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Old 07-25-2008, 01:43 PM   #1
bisonbison
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Club bisonbison is in the well

Quote:
A stranger is being shown around a village that he has just become part of. He is shown a well and his guide says "On any day except Wednesday, you can shout any question down that well and you'll be told the answer".

The man seems pretty impressed, and so he shouts down: Why not on Wednesday? and the voice from in the well shouts back: Because on Wednesday, itís your day in the well.
After a brief astro-turfing campaign, I've finally achieved my goal of being in the well.

A little about me. I'm 30 and live in the SF Bay Area. I've been playing since late 2003, almost exclusively online. I started at Party .5/1, and was eventually eight-tabling Party 3/6 as a low limit pro. Eight-tabling for a living led to burnout, which led me to accept a job at Google, which led to a three year break from poker, during which time I posted in OOT to keep up with the old small stakes regulars who now populate mid-stakes.

Now I'm back and roughly as competent as before, with what I feel is a lot more upside.

Right now I'm rolled for 10/20 live and aiming for 20/40, which I played some in Vegas. Online, I'm rolled for .5/1, but I'm still getting my sea legs back, so I'm playing .25/.5. I'm aiming for 2/4, which I expect to hit by Christmas with various types of bonus whoring and running good.

My longterm goal is to play a couple thousand hands a week at somewhere north of 2bb/100, and to play 10 hours a month live at somewhere north of 5 glasses of wine.

Converters, table selection, notes, the grind, tilt and all the rest are my forte. Ask away.
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Old 07-25-2008, 02:02 PM   #2
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Re: bisonbison is in the well

Wow. Glad you went in the well. I have been following your strat posts and admiring your skill, discipline, and lack of hubris. I hope you will continue to contribute here long after the venue doesn't match the stakes you are playing.

What online sites, that US players are allowed on, do you not play on and why?

Are you still involved with hand converters? If so do you think they will update to convert sql files? Or do they already and I just don't get it!! I recently converted from PT2 to HEM with sql.

Which database/HUD system do you use/prefer?

Do you think maths or reads are more important or are they so inseparable you cant make that distinction. How much math can a motivated player with an average ability really do in a real time online game?

Thats enough of my questions but I hope your well goes to about 10,000 questions
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Old 07-25-2008, 02:21 PM   #3
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Re: bisonbison is in the well

* How did you come to choose the name bisonbison?

* What's your impression of the online game now compared to when you played pre-Google?

* If you could only give one piece of advice to less experienced players what would it be?
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Old 07-25-2008, 02:30 PM   #4
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Re: bisonbison is in the well

Converters: I'm not involved with converters anymore. I'm a little surprised no one's come up with anything innovative since I left, and I think the video converters will go the way of other things that suck and have no value unless they can magically run inline and then magically turn into the text record we all want.

Sites: The only sites I'm avoiding are AP and UB, and the "No superusers poker" banner ad next to me seems to concur. I haven't felt supermotivated to tangle with deposit limitations and stuff, so I've just been playing with the remainders I had on Stars and FT.

Trackers: I haven't tried HEM, and don't like their crappy hand outputs, but I can't really get motivated to care. PT3 with pokerace seems to work fine and I'm familiar with all the numbers it spits out. What's surprising is that PT Pat hasn't made more things clickable in the PT interface. If I'm replaying a hand it doesn't show me the stats of the players, and I can't just dbl-click on the name and bring the guy up, which is dumb. It makes posting an old HH more of a hunt than it should be.

Math/Reads: You can be successful without a death grip on either, but you need both, and the math part is easier, so it's best to just nail it down and practice it once in a while. The read part just takes an enormous amount of time and patience and skill. An enormous amount.
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Old 07-25-2008, 02:34 PM   #5
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Re: bisonbison is in the well

Name: It's the scientific name for American buffalo, an animal i'm fond of.

Games: It's tougher but still good.

Advice: Play live. Without headphones or sunglasses or hats. Watch everything that happens at your table. Count every bet that goes in and count your outs. Watch what gets shown down. You learn a ton.
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Old 07-25-2008, 02:38 PM   #6
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Re: bisonbison is in the well

Hi there. I was at the zoo the other day and saw "Bison bison" listed as the scientific name of the American Bison. Thought I could get my mind far away from poker for a few hours, but no....

