Sunday, 30 December 2012

Betfred Poker League Result

The final week of six in the recent Betfred Poker League saw twenty eight players battle it out to see who would end up with the top five prizes. With the winner already decided the pressure was on those in the top ten. Being placed in sixth I knew I needed at least a seventh place to come fifth or better - but that that may not be enough.
From the start I was always in the bottom few and struggling. Whilst I never had a worthwhile stack I managed to duck and dive, keep myself alive and stay out of trouble. One of the benefits of playing a gazillion sit n gos is knowing how to play a small stack. Push or fold poker baby. As the game progressed I was hanging around like a bad smell while some other major contenders went out including overall winner Van Persie20. I was 20th of 24, 13th of 15. Eventually we were on the final table bubble and another tactical double up propelled me to seventh of eleven. Maybe I could now do it.
Whilst two key players above me were out and seventh would move me up two places to fourth two other players just behind me had much healthier stacks. It was time to get the calculator out and adapt ones strategy accordingly. This is the great thing about a league structure and something we missed out on in week five. The final table bubble burst and I had a real chance of seventh but other players to consider. Three key hands then played out to seal my fate.
With eight players left, me in seventh and one of my key opponents in eighth I was hoping he would get knocked out and let me sneak into at least a fifth placed spot overall. The poker gods had other ideas. I had queens with about only five big blinds left. I could not fold, though given my opponents four big blind stack there was a statistical argument to do so. I went all in and ironically it was my key opponent who called with AK. This classic coin toss felt like it would count for a lot league wise. A king on the flop and no improvement meant I was chip dead and almost certain to go out in eighth. All in against the big blind I managed a double up but still had only around two big blinds. No chips, no fold equity, no chance.
However, The next hand saw me under the gun with a pair of twos. Not an ideal situation. I went all in and was called by both the blinds. I managed to flop another two and won the hand which gave me some vital breathing space. Within a few hands two opponents including x were out and sixth place had been secured along with at least fifth spot. Soon I was out myself in sixth with QJ against a monster stacks 87. My other key opponent progressed enough to make fourth and leave me in fifth place.
Overall fifth won me £50($80) and I made around another $50 profit cashing in the games themselves. The prize was as much as I deserved I think as my three top tens of third, fifth and sixth out of six games is decent but not spectacular. It has taken a while for me to publish this post as I have been waiting for a final league table in vain. I have been paid out so I should be happy with that I suppose. Congratulations to the other top five finishers. There is talk of a new series in the New Year with a better structure and prizes
Anyway, Happy New Year to all and thanks to anyone with a genuine interest in my blog and particularly those who have contacted me over the course of the year. Good luck at the tables in 2013.

Jason (Kartajana)

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Five Hundred Games

I have just completed five hundred games in my latest Maui Jackpot Sit N Go push which I stated in October. My effort has been very creditable, a direct profit of $470 ($0.94 per game) and a first place ratio of 14%. I need to refocus on my poker plan strategy into 2013 to make further improvements and push for 16% wins and the resultant more likely Jackpot win.
My progress looked exactly like this:

Seasons Greetings to all.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Hot Streak

December is currently going very well poker wise. I am on a serious hot streak right now. I am playing well and hitting the right cards when I need them. A great combination.
On Betfred where I spend most of my poker time at the Maui Jackpot tables I am running at about $2 profit per game having played around a hundred games so far. My win rate is an encouraging 16%.
On Full Tilt I have made some progress building up my roll around $35, though I have not played many games.
On Pokerstars two days ago I won a Sunday Million Satellite for $215. See below.
PokerStars Tournament #658251810, No Limit Hold'em
Super Satellite
Buy-In: $8.00/$0.16 USD
36 players
Total Prize Pool: $288.00 USD
Target Tournament #660020010 Buy-In: $200.00/15.00 USD
1 tickets to the target tournament

Tournament started 2012/12/14 19:06:53 ET
Tournament finished 2012/12/14 19:22:04 ET
  1: Kartajana (United Kingdom),  (qualified for the target tournament)
  2: GodzChoice (Netherlands), $16.00
  3: crikeybruce (United Kingdom), $16.00
  4: pokerforest7 (Hungary), $16.00
  5: rihannAAA (United Kingdom), $16.00
  6: MaxHooverDam (United Kingdom), $9.00
At this rate December could well end up being my best month of the year. That would be a great ending to a mixed but enjoyable year.

