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.