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.

Monday, 1 August 2011

July Result: +$66, YTD: +$1726

A mediocre month at best on my Maui Challenge though I did manage to increase the overall volume of games played. A small direct Maui profit of $29 was boosted by rakeback and a couple of small freeroll cashes.
Kartajana         316$0.09  $5  2%$29  -N/AiPoker7/1/2011 7/31/2011 SNG Only
The reality is that my game is somewhat patchy and there are some decent regulars reducing my returns. The thing I must remember is the high fees and high variance of these Jackpot games which are structured to end in a series of coin flips and frustrating cold deck confrontations. I must keep focusing on making good decisions and not worry about luck based outcomes.
My aims for August include:
1.Finish and review Jared Tendlers book "The Mental Game of Poker"
2.Have a solid winning month including a consolation bonus win.
3.Find a good borderline decision hand history to look at.
 Good Luck