Saturday, 31 December 2011

December Result: +$162, Overall: +$3315 - Challenge Failed!

A little Christmas cheer helped my late month results but overall December was not a good month. In the end around a $63 Maui profit added to just under $100 in rakeback and freeroll cashes pushed my total to only $3315 - $685 short. Not a bad effort overall but a failed challenge nonetheless. I am particularly disappointed not to make the Sharkscope top twenty list. Probably only around $50-$75 short here. A static last couple of months has cost me as I dropped off the chart in the last week or so. To be fair I do not deserve the accolade but it would have been nice.
I am very much ready for a new poker year and a bit of variation in my play as per my last post. I have a new found respect for the real sit n go grinders out there who play the 3000 games each month not every year. It has been tough going at times and I have had to work hard to complete the total number of games let alone do well in them. My result summary for the 3000 Maui games is as follows:
Kartajana         3,000$0.55  $5  9%$1,655  -N/AiPokerYear2011 SNG Only
I will do a more detailed post analysing the figures in more detail in a few days. I will also update my blog for the new year and a slightly adjusted challenge for 2012. In the meantime please feel free to comment on my outcome.
Thanks for reading in 2011 and good luck at the tables in 2012

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Plans for next year

As we approach the end of another year my thoughts have turned to my poker plans for 2012. Having just read a new article from Jared Tendler on achieving your new year poker resolutions I have adjusted the original draft of this blog. I have reduced the number of aims (though I still seem to have a lot) and focused more on the reason behind my aims. See:
The main themes are as follows:
  • To continue my blog. It has been useful I think in terms of my focus. My results are better than 2010 partly because of it. Hopefully there are a few other people out there who are happy about this too which also motivates me.
  • To continue with my Jackpot Sit N Go focus but I will not exclusively play the Maui games. I have had good record in the other variations and it will be nice to play some other games to be honest.
  • To get a new laptop at some point. My current one is struggling a bit and I would benefit from a bigger screen.
  • To play a little less poker, focusing more on important things like my family, my health and my job whilst at the same time making more money. A wonderful concept at least.
  • To set a new challenge total of $5000 for 2012 which incorporates my poker activity on all sites, though my I-Poker activity will remain dominant. Within this to have some specific monthly and quarterly challenges. This will help my activity stay fresh and more fun. If I get in a downswing I can switch formats which has helped me in the past.
  • To learn and play some Pot Limit Omaha. The book I am reading by Phil Gordon, which is disappointing to date has a big section on it. I have previously read a lot about how learning a new game can give new motivation and understanding to a poker player.
  • To consider trying a new poker site, probably Party Poker taking advantage of a good rakeback deal. This is the one major site I have yet to try and it would provide me with a new challenge, though I am in no rush to do this.
  • Most of all to continue to enjoy my poker and spend some of my winnings. Linking my winnings to actual items purchased or specific events enjoyed should help my focus through 2012.
Good Luck and Happy New Year
Jason (Kartajana)

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Ten days to go

With ten days to go of my Maui Challenge 2011 I am in need of my own Christmas miracle! Progress in December has been slow and uncomfortable akin to Mary's donkey ride to Bethlehem all those years ago. I am only around $40 dollars ahead so far this month. My main aim now is to have a solid last week or so and end the year with a Sharkscope top twenty ranking. This is looking touch and go at the moment as I am clinging on to twentieth spot as of today.

Merry Christmas.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Failure is an option!

