As an example, submission for critique, or just extra motivation for those who are on the fence about starting a poker journal... here's my first entry.
7/28/12 Poker Journal entry #1
Pre-Game: Won big 2 sessions ago ($230), won small last session ($50). $1/$2 NLHE is currently the only game I play and the highest stakes around (without driving 90 minutes each way).
Things to remember - if I under-rep my hand, then call more on the river. If I've over-repped my hand, fold more often. Let the game come to me. Wait for ideal spots rather than forcing the action. Try to retain my TAG image while throwing a few non-TAG or non-standard plays into my game, but without trying to get too fancy.
Watched season 1, episode 1 of Poker After Dark this morning before leaving the house. Very passive, but I guess that was before Tom Dwan.
Don't want my first 3-bet to be with AA, KK, or QQ.
Showed up around 2:00pm. I was 2nd to arrive. So far, straight-forward passive player and car salesman LAG in his mid 40's who I have a lot of history with. We both have mutual respect for each other's game, even though we're on different ends of the tight/loose perspective.
If I open and get 3-bet with a solid, non-dominated hand like JT suited or 87 suited, or 99, don't be afraid to call... depending on right opponent.
Plan is to play 2 or 3 hours and leave $200 up.
Don't try to push people off their hands too hard, especially those who won't give up. No need to bluff $50 when $40 will do. Continuation bet 90% of the time versus 1 or 2 opponents.
Short-handed play. Down $20. Would have been down more, but I was able to get LAG car salesman to fold after going all-in on a blank turn. I had an open-ended straight draw. He had top pair and a back door flush draw.
Like in war, there's a tendency for everything but instinct to go out the window once the fighting starts. Training must be ingrained in the player/soldier or else all is lost.
Now we're 6-handed.
Rather than limp on the button with my weaker playable hands like Q8o, I elect to fold more often, so when I raise or 3-bet in position, I'll get more respect/fear.
Realized this is turning into an action game. Lots of players trying to out-play each other post-flop. More pre-flop calls than usual with plans to take it away post-flop.
Waiting for the goods or a great spot to make a move.
Over limped with 22 in Hi-jack seat. Flopped quads, 2 diamonds and a Jack. Bet, raise, both short-stacks. I put them all-in. One call with the nut flush draw, the other was LAG car salesman. He folded his Jack because he knew I had the goods.
Two pair versus straight on river. I had two pair and position. I didn't raise, luckily. This is versus quiet semi-solid douche. Why is he a douche? Because he plays fairly well, but mechanically. No heart.
JJ, I make standard short-handed raise to $7 in position. Get 1 caller - semi-solid douche. King high flop. He bet the flop. I called. We both checked the turn. I make a set of Jacks on the river, but that brings 3 clubs on the board. He bets out. I just call, even though I think about raising. He has the nut flush.
Down about $50 at this point.
raising my decent hands on the button and Cut-off. Usually taking it down with a c-bet.
A bit later, I get KQ. I raise. 1 caller. Flop comes Ace high. Check/check. Caught my King on the turn. Value be the river for $10, got raised $15 more by car salesman. "Really?" I ask. "Yeah." He says. I fold. He shows me a baby flush.
Down about $60.
5-handed, KQ on the button. 1 limper. I raise to $7. 3 callers. AQT. I c-bet $15 and get 3 folds. The last guy almost called with a Ten.
On button with J9
. Flopped a flush - loose, sometimes aggressive player bets a little on the flop and turn. I call both streets. River is another
. Check/check. I win.
Down about $30.
Just realized JJ and AK (once or twice) are my best hands so far today. Weird. Never mind, had KK once, too.
Check-raised river versus car salesman on ultra dirty board. Paired flop, 4 to straight and flush by the river. He bet $5 the whole way. I made it $20 more on the river and he folded, said "I let you get there."
Down less than $15 now.
Car salesman straddles (which he does about 1/3 the time), new player calls. Have AK
I raise to $15. Get 2 callers. Flop comes Ten high with 2
. I bet out $35 or $40. Car salesman makes it an even $100. New player folds. I go all-in for my last $70 more to him. He takes off his sunglasses and considers the action. Takes a little while, but he folds.
I tell him my hand. He says he had a Ten and rabbit-hunts the results (this is an e-table and it only costs a quarter to see what the turn and river would have been.) Tells me that I would have caught my Ace on the river.
Very next hand, get QQ. I open raise to $10. Only the BB calls. Flop comes King high. Check/check. A Jack on the turn. I bet out about $10. He calls. River is a blank. He bets out $5. Probably should have raised, but those cooler hands from earlier in the session were still haunting me a little. I call and win the pot. He had AQ.
Up $123 and leave at 5:00pm. Not an easy table, as per usual. I put a dollar in the poker room tip jar on my way out, as usual when I leave with more money than I had upon entering.
Post-Game: I feel pretty good about the session and the way I played. Don't think I could have gotten away from my 2 pair or set of Jacks, but glad I didn't sneak a thin-value bet in there. To be honest, I don't think semi-solid douche has it in him. Remember to fold to his river bets when I have a weak hand, unless I see new information.
Didn't 3-bet much, but glad I check-raise bluffed the river in that one hand.
My only regret is when it was 4-handed and I flopped top pair along with an open-ended straight draw. Car salesman bet, old aggressive guy called. I had them covered, both were fairly short-stacked. I should have pushed all-in. Car salesman won the hand with 2nd pair. I actually would have made a boat on the river, too. But even without that, my hand was best probably 90% of the time in that spot.
Got to play 3 times this week. Can't argue with that. Going to keep up with the poker journal. Thanks for reading.
Hey, dgiharris, if you ever want a poker blog co-pilot, just let me know.
Venger As'Nas Satanis
Cult of Cthulhu