Monday, 30 April 2012

Readers Rio Challenge

In May and June I will play only the Rio Jackpot Sit N Go as per the result of my blog readers survey. Over the two months I will compete in 250 games and try to make $800. The $800 will hopefully come from $150 direct profit on the games themselves, $200 rakeback, $300 for a consolation bonus and $150 from the freeroll opportunities this level of activity gives me. Anything above $500 return I will be happy as the consolation bonus is a tough one. Thanks to those who voted.

Over the last month or so I have not done well on the Rio games so this will genuinely be a challenge. Variance is a constant threat within the structure and the high rake makes the game tough to beat. However on a more positive note I have a good feel for the correct strategy. I need to get involved and demonstrate controlled aggression early. I must remember the importance of position and observe my opponents. I must focus on playing to win rather than just to cash but should avoid coinflips until absolutely necessary. On the bubble I have to adjust approach based on the chip stacks at that point. Once in the money I should be both patient and aggressive to secure the best position possible. I should always adapt to the dynamics of the individual game. When on a sequence of wins or top twos I should adjust my approach to focus on the jackpot or consolation opportunity. I will not go on tilt. This is easier said than done. As I go through the games I intend to make notes on key positive events and mistakes in an attempt to further strengthen my strategy.

Two non poker things I intend to focus on in this period are my fitness and my sleep. If I can increase both this will really help with this challenge. Too often I have followed a good early session with a poor late one largely based on fatigue.

Watch this space for updates.

Please note no expensive Spanish footballers were harmed during the production of this blog post.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Jackpot Sit N Go Strategy: Winning The Final Jackpot Game

So you have won a series of Jackpot Sit N Go games on the trot and now need just one more to win a big pay day. What is the best approach to win it? Here is my ten point plan.

....................................Hang on a minute Kartajana you have not won one yourself yet.

Very true. Whilst I have won several consolation bonuses totalling over $3000 I have yet to win a Jackpot. So why am I posting about how to win one? Firstly, having played these games on and off for nearly six years I know them inside out. Secondly and more importantly I have been in the key situation six times, where I needed to win just one more game to take down a big pay day. Three times I have come extremely close. Thirdly, I have read a lot on this subject and put a fair amount of work into this post. Fourthly, this blog is for me too. When my lucky seventh opportunity comes around soon I want to be ready to give it my very best shot. Therefore, I believe I have a good insight into the issues, pressures and wonder surrounding this unique poker opportunity. Here goes:

  1. No distractions. You need to be totally focused to give this opportunity its fullest potential. Play when you are unlikely to be disturbed and can give it total concentration. In my case that's when the rest of the family are in bed and it is too late for anyone else to get in touch by phone or any unexpected house callers. Shutdown your Internet Explorer, switch off the television and focus.
  2. Assess opponents. It makes sense to monitor the players for this key game as they register, using Sharkscope. Really I am looking to avoid a game with a lot of solid regulars and ideally target a couple of terrible players to double up through.
  3. Tell no one. I think a big mistake I have made on my previous six attempts is to tell my wife. The prospect of a big win is exciting but the money is being spent while I am playing. This has added to the pressure of the situation. This is not really a criticism of her as she is pretty...........................understanding about my poker and the variance it involves. She also reads this blog! Next time I plan to keep my opportunity secret.
  4. Play when ready. I would not play this game as the first game of a session, nor would I play it when feeling too tired, unfocused or even slightly on tilt. Play a couple of warm up games. Go though the hand histories of the previous winning jackpot games focusing on the key decisions that led to victory. Then go for it.
  5. One game only. Again a mistake I have made in the past is to play other games at the same time. They can only reduce your winning potential. Having a full view of how others are playing may help in one or two critical spots. Probably pretty obvious but still worth a mention.
  6. No Chat. The final game in particular will be assessed for collusion or any other failure to comply with terms and conditions. Swearing or abusing other players for example could be very expensive. I suggest simply closing the chat box.
  7. Play to win. My biggest regret in my final games to date was a Rio opportunity for $45,000 where I played almost no hands and cashed pathetically in third giving myself no real chance to win. If good cards don't come you have to be aggressive with what you have. You cannot win without aggression.
  8. No consolation focus. Just to reinforce the previous point there is genuinely no consolation in coming second and winning a consolation bonus. Even the prospect of hitting $750 for second at the Fort Knox level should not affect your decision making.
  9. Key moment - go with your instinct. It is very important to have no regrets. In my first Rio opportunity my tens lost to the chipleaders queens in a pre-flop battle that I did not shirk. Despite this being a tough spot calling an all-in re-raise I feel happy with the decision. The worst feeling is to loose knowing your played poorly or made one poor decision.
  10. Be lucky. The reality is that in these variance filled sit n gos luck plays an important part. So in this final game you need it more than ever.
Hope this helps.
Comments of your own experiences would really help this post as a genuine resource for jackpot players so please comment away.
If you are about to play the final jackpot game: be prepared, be aggressive, be lucky but most of all just bloody win the thing! (especially you Kartajana).

Friday, 13 April 2012

Battle Of The Planets - Mars Conquest?

I have just concluded a block of twenty games as part of the Pokerstars Battle Of The Planets promotion. It is my best effort of the last few weeks. All twenty games were $3 nine man sit n gos. By playing at the $3 level I am automatically competing in the Mars orbit where points are earned based on your cash placings. The aim is to get a top one hundred spot over a weekly period to claim a cash bonus. High finishers also get a shot at a big prize fund sit n go against other top performers from across the buy in levels. My twenty game performance breaks down like this and includes four wins and five other cashes. Happy with that. My points total was 297.
Username Games Played Av. Profit Av. Stake Av. ROI Total Profit Form Ability /100 Network Filter
Kartajana          20 $1.19   $3   34% $24   - N/A PokerStars 4/8/2012 4/13/2012 E9-9 SNG Only
So did I make the leaderboard? Are the other Mars competitors quaking at the sound of my name? In a word no. Not even close. You need at least 420 points to make the leaderboard which would require me to win a couple more and another cash. You need to achieve roughly twice the breakeven points of around 210. There are so many players at this level that you really need a statistical rarity to make the top positions. It has been useful though in terms of turning a lot of tournament dollars (won in my recent satellite wins) into real dollars.
Good luck out there......

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Omaha Omaha

Until recently Omaha to me was something Payton Manning or his brother Eli would shout prior to the snap in a NFL game. Now it is something completely different. Now I think about double suited hands, wraps, rundowns hands and drawing to the nuts.
Is it just me or is this Pot Limit Omaha pretty easy. It feels like that so far, though I have played only a handful of games. Is that because:
  • You get an extra two cards (!)
  • I am playing at the $2 level (certainly a factor)
  • I am experiencing good variance and will regret this post later (maybe)
  • I know comprehensively the rules and appropriate strategy (definitely not)
The real reason I feel good about Omaha is that this is still poker. A lot of the reasons I do well at No Limit Holdem transfer directly to Omaha. I have a good feel for opponents strength and weakness. I am often aggressive in my play which tends to be winning poker. I have good discipline and am not easily tilted or make huge mistakes. In sit n gos I understand ICM and bubble issues very well which again transfers to Omaha. Poker is poker and I am pretty good at it. A helpful lesson learned. How much Omaha I will play I am not sure but the experiment continues for now.

Go Colts.......