After taking a 5 week break from poker I'm back grinding. Sorry for the lack of poker related blogs over the last couple of months but I hope you enjoyed my trip reports from Tokyo, Japan and Universal Studios, Singapore where I had a lot of fun.
I've been putting in some long hours grinding SNGs every day this month and will continue with that until the end of September. I've mostly been paying hypers and have been doing ICM study every day. Results have been very swingy so far but high volume is the best way to combat variance.
In October my main focus will be my long neglected health, so I'll be grinding less of the poker and more of the salad bar, yoga and running track every day for a month straight. Going forward, my goal is to get myself into a nice balance of healthy lifestyle and profitable poker grind, inspired by my Team Online colleague Kevin 'WizardOfAhhs' Thurman.
I still have no definite plans for moving back to the UK yet. Likely it will be roughly around November/December but I just plan to take care of what is immediately important before figuring it out. Once I get through my September poker grind and October health grind I'll be in a better spot to make plans.
My main problem is that I have nothing to move back to in the UK. It's been 2 years since I've been back and I haven't stayed in touch with anyone. Getting an apartment lease without a job is going to be a huge pain in the ass too. I don't even know where in the UK I want to live and I don't want to commit to a 1 year lease anyway. I'll probably end up trying to share a flat with someone, possibly other poker player(s), even though I massively prefer living on my own like I've done most of my adult life.
Whatever though, I'll figure it all out later.
I'm not playing a full WCOOP schedule this year. Since I'm only playing a limited number of events I have chosen to play only the Omaha events as I feel like that's where I have the biggest edge. The standard of play in these big buyin events is generally worse than microstakes PLO cash games, really soft.
I've played 3 events so far and cashed in 1.
WCOOP-03. $320 PLO: I'm not a big fan of full ring PLO. It's extremely frustrating when you get card dead because the only correct way to play is a very tight aggressive, almost nut-peddling style. With loose opponents however, it can be very profitable if you make some hands.
Boom Player - AJJ5ds in small blind. Just like every other full ring PLO event I've ever played I was extremely card dead for most of the tourney. Then this hand came up where I flatted a minraise out of position with AJJ5 double suited, speculatively looking to flop a set or nut flush draw in a 4-way pot.
I ended up value cutting myself after turning an A high flush after a paired flop was checked through and I lead turn and river for half pot. I'm fine with my play here. I think I get looked up by worse flushes or trips enough to make it overall profitable. With the alternative being check-folding or check-calling I think leading out small it is the best play.
Boom Player - AKQJs on the button. The very next hand I was able to get my stack in dominating a bad regular from the PLO cash games. I didn't win.
WCOOP-09, $265 PLO Bounty: Full ring PLO again. All I asked for was not to not to be card dead. After late-registering I thought my dreams had come true when on my first hand I was dealt QJT9 double suited in the big blind. Obviously my 8 opponents all folded to give me a walk, pffffft!
Boom Player - AAJ8s in middle position. I only snagged the one bounty, in a very standard spot with aces. Still, nice to win someone else's bounty for a change after being the pro bounty myself in so many tourneys.
I did continue to get what I asked for with some very nice starting hands, mostly double suited rundowns, but went on a streak of completely bricking flop after flop after flop. Several times I was 3-bet by out of position nits (AAxx much?) and I flatted for a decent chunk of my stack only for the flop to either miss me or come ace high. I ended up getting it in with a 3-bet pre flop with QQJT which didn't beat my opponents AAxx.
WCOOP-15, $215 PLO 6-Max: Some 6-Max PLO at last, waaaaay more fun.
Boom Player - QJ98ss in the big blind. A good hand to flat the button raise. 43BB deep I flopped top 2 pair and check-jamming seemed the obvious play. I got it in vs KKxxds, which with an overpair and 2 backdoor flush draws had 30% equity against my hand. Fortunately I held to double up to a healthy stack size.
Boom Player - QJ97 in the cutoff. I got a huge double up with this hand after check-calling a wrap and check raising the nut straight on the turn.
