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My Personal Challenge - How to quit being a fish

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My Personal Challenge - How to quit being a fish - Sat Nov 26, 2011, 07:06 PM
(#1)
KitGstring's Avatar
Since: Nov 2011
Posts: 11
Hello everybody, Ive had a most sobering revelation today. I am really not very good at this wonderful game ours.

Seems obvious does it not? Would I be here otherwise?

Well it isnt. In the ethereal dreamworld of the ordinary poker player, the unbelievable level of self delusion present in the minds of so many is the one constant in the multivariate equation of supposedly "unexplainable" long term losses. One tells himself constantly that his play was +EV - "its just these friggin donk/luckbox/fish folks who keep playing bad but always beat me..."

"Tack!" yells the metaphorical captain (why am I not in control?) of my bruised poker brain - "lets change the subject of why I suck so very badly and talk about something else."

Gladly I will oblige my inner Walter Mitty.

Ok heres where I am with poker so far.... It all began far away - in a land of castles and kings....

or more literally playing a home game i was inadequately rolled for at the age of 14 at one of the top independent schools in the UK (incidently we were pretty close to Westminster Abbey and the houses of Parliament so my previous sarcasm about castles and kings now seems woefully close to the sad truth).
Being rather arrogant about my own level of intelligence I thought that poker was a game I should crush based on my very strong mathematical ability (i'm reading a Physics degree at the moment - the mathematics involved in Quantum Mechanics, Theoretical Hamiltonian dynamics, Electromagnetic theory etc is appaullingly complicated - think partial differential equations and whatever). So I read a few books etc - my ego boosted up even more because the legendary words of the great Doyle Brunson where richocheting around my skull at an exponentially increasing pace.

I reckon I broke even in that home game over the long run. Now however silly this sounds I think it was an achievement. Public school boys are the scum of the earth (myself most certainly included!) and all manner of cheating, stealing and unscrupulous behaviours were occuring with an alarming frequency.
I, having read books on poker and whatever considered the ONLY valid approach to playing poker to be the book prescribed TAG style of play. To be fair - it was certainly the most profitable in that game, the variance was insane. Im talking it would be standard to see 2 people all in preflop with 99 versus TT. And this was a cash game. There were players who lost ALOT of money. For playing £20 cash-games at school with your buddies, with money you didnt have (playing on credit), it could be rather scary to play 2 hour long sessions in your lunchbreak and see £80 - £100 swings!! In particular there was one guy, very rich Indian guy with the ego of a prize rhinocerous with a horn the size of Lex Steel's who was counted in after 2 years as being over £2000 in the red. Since we all watched HSP, WSOP, WPT etc and saw some of the crazy stuff going on there we assumed that was the normal way poker should be played. The failure to take into account the situational nature of tournament play and the dynamic effect of stack sizes resulted in a home game that should have been the ultimate cash cow. But somehow I was only breaking even despite my "correct" plays...

At this game there were two boys who always seemed to be in the black at the end of the week no matter what kind of hurricane of variance had swept through us. By the way we played 6-7 handed NLH mostly with a bit of PLO (when I could convince them) and one or two times we played HORSE after the Scotty Nuygen thing (the whole abuse thing appealled to one of the less scrupulous characters I think...). These two who kept winning played two different styles. Both were phenomenally intelligent guys - Alex is currently reading a Joint Honours degree in Russian language and History at Oxford and Jonny is on a scholarship to Harvard for economics. Alex had read books and was generally speaking a tightish-aggressive player but with a good hand reading ability and the propensity to make some staggering bluffs in good spots, Jonny was a total lunatic preflop, raising and 3betting alot of pots and calling others with the most random cards imaginable. The thing was though - post flop - he was a genius. He ran effective and subtle bluffs (but never it seemed for all his chips....) and when he showed hands down he always seemed to be stronger then you'd put him on for his percieved 'range.

Of course - having said all this, we were still schoolkids albeit bright ones, and the level of sophistication of that game was not high (positional understanding was somewhat intuitive rather than calculated).
I broke even because I tried to play for showdown value against the *****rs and loons that generally consitituted about 1/2 to 2/3 of people involved. I was outplayed by the 2 superior players repeatedly and hence consider myself lucky to have broken even in that game in the long run.

So then things like A-levels and University applications took over and our degenerate underage poker circle reduced to only playing on the occaisional weekend and when I got to Uni - I obtained the ultimate anti-poker repellent and doused myself thoroughly in it - a girlfriend. A year of my life passed in which I'd make only the most sporadic appearances at the University Poker Society's weekly tournaments (although I did manage to cash one once.)

