Poker Words - A Poker Blog

Mostly a recount of my poker exploits along with a bunch of random other stuff just for fun.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Progress Report

I haven't had time to post recently with all of the holiday shopping, and parties and assorted other hoopla, but I finally found some time for some poker this afternoon and thought I'd post an update on my progress. Earlier this month I started tracking my tournament play, and I've completed my tenth sit and go since then. I'm playing exclusively $10+1 SNGs at Poker Room right now. I'm going to evaluate my progress every 10 tournaments. If my bankroll reaches $300, I'll start dabbling in the $20s.

So How did my first 10 tournaments go? Surprisingly well. I would have been OK with breaking even assuming that I could get always get better and at least I'm not losing money, but I actually finished up $80 overall. Admittedly this is a small sample set and I could easily be down $80 the next time, but overall, I'm encouraged. So here are the stats:

Total invested $100+$10 Fees ($110 total)
Total winnings $190
Net +$80
Finished in the Money 6/10 times

1st Place 2
2nd Place 1
3rd Place 3
4th Place 0
5th Place 1
6th Place 1
7th Place 2
8th-10th 0
Average 3.8

Looking back at the comments I made for myself, I think I have identified two holes in my game. The first is playing overly aggressive early on and not backing off pots when there's a reasonable chance I am beat. I recently stumbled on an excellent post by the Poker Nerd where he outlines his SNG strategy. One of the things he advocates is keeping the pot size low early on in the tournament. This will allow you to get out of hands and not risk all your chips early on. This is especially important early on in the tournament because you don't have a good idea for what people are playing, and they could have any two cards. For example, this afternoon, in the first round I had AJ in late position and raised 3BB, and got a few callers. The flop was A25 rainbow. Early position bet, and I raised. He then reraised. At this point I probably should have put him on two pair, but I had top pair and a good kicker, and couldn't lay it down. When he consequently bet half the pot on the turn, I felt like I had to call. Had I kept the pot small, I think I would have had a much easier time getting out to such a large bet, or at the very least wouldn't have lost as many chips. Early on, its tough to know who you are playing against, and many people will call preflop raises with just about anything. In this case it was A2 that beat me. I managed to battle back and win this one, but in my four losses, similar earlier mistakes crippled me to the point where I couldn't bet effectively and was knocked out on when I went all in on a race. The point here is that early on, unless you are positive that you have the winning hand, its best to be patient and let some of the other players eliminate themselves. Don't get involved unless you have a monster, and if you do get involved, don't over bet. The blinds are still small enough where you can afford to miss a few and not feel short stacked.

I guess now that I wrote this the real problem is over valuing my hand. When I'm willing to lay down what I think has a good chance of being the best hand, I've done better. Sure, I've probably been bluffed out of, or just plain folded some winners, but I think missing a pot that I would win is less harmful than chasing a pot I will lose.

The other hole in my game occurs once I've made the money. As the Poker Nerd pointed out in his article, people get real tight when they are close to the money. I think that I am a pretty good player when there are four or five people left. Other players often go into a shell trying to hold out until they reach the money. I've been able to take advantage of that by playing aggressively and forcing them to fold or risk being eliminated. Its usually its the former, and I am often ahead once we hit the money. The problem is that I stay overly aggressive at that point. Everyone else loosens up once they are in the money, which means I get called more often, and end up in race type situations. Sometimes it works out, sometimes not. I think I need to slow down once we get down to three people to reevaluate how the others are playing, and adjust my play accordingly.

So where do I go from here? Well, as I mentioned above, I'm going to start trying the $20 tables once my bankroll reaches $300. I'm at $188 right now, so it will probably take a while. If I do well enough at the $20 tables, then I might move up to them permanently should my bankroll reach $600 or $700. Who knows, maybe the $20 game will be too tough for me and I'll have to grind it out on the $10 circuit forever. Once the holidays are over, my office game, and monthly multi table tournaments should pick up again, so I'll be able to write about those too.


Post a Comment

<< Home