I chose the most passive line on the flop because I do have a non-nut wrap and wouldn't be doing great against a range that would get it in with me on the flop. Hands such as AKQJ for top pair and a better wrap would have me crushed, and I wouldn't be doing great against sets or 2 pair with blockers.
I feel like check-shoving that turn kinda polarizes my range to being either a turned nut straight or a flopped AQJx type wrap that just picked up a flush draw. Even though check-shoving could risk scaring off an opponent that I have crushed, the problem with trapping by check-calling is that he'll check back a lot of rivers for pot control with most of his hands (those that have showdown value) and only bet again with very strong hands for value or missed draws as a bluff.
I think I can get him to stack off with this line on the turn with his sets, combo draws and two pair plus draw type hands. If he has the same nut straight as me I have a lot of outs to redraw to a bigger straight and possibly be freerolling against him.
Of course you can make arguments for leading the turn, or check-calling turn and leaving river. These are all legit lines. I guess the one thing that we can all agree on is that playing PLO out of position in pretty tough.
Boom Player - AAJ4ss under the gun. When I raise UTG it's probably not a good idea to 3-bet and get it in with a not-great KKxx hand, but my opponent did. The K flopped and I had to re-suck out with 2 outs on the river on this one.
Boom Player - AAJ7ss in the cutoff. My busto hand. I got AAxxVs a bad KKxx hand in again preflop. Again, the K flopped, but this time the re-suck didn't happen.
I finished 75th for $808. Very disappointing. Fellow PLO grinder Clayton 'cnew27' Newman went on to win the event for $51K You can read the write-up on PokerStars Blog.
I will be playing the $530 Fixed Limit Omaha tomorrow and a few other Omaha events during WCOOP. Wish me luck!
TableNinja Table Selecting
An awesome new feature in TableNinja is SNG table selection based on the colour of player notes. I always tag regulars as red, so have been using this feature to make sure I never register for a SNG that already has a regular registered.
That doesn't mean that I never play with regulars. I still end up in 4 and 5 regular games at 6-Max SNGs sometimes, but that's because I register first and they register behind me. I'm never that guy that registers for a SNG that's already stacked with regs.
I've been getting in slightly less games per hour due to times that a bunch of regulars are signing up at the same time, but I've been playing in overall softer games so overall I'm a big fan of the feature.
Nadal Mobile Commercial
PokerStars have produced a new ad for the mobile app starring Rafa Nadal.
I hope this gets a lot of coverage worldwide. It promotes poker as being fun, exciting and easy to play - from anywhere. Rafa has a lot of mainstream appeal so I think he will be extremely useful in bringing new players into online poker.
PokerStars Team Online has released the latest short film promoting their players. This is the first one produced outside of North America and features Polish player Grzegorz Mikielewicz, but you can just call him Greg, or DaWarsaw.
If you want to keep up with how Greg is doing you can check out his blog at DaWarsaw.com and follow him on Twitter @DaWarsaw.
A new poker related webshow called Game Theory has been piloted online. I don't think its great but it does have a 15:1 like ratio on YouTube so I'm sharing it so you can check it out and make your own opinion.
I feel like the writing is poor and the acting isn't great either but the production is good, so it does have some potential. It looks to be targeting advanced poker players but I think most experienced players will find it cringe-worthy.
*SPOILER* LOL @ hero not wanting to play in the low limit game because "too many fish makes it impossible to win", then goes to play a bigger game against "asian sharks" where he cold-calls 42s from the blinds because he doesn't want to get pushed around. Bloody ridiculous.
Fox has commissioned a pilot for a poker related sitcom starring Ryan Reynolds. CalvinAyre.com are reporting that it will likely be titled 'All-In'. Genius, huh?.
This could either be good for poker, widening it's mainstream appeal. Or is could be the opposite. They may portray the lead character as a busto degenerate gambler, that wouldn't be good for the public perception of what a poker player is. Or the pilot may be lolbad and not get made into a show. So we will have to wait and see what comes of it.