Thursday, November 20, 2014

November Update

It really upsets me to say this but I'm going to have to bail on my annual stretch goal of achieving 200,000 VPP's. I was actually on pace to achieve this (currently sitting on 150,000 VPP's) however due to some circumstances surrounding my health it no longer makes sense to pursue.

Back in September I injured my rotator cuff playing badminton. I haven't played in 3 months and have replaced all that down time with grinding big blinds. But in doing so, I've actually exacerbated the condition in my shoulder and the pain is just too overwhelming now. It might have to do with my new battlestation setup. The lack of arm rest on the saddle chair was forcing my shoulder to sustain increased static loads.

The muscle I injured is the Subscapularis

Currently I've been receiving physiotherapy and acupuncture weekly. I'm also doing exercises to strengthen it daily. It's slowly recovering now. But with no badminton or poker I'm going to have to find something to do with my spare time until I'm back to 100%.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

One Year of Poker

Here are the results for my poker playing over the last year:

Figures are in U.S. Dollars

I haven't made as much money for 2014 as I would have liked. But there's nothing I can really do about that other than study harder and grind more.

September was a brutal month. During the first week someone flipped the 'doomswitch' on me and I was running worse than I have all year. By the second week I was down $5.5k at NL200 so I forced myself to drop down a limit to regain some momentum.

It took a ton of grinding and hitting my annual goal of Supernova 3 months early to finish off the month down just under $1k. This in and of itself was a huge victory and I'm happy with how September turned out despite ending in the red.

Having accomplished my goal 3 months early, I think my stretch goal of achieving 200K VPP's for the year might still be do-able. I'll have to do what I did in the first 9 months of the year in just 3 months. It sounds crazy but the challenge is appealing to me. I'll definitely need to re-prioritize some aspects of my life to make this work but I think I can do it.

I'm playing higher stakes and more tables than before, so my VPP earning rate makes this a real possibility. I went from playing 50NL or 100NL on 4-tables of Zoom to now playing 50NL and 100NL on 6-8 tables and sometimes 200NL when the games and/or my confidence are running good. I can attribute this increase in efficiency to a new hotkey setup that I've adopted. Maybe I'll make a video in the future showing some crazy 8-table Zoom action :)

New Hotkey Setup

[Delete] Set bet amount to 30%
[Insert] Set bet amount to 50%
[End] Set bet amount to 70%
[Home] Set bet amount to 150%
[Page Down] Set bet amount to Pot
[Page Up] Set bet amount to All-In
[Up] Bet 2BB
[Left] Bet 3BB
[Down] Call
[Right] Bet
[Right Click] Fold

Poker Battlestation!

In addition to some ergonomic upgrades to my poker battlestation, I'm now able to put in solid 4-6 hour sessions on most weekends without breaking a sweat. So bring it on 200K VPP's!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Mid-Summer Update

I haven't updated my blog since April (!) so it's time for a mid-year update:

Got Married
May 10th, 2014

May was super busy getting everything done last minute for our wedding. We had an outdoor ceremony and the weather turned out perfectly despite several thunderstorms leading up to the big day. The whole day went by as a giant blur but it was definitely one of the best days of my life :)

No plans for a honeymoon yet but maybe in the near future we'll do something for snowboarding (Whistler?) or an Asia trip.


Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia

Work has been keeping me busy with travel this summer. Places I've visited include Montreal, Halifax, and Vancouver. I went to perform quality audits at our vehicle processing centres (VPC's). Before a vehicle ends up at a dealership to be sold, they first end up at one of the VPC's to be processed. This is where some accessories (seat heaters, radio upgrades, leather seats, etc.) and throw-in's (owner's manual, etc.) are performed. Unfortunately there isn't much time for vacationing on these work trips, but I did get a chance to visit Peggy's Cove in Halifax before leaving.


Two thirds there!

I wasn't getting the hang of PLO and the learning curve was really hurting my bankroll. Since switching back to NLHE at the end of May, I've been back to beating the games, up a bit over $7k since switching back. In the past 2 weeks or so I've been heavily experimenting with mass multi-tabling the Zoom games trying to get my VPP count up. I re-organized my hotkey layout and have been able to manage 6-tables of Zoom (~1350 hands/hr). So I bumped it up to 8-tables (~1800 hands/hr) but haven't been so successful. The quality of my game has dropped quite a bit in doing so and has currently put me in a bit of a downswing for the end of July. So for August I'm planning to go back to the basics and study a bit more and play less tables. I'm on pace to achieve my goal of reaching Supernova status this year at 67k out of 100k VPP's so I can afford to play less tables and work on improving my overall game.

