this post.
I managed to get in another two hours of poker over the weekend, as well as a home game friday night for fun.

In my online time, i've cleared the sign up bonus on Ladbrokes, and as a rough estimate I believe I will need to rake another $30 to $40 there to place in the rake race. However, in my 800 or so hands so far, i'm running at a fairly cold -8BB/100, which is mainly due to my W$SD being around 41% instead of 51%. AKo has been a big loser to me, but when I looked into it, i'd lost to some pretty obscure 2 pair holdings, such as 62o, and also to a gutshot and runner runner flush draw. I've actually only had AKo five times in 800 hands so i'm not havin a lot of luck there.

I had found great position on a good $2/4 table with a huge fish on my right who was somewhere in the 95/5/.4/50 range. He had a reasonable stack of $80, and proceeded to donk off his entire stack within about 100 hands. Unfortunately for me, every time I was in a hand with him he hit his miracle outs, and then in the next hand he'd give my loss away to someone else. Frustrating. Especially when I end up down 30BBs.

Did a little better on a Ladbrokes $3/6 table to recover 7 or 8BBs, however, effectively now i'm only break even on Ladbrokes AFTER including the $100 sign up bonus and my $120 Boogster bonus. Hopefully I can run at least a little warmer when I play my last few hands to make sure I place in the rake race!

Interpoker, Cake and Bodog all paid me off 5-10BBs playing from $1/2 to $3/6. Probably made back about $80 all up in relatively few hands split fairly evenly between all three sites. Had a bit of trouble as per usual to find tables loose enough on Interpoker, but did spot a couple that I had good position on a couple fish. On a few others though, I had to quit after a single orbit as they were full of tags, but as i've noted before i'm determined to only play where I have a good edge, so i'm never going to stay at a table like that.

I also hit up 3 double up sitngos whilst I was waiting for decent cash tables to open up. The first was $5, which ended at the 15/30 blind level. I hand't received any starting hands worth playing but all of a sudden I notice there's only three of use left and i'm in the money. Score.

The next was a $15 sitngo where about 5th hand in i'm dealt AA on the button. Folded to me and I raise 3x BB to about 60 chips. Big blind then reraises me to 200 chips. I think about it for a few seconds and 3 bet to 500 chips to which he pushes in his 1,500 stack so I obviously snap call. AA holds up, and with the occasionally steal and not a single further showdown I easily double my cash.

My third double up was only a $5 again, and this one was much tougher, with all 6 players still in at the 100/200 blind level. I open push from the CO with 88, get called by 44 on the big blind who flops a 4, and i'm out. Oh well. Can't win em all.
My Interpoker double up sitngo sharkscope graph is attached above. ROI of around 17% which I think is okay. Haven't played too many as I play them as more of a change up from the cash routine but I will keep playing them to keep fresh (and whilst they are profitable)!

Current bankroll: $16,100

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Read the fine print .... then hope for the best

I usually read the details of bonus offers pretty closely whenever I sign up to a new deal. The Ladbrokes one though is a bit interesting, as i'm not sure having a sign up bonus precludes me from being in the rake race.

I think I am still eligible, however, won't be counting it as an addition to the bankroll until I actually see it in my account. Will wait and see. Even if I just clear the sign up bonus I should be very close to being on the leaderboard, so might only have to play one extra small session to make sure I qualify for a rake race payment. At the moment I rank comfortably in the top 3,000, although i'm only due for a $100 payment. I could send an email to clarify, but I figure its just as easy to wait and see and hope I receive it, rather than point out a potential reason for them not to pay it out.

I played another freeroll last night - the Sun poker migration freeroll. About half the runners were left and I had a stack of about 1,900 where average stack was a little under 3,000 and blinds were 100/200. I opened all in from the cutoff with AKs, and the button big stack then called quickly flipping over QJs. Obviously he sucks out a J on the flop of JT2r. I turn my A though and suck back out on him. River is a K to hit my two pair but complete his straight for one of his 6 river outs to reresuckout on me. Tournaments ....

I also had a few Ladbrokes cash tables running, and proceeded to get pounded for another 25BBs there. My friendly fish that I had position on seemed to think that 62o was good enough to call a raise from my AA. On a flop of 62J it was. I had a quick check of my stats and i'm running at 40% won $ at show down, which is pretty horrid when seeing only 30% of showdowns. Hopefully I can even it back out in the next session or two, as i'm already 2/3 of the way through my sign up bonus requirements.

A rakeback payment stopped the session being too bad for the bankroll, but it would be nice to have a winning session on the tables some time in the near future.

