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Rethinking Winning Poker: The Best Graph in Small Stakes Poker

Posted by QTip

The Beast is something like a progressive rake race on the Winning Network. Part of the bbj goes towards creating a prize pool that's distributed among the top rakers on the network.

In mid September this year I was busy working on a fourth book and picking away at the 5/10, 10/20, and 15/30 games that occasionally form on the Winning Network. I had no desire to participate in the Beast. However, I was contacted by the network to see if I would participate in the webcam idea they were trying at beastlive.com. After some prodding, I reluctantly agreed to participate in October. My personality is such that I knew I'd lose a large chunk of my life to grinding that month...can't be getting second place.

The last time I put in serious volume was 2008. I spent most of 2008 playing 32 tables; 24 at PokerStars and another 8 at FullTilt. But I was rusty now and didn't have a good setup to play at the Winning Network. I spent the rest of September creating a good mass-multitabling setup for Americas Cardroom. At midnight on Oct. 1st, I had 35 tables running into the month. I had forgotten how addicting the pace is. Running 2K+ hands an hour is a constant influx of information, and it's a tremendous high for me.

During the first couple of days in October I lost about $5,000. I knew I'd been running rather poorly, but I also knew I hadn't been playing very well. It was taking a while to get back in the groove. I managed to lose very little more after those first couple days, and after rakeback I was breakeven at the tables for the month. The Beast prize was $12,500, so that was all profit for the month. Second place didn't apply a lot of pressure, so I only had to play about 140 hours in the month; which added up to about 250k hands.

November had virtually identical results and December is heading in a similar direction. So what does the best graph in small stakes poker today look like? It looks like this.

 

 

My results in PokerTracker are red numbers, and this is a first for me. It feels weird.

I've never lost over large samples. I pulled my database apart looking for answers. There's always something that seems to be going terribly wrong. At one point in the month I was down 50 buyins in all-in EV by getting allin preflop with AA and QQ. At another point I had actually lost money by flopping sets, and that was over 58 sets flopped. However, after a while, I just realized I'm going to lose money at these tables. I'm always playing between 35 and 45 tables. It's a lot. It leaves an average of about 1.5 seconds a hand. Playing at that pace leaves very little time for thinking, so you have to have a solid grasp on concepts and when to apply them.

Also, at that pace you're bound to have misclicks. I have a handful every 500 hands or so: folding AA preflop, shipping what looks like a flush draw, minbetting a huge hand on the river, etc. As well, my hands are pretty tied when it comes to getting creative with bet sizing. Much of the time I only have time to hit a 3/4 pot button instead of typing in an amount I really want. And sometimes I come out of comatose mode - you know that feeling when you're suddenly in your driveway and you have no recollection of how you drove home? Then it's time to hit refresh on PokerTracker and find out what the heck just happened while I was gone. Up $200?! Get back in that coma!

I do think I could crank out some green numbers if I were playing 25 or fewer tables but I doubt the winrate would be huge. Here's why. Below is a breakdown of my hands from Oct. 1st to Nov. 10th.

 

I'm losing at about 3 bb/100. Does that mean you want me at your tables? Am I a donator? No and no. I'm actually pulling almost 7 bb/100 from my opponents at 25nl. However, it's not enough to overcome the 9bb/100 rake and bbj. I'm pulling almost 2bb/100 from my opponents at 50NL. But that's not enough to overcome the 6 bb/100 rake and bbj. And I'm pulling about 1 bb/100 from the 100NL opponents, but that's not enough to overcome the 4 bb/100 rake and bbj.

I'm beating my opponents, but I'm losing money. I'm not beating them enough to overcome the money the site it taking.

I was a bit bummed about my red numbers for a while, and I'm always trying to improve. However, I've come to a realization. First, I'm winning over $12,000 a month. I don't know any small stakes player doing that in the poker scene today. Second, I've looked at my opponents in my database. On many opponents I have 30K to 150K hands in my database. I've not found any of them with a "winrate" better than mine. Most of them are losing between 4 and 6 bb/100. Perhaps this is just the sample I have on them, but even so, I'm playing more than twice the number of tables these players have going and I'm outperforming them. This has soothed my competitive nature ;)

So all in all, I'm pretty proud of these red numbers. I've looked at my average blind size, and calculated my winrate when including the elite program as well as the beast prize. It's 8.8 bb/100. So I'm putting in about 250K hands a month at 8.8 bb/100. I'll take it. I don't know of any other player with those results today.