And then Pokerstars....
Within days I was a degen, multitabling cash games - playing super lag poker just for kicks (albeit positionally driven madness), playing MTTs i wasnt rolled for. Went broke for my first $50. Bought in again against my better judgement.

So im here now after maybe 2 months of online poker. My Sharkscope is pretty damn good - check me out! (ROI 386%, profit ~ $1000).
however the truth is that almost all of that was due to one turbo donkament luckbox rather than a prolonged period of good play.
after playing a lot of MTTs and actually having min-cashed a fair few (todays wonderous 5 hour occupation.) I have isolated the main leak in my play tournament play and cash game play:
Blowups. Crazy all in, unneccessary, random madman bluffs. Consider my bust hands in the last two tournaments I ran deep in.

Tournament 1: $1.10 freezout, something like 2000 entrants - 1st prize ~ $650

Hero has J9o in SB, folded round, raises to 2.5x
Villain (BB) calls

(bear in mind that Hero is coming about 5th out of 17 with a reasonable stack of 60BB villian is 1st in chips with a whopping 150BB + stack, why did i even bother to tangle with him anyway?)

flop K T 5

Hero bets, Villain calls

turn is nothing card

Hero bets, Villain calls

river is a 9 -
i having played for 5 hours at this point went in my head " ive represented QJ here - what a good spot to all in bluff the river!!"

Hero shoves. Villain instacalls - flips K10

I smoke 3 cigarettes on the trot and get drunk and go shag some ugly girl.

The thing is that i had played solid tourney poker for so long and just gotten brainfreeze at the crucial moments for no reason.

Even worse is todays example - I all in overbet shoved on an AJ3 board with 44 faced with 1 checks and a player behind. Again i had a reasonable stack - the overbet was almost double the pot - my reasoning was that the BB had just come along for kicks and even if he had an A he'd probably lay it down since i was a mid positon preflop raiser and there was no way he had a kicker better than a 10 or he would have 3 - bet. BB outstacked me slightly and the button caller was huge-stacked. anyway i thought the button caller could have anything and had probably called with suited connectors or something to try and bust me or to use a positional advantage to push me around after the flop (he was fond of that), so i didnt think he was much of a danger.

button folds. BB instacalls
shows AQ.

i feel rather deflated and eat comfort food.

both busts involved similar aggro-mad play a long way into mtts.
this has got to stop.


I have satellited into the Sunday Million tomorrow and am sacrificing monday's 2 lectures on Maths and Astronomy in the hope of a deep run. Wish me luck boys and I'll keep you posted if you would kindly drop in on my blog.

I will start posting hand histories on my blog for interesting hands if anyone would care to participate in some group analysis
 
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Sat Nov 26, 2011, 07:17 PM
(#2)
JWK24's Avatar
Since: Jun 2010
Posts: 24,831
(Super-Moderator)
BronzeStar
GL in the million and welcome to PSO.

If you want to have any of your hands analyzed, please post them in the HA forum and we'll gladly give you our opinions on them!
 
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Sat Nov 26, 2011, 07:25 PM
(#3)
roomik17's Avatar
Since: Aug 2010
Posts: 4,556
BronzeStar
wow quite the intro, welcome to the forum
 
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Sat Nov 26, 2011, 07:43 PM
(#4)
KitGstring's Avatar
Since: Nov 2011
Posts: 11
why thanks chaps - best of luck to all of you too x
 
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Sat Nov 26, 2011, 08:11 PM
(#5)
roomik17's Avatar
Since: Aug 2010
Posts: 4,556
BronzeStar
Quote:
Originally Posted by KitGstring View Post

I smoke 3 cigarettes on the trot and get drunk and go shag some ugly girl.
Absolute best line ever
 
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First post - Sun Nov 27, 2011, 02:06 AM
(#6)
Deleted user
Wow - if thats a thread post I can't wait for the blog!

Good luck in the Sunday M. IF you win it don't leave us. You're a good read. And that is meant in the literal sense rather than the poker one!

nv
 
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Sun Nov 27, 2011, 04:26 AM
(#7)
Moxie Pip's Avatar
Since: Aug 2010
Posts: 3,853
Welcome aboard Kit. Great first post.

My only fear is that you and JDean begin a correspondence with each other. That would surely cripple the PM feature again.
 