My question(s) for you are about the transition between Poker Pro and "real world job" and back again. Going into an interview, did you have difficulty explaining a gap in "employment" and how did the poker thing go over?

Do you think that taking time off has sharpened any part of your poker game? If so, what?

Also, how do you feel limit hold'em has changed since 2003, both in live and online settings?

edit: sorry duplicate info, composing message while you were posting
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Old 07-25-2008, 02:41 PM   #7
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Re: bisonbison is in the well

Standard questions:

What's your favorite beer? Mixed drink?

What's your favorite meal?

What do you think is the most oft-given bad advice on the forums? What is the most oft-ignored good advice?

Boxers or briefs? Why?
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Old 07-25-2008, 02:59 PM   #8
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Re: bisonbison is in the well

Hey Bison, Can I get you anything while you're down there? Pop? Sandwich? rope ladder?...

jk.. anyways...

I've just started posting again in mid-stakes for my live sessions after a small hiatus from poker, and have found your posts to be very straight forward and helpful. I've been playing online on stars for a while and have been doing ok in my first 18K hands. I'm currently playing mostly (90%+) 6-max .25/.50, and have recently started taking shots at .5/1 with moderate success.

I know I can find general responses to most of these questions if I search, but I'd really like to ask you from your experience to see how it measures up with what I can expect on my own going forward.

So here's a few for you to chew on...

1.) When you were 8-tabling, were you playing full ring or 6-max? If a mix, what ratio (roughly)?

2.) When you were playing pro, what was your average stats for 6-max for .25/.50, and .5/1? And your stats for full ring? (Just looking for the standard 3: VPIP/PFR/AF)

3.) What kind of win rate did you average on these tables over 100 hands (6-max: .25/.50;.50/1 and FR .25/.50; .50/1)?

4.) What do you feel is being properly rolled for these limits? Were you/are you often over-rolled for most of them?

5.) In your opinion what do you feel are good indicators that tell you that you can probably move up limits successfully?

6.) How often would you pay yourself? How did you figure how much to pay yourself? Was it arbitrary? or based on a % of your BR?

7.) Lastly, what do you feel are healthy (as well as, to be expected) win rates (in BB/100) for the following games for a player like yourself?:

FR
---
.10/.20 -
.25/.50 -
.50/1.00 -
1.00/2.00 -
2.00/4.00 -
3.00/6.00 -

6-max
---
.10/.20 -
.25/.50 -
.50/1.00 -
1.00/2.00 -
2.00/4.00 -
3.00/6.00 -

Thanks!
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Old 07-25-2008, 03:22 PM   #9
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Re: bisonbison is in the well

Just one quick question for you:

Is there anything you understand fundamentally differently now about the game than you did when you were grinding it? If there was, what?
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Old 07-25-2008, 03:30 PM   #10
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Re: bisonbison is in the well

When is the g-phone coming out and why is it better than the i-phone (*cough* DRM? *cough*)?

Did you ever do a GLAT? What was the best way to ace one?

What flavors of Ice Cream are in your office fridge?

---

On to poker:

Why did you 8-table 3/6 and not 2-table 10/20? It would seem that 8-tabling would lead to way more burnout than 2-tabling, or am I wrong?

mhmmm, don't have that many poker questions actually
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Old 07-25-2008, 03:43 PM   #11
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Re: bisonbison is in the well

What aspects of being a pro did you like best?

Do you think you might ever be interested in being a live pro?

Why do you play limit and not NL?

What do you think are the best situations where you would c/f a river OOP aside from a busted draw or counterfeit?

What's it like to work for Google?
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Old 07-25-2008, 03:44 PM   #12
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Re: bisonbison is in the well

Bison, If you replaced "Google" with "bunch of crappy jobs too embarrassing to list", i had a very similar experience. My question is this: When you came back to poker, how did you keep it from burning you out again?

I found that returning this year, I played a few hundred hands, then a few thousand, then quickly began falling back into my 8tabling patterns. Do you have any solid advice for balancing life/job/poker? Any tips for having fun, cutting loose, and still playing the game you love?
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Old 07-25-2008, 04:06 PM   #13
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Re: bisonbison is in the well

Quote:
Originally Posted by Man of Means View Post
My question(s) for you are about the transition between Poker Pro and "real world job" and back again. Going into an interview, did you have difficulty explaining a gap in "employment" and how did the poker thing go over?