I've had to rethink what winning poker is. Traditionally I would have looked at my results and thought I was a losing player. However, winning poker is taking in the whole picture. Coming out ahead inside the framework in which you're playing.

What does this mean for other players involved in the beast? Is all hope lost? Hope for getting first probably is...although I'll likely take a month or two soon to finish up my fourth poker book - and then you can have at it ;) But until then, make sure you're playing a manageable number of tables that allows you to focus. That way you may be able to put together some green numbers as well as get a piece of the beast prize pool. Then you can add those pieces together to have a shiny winrate.

Enjoy your games!

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Four Options

Posted by QTip

Math is the engine that runs results in poker. It's not debatable; it's a fact. Like it or not, that fact isn't going anywhere.

"What's the right decision in this hand?"

If we can agree on our opponent's strategy and we can agree our goal is to maximize expectation value, there's only one way to correctly answer what's the best poker decision. The answer is math.

You don't understand probability? I'll ship the flop, show you my hole cards, and you still can't make an informed decision. How well are you likely to do when I don't show you my cards?

If you don't know the math or have access to someone who does, you will never be able to answer the question, "What's the right decision in this hand?"

If you want to learn to make a good poker decision, you either:

1.Use math to analyze the situation.
2. Copy the actions of someone else who has used math to analyze the situation.

Yes, you can use the second option and be a winning player. Yes, that means you don't have to understand the math to be good at poker. Call yourself a feel player, call yourself what you will, but it can't be denied that what you're doing is copying the mathematical conclusions of people who understand the game at a higher level than you.

This conclusion is not an insult. There's no disgrace in copying good decisions without understanding how they've been found to be good decisions. It takes discernment to recognize the situations; it takes discipline to carry out the good decisions. These are commendable attributes.

Some personalities will be content in copying. Others will demand to go the core of the game and understand it themselves. Have it whichever way you like. But let's not be confused about the existence of different approaches to discovering what's a good poker decision. There's only one way - math.

Four options:

1. Learn and apply math
2. Copy the decisions of others who have done #1
3. Cheat
4. Lose

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The Beast

Posted by QTip

I'm a part of America's Cardroom's promotion called The Beast. They have point system designed and it's something of a progressive rakerace. A couple weeks ago I accepted the invitation to participate.

It has been a while since I've went into grind mode...a good two years or so I guess. In the last few days I've put in about 100k hands battling it out against Matt Amen. It's been a lot of fun so far. But more than that, I've learned - and relearned - a few things. I'll most likely create a video or two on what I've learned throughout the experience. But until then, you can catch me at www.beastlive.com.

See you all in the forums.

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Book 3, Poker Perspectives

Posted by QTip

I'm happy to announce my third book, Poker Perspectives, is in the final stages of development. I am accepting pre-orders at the time. They will be ready to ship before the end of the year.

You can find it here:

http://www.qtippoker.com/poker-perspectives/

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The Doom Switch and Psuedo-Improvement with the Regression Fallacy

Posted by QTip

I’ve always been impressed with how poker preys on so many weaknesses in common human reasoning. Deception certainly runs the industry.

I recently finished Carl Sagan’s The Demon Haunted World. It was a terrific read, and I recommend it to everyone. In that book, he referenced a book entitled How We Know What Isn’t So by Thomas Gilovich. Both these books point out weakness in human reasoning. I’m just getting started with Gilovich’s book, and I’m already in love with it.

One of the first things he mentions is called the regression fallacy. The regressions affect occurs when “two variables are related, but imperfectly so, extreme values on one of the variables tend to be matched by less extreme values on the other.” This can often lead to people taking more from random events than are actually there.

Gilovich gives an example of the Sports Illustrated jinx. Apparently many athletes have felt it bad luck to be on the cover of Sports Illustrated. The feel it jinx’s the athlete because they’ve often noticed athletes perform more poorly after they’re on the cover. While there may be other biases in these observations, Gilovich noted it’s quite possible there is some truth in the observations. Athletes often get on the cover of Sports Illustrated because of exceptional performances. It follows their performance is very likely to regress soon thereafter. Without understanding the principle or regression, athletes attribute the decline in performance to something else, a jinx from being on the cover of Sports Illustrated.

Gilovich gives other intriguing examples of the regression fallacy, and it got me thinking about poker. Perhaps there is some substance to the famed doom switch. For those not familiar, players often feel a poker site throws a doom switch after a player makes a cashout. Things just don’t seem to go as well after that cashout. But, it’s very likely the reason they made a cashout was because the amount of money in their account grew past a certain point, which is likely the result of a pretty nice run at the table. It’s very likely things will not go as well as that session in the future. The statistical anomalies that had you running at 30bb/100 won’t continue forever, unfortunately for you.

