Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Week 12-2009

This was a boring week. Monday I went to Ho-Chunk and got fast $500. I played another four days with small losses, so week ended up only $185. I played 34 hours and made $6 per hour. Not enugh to make living by playing poker.

Saturday night at Ho-Chunk I had this two hands in about 15 minutes. It's interesting that in the first hand I folded my top pair, but in the second hand I stayed with a draw to the river to pickup a nice pot. In both hands I was lossing to a two pair on the flop.

On the flop Bud made a $10 bet, Bruce raised to $50. I smelled trouble and folded the best hand. Bud re-raised .. and they were all in on the flop.
Knowing players I'm against I made a good read, and a good fold even an Ace on the turn gave me a winer.

Bud's bet on the flop was $10, Bruce called, I decided to stick around for another king or a spade, after an Ace on the turn I made a raise ... and won a nice pot.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Pain Prize Ratio

Two weeks ago Ho Chunk Casino in Baraboo, WI started Texas Holdem tournament on Sundays at 3pm. Yesterday when I arrived to a poker room they were down to 28 players. Tournament starts with the maximum of 50 players, with buy in $50, and pays top 5 places with $1000 first prize. Tournament is fast and nothing different than any tournament that we play in the bars around Madison and other parts of the country.

During the tournament break I was talking with my poker buddies Mike "Philly" and Ted. While trying to explain why I don’t play small-cheap tournaments I created a new poker lingo phrase "Pain/Prize Ratio". This is a twist on the financial Return on Investment (ROI) analysis.

Reading some articles and books I found statements by T.J. Cloutier and Chris Ferguson that they don’t play tournaments if the first place prize is les than 50 (or 40) times buy in. I played many tournaments and have a nice database, so after analyzing my stats I decided not to play small bar tournaments anymore. Playing any tournament takes some of your money and a lot of your time and combined with mental stress, creates pain. If the prize is not big enough even the winning player is losing. I don't have some table that can show this ratio, but I believe it's not hard to make one.

Consider playing this tournament once a week for one year. It’ll cost you: 52 weeks x $50 = $2600. You have to win 3 times to break even. Can you do it? If you are really good you may win even 6-7 times and have a few other prizes for a total close to $10,000 and a profit of about $7000. First place is $1000, only 20 times buy in.

Some tournaments last about 5-6 hours till heads up battle. Sometimes you may go out after just a few hands. To place 10 times in the money, you need to make 20 times final table. I’m guessing that an average per game may be 3 hours for a total of 150+ hours for the year. Again, if you are really that good tournament player and you can make profit of $7000 in 150 hours, you have an average of $45 per hour.

Now you may think that making $45 per hour is great, but my question to you is “who do you know that has results like this?” You don't have to look far, the answer is Mr. Wegas has simmilar results. Here is my tournament experience.

When I moved in August, 2006 to Madison area soon I found a big poker network, and I started to play tournaments every day. I played every game I could find from Madison and Middleton to Hollandale, Dodgevile, Monro, Blenchardville, Argyle, Peoli ... Most of the games I played was 154 in 2007. During 2008 I played only 40 tournaments, and this year I had only 3 so far. It took me only six months to realize that tournaments are waste of time. I think that I played with some success and here are the numbers.

Number of tournaments: 212
Total Hours played: 575
Average per tournament: 3 hours
Buy in: $11,090 (average buy in $52)
Prizes: $12,950 (average win $275)
Profit: $1860
Made money: 47 times = 22% of the time, more than once in 5 tournaments.
Profit per hour: $3.25
Q: Mr. Wegas, what is the main problem with small bar tournaments?
A: Not enough players, so the prize is low and doesn't justify the pain.

Now you may understand why professional players play only if the first place prize is minimum 40 times buy in. Assume that the first place prize is about 25-30% of total buy in money. With 100 players 30% = 30 times buy in. Means you want the tournament with minimum of about 150 players x 30% = 45 times buy in.

Let’s now recalculate the Ho Chunk tournament, but assume that there are 150 players every time. It still cost you $2600 for the year, but prize pool is three times bigger. Ho Chunk pays 40% for the first place, so now it’s $3000. Being a good player you can win 6-7 times, and make a few other prizes for a total of about $25,000. This pays enough for your pain. Now you can make a living by just playing Tuesday and Sunday tournaments at the Ho Chunk casino.

