Posts Tagged ‘muckleshoot casino’


2015 Poker Goals: April through June update

July 6, 2015

I have to say I’m a bit disappointed with my dedication to elite poker play the past three months. My focus level has fallen off tremendously and the fact that I never even posted wrap-ups for April or May is pretty telling. Granted, it’s been a busy few months. Since my March wrap-up I’ve gotten married, been to Vegas for the World Series of Poker, spent a week traveling down the coast to San Francisco, celebrated my wife’s birthday, and moved to Tacoma. And today I finally got my internet up and running. For the first time in months, I have nothing on my plate in the foreseeable future. I can once again turn my attention to crushing at the poker table. This post will focus on how I did the past three months and how I’m doing on my 2015 poker goals.

log 1200 live hours

Over the past three months I played 314 hours of live poker – just over 100 hours a month – putting my YTD total at 764 hours, well on pace to reach my goal but a noticeable dip in play compared to the first three months of the year. I now live about 10 minutes away from the Palace in Lakewood though and seeing as how parenthood is probably in my near future I should be granted the freedom to go on the super grind for the next year or so.

focus on how well I played, how well I controlled tilt, and how well I paid attention to the game flow instead of on how well I ran.
Continue taking notes throughout all my sessions and combing through them later.

And here is where my lack of focus comes in. I literally kept notes for ZERO sessions over the past three months which means I’ve basically been playing on autopilot and spending very little time thinking about my game off the table. My mindset has remained strong during this time, so it’s nice to see the mental muscle is actually building, but it’s important not to get lazy and I will be turning on the laser focus again starting… now.

spend less than 20% of my total hours in 4/8 games

One of my bigger goals for 2015 was to quit spending so much time in a game both my ability and my bankroll have outgrown. The past three months I played 112.5 hours at the 4/8 level with 82 of those hours coming on the clock. That means I played 30.5 hours of 4/8 off duty out of 156 personal, non-tournament hours – or just under 20%. That’s a happy ratio and meets my goal, but it also means I only averaged just over 50 live, off duty cash game hours a month, which is a pretty poor output.

log 100 hours of spread limit

I did get some no limit hours in while I was in Vegas, but not very much. I am now at 30 hours YTD halfway through the year. There’s a chance my output will increase over the second half of 2015 as my bankroll (hopefully) increases and I dabble in the Muckleshoot 3/5 game a bit more. I now have Sundays off permanently and live 20-30 minutes away from Muck, so Super Sundays will be a must for me going forward. I should reach 100 hours just playing the next six Super Sundays.

continue reading about mental game, develop mental game profiles, and improve my c-game

focus my learning – don’t study multiple variants at the same time or games I’m not playing frequently.

This has been another area of my game that has fallen off tremendously the past few months. I did spend some time reading up on and developing my mental game, but it’s nowhere near as developed as I would expect it to be by now. While I haven’t had any notable mental game problems the past few months, I basically just treaded water. I should have a lot more free time for poker study in the future as my wife is switching to week days and it will be easy to schedule a designated time solely for working on my game away from the tables.

treat poker like a job with set hours and not like a hobby.

I did a poor job in this area the past few months as well. Poker felt more like a hobby than something I was putting my heart and soul into. The most telling point: I spent 54 hours in my bread and butter game – the 8/16 at the Palace – or just 18 hours a month. Considering I’ve been averaging over 1.5 big bets per hour in that game my lack of output is pretty inexcusable. Obviously I have been busy with other stuff, but still… Now that I live ten minutes away, there is really no reason I shouldn’t be able to play 90+ hours of 8/16 a month going forward.

watch opponents closely in tournaments and develop exploitative styles for each of them.

take my time in critical pots and really think things through before acting.

set a new career high tournament score.

I played 21 tournaments over the past three months and cashed three times (15%). Two cashes and nine tournaments were at my job with entry fees of $40 or less. Yawn. The other 12 tournaments had an average BI of $266 and I only managed to cash once, which fortunately was a first place finish.

In mid-April I went 0 for 3 at Wildhorse Casino during the Spring Round Up series. I finished 3rd at my table during the Shootout tournament and I remember feeling pretty unlucky about that. I don’t remember getting any momentum in the Omaha 8 or HORSE tournaments. I am planning to play a full slate at the Fall Round Up this year and I have a pretty good feeling about a breakout.