I’ve often felt sorry for beginning players because they have little appreciation for the roller coaster ride the game can give a player. This makes it difficult to even find out what’s working and what isn’t. However, you often find players making some change in their game and then start watching the chips come their way. Finally, they’ve figured some things out! Similarly, you’ll often see a player post a graph after they began working with a coach. Right at that point the graph shoots up and to the right. Perhaps there’s something more to this as well.

Players naturally start making changes to their strategy when things aren’t going well. Again, when things are going extraordinarily poorly, we’re very likely to experience some improvement in results soon. Again, the statistical anomalies that you had losing at 100 bb/100 won’t continue forever. So, the player makes some changes to his strategy, and voila! They feel they’re finally starting to put the pieces together.

The way poker preys on our weaknesses of reasoning is why I always start teaching the game on the most fundamental levels. The core of the game is applying math to a set of assumptions regarding your opponent’s strategy (These are the main points to my books Poker Math That Matters and Hole Card Confessions). The more we understand that, the more we’ll be able to escape the mentally troubling roller coaster poker has to offer.

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QTip Poker Webinars – FREE

Posted by QTip

What: Hello DTB Members. I've decided to launch a fun project, QTip Poker Webinars. I'm not sure how long I'll do these, but they'll be free. I'll be using Ustream to host the webinar.

We'll be starting by going through my book, Poker Math That Matters. I'll discuss the content of the book for 30 minutes and then have 30 minutes of Q&A. The questions do not have to be related to the material. Depending on the number of questions, not every question will be answered.

Where: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/qtippoker

When: The first one will be on Sunday February 20th at 11:00 AM EST. I'm probably going to be doing these weekly.

Share the link with your poker friends.

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Releasing My Second Book: Hole Card Confessions

Posted by QTip

I’m excited to announce the release of my second book entitled:

Hole Card Confessions: Hand-Reading and Exploitive Play in Hold’em.

This book presents dealing with ranges in a way I’ve not seen in any other poker book.  I’m confident this is going to be a huge help to players looking to take that next step in their poker game.

The eBook is now released and the paperback will be available for shipments by the 28th of this month.  You may preorder the paperback now.

You can find the table of contents and other information on the book on my website, www.qtippoker.com

Thanks,

Owen

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Semantics Regarding Belief in God

Posted by QTip

I've been struggling to come up with good lines on different terms regarding an individual's persuasions regarding the existence of a god(s). The popular notion seems to have an agnostic sitting between an atheist and a theist and/or deist (for simplicity I'll lump theists and deists together in this discussion). Let's start with some definitions from the dictionary.

Theist: one who believes in the existence of a god or gods.

Atheist: one who does not believe in the existence of God or gods.

In a strict sense, there is no middle ground here. You either believe or you don't. You are in belief or unbelief. If someone should say "I'm not sure", they simply do not believe. So, what's this idea of an agnostic being in the middle of the two? If an atheist does not believe in god and neither does an agnostic, what would be the difference between the two?

Agnostic: a person who believes that nothing is known or can be known of the existence or nature of God or of anything beyond material phenomena; a person who claims neither faith nor disbelief in God .

It's the second part of that definition that throws confusion into the mix since, as we have seen, you cannot hold both sides of the fence. There's an interesting connotational impact of placing the terms agnostic between the other two terms. It tends to throw a very close-minded light on atheism as if atheists are saying they are certain there is no god. However, we'll see this is certainly not the case. In my exposure to atheists, I've yet to meet one with that firm conviction. When given a scale from 1 to 7 with 1 meaning "no god" and 7 meaning "a god", every atheist I've questioned has immediately given a 2. We could determine that these individuals are mislabeling themselves; however, if a person doesn't believe in a god, it seems to me they fit the definition of an atheist perfectly. I'm persuaded things are much clearer if we do not use term agnostic to describe a person's belief or absence of a belief in god.

The terms agnosticism (not the concept however) was coined in 1869 by Thomas Henry Huxley. And to quote wikipedia:

"Agnosticism is the view that the truth value of certain claims—especially claims about the existence or non-existence of any deity, but also other religious and metaphysical claims—is unknown or unknowable. Agnosticism can be defined in various ways, and is sometimes used to indicate doubt or a skeptical approach to questions. In some senses, agnosticism is a stance about the similarities or differences between belief and knowledge, rather than about any specific claim or belief."