Do you think that taking time off has sharpened any part of your poker game? If so, what?

Also, how do you feel limit hold'em has changed since 2003, both in live and online settings?

edit: sorry duplicate info, composing message while you were posting
Job: I was interviewing for an entry level support position, so the bar wasn't super high, but essentially they want to hear three things:

- I want this job because it is awesome, not as a stopgap til i rebuild my roll.
- Gambling is not a problem.
- What poker teaches you is situational awareness, quick and thorough analysis, and decisive action. If you put me in a new situation, I will thrive because I am used to novelty and pressure. At my old job (pre-poker) I had a situation blah blah blah.

Time off: When I quit, I was used to playing very mechanically. The 3/6 games were tight and fast and I just played on autopilot most of the time, but I didn't really learn anything in the last 6 months I played. Burnout made it hard for me to play enough hands to build my roll for a move further up, and the next level was really 5/10 shorthanded, where I didn't have the SH skills to swim.

Now, coming back, I have the luxury of being able to take my game apart and putting it back together. I'm much less embarrassed about asking stupid questions that most good players know the answer to. If I want to be a 1BB/hour type successful 20/40 player, I'll need to be able to really master HUSH play, game creation and hand reading. That may take a coach, but it'll definitely take a lot of me looking like an idiot with 12k posts.

Change over time: Online is tougher and less populated, but clearly still good. I lost my old PT stats, but I'm sure the Stars .25/50 are as tough as the Party 1/2 or 2/4 games of yore. Hopefully they'll legalize it and then we can all bask in the badness when the biotech boom makes us all tripedal billionaires.

Live seems the same. You take money from old people, angry people and drunk people. Dealers suck or you don't notice them. The floor is the exact same person you saw 5 years ago, only slightly saggier.
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Old 07-25-2008, 04:22 PM   #14
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Re: bisonbison is in the well

Are you at work right now dood?
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Old 07-25-2008, 04:22 PM   #15
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Re: bisonbison is in the well

Quote:
Originally Posted by bozlax View Post
Standard questions:

What's your favorite beer? Mixed drink?

What's your favorite meal?

What do you think is the most oft-given bad advice on the forums? What is the most oft-ignored good advice?

Boxers or briefs? Why?
Beer: Black and tan or hefeweisen
Mixed drink: the long island iced nap on the felt at a 4/8 table
Meal: Burrito
Bad advice: i dunno. probably "fold". Either preflop in late position in unraised pots or postflop when last to act.
Good advice: i dunno, everybody thinks they do it, but always fastplay everything.
Boxers. Cause I don't like when my balls ache.
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Old 07-25-2008, 04:24 PM   #16
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Re: bisonbison is in the well

Quote:
Originally Posted by bisonbison View Post
Advice: Play live. Without headphones or sunglasses or hats. Watch everything that happens at your table. Count every bet that goes in and count your outs. Watch what gets shown down. You learn a ton.
"Watch everything" is very broad and uninformative. Can you expand on this a bit? Is there a short list of types of things you should be looking at?
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Old 07-25-2008, 04:31 PM   #17
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Re: bisonbison is in the well

where did you go for all those years? what made you decide to come back to 2p2?

the limit forums aint what they used to be now that daver, cdc, qtip, etc stopped posting strat. and even unterfish had his moments
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Old 07-25-2008, 04:34 PM   #18
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Re: bisonbison is in the well

full ring or 6-max?

All full

what was your average stats for 6-max for .25/.50, and .5/1?

I was on party playing 3/6. I live in the bay area, and my rent at .5/1 would have taken at least 40k hands. I averaged about 40-50k hands per month. If I hadn't been burnt out, I probably should have been playing about 60-80k. My stats approximated 14/9/?. I would probably be looser now.

3.) What kind of win rate did you average on these tables over 100 hands (6-max: .25/.50;.50/1 and FR .25/.50; .50/1)?

FR Party 3/6: 2.3/100

4.) What do you feel is being properly rolled for these limits? Were you/are you often over-rolled for most of them?

A proper online FR bankroll for a 2BB/100 player is probably 400-500BB if you never want to reload. A proper online 6-max bankroll for a 2BB/100 player is probably 600+BB if you never want to reload.