During the 2015 World Series Of Poker, I continued my drought at the Rio by going 0 for 4 in World Series and daily deep stack events, bringing my lifetime showing there to a sad 0 for 9. Whiffing nine tournaments in a row is a pretty standard stretch, but it’s not how I was hoping to start my World Series career. I was extremely disappointed with my showing in WSOP Event #1, the Casino Employee Event. I can’t remember any particular hands but I do remember feeling like I was not super happy with my play and that I didn’t set myself up for success very well.

In the $565 Colossus I fired one bullet and received an absolutely brutal table draw. On my direct left, I had notable pro Maurice Hawkins (top 130 in the world according to the GPI Rankings); on my right I had WPT champion Jordan Cristos. In fact, of the eight other players at my table, I knew for certain that I was better than one of them and he wasn’t much of a drooler either. In a tournament with a record-breaking 22,000+ entrants (and a sea of fish) I couldn’t believe how tough my starting table was. Maurice was playing every hand – seriously, I saw him call off over half his stack pre with 92dd once – and I quickly learned that I wasn’t going to be able to open lightly and he was going to make me “prove it” every time I took the lead in a pot. He was playing the Colossus like it was a $10 tournament and I was playing like it was $1500 and I wasn’t about to bluff off my stack trying to outlevel him. Being one of the top players in the world, I was shocked at how unprofessional and rude Maurice Hawkins was. He was a total ass. Possibly the least pleasant person I’ve ever played with and that’s really saying something. I had the pleasure of watching Jordan Cristos check-raise jam the turn, getting Maurice to fold an overpair, and then showing a total airball bluff when Maurice caused a MASSIVE scene after folding his hand face up and throwing his cards at Jordan. “Let’s move on to the next hand, cause this one is no good. So let’s just play the next hand.” All said with such aggressive, negative energy and repeated ad nauseum. It was a pretty cool moment for the whole table when Jordan flipped over the king high and shut his arrogant ass up. After that hand, Maurice decided to focus on someone else and picked on him relentlessly. That player handled it like a champ though and I think the whole table breathed a sigh of relief when Maurice busted… of course, he guaranteed to all of us as he was walking away that he would win the Colossus. The dude is the epitome of how a professional should NOT act at the table. A total disgrace to the game if that’s his constant MO.

Unfortunately, Jordan Cristos was also playing this tournament like $565 is nothing to him. One of his standard plays was to isolate a limper by making a huge raise in late position – something like 10+ bigs, which is a bigger bet than most three bets would be. One time he did this, I flatted him with two black aces and got it in on the KQJ all heart flop, expecting to hit the rail most of the time, but somehow holding against his QTo with a royal draw. Later in the tournament, he made a similar move and I looked down at AQ sitting on about 16 big blinds. Jordan had shown down so many trashy hands – and almost never passed on an opportunity to try to steal – that I didn’t think for a second about folding, but I also realized that I had no fold equity and that I would be playing for my tournament life. I jammed it, he was priced in, and I ended up losing to his Q9, a pretty depressing end to my day, but quite a huge improvement on my one hand exit in the Millionairemaker last year!

I decided to play the $100 weekly HORSE tournament at The Orleans and I took the majority of the money in a four-way ICM chop as the substantial chip leader. Even though I had a hefty chip lead, the blinds were large enough that one hand could change the scope of the tournament and I couldn’t say no to better than second place money without having to play it out. I played good overall and ran really hot at the final table to earn the victory. It was bittersweet. Obviously, when you enter a tournament the ultimate goal is to win it, so I was happy to take it down. On the other hand, it’s a bit frustrating to run red hot in the tournament with the smallest buy in and field size of my trip. Even with the first place victory, I still lost money on my tournament entries in Vegas. I don’t mean to sound ungrateful, but if there’s a time to run amazing, this is not the tournament I would have picked.

Two days later I played the $240 HORSE event at the Golden Nugget, got an amazing table draw with some of the worst play I’ve ever seen, and had absolutely no luck. I peaked in the first ten minutes of the tournament and I was barely above the starting stack at any point. I missed most of my draws and lost with most of my made hands and could never take advantage of the horrendous play that was rampant at my table. I’ve never wanted a mulligan so bad in my poker career.

