Sunday, 27 March 2011

How to be a great student

I know I said I was taking a break but here are some tips for being a great student:

1. Honesty
It is vitally important that we have an open and honest relationship. If you played a hand badly I will want to know why. If the reason is because you were tilted then you must tell me you were tilted. I need to get inside your head and the quickest way to do that is with your co-operation.

2. Ask questions
I am sure you have tons of questions. Make sure you ask them during sessions and/or between sessions when necessary. There are no silly questions and you can ask the same question more than once if you need to.

3. Session Summaries
Write a brief summary of each session and send it to me. This achieves two things:
• Retention – Your brain gets another chance to retain what we have covered
• Understanding – I get to see whether you have fully understood what we have covered (and can quickly correct any misunderstanding before it turns to spew).

4. Identify and record ‘not sure spots’
There will be hundreds of times during a session where you are not sure what to do. You need to identify and record these spots somehow so we can work on them. You can Mark Hands in HEM, Keep a Journal or Spreadsheet or whatever you feel is best for identifying your weaknesses. Basically you are building a list of things you need to work on.

5. Contribute to Google Group
You should have received an invite to my student group (if you haven’t then get on my case right now!).
Have a browse and start posting on here frequently. Again there are no stupid questions and you will never get flamed.

6. Don’t relax between sessions
With coaching you get out of it what you put in. You will be provided with a video of each session so make sure you watch it back at least once and take extensive notes. I know students don’t do this often enough because they rarely come back with further questions or seek clarification on certain points. We are going to be covering some complex stuff as we go along and it is not all going to go in first time around.

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Blog Break

Am playing very little poker these days and am therefore going to take a break from blogging.

I will probably be back later in 2011 if things go to plan and real life stuff settles down into some sort of normality.

In the meantime thanks to anyone who took the time to read my ramblings over the last few years and good luck at the tables :)

Wednesday, 23 February 2011


Had a bad day on saturday and found myself back to just under my $1,500 starting point. Two reasons for this:

1) I ran 450 below EV which I think is a lot at 25nl and 50nl.
2) I 4 tabled Rush 6max

I don't have a problem with playing Rush (in fact I like it and am going to play more) but the problem is without doubt the number of tables I have been playing.

The difference between 2 tables and 4 tables of Rush is huge and I am still trying to find my sweet spot.

When 2 tabling I get in approx 600 hands per hour and feel like I have plenty of time to think, take notes on my opponents and play my A game close to 100% of the time.

When 4 tabling I get in approx 1200 hands per hour but my brain cannot cope and I go into autopliot spazzy nit mode.

My last 5 sessions have been 2 tabling 25nl Rush and am crushing at 30bb/100, over approx 4k hands, despite continuing to run badly according to EV numbers. I have slightly modified my moving up plan to incorporate 2 tabling Rush.

I also bought an FTP colour coding mod from Tiltbuster ( which is really cool. If you colour code players on the FTP client then this mode is a must buy imo. It cost $5 and looks like this:

If you don't have a good colour coding system them you should book a coaching session with me :)

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Slowy does it

My affair with Rush has come to an end and this week I have gone back to the normal 6max games. In other words back to what I do best.

Agreed these are short term results, but i am not running above EV at all and there are definetely plenty of mistakes in there which need to be looked at in more detail.

I have to say I didn't realise how much I miss the gameflow/metagame aspect of ring games and the enjoyment factor is rapidly returning :)

Tuesday, 8 February 2011


Firstly thanks to everyone who replied both publicy and privately to my previous post. I have no doubt I have made the right decision and everything is looking good.

Secondly thanks to all the people who have donated stacks to me over the past few years. I have never made significant withdrawals to my bankroll in the past, but now I have and my savings account looks great :)

Since my last post I have been playing some 25NL rush full ring and am already onto Phase 1 of my moving up plan. This means I am currently at 3 tables of 25nl and 1 of 50nl without any real dramas so far.

I just had my internet die at the wrong time though:

Didn't reconnect in time so am telling myself he had 66 and was about to 1 outer me, I run goot :)

One observation for my students grinding 25nl is that the rake is very high. The difference in play at 50nl is hardly noticable from what I have seen so far, so if you are winning at 25nl there is no reason why you can't maintain that winrate at 50nl imo. Just make the move up gradually and ask me if you need help making a move up plan.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

A change of pace

My life has gotten very busy this year with my real life job suddenly being more than part time. I won't bore you with the details of that but with another baby girl due to arrrive in a few months I have to accept that I am not going to have the time to juggle a real life job, poker playing/coaching and a young familty.

I am already struggling to fit everything in to be honest, and it will only get tougher when the baby comes, so clearly something has to give.

Having discussed this in great detail with the wife, the 'something' that gives simply has to be poker. I no longer have the time to be a grinder, fact.

So I have been looking for a compromise and have decided to do a bankroll challenge where I reset my bankroll to $1,500, design a bankroll plan, and aim to move up through the levels during the next year or two without any pressure to grind.

Apart from the need to reduce my playing schedule significantly, the reasons behind my decision to do this are:

1. Learn how to move up better
I have played 200nl for almost 3 years and do badly whenever trying to move up to 400nl. I think it's more of a mental thing (inferiority complex) than anything else and wanted to create a bankroll plan that is more dynamic and helps me get used to moving up gradually. In short I need to get in some moving up experience and the bankroll plan above will help me do that. Whenever I play I will be 4 tabling and each 'Phase' is simply to mix in a table at the next level. So for example I start at the highlighted area with 4 tables of 25nl and the next phase will be 3 tables at 25nl + 1 at 50nl. If anyone has any questions about this then just give me a shout on skype.

2. Try out some new ideas
The more I open my mind to considering all the options available on each street, the more I realise there are no 'standard' plays. I want to experiment with some new lines, move and bet sizes where the money doesn't matter to me.

3. See how tough poker has become
I hear people saying the games have got much tougher at the micros/low stakes and want to see for myself.

4. Set a good example
I coach a lot of micro stakes players and the private forum for my students is very active these days. The content could improve a lot though as people still tend to focus on the big pot coolers and ignore all of the small subtle spots that make the difference. I want to show my students that everyone has to work incredibly hard and learn from their mistakes every day in order to succeeed. I want to see what mistakes are being made at these levels (by me as well as my opponents) and use these spots to help me and my students porggress through the levels together.

5. Make poker fun again.
I had my biggest downswing ever last month (in buyins, not $$) and whilst it didn't hit my bankroll very hard, it did make me grind way too much and burnt me out a bit. I think it is clear from my post that my decision is not a knee jerk reaction to a downswing but it did make me realise there is more to life than poker. I still have the poker bug am am never likely to give poker up completely, but I want my poker to be fun rather than a grind.

So this is not the end and my dream is to be back ready to grind mid stakes in a few years. My girls will be at school then and hopefully games will still be running!

Thanks for reading and good luck at the tables everyone :)