For the past while, I have been on vacation. Within a week I had hiked/swam the Zion Narrows, accumulated enough bruises on my legs in Bryce Canyon National Park to warrant strangers asking if I needed help out of an abusive relationship, had a panic attack due to heights on the Island in the Sky, ate mouthful upon mouthful of sand at Sandstone Arch, rode the laziest ass in the world at sunset in the desert, and had a squirrel attempt to pluck a protein bar from my hand at the Grand Canyon only to wrestle it away, proving that humans are just plain better than nature at tug-of-war.
I typed up that entire description mostly to make fellow Digest writer Papa Pyrite jealous, but the point still stands that I had one of the best times of my life recently, and had no time to play poker.
It was exactly what I needed.
I have been dabbling with poker for a very long time, with nothing to show for it; I have notoriously poor bankroll management and really love spewing winnings away at video poker and blackjack. Over the course of my career, I have played hundreds of thousands of hands (I am pretty sure that, if you tally up all of my hands over all of the sites I have played on, I have cleared well over a million), but I am still pottering around in the lowest of the micros.
I live with a player who built up his entire livelihood from a one-time deposit of $50 on Tilt years and years ago; he has offered to coach me numerous times, but I have always turned him down for some reason because I seem to have some sick aversion to getting better.
On my vacation, a few things clicked into place that never had before.
I need to stop going about poker the way that I have been.
It is not about number of hands or win rate or 3 bet percentage. It is about being comfortable with what you are doing, and I realized that I had never been comfortable playing poker before. Whenever I had played poker, I had had a voice in the back of my head reminding me that I was a poor student, that I needed to make money at this, that if I did not get better and have something to show for it that I would have wasted the last four years of my life essentially playing videogames.
I am going to share a secret that I am entirely ashamed of: I have deposited a lot of money onto sites. A lot. We are talking multiple thousands, over the course of multiple deposits on multiple sites. That is money that I easily could have used elsewhere, instead of living student loan check to student loan check, borrowing money from my parents when I should have been just fine. All of that money has been squandered away, and… well…
I think I am ready to admit that I have a gambling problem.
All of my life, I have been considered about average intelligence. When I was growing up, I didn’t have looks or athletic skills or a lot of money, so it was by being smart that I stood out. Now I am realizing, however, that I am very dumb in a lot of ways.
Poker, and everything surrounding it, is one of them.
In the month of July, I am going to step back from poker. I am going to use the month to work on myself, from my body to my mind to my relationships. I am going to buckle down on my weight loss/fitness. I am going to work on my novel (pretentious much?). I am going to spend more quality time with the people that I love the most. I am going to read more, hike more, and explore more. I am going to become me again.
Maybe after I find out who Paige is, I can find out what kind of poker player Paige is.
The process of self-discovery might take more than just the month of July. It might take all of August, or all of this year. It might take the rest of my lifetime to find a way that I can define myself proudly.
You cannot rush this stuff, you know.
I have, overtime, become less and less involved with 2+2, but I am still around. That will not change. This community has become like a second family to me, and many of the guys in Beginners Questions mean more to me than anything and have helped me in ways that I could never express. But if I am going to find out what makes me tick, I am going to have to find out what makes me a broken clock in the first place. I doubt that you will see me much, if at all, on the forum for the next month.
Not that I contributed much to strategy or worthwhile discussions anyway. Mostly what I am good for is making filthy jokes and posting pictures of boobs (though there is certainly great need for both of those things in the world). I am not leaving the Digest, either, because who knows what sorts of trouble those boys would get into without me around to keep them in line.
I am sorry that this article was all me me me. It kind of had to be though. I guess if you want there to be something to take away from the story, it is that time off can give you a new perspective and that it is ok to be imperfect, but it is not ok to just tell yourself that you are a failure and move on.
I hope that I will be able to figure out what I am doing, and then step forward from there. My goal is that, by growing as a person, I will be able to finally become comfortable as a person who plays poker. If it happens, it happens, and if it does not, I had a lot of fun playing along the way.