With three weeks to go in my Maui challenge, my form patchy at best, the strong probability is that I will not hit my $4000 target. A shame, but it genuinely was a tough figure for me to hit playing three thousand $5 sit n gos (especially with the $1 rake). A true challenge. In the last few weeks I think I have let the growing realisation of my impending 'failure' affect my game. So I am trying here to inject some needed logic in my thinking here to help me focus on a positive end to my poker year. The aim for the year (see above) was in effect five fold:
1. To play 3000 Maui games. Nearly there. I have showed some real strong discipline to play this number of games and these alone for a year.
2. To have fun. An easy one really as I love playing poker.
3. Make $4000. OK I will probably not make it but if I only hit $3200 I have completed 80% of the total. I still maintain my failure will be down to the lack of consolation bonus success. I came so close again at the start of December with a sequence of 12123. I won't whinge too much about the details of the third but suffice to say the last few hands were pretty cruel from my point of view. It would have been a great start to December.
4. Achieve a top twenty Sharkscope leader board ranking. I am currently 18th in year winnings at the $5 level and have a good shot at staying there. A poor run in the next three weeks could cost me here.
5. Record my progress on this blog. I am happy with the job I have done in this respect posting monthly progress and lots more around once a week. I hope it has been some use or interest to others.
So yes failure is an option because in failing I will have achieved a great deal that is positive.
So get over it Jason and start playing your best poker again!

Please note this is not a concession of defeat............................My challenge continues.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Golden advice from Phil Gordon?

Around five years ago I read what was probably the most influencial poker book on my early game development. It was Phil Gordon's Little Green Book. It helped me with some key fundamentals of poker I was able to use as firm foundation to build on and improve my game. Two lessons that come to mind are protecting a good hand with solid post flop bets and going to war with strong drawing hands. Five years later following a lacklustre Blue Book he is back with a Gold Book and I am giving it a try. It is marketed as a follow up to his original green teachings but updated for the modern game. Where his teachings of green and gold conflict now follow gold. I will try. I started it last night and looks of interest.
I am need of this new material following a steady at best month or two. The last poker book I read about the mental game of poker helped me achieve a three month hot streak. Rather foolishly I abandoned my poker reading to enjoy a thriller about a kidnapping. Not a bad book (see Simon Kernick's Deadline) but it was my A game that seems to have been kidnapped so it is back to poker reading for me!
Interestingly there is a large section on Pot Limit Omaha which I may take up next year. He may well establish my fundamentals for this game as well.
Cheers Phil

Thursday, 1 December 2011

November Result: +$117, Overall: +$3153

In the end I was happy with the outcome for November but it took me a week or two to recover from a bad spell. I generated only $5 from the Maui games themselves. Added to this was my usual chunk of freeroll cashes and rakeback to make my haul for the month a modest $117. This leaves me with $847 to make in December. Possible, but very unlikely. I give myself about a 5% chance. I need to make $300 from my last few hundred games, $50 in rakeback and then hit $500 from a combination of freerolls and consolation bonuses. Betfred have doubled the prize pool for the daily freeroll which helps and I will try to play more often. Realistically though I am looking at $3500 for my challenge.
Kartajana  Click for details245$0.02  $5  0%$5  -N/AiPoker11/1/2011 11/30/2011 SNG Only x
My improvement/recovery at the end of November was sparked largely by me basically writing a strategy document for the Maui games to try to get me back to my best game and eliminate flaws that had crept into it. I have nearly finished this document. It is not quite spot on yet but is a good starting point and will help me stay focused in December as I push for challenge glory!
Good luck.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Hit The Wall

Like a marathon runner approaching his last few miles I have hit the wall in my Maui Challenge. The first half of November has seen me make little progress towards my goals. My game is a bit all over the place if I am honest. I have lost focus on my core strategy and my relationship with variance has cooled somewhat. I have also struggled to play the planned volume of games I needed. If this continues I will:
1. Fail to hit my $4000 target. (Which admittedly is very tough anyway now)
2. Fail to stay in the top twenty on Sharkscope for $5 sit n go players in 2011. I have dropped from 16th to 19th in the last two weeks.
3. Fail to play my intended 3000 games in total. I need to play around 500 more in the next six weeks or so which is just about viable.
This blog in a way is my feeding station at a crucial stage in the race. I need to get going again:refueled with renewed focus and endeavour and just a little closer step by step to the finish. I also need to inject some Tendler logic to my thinking and take genuine inspiration from Sunday Million dual winner Kev Steele. If he can achieve that surely I can play well again in some $5 sit n gos.
More than anything right now I need to make good decisions, to play my best poker and feel a balanced level of confidence again.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Inspiration from Kev Steele

 Kevin Steele is similar to me in many ways. He started playing Poker around six years ago. He is a regular on Pokerstars and Betfred Poker. He hails from the North of England. He is around the same age to me. He has a professional administrative position. He is a successful sit n go player and plays a lot of Maui Jackpot Sit n Gos. Indeed we have played against each other many times. There is one very significant difference:
  Kev has had massive success at multi table tournaments, recently taking down the Sunday Million for the second time. In the last few months he has pocketed the best part of $300,000! including a $12500 win on Beftred (see link).