Friday, 14 December 2012

Betfred Poker League Update 2

The table above demonstrates the progress I made in week four of the Betfred Poker League. A fifth place and another decent cash left me knocking on the door of the overall prizes. With two weeks to go and two consecutive top tens under my belt I felt confident I could progress.  Sure top two would be unlikely, but top five is very much attainable.
Controversy was to surround week five however which means the leaders points above remains unchanged following a strange decision by Betfred Poker. The fifth week of six in the poker league was changed from a £5 buy in to 5p!. With the £250 guarantee still in place this meant a lot more entrants. 128 in total meaning the thirty or so regulars were swamped by new players. Non of the regulars were happy about this. You could maybe understand it in week two as an attempt to generate more interest in the league, but not week five. In the end not one player from the leaderboard above got a top ten spot so the leaderboard remains pretty much unchanged with one week to go. I managed a creditable 24th and was one of the last regulars remaining.
Congratulations to Vanpersie20 who is now guaranteed to win. He looked pretty solid for victory before the week five adjustment to be fair and deserves the prize for some fearless play. Enjoy the game and the £250.
Assuming we are back to normal for the final week I need to hit seventh at least I think to get in the top five. This will move me forward at least two places and allows for someone from behind moving ahead of me. Whatever happens I have enjoyed the league and profited from it so can't complain too much.
Happy to go for it again in the New Year Betfred. More weeks within the league, a later start time and no last minute rule changes please.

Good luck to all in week six.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Betfred Poker League Update

See above for the updated league table after game three which sees me in tenth place. Twenty eight players in league game three and I got the decent result I needed, coming third. The well named Vanpersie20 has a clear lead and has now twice knocked me out. He looks set to watch his namesake play against Southampton next month. Thirty two points and cashing for £37.50 though means I will profit from this league whatever happens over the next three games which is satisfying. To hit the top five prize spots though I probably need two more high finishes in the final three weeks. Tough but not impossible.
Meanwhile my latest Maui Jackpot push is going well. After around 400 games since the start of October I am making nearly a dollar a game and my win rate is a pleasing 14%. I need  to spend more time working on elements of my poker plan to increase this figure a bit further.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Betfred League Of Online Poker

I am taking part in the latest Betfred promotion, The Betfred League Of Online Poker which takes place on six consecutive Thursdays. I really enjoy playing the same players in some kind of league structure, though preferably over more games than six. Points are awarded for top ten finishes and there are some decent prizes for the top five at the end of the league. The winner gets VIP Premier League Football tickets and £250. Plus there is a guaranteed £250 in the pot for each tournament which costs £5 to play.

The surprising thing about this league is that in the first week only 36 players took part and in the second that was down to 31. Then only £155 was staked for the £250 prize pool. Only a few die hard Betfred players taking part could be down to the password being only available on social media sites, the start time of 7.30 and the poor promotion of the league. Probably all three.

So have I taken advantage of this opportunity. In a word no, or not yet at least. In both the first two weeks I just missed out on the top ten finishing 15th and 11th having built up a decent stack. In the first week my Jacks lost to Tens in a key all in battle . My opponent went on to come second and now sits on top of the league. I really need to make the points in the third game to give myself a real chance.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Full Tilt Ahead

I am really looking forward to the relaunch of Full Tilt Poker. Sure I want to get my hands on the $1002 that is waiting for me. Yes, I want a piece of the $250,000 worth of freeroll money on offer. Most of all though I just want to play again on a poker site I really enjoyed. Bring it on Gus.

The thrill really is back.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Poker Plan: The Danger Of Surfing

Kartajana you are accused of trying to play six games of poker whilst also doing one or more of the following:
  • Checking your e-mails
  • Amending your fantasy football team
  • Selecting and listening to music via I-Tunes
  • Checking horse racing results
  • Writing a new blog post
  • Looking at the weather
  • Checking Facebook updates
  • Entering competitions
  • Checking football scores
  • Other random surfing

How do you plead?
"Guilty your honour."
In acting as you have done you have shown great arrogance and contempt for your fellow poker players. You will serve six years of playing poker at a non optimum profit level. Based on time already served you are free to go you........
Recently I stopped having my browser open in the hope of improving focus and overall performance as part of my new poker plan. I can tell you honestly the outcome has been a revelation. The last one hundred games I have played have been at an average of $2 profit per game. Of all the ways in which I am aiming to improve my win ratio this could be the biggest and the easiest to apply. I am less distracted, make less mistakes and am more aware of other players gameplay. There is an added benefit that the intermittent computer problems I experience are often caused by working my laptop too hard. Lesson learned, Progress made. Win rate improved. What next.
Thanks your honour.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Grand National Roller Coaster Ride

