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Graph and Stats for the month..

Posted by cardman021

Hey Guys,

How's it going? Just did some database review last night for this month's grind.. Played a bit less than my set goals.. But anyway, having bit of a hard time posting photos here. So I played 30k at NL2 started around mid Feb. WR is 16bb/100, hope you guys can either teach me how to post photos here so you can see my stats. Or just visit my blogspot account which is,

And just leave some comments here..


That's it for now, will be posting goals for March soon..



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Do You Have This Costly Leak? Introducing the Diamond Star Effect

Posted by preachercasy151

I was coaching an excellent player this morning, when an interesting scenario arose. We were reviewing a Sit N Go that he had played, in which he reached Heads-Up against a guy who is generally considered the best player in those games. A particularly strange hand saw villain take an extremely non-standard line, which left my student flummoxed.

What was his thought process? I encouraged my student to talk the hand out from the start. Several different possible reasons for villain’s strange decision-making in the hand were discussed. None seemed credible. ‘Why did he decide to make that move?’ asked my student, obsessed with unravelling the truth: ‘he must have had a reason’.

Here’s the thing. Villain did have a reason. It’s just that the reason was not what my student anticipated.

Villain screwed up.

Nothing simpler, nothing more complicated. He misplayed the hand. He lost track of where he was, of the flow of the hand – a side-effect of multi-tabling. His move made no logical sense, because there was no logic to it.

My student had made the cardinal error of associating villain’s undoubted technical quality with infallibility. Of considering an elite SNG player to be superhuman and incapable of error. His reason was understandable, if misguided. To understand this, you must appreciate that villain is something of a legend in the low-midstakes games; a regular leaderboard-topper, who plays more tables with a better winrate than anyone at those stakes.

The Halo Effect is when a Person A’s judgment of Person B’s character is skewed by their overall impression of Person B. For example, it is common for us to think a movie star a cool person because of a role that they played. Or that a politician is a good decision maker because they dress well and have a strong physical presence.

This was its poker equivalent: the Diamond Star effect.

On Sharkscope, Diamond Stars denote the top players at each limit. Villain possesses several Diamond Stars. However, that does not mean that he makes the optimal decision at all times. It takes him a few days to play one thousand games; errors are guaranteed. My student gave too much respect to villain’s reputation, and attributed merit where none was due.

We see this in football. In Scotland, Celtic rarely get beat at home, regardless of how poorly they play. They have a bigger budget and better players; however, this is not the sole reason for their imperious home form. Their apparent invincibility is a daily topic in the red-tops and on the sports shows. Players at ‘lesser’ clubs are treated as irrelevant by the media, whereas Celtic’s players are rated as demi-Gods. When they take to the turf, the visitors afford their exalted opponents too much respect, and might as well be 1-0 down by kick-off.

Deference does not win battles. Opposition that you consider to be of superior ability can be overcome by playing them, not their reputation. If you are a profitable, hard-working player, then you must trust your decision-making and problem-solving skills, regardless of your opponent. Sure, the best players make fewer mistakes than most; however, you can be absolutely certain that these do occur on occasion. So if it looks like a mistake, and it smells like a mistake, then it probably is a mistake. The esteem in which my student held his opponent determined his reaction, despite the evidence that suggested that villain simply misplayed the hand.

How often do you fall into the trap of thinking that excellent players always play every hand optimally? I know that I have made this mistake before, and I would bet that I will make similar errors in logic in the future. However, the first step towards eliminating a leak is to recognise it.

Christy Keenan is a poker coach, writer, and player. He has a Master’s Degree in Sport Psychology, and specialises in decision-making in competition.

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How to Effectively Conduct a Poker Session Review

Posted by BlackRain79

How to Conduct an Effective Poker Session Review2


"How do you do a session review?" is one of the most common questions that I get asked. Since I have never covered this topic here on my blog before I thought I could put something together now.

When I answer this question often this first thing that I say (to their dismay) is that I don't actually do a session review most of the time. At the risk of sounding condescending I think that regular session reviews are better for less experienced players who are having trouble in spots that they are not overly familiar with. More experienced players who are better at making adjustments on the fly or have simply seen all the spots before won't benefit nearly as much.

I have played something like 7 million hands of poker online and 99% of my decisions (at least at the micros where I play the vast majority of my hands) are automatic. If I am playing a different format or taking shots at higher stakes then sure I will review my hands after most sessions. But after a typical session at NL25 for instance the vast majority of the time I do not look at anything unless I am in a really bad downswing which I will talk about a bit more later.