When I look at his sit n go stats compared to mine I wonder if I should stop pissing about at the lower level games, get some balls and take a shot at the big games. One big problem is that I don't really have the time for a MTT schedule. The most I can dedicate is a few hours a night. Like Kev I have a full time job but I also have a wife and young kids. I suspect he has not. If he has even more respect is due. I cannot contemplate taking on the twelve hour marathon that is the Sunday Million and playing well througout. The last time I got a good nights sleep Bill Clinton was in the Whitehouse.
kevsteele         232$1.69  $12  6%$393  -68PokerStarsSNG Only x
kevsteele         3,001$0.83  $7  10%$2,503  -70iPokerSNG Only Betfred x
Kartajana         3,615$0.99  $6  18%$3,588  -72PokerStarsSNG Only x
Kartajana  Click for details7,367$0.67  $9  9%$4,910  -69iPokerSNG Only Betfred
This has certainly given me something to think about as I come to the end of a year and contemplate my poker future.
Well done Kev. Congratulations. Fantastic effort.

A few days after posting this I played against Kev in a couple of Maui games. We had an a bit of a chat about missed jackpot opportunities and how some coin tosses are more important than others.  He then kindly read my blog and commented as below. Amazing how things work out. He could easily have gone to Las Vegas for the main event, busted early and stayed way down on the poker radar. Good luck with the hatrick bid Kev!!!

Friday, 11 November 2011

Blog Traffic

I have really enjoyed putting together my blog entries. One aspect that is interesting to me is the range of countries that make up my blog traffic. Sure not a lot of people read my blog and most of them that do are just having a one off look but the range is genuinely vast, covering all parts of the globe. Ipoker obvioulsy has a worldwide player base. My top five visting countries outside the United Kingdom are The United States, Germany, Hungary, Russia and Portugal. The United States is an interesting one as no Ipoker players are based there. In the last week I have had visitors from Argentina, Slovakia, India and Greece.
When focused on pushing and calling ranges during four tables worth of sit n go bubbles it is so easy to forget you are sat playing a game with real players from around the world; in different continents, with different cultures, varied geography and diverse time zones.
Good luck all, wherever you are in the world.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

October Result: +$483, Overall: +$3036

Another very decent month in the end. $276 in the Maui games themselves topped up by around $120 in freeroll wins and $85 in rakeback. I have passed through the $3000 barrier and with two months to go have a reasonable chance to achieve my challenge aims.
Kartajana  Click for details264$1.05  $5  17%$276  HotN/AiPoker10/1/2011 10/31/2011 SNG Only
I will need two very good months though.
My survey has concluded that Ireland's Eoghon O'Dea will win the main event. Thanks to those who took part. I hope you are right.
Later this month I will start thinking about and making poker plans for next year.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

The November Two

It certainly seems that poker in the UK and Ireland is really progressing at the moment. Whilst the US players have to cope with the fallout from Black Friday players like Jake Cody have become more prominent, dominant even. Now step up Eoghan O'Dea and Sam Holden. Playing at the final table in the biggest game of all they both have a real shot at poker immortality, and a bloody fortune. One that certainly puts my Maui challenge into perspective. I really hope one of them can do it.

Last chance to vote in my survey on who will win.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Betfred Poker - Six Years On

Betfred Poker was the first poker site I played on six years ago. I have probably played two thirds of my poker there and it is still my favourite site. The site is good value I believe in terms of promotions, bonuses and other players.There are plenty of regulars who I have had good banter with. There are also a lot of weaker players particularly in the jackpot games. How else can you make a decent profit paying twice the normal rake. If you have not played on the I-Poker network before I certainly recommend it. I have played the vast majority of other sites though only significant volume on Pokerstars, Cake and Full Tilt. Betfred have just launched a new website and are a very successful sports betting outfit here in the UK. They are also heavily involved in horse racing sponsorship. As I am a big horse racing fan I have always been happy to pay my rake to Betfred. I genuinely believe that one day I finally will win the jackpot bonus I have come so close to winning in the past.

