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Goal: k bankroll in 2022 as a recreational live small-stakes player Goal: k bankroll in 2022 as a recreational live small-stakes player

01-02-2022 , 10:24 AM
Greetings, all! I've been wanting to start a long-running thread for my 2022 goal. I'll update here as I progress.

The Goal
Turn my $10k bankroll into a $25k bankroll by EOY 2022 as a part-time recreational player.

Who am I?
I go by Huggie. I'm 39 years old living in Texas working full time as a software developer.

I played a ton of poker back in the mid-2000's. I was a long term winner live, but I could never seem to win consistently online. Eventually, after playing a lot of live poker at the time, I found myself moving across the country for a job, and I pretty much didn't play poker for about 12 years.

I just learned in July 2021 that there are card rooms/social clubs where I live where I can play, which drew me back into the game. I'm good at live tells/reads/patterns, and so I've embraced the live play. Since getting back into the game 6 months ago, I turned $320 into $11,012 before the year ended playing mostly $1/2 NL with a few attempts at $1/3.

I work a regular job, have a wife & child, and my wife is going to school full-time throughout the year to complete her program, including winter and summer semesters. All these things take precedence over poker, which is why I consider myself a recreational player.

How will I get there?
I'm aiming to play one day per week on average, focusing on no-limit hold'em cash games. Now that my bankroll has hit the $10k marker, I'm planning to take a shot at $2/5 NL. For me to reach the new bankroll goal, I need to average a win of $288 per session, which feels very doable given my current win-rate.

Since I started playing 6 months ago, my win-rate is sitting at $66/hour and $200/session. PLO bomb pots are offered frequently here, which I enjoy, but I recognized they were impacting my win-rate, and decided to stop playing them. Since then, my win-rate for the past ~2 months has jumped to $143/hour and $506/session. I know these numbers are sustainable, but I do think that focusing on my hold'em game alone is definitely the way to go.

2022 EOY stats:


NLH stats after giving up PLO bomb pots:


Thanks for reading and following! I'll update with progress and interesting updates along the way. Nothing left to say but LFG!
01-03-2022 , 08:18 AM
Quote:
Since getting back into the game 6 months ago, I turned $320 into $11,012 before the year ended playing mostly $1/2 NL with a few attempts at $1/3.
That's a good result 😀 Could you post some live hands, maybe some hands that you weren't sure how to play correctly and we'll try to analyze them together?

Last edited by Max; 01-03-2022 at 08:41 AM.
01-03-2022 , 12:37 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Max Goal: k bankroll in 2022 as a recreational live small-stakes player
That's a good result �� Could you post some live hands, maybe some hands that you weren't sure how to play correctly and we'll try to analyze them together?
For sure! I've got so many hand histories recorded since I capture them for my vlog. I'll post a few interesting ones.

Hand #1 ($1/2 NL) - this is from one of my earlier sessions
Hero's dealt 77 UTG+1. UTG straddles for $5. Hero raises to $15. HJ calls, UTG calls. ($48 pot)

Flop: 7T2
Hero bets $35. HJ calls. UTG folds. ($118 pot)

Turn: Q
Hero bets $100. HJ double checks hole cards & calls. ($318 pot)

River: 8
Hero hates this river, but isn't sure what to do. Hero bets $100. HJ raises all-in for $192. Hero makes a crying call for $92. ($702 pot)
HJ shows A5 for the rivered nut flush.

Hand #2 ($1/2 NL) - I've got a pretty tight image before this hand
Hero's dealt 98 in SB. HJ calls $2. LAG button raises to $16. Hero calls. HJ calls. ($50 pot)

Flop: 4KQ
Checks to button. Button bets $27. Hero calls. HJ folds. ($104 pot)

Turn: K
Hero checks. Button insta-bets $65. Hero recognizes a betting tell & expects button to be bluffing & raises to $165. Button tanks for 2 minutes before folding.