Or as Thomas Huxley put it:

"Agnosticism is not a creed but a method, the essence of which lies in the vigorous application of a single principle... Positively the principle may be expressed as in matters of intellect, do not pretend conclusions are certain that are not demonstrated or demonstrable."

So, it keeps things very tidy when we keep to the first definition of agnosticism which describes a person who believes that nothing can be known in terms of the truth of the existence of god. Notice that has nothing to do with the actual belief or unbelief in god. Many people hold an agnostic position on this topic because of the non-natural nature of the topic. Given what we have available at this point in history, it's difficult or perhaps impossible to test and/or observe a deity. While someone may hold that persuasion, they still would necessarily fit into one of the categories of atheist or theist. They may believe there is as god, but admit they cannot know for certain. A good term for such a person could be an agnostic theist. On the other side, a person may not believe in a god, but admit they admit they cannot know for certain. A good term for such a person could an agnostic atheist.

There could certainly be differing levels of an agnostic theist and an agnostic atheist. While they are stating they cannot reach 100% certainty, they may fall anywhere between 51% to 99% certain with their belief or unbelief. Perhaps we might call the difference a weak or strong agnostic atheist/theist. A person claiming to know on either side might be called a dogmatic atheist/theist. Given the nature of the topic, it's easy to see why many people may consider it unreasonable to be at either extreme.

So, notice that since both agnostics and atheists are in unbelief, the term atheist seems to have been reserved for the dogmatic atheist given the connotation of unreasonableness and close-mindedness. Interestingly, there doesn't seem to be a term assigned to an agnostic theist. Perhaps this is because those who are most interested in assigning labels sense on some level that agnostic theism doesn't fit well with a religion that both demands a belief and commissions its adherents to persuade others of its truthfulness.

But, I doubt this clarity will ever find its way to refining the question "Do you believe in god or are you an atheist or an agnostic?"

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The Best $5 I Ever Spent

Posted by QTip

I'm rather frugal with money.   Some might say I'm downright tight.  Others have said I'm the cheapest man alive.  And even still, some have said if I swallowed a penny, out of my anus would come copper wire.  But, I put $5 on the line today.

Doing a project for bookmaker.com, I've become acquainted a bit with of the rules for sports betting.  So, I wanted to see what it was like to watch a game with something other than just enjoying the sport.  PhilN, from our DTB forums, hooked me up with an account at bookmaker.com.

I decided to go with the Cleveland vs. Tampa game since I've had orange and brown in my blood since the day I was born (yes, I hate my life).  The line makers had the total at 37.  I didn't really think the Browns could score, so I choose under 37 and laid down that huge Lincoln.  What an exciting Sunday afternoon it turned out to be.

With 5 minutes left in the game, the score was 14 to 17, and Tampa was ahead.  The 31-point total was getting dangerously close.  The Buccaneers were inside the 5-yard line, and Earnest Graham was looking more and more like John Wilkes Booth.  I was on the edge of my chair.  Then...the most beautiful fumble I've ever seen.  The Browns recover!  And, of course, they can't do anything with the ball!  For once I loved that fact.  The game ends at a 31-point total, and I'm $4.55 richer.  Bookmaker has to HATE themselves for letting me create an account.

But, games are changed forever.  I remember the first time I watched HD TV.  I said "Well, can't go back now."  And so it is with Browns games.  Insta micro-junkie am I.  Love it.

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It’s My Turn to Release a Book: Poker Math That Matters

Posted by QTip

I’m proud to announce that I’ve joined the ranks of the DTB coach authors. I’ve just completed my first poker book, Poker Math that Matters. For now, you can find it on www.qtippoker.com. As many of you know, I’m always thinking of decisions in terms of the two keys to good poker: accurate assumptions and making the best decision. This book focuses on knowing how to make the best decisions based on your assumptions and gives you shortcuts to be able to do it quickly at the table. There are over 100 quiz questions to help you practice the skills and gauge your grasp of the material.

When I first started learning the maths of poker, I had a terrible time. I couldn’t find anything to help me. Most books just gave me useless numbers and others buried me beyond my math skills. This book is designed to leave no reader behind. I start with the basics and work up from there. It’s just what I needed when I started, and I know it will help others in the same shoes. You can find the table of contents at qtippoker.com.

The book will be ready to ship by September 3rd. However, you’re welcome to place a preorder through my site.

