Tuesday, December 1, 2009

November Results

Profit: +$1623
Rakeback: +160
Games: 1732
Hours: 98

Hourly: 18.19 / hr
Per Game: 1.03 / game

This month had lower volume, since I was out for a few weekends. I got upset over my own nittiness, and decided to start playing higher stakes near the end. Feeling comfortable at the $12s and still sorting out a few leaks at the $27s. Because the higher stakes don't load as often, I don't have to open as many tables and can actually start thinking again. Those FT bubble / short stack exploits are so key. Working on some other developments to take my game to the next level. Can't wait to start hitting 5-10K months.

Congrats to msusyr24 and mi_turtle for having 60K and 40K months respectively. I staked some of msusyr24's action, netting me about 2K from several of his large cashes.

Also working on the propbet with wbmustang. It's $500 to whoever can reach 20K lifetime SNG profit on SharkScope. I'm currently standing at 15.6K vs 13.0K due to his downswing this month. It's a classic case of the tortoise vs the hare. My wins have mostly been small and steady, while his are larger and more variant.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

October Results

Profit: +1967
Rakeback: +170
Games: 1969
Hours: 107.5

Hourly: 19.88 / hr
Per Game: 1.08 / game

Ugh, same pattern as last month. Tilt for half a month, and play well for half a month. Was out of town a few weekends, so had lower volume than I would've liked. Started learning PLO, and it's really fun and interesting. It's my break from the mental grind of SNGs.

Friday, October 23, 2009


One of my friends posted this on FB and I ended up watching it a dozen times. Most poker blogs are fairly moody, dependent on recent results. I need to develop Will Smith's indomitable spirit and work ethic. No more complaints, just continual progress.

Also started reading "Deal Me In", about various player's beginnings. There are continual themes of studying the game, especially with other like-minded individuals, as well as the spirit to repeatedly take higher shots and go broke. There are also themes of avoiding major life leaks of casino games, drugs, women, etc. I've taken a few higher shots, but I need to work on that more and continue to develop my game.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Bing Blang Blaow!

The final cut of "Bing Blang Blaow" is available here:

Here's an article on the origin:
"Grinder's Anthem - Bing Blang Blaow Poker Song"

I think I like the original better, although that might just be familiarity. The new verses are pretty tight, though.

I finally broke into the black today for the month. Seems like I always have a breakeven week or two before I remember how to play. I think it's some form of tilt where I see aggro regs get rewarded for plays and I get jealous. Must develop tunnel vision.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

September Update

Profit: +2284
Bonus: +548
Games: 2342
Hours: 130

Hourly: 21.78 / hr
Per Game: 1.21 / game

At the very least, I'm proud of this month's volume. I ran hot and then tilted for 2 weeks in the middle. I had become a massively spewtarded aggro. Chatted with msusyr24 a bit, and it helped to recenter me. Congrats to him and vers for having monster 20K+ months. Now that I've calmed down again, I can leisurely handle 16 tables and will soon experiment with 20 and 24-tabling. Enjoy this documentary on the Dang brothers, two high stakes online pros.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

August Update

Profit: +466
Bonus: +0
Games: 1022
Hours: 56

Hourly: 8.32 / hr
Per Game: 0.46 / game

Kept on tilting for a bit, before I retooled the formula and remembered how to win again. I can now successfully handle 18-24 tables, although 18 is my current hourly rate sweetspot. Volume was really low this month. My shoulder / arm have been hurting / going numb when I'm at the desk. I've heard it might be a pinched nerve or slipped disc, so that killed some volume. I bought a new ergo mesh chair and massage attachment, and plan to start working out again so hopefully all of that helps. Poker injuries would be embarassingly weaksauce. Hopefully can put in 1500-2000 games this month. BTW, reminder to everyone to take advantage of the PokerStars September cash bonuses!!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

July Update

Profit: +286
Bonus: +0
Games: 1176
Avg ROI: 6%
Hours: 104.5

Hourly: 2.74 / hr
Per Game: 0.24 / game

About the only good thing that happened this month was that I got Platinum Star. But it was expensive. Took a bunch of shots at the 27s, 38s and 60s. It was a good and humbling experience. 6s, 12s, and 27s were the only ones with positive ROI. I was up 1500 quick one weekend, but gave it all back plus more later. Some life-tilt issues definitely had me down, as well as my computer failing which forced me to grind on a laptop. Vers is definitely right about the games changing. Everyone is shoving AND calling light, so it's hard to find spots at times. I think I'll stick to 6/12s on weekdays and maybe 12/27s on weekends once I get settled. August goal is just to build my confidence back up.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Prop Bet Update