Last week I went on the Grand National Roller Coaster at Blackpool Pleasure Beach for the first time in around twenty years. My nine year old daughter is now old enough to go on the white knuckle rides, though I am not sure which one of us was the more scared.
Anyway, my roller coaster ride here very much mirrored my first one hundred Maui games of my latest push for Jackpot sit n go glory. An uphill start was followed by a sharp decline which itself was a pre-cursor to a massive climb. I am only hoping that this can be sustained rather than a Big One style drop (see background of Grand National shot). Within this climb I had a sequence of 11511 which gives me encouragement. The really interesting thing about these one hundred games though was the outcome in terms of finishing positions. My goal is to prioritise first places to some extent at the expense of smaller cashes. Whilst it is very much a small sample this seems to be working. More importantly it has not compromised my overall returns per game, achieving more than a dollar a game profit.
My one hundred game roller coaster:

My one hundred games placings:

If I can maintain this 17% level of first places I will be very happy.
Next time I am expected to take her on the Revolution! Not sure there is a poker graph to match that!

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Poker Players Place

I am a member of the Poker Players Place poker forum and regularly take part in their Home Games on Pokerstars. The players are mainly UK based but not exclusively so. It is a pretty active forum and home games are held daily in the evenings UK time attracting an average field of twenty to thirty players. I rarely post on the forum (should try to get more involved really) but do tend to play once a week in the late Saturday night game. The rest of the week the start times are just too early for me, usually 8pm.
The games are always friendly, of a good standard and I do enjoy playing the same players. The main thing that makes this a bit different though is that the games are accompanied by a radio commentary which adds another dimension to the play. The commentators are usually playing themselves and this makes for an unusual dynamic, with plenty of colourful banter and friendly rivalry. Hearing people's reaction to your play or your hand is always interesting. This is one particular reason I would recommend joining the forum and the home games. There are lots of others though and the site has a wealth of information and items of interest.
This year I have had a very good record playing the Saturday Insanity game. To date I have played twenty five games, won three with six other cashes. Only a few players have a better average score in the home game rankings tables. If you do get involved, two good players to watch out for are ThierryH3 and Poor Scouser.
Good Luck.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Advice From Nick Wealthall 2:My Poker Plan