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Sun Nov 27, 2011, 05:17 AM
(#8)
r0ck.carver's Avatar
Since: Apr 2011
Posts: 201
MOXY ALWAYS THE LIFE OF THE PARTY lol Great first post ,I'd say we played the same group but all my cohorts are pushing 55+ now lol...quantum was ....well wasn't lol
look forward to the next install cheers and welcome to pso......
ps cantor rules....ferme is soso and the best is yet to come if CERN proves ftl is posible cheers rock
 
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Sun Nov 27, 2011, 05:29 AM
(#9)
KitGstring's Avatar
Since: Nov 2011
Posts: 11
Haha Physics chat - only on a poker forum...
skeptical about faster than light neutrinos.

cashed $50 dollars this morning in a turbo rebuy at 41st place. kind of pissed off - was 9th or 10th in chips, not really a blow up though - made some legitimate steal attempts against shorties and somehow ran into QQ with only BB behind me. meh - stuff happens x - considering it an exorcism of bad luck for the mil
 
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Sun Nov 27, 2011, 06:09 AM
(#10)
r0ck.carver's Avatar
Since: Apr 2011
Posts: 201
Quote:
Originally Posted by KitGstring View Post
Haha Physics chat - only on a poker forum...
skeptical about faster than light neutrinos.

cashed $50 dollars this morning in a turbo rebuy at 41st place. kind of pissed off - was 9th or 10th in chips, not really a blow up though - made some legitimate steal attempts against shorties and somehow ran into QQ with only BB behind me. meh - stuff happens x - considering it an exorcism of bad luck for the mil

ya but wouldn't it be great to go back and 3x rather than all in lol
 
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Sun Nov 27, 2011, 08:54 PM
(#11)
KitGstring's Avatar
Since: Nov 2011
Posts: 11
Well folks - made 590 somethingth place with a $400 cash. bit of a disappointment considering I was sat in 9th place for a while. Just a cooler, a shove and that was it...

PokerStars Game #71250147486: Tournament #548020010, $200+$15 USD Hold'em No Limit - Level XIX (2000/4000) - 2011/11/28 0:53:17 WET [2011/11/27 19:53:17 ET]
Table '548020010 97' 9-max Seat #2 is the button
Seat 1: ZARPAS96 (99377 in chips)
Seat 2: nuizizi (84709 in chips)
Seat 3: KitGstring (94352 in chips)
Seat 4: Kraevsky (9288 in chips)
Seat 5: bartekowa (41556 in chips)
Seat 6: KingKaizers (139744 in chips)
Seat 7: seymouraces (68189 in chips)
Seat 8: Mc-arnold (67144 in chips)
Seat 9: maelik12 (61806 in chips)
ZARPAS96: posts the ante 400
nuizizi: posts the ante 400
KitGstring: posts the ante 400
Kraevsky: posts the ante 400
bartekowa: posts the ante 400
KingKaizers: posts the ante 400
seymouraces: posts the ante 400
Mc-arnold: posts the ante 400
maelik12: posts the ante 400
KitGstring: posts small blind 2000
Kraevsky: posts big blind 4000
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to KitGstring [Ac Ts]
bartekowa: folds
KingKaizers: folds
seymouraces: folds
Mc-arnold: folds
maelik12: folds
ZARPAS96: folds
nuizizi: raises 6000 to 10000
KitGstring: raises 83952 to 93952 and is all-in
Kraevsky: folds
nuizizi: calls 74309 and is all-in
Uncalled bet (9643) returned to KitGstring
*** FLOP *** [2c Kh Kd]
*** TURN *** [2c Kh Kd] [Js]
*** RIVER *** [2c Kh Kd Js] [5s]
*** SHOW DOWN ***
KitGstring: shows [Ac Ts] (a pair of Kings)
nuizizi: shows [Qh Qd] (two pair, Kings and Queens)
nuizizi collected 176218 from pot