Played first 100 hands of Razz at $1/$2. The only strat I have really looked up is regarding starting hands and what is best to play for a beginner. It went pretty well and I finished up 22bbs/100. Was up $44 with 20 hands to go, but ended up cry-calling a HU $26 pot with a pair of 3’s after the pot built nicely 3 handed to lose a to J7.
Most interesting hand came up here: http://www.handconverter.com/hands/1749985
I’m not really sure what the villain was thinking. My thoughts were I likely had the best 4 card hand which I “think” I repped sufficiently. Don’t think I would have won at showdown so bluffed the river.
These 100 hands will be sent to Dr Razz for diagnosis, and as one poster put it in Skype chat he is looking forward to the analysis of that hand as “donk-on-donk violence”
Really have to concentrate to keep track of folded cards. Think it will also take a while before I can 2 table.
But I kind of enjoyed my first session. Winning always helps! I hope it continues but let’s see what the whole month brings.
Only played 40 hands due to internet problems. Managed to show a couple bucks profit, but no really interesting hands. The table was mostly 5 handed though so you really have to pay attention. I quit when it got to 3 handed as I don’t want to play HU/3 handed yet.
Had a couple days off due to excessive drinking which, while factually proven to enhance Badugi skills, is detrimental to Razz I would think. Swingy session today, got stuck about $40 pretty quickly so dragged out the session chasing losses. Finished with 250 hands for the day and down $50.
Learned that Razz is not a game to try and force the action when the cards aren’t falling your way. Annoying seeing people bink left and right when you can’t hit ****. So I definitely need to try and be more patient. Most of my losses came from big pots I shoulda just folded early.
As today was a Saturday most of the villains were multi-tabling 4 tables or so, so it was actually hard to make some plays. Will have to wait and see if they are weekend warriors or regs, as I hadn’t come across most of them before. Hope to see them tomorrow as I have some idea what they are like now.
Bustoed SCOOP Badugi M Event in 96th
Suppose I’ll play Razz tomorrow.
Suffering FPS w/o even knowing the fkn game! Lost a few pots where I should just leave. I hate playing 1 table because I get bored and try do to stuff that is stupid. Calmed down when I got hold of myself and played ok until the 100th and final hand of the session.
I think I should raise 3rd and cap 4th, but Seat 5 completely threw me! I mean wtf is he raising the worst door card for?? Anyway, it threw me and then 7th sucked anyway. ****ty way to end a session. Down about $35.
I did start to make notes on some villains based on their HUD stats, so I at least did something constructive
Finding out who the robo-multi-tablers are will help.
Watched Episode 6 of Best of 7 series on DC. There wasn’t actually much Razz content but I picked up a few straight-forward tips that I should really listen to and put in to practice:
Folding 4th Street more / Do Not Bluff in the Wrong Spots!
Played a quick 50 hands after work, with focus on playing straight forward. Picked good starting hands, threw away on 4th bricks, didn’t try to get tricky with a low door to a steal, and stole with low doors. Simples!
Stress free, although I did save one hand (which was my final one for that session, what is it with last hands?!?!). http://www.handconverter.com/hands/1758397
I think I sucked out but will run the equities shortly * – what was noticeable was the villain has really nitty stats but then opts to play the (86)4. I only had about 40ish hands so I won’t read too much in to it yet.
* ok, so from 70/30 on 4th (exc. dead cards) I go to 45/55 on 5th and way behind 30/70 on 6th so suck out completed.
Played another 150 hand session which was pretty spikey: Won some big pots, including one with my first bike, http://www.handconverter.com/hands/1758527
. I did have the villain marked as fishy, hence defending with the K in the window. I would probably dump that against other villains.
All the pots won were contradicted by the pots I lost, so thankfully the early short session has left me up for the day a little.