Good luck for the weekend everyone. Back next week

Current bankroll: $16,000

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Poker kickbacks = awesome!

I've already managed to clear my kickback on Ladbrokes. I'd actually forgotten just how quickly kick back bonuses clear. Not really much more than a couple hours play, not even four tabling since the traffic there is so low. Anyways, that's a $120 boost to the bankroll thanks to Boogster . It reminds me how important those kick back bonuses were for me starting out my bankroll last year, so I think i'll have to seek out a few more.

I'm also a little over halfway through clearing my Ladbrokes $100 sign up bonus. Hopefully I can clear that in a couple more hours of play. I realised I didn't need to panic about making it into the Ladbrokes rake race, as I think I am easily raking enough to get in the top 3,000. Will wait for the next rake leader board update to check.

Thankfully the Boogster bonus has offset me for my hour and a half last night of running like stink on the tables, and dropping a good 20BBs on the Interpoker $2/4 tables. So instead of being down for the session, my bankroll has continued to increase .. albeit slowly ...

I'm looking forward to clearing that sign up bonus on Ladbrokes as well - and hopefully I can win a few BBs on the tables at the same time.

Current bankroll: $16,050

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Seat selection vs bonus clearing

Had an interesting dilemma last night. I know i've been struggling to find tables to play on for the Ladbrokes rake race, and again there were only a couple tables running that were even worth looking at.

There were two fish on the table but the only seat available was the seat to their right. To the right of that vacant seat was a tight passive, so it could have been worse I suppose, but normally i'd get up and wait for the seat on the left of the fish to become free.

However, given i'm a bit behind on the rake race, I decided to sit there and play anyways. In my half hour session I dropped about 5BBs, but made that much up on bonuses cleared, and am now also a bit closer to getting onto the rake race leader board.

I actually was a little unlucky on a few hands .. such as flopping trips to lose to a runner runner straight, but overall, I don't want to be playing out of position versus the fish. I think though, that I will still play in that seat whilst i'm chasing a rake placing, but once I get in the money, I will seat select more carefully to maintain my rake position, whilst giving myself the best chance of a good return on the tables.

Current bankroll: $16,000

Monday, January 5, 2009

Back to bonus clearing

The start of each month is inevitably the time to hit up any of the monthly bonuses from my regular sites. Its also when I usually like to sign up to new deals, as often there are other benefits in a new deal such as a rake race that may allow me to pick up some additional cash in addition to the standard bonuses.

So in my half hour session yesterday, I kicked along my Interpoker monthly bonus clearing, although struggled a bit to find any good tables where I was able to have good position on the fish. I ended up only playing a couple orbits there as when I did finally sit next to a fish, they seemed to bust within the next few hands. Oh well. Still ... made about 10 BBs at $2/4 as I hit a couple nice hands.

I also had a closer look at Ladbrokes which I signed up to the other day via RakeAway. I found a couple $1/2 tables that were sort of worth playing on but nothing running at $2/4 or $3/6. In the half hour of only two tabling I cleared 10% of the requirements for my sign up bonus of approx $120, but only broke even on the tables. I also had a quick look at the rake race, and it appears that in order to be in the top 3,000 players to get $100, you need to rake a touch over $4 per day. So that equates to around 80% rakeback - provided other players don't decide to play more and push up that requirement to get into the top 3,000.

Current bankroll: $16,000

Sunday, January 4, 2009

And back to a fair start to 2009 again

Well I kept chasing after mainly the Bodog fish over the weekend and played another two hours in total. Appartently that's enough to win about 60BBs, after my previous cooler. It was mostly at $1/2, however I also won a few BBs on Interpoker $2/4 and $3/6, although struggled to find good position on good tables there.

I've finally pulled my Bodog W$SD over 48% as well, and its sitting at a still somewhat sick 48.3% after 15,000 hands. Very confident that I can increase this further as it should be somewhere around the 52% mark I believe, which would add another 2BB/100, and make my stats look very very good. As it is I now have a positive BB/100 (although only marginally) at the Bodog $1/2 tables.

I also just signed up to Ladbrokes through RakeAway / Boogster and played a brief session. There are very few fixed limit tables running there though, so my appearance on Ladbrokes may be limited to clearing the sign up bonuses and then looking for greener pastures. That being said, the few tables that were running looked kind of fishy so maybe I will give them a longer shot.

Current bankroll: $15,950

Friday, January 2, 2009

2009 - start over

Well, as often happens my heater was followed by a nasty cooler.