*********** # 29 **************
PokerStars Game #71249451411: Tournament #548020010, $200+$15 USD Hold'em No Limit - Level XVIII (1500/3000) - 2011/11/28 0:34:48 WET [2011/11/27 19:34:48 ET]
Table '548020010 97' 9-max Seat #2 is the button
Seat 1: ZARPAS96 (87370 in chips)
Seat 2: nuizizi (61321 in chips)
Seat 3: KitGstring (133855 in chips)
Seat 4: K2AA72 (35776 in chips)
Seat 5: bartekowa (33476 in chips)
Seat 6: KingKaizers (173872 in chips)
Seat 7: seymouraces (35196 in chips)
Seat 8: Mc-arnold (22336 in chips)
Seat 9: maelik12 (38303 in chips)
ZARPAS96: posts the ante 300
nuizizi: posts the ante 300
KitGstring: posts the ante 300
K2AA72: posts the ante 300
bartekowa: posts the ante 300
KingKaizers: posts the ante 300
seymouraces: posts the ante 300
Mc-arnold: posts the ante 300
maelik12: posts the ante 300
KitGstring: posts small blind 1500
K2AA72: posts big blind 3000
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to KitGstring [Qc Qh]
bartekowa: folds
KingKaizers: folds
seymouraces: raises 3100 to 6100
Mc-arnold: folds
maelik12: raises 31903 to 38003 and is all-in
ZARPAS96: folds
nuizizi: folds
KitGstring: raises 31903 to 69906
K2AA72: folds
seymouraces: folds
Uncalled bet (31903) returned to KitGstring
*** FLOP *** [5d Js 4h]
*** TURN *** [5d Js 4h] [2h]
*** RIVER *** [5d Js 4h 2h] [9d]
*** SHOW DOWN ***
KitGstring: shows [Qc Qh] (a pair of Queens)
maelik12: shows [Kd Kc] (a pair of Kings)
maelik12 collected 87806 from pot
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 87806 | Rake 0
Board [5d Js 4h 2h 9d]
Seat 1: ZARPAS96 folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 2: nuizizi (button) folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 3: KitGstring (small blind) showed [Qc Qh] and lost with a pair of Queens
Seat 4: K2AA72 (big blind) folded before Flop
Seat 5: bartekowa folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 6: KingKaizers folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 7: seymouraces folded before Flop
Seat 8: Mc-arnold folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 9: maelik12 showed [Kd Kc] and won (87806) with a pair of Kings


absolutely nailed the deepstack stuff.
apparently no one has any idea how to play post flop....

cheers guys

more to come
 
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Sun Nov 27, 2011, 08:59 PM
(#12)
roomik17's Avatar
Since: Aug 2010
Posts: 4,556
BronzeStar
nice start!
 
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Sun Nov 27, 2011, 09:04 PM
(#13)
JWK24's Avatar
Since: Jun 2010
Posts: 24,831
(Super-Moderator)
BronzeStar
Great run and good cash

nothing you could do with the QQ hand.
If it were me, I'd have raised to 2.5BB instead of pushing it preflop. That way, you could get off the hand if you miss or if the opp shoves on you. You'd still be left with 15BB. Although, if you're going to call a shove back from them.. it's better to shove first.

Keep up with the cashes
 
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Sun Nov 27, 2011, 09:54 PM
(#14)
Stakehorse75's Avatar
Since: Sep 2010
Posts: 865
BronzeStar
Can you teach me too ??
 
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Mon Nov 28, 2011, 05:12 AM
(#15)
KitGstring's Avatar
Since: Nov 2011
Posts: 11
with the A10 it was a 3bet shove - QQ raised on the BTN, i figured his range was pretty wide...
 
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Mon Nov 28, 2011, 05:21 AM
(#16)
KitGstring's Avatar
Since: Nov 2011
Posts: 11
Ill post some of the deepstack stuff later...
 
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Mon Nov 28, 2011, 06:55 AM
(#17)
JDean's Avatar
Since: Aug 2010
Posts: 3,145
BronzeStar
LOVE the intro post Kit, and welcome to the forum!

Your story strikes me as somewhat similar to my poker beginnings, albeit with the difference that I started way back in the mid 80's, when there was very little in the way of formal poker information available.

My friends and I used to hold a weekly 25c/50c 7 stud game.
My buddy Kevin and I ALWAYS won in that game; I mean always.
The way we won was simple: we were the only ones who recognized intuitively that aggression in poker works.

Sure, our game was your typical home game, with lots of wild cards (lowest card int eh hole was wild, and any card after an Ace on the board was too, and you got a choice of last card up or down), but the thing we both keyed on was that no one EVER folded.

We learned quickly that a royal flush was the average winning hand, and that if we held 3 or 4 wild cards it was in our best interests to bet and raise, and keep on betting and raising. If we did not have 3 or 4 wild cards early, we merely called. Consequently the pots we won tended to be far larger than those we lost, and because everyone went to the river on every hand, that was enough to win $20 to $50 a week each (quite a bit when we all had part time jobs for $3 to $4 per hour!).

The same pattern held for me through college games, since the opponents tended to be of the same caliber...I stayed a winner.

After college ("university" for the euro types! ), I pretty much gave up playing poker for around 8 or 9 years. when Casino Boats opened near me in the late 90's, I went in and played live $1/$2 7 stud, only without wild cards, using my same tried and true strategy of never folding and being uber aggro. I lost...