My aim in poker is simply to win a Sit N Go Jackpot and have total poker winnings of at least $50,000. Here is my plan and the thinking behind it, to get from where I am now (six jackpot near misses) and a bankroll total of $21,554 to where I want to be in a realistic time frame.
Having thought about and analysed the various jackpot games I believe my best route to success is to focus on the Maui Jackpot Sit N Go games. There are several reasons for this. Based on my win rates I will statistically have a higher chance of winning five of these ten player games than winning six consecutive six player games. Also I am much more comfortable at the $5 level. The Rio and Fort Knox games attract a lot more solid regulars and the variance swings in these games can be brutal, which can affect my game. I have a really good ten man sit n go record and hold/have held Sharkscope rankings at the $5 level on both I-Poker and Cake. I can also play more ten man games at the same time comfortably than six man games. The only downside of this approach is that the Maui Jackpot starts lower at $15,000 and does not often get to very high levels. In a way though this just supports my theory that it is more winnable.
So that's decided, I will play the Maui games. Then, what can I do to improve my chances of achieving my goal given this. I am currently playing the Mauis with a first place percentage of around 13% having played around 6000 of them. Based on this (if these wins occur randomly) I will win a Jackpot on average every 27000 games and have a final game opportunity every 3500 games. However, If I can improve this win rate to 16% I will win a Jackpot on average every 9500 games and have a final game opportunity every 1500 games. In reality I think winning opportunities come along more often than this as wins are more likely to be clustered during periods of good form and fortune. Whatever take you have on this statistically theory it is clearly worth working hard on my game to improve my win rate and bring forward my Jackpot win date.
I could comfortably play 10000 games over about three years or so which equates to around 1000 games per quarter. Neatly by the end of 2015 I will have been playing poker for ten years. What is the worst that can happen? I don't win one and my returns per game diminish. I will probably still make another $6000 trying.
So how do I improve my Maui win rate from 13% to 16%. I believe the following ten point plan can help me attain the improved win rate I need and I will be working on them all over the coming months.
1)Get some more coaching. This had a massive impact on me and my game back in 2009 which was my best poker year to date. Choosing the right coach will be key here.
2)Working on my game. More time spent on my Maui game strategy and hand histories both myself and with fellow players. It would be great to form a small group of like minded players helping each others games.
3)Get a new laptop. My current one occasionally lets me down, freezing at a bad moment for example. A bigger screen would help me multi-table better too.
4)Improved general well being. Too often I play when too tired. Generally I would benefit from more sleep and becoming a little fitter.
5)Be more focused on winning. My approach on the bubble of these sit n goes is to maximise my returns rather than the number of wins. By compromising my overall rate of return here a little I can increase the number of wins. Basically I need to take more risks around the bubble in order to win.
6)Focus on my heads up game. This is an area I currently neglect believing this final element of the Maui games is highly luck based. A small additional edge here though could make a lot of difference.
7)No surfing the Internet whilst playing. I major flaw in my play that is inexcusable really as it can only distract me.
8)Develop a consistent evening routine. One that fits with my family life but maximises my winning potential.
9)Keep working on my mental mindset. I must ignore bad fortune and short term thinking. I am really looking forward to Jared Tendler's follow up book which I believe will be out next spring.
10)Reduce the amount of non Maui play. I will continue to play a small percentage of other games but on I-Poker I will be Maui only. This worked well for me in 2010.
Each part of my plan will be the subject of an individual post over the coming months.
As well as Nick Wealthall's video I have also recently been inspired by a TV show looking behind the scenes of Sky cycling's team approach to winning. In every single area of the sport they had the best of everything to add those extra few percentage points advantage over their opponents to give the team an edge. Having high quality riders and strategy was obvious but they also included minor items like having the best food, best mattresses and even the best coach driver. Attention to detail was everything. The result has been Britain's best ever year in cycling. It demonstrated to me that lots of little improvements can add up to make a big difference. I think that could really work for me here. If I am well rested, more focused on winning, unlikely to go on tilt and have improved my game by working hard on it I cannot fail to improve my results.
Nicks advice was also to think about how I will reward myself based on my success and log my performance as I go along, which I will do in this blog. This is my best route to make the outcome inevitable. He suggested rewards for smaller milestones, say in my case improving my win rate to 14% over a thousand games. The reward for hitting the jackpot could include involvement with a new syndicated racehorse in training (something I have enjoyed in the past) and a family holiday.
To Summarise:
To ensure I win a Maui Sit N Go Jackpot in the next three years and take my poker earnings above £50,000 I will play 10000 games and work on various things to maximise my win rate per game, making it statistically more likely than not that I will achieve my goal. 
So here goes, 1000 games at a time.

Thanks Nick and Team Sky for the inspiration.

Saturday, 22 September 2012


Finally, I have had a decent result in a 180 man MTT. This year I have played quite a lot of these games and had a very poor record. It was not the first place I was looking for but second place for $264 is a good result for me and is pretty satisfying. Luck was certainly with me but I also played well in crucial spots. My efforts last month in MTTs have finally reaped some returns I think. Heads up my A3 lost to 33 but only near the end did I have a real chance to win. Three handed and short stacked my A9 held up against Kings so I cannot complain. A welcome boost at a time when I am contemplating my poker future and my form in the Jackpot Sit N Gos is patchy at best.
PokerStars Tournament #617715931, No Limit Hold'em
Buy-In: $7.34/$0.66 USD
180 players
Total Prize Pool: $1321.20 USD
Tournament started 2012/09/21 18:25:25 ET
Tournament finished 2012/09/21 20:06:55 ET
  1: freitas1001 (Brazil), $396.42 (30.004%)
  2: Kartajana (United Kingdom), $264.24 (20%)
  3: King Souljar (Germany), $157.22 (11.899%)
  4: glaskarten (Germany), $105.69 (7.999%)
  5: Dr. House 73 (Switzerland), $85.87 (6.499%)
  6: langace66 (Hungary), $66.06 (5%)
  7: Natek258 (Canada), $46.24 (3.499%)
  8: widesteel (Russia), $34.35 (2.599%)
  9: bootlebird (United Kingdom), $22.46 (1.699%)

Congratulations to Freitas1001 who played very well and deserved the win. It is always nice to beat the Germans though. :)

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Advice from Nick Wealthall 1