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Mercy Mowings

Posted by QTip

How did we start mowing grass? Why is mowed grass perceived as more beautiful? Why is it a public disgrace not to have yours as "beautiful" as your neighbors?

So many people work on their lawn more than they would a part-time job. America spends tens of billions of dollars a year keeping their yards up to some standard. It just seems like we're fighting a losing battle. Go on vacation for 2 weeks, come back to what was a beautiful yard and now it's back to the grindstone.

I conduct what I call "mercy mowings". My neighbors work so hard on their lawn every season. I feel a little bad that they live next to someone who doesn't care. Sometimes they come over and say "Do you mind if we spray some of this weed killer a bit over the property line?" I say "You can have the yard if you want it." They laugh. I say "No, I'm serious."

I guess to each his own. But this just seems like an area where we could all save time and money. If we spent this on further our brains, donating time or making the world a better place instead of fighting a losing battle against nature...idk. Just rambling I guess.

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Peeking in the Mid-Stakes Again

Posted by QTip

What’s up DTB brothers and sisters! It’s been quite a while since I blogged because life has kept me pretty busy. Life with 3 toddlers, a wife, working with DTB, playing cards, and other hobbies keeps me on my toes. I’ve been working on getting my life organized again. I’ve been exercising and managing my time more effectively that past couple weeks. Things were getting a bit out of control. Along with that, I’ve been starting to dip back into the 2/4 and 3/6 games. It’s been a while since I’ve been able to play those. The last time I was rolled for it, my roof ended up needing replaced and so did our 2nd vehicle. So, I had to kiss 60 buyins goodbye in a day. That’s been the toughest part being a pro and the sole income for a family of 5. Things just happen…all the time, and you just can’t afford to be too aggressive with your bankroll.

However, my results at 400 have been very strong so far. This is the 185k hands I have in there so far. This is mostly all poker stars and half FR and half 6max.

So, I can’t complain about that. Hopefully this visit to the mid stakes will go as well as before. Most of this year, I’ve really just been messing with Rush poker. I’ve been playing $1/$2 NLHE FR there. I’ve got bout 80k hands in of that at like 6.6 bb/100. Meanwhile, I’ve lost all my status over at PokerStars, so that’s sort of a bummer. I’ve also been playing a bit over at BCP, and want to do some more of that.

But, that’s been poker for me lately. In terms of my video making, here’s the update.

Poker by Number: This series has a long way to go, and I’m happy I’m starting to reach a more intermediate level in this series. I’ve received a lot of good feedback on this series, so that’s exciting.

NLHE Starter Kit: This is going to be about an 8 part series, and is designed for the absolute beginner. I have part 3 done, but I’m trying to find a good time to insert it in the lobby. I want to make sure I get enough material in there for the more advanced players.

Fancying Full Ring: This is the title I’ve given to the micro FR series I’m doing. I’m doing 3 videos at each stake moving up from 10NL. I have 2 more 25nl vids to release before I move up to 50NL.

NLHE Treasure Chest: I have one I’m getting ready to release called “Stomping Shorties”. I think many will find that helpful. I’m also working on another one for thoughts on SPR. This should be a really cool series when I’m done with it…whenever that is.

Headstrong: This series will probably never end. I’ve got about 7 more vids in mind for it already. As always, it’s just a matter of finding a time to insert these into the lobby. Lesson videos take a long time to make.

I have a new series I want to start before too long called “FYI”. This series will be focusing on developing assumptions about players and classifying them. ..one of the 2 keys to good poker. I also have another one I want to start that should be really creative. Oh…and don’t forget about the DTB Challenge! You can find a link about that at the top of the forum. I think you’ll enjoy that and you can win a DTB hat…the first run of them we have!

Anyway, that’s the poker update from me. I’ll catch you all in the forums.

Later,

Owen

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50k Hands of Rush Poker 200NL Full Ring

Posted by QTip

So, I’ve been playing a fair amount of 200NL FR at Rush Poker. I just reached 50k hands there (The 200NL in HEM that don’t say Rush is before HEM started differentiating Rush and regular). This is all 4-tabling. I feel like I just sat in a beanbag, and I’m wiggling around getting adjusted with the strategy I like there. It turns out the player pool is actually fairly small in that game. I’m familiar with quite a few names there now. I need to take more notes after play because it’s difficult to take notes during play because the names disappear by the time you see the hand. Here are the results:

I’m happy with my results as you can see my all in EV is down about 1000 bbs (550 of which is all-in PF EV). This amounts to another 2 bb/100 on the winrate. Of course, there are other things to be considered with running hot or bad, but, in general I felt like I was running a bit under average. That’s pretty interesting though, because I don’t look at the line-up like I’ll beat it for 9bb/100 as it’s difficult to find someone with a vpip over 17; however, I’m really interested to see the next 150k hands or so. The last 25k I’ve been at 10bb/100, and my all in EV is still down a buyin or 2. But, again, lots of things outside of all-in EV to go into running good or bad. But, I’m starting to feel like I’m developing a really good feel for the game.