By these standards, I was usually slightly underrolled for 3/6 FR.

5.) In your opinion what do you feel are good indicators that tell you that you can probably move up limits successfully?

Winning. Not tilting. Finding good tables at the next level.

6.) How often would you pay yourself? How did you figure how much to pay yourself? Was it arbitrary? or based on a % of your BR?

I extracted some standard amount twice per month. Rent and bills and food were pretty stable. Additional fun was ad-hoc withdrawn.

7.) Lastly, what do you feel are healthy (as well as, to be expected) win rates (in BB/100) for the following games for a player like yourself?:

no.
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Old 07-25-2008, 04:39 PM   #19
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Re: bisonbison is in the well

Quote:
Originally Posted by MoonOrb View Post
Just one quick question for you:

Is there anything you understand fundamentally differently now about the game than you did when you were grinding it? If there was, what?
Player reads are incredibly important and there are no good post-flop statistical approximations.
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Old 07-25-2008, 04:39 PM   #20
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Re: bisonbison is in the well

Can you code (pretty sure the creator of the Bison converter will say yes)?
If so, which languages?
What OS does google run on it's server platform (BSD/Solaris/Linux??)?
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Old 07-25-2008, 04:59 PM   #21
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Re: bisonbison is in the well

Quote:
Originally Posted by bisonbison View Post
full ring or 6-max?

All full
How come you avoided 6-max? Also, I noticed that most of your posts are from full ring now. Do you plan to eventually moving to shorthanded games?
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Old 07-25-2008, 05:01 PM   #22
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Re: bisonbison is in the well

BB,

How often do you play live? Sorry, my wine to time converter is busto!
Where do you usually play?
North Bay, South, East?
How long in the Bay area?

Are you going to B101 on Tues?

How is Google able to keep w/ the "startup" superfun mentality when most most other companies haven't?

My address is one house off on Google maps (hmm so was my last one), should I file a SR, or will you just fix it for me?

Were you in high tech before you started playing poker? If so, where did you work?

What do you to to combat boredom when playing live poker (many people complain of this, but I don't think I have gotten bored more than twice in all my times playing... and this was typically because the table has all old farts that don't say a word and take 5 minutes each to make a decision)?
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Old 07-25-2008, 05:03 PM   #23
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Re: bisonbison is in the well

Quote:
Originally Posted by NIX View Post
How come you avoided 6-max? Also, I noticed that most of your posts are from full ring now. Do you plan to eventually moving to shorthanded games?
The 6max game boom is a recent phenomenon. Most of the games back then were all FR until you hit 5/10+ and many of those games were FR tables running short (no always the case obviously).
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Old 07-25-2008, 05:45 PM   #24
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Re: bisonbison is in the well

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aaron W. View Post
"Watch everything" is very broad and uninformative. Can you expand on this a bit? Is there a short list of types of things you should be looking at?
You want to pay the most attention to the two guys on your right and the one or two guys on your left, but that comes with time.

The first couple hands you want to start just by noting: who's first in PF? who's capable of raising PF? Did the PFR aggressor stay in the lead? Did anyone checkraise? Have there been 3-bets?

Finally: What hands are shown on the end? If you're paying attention to all the action, and a hand is shown down, you need to convert that into a mental note. Phrase it like a sentence not like a fragment, and it helps if there's a piece of advice for you. "Fat white guy will 3-barrel AQo. Call down light." "Asian woman will call down with any pair. Don't bluff." "Arab guy raised suited broadways on the button, jammed draw on flop." "Bald guy play Axs UTG."

If your friend walks over after 2 orbits and asks you about someone at the table, and you don't have any reads on him, they are likely to be nitty, but may just be card-dead.
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Old 07-25-2008, 05:48 PM   #25
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Re: bisonbison is in the well

How far north of 2bb/100 are you looking to run? I also just started back at micros after my own eight-table-six-max-GODDAMN-Absolute-Poker burnout. I ran HORRIBLE for about 12,000 hands this week, but I am still > 3.5bb/100 total eight tabling $.25/$.50. Until that 12,000 stretch I was ~4.2bb/100. Do you have a feeling for what should be achievable in these new $.25/$.50 games? I feel they are MUCH more aggressive than they used to be, but the players aren't actually any better, which I thought they would be.

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