Hand #3 ($1/2 NL)
Hero's dealt AQ UTG+1: UTG raises to $12. Hero just calls since UTG has been passive. UTG+2 calls. SB calls. BB calls. ($60 pot)

Flop: ATJ
UTG bets $40. Hero suspects UTG is ahead w/ a hand like AK or AJ, but has equity and calls. UTG+2 folds. SB calls. BB calls. ($220 pot)

Turn: 4
UTG bets $100. Hero knows he's behind UTG & is worried about the players behind, but has a ton of equity, and eventually calls. SB raises all-in for $440. BB folds. UTG calls all-in for $112. Hero suspects UTG has 2-pair or better & that SB has broadway. It's costing $340 with the pot being $972, a little less than 3:1 odds. Hero would need to hit a club for a flush or a remaining K for the straight to chop, & quick math at the table looks like about 3:1 odds to hit. Hero eventually calls for $340 more. ($1,312 pot)

UTG shows pocket JJ for second set, SB shows KQ for broadway.

River: K
Hero binks the nut flush and scoops!

Hand #4: ($1/3 NL)
Hero ($1,069) is dealt QQ UTG+1. Hero raises to $20. Button, SB, and BB all call. ($80 pot)

Flop: 5QK
Hero bets for $50. Button calls. SB check/raises to $200. BB folds. Hero raises all-in for $1,049. Button folds. SB insta-calls. ($2,228 pot)

Turn: J
River: J
Hero shows full house, and SB shows KT & mucks. Hero scoops his biggest pot ever!
01-03-2022 , 01:00 PM
Looking good. Live games are soft, but $66/hr. seems well outside the boundaries of what most 1/2 players achieve. $15-$20/hr is what most good players seem to hit, with $30 being on the excellent end. Stretches like yours aren't uncommon, but 160 hours is pretty short in the live poker world. Although if the 2/5 games are as soft as the 1/2 & 1/3 you have been playing you may be able to get closer to that number long term.
01-03-2022 , 01:06 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Koss Goal: k bankroll in 2022 as a recreational live small-stakes player
Live games are soft, but $66/hr. seems well outside the boundaries of what most 1/2 players achieve. $15-$20/hr is what most good players seem to hit, with $30 being on the excellent end..
Yeah, I'm definitely not expecting to keep up this win-rate in the long term. It's been a nice run so far though! I'll update after taking a stab at $2/5.
01-03-2022 , 01:15 PM
Well, if there were any other place to build a bankroll Texas would be a top 3 right now! It sounds like you are pretty level headed as far as this whole adventure!

Based on your BR and goal you're 'just' looking at roughly winning one BI per session. You don't indicate how long your sessions have been, but with the action in Texas you could probably do that in an hour a lot of the time, or go the other way too.

Looks like some pretty standard hands and reasoning behind your play. The one thing I typically worry about is how small a Player pool might be and how they adjust to your play over time. Some might say you 'could have' 3-bet the AQc in order to get an isolation in-position on UTG but as long as you aren't married to this hand if a club doesn't come on the Turn then you can mix up your play either way. By flatting you got a larger stack with a dominated hand to come along out of position.

Have fun with it .. what city and club are you playing in (if you want to tell) .. GL
01-03-2022 , 01:26 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by answer20 Goal: k bankroll in 2022 as a recreational live small-stakes player
Well, if there were any other place to build a bankroll Texas would be a top 3 right now! It sounds like you are pretty level headed as far as this whole adventure!
Thanks, I appreciate that feedback. Poker is such a polarizing and subjective topic among the community, it can be so easy to hear everything you're doing wrong. :smile:

Quote:
Originally Posted by answer20 Goal: k bankroll in 2022 as a recreational live small-stakes player
Based on your BR and goal you're 'just' looking at roughly winning one BI per session. You don't indicate how long your sessions have been, but with the action in Texas you could probably do that in an hour a lot of the time, or go the other way too.
My average session is about 3-4 hours, but I've had a few longer ~7 hour sessions too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by answer20 Goal: k bankroll in 2022 as a recreational live small-stakes player
Looks like some pretty standard hands and reasoning behind your play. The one thing I typically worry about is how small a Player pool might be and how they adjust to your play over time. Some might say you 'could have' 3-bet the AQc in order to get an isolation in-position on UTG but as long as you aren't married to this hand if a club doesn't come on the Turn then you can mix up your play either way. By flatting you got a larger stack with a dominated hand to come along out of position.
In the past I've been more timid about 3-betting with AQ, but I've recently started to mix that into my play. I'll play it according to my opponent, but managed to double up w/ it recently against a flush draw that missed, and A-high was good. I probably wouldn't have gotten as much out of it (and probably would have folded on the flop vs. a wider field) if I had played it differently.

Quote:
Originally Posted by answer20 Goal: k bankroll in 2022 as a recreational live small-stakes player
Have fun with it .. what city and club are you playing in (if you want to tell) .. GL
I started my adventure at Texas Card House in Austin. After winning about $3k up front, I stagnated for 3 months straight after that, and after reflecting on my stats and hand histories, I recognized that I was losing a lot of $$ to PLO bomb pot hands, which they play frequently at $1/2 there. Because of that, I'm now primarily playing at the Lodge, focusing on just NLH. My stats have skyrocketed since then, I won $about 8-9k in about 1.5 months after the switch. Almost all of my sessions have been $1/2 with three $1/3 sessions in there as well.
01-04-2022 , 01:15 PM
The 'Lodge-ma-hal' has some pretty famous new minority owners .. send us a pic! I'm sure there's a thread on here about the changes .. GL
01-04-2022 , 07:15 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by answer20 Goal: k bankroll in 2022 as a recreational live small-stakes player
The 'Lodge-ma-hal' has some pretty famous new minority owners .. send us a pic! I'm sure there's a thread on here about the changes .. GL
Yeah, pretty exciting news! Hopefully it doesn't turn into a nit-fest, scaring away all the rec. players over time. Gonna try to get on an upcoming live stream there if I can!
01-08-2022 , 05:41 PM
Well, my first session in 2022 was unfortunately a loss -- both my biggest loss to date, and I lost the biggest pot of my life.

I was hoping to play $2/5 for the first time ever, but there was not a game running yet, so I bought into $1/3 instead. Bought in for $600, and lost my first buy-in. Bought in a second time (so in for $1,200 total), and ended up building my way back up to about $1750 or so. I've been playing pretty aggressively and figure that is my image at the table, and I was back down to about $1600 when this hand happened.

The Hand
I'm dealt 22 UTG+1. I raise to $15, folds to button who re-raises to $40. He's got me covered, so we're both super deep, and I make the call.

Flop: ($84 pot) A52 I've got bottom set on a 3-flush board. I check to villain, he leads for $35, I just flat.

Turn: ($154 pot) Q We don't improve, but I don't think there are too many flushes I can assume villain has here, unless he's got KQs or KJs. I check again, and he bets much larger for $110 now. I check-raise to $425, he thinks for a bit and calls.

River: ($1,004 pot) 5 I pick up the boat, so I'm thinking my only real concerns are AA or QQ. I lead for a stack of green, $500. He thinks for a bit, and pushes all-in. I've got about $600 left, and if I hadn't been so aggressive at the table, I'd probably fold here, or maybe even check/called river. But given my aggressive image, I think there are too many hands I can still beat here, so I make the call.

Villain shows A5s for the rivered boat, scooping a $3,200 pot. I left after the hand, down $1,200 for the session since that's all I brought with me for the day. I'm obviously disappointed about the result for this hand and session, but I'm still in a good spot.