Also, I’m really starting to like it. The # of hands is about the same as when I would 30 table…a hair lower. However, it’s a much more relaxing way to get that # of hands. I don’t feel nearly as spent after sessions. Also, getting a session starting is so much faster than 30-tabling, which is really worth a lot over a year of play. I still take my hat off to Full Tilt for innovating this way. I love thinking outside the box.

There are so many things going on in life right now. So many exciting things with DTB, wild things going on in the country, and lots of family fun going on. I’ve got a really great list of videos I have coming up that I’m excited to release. I’ve also started a NL10 FR series that is live commentary. Live commentary is a first try for me. I’m working on getting better articulating my thinking as I’m playing. Anyway, I’ll catch you all in the forums.

Later,

QTip

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All In EV

Posted by QTip

All in EV

So, we’ve all heard about this number a lot in sick graphs, etc. I don’t really spend a lot of time looking at mine; however, I got AA and KK cracked a ton of times today, and I was feeling a little despondent. So, I gave in to my demons and searched my all in EV. Now, I went ahead and looked at it with the filter set to “all in preflop = true”. This would give me a good feel for how things were really going this year in terms of true all in situations PF. Well, sure enough, this year I’m down 17 buyins in EV from all in preflop. So, I started to feel sorry for myself. Then I thought, well, let me check everything in this database. There are a fair number of hands in this database…somewhere around 1.3 million hands. Well…turns out I don’t have much to cry about. Here’s the graph for that:

So, I’m a pretty big luck box over a lot of hands. I was also interested to see that there were only like 4500 times I was all in pf with this sample…especially considering I’m normally tangling with shorties pretty often. So, as is so often the case, when I look at a larger sample, I can stop the pity party. It’s a shame because I was getting ready to open the bubbly. But, you can at least see the sharp decline at the end of that graph and understand why I was in the check out line for some streamers. I’d be interested in seeing some of your graph for all in PF EV.

Tomorrow I’m releasing the beginning of a new video series called The NLHE Treasure Chest. I’m excited about the content that will be in there. I’ve launched a lot of series now, so I have to actually start filling in some of the blanks in the other series I have going.

I’ve been messing with backgammon a little bit everyday and both that game is fun. If you’ve not checked out Robertie’s series on backgammon, you’re really missing a ton of fun. I plan on spending more time on this game and maybe join a tournament here or there.

I also just returned from a trip to Costa Rica to celebrate my 12-year anniversary with my wife. We had a fantastic time, so I’ll have to blog about that in a day or so.

Enjoy your games.

QTip

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QTip: Treat Your Poker Like a Business – Wow!

Posted by QTip

I received my copy of Dusty's book, Treat Your Poker Like a Business two days ago. I just got to start it yesterday because my wife got it in the mail and sat on the couch and read a good portion of it before I had a chance to get my hands on it. This was a first in our house :) My bookshelf is no stranger to poker books, but this is the first one my wife has looked at for that long.

So, finally, last night around 1:30 am, I sat down with the book and started reading. Several times in the first 30 minutes I mumbled "Wow." I'm about a third of the way through the book, and it's already climbed to my top four favorite poker book list. This is saying a lot as I've read over 50 poker books over the last 5 years. It definitely filled a void in the poker literature field as is very engaging and well-written. The contents of the book is entirely unique and extremely inspiring. In terms of poker literature, I'd go as far as to say the material is revolutionary. It gets into the mentality of the online grinder, which I've not seen in print anywhere else. I had never heard Dusty's beginnings in poker, and it has given me a lot respect for him. His story, dedication and advice has truly inspired me to treat my poker more like a business than I have. I'm sure my finances will thank him. So, all this, and I've still 2/3 of the book left. :) Hats off, Dusty.