Q: Mr. Wegas, is there any other problem with small tournaments?
A: Sure, the bigest problem is the speed of the tournament. I'll write later a post on this topic.

Tournament Speed is part of the pain factor. You know the feeling when you are playing good but the blinds are killing you. Here is an example from yesterday. When they started the final table with 10 players an average stack was $10,000 with the big blind $1000 and $200 ante. You can not really play poker having less than 10 big blinds, so every hand is all in.

Q: So Mr. Wegas, what is your advice for us, small time tournament players?
A: The game is what it is. It's your choice to play it or not to play. But, please think about the structure and the speed of the tournament. You can learn more on this topic from the great book by legendary Arnold Snyder The Poker Tournament Formula The book explains how to rank and play this kind of tournaments.

Week 11-2009

After a good start, and having winning games first five days of the week Saturday and Sunday at Ho-Chunk were losing days.

Most of the Friday night I was up about $400, but I stayed too long in the game, because of the friend at the same table. In one of the last hands I lost $300 with pocket aces when 7,4 called my $20 pre flop raise. Few minutes later the same player beat my friend again making a call with 7,2.

Most of the Saturday I played from behind after loosing twice to a straight flush when I had ace high flush. After getting back some of my money at the end of the night I moved to a "high action" table with Ted, "Baraboo" Bob, "Wild" Bill, Jim Ekman, Dan, Reggie currently know as "Babylon" and two other unknown guys. The game was loose with many big pots. From the beginning I couldn't get more than 9,3 and 5,2... so I played just a few hands. One of the bigger pots was when Dan got a set of eights on the turn and called Reggie’s all in, and won about $1800. In the next hand I had A,K and lost $200 in three way all in to Reggie’s pocket queens.

Sunday was boring and I just couldn’t win any bigger pot. At the end I made a Tin Cup move that cost me $300. In a slow game I raised $5 with pocket jacks. That was re-raised to $15, with 3 callers. Flop 10,8,4 I bet $15; Turn was 7 ..... I bet $45, followed by raise $245. It's all in for me. I guessed, after preflop re-raise, he has pocket kings if not tens for a set, but I decided to call with four outs to make a straight and 2 outs for a set of jacks. River was was blank and pocket kings sent me home.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Bad Beat Fest at Ho-Chunk

I spent last weekend at Ho-Chunk casino in Baraboo, WI. Played Friday 9 hours and lost $1100 after numerous bad beats. Saturday I played 11 hours and got back my $1100, and left the game at that point.

Friday was so bad. I lost four times to a straight on the river. It was not important if I had a set on the flop or even flush. I knew I'll loose. I started about 4pm and by 7pm I knew it's going to be one of those days. It would be better if I left at that moment, but ....

This hand illustrates how I just couldn't win that night. Floping streight was not good. We were all in on the flop, but running clubs gave my opponent a higher flush. Loosing a hand this way should be a signal to leave the game.

About 10pm my new poker buddy Ben came at my table. He also got lucky on me. Ben raised pre flop and I limped with KK. On the flop I raised his $20 to $60 and he called fast like he has a good hand. After Ben's bet $100 on the turn I started to think that he may have a set of tens or ... On the river we were all in.
I lost to a runner-runner straight. Bad plays shouldn't be rewarded. Even I was sure my kings were the best hand, I didn't raise on the turn thinking "he's mine, let him drown himself."

Friday, March 6, 2009

First Online Final Table 03/06/2006

Three years ago I made my first final table playing online. With four players all-in, I floped two pair Kings and Queens, but on the river board paired 7,7 so pocket AA ended this tournament for me.