This prop bet has been a curse for both of our performances. As you can see, Reasons14 is up $721 versus my $717. We are both running below expectation. On a personal note I struggled with some life-tilt issues for a bit before catching up to him. This month I've also mixed in some higher buyins with encouraging results. I'm also close to PlatinumStar, so will have to grind a decent amount these last few days to close out the month. Here's to a better looking 2 weeks for the both of us.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

July 4th Shots

Profit: +621
Games: 98
Avg ROI: 33%
Hours: 9

Hourly: 69.00 / hr
Per Game: 6.34 / game

I figured this weekend would be ultra-soft due to the American holiday. Since $12's are loading too slow, I started experimenting by mixing in $27s and even a few $38s that were ready to go. My overall results were swingy, but I managed to luckbox a win in the 2nd $38 that I've ever played. That really skewed the results for the entire day, but GG me. I don't think the 27s and 38s are as hard as I'd imagined, although my ROI is only so-so over the $12-$38 range. I've seen some regulars with ultra strong ROI's and need to improve my game to get to that level. I guess today is also a new daily record for me. Next goal, $1K day!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

June Update

Profit: +2293
Bonus: +554
Games: 993
Avg ROI: 19%
Hours: 78.5

Hourly: 36.27 / hr
Per Game: 2.87 / game

This month featured my lowest volume and highest hourly. But I am now confident in my ability to crack the $12s. For the first half of the month I ran like Forrest Gump at a 44% ROI and then a 3% ROI for the remainder of the month. I think I've been nitting it up too much at the FT and settling for a lot of mincashes. Hopefully I'll have some free time this July 4th weekend to play, although I'll want to relax some in preparation for the upcoming prop bet with Reasons14.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Prop Bet: Reasons14 vs Vertek

Ladies And Gentlemen, Boys and Girls

Welcome to the 1st Small-Stakes SNG Grinder Exhibition Bout. In the red corner, we have Reasons14. And in the blue corner we have Vertek. Winner will be determined by max SharkScope profit between July 13 and August 13 and will receive the $400 prizepool, to be escrowed by Vers.

Let's examine the tale of the tape.


This young reg frequents the 18 and 45-mans, ranging from $6 to $27 stakes. His ability to 16-table combined with his 10-15% ROI makes him a formidable opponent.


This $6/12 45-man player regularly achieves a 20-25% ROI while 12-tabling. He especially enjoys getting berated by all the fish that lay in his wake. His fulltime employment will limit his hours, but will force him to remain focused at all times.

In high school, I went jogging with one of my friends. We planned on going about 2-3 miles, but didn't really know the route well. Since this was the first time we ran together and neither wanted to look weak to the other, we ended up going 8 miles instead.

I dreamed up this idea because I wanted to really push myself. I was looking for another reg in the same league as me. We've both averaged about 2K / month and hopefully we can get up to the 3K & 4K levels. The matchup is a classic tortoise / hare. I have higher ROI, but he should get 2-3X as much volume as I do. I'll try my best to provide weekly updates. Wish us luck!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Mid June Update

Profit: +1916
Bonus: 0
Games: 388
Avg ROI: 43%
Hours: 34

Hourly: 56.35 / hr
Per Game: 4.94 / game

Last month, I misplaced my rungood juice. To make up for it, I decided to activate BeastMode this month. I also got past my nittiness and made the transition to exclusively playing the $12s. I'm fairly surprised that my ROI increased after moving up to the $12s from the $3s and $6s. Maybe I've finally got my entire game down solid. It is hard to keep more than 10 of them going at once. I might need to take a few shots at the higher levels to keep my 12-set full. I am proud that I was finally able to achieve a "vers"-like hourly rate. Now I just need to learn to 24-table as well, and I should be set. Only problem is that I'm hesitant to mess with a formula that works. Volume was a lot lower than normal since I've been busy with the job and personal life. I'll definitely fix that in the second half of the month and hopefully hit 6K+.

Monday, June 1, 2009

May Update

Profit: +1368
Bonus: +274
Games: 1320
Avg ROI: 16%
Hours: 95.5

Hourly: 17.19 / hr
Per Game: 1.24 / game

This month ran about half expectation. I started off a bit too blindly aggressive at FT, which reduced my ROI, which in turn reduced my hours. Vicious cycle, I'm considering mitigating that by only recording weekly results, instead of per session. I salvaged the month by playing smarter / more patient at the FT. I'm going to try to put heavy volume at the $12s, but might have to mix in a few $6s to keep volume up.