I recently watched a promotional training video from Nick Wealthall entitled 'Your Next Big Jump In Poker.' He is a well known poker writer, commentator and presenter and I have always liked his material and his comedic approach. Plus any friend of Liv Boeree....... I found the thirty minute video so engaging and interesting that I watched it twice and am now blogging about it. Essentially what Nick was saying is that to make the leap that you want to make in poker or to fulfil your poker ambitions you must simply make a plan and carry it out. What do you want to achieve and why? What help and knowledge do you need to make this goal a reality? What is a realistic time frame to make this happen? In short what do I need to do to reach my goal? He points out that very few people make such a plan and are worse off because of it. If you are a regular reader of this blog you will know I am big on plans so he was very much knocking on an open door with this approach. His video is linked to a new monthly coaching service he is providing which focuses on improving certain aspects of a players game and thus removing barriers to success. For me the video made me really think about what I want from poker and how I am more successful when following disciplined guidelines and working on my game. It made me think I need a new plan so that I am much more likely to achieve it.
In part two of this post I will detail my plan and the thinking behind it. The goals part is quite easy. I want to win a Sit N Go Jackpot and have poker winnings of at least $50,000. Why is this my goal? The reason is mainly that of personal fulfilment, to achieve something I have worked at over a number of years, to feel my time playing poker has been fully successful. The money is actually a minor aspect in some ways which is interesting in itself. I really feel my goal is achievable and agree with Nick that with a more focused, structured approach it is much more likely to be attained.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Kartajana The Coach?

This year I have been working with a young Danish player on strategy for the Jackpot Sit N Go games. In May I passed on my strategy document for the Maui jackpot games and exchanged e-mails with him about specific hand ranges and a more detailed explanation of  my approach. More recently we having been working on the Rio games for which I have a significantly different strategic approach. Again I have passed on some strategy notes but the most interesting aspect has been exchanging hand histories for the Rio games and then discussing certain key hands. I think this has been helpful to both of us. It has certainly made me think a lot more about what I am doing and why I am doing it.
Interaction like this with fellow jackpot players was one of the reasons I did this blog. I have exchanged information and e-mails with a handful of others but this has been the most productive interaction to date at least from my point of view. And from his I think for sure. One really pleasing aspect is that in June he won the Maui jackpot for $15000. Perhaps he should be coaching me! Certainly he is a good player who seems keen to get better. A very good combination. I would certainly not rule out him bagging a Rio Jackpot if he plays enough games. The Jackpot stands at $110,000 currently so for now I am trying to beat him to it!

Good luck to us both.

Monday, 27 August 2012

Sunday Million Result - Back To Basics

Sadly this is not a long story but I played pretty well in the limited time I contested this weeks Sunday Million. Early on I struggled to get anything going, whilst at the same time not putting myself at risk. The best hand I got in the first hour was a pair of nines but I kept patient and did not get frustrated. After about an hour and a half I changed tables, now with only half original stack. To keep my stack together I raised in a couple of spots with poor hands when not getting cards when I would look strong after inactivity. This was a lesson learned from the Red Spade Open. The final two hands before the second break playing against the table chip leader sealed my fate. Finally I got two premium hands and against a loose big stack. In the first he tried to bully me off Jacks and put me all in pre-flop. I called and held up against his A8. The very next hand I was dealt aces in the big blind. After a raise and a call the loose chip leader made a big squeeze style raise to around half my stack. This looked very promising. I went all in, the early raiser and caller folded and I faced king jack off suit for a massive boost to my Sunday Million dream. An ace on the flop looked promising but a ten also meant a queen would see me knocked out - her Majesty duly arrived on the turn and I could not fill up on the river. I ended 3767th out of 6397 who played. This final hand could have given me a decent platform to progress in the tournament. Pre-flop I was around 86% to have a well above average stack with just over half the players left. Overall I am happy that I did nothing wrong but am a little frustrated because I don't play enough of these to iron out the variance - I needed my luck to hold. Oh well, not a bad effort.
I played a total of forty one MTTs in August, cashing in only four of them for a total of $65. None of my big buy ins went well enough to cash and none of my smaller buy ins went far enough to really matter. As a result I have lost around $500 playing tournament poker in this month, a decent percentage of my profits for the year. I have been keen to take a shot for some time. Hopefully I have got it out of my system. I really need to get back to basics - playing the games I know and love the best. So it is back to grinding the Maui Jackpot Sit N Gos for me. See you at the tables.

Later on I checked to see if my Nemesis FaKeOrReaL was still in the tournament. He was not and did not make the money which was no great surprise but what did shock me was his presence at six cash tables of $50-$100 Pot Limit Omaha. Over the six tables he was playing with around $40,000, nearly twice my poker earnings! Just shows the level of player you can compete with in the Sunday Million (In this case a high stakes cash game player). It also shows don't judge a player on the basis of twenty minutes at the same table.