I moaned that brick, brick, bricking is so annoying on Skype and got told I should be used to it playing a lot of Badugi. I am, I suppose, but it’s different in Razz. Can’t quite explain why yet, or whether because it’s a new game to me but it certainly feels that way.
700 hands in so far this month and well on the way to 2k . Just would like more up-slopes on my graph rather than down ones
I have been forgetting all about position, like a proper tuna fish. I have been so preoccupied with other things, and then I just suddenly remembered it like an epiphany! Even though, so I have read but not looked at myself, the starting hand equities run pretty close between the best starting hand 32A and the best of the rest starting hands like 654*, it still pays to be the aggro player when last to act.
Great session today, just over 100 hands. Finished $40 up, thanks in no part to winning my biggest pot at Razz, $36, http://www.handconverter.com/hands/1759572
I enjoyed being more aggro than I have been since I started this, and rather be the one thinking and then calling, putting others to the decisions. I ran well and played well, even bricking 5th, 6th and 7th in one hand and still winning. It was a bit of a crying call, but the villain had played 1 hand and sat down with $10 on a $1/$2 table and very likely paired so I couldn’t give him much credit. http://www.handconverter.com/hands/1759555
Co-incidentally, this is the first day I have had a couple (OK, 4) beers while playing after a hard days work. I am now just back over the $0 line on the graph. God bless beer
* 32A is 52.8% against 654 on 3rd street, w/o counting any dead cards.
Good day. Played 25 hands at $2/$4 as that was the only table running. Team on line pro Tzen1 was there for a few hands, but the table quickly broke and a $1/$2 table was quickly up and running. Played 80 hands there and ran great. This one hands provoked a bit of debate in the Skype chat, particularly 3rd and 5th street. I thought bet folding 7th was good until that was questioned too lol http://www.handconverter.com/hands/1761039
900 hands in, and back up $40 (the exact same place as after the first 100 hands!) With 2+2 being operational again, I managed to get Dr Razz’s e-mail address from my PM’s so now I’m waiting on a review of my first 100 hands, gulp! If you can remember that far back, I did get off to a winning start but I hope he finds some dumb stuff I did.
After a good couple days of running good, and thinking through my play (albeit maybe incorrectly) I’m feeling pretty positive. I’ve met a few players, but there aren’t any stand-out ones so far. In fact, the player that I have over 500 hands on is a big loser – although that doesn’t take in to account the hands he’s played that I don’t have in my database of course.
Off-topic side note: Won $70 playing Badugi. Started a table against a Korean. Filled up soon, and hit 2 Royals and and a 5 though
Nearly half way there after today’s quick 50 hands. Too tired to play more. Played a solid 8/7 sooper nitty game as a lot of my starting hands were crap, plus some of the players I hadn’t met before were bluffy buggers. Like this guy http://www.handconverter.com/hands/1763328
. First hand with him I think, but I had spotted he was aggro and played his door/board. I don’t know if calling 5th and 6th is the best play here but my spidey sense thought he wasn’t as strong as he made out. Particularly after not capping 4th.
The other interesting hand I played was this one http://www.handconverter.com/hands/1763292
. I think capping 4th is a good play even if he is drawing to the 5, as 2 of the other 6’s are now dead. I need to run the equities on this to make sure but I’ll do that tomorrow. Also, getting raised on the river would have sucked and I spent a bit of time thinking whether c/c, b/f, b/c would be best. I figure b/f is the best option and a much better Razz player agreed. Whether I could actually fold is a different story!
Well my plans to play today got put on hold as I got my hand review back from DrRazz. (I intended to insert the review here but can’t get the code from Universal Replayer for some reason
If anybody actually wants to see it and has UR PM me and I will send the file to you). This was really useful in seeing what I was doing right and wrong, although I think my play was slightly skewed as I knew these hands were going to be reviewed so I was pretty focused and trying hard.
Also found out that DrRazz got the go ahead to use them in Cardrunners video so that should be fun to watch!