My two huge fish on my Bodog tables were running the tables completely. One had a VPIP of 85%, WTSD of 55% and W$SD 70% and was over 100BBs up in 100 hands. I was soon down 40BBs.

Take two a few hours later when I got back on for my third hour's play for the day, and a new fish with almost exactly the same stats strips another 25BBs off me in the space of 15 minutes.

Add on my foreign exchange loss of about $50 for the month on Interpoker, and i'm back below my starting 2009 bankroll.

Fortunately the fishes in my last session then paid me back about 30BBs in the next 10 minutes, so not a total disaster, and i'm back to where I started for 2009. Although probably up a little rakeback and partway through my Interpoker bonus.

I also played another William Hill freeroll, where my AK 5BB raise preflop was not enough to scare off 64s. Flop of K52r and he of course calls my all in to turn a 3 and that's me done. I dunno how u guys do tourneys ... i'd be pullin my hair out. Although I guess I was ready to punch someone in my previous cash session when the fish were sucking out every single hand.

Current bankroll: $15,800

Thursday, January 1, 2009

2009 goals

Time to start thinking of some goals for the next year. I'm thinking I will put in a similar or maybe slightly lower volume next year, so around the 5,000 hands per month or so.

Overall I think i'm getting things reasonably right at the moment, so I thought i'd split my goals for next year into things that I want make sure that I keep doing and others will be on what I want to achieve.

Maintenance goals: (a continuation of what i'm doing now)
  • Results: Average approx $1k per month total return (inc rakeback). I will be more than happy with a bankroll of $26k by the end of 2009, with half of that offline in some income earning investment. Ideally it would be good to produce this result with fewer hours played at higher stakes
  • Discipline: Only play on loose tables where I have good position on either a fish or maniac
  • Discipline: Play within my bankroll and keep tracking results
  • Bonus chasing: Find at least one other long term site to play on (even if it a site I currently use on an irregular basis)
  • Bonus chasing: Continue to research and take up the best bonus deals to maximise my return
  • Research: Continue to check 2p2 and other forums a minimum of weekly for bonuses or specific site news and play advice
  • Research: check out other's blogs
  • Motivation: Maintain motivation through occasionally mixing it up with freerolls and double up sitngos.
  • Motivation: Do not push myself to play when I don't feel like it.

Specific site reload goals:

  • Play the Bodog monthly reloads until conditions change making them not worthwhile
  • Play the interpoker monthly bonuses until crypto is no longer EV+.
  • Take up the cake reloads whenever offered.
  • Pray for a fulltilt reload bonus .. I mean come on .. once every couple years sux.

New Goals:

  • Tournaments: Finally tabling at least two freerolls (mainly for the practice). Although having this goal probably won't change whether I do or don't enter tourneys. Affiliate tourneys always appear to be good value.
  • Reading: Have a read of the harrington tourney books so that I can at least see the reasoning of why i'm making particular moves and apply it consistently
  • Stakes: Get back into more $3/6 tables and at least take a couple shots at $4/8 on Bodog (and with any luck stay permanently there!)
  • Results: Improve my BB/100 by focussing more on seat selection than I did last year
  • Other: Am I going to get into no limit cash games? Doubt it.
  • Tracking: Get round to converting my PT database to SQL ...

Fair start to 2009

Have played a couple hours of Bodog, and a little less of Interpoker to clear my 30 pound bonus for the month there. I think I probably should have signed up for the 60 pound bonus as i've already cleared a quarter of it. Maybe next month.

Interpoker started on fire, up 25BBs in a matter of minutes, before giving back almost all of it over the remainder of the session. I couldn't get anyone to fold to a cbet which was proving costly, although did result in a couple nice payoffs. A couple fish also produced some big river suckouts, otherwise Interpoker would have remained on target for a cracking month.

Bodog was a little different - starting down about 10BBs before recovering that, and then more to end up 70BBs to the good .. although only at $1/2. I had position on some pretty big fish on the three tables I had open, and they decided it was a good idea to pay me off over and over again. A couple fish on one table I realised I couldn't cbet into as they'd rarely fold, so I switched to simply value betting versus them.

I also layed one of the William Hill turkey freerolls (well MPP purchased buy ins) this morning, but busted out in about 200 out of 900 when I pushed with trash attempting to steal the blinds and a limper. Limper called with QJs for half his stack and hit a QJ flop. I have a few MPPs left there so might enter a couple more if they are at a convenient time.

Current bankroll: $15,900