Monday, 13 August 2012

Red Spade Open Result

Last night I played the Red Spade Open, a $50 tournament with 24497 entrants including many Pokerstars Pros, Liv Boeree amongst them. Despite a very poor run of late I entered with confidence and having had an afternoon nap, well rested for a change. From the outset I was comfortable and playing my A-game. The slow structure fitted nicely with my approach which was mainly one of patience, waiting for an opportunity. Before too long a perfect scenario developed where I hit a set of twos against a player hitting top pair. I played it nicely and doubled up.
   For the next hour or so I progressed without any significant confrontations. I took down quite a few hands without a showdown keeping my stack at around the average level. I played at the same table for a long time and was able to identify the loose, the weak and the strong. With a third of the field left and in a good position I started to go backwards following a period of small setbacks. I was folding more often than ideal and the couple of times I did raise with mediocre hands I had to fold to strong looking three bets. All was not lost though as I waited for a decent hand and an opportunity to double up. Finally some positive action. In the big blind with nines I three bet all in an early position raiser who called with KQ. My hand held up and I was back with an average stack with around 4000 players left. The top 2563 would get paid starting at $135. All was well at this stage. 
   From this point the table became much more active as the blinds and antes kicked in, bigger stacks began to dominate and smaller stacks began to push all-in. For around half an hour I did not play a hand and was effectively card dead. This is the main thing I need to work on. What to do on an active table without decent cards. Experience and confidence in making some moves in this spot was what I lacked and it cost me. At no point in the tournament did I get a premium hand but that should not matter. I was not too frustrated but as my stack went below ten big blinds I knew I had to act soon. Finally an opportunity to push came. I knew I needed at least a double up and a couple of blind steals to make the money - then who knows. It was folded round to me in the small blind with J7 off suit and my eight big blinds went in. Given my lack of action for a while I was expecting the big blind to show some respect, though obviously he would call with any big hands. He called with KT suited and hit a flush. Suddenly, following an age of inactivity I was out having played J7. I finished a respectable 3422nd. I really enjoyed the game and in the end was happy with my blind v blind push. Most of the time my opponent would fold, and when called I would still have a decent shot at double up. In this case 36% versus the KT.
   I will play a few more decent tournaments this month including the Sunday Million. Sunday night is a certainly a good option. However I will go back to grinding in low stakes sit n gos from September. A problem with tournaments is that I do not play enough of them to iron out the variance. The main problem though is that when finding myself in a good position in this tournament, an average stack with only a fifth of players remaining my goal is simply to do enough to cash. I am not thinking about taking big gambles and building a stack to go deep. Long term this is a sub optimal situation. I will cash in a few and do well beyond this occasionally but barring outrageous luck or run of big hands I will lose money playing higher stakes tournament poker.
One option I am considering is to have a tournaments night once a month. I could invest a percentage of profits from that month and have some fun taking a shot.
I am sure Liv is quaking in her boots! (She cashed in 1076th)
Good Luck

Monday, 6 August 2012

Red Spade Open

Yesterday I won a satellite sit n go and qualified for the Red Spade Open which takes place this Sunday. It is a $50 tournament which includes lots of Pokerstars pros who attract bounties if you knock them out. This will be my first attempt this month at a higher level tournament. It should help me in my build up to the Sunday Million at the end of the month.

So far this month my biggest MTT cash is for finishing for 549th out of 7970 players. Sounds not too bad other than the 50c entry fee and $1.19 return! All good practise though.  


Monday, 23 July 2012

Sunday Million Preparation?

Part of my plan for August is to play the Sunday Million at the end of the month and to also play a handful of $50 multi table tournaments as part of my preparation. I am happy to spend c$500 on what can only be described as speculative entries. I am ready for a change I think from playing low stakes sit n gos. I have lost focus recently and think taking a shot at something a bit different might help. As part of my preparation I have been doing the following:
  • I have played a few multi table tournaments at very low stakes with a few min cashes but no great progress.
  • I have played quite a few 180 man games in the last month or so with poor results so far. It would appear that I am banned from the final table from these games at the moment.
  • I have been watching re-runs of Sunday Million final tables which have been very interesting. One in terms of how deals are done at this stage and two in that the play is very much as you would expect. There is no radical strategy here, most players seem to play sensible but aggressive final table strategy. The trick is getting there I guess.
  • I have been re-reading Harrington on Holdem volumes one and two which delivers a solid if conservative approach to MTTs.
  • I have been watching some hands of Kev Steele (two time Sunday Million winner) to see if I can pick up some strategic pointers. I believe I have.
Unfortunately my current form and mindset is poor. In fact I have had a disappointing few weeks poker wise and will probably lose quite a few dollars in July. Worse than that on a number occasions I have not enjoyed my poker. Perhaps this is not the right moment to take a shot at a few decent tournaments or maybe it is just what I need to get back on track. I think the latter, especially as I should benefit from I couple of short breaks that I have coming up. Let me know what you think via my latest survey and please feel free to comment.
Good luck.