Live Stream
I mentioned earlier in this thread that one of my goals is to play on a live stream this year. Well, that is going to be happening this coming Monday night 1/10 at The Lodge. (Check out The Lodge Live on YouTube if you're not already subscribed.) Will be playing at 7:30 PM CST / 8:30 PM EST for anyone interested in watching. I'll also do my own commentary for my hands afterwards on my own YouTube channel later in the week. (Mods, please let me know if you have an issue with these links, and I'll remove them!)

I'm both nervous and excited. The live stream is $2/5, which is what I've been wanting to dip my toes into, but I was hoping to give it a shot before being on the live stream. So my first ever $2/5 game is going to be on this live stream. Just hoping I don't punt. I'll play my game and adjust for the fact that I'm going to be up against some competent players. Hopefully it goes well overall!

Last edited by HuggieHoldem; 01-08-2022 at 05:57 PM.
01-09-2022 , 02:15 PM
The way that hand went down my first thought was QhQx or a made flush. Prob a mistake long term, but I may not lead the River and just c/c. Could be AA/QhQx and all the XhXx hands that missed the River that might bluff into you on a scare card. Easy to say knowing all the facts and A5 is a hand that really shouldn't be there unless he's putting you on 'a lot' of XhXx hands as well .. which may have been the case due to your aggressive image. The sizings are fine for me but do you really expect 'just' a made flush to shove and not just c/c with a paired Board? Perhaps again giving your image a lot of credit ..

If you think this was a big hand you will not be ready for a Lodge Stream 2/5 table and those characters, but I wish you well and hope you make it all the way to the end of the stream. GL
01-10-2022 , 12:34 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by answer20 Goal: k bankroll in 2022 as a recreational live small-stakes player
The way that hand went down my first thought was QhQx or a made flush. Prob a mistake long term, but I may not lead the River and just c/c. Could be AA/QhQx and all the XhXx hands that missed the River that might bluff into you on a scare card.
Literally any other card, I think I would have checked the river. AQ was a hand I considered he could have, and A or Q on the river gets there. AA or QQ obviously already beats me, but considering my aggression at the table previously, I expected a wider range to be playing back at me here. (Obviously that's the case since we saw villain had A5, just didn't expect that hand here.). I considered checking with the 5 on the river, but considering my aggression before this hand, I thought it was still worth a bet & that I'd get paid by AK, AQ, or a flush. May be a spot I should be check/calling regardless though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by answer20 Goal: k bankroll in 2022 as a recreational live small-stakes player
If you think this was a big hand you will not be ready for a Lodge Stream 2/5 table and those characters, but I wish you well and hope you make it all the way to the end of the stream. GL
Sure, I definitely recognize it's not so big for $2/5 stakes. It just happened to be the biggest pot I've ever played in, as I'm just starting to dip my toes into some bigger games. Just unfortunate to lose in such a big spot so early.
01-10-2022 , 01:23 PM
You learned an important (albeit expensive) poker lesson here. When you are 500+ BB deep, strong but not nutted hands actually go way down in value. You actually need to play very very carefully on this flop and turn. If you had $600 in front of you, check/raising this flop or turn with the intent of getting it in is probably fine. But at this depth this hand calls for much more caution. I think check/raising the turn at this depth is a mistake, especially out of position like this. At depth, hands which can make the pure nuts like Axs go way up in value, and hands that make strong but potentially dominated hands like small pocket pairs go way down. Preflop is questionable at both points. It's a loose open from EP and a loose call of the 3-bet. Not an egregious mistake, but it is a mistake. It sucks but I'm probably check/calling this hand 3-streets. There could be an argument for raise/folding the river if we got there with enough depth to do it, but otherwise you want to avoid narrowing his range to only hands that beat you. Hell, I think as played you can probably hero fold this river as gross as it is. It's hard to imagine a flush raising here, I've never seen someone pull this bluff of in a live game before, and you have bottom boat and he's got 8 combos of bigger boats in his range. Time to fold.
01-11-2022 , 02:01 AM
Well, I did it you guys. I played in my first ever live stream, and I played in my first every $2/5 game. Both at once! I went into this expecting a loss and hoping to break even, but I actually managed to book a win of $1,274! I was intimidated at first, but I ended up having so much fun and mostly got past it -- granted, I have a little of that "scared money" feeling later on when I was up significantly. All in all though, I'm really happy with the outcome, and I'm excited to make it happen again!