So, I guess from here I talk about poker books. Here are my favorites:

1. Small Stakes Hold'em: Winning Big with Expert Play - This was one of the first books I read when I was just getting serious about poker. The timing was perfect. This is one of the first books in poker literature that, imo, where one of the authors, Ed Miller, was truly a great communicator. It seemed for the first time in poker literature, the strategy was being presented in a way that anyone approaching the game could grasp it and apply it correctly. I don't believe I would have made it in poker without this book, and I've heard quite a few pros say the same thing.

2. Elements of Poker - Another revolutionary book in poker literature. Angelo presents some amazing concepts to help poker players understand the nature and mental challenges of poker. There are concepts in the book I've never seen anywhere else. The book is an absolute treasure of concepts and impacting one-liners. Of course, Tommy is an exceptional writer.

3. Treat Your Poker Like a Business - See above. From now on when someone comes to me wanting to do what I've done in poker, ordering this book will be first on my list of their tasks to complete.

4. The Mathematics of Poker - This one some people may find a bit strange in this list. However, the book is always challenging me. I've always felt it is ground-breaking in poker literature in regards to its commitment to poker being a two-step process of assumptions and quantitative analysis. It also explores range versus range thinking and the idea of balance in play. However, I don't feel the authors were great communicators, and I think improvement could definitely be made to that end. Regardless, the book is always challenging me to learn more about poker theory and someday I'll be able to truly understand more than a third of the content :)

Honorable Mentions:

Professional No-Limit Hold'em: Volume 1 - Perhaps one of the only books worth anything in terms of getting someone started in NLHE.

Inside the Poker Mind - Geared towards limits play, but never seemed to get a lot of traction in the poker world. I really enjoyed the book as a limit player.

Malmouth's Essays - This is a 3 part series. I'm not saying they're all wonderful, but there were a couple amazing concepts in each book that were so valuable to me.

Real Poker 2: The Play of Hands - Again, a limit book. I really enjoyed Cooke's writing style and the way he thought about hands.

I'm probably missing a couple here, but those are the ones that left a lasting impression on me. Of course, this is all opinions. So, I'd be interested in hearing about your favorites, etc. Catch you in the forums.

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The Second Cut

Posted by QTip

My wife and I have been married for 12 years now. We have a 4, 5 and 6 year old, so things stay pretty busy around our place. We try our best to get a babysitter 2 or 3 times a month to get some time to ourselves. These are our date nights. A couple nights ago was one of these date nights. We were able to head to a nice restaurant and enjoyed a really great meal. She got a filet mignon, and I got a rib-eye. When our meals arrived, we both took a bite and melted a bit. As I began making my second cut, I looked up and saw her making her second cut. I knew we both had the same thing in mind. Each of our second cut was for the other. We simultaneously reached the 2nd bite across the table for the other, excited to share the great-tasting food with the other. The filet truly was amazing and even though mine was delicious as well, I was questioning my decision to get the rib-eye :) But, I reflected a bit on how great it was to have someone as special as she is to share the ups and downs of life. With her around, regardless of my life winnings graph line, my EV line is always heading Northeast.

Of course, relationships can be challenging, especially if you're a poker pro and are home all the time. Someone once told me, "You see what you look for, so look for what you want to see." So true. One book I really recommend for relationships is called Love Busters. It's a great read.

On the poker side of things, I've started another reading of The Mathematics of Poker. This always gets my brain going. I'm wanting to spend some time over the next couple months getting more involved in head's up no limit games. So, that should be interesting. Of course, I'm also wanting to get better at PLO and backgammon. So, lots to do :)

Later,

QTip

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QTip: Four Eyes!

Posted by QTip

Four eyes!

So, I’m starting to approach the mid 30s, and I guess it’s time for me to start looking older with glasses. I really can see pretty well with both my eyes open, but if I cover my left eye, my right eye has things blurry. Many times at night I have pressure headaches so I thought maybe that eye has something to do with it. I thought getting glasses was going to be a very simple process. Go in, stare in a machine, they hand you glasses. Nope. A month later I finally have a pair. Well, part of the delay is I’m always looking for deals. So, I found a frame I liked in a store. Then, I found that frame online for $100 less. So, I ordered that frame and then took it to a store to have the lenses put in. I really didn’t want to order them straight through an online glasses provided because I like to be able to head to a store and talk to a real person if I’m not happy. And, if you order the glasses with the lenses online, there are no refunds because it’s specific to your eyes. Anyway, I got them and put them on. Things far away are like 1080p. However, up close things are super distorted. The ground is like up to my knees and squares turn into trapezoids when I move my head. I was really distraught by this and went to the store straightaway. The acted like they’d never heard that before. “Give it some time to get used to them”, they said. So, I looked it up online and it’s a fairly common story when fixing astigmatism. So, I’ve just been wearing them around the clock for about 4 days now. I think things are starting to get a little better. But, smudges really bother me, so I’m always cleaning them. So, my hair is super thin on top and now I have glasses. I’m probably just going to get it over with next year and get false teeth, a hearing aid and slap on a pair of depends. Ah well.