Friday, 13 July 2012

Mickey Mouse

In a couple of weeks the Tomlinsons are taking a trip to Disneyland Paris for a few days. The main reason I mention it on my poker blog is that this an additional, originally unplanned break which we are only really making because of holiday fund support from my poker winnings. Given the current economic uncertainty this is probably a little excessive, but the kids are the perfect age for it right now. Partly, I am continuing to try to help my mental game by linking my poker success to real tangible benefits, as opposed to a bankroll sat in various poker and bank accounts. Partly, I am just doing what the wife tells me!
Unfortunately I am not expecting much poker action over in Paris though I hear Disney Princess Ariel is a bit of a fish! 

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Rio Challenge Result

A positive finish but an average performance overall. I guess -3% is not too bad given the high rake and the consolation win but I always planned to have a positive ROI. I was also unhappy with my freeroll returns. For 250 games $357 is a reasonable return, demonstrating the hidden returns for Jackpot players from rakeback and consolation wins. Overall though, I did not have a good enough strategy or simply did not play well enough to win more games. The truth is I am not which one was more important.
Kartajana  Click for details 250 -$0.65   $20   -3% -$163   Hot N/A iPoker 5/1/2012 6/26/2012 SNG Only

Outcome summary:

To DateTarget
Direct Profit-163150
Freeroll Wins      35150

Anyway, onwards and upwards. My ambitious plan moving forward is to focus on a more mixed set of games in July and August, including some MTTs prior to a shot at the Sunday Million at the end of August. Following that audacious plot I aim to play one thousand Maui games Sept-Dec and finally hit the sit n go Jackpot. Time to be a small island on the poker map.

Good Luck

Thursday, 28 June 2012

A Game Of Two Halves

The end of my 250 game Rio Sit N Go Challenge coincided with the end of Englands Euro 2012 campaign. Both efforts had some merit, some early success and some general progression but ultimately ended short of what could be considered success. Other than my early consolation win the second half of my challenge was much more effective than the first based on a key strategy change. The two finishing distributions tell the story.

In the second set I was much more active in pursuit of an early (but not high risk) double up. I identified a number of methods to achieve this and was able to use my more often gained double stack as a platform to secure more top two spots at the expense of thirds. Having more fourth spots did not matter as the overall second set of games was marginally profitable and much more so than the first. At some point I may generate a Rio strategy document to match my Maui one. I have got most of it in draft form already. If anyone is interested in it let me know.


One consistent theme from these Rio games is the amount of abuse players get from each other. I was targeted several times and ironically was berated again in my final challenge game which I won. In this game at the push fold stage my weaker ace was called by a better ace and I got lucky. I was advised to try winning a hand by initially having the best hand. I have made a note of this top tip. Good fortune it would seem is frowned upon in these circles. I am certain there would be great demand for some kind of Jackpot sit n go players support group where players could talk about bad beats, other players bad play and how the games are rigged. I do find some of this very amusing, though I have sympathy for anyone going through a bad run.
I will report in full on the outcome of my Rio challege in the next few days.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Regulars Fried!

In a week I will report on my  Rio Challenge results. Whilst it has been tough going I have really enjoyed playing the Rio Jackpot sit n go games over the last couple of months. I am not alone in this it would seem as during the time of day I play (9pm -1am UK time) there are a number of regulars who are chasing down that Jackpot dream. The trouble is even the best of regulars will struggle to beat the high rake in these games. Sure there are a few terrible players helping us out  but ironically it is the sheer number of regulars themselves that makes it so hard for them to profit from the game. Most regulars generally know what they are doing and don't make massive mistakes. I often sit down and know all the players at the table which really is often a negative EV situation.
Now why do I feel so hungry!

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Rio Challenge Strategy 3: Bubble Trouble

One of the hardest things to do in poker is fold when you are confident you have the best hand. Another really tough thing to do is shove a poor hand knowing that you will probably be called by a better hand. On the bubble in a sit n go is these situations are commonplace and important to master. Weakness in this area is a significant leak for many players, including me.
In Hand A we will look at the situation from the perspective of a player with 1000 chips on the big blind with the blinds at 100-200. The other shorter stacks fold and unsurprisingly the dominant chip leader shoves. What hands are worth calling with here? According to ICM the answer is strong pairs only, says nines or better. I would probably only call with Jacks or better. Ace King has to be folded here unless you are playing specifically for first or first and second as part of a jackpot sequence.