Later on (after I found PSO in 04) I found out that the only reason I won was because I had learned 1 fundemental poker skill, while my high school and college opponents had learned none. That was good enough to make me a winner. It took PSO to teach me that there were far MORE skills needed to learn, primarily that you did NOT need to paly every hand all the way to the river!

Any time you move beyond the strictly recreational poker of the kitchen table, and start to face opponents with even minimal skill, you reach a point where knowing "one more thing" than your opponents know is no longer enough. There is no hierarchy of poker skills insofar as 1 skill is always "better" than another, as poker skill comparison seems to be more like a game of rock - paper - scissors. Example...

Let's say there are an imaginary 100 poker skills you must learn to know everything there is to know about the game.

You have mastered 30 of them. All your opponents have mastered 29 of them. this does not automatically make you profitable against ALL your opponents.

Some opponents, even though they know less about poker than you, know things that are DIFFERENT than what you know. Like in the game of rock - paper - scissors, sometimes the skills they have which you lack, their "scissors" throw, are good enough to consistently prevail over your "paper" group of skills. Sometimes your "paper" skill set runs into an opponent who has a skills set resembling a "rock" throw, an you prevail more often than not. Because you both hold SOME of the skills required for a complete poker game, the differential in those skill sets no longer ensure you will be instantly profitable every time you meet someone with slightly lesser skill sets; like when I had 1 skill facing opponents with 0 skills...see?

That means poker skill is more like a Bicycle Wheel.
The Rim of the wheel is your overall game, and in order for that game to work profitably it must stay round. The spokes which support the wheel are the individual poker skills you need to master to keep your wheel round.

If you are missing a few spokes, can your wheel work sometimes? Sure it can, but as soon as you hit a bump in the road, the lack of some spokes causes your wheel to go out of round and stop working; that bump can come in the form of an opponent with more spokes holding up HIS poker game wheel...

If you are of a more spiritual bent, you can liken the acquisition of poker skill, and the use of that skill to following the Noble 8-Fold Path to Enlightenment from Buddhist thought. One cannot end suffering until all of the 8 paths have been traveled...

But once you recognize that poker learning will not be complete until you've mastered all the skills required to play the game (all but impossible!), you still will run a-foul of the negative feed back loop of poker learning which is largely a function of the chance element in the game (although a healthy does of self-deception can add to the effect if you aren't careful!)

By this I mean poker is a game where you can do everything perfectly and still lose, and also one where you can do everything wrong and be rewarded. Un-like the feedback a young toddler gets he first time he touches a hot pot on a stove top and gets burnt, and the 2nd time he touches one he gets burnt, the chance element takes that away from you in poker. to break the negative feedback loop of poker learning, you need to have outside input

That is the BEST "argument" I can make for why I stay a member of PSO even though Americans cannot play. I really appreciate that you, and everyone else is here, as bouncing thoughts and ideas off of you can only serve to help me see beyond the results of my play, and look into the realities of it.

I sincerely hope you avail yourself of the live training sessions, the Hand analysis forum, and the poker discussion to be had here on PSO, and see them as a way to help you break your own personal negative feed back loop in poker learning. No matter what your current skill level, outside input can be a BIG help!

So welcome to PSO, and it is good to see you here!

Keep up the awesome posts, I really enjoyed reading this one!
 
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Mon Nov 28, 2011, 10:04 AM
(#18)
mtnestegg's Avatar
Since: Feb 2011
Posts: 1,336
probably the most memorable first post I've seen here in 10 months. Great intro! I think my intro was along the lines of "hi my name is MT and im a donk .. Please help"..(not really, but it should've been) Keep 'em coming! Nice run on sunday. Cant wait til you and JD get ta gabbin'. I'll be sure to bring the popcorn! MT

Last edited by mtnestegg; Mon Nov 28, 2011 at 10:08 AM..
 
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Mon Nov 28, 2011, 10:58 AM
(#19)
idodgedeuces's Avatar
Since: Jul 2010
Posts: 25
Wow there are a lot of words in this thread, big science ones too that I have no idea about (as far as I knew neutrino did "bound for da reload" with DJ Oxide back in 2000!!). Still enjoyed reading it, makes a nice change to read english instead of deciphering txt msgs.

Congrats on the sunday million cash, you're obviously doing something right to make it that far in a tourney like that. keep up the good work. If you like the deepstack play, maybe you should try cash games, plus you can quit before you spazz out!!
 
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Mon Nov 28, 2011, 01:53 PM
(#20)
!!!111Dan's Avatar
Since: Jul 2010
Posts: 3,290
Welcome G and congrats on the Sun. Mill cash.
Thanks for the intro.
If you have any questions on the site, be sure and let us know.
 

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