Dealer: NavajoGuy, it's your turn. You have 15 seconds to act
Freejay99: laid down A/J off suit
Aedammair1 [observer]: KQ
vague04 [observer]: wow
GnccRacer484: granny you cheat
Aedammair1 [observer]: lol
GnccRacer484: lol
vague04 [observer]: spade
Dealer: Brown117 has two pair, Nines and Sevens
Dealer: czerniak2 has two pair, Aces and Sevens
Dealer: Game #4193415986: czerniak2 wins side pot (152668) with two pair, Aces and Sevens
Dealer: NavajoGuy has two pair, Kings and Queens
Aedammair1 [observer]: nope
Aedammair1 [observer]: AA
Caprisa: pheew
Aedammair1 [observer]: wins
Dealer: Game #4193415986: czerniak2 wins main pot (170964) with two pair, Aces and Sevens
Dealer: Brown117 finished the tournament in 8th place
Dealer: NavajoGuy finished the tournament in 9th place
Caprisa: nh
Aedammair1 [observer]: lol
Brown117 [observer]: good game all
GnccRacer484: seven hooked her up
vague04 [observer]: you got 8th right brown
GnccRacer484: gg
czerniak2: ty
Brown117 [observer]: yep
Nellanaesp [observer]: yu played well, brown
Nellanaesp [observer]: very well
Nellanaesp [observer]: gewd
Nellanaesp [observer]: very gewd
Brown117 [observer]: thank you very much

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Ace Queen - Ace King

Better Lucky Than Good

This hand was part of my "year end comaback". On Sunday 11/16/08, I was playing with the "Badger Poker" crowd. I was in for only $80, and after four hours of playing I had about $850. I was in the late position when Bruce raised $12, two calls and I raised to $42. I didn't like the flop, so after Bruce checked I made a bet $100. Turn card made a streight, and Bruce pushed two stacks $200. I knew I was beaten ..... Mad I pounded on the table and I heard my voice "All In". It was another $700. Why? I don't know, probably that was Tin Cup inside me.

Sorry for this bad beat buddy, but .... I had 16 outs on the river. 8 cards(5,10) makes a steight on the board, and a split pot. I also had 3 sixes, 3 nines and 2 Kings to win the pot.

There was not much I could beat in this hand. Bruce raised pre flop, so if he had a pocket pair like fives or tens he made a streght on the turn, and pair of sixes, sevens or nines gives him a set and I have only two outs left. All I could beat was the pocket pair of Queens or Jacks.

I admit my all in was a mistake, and I got lucky. But sometimes it's better to be lucky than good.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Year 2008 Review

Year 2008 was a big disappointment. After having a good second half in 2007, I set my goals to double up my success in the next year. It started good, and by Feb-11 I was up over $4000. Than came a big loss at Potawatomi. That was followed by six months long rollercoaster of ups and downs. Most of the games I was card dead, and I was not able to put 2-3 winning sessions together. Bad beats and bad cards became daily standard. February and March were loosing months, followed by three positive months but the total for the first half of the year was negative $500.

July was a good month +$1275, and the year total was positive again. August I played 14 sessions and only three were positive. Cards were still running bad for me so I decided to slow down and play less. After skipping first three weeks in September I played five loosing sessions for total of 10 hours and -$450. I quit.
Next time I played October-23. In that week I recorded 4 loosing and one winning ($550) session. Total for October, 5 sessions, 20 hours, and -$240. Should I quit, or …?

Again pause for two weeks. Then Nov-16 I went to Badger Bowl game. I started the game with $80 and cashed out $1520. There was a big pot of $1760 where I gave a bad beat to Bruce. From that day everything was fine and I ended November with 14 sessions, 60 hours and +$4000.

After loosing $1630 in December, I finished the year positive and making $1638. That was not even close to my goals for the year. I played 240 times for 1214 hours, so I made $1.35 per hour. I had 140 loosing games, and won 100 times. You can not make living by playing poker like this.

2008 Totals:
Online poker:
Cash games:
Big win/lose
Ho-Chunk Casino
Potawatomi Casino
Badger Bowl
Potawatomi Casino
Badger Bowl
Ho-Chunk Casino
Potawatomi Casino
Ho-Chunk Casino
Potawatomi Casino
Potawatomi Casino

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Blog is back

I started this blog ten months ago. After just a few posts mid August, 2008 something happened and the blog was blocked for "... spam and violation of terms .... bla bla bla.."

There is no one you can contact about this problem. About once a week I sent a request for review of my blog. For months there was no change. Few days ago I decided to delete this blog from my list and create a new one. I was suprized to see that it's active. Now I have to catch up and continue with new posts.

Hope you'll have fun reading it.