 Meanwhile, September has been a bit of a mixed bag so far for my Maui challenge. I have bagged a couple of reasonable freeroll cashes ($77 and $40) but my Maui form has dipped a little. I have made a small profit on the Maui games themselves but for the first time in a few months I have played badly at times and have got a little frustrated. Variance has definately been against me so I must refocus and concentrate on making good decisions.

Cheers Fred

Saturday, 1 October 2011

September Result: +$404, Overall: +$2553

Another good month with a good rate per game. Very similar to last month overall and in that I added a further $93 from rakeback and freeroll cashes. I need to average just under $500 a month for the last three months to complete my challenge. If I continue to play well like August and September then I will come close but will still be a few hundred dollars short. I need a decent freeroll cash and/or a further consolation win to really have a good shot. If I can enter December with a realistic chance that would be good.  
Kartajana  Click for details259$1.2  $5  20%$311  -N/AiPoker9/1/2011 9/30/2011 SNG Only
Good luck.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011


One of my aims this year is to achieve a top twenty leaderboard ranking on Sharkscope for my Maui efforts. Yesterday I sneaked into twentieth for total year earnings at the $5 dollar sit n go level. So for now I have cracked it. I will have to continue with good progress to remain there for the rest of the year and retain this as a permanent ranking. That would be quite pleasing if I could. I have found Sharkscope very useful over the years particularly looking at my own stats. The ability to break down statistics into detail really helps understand weaknesses and eliminate mistakes. For example I know starting a session when I should be going to bed loses me money because I have been able to break down my performance by time of day. So I go to bed.
Kartajana  Click for details2,172$0.59  $5  10%$1,278  -N/AiPokerYear2011 SNG Only

Good night.

Thursday, 22 September 2011


It has taken nearly six years but in the last few days my total poker earnings have finally hit $20,000. A decent total for sure but also a long period of time. An average of $3,300 or £2,200 a year is ok for a part timer like myself but I have been genuinely diasppointed with it. Having said that it is nice to hit such a figure. The other good part is that I have never spent any of my bankroll.......until now. Reading Jared Tendlers book has helped me realise that I would benefit (in poker terms) by spending some of my earnings. I will more appreciate what I have achieved which will help with my confidence. So I now have a $8,000 bankroll for Poker and a $12,000 bankroll to spend on things I will enjoy or things I will be told I will enjoy by the missus.
Item one: having some rooms professionally painted. Hmmm.
Thanks Jared!
Please vote in my survey. November is coming soon.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Two Thousand Games

I have just completed two thousand Maui games for the year. In truth the second thousand games were very similar in split and overall performance to the first (see my post in May). In some ways that gives me comfort. Both sets are a mixture of good runs, downswings and stagnation. The top two spots are still first and third which I am obviously happy with. Here is my position split and progress chart for the year to date.

The last five hundred games or so have seen me on a particularly good run which has continued into September. Also like last month I have cashed for $42 in the same VIP freeroll. This one is for high volume players only (VIP silver level) which I have been part of the last couple of months. The other night 117 players competed for a share of $3500. Real good value. I finished seventeenth. The final table which has eluded me so far has serious prizemoney. Shame its only once a month. Things are going well but I must not get complacent, cocky, lazy or unfocused. If I can remain on track I have a real chance to achieve all my challenge goals. I still have a lot of work to do however...... and another thousand games to play.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Hand History 5

