After 5 months of playing, reading, and thinking the game, I feel it’s time to start recording the thoughts inspired by this complicated game. Before we get started, I thought you all might like to know my background– the angle you approach something affects the manner in which you learn and perform that something, so here goes:

Age: 26
Education: Master of Science, Computer Science (University of California, Irvine)
Past Life: Played football for 17 years– high school –> college –> semipro

Poker History:
After a brief stint as a card counter, I found that the edge a good player can obtain in Texas Hold ‘Em far exceeds any edge on the blackjack table. Although I’d rather take money from a huge casino bankroll than a fellow poker player, the psychological part of poker is more appealing than the mindless math of blackjack. I developed my game playing many hours on Wilson’s Turbo Texas Hold ‘Em, the best software tool for learning Hold Em. Lee Jones’ book was the first I read, followed by some Sklansky and both of Krieger’s books. I quickly moved past the wild $2-4 games (learning about variance along the way) at the local B&M to the $3-6 games where I took a few lumps while learning, but generally did ok. I did better online, where the play is more rational (“by the book”) and it’s much easier to put people on hands. Not surprisingly, I am a much bigger winner in the tight online games (where people actually fold and there is much more skill in reading hands) than in the wild B&M games in LA. I’m working on my “no fold ’em” skills, and still hoping to book that monster win at the Hollywood Park (my B&M) $6.12 game.

I keep session statistics with, an excellent free site that helps keep track of your stats over time. Here are my stats so far:

RESULTS FROM 2003-05-30 TO 2003-10-19: I AM $1466.84 AHEAD OVER 142 DAYS.
EARNINGS: $1466.84 AVG. RETURN: $12.43 RETURN STD.: $149.60
WIN RATE: $5.57/HR AVG. WIN RATE: $21.22/HR WIN RATE STD.: $117.58/HR
HOURS: 263.53 AVG. HOURS: 2.23

Note that the number of hours is inflated, since I usually play 2 tables at the same time when playing online. PokerCharts also gives us the following nugget:

From 2003-05-30 to 2003-10-19 I have mostly played Hold ‘Em (84% of the time), and after that Tournament Hold ‘Em (16% of the time). I am most successful playing Hold ‘Em ($1,324 overall), and least successful playing Tournament Hold ‘Em ($143 overall). In terms of venues, I play best at PartyPoker ($2,663 overall) and worst at Hollywood Park ($-1,016 overall). I have been averaging 12.99 hours of poker a week, or 11.60% of my waking hours (assuming I sleep eight a night).

I have moved up the limits to play $6-12 at B&M and $5-10 online (two tables). This is a little bit over my head bankroll wise, although I have a good job and some savings, so I suppose I’m in decent shape as far as bankroll goes. It is worth noting that in the last week, I have had both my biggest losing session and my biggest winning session. The biggest loser was at a wild weekend no fold em $6.12 game at Hollywood Park: $-680 in 9 hours! I had all kinds of bad beats, and while playing pretty well overall, I loosened up a bit too much at the end of the night, so I attribute a good portion of the loss to a lesser form of tilt. Luckily 3 days later (after vowing to “take a break” from poker) I was able to book a $660 win playing 2 party $5.10 tables for only an hour and fifteen minutes. There were a couple players just giving their money away, and I caught a nice run of cards… needless to say I felt a lot better about the big loss… and my best hourly win rate was 4 times greater than my worst hourly loss rate!

That’s it for my introduction. Hopefully this journal will help me improve my game, as well as give me a chance to develop some thoughts worth developing. And if it gives some readers a few laughs or nods of recognition along the way, that would be nice too…

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