Grinding and Leak Finding

A relatively uneventful day on the tables. Managed to pull in an average of 2.5 BB per hour on the triple 3-6ers, but after 6.28 hours total, it only added up to a $115 win. I’ll take it, but I see what they mean when they say it’s hard to drop down levels. You can sit in the $5-10 shorthanded game and win or lose that much in 15 minutes, and the robotic play just wore me down after a while. But I need to build the bankroll, and the variance is much much smaller at $3-6, so I’ll keep at it for a while. Party seemed unusually tight today. The evening $3-6 games looked more like the normal tight $5-10 games. I guess Party doesn’t loosen up until everyone gets a few drinks in them… but it’s 10 PM east coast time, so I figured it would be prime time. I also killed the coors lights last night, and was too lazy to make it to the store, so I think that decreased my patience tenfold. It’s a lot easier to sit there and click fold with a few beers in your stomach (there’s a point when the raise button becomes attractive though).

Nothing too exciting to report from the day’s play, although I did have the pleasure of sitting at a .5/1 table with the Intrepid Card Player (link to his blog on right). Watch out for this guy, he’s got the patience to be a good one… Anyway, this particular table was just amazing. Amazing! I just looked at the pokertracker stats, and not counting my raises, there were only 3 raises in the entire 23 hands I played! And 2 of those were made by ICP! The players had big flashing calling station signs hanging from their little icon heads. There would be 8 players seeing the flop, and it would get checked down to the river. Someone laughed at me for raising preflop when I didn’t have AA. What is going on here? I was baffled.

It reminded me of a song by one of my favorite groups, The Bottlerockets. It’s called “Thousand Dollar Car” and here are the lines that ran through my head after sitting in this game:

If you only got a thousand dollars
You oughta just buy a good guitar
Learn how to play it’ll take you farther
Than any old thousand dollar car

The point is that by trying to skimp on the bankroll, you end up with junk. This .5/1 table didn’t resemble poker. More like video poker. I encourage everybody playing this limit: once you have some experience under your belt and have read some Lee Jones, to save up $600 (or perhaps $400) and move up to $1-2. I really don’t think too much can be learned at games where there is no raising and very little betting. But maybe I was just at an unusual table. It really made me want to code up a bot and unleash it on the unsuspecting calling stations, but I just don’t know how to do all the screen scraping involved.

I went through Pokertracker to try to find some leaks, to see where my game was weak. There’s a cool feature that lets you sort by BB/Hand. If you sort it in ascending order, you see the hands that have lost you the most BB/Hand. In my case, here’s what I got:

Hand BB lost per hand
88 .78
AKs .68
K8s .54
T7s .52
77 .40
55 .40

Ok, so a couple of statistical “yeah buts” here. The sample size is around 35-45 for each hand, and except for AK, about 1/4 of these hands were received in the blinds. So that kind of screws up the analysis. However, it is clear that I’m pushing my middle pairs too hard… raising with 88 might be ok on the button, but it looks like I’m losing money pushing them from middle position. I will have to cool off with 88 and 77, and play them like the smaller pairs.

The K8s and T7s are mostly from shorthanded games, when trying to steal the blinds. I guess I should slow down with these hands and not gamble as much. I was surprised to see that T7s there, although nearly 50% of those hands I was in the blinds with.

It’s also clear that I’m hanging on to AKs too often. These are the only overcards that I usually call with, so often I’m calling a bet with only 6 outs. For a correct call on the flop, I need to be getting at least 4 to 1, probably more since if an ace hits there is a decent probability the opponent will fold. But I think where I’m losing with this hand is heads up on the 5-10 tables, when I usually (wrongly) feel that AK can win unimproved.

Another check I did was to review the Misc. Stats tab, which breaks down the amount of money by hand rank. I was surprised to see that I had actually lost $141 on Final Hand = One Pair, and won $2200 on Two Pair. This didn’t make sense, but I realized that two pair also includes the times the board pairs. Duh. The only tentative conclusion I could draw from these stats is that I need to be more careful with top pair, as it holds up less often than I thought, according to these figures. They back up the idea that in multiway pots, you need better than top pair to win.

Ok, sorry if that was boring, but I think I learned something. Football was good to me this morning… I missed the under on the Cinci-Baltimore game when Baltimore inexplicably tacked on an extra TD in the fourth quarter. I didn’t see this game, so will have to check the paper tomorrow to see what happened there. But I won my Colts bet, thanks to the wonderful special teams of Tennessee. A fumbled punt and 2 fumbled kickoffs was about the only thing that could keep the Mighty MVP McNair from ruining my bet. You know, the lack of good special teams in the NFL amazes me. In college, my coach always spent equal time practicing offense, defense, and special teams. He always said that special teams was 1/3 of the game. I agree with this, and there is no excuse for some of the horrible plays you see on special teams every week. The Chiefs specials are the best in the league, and they’ve stolen about 4 games as a result of them. I’m going to start finding games with tight spreads, and just bet on the team with the better specials.