A tricky spot six-handed at the 100/200 level where aggression ultimately wins the day. With A4 suited in the big blind I am resigned to folding any raise or shove. However when Siciliano25 calls in the cut off I am ready to go all in. In this spot he often has a hand like KJ or QJ. Not enough for some people to go all in with but they want to see a flop. Often when I go all in here he folds and if he calls I am slightly ahead. Occasionally this would be a trap from a big hand. However when the small blind joins in I have to rethink. Shoving now gives both the two others better odds to call so I check and take the flop which generously gives me the nut flush draw. When the small blind bets out the minimum I have only one intension, getting all my chips in. This gives me plenty of ways to win and sticks with my aggresive late style where I am hoping to double up prior to the bubble. Siciliano25 (my view on his hand holding looking correct) gets out of the way and the small blind calls with a worse flush draw. The flush hits, I become chip leader and go on to win the game. Its easy when you are running good.
saw flop | saw showdown

Button martyme1 (1345)
SB masha1981 (2610)
BB Kartajana (1450)
UTG lubeis4wimps (2432.50)
MP WilliamJK (990)
CO SICILIANO25 (1172.50)

Preflop: Kartajana is BB with A 4
2 folds, SICILIANO25 calls 200, 1 fold, masha1981 calls 100, Kartajana checks.

Flop (600) T 3 8
masha1981 bets 200, Kartajana raises to 1250, 1 fold, masha1981 calls 1050.

Turn (3100) 3

River (3100) K

masha1981 shows 9 6
Kartajana shows A 4

Kartajana wins 3100 with Flush (Spades) with Ace high
I quite like how these hand histories are represented but I think there is probably a better option (perhaps more graphical out there) which I will try out if I can source a good one. Also sometimes the positional data gets mixed up. If anyone knows a good I-Poker hand converter let me know via e-mail or post a comment. Thanks.

Meanwhile please vote in my latest survey. I am really hoping Sam Holden can put together a strong run for the big prize but being short stack is a significant obstacle. I wish I had that problem though!

Sunday, 4 September 2011

August Result (Tendler Style): I Played Well

August saw me playing well, with a balanced confidence level and running good in terms of variance. When faced with bad fortune I handled it well. However, I am still making more money from poor players mistakes rather than my own skill. I still need to very much work on my game to improve this to compensate for when the cards do not favour me so much. Incidentally I made around $400.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

August Result: +$423, Overall: +$2149

A much better month in August. A good return in the Maui games themselves boosted by around $100 worth of rakeback and freeroll cashes means I can be very satisfied with the overall result. It also helps me close the gap a little on my challenge total for the year.

UsernameGames PlayedAv. ProfitAv. StakeAv. ROITotal ProfitFormAbility /100NetworkFilter
Kartajana         269$1.21  $5  20%$326  -N/AiPoker8/1/2011 8/31/2011 SNG Only

Repeat four times and I'm almost there!

Tuesday, 23 August 2011


On 22nd August I smashed through the halfway mark in my Maui challenge. $2000 done, $2000 to go. I say smashed as I am going through a particularly hot spell at the moment. I am playing well and running good. Poker is great when this happens. I am certainly feeling the benefit of my new Tendler style approach to variance. Having said that I have hit the halfway mark about two months late. I am on schedule for just over $3000, well short of my $4000 target. The main deficit from my original plan is a lack of consolation bonus wins. My lonely one $200 win should be five by the time Santa is on his way and I am falling short in this respect. I can reprieve myself if I can hit two more but that probably won't be enough to enable me to hit my challenge total. I won't be giving up though and I won't be going anywhere near the North Pole!