Watching our lobby fill up with videos has been really fun the past couple of days. There are some really great titles to the series from PokerSwat that I think you’ll all really enjoy. Also, Bill Robertie is going to be starting a new Backgammon series. I’m going to be visiting with philN in a couple weeks and he wants to play some backgammon. I’ve only played 1 game in my life, so I’m going to have to watch all the backgammon basics series very thoroughly over the next couple weeks. Maybe we have a competition here at Drag the Bar before long. If you’ve not checked out Backgammon before, make sure you at least give Backgammon Basics Lesson 1 a chance. Look game looks really amazing.

Unfortunately, life has been staying very busy for me lately. I’ve only been able to put about 10k hands this month. Next month will start slowly too, but after that, I’m hoping to really do some grinding. I’m going to be ordering Dusty’s book soon too, so I have something great to look forward to reading soon. I’ve heard good things.

So, that’s the old-man’s update.

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Raped by Rush Poker

Posted by QTip

So, it’s been a bit of a refreshing reminder about the stretches you can go through in poker. It’s been a while since I took a real colon pounding. It’s important to remember these things. I just finished up a little 6 tabling of it at a pace of 2k hands for the hour. So, I have 6,384 hands in of NL100 Rush Poker right now. I’ve lost a bit over 15 buyins for a -24bb/100 pace.

I’ve flopped 9 sets that went to showdown and I’m down over a buyin over all. I’ve flopped 36 sets total for a total profit of 2 buyins. KK 38 times and I’m down $40 with that hand. QQ 21 times and down $114.

So, pretty impressive results over this sample. Perhaps the fastest downswing I’ve ever had. I’ve only ever had 2 downswings larger than this, but they weren’t this quick. It certainly is RUSH Poker 

The great this is my state of mind through it. Over the last 2 years, I’ve really worked diligently to solidify my mental game. Never once did I sigh or complain and held on to my A game strategy the entire time. I’m going to continue to share my thoughts on the mental game of poker in my Headstrong series.

I’m not done with Rush Poker. I want to gather quite a few hands from 100NL there and do some analysis on the player base there. I’ve put a couple tips and so forth in the forum under my last blog’s discussion thread.

Anyway, it’s late, so I’m gonna hit the sack. Catch you all later.

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Rush Poker

Posted by QTip

Rush Poker…Man, this is an addicting thing. I played NL100 this morning for 70 minutes. For the first 25 minutes I played 3 tables and then I realized I needed at least one more and popped open a fourth. I’m probably going to land about 5 or 6 before I just say that’s enough to just be comfortable and not have actions waiting. If I programmed some scripts, I'm sure that could get higher. I’m gonna mess around with this game for a bit because I find it fascinating so far. So, in 70 minutes I put in 1218 hands.

One hand I started 400x effective with 99 utg. I open and +2 (FR) calls me. Flop is J93. I bet and get raised. I called. Turn is a 3. Certainly the worse card in the deck for the proceeding action. I c/c pot bets on the turn and river. I think the river is probably a losing call. In any case, I managed to lose 197x on that hand. However, I think I made reciprocal profit. Despite this huge loss, I managed to clip at 7.7 bb/100 while feeling very relaxed with four tables.

A quick question for you folks. What do you think the major differences are between playing rush poker and just opening like 24 tables and stacking them at Poker Stars?

I’ve found it interesting reading different forums about playing this game. People are talking about playing looser in this game. I’d be willing to look at creating a wager on this. Something like this:

We play 120 hours in a month of rush poker NL100. Full Ring or 6 Max, player’s choice. You keep your vpip over 21. I keep my vpip under 14. Person who wins the most in that month wins the wager. The player must have at least 100k hands in that time period. There is no max to the # of hands a player can put in as long as it’s within 120 hours. I’m open to other ideas. The player with the best hourly wage (including 27% rakeback) wins.

Regardless, I’m going to really polish up my grinding skills with this game for a little while. The innovation has my attention and it’s a bit refreshing to have something this new to mess with.

Later,

QTip

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