I enrolled in 3 tournaments since my last update:

10th Asian Community Games 2014 - My partner/brother Jordan got injured and had to withdraw so I played with a ringer from my club. We lost all our games.

Ryerson Open 2014 - I injured my neck a week prior to the tournament and had to withdraw.

Varsity Blues Summer Open 2014 - Jordan and I came 2nd in pool play and made it to B-Flight where we lost in the opening round. The games were very close and we were disappointed with our sloppy play. 3rd place in our pool went on to finish 2nd in C-Flight and the guys who knocked us out of B-Flight lost in the semi-finals to the eventual winners.

Although my wrist condition has significantly improved, I feel that my overall game has stagnated a bit. I think I just need to train harder and play more.  Perhaps its time to start weight training as well. But on top of work and poker, this is proving to be an issue of balancing priorities. I really wish I had more time :(

Yonex Z-Force II

I was also forced to upgrade my rackets to something more durable. I used to use a Yonex Voltric 5 intermediate racket. I owned 3 of them and all 3 of them eventually broke in the exact same spot. I've always been in the camp of spending less money on equipment and more money on skills. So to spend $400 on two new rackets hurt quite a bit. But I have to say the new rackets I got (Yonex Voltric Z-Force II) are significantly better than my old racket and they also feel a lot more durable.


The new classroom at CTMP. BTW what kind of school is this???

Despite not competing this year I've still been out on the track instructing for the HANSON advanced driving school. Canadian Tire Motorsport Park had a big upgrade over the winter and the new facility / track layout is nothing short of amazing. The old classroom was a beat up portable with no AC or heat and covered in bugs everywhere. The new classroom is on the second floor of an air conditioned facility with huge windows overlooking the track. The new track layout keeps hints of the old layout but improves it in every possible way. The track is FIA width. The straights are longer. The pavement is smoother. What more can you ask for?

Although I've only been out on track in my daily driver Scion iQ, my time attack machine did get a chance to stretch its legs at CSCS Round 3. I wasn't driving because I had a badminton tournament that day. I lent the car to Can-Jam so that they could test some new parts. Richard Boake drove the car in Street AWD and ended up winning his class with a 1:19.110 on street tires. Not bad!

I've been putting a lot of thought into where I want to go with racing and what I want to do with the car. Knowing how competitive I can be, I know that open lapping might not be enough to make it "fun" again. But at the same time, I don't want to get caught up in an arms race and go 200% over budget trying to be competitive. So at this time of writing, it sounds like a return to Street AWD might be in the works. The car is legal and clearly capable of being competitive. And I won't have to deal with a full blown race car that can only ever be enjoyed at the track. Not to mention having to deal with the logistics nightmare of trailering. I had a lot of fun back in 2011 when I was first starting out with a car I could enjoy both on the track AND the street. So look for some updates in the near future. I haven't given up!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

March Goals Review & April Goals

Poker Goals

1) Begin the transition to Pot Limit Omaha [Pass]
I feel like I'm beginning to understand the game of PLO now. I finished reading PLO Poker by Jeff Hwang and also finished most of the Donkr strategy guide. I also watched a ton of videos on RIO including everything by Phil Galfond and touching on some theory/math by Tom Coldwell.

Early on I had a tough time adjusting to what a good hand in PLO was. And I was constantly getting my money in WAY behind in big pots. For example, having the 2nd nut straight with a weak flush re-draw vs. the nut straight with a higher flush re-draw (dominated). Or overplaying AAxx and being crushed by a two pair combo draw. I've learned that it's really important to have all 4 cards working together, rather than having 2 separately good looking Holdem hands. Big hands for a big pot!

I paid a "learners fee" of around 14 buy-ins this month but this is totally expected when trying to learn a new game. Most of my losses occurred at the beginning of the month and I'm running below EV so I'm not overly concerned (yet). PLO variance can be high, so I need to focus my efforts on improving my game and making quality decisions rather than direct results.

April Goal: Learn how to use Odds Oracle
The next steps for me are to learn Odds Oracle syntax so I can begin doing my own equity calculations, and to start reading Jeff Hwang's other books if I have time.

2) Earn 5,000 VPP's on PokerStars [Pass]
I exceeded this goal quite easily, earning 7,700+ VPP's. I'm definitely on pace to hit Supernova status this year so I just need to keep up the pace.

April Goal: Earn 3,500 VPP's on PokerStars
April will be a busy month as my wedding is May 10th. I don't want to spend this month stressing about poker much, so I'll set an easy target of 3,500 VPP's to make it a clean 10k VPP's over March-April.