I’m reaching a point where I’m getting pretty fed up with tournament poker. Excluding smaller tournaments (< $100), I have cashed 2 of 19 times this year for an ROI of -34%. In the past twelve months, I’ve cashed 3 of 29 times for an ROI of -56%. As someone with so much cash game success, I have to ask myself why I continue to punish myself with tournament variance. Or is it variance? 29 tournaments is an absurdly small sample size so it’s certainly possible. Prior to this past year, I had been a tournament crusher, so I have good reason to think things will turn around eventually. I am fully confident I am capable of a life-changing score. On the other hand, in comparison to cash games, I play tournaments so infrequently that it is much harder to develop my game plan. With cash games, I can study off the table and apply what I’m working on immediately, multiple times a week. With tournaments, I might go weeks in between events and even when I play I might not be able to apply the concepts I’m currently learning in a given tournament. Still, I’m not quite ready to give up just yet. I feel like my time is coming and I’d hate to deny myself the opportunity. I’m planning a full slate for the Fall Round Up in Pendleton and I’m going to start planning for next year’s WSOP immediately. Hopefully I will be in a position where I can sell action for and play up to five events or more. Also, now that I'm residing in Tacoma and my availability is changing, I think I will start playing Muckleshoot's Tuesday deep stack regularly. With that event and some of the weekend tournaments, I should be able play somewhere between 5-7 tournaments a month and hopefully turn my ROI around.

double my current bankroll size

maintain a 1 BB/HR win rate at 8/16

I posted a small loss in April and followed that up with two mediocre winning months in May and June. I had to use my bankroll for all the extra traveling we’ve been doing and various other expenses, so despite making a modest profit the past three months, I actually have less in my bankroll now than I did when April started. I loathe the feeling of running in place and getting complacent, but that’s how these past few months have felt. I’m ready to start grinding and really focus again.

Over 648.5 hours, these are my current YTD win rates:

1.67 big bets per hour at 8/16 (1.81 past three months)
0.77 big bets per hour at 4/8 (0.2 past three months)
0.42 big bets per hour at 10/20 and higher (all in the past three months)

I’m looking forward to doing some serious grinding and bankroll building over the rest of the summer and hopefully I can put together a hot stretch of tournament runs!


2015 Poker Goals – January 2015 Review

February 2, 2015

Every month I’m going to reflect on the previous month of poker and see how well I’m doing at accomplishing my 2015 goals – well, the ones that are applicable for now anyway.

log 750 live hours

I played nearly 137 hours of live cash game poker last month – a stark increase over any output in recent memory and on pace to destroy my 750 hour goal for the year (current pace: 1644 hours).

focus on how well I played, how well I controlled tilt, and how well I paid attention to game flow instead of how well I ran.
continuing taking notes throughout all my sessions and combing through them later.

I did a really good job of this in January. I kept consistently accurate notes whenever I was planning to play an $8/$16 session. While I never tracked my play during $4/$8 sessions, I did track it if I was waiting to get in a bigger game later. Note-taking really helped me keep things in perspective – if I took a brutal beat, I’d just jot the hand down, and move on. Overall, I felt like I ran a bit poorly for the month of January — at the $8/$16 level anyway. There were a few moments when I started to get frustrated, but they were pretty brief and I felt like I did a good job of controlling my emotions overall. Also, being able to look through my notes later really helped me see how much variance affected my results and allowed me to spot potential mistakes and find holes in my game that needed plugging. Over ten years into my LHE career and I feel like I’m a much better LHE player in February 2015 than I was in December 2014 and I’m quite grateful to be able to find that much room to improve.

Just for fun, let’s take a look at some of the more obvious spots where variance affected my results in January:

-I won 57 of the 150 times I played a pocket pair (38%).
-I won 43 of the 90 times I had 99 or better (47.8%).
-I won 19 of the 42 times I had QQ or better (45.2%).
-I won 26 of the 72 times I played a suited broadway hand (36.1%)
-I won 35 of the 68 times I played AK or AQ (51.5%).
-I made a flush 13 of the 51 times I was drawing to one (25.5%).
-I made a straight 12 of the 32 times I was drawing to one (37.5%).

Notes: There were times I made a flush or straight and lost the pot anyway. I also folded plenty of pocket pairs preflop, AQ once or twice, and probably a few suited broadways. I also started tracking my flush and straight draws differently during the middle of the month, including backdoor flush draws and gut shots in the mix since it seemed unfair to count those hands when I hit them but not when I missed them.