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

The Mental Game Of Poker by Jared Tendler - Book Review

Poker is somewhat unique in that you can play the game perfectly, be one of the best in the world even and yet still lose on a regular basis. In his book Jared Tendler explores key mental issues such as tilt, motivation and confidence that can be affected by the variance poker often delivers. By understanding these issues more fully and working on techniques and strategies to minimise their negative aspects we can play our best poker more consistently and for longer. Sounds good to me.
The key theme was that understanding variance better can improve your game, even motivate you to work on your game more. Astutely Jared clarifies in detail that the thing we hate most in poker ie.variance/downswings etc is the thing that makes the game worth playing. Without it the worst players would not play! So be careful what you wish for. At the end of a session the importance of how well one played should outweigh the actual profit and loss result. This I will definitely need to work on but I will report a Tendler style set of results for August to see how that works.
Other aspects of the book I found useful included sections on pre session warm ups and warm downs. Another focuses on the achieving the ideal level of confidence (stable confidence). Interestingly one of his students was advised to write a blog to let out his feelings. Jared certainly covers a lot of ground, not all of which was relevant to me though. Nevertheless I do feel I learnt a lot about my own mental game issues through his book and this will help me moving forward. I was too easily affected by variance because success in poker means a lot to me for lots of different reasons (more than I had realised). When my results went off the rails (irrespective of how well I was playing) my game deteriorated through frustration at my lack of current success. Despite being a winning player for six years the truth is I believed I was a failure at Poker because I had not achieved the level of success I felt worthy of. My $20000 should have been more like $75000 in my old distorted mindset. This has held me back. At the moment I am much less affected by variance and yet strangely much more aware of it. Now I am seeing more of the positive aspects of variance as well, which perhaps in the past I had put down to my skill rather than luck.
In some ways this book was not an enjoyable read. Partly because it contains some home truths about my mental game issues, partly because some of it is quite complex and also partly because Jared Tendler is no John Grisham. Overall though despite being a little more expensive than some poker books, I would recommend it to any poker player who has had tilt issues. I believe it will make them, me and Jared a lot of extra money. No wonder he is smiling!
Play well.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Hand Histories 3 and 4

 I said I wanted to look at a good hand history in August. This is it. The same game illustrates two key points. Hand three demonstrates a tricky area in push/fold strategy. Hand four shows the outrageousness of luck and how never giving up as a short stack can add to your bottom line.
In the following hand I face what I consider to be a tricky push/fold situation. The two bigger stacks have folded, we are four handed so on the cash bubble. I am in the small blind with 1300 chips, the blinds are 200/400 and my opponent in the big blind has 1275 in chips. I have J3 offsuit. In play I felt this was a borderline decision as I have only a little fold equity and would be behind the majority of my opponents calls. When I am unsure late in a sit n go I go with the aggressive option which in this case was to push. My opponent called with KQ and took down the hand leaving me with 25 chips. In ICM terms we both played the hand correctly. I should be pushing around 75% of my hands which includes any Jack and my opponent should call with around 50% of hands. My hand was in the lower end of my push range but I made the correct push. When my stack is low in relation to the blinds and so is my opponents I am weak on ICM ranges. Something I need to work on.
saw flop | saw showdown

Button oopeaceoo (1930)
SB Kartajana (1300)
CO (0)
UTG BeatingTime (1275)
UTG+1 AchtungDan (5495)
CO (0)

Preflop: Kartajana is in the SB with J 3
2 folds, Kartajana raises to 1300, BeatingTime moves all-in for 875.

Flop (2575) 4 A 6

Turn (2575) Q

River (2575) A

Kartajana shows J 3
BeatingTime shows K Q

BeatingTime wins 2575 with Two pair, Aces and Queens with a King for a kicker
 Ten minutes and several double ups later I win the hand below to become chip leader much to the disgust of my opponents. Genuinely this is the same game, I had 25 chips and my opponent with KQ above goes out in fourth with nothing! Clearly anything can happen so never give up when very short stacked at any stage of a sit n go. Ironically I then go on to bust out in third place for $10 following some lost flips when the blinds become the rarely seen 500 and 1000.
Button Kartajana (3450)
CO (0)
CO (0)
UTG AchtungDan (5495)
UTG+1 (0)
CO oopeaceoo (1055)

Preflop: Kartajana is on the Button with 6 A
1 fold, Kartajana raises to 3450, AchtungDan calls 2950.

Flop (6900) 6 9 3

Turn (6900) Q

River (6900) Q

Kartajana shows 6 A
AchtungDan shows 4 4

Kartajana wins 6900 with Two pair, Queens and Sixs with a Ace for a kicker

August is going pretty well so far in terms of the Maui games, a good average profit per game over 100 plus games and I cashed for $42 in a freeroll the other night too. Hopefully I can sustain these good results until the end of the month.
In my next post I will review Jared Tendlers book which I finished last week.