Badminton Goals

1) Continue to fix/strengthen my wrist [Conditional Pass]
I didn't do a lot of wrist strengthening but I did do a lot of stretching and self-adjustments each day. Slow progress, but progress nonetheless.

2) Badminton or Insanity workout 5 days/week [Fail]
Ok I totally failed this one. 5 days a week was pretty hard last month for me because I felt really burnt out from work, and badminton was starting to feel like a bit of a chore. Also, Titanfall came out, which is now my new favourite game. I splurged a bit on a PC upgrade so that I could enjoy the game to its fullest...

March was an interesting month. Third month of 2014, and already starting to feel the effects of burn out. Winter season is the busiest and most stressful season for me at work. So having a lot of additional goals outside of work can make life downright miserable. I ended up "dropping the ball" on my badminton related goals. But I used video games and building a new PC to stay de-stressed instead. Having goals that are set in stone can lead to a guilty feeling of failure when they aren't met. So in the future I'm going to try using a system of "staying fit" rather than setting hard goals and beating myself up when I don't meet them.

April Goal: Stay fit

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

First time playing PLO

As a Holdem player, this is how I felt during my first PLO session tonight:

But seriously this is my first day playing and I can already tell that this game is much softer than the NLHE games on PokerStars. I ran quite bad tonight but happy with how I played for the most part and will gladly play again if I can continue to get into profitable spots like this:

$0.25/$0.50 Zoom Pot Limit Omaha Hi • 6 Players

Generated by

bdon22 (BB)$52.25
  • Pre-Flop ($0.75, 6 players)Hero is BB
  • dA sJ cA c3
UTG calls $0.50, 3 folds, SB calls $0.25, bdon22 raises to $2, UTG calls $1.50, SB raises to $8, bdon22 raises to $26, UTG folds, SB goes all-in $65.73, bdon22 goes all-in $26.25
  • Flop ($106.50, 2 players, 2 all-in)
  • c4 dQ c7
  • Turn ($106.50, 2 players, 2 all-in)
  • d3
  • River ($106.50, 2 players, 2 all-in)
  • dT
  • Final Pot: $106.50
  • SB shows two pair, Tens and Sevens
  • hAhT cJ d7
  • bdon22 shows
  • dAsJ cA c3
  • SB wins $117.48 (net +$51.75)
  • bdon22 lost $52.25
  • UTG lost $2

$0.25/$0.50 Zoom Pot Limit Omaha Hi • 6 Players

Generated by

bdon22 (SB)$63.21
  • Pre-Flop ($0.75, 6 players)Hero is SB
  • c9 cK sK dQ
UTG raises to $1.75, 1 fold, CO calls $1.75, 1 fold, bdon22 raises to $7.50, BB calls $7, UTG calls $5.75, CO calls $5.75
  • Flop ($30, 4 players)
  • d2 c5 sQ
bdon22 bets $16, 2 folds, CO goes all-in $27.90, bdon22 calls $11.90
  • Turn ($85.80, 2 players, 1 all-in)
  • d3
  • River ($85.80, 2 players, 1 all-in)
  • dT
  • Final Pot: $85.80
  • bdon22 shows a pair of Kings
  • c9cK sK dQ
  • CO shows two pair, Queens and Tens
  • s9sT hQ cJ
  • CO wins $83.30 (net +$47.90)
  • bdon22 lost $35.40
  • BB lost $7.50
  • UTG lost $7.50

$0.25/$0.50 Zoom Pot Limit Omaha Hi • 6 Players

Generated by

bdon22 (UTG+1)$50.75
  • Pre-Flop ($0.75, 6 players)Hero is UTG+1
  • h2 cK c5 sK
UTG raises to $1.50, bdon22 raises to $5.25, CO calls $5.25, 3 folds, UTG calls $3.75
  • Flop ($16.50, 3 players)
  • h3 cT cQ
UTG checks, bdon22 bets $10, CO folds, UTG goes all-in $29.87, bdon22 calls $19.87
  • Turn ($76.24, 2 players, 1 all-in)
  • s8
  • River ($76.24, 2 players, 1 all-in)
  • dJ
  • Final Pot: $76.24
  • UTG shows a straight, Eight to Queen
  • s6hA s9 hJ
  • bdon22 shows a pair of Kings
  • h2cK c5 sK
  • UTG wins $73.74 (net +$38.62)
  • bdon22 lost $35.12
  • CO lost $5.25