For anyone interested in the live stream, it can be found here.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Koss Goal: k bankroll in 2022 as a recreational live small-stakes player
You learned an important (albeit expensive) poker lesson here. When you are 500+ BB deep, strong but not nutted hands actually go way down in value. You actually need to play very very carefully on this flop and turn.
Koss, you're absolutely right, and I did learn an important lesson from this hand. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and perspective. I'm not used to playing so deep at higher stakes, and I'll need to adjust my game accordingly.
01-11-2022 , 09:18 AM
Pretty good session .. at least what I saw of it. Other than paying off Seat 9 early on I really liked the way you handled things. I fast-forwarded to the end this morning and see that your 'stats' are pretty active (more than I expected) EXCEPT for 'went to Showdown'. I like an aggressive/active style at a lot of tables but also knowing when to get out of hand to stop the bleeding .. and still book a win with some nice pots and well timed bluffs. I think that style of play could do well in TX (and other places) as long as you still are willing to make sure you aren't being run over by the more aggressive Players if they sense you don't get to Showdown as often as others. This is a perfect stat to get your bluffs through since when you do get to Showdown I assume you have a decent hand most of the time, eh? I tout this style as 'win the war, not every battle' poker .. and you can use that in your vlog if you want!

Hopefully I can catch a few more hands here and there .. I actually passed up watching Hustler PLO last night to watch you. I play more PLO than NL these days. There's so much content out there and I really wish there was a FF button on YouTube to help get through things quicker. GL
01-11-2022 , 09:57 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by answer20 Goal: k bankroll in 2022 as a recreational live small-stakes player
Pretty good session .. at least what I saw of it. Other than paying off Seat 9 early on I really liked the way you handled things. I fast-forwarded to the end this morning and see that your 'stats' are pretty active (more than I expected) EXCEPT for 'went to Showdown'. I like an aggressive/active style at a lot of tables but also knowing when to get out of hand to stop the bleeding .. and still book a win with some nice pots and well timed bluffs. I think that style of play could do well in TX (and other places) as long as you still are willing to make sure you aren't being run over by the more aggressive Players if they sense you don't get to Showdown as often as others. This is a perfect stat to get your bluffs through since when you do get to Showdown I assume you have a decent hand most of the time, eh? I tout this style as 'win the war, not every battle' poker .. and you can use that in your vlog if you want!

Hopefully I can catch a few more hands here and there .. I actually passed up watching Hustler PLO last night to watch you. I play more PLO than NL these days. There's so much content out there and I really wish there was a FF button on YouTube to help get through things quicker. GL
Hey man, I really appreciate the sweat and the feedback! I didn't see my stats early, but I was surprised my VPIP was as high as ~40%. With how hands play in TX though, and the fact that we were 200-400 BB's deep, I feel like getting into more pots is worth the price since you can definitely get paid off. Like you said, I'll try to make folds earlier into the hand if I think it's not going to pan out, and I'm not looking to chase bad draws. (Though I did find myself in one big K-high vs. A-high flush draw hand during the stream!)