The reason is that due to having played so many hands at these limits I have been through the same spots versus the same player types many times before. I have probably reviewed it in the past and come to a conclusion on the best line to take. Therefore reviewing the hand later would not really serve much purpose for me unless I thought that my conclusion was wrong. My approach to these games only changes slightly over time. Yes the games are always changing, as everybody loves to point out, but the actual changes on a month to month or even year to year level (at the micros at least) are negligible.

With all of that said, I do think that regular session reviews are a very good thing for less experienced players (I used to do them much more often) and for everybody when in a downswing or moving up.


The Value of a Session Review

Newer players should review their sessions to find out what mistakes they are making that are either costing them money or not allowing them to get enough value. But really the biggest reason that they should conduct session reviews is in order to think about the game themselves. Those who have been through my book will know that it reads like an instructional manual of sorts (if A...then do B etc.) because this works at the lowest stakes. However, nearer the end I implore the reader on several occasions that learning how to think the game through on their own is the only path to big success in this game.

You can only follow what a book, training video or coach tells you to do for so long before you get to levels where the players are too sophisticated to fall for "ABC" or even so called "advanced" strategies. This is because the elite players are able to detect your strategy and find ways to counter it on the fly. Your book, training site or coach won't be there in real time with you to help you counter-react. And this is the real value of conducting a session review. Learning how to think about a hand quickly and determine for yourself what the most profitable line is to take is how to succeed in this game.

This is a scary concept for many people. Many people seemingly want someone to hold their hand all the way to the big game these days. I am sorry but it doesn't work that way. My own experience at the micros clearly shows this. There was no "Crushing the Microstakes" or equivalent for me to read when I was starting out. There were no training sites or micro stakes coaches either. I had Pokertracker 2 though (the best poker tracking program at the time) and developed many of the strategies myself that would later give me huge success at these stakes and be detailed in my book.

I spent hours pouring over hands in PT2 finding out what I was doing right and what I was doing wrong. I also played a ton of hands so that I could utilize huge sample sizes when looking at the profitability of certain spots. This allowed me to be statistically near certain in my conclusions.


Keys for Conducting a Session Review

Ok so I have already kind of alluded to how I go about a session review but let's break it down a little bit more.


1) Mark Hands During Play

This is the obvious starting point. Most of the hands that are going to be of interest to us in the session review are the ones that gave us trouble. Hands where we were sort of lost as to what to do. It obviously makes sense to simply mark these hands for later review during play. This way you will not encounter problems later on remembering which hands they were and where they are in your database.

I use Pokertracker 4 because I think it is the best poker tracking program available right now in 2014. Marking hands is super easy with it. On the poker table just hit the tag button at the top left beside the PT4 emblem chip.

From there you can simply select a recent hand and choose "review" from the dropdown menu. You can also tag hands that are in progress and/or that you aren't even involved in. Just because you aren't in the hand doesn't mean that it won't be useful to you especially if a good reg is involved (more on that later). This process is very simple in Hold'em Manager 2 as well.


2) Review Marked Hands

Now that you have marked your hands during play you can go look at all of your hands for the session in PT4 and click the box "Show Marked Hands Only" to narrow it to only those ones that are of most interest to you. If you have used multiple tags then you can select from the menu box to the right also.

(Right Click Image and Open in a New Tab to Increase Size)

I don't want to waste time on bad beats so I like to have the All-In Equity there. So for instance the hand above where I lost several stacks getting it in with a set of Jacks won't be worth looking at because I had 82.42% equity when the money went in. It was just a bad beat.

What I am really looking for are hands (usually medium sized losing ones) where I felt lost in the hand or I feel that I got outplayed. Coolers and bad beats happen to everybody. Learn how to differentiate them from the hands that matter and don't spend much time on them unless there is a legitimate theory concern.


3) Ask Myself Questions

So as I said, the hands that interest me the most are ones where I felt that I was lost and/or got outplayed. They aren't always losing hands but generally they are. What I want to do now is take the time to accurately configure my opponent's range. More specifically I want to ask myself questions such as:

  • Given my opponent's actions throughout the hand thus far, our relevant history (if any), my image and the board texture what range of hands is he likely representing here?
  • Give this range did I take most profitable line in this hand or was there a better option?

This is the thinking through the game yourself part that I was alluding to before. You have all the time in the world now to consider the situation. Put your opponent on a range yourself. Given the board texture, your hand and any relevant history what is the most profitable line to take against him?