I also remembered to look up an article by a former poster in a previous incarnation of the Digest here: http://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/32...dition-801661/
Along with Melchybeaus 6k post http://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/32...posts-1199554/
on all things Stud, there are some good resources available for Razz players. I downloaded a couple of the Joe Tall Razz videos from the series that Melchy recommends.
I best get cracking tomorrow and this weekend to make sure I don’t have to rush the last 1,000 hands I need to play.
Had to play after not playing yesterday, but I was too eager and butchered 2 hands very early on against a really aggro villain:
Not sure how badly the villain played, but I know I didn’t play them particularly well. After that I was playing catch up but got to 96 hands before the table finally broke.
Quite pleased with one hand where I obviously hit the board from God. http://www.handconverter.com/hands/1765453
I have the villain marked as a fish, for overplaying 2 card starting hands too frequently and not having a fold button despite his own and other boards. Got 2 bets I don’t think a normal player would give me. Got lucky with the board too, as I would have hated to fold.
$30 down but hopefully back to sensible self tomorrow and not go in too crazy from the start. Also suffered from TMI after yesterday looking at the review and reading some of Melchy’s answers. Did realise I was FPS’ing quite quickly and managed to reign it in for the second half of my session.
Played 160 hands at $2/$4 and had a great day, up $70. Won my biggest pot http://www.handconverter.com/hands/1766447
I think I played well with most of my winnings coming from showing down the best hand. I folded in a lot of the right places, and made some good bluffs on 3rd and 4th to take down a few small pots. Need to bottle how I played today so I can play like this more often. If I could bottle it, it would probably end up being called Sex Panther!
800 hands to go to hit 2k!
Played 200 hands at $1/$2. Came out with 2.5BB/100, but was particularly pleased with my play. Here’s my graph http://i.imgur.com/eF1ms.png
Was pleased because the first 120 hands were all about folding 4th. A few 100 hands ago I would have lost a lot more money than $10 over those hands. I misplayed the hands around 175 but other than I think I played very well. Didn’t have a great run of cards so spent most of the session writing notes and watching what other villains did. I think it’s safe to say that I could justifiably criticise a lot of the play today. Could just be because it’s Sunday and some of them were mtt’ing NL tournies at the same time. But some guys really over-estimate the number of Razz tables they should be playing imo.
125 hands at 2/4, +$30. Won my biggest ever pot with a sexy raise on 7th which was lol-called. http://www.handconverter.com/hands/1771641
Not sure if the rest of the streets where played the best, but I did use my read on Seat 7 and was kept in the pot by the fact it was large and multi-way.
100 hands of 2/4. Won $45. No hands of any really interest. I’m finding I’m reading boards, both mine and villains, pretty well and also identifying the fish pretty quickly that a) do not read boards and b) call too much.
375 hands to go with a week to do it. Would like to get it done this weekend.
Days 28 & 29
Final graph and stats are posted here: http://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/sh...7&postcount=54
I deliberately waited a while before writing up my thoughts about the last 2 days because I didn’t want to skew my review of the whole challenge.
The last 2 days sucked and I couldn’t win for love nor money (which continued well after the end of this challenge to the point where I haven’t played cash Razz for a while now), but on the whole I have thoroughly enjoyed playing Razz and learning some of the subtleties of the game. I now no longer hate it, even though it is very frustrating at times, and when I play the occasional mixed-game tourney look forward to the Razz rounds. I’m still no expert but spotting bad plays and players is much easier now.
If anybody has made it to the end of this article
and is looking for a game to play outside their normal game, you can do no worse than giving the ole Razzle-Dazzle a whirl.
Special thanks to Leroy for providing two hands and to Mike for reviewing them
Originally Posted by mikes007
This month, we have two hands which have been submitted by a reader for me to review.
In the first hand, we are told that villain has a turn cbet% of 40%.