As far as the Vegas trip goes it was a mixed bag. The BAP is down 10% and I'll ship the money soon or write you a check when I see you. It was hard to get volume in so I mostly did the small dailies or SNGs. Even the SNGs would take 30-60 mins to fill, and during one of the most tilting moments of the weak, 10 players were ready for an SNG to start and had to wait because they didn't have any free dealers. The competition was so weak with lots of limping and stacking off during L1-L3. I dominated the tables but I got 3-outed so many times. It's understandable considering how aggressive and poor my image was. I'd definitely be interested in another Vegas trip, but this time I'd want to devote an entire week to poker with no distractions. Thanks again to everyone for the vote of confidence.


Sunday, May 17, 2009

Vegas Trip: Update 1

There's so much going on in Vegas. There's the usual roster of Vegas daily tourneys (courtesy of allvegaspoker.com), but there are also 3 tourney series running during that time as well (not counting WSOP).

Daily Tourneys
AllVegasPoker Spreadsheet (xls)
AllVegasPoker Tourney Schedule

Tourney Series
Venetian Deep Stack Extravaganza
Caesar's Palace Mega Stack Series
Binion's Poker Classic

I want to get the most volume in, so that might favor the 30-50 person tourneys over the 100-300 person tourneys. Getting in 3 2-3 hour tourneys versus one single 8-9 hour tourney would help reduce variance. Will publish the final roster as soon as I learn more about our schedule for Vegas.

BackerSharesProfit Share %

MTD, I'm running pretty below expectation. Such is life. At least I'm not losing, I suppose. I think I've sacrificed some EV in order to reduce variance, but I'll fix that soon enough.

Profit: +865
Bonus: +250
Games: 964
Avg ROI: 19%
Hours: 73

Hourly: 15.27 / hr
Per Game: 1.16 / game

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Vegas Trip

I'm going to Vegas in two weeks for one of my friend's bachelor parties. Since I'll only be there for an extended weekend, I won't really have time to play any MTTs. There are a few places that offer $70, $110, and $200 SNGs. There are cheaper ones, too, but the rake is killer. The places I'm looking at are Mirage and MGM, but lemme know if there are any others.

I was interested in scraping together a few backers and already raised over $1000 from my personal network. In total, I'm probably looking to raise $1500-2000 in order to have 10-20 buyins at least. Shares are $100 each, with 70/30 backers favor. Lemme know if you are interested in that as well. I'm primarily a $6 and $12 45-man turbo player on Stars, but I can adapt to STTs. I've made a lil over 13K after a year or so of playing poker with an average ROI in the neighborhood of 25%. The structures of these events is fairly poor, but that should just turn into an advantage for me with my PF game and knowledge of ICM.

BackerSharesProfit Share %

Friday, May 8, 2009

Mental Coaching & NLP

As I slowly delve deeper into the poker world, I'm understanding more and more how dangerous tilt can be. If an amateur tilts, no big deal. Poker's just a game. They are playing with chump change. And they end up losing just a little bit faster than they would've expected. If a pro tilts, its easily 10X worse. Their livelihood is at stake. And given the volume they do, the effects can be multiplied over many more games. Plus, it's such a tough situation to mentally reconcile positive expectations with negative actual results. As someone in a forum said, "Poker's a great second job, and a horrible first job."

There's been some discussion about mental coaching, with Tommy Angelo being the most famous of them. I definitely appreciate the value of that, given that a majority of poker plays are standard and mathematically optimized already. Seems like emotional and bankroll control probably do a lot to separate entire classes of players.

I can't really afford the services of a mental coach ($100+ / hr), so I figured I could do a good bit of legwork on my own. From my experiences with the pickup artist community, they've greatly stressed the benefits of NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) for self-help and behavior modification. I picked up an audio book and have been listening to it today. Here are the 5 basic principles.
  1. The map is not the territory.
  2. Experience has a structure.
  3. If one person can do something, anyone can learn to do it.
  4. The mind and the body are part of the same system
  5. People have all the resources they need.
All in all, it sounds very self-reliant and empowering. When they say the map is not the territory, they refer to our emotions and perceptions, which are not reality. If we can learn to change our experience of a situation, then we change our reality of it. Success therefore becomes emulating certain habits of others. It does seem a little more New Age-ish than I'm used to, but I'm definitely open to self-improvement.
"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible."
-- Lawrence of Arabia

Thursday, April 30, 2009

April Results

Profit: +2679
Bonus: +97
Games: 1410
Avg ROI: 29%
Hours: 105
Days: 23 / 30

Hourly: 26.44 / hr
Per Game: 1.97 / game

I got close to my profit goal of 3K, but had about the same volume as last month. I was busy with work projects and due to family time also missed some key weekends. Mid-session, I can definitely tell if I am playing well or not. Most telling is the Ace-rag EP shove. After I eliminated that and got into the groove, the rungood juice definitely kicked in the last week and I ran at about $60 hourly / 60+ ROI. Just need to remember that feeling and stick with it. I also had my first 8-hour session (unprofitable), and am looking forward to experimenting with 12-hour sessions.

