Thursday, January 30, 2014

Platinum Star!

After a 3.5 hour grind session tonight I hit Platinum Star! Feels great to hit my monthly goal with one day to spare.

Although Platinum Star shouldn't be too difficult to reach at NL100, I spent the majority of January studying and playing fewer tables. So I'm more than happy with this result.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Trust Yourself (Breaking Bdon 3)


I was able to catch up on some playing time this weekend and Platinum Star might be achievable this month after all. I've got about 2815 VPP's to go with 5 days left. At 0.30 VPP/hand that means roughly 9.5k hands of grinding over the next 5 days. Might be tough but I'm gonna try!

Trust Yourself

I stumbled across this video on YouTube and it definitely got me pumped up. I have nothing but mad respect for The Governator.

Rule 1: Trust yourself
As a poker player you can't always win. Downswings are inevitable and sometimes the break-even, or worse, losing stretches, can last for weeks or even months. During a downswing, it's easy to doubt yourself and wonder if you were ever really a winning player. But like Arnold said, you have to trust yourself. All we can do is keep a level head and make the most +EV decision at every point in a hand. And if we can continue to do this on a daily basis, then the money will flow.

Rule 2: Break the rules
There's no such thing as a "standard" way to play a hand in poker. I hate it when I post a hand on forums and someone says something like "betting the flop here is standard". Every hand of poker is a unique situation and there can be always be arguments for taking a different line. In fact, sticking to "standard" poker, is the quickest way to let your game stagnate. Only you have all the pieces to the puzzle: previous history with villain, timing tells, your own perceived table image, and of course HUD stats. So once in a while, we should look to break the rules and play in our own unique style.

Rule 3: Don't be afraid to fail
The best way to test a new strategy is to try it out in practice. After all, what good is a bunch of math that looks good on paper if it never works in reality? That being said, there will be many times where we choose the wrong spot to implement a new strategy, or it was a good spot, but it still didn't work out. The key is to just keep trying and to keep what works and discard the rest.

Rule 4: Don't listen to the naysayers
Many people don't understand that poker can be a viable source of income. It can be tough when family and friends don't understand how you can take a game of chance so seriously. Words like "problem gambler", "degenerate", "throwing your life away", etc. can hurt. But going back to #1, you have to trust yourself and not let anyone get in the way of your success.

Rule 5: Work your butt off
This is a problem that many poker players face. I'm very guilty of not putting in the hands when I should be. Instead opting to lazily watch some coaching videos and shrugging it off as "educational value". Or worse, browsing Facebook, YouTube, and Reddit. But when push comes to shove, your earnings are a direct result of putting the hours in. This is why monthly volume goals are good to have. I really need to hit Platinum Star this month!

Rule 6: Give something back
This is something I want to do more of with poker. I would like to start contributing more in the forums and making more/better poker videos. I've always enjoyed mentoring and if I can help lower stakes players plug some leaks then that would be great. Who knows maybe I'll learn a thing or two about myself along the way. I'd also like to start updating my blog more, but finding the time can be difficult!

Breaking Bdon - Episode 3

The final part of my first video series. It's a bit longer than the first two parts but I wanted to finish it off instead of going for part 4. I think next month I'll aim to do another video series. Making these videos really helped me improve my thought process. So even if nobody watches them, at least I'm gaining something out of it!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Breaking Bdon - Episode 2

Here's part 2 of the $100NL Zoom session I played last week on PokerStars. Any and all feedback is welcome!

Monday, January 20, 2014

January Goals (Breaking Bdon - Episode 1)


I know this is a bit late for a monthly goal post but better late than never!

I ended 2013 with Black Card status on Full Tilt Poker. For 2014 I'm switching over to PokerStars with the end goal of reaching Supernova status and being able to beat the $500NL Zoom games.

My goal for January is to take a break from grinding poker and to spend more time away from the tables studying the game. Specifically, my studying goals for this month are to:
  • Learn more about Game Theory Optimal play by finishing Applications of No Limit Holdem by Matthew Janda 
  • Sign up for Run It Once elite membership and review all of Ben Sulsky's videos on GTO play (and also contribute more in the forums)
  • Review my Holdem Manager database for Q4 of 2013 (140k hands) and identify my biggest leaks (spoiler: it's playing from the blinds)
  • Use what I've learned from all of the above to construct a more balanced strategy against stronger players
  • Reduce the # of tables from 4 to 2 so that I can step away from auto-piloting and force myself to think clearly about each decision

Originally I also planned on reaching Platinum Star VIP status in addition to studying. But that's definitely not going to happen as studying is taking up more time than I imagined (plus it's fun) and dropping down to 500 hands/hr won't generate enough VPP's. Looks like I'll have to settle for Gold Star, which should be easily attainable. 

To reinforce what I've been studying, I decided to record videos of myself playing and then evaluate my play afterwards. Live commentary is too difficult for me at the moment but I'll get there eventually. I'm hoping to start producing content like this regularly to keep my blog interesting. These videos are geared towards more advanced players so I apologize if any of the poker jargon is confusing. I'm sharing these videos with other poker players so communicating my thought process with them is my priority, but if you have any questions feel free to ask.

So here it is... my first ever poker video. Comments and criticisms are welcome :)


On the badminton front things have been moving a bit slowly. I took a break from training over Christmas holidays and of course all that delicious food paid its price! My badminton goal for January is actually not directly a badminton goal. I'm tired of the wrist pain I get while playing badminton. It's been over a year since I injured it without any real improvement in the condition. The pain limits the amount I can cock my wrist, and thus my ability to generate maximum smashing power and also shot selection.

So my badminton goal for January (and onward) is to:

  • Fix my wrist

I'm seeing a new physiotherapist and so far it's going well. She gave me some stretches and exercises I can do at home, in addition to the ultrasound treatment and adjustments she does at the clinic.

Jdon lent me his Wrist Widget. I was skeptical at first but it seems to be working and it doesn't interfere with my range of motion too much, so I'll keep using it.

My buddy Lester also lent me his Evoluent Vertical Mouse. I brought it to work since that's where I spend most of my time mousing. It took some time getting used to, but it's actually really comfortable and using a horizontal mouse now feels weird. I still prefer a regular mouse for poker though since it's kind of like gaming where accuracy (and sometimes speed) matters.

Thanks for the stuff guys! Hopefully these things combined with physio will help my wrist pain go away >:(