Merge - $0.10 NL - Holdem - 9 players
Hand converted by PokerTracker 4
Hero (MP+1): $25.27
SB posts SB $0.05, BB posts BB $0.10
Pre Flop: (pot: $0.15) Hero
UTG raises to $0.30
calls $0.30, fold
, BTN calls $0.30, fold
I think this preflop call is quite loose, unless we have reads on the original raiser and believe that we can semi-bluff or float a lot postflop. Additionally, our position is not great; if any of the remaining players 3bet a lot, we are certainly better off just folding. I think this is a much better cold-call if we were on the button.
Flop: ($1.05, 3 players)
UTG bets $0.62
calls $0.62, fold
This is not really a great flop for us. We do have a gutshot to the nuts, however I think it would be much better if we had an overcard or a back-door flush draw to go with our gutshot. Additionally, we must consider that UTG will be a bit more honest here with his cbets, since he is betting into 2 players. I believe that against a standard opponent, we will not be able to take the pot away or make the best hand often enough for us to float here.
Turn: ($2.29, 2 players)
UTG bets $1.24
, Hero raises to $3.35
Having called the flop, I believe that this is a fine card for us to bluff-raise, but only if we believe our opponent likely to fold his overpairs. We're representing a set or a Q, which are certainly in our range on the turn. Against standard regs, this is a good play, as long as we don't overdo it to the point where they start to call us down light. From what I've seen of the player pool at 10nl FR on Merge, I think most regs can be liberally abused with turn bluff-raises, as they will fold way too often here.
The second hand features a villain who is described as 19/11 over 68 hands. His aggression frequency is 46%, his fold vs steal is 78% and his WTSD is 20%.
, 0.1 BB (7 handed).
Hand History converter courtesy of pokerhandreplays.com
Seat: 1 Player 1 ($6.79)
Seat: 2 Player 2 ($3.11)
Seat: 3 Player 3 ($7.98)
Seat: 5 Player 5 ($6.35)
Seat: 6 Hero
Seat: 7 Player 7 ($9.6) Small Blind
Seat: 9 Player 9 ($8.22) Big Blind
Dealt to Hero
Player 1 FOLD
Player 2 FOLD
Player 3 FOLD
Player 5 FOLD
Player 7 CALL
Player 9 FOLD
Certainly it is standard to open KK preflop here.
Player 7 CHECK
Player 7 RAISE
I believe it is standard to bet/3bet and get it in on this flop. There are quite a few hands for our opponent to have here with which he will likely stack off. Lower sets, two pairs, and pair + OESD will have a hard time folding here, and there are only 2 hands which beat us: AJ and J9. There may be a case for just calling our opponent's raise here, if he likes to bluff-raise flops and follow up by firing the turn, yet he tends to fold to flop 3bets. However, with only 68 hands on our opponent, it is unlikely that we could have such a specific read yet.
Player 7 CHECK
Player 7 CALL
Turn is standard.
Player 7 BET
Player 7 MUCKS
Player 7 wins the pot: $13.71
This is a very tough river to play. The backdoor flush draw got there, as well as a lot of gutshots. The fact that our opponent just check-called the turn means that he will have a lot of these draws in his range. We are getting 3-1 odds and need to be good 25% of the time or more in order to make this call. I think that without specific river reads on an opponent, we are probably not good even 25% of the time here, and we should fold, but it is a very close decision.
Some fun was had by a group of Skype "regs" regarding the notion of folding KK preflop. Now we all know that every hand is situational, read dependent, opponent dependent, yada-yada but KK seems to be a starting hand that can create argument. Much hilarity developed around the number of KK hands posted and your editor can't resist highlighting it here. In our opinion the score of the debate was something like:
Skype regs: 1
So--->>> the issue is still cloudy in our opinion. Here are some of the threads.
Another KK hand?
Mebbe we have more Kings in the deck than we used to?
KK preflop thread for LOLs
ELEVEN KK hands ELEVEN!!
Link to "The Worst Play Ever" by Tommy Angelo
Below are two links to entertaining items. Our monthly crossword puzzle and some humorously captioned photography. Enjoy.
When a picture is better than words
Link to interactive puzzle
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