I’m not exactly sure what a good percentage for some of these hands are, but I’m certain that losing half the time you have QQ or better is below average. I’m also quite certain that running at 25% on your flush draws is below average, particularly when you lose some of the ones you hit.

spend less than 20% of my total hours in 4/8 games

I spent 50 of my 137 total live hours playing $4/$8 which accounts for 36.5% of my total hours. That seems like I missed on this goal, but 28 of those hours I was propping my game while I was flooring and another 6 hours were while I was waiting for a seat in the bigger game. Excluding those hours, I only played 13 of 103 hours in $4/$8 games (12.6%). Goal achieved.

log 100 hours of spread limit

I played zero hours here, but I have plenty of time to achieve my goal. I want to have at least five figure bankroll before I start playing the Muckleshoot spread game regularly – even then, I think $10k probably too small to play that game on a regular basis, but taking some shots is probably fine.

play a tournament series in a city I’ve never been to before

Didn’t happen this month, but I am developing plans to visit Canterbury Park Card Casino in Shakopee, Minnesota, possible as soon as late February. While this isn’t a tournament series and I actually have been to Minnesota previously, I suppose this would half cover this goal.

continuing reading about mental game, develop mental game profiles, and improve my c-game
focus my learning — don’t study multiple variants at the same time or games I’m not playing frequently

I was pretty consistent with these goals this past month. The only poker reading I did was on mental game and I did well at incorporating what I learned into my play, sticking to my plan, and using my notes to improve my play. Also, I only played LHE, so my focus was extremely narrow for the most part.

treat poker like a job with set hours and not like a hobby

I did pretty great here. Whenever I planned to play, I went and played a full session and crushed my overall hours goal. Also, I was very focused and in the zone when I was playing a real session – something that is much harder to do when I’m merely propping a game.

watch opponents closely in tournaments and develop exploitative styles for each of them instead of playing laggy for laggy’s sake
take my time in critical pots and really think things through before acting
set a new career high tournament score

Meh. I played three tournaments this past month: $180 monthly @ Little Creek, $220 monthly @ Muckleshoot, and $115 weekly @ Muckleshoot. I went 0 for 3.

I made a swift exit in the $220 event after (arguably) getting quite unlucky. During the first level, with blinds at 25/50, a middle player raised to 200 and three players called. I looked down at AA from the small blind and realized that I was in a great situation. This is such an obvious spot for a squeeze that I figured I could make a substantial raise and get some unwarranted action. I made it 1500 (30 bigs) to go and managed to get it heads up – a great result. Then, figuring that my opponent’s most likely hand was a pocket pair and that I looked like I was trying to steal preflop, I checked the 632 rainbow flop, hoping to jam all-in vs a bet. Instead, my opponent checked back. I bet about half pot on a board-pairing turn and he called. The river brought in a back door flush, but I felt pretty confident putting out a 40% pot bet. He called and showed me the KJ of hearts for the running flush. I dunno. I think my thought process is okay here. Obviously it’s a pretty bad result that starts with my flop check, but a free card hurts me so rarely that it can’t be that bad.  On the other hand, since I think he has a pair and I think it looks like I could be bluffing, checking the flop seems like the wrong conclusion for my best possible line – clearly betting is better if I’m not expecting him to fold.

After losing about 70% of my starting stack on that hand, I opened QQ during level 2 with a 33 big blind stack, jammed over a 3-bet, and busted after I lost a race to AK.

I finished 8th of 65+ players in the $180 event… and 6 cashed. I was very happy with my overall play, but my bust out hand leaves me unsatisfied. I’m not convinced it was a standard spot and I feel like it’s a clear violation of the second goal I have posted above. This was the situation:

I’m sitting on a stack of roughly 20 bigs holding 75o in the big blind. We are at the 1500/3000/500 level and two late players limp in, the small blind completes, and I check. We go four-handed to 743 two flush flop. I decide to lead out a mere 5000 into a pot of 16,000 – which seems extremely small in retrospect. I get called in one spot. The turn card is an offsuit 2 and at this point, I decide to take a pot-control line and check. My opponent bets 20K into 26K and I go into the tank – but not for long enough! Ultimately, I decide that a) I think I had the best hand on the flop, b) I can’t call this bet and fold on the river when I miss my straight draw, c) this is a great spot to apply pressure on me after I show weakness, and d) if I’m not folding, I have to shove – which I do and he snap-calls with A5 and I’m out after the river bricks off. During my brief tank, what I didn’t consider was: a) is this extremely marginal spot worth betting my tournament life on? or b) if I fold here, I’ll have 18 big blinds, plenty of play, and an opportunity to find a much better spot. Obviously, this is one of those spots where it’s okay to take extra time to really think things through and evaluate everything at hand.

In addition, during the $115 event, when we were down to two tables, I picked a really bad spot to bluff the river after checking back on the turn that cost me a large portion of my stack… another spot where it was pretty obvious my opponent is never folding to a standard bet and I didn’t really stop to think it through enough. So while I felt like I played pretty well overall in these events, the spots where I felt like I choked are the exact situations that I’m wanting to improve in.

double my current bankroll size
maintain a 1 BB/HR win rate at 8/16
start playing 20/40 regularly by end of year

Despite my whiff on tournaments and average/bad luck in $8/$16 games, I still managed a winning month. However, it didn’t do much in helping pad my bankroll – especially after using it to buy a really nice Valentine’s Day gift!