This is the heart of the session review and what will carry you forward in the future to become a better player. There is no point in just spamming all of your marked hands on some random forum and getting a bunch of crappy advice and a tiny bit of good advice. If you are truly lost even after reviewing the hand then fine, post it. Or better yet ask somebody who you know who is a strong winning player what they think. But above all, you need to take the time yourself to find the most profitable line. This is how elite players approach the game.


4) Big Losing and Winning Hands

The newer you are to poker the more that this next step will matter. If you tend to stack off with overpairs or top pair hands when your opponent has taken a line that is so obviously a two pair or better hand then you are going to need to spend a lot of time looking over your big losing hands. This is something that I had to do a lot of early on before I smartened up and learned to make correct folds.

Something that is also a big problem for a lot of newer players is not getting enough value out of their big hands. If this is the case for you then you need to spend some time looking over your biggest winners and ask yourself if there are portions of your opponent's stack remaining that you could have gotten. If the answer to this question is frequently yes then that is a big problem for your winrate.


5) Small/Medium Losing and Winning Hands

Same thing here. Another big problem for a lot of newer players is not getting enough thin value bets in and calling river bets when it is obvious that they are beat. You need to ask yourself the same questions. Could I have gotten more out of this player if I played it a different way? Or conversely could I have lost less in a certain hand if I took a different line or analyzed his range a bit better?


***Question from the comments of this post (on my website): How do I sort by pot size?***

You could just use filters. In Pokertracker 4 go:

More Filters > Hand Details > Pot Size and Stack Depth > Pot Size and Stack Depth - Hand Total. Enter the amount and click "Add to Filters."

(Right Click Image and Open in a New Tab to Increase Size)

I would probably make it between like 30bb-100bb for small/medium sized pots and 100bb-500bb for big pots.

Or if you don't want to bother with filters then you can just click on the "Won" column above where the hands are and just find the 30bb-100bb pots yourself. When reviewing hands in the replayer I prefer to just grab a bunch at once. You can do this by left clicking on one hand, holding down the "shift button" on your keyboard, and clicking on another hand to highlight several. Now right click anywhere in the highlighted hands and add them all to the replayer.


When in a Downswing or Moving Up

I do think that it is a good idea for everybody to do regular session reviews when in the midst of a bad downswing. I know that this is the time when I am playing my worst and therefore I use these session reviews to keep myself in check more than anything. So I will be heavy on #4 and #5 above. Is it really just all coolers and bad beats or is there tilt on my part? If the latter, what steps can I take to prevent it from happening in the future? If the former, then it is out of my hands, there is nothing that I can do except try again tomorrow.

I also regularly conduct session reviews when I move up or play higher stakes than I normally do. My opponents will be better and may present me with problems that I have not seen before. Also, given the relative lack of information that I will have on my opponents the answers aren't quite as easy to arrive at in real time.


Database Review

It would probably be better if I just devoted an entirely new article to this (I will actually do that next time) but the next step is doing an overall database review. This involves using filters for broad spots where I think I am having trouble. This can be as vague as hands where I simply raised preflop to hands as specific as I had AKo OOP, 3Bet preflop, missed the flop, fired a CBet and got called.

Lastly, something that I have always been big on is reviewing the games of those at my stake who I think are better than me. It amazes me that so few people take advantage of all the free information that they have on the top crushers in their own game. Never I am looking to completely copy their game. My own play style is what works for me already. What I am trying to do is incorporate those aspects of their game that I feel they do better than me, into my own game. Or perhaps just spend some time understanding how they think about the game in general. This can only make me a better player.


That is all I have for now. I hope you guys are having a great start to 2014! Please leave any comments below that you have concerning session reviews and hit one of the share buttons below if you liked this article!

Nathan Williams aka "BlackRain79" is a microstakes grinder, poker coach, DragTheBar instructor and the author of Crushing the Microstakes. Now available in Spanish and Russian as well.

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Posted by cardman021


Base on the title, yes I'm proud to say I'm a Nanonoko fan lol..I'm Jay, 27 yrs old.. I live in the Philippines with my wife and 2 kids.