I went through and collected the bigger hands I played in. I'll call out the timestamps here for anyone interested who hasn't seen.
  • 0:21:00 - ATs (first big hand, I go all-in pre since I think he's 3-betting light from the SB for the "button bonus")
  • 0:40:30 - KTs
  • 0:28:40 - A3s
  • 0:57:00 - T5o (blind vs. blind, I'm trying to win the button bonus from the SB)
  • 1:00:25 - QTo (I make a bad call on the river, almost folded this one and should have)
  • 1:06:20 - A8o
  • 1:22:00 - Q2s (I hadn't been active for a bit and decide to rep a bigger hand & end up making a big river bluff)
  • 1:48:30 - T7s (biggest pot I win for the night, proud of my thin river value bet)
  • 2:13:10 - KTo (10/20/40/80 straddle)
  • 2:16:05 - TT (double paired board, I almost called, but end up letting it go incorrectly)
  • 2:29:10 - AKs (yes, I folded AK pre-flop...I'll explain this one down below)
  • 2:45:40 - K2s (I get super lucky with a flush draw vs. A-high flush draw when we run it twice)
  • 3:14:20 - 97s (I read the situation right, but can't get a bluff through cause I bet too small I guess)

For the AK hand, the player who 4-bet had previously commented about how the 3-bettor only ever plays the nuts. Between that comment and the action, I thought I could be up against a bigger pair and be drawing to 3 outs. Even if the 4-bettor had QQ or JJ, let's say the 3-bettor still had a hand like AQ/AJ/KQ/KJ, that still only leaves me with 5 outs instead of 6, and it's no longer a coinflip vs. lower pairs (closer to 40/60). The commentators hated my fold here, but I decided I'm okay with throwing away $20 and finding a better spot. (Admittedly, I was maybe also playing scared money a little at that point since it was my first ever $2/5 session.)
01-16-2022 , 10:38 PM
Bankroll's up to $12k now. Had a few short up and down sessions, but during my most recent $1/2 session, I was on quite the heater. I pretty much won all my big all-ins and was stacking players left and right. In for $200, out for $2,650.

Allergies have got me down at the moment, but I'll post a couple interesting hand histories later.

01-16-2022 , 10:39 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by HuggieHoldem Goal: k bankroll in 2022 as a recreational live small-stakes player
Bankroll's up to $12k now. Had a few short up and down sessions, but during my most recent $1/2 session, I was on quite the heater. I pretty much won all my big all-ins and was stacking players left and right. In for $200, out for $2,650.

Allergies have got me down at the moment, but I'll post a couple interesting hand histories later.

I need to move to Texas
01-17-2022 , 10:48 PM
From what I've heard Texas games at 1/2 aren't that much different from other 1/2 across the country. Sessions like that can certainly happen when the stars align. Nice work.
Yesterday , 07:21 PM
Alright, I've got some time and energy, so here are a couple of interesting hands from the session. I've also got the session captured in a vlog for anyone interested in watching.

Hand #1
I’m dealt 44 sitting in the LJ. Three players limp in, and I limp along to go set mining. CO raising to $15. Button & two limpers call, and I call as well.

Flop ($80): 294 - Everyone checks to PFR in the CO, who checks as well. Button doesn’t let it check through though & bets $30. Folds to me, and I just call since it’s such a dry board. HU to the turn.

Turn ($140): J - I check again, and button bets $70. This player was making smalltalk earlier that makes me think he’s a pretty competent player. He’s made a few bluffs, but this is such a dry board, I don’t see a bluff that makes sense here. I’m starting to think he might have 99 or 22 for another set. He didn’t raise PF though, so I’m more inclined to think 22. I’m check-raising regardless, but if he shoves, I’m thinking that’s probably what he’s got. I make it $200, and he almost immediately shoves for $518 total. I’ve got him covered & insta-call. He flips over 22.

River ($1,176): T - Ship it!

Hand #2
I'm dealt QQ sitting in MP. UTG+1 raises to $10, and I re-raise to $35. All 4 players behind me cold-call my raise. The original raiser folds, & 5 of us head to the flop.

Flop ($188): 798 - I've got the Q, but this is a pretty coordinated board, and I’m out of position vs. 4 other players. I feel like betting here doesn’t really give me much information in terms of where I stand if I get called or raised, so I check to see how the action unfolds. It checks to CO who leads for $40. The button (OMC) shoves over the top for his last $146. Everyone folds, including CO, and button takes it down w/o a showdown.

      
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