I ran at 0.99 BB/HR overall, 2.34 BB/HR @ $4/$8, and 0.22 BB/HR @ $8/$16.

Also, I’m not sure if $20/$40 should be my end game. Perhaps the $5-$500 spread game at Muckleshoot should be my goal.

Overall, I guess I’m happy with January, but I know things could be much better (or worse – to be fair…). Looking forward to February!


Poker Players: Help Me Play These Hands

September 16, 2012

This weekend I played some big poker events and had a number of hands that gave me headaches and made me wonder what the right play was. I’m curious how my peers think I should have handled each situation. Hopefully I get some good feedback on these hands and if I don’t get much, I’m going to start tagging you fools on Facebook. When I get a number of responses, I’ll update this page with the result of the hand, my analysis, and what I think is ultimately the right play. If you don’t understand the poker lingo or abbreviations, then you probably won’t be too interested in this post anyway.

Some Background: $300 buy-in tournament. My table draw is terrible. I have two tough players to my direct left and one of them has already amassed a monstrous chip lead at the table. I pegged two players I wanted to get my chips from but they both busted out before I won a single hand. I have one super LAG at the table that I haven’t decided if he’s a good player or not and everyone else is weak tight. I’ve had minimal playable hands and the only hand I’ve shown is QQ, which I made almost nothing with due to board texture. I probably have a weak tight image at this point.

Hand #1: Last hand before break. Blinds are 100-200 and I have 8375 (~42 BB, M of ~28) and open to 600 UTG with AK. Folds around to the very LAG player in SB. He ships for 12K+. What do I do?

Hand #2: Blinds are 300-600 with a 50 ante. I have like 12K (20 BB, M of 9) and open to 1600 with AK from MP. It folds around to SB, the good player with the monster stack, and he 3! to 6500 or so, leaving himself clearly priced in against a shove. He’s been playing a lot of hands, but this is the first time I’ve seen him 3! pre. What do I do?

Hand #3: I’ve switched tables. Blinds are 600-1200 with a 100 ante. I have just over 15K (12.5 BB, M of 5.5). UTG (the good player from the last hand described… still with a massive stack) limps in, UTG+2 (solid, straight-forward) makes it 3500 to go, old guy (playing kind of loose and weird) in MP makes it 8K to go–leaving about 1.5K behind–and I’m next to act with AK. What do I do?

Hand #4: Different tournament. $500 buy-in. I’ve been relatively active, playing good positional poker and taking down pots by attacking weakness. Of my 8 opponents at the table, I think 6 of them are definitely weak players I want to tangle with, one guy seems to be playing straight forward small ball poker, and another player looks pretty LAG and seems slightly dangerous, but I did see him make a move that made me question if he really knows what’s up or if he’s just a poser. My table draw is way better than it was in the last tournament and I feel like I’m the strongest player at the table. Level is 100-200, my stack is over 11K and two of the weak players limp in front of me. I limp in LP with KJ and we see a Q82 rainbow flop five ways. Everyone checks to me on the flop and it looks like a pretty good spot to bet since I’d expect a queen to lead out and there are only gutshot straight draws available. I expect a bet of 2/3 the pot to take it down a pretty good percentage of the time. The blinds both fold, but both the limpers call. With only weak draws possible, at least one of my opponents probably has a made hand and my decision to shut it down becomes even easier when another 8 hits the board on the turn. It checks around and I’m quite happy to see a King peel off on the river and plan to value bet if it checks to me or hope to pick off a weak bet on the river. The first player bets 750 and the next one raises to 1500. I don’t have much respect for either player and the one that’s raising has been playing a bit goofy. What do I do?

Hand #5: Level is 200-400-50, I have 13K, which is 32.5 bigs and an M of about 12. The small baller opens to 875, nearly a minimum raise and one that he has made 3 times in the last orbit. It folds to me with JJ in the big blind. What do I do?

Hand #6: Level is 200-400-50 still. My stack is down to about 8200 (20.5 bigs, M of about 8). It folds around to the small blind and he raises to 1200. Again, this is a weak player, but in similar situations in the past he has completed from the SB instead of raising. One other note, I have had a rough level and my image is not that great right now. I look down at 33 in the big blind, what do I do?