Been posting some hands here before, and I also have a blog in DeucesCracked.. Decided to discontinue posting there since I'm not getting too much response.. So I gotta try DTB :)

I currently have a blog, or more of a personal journal actually.. Decided that it will always be better to have an actual blog where other players can see either my progress or my spewing lol. That way I can get some advise as well.. Anyway please take a little look at some of the post there, there's a lot actually, bec as I said that's a personal everyday journal(just to explain myself). Just to give you idea where I'm at currently. And will start posting here as well but not like everyday or twice a day or something lol..

That's it for now, I did BTW post a database review earlier so if someone can take a look at it and please leave your comments below(Here) that'll be awesome..

Happy Grinding..


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Buddathon Week 1

Posted by GiantBuddha

I'm just 8 days into my Buddhathon and I've already discovered what a wonderful and stupid idea I've come up with. That's pretty much how I roll, so I should just deal with it.

On the poker front, I've played a little more than 10,000 hands. That's not exactly on pace to hit 100,000 by the end of the month, but goals are made to be broken. Or is that rules? The list of excuses is formidable:

  1. I never play more than 6 tables.
  2. It takes up to 30 minutes to get 6 tables running on NJparty.
  3. NJparty bumps me off every 90 minutes, forcing me to get new tables.
  4. NJparty often crashes before 90 minutes, just for fun.
  5. is even worse than NJparty.
  6. Sometimes there are fewer than 6 tables of the stakes I play.
  7. The other sites are worse and/or have less traffic.
  8. I made two videos and wrote a book.

Now that I've sufficiently buried the lead, let me tell you about my new book. It's more of a booklet, really. 8,000 words. It's called Turn Your Hand Into A Bluff, it's available on Leanpub, and it's a collaboration between me and Dusty Schmidt. It's about turning your hand into a bluff. More specifically, I get into The Math of how you decide whether your hand has more value at showdown or as a bluff. There's also a section titled The Not Math. That part's filled with guidelines to help you find the best play without crunching a lot of numbers.

This is Part 2 of Poker In Practice: Critical Concepts, and as such it contains 10 real-life hands, thoroughly dissected. It's just $2.99, so it's a bit of a steal. That's funny, because, like, bluffing.

Anyway... back to the grind. At a minimum, I want to push my way through $.10/$.25 this month. I've been running like garbage, suffering from "they always have aces" syndrome, or TAHA, but things will turn around. They always do. Small sample size and all that.

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February Buddhathon 2014

Posted by GiantBuddha

January is over. The Year of the Horse is here. That means this immovable object is getting ready to become an unstoppable force.

February is my least favorite month. Good thing it's short. 28 days. Four years ago, I managed to do something pretty useful with 28 days. I did this Grindathon, where I locked myself in my apartment building and played 200+ hours of poker, made 28 poker videos, and did 28 video blogs. I raised a few grand for some causes and made ten times that playing poker. It was a good month.

So yeah. I'm gonna do that again. I'm playing smaller stakes these days. It's part of my 2014 poker plan. I want to put up statistically significant winning samples at every limit from $.05/$.10 through $5/$10. Ideally, I'd like to get even higher than that. Maybe I'm dreaming.

In January, I eked out 31k hands of nickel and dime with an 8.90 bb/100 win rate. My all-in EV adjusted win rate was 13.62. That gives me 99.8% confidence that I'm beating that limit. I'm gonna call that statistically significant and move on up to $.10/$.25.

Dime and quarter poker is still the micro-stakes, but I imagine there are more decent players there. Weren't many of those at nickel and dime. Regardless, I hope to give the limit a sound thrashing for 50k hands and then play another 50k hands at $.25/$.50. That's where you can almost start making some money to live off of.

So if that's my February - 200 hours, 100k hands, and pushing through 2 limits - then in March I'll be ready for $.50/$1. Maybe that's optimistic. I'd call that an upper-quartile outcome. I need to run good, play well, and keep improving. Still, it doesn't sound like that much of a challenge, does it? Let's make it harder, then.

I'm also going to spend about 90 hours working on four new poker booklets, Parts 2 through 5 of Poker In Practice: Critical Concepts. That's a lot of writing and not a lot of time. I can write between 500 and 2000 words per hour (or up to 3600 if it's just a stream of consciousness), so the actual writing won't take a terribly long time. Maybe 30-odd hours. But then there is editing, proofreading, publishing, and shameless self-promotion to think about. All in all, it's a lot of work.

We're still only looking at 280 hours of work, which is a 70-hour work week. So let's tack on up to 7 new poker videos for DragTheBar. We're three hours in and I've already knocked one of those off the list, so maybe this will be easy.

Then again, probably not.

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