Anyway, during the indy game I remembered the snowstorm in New England, and remembered that the Pats were giving 3 points to Miami. The Pats have no running game, and the conditions were not conducive to passing. I figured Ricky Williams would get his 80 yards, and we’d see a game something like 13-6. Now, to take the under or just go with Miami? The Pats are my newly adopted team (unfortunately I am a lifetime Raider fan), me being from New England and all, and Bill Belichek actually graduated from my college, Wesleyan University. Belichek is, hands down, the best football mind the NFL has ever seen. And, like an idiot, I went against my gut and with my bad-weather logic and put the money on the Dolphins. Result: 12-0 Pats, all Belichek. Why didn’t I take the damn under???

Faulk will run all over Cleveland tomorrow and get me my money back, but what a dumb bet. I’m gonna try to ride the Pats all the way through the playoffs…

8 pm Sunday night, maybe I should get back to Party…

Well, I hopped on a $5-10 shorthanded table while I waited for the full $5-10 tables to clear out. With whiskey in hand (there was no beer in the fridge), the following hand unfolded.
I’m too tired to write it out, but here it is:
5/10 TEXASHTGAMETABLE (LIMIT) – SUN DEC 07 23:49:50 EST 2003
Table Mystique (6 max) (Real Money) — Seat 1 is the button
Total number of players : 6
Seat 1: lketowin ( $193)
Seat 2: Wheels2003 ( $245)
Seat 3: Holdouts ( $148)
Seat 4: hdouble ( $198)
Seat 5: Mistressromy ( $315)
Seat 6: prosound ( $243)
Wheels2003 posts small blind (2)
Holdouts posts big blind (5)
** Dealing down cards **
Dealt to hdouble [ 4c, Ac ]
hdouble raises (10) to 10
Mistressromy folds.
prosound calls (10)
lketowin folds.
Wheels2003 calls (8)
Holdouts calls (5)
** Dealing Flop ** : [ 8d, 5c, Tc ]
Wheels2003 bets (5)
Holdouts calls (5)
hdouble calls (5)
prosound calls (5)
** Dealing Turn ** : [ Jc ]
Wheels2003 bets (10)
Holdouts raises (20) to 20
hdouble calls (20)
prosound folds.
Wheels2003 raises (20) to 30
Holdouts calls (10)
hdouble raises (20) to 40
Wheels2003 calls (10)
Holdouts calls (10)
** Dealing River ** : [ Js ]
Wheels2003 bets (10)
Holdouts calls (10)
hdouble calls (10)
** Summary **
Main Pot: $208 | Rake: $2
Board: [ 8d 5c Tc Jc Js ]
lketowin balance $193, didn’t bet (folded)
Wheels2003 balance $388, bet $65, collected $208, net +$143 [ 8s 8h ] [ a full house, Eights full of jacks — Jc,Js,8s,8h,8d ]
Holdouts balance $83, lost $65 [ 2c Kc ] [ a flush, king high — Kc,Jc,Tc,5c,2c ]
hdouble balance $133, lost $65 [ 4c Ac ] [ a flush, ace high — Ac,Jc,Tc,5c,4c ]
Mistressromy balance $315, didn’t bet (folded)
prosound balance $228, lost $15 (folded)

There is nothing more I hate than the river full house. 10 to 1 and the guy hits it. Would have been my $143. I fought my way back with a couple hands, and ended up down only $60 for the session… damn river jack.

However, there is a happy ending. I hopped on a couple full $5-10 tables and ironically, won two big pots in a row with… 99! The hand that had lost me the most money apparently was feeling neglected, and through for me. A lucky suckout to hit my trip 9s on the river and a $94 pot. The high board card was a 10, and it turned out the guy had QT. Hey, I deserved this one after getting hit in the head with that boat. The next hand I get 99 again, and call an aggressive player to the showdown, who ends up having 66. $44.

I raked a $72 pot when my KQ on the button flopped 2 pair. Nothin like hittin the flop while the scotch goes to your head. Final figures: up $57 after 1 hour total. It was nice to be a winner again, and the $5-10 tables are definitely my favorite. I better get to bed before I throw my winnings away in a drunken tilt…

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