500 Fold
1000 Fold
3500 All In
1000 ?

This situation becomes even more complex in the very next hand when the big stack does not push and our player is left with a decision. This is an area I myself struggle with. In Hand B what hands should be shoved in this spot?
1000 Fold
3700 Fold (Would expect a shove here around 75% of the time)
800 ?

ICM suggests the small blind pushes with 80% of hands and the big blind calls with around 90% of hands. A key clash is imminent. It is the pushing range of the player with 800 chips that interests me here as you can understand the very likely call from the big blind. The math says you shove hands like 84 suited or 75 offsuit here. I think I am only shoving maybe 60% of my hands in this spot, folding these weaker hands to a likely caller. This is a mistake it would seam and something I need to work on and understand more fully. I will try to analyse post game some real examples in the weeks to come and maybe post about the most interesting one.
Some poker players have suggested that sit n gos are easy, robotic with few tricky spots and not a true form of poker. But could they fold AK in hand A and push 75 in hand B. I doubt it.

Anyway, meanwhile my Rio Challenge position is as follows after 190 games with 60 games to play. I have fought back somewhat over the last couple of weeks and come close to another consolation bonus.

Direct Profit-25150
Freeroll Wins14150

Friday, 1 June 2012

May The Force Be With You

The force was strong with Kartajana in May. I did not play particularly well yet had a very good month, hitting a Rio consolation bonus for $300 and two Sunday Million satellites for $215 each. All in a month I was accused of being the worst player on the I-Poker network! To be fair I have not been ripping up any trees this year poker wise but finally I am at least trampling on a number of shrubs. On the last day of the month I hit my second satellite win as follows:
PokerStars Tournament #568509688, No Limit Hold'em
Super Satellite
Buy-In: $8.00/$0.16 USD
36 players
Total Prize Pool: $288.00 USD
Target Tournament #575020010 Buy-In: $200.00/15.00 USD
1 tickets to the target tournament

Tournament started 2012/05/31 18:53:06 ET
Tournament finished 2012/05/31 19:05:41 ET
  1: Kartajana (United Kingdom),  (qualified for the target tournament)
  2: Supersvintus (Russia), $16.00
  3: SMKDSALMON51 (Canada), $16.00
  4: ankoval (Russia), $16.00
  5: Chop_Chop96 (Israel), $16.00
  6: sunshine077 (Germany), $9.00
The accusation of being the worst player on I-poker demonstrates the tilt that can be caused by the Rio games. In a game where I had been pretty lucky on the bubble and beyond, I pushed into the chip leader with T9 with high blinds and he called with QJ. We both had similar chips but the player in third was short stacked. According to ICM this was a push from me and a fold from my opponent. Lets just say he or she was not happy and I was subject to a sequence of abuse. Not only am I the worst player on I-Poker I know I am apparently. I think Boba Fett would have showed less patience than I did here. To be fair it is frustrating to lose with the best hand in a key spot and I was pretty lucky over a few hands but that's poker, in particular jackpot sit n go poker. To reinforce the variance point here, my short stacked opponent went on to win the game following a series of coolers, bad beats and blatant good fortune. That dude must be the second worst player on I-Poker!
Beware the dark side!

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Another Sunday Million Satellite Win

I know this is getting a bit repetitive but last night I won another thirty-six man satellite for $215. I am having a decent year on Pokerstars thanks to these games. Hopefully confidence from this success will spill over into my Rio Challenge. Again I am cashing in my seat but I am seriously giving some thought to playing in the big one in August (the Sunday before Bank Holiday Monday) as part of a multi-table tournament period. I do enjoy them and believe I would be pretty decent (at the lower levels at least). If only I had the time.

PokerStars Tournament #566296308, No Limit Hold'em
Super Satellite
Buy-In: $8.00/$0.80 USD
36 players
Total Prize Pool: $288.00 USD
Target Tournament #574020010 Buy-In: $200.00/15.00 USD
1 tickets to the target tournament

Tournament started 2012/05/26 17:18:21 ET
Tournament finished 2012/05/26 18:34:12 ET
  1: Kartajana (United Kingdom),  (qualified for the target tournament)
  2: 77sharkboy77 (Spain), $20.00
  3: nachoelpunto (Spain), $20.00
  4: kukino3569 (Slovakia), $20.00
  5: Mefestofel (Russia), $13.00
  6: fradof (Spain)
Good Luck