Also, I created a new setup for my monitors. They're now vertically arranged with a ghetto styrofoam packaging setup so that I can 16-table tiled. I still prefer tiled because I do make a fair number of reads on my opponents and want to keep track of my recent table image, whereas I lose that with stacked tables.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

New Daily Record Earn

I made $414 over the course of 7 hours for a $59 hourly rate and a 70% ROI. Unsustainable, but I'll take it nonetheless. I really was in the groove, letting +EV situations and monster hands come to me instead of forcing them. It's chump change to all the other players, but gotta start somewhere. Looking forward to when I hit the $600 and $1000 daily records.

I also discovered SNG Nick's blog, which is included on my list of links. He recently won a prop bet and set a world record by playing 16,000 SNGs in a month and profiting over $11K. Some days, he cleared 1K SNGs by 16-tabling for 20 hour continuous sessions. Granted he was playing a lot of STT super turbos. Unreal!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Mid April Update

Profit: +954
Bonus: +56
Games: 441
Avg ROI: 27%
Hours: 36
Days: 9 / 15

Hourly: 28.05 / hr
Per Game: 2.29 / game

No bad habits developed this month. Volume is a bit lower than I'd like since I've been busy with work-related projects and big Easter weekend with family. Also started making attempts to move up to the next buyin level, where I'll try to stay exclusively for the rest of the month. I'm such a life-nit, the pain of the dollar lost is truly worse than the pleasure of the dollar gained. I'm also trying to figure out a way to arrange my monitors vertically so that I can tile 16-tables.

Also cashed for $100 in the $22 1R1 NLHE SCOOP event. There were 9600 runners and I was knocked out in 900th place. I was happy with my play, building my stack from 2K to 50K while only having to show hands down 5-6 times. Made a lot of strong bluffs and resteals to pick up easy chips. I was average stack with 900 to go when I made an overaggressive play followed by a hero call with mid-pair against a tight player. I guess my patience had run out after 6 hours.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Online Traffic Report

I just found this site that tracks hourly, daily, monthly traffic for major poker sites. It's mostly confirmed what I've heard about peak hours. Hopefully this helps fellow mass-tablers increase their hourly by filling tables more quickly. Cheers!


Poker Stars Daily Traffic

FullTilt Daily Traffic

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

March Results

Profit: +1937
Bonus: + 250
Games: 1516
Avg ROI: 22%
Hours: 102
Days: 22 / 31

Hourly: 18.99 / hr
Per Game: 1.28 / game

This was my first full month as an SNG grinder. I'm fairly happy with the volume, although it feels like I took off too many days. I'd like to average somewhere around 25-30 hours weekly, so I'm in the neighborhood. In the middle of the month, I developed a major leak ( overconfidence -> overly loose ) which lasted for a week and resulted in my breakeven stretch. I'm glad I was able to persevere through it, and finally fix it myself. If not for that, my profit would probably be closer to 3K at an hourly rate of $30. My goal for April is to get in 1800 games and clear 3K profit. I just want to maintain consistency and I definitely have room for improvement in that area as well as my FT and bubble play.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Breakeven Slump Busted!!

Had to seriously re-examine my game and realized that I've been making moves too often when I didn't need to. I suppose I've gone on a winning tilt. Just because I've become more knowledgeable about the game and that I'm a winning player, DOES NOT entitle me to win every pot. All that matters is my finish at the final table, and not necessarily how I got there. Outplaying opponents, or folding my way there are equally valid.

Despite making one major mistake late in the tourney (villain1 mid position raise, villain2 shoves behind, I call with JJ and busto against QQ), I still ran at my normal hourly rate. Time to maintain this discipline and salvage the rest of the month.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Breakeven Week

After the mid-month update, I wanted to put myself on a serious schedule and get some volume in so that I could hit my monthly goals for March. 430 games later, I am slightly below even. It's been pretty damn frustrating to say the least especially since I've been cruising along so smoothly for the past few weeks. Each day's session has been close to breakeven so it's not like there was a huge swing up or down. Feels like I've lost any edge I might've had in these games.

It's such a mind fuck. I'm trying to decide whether it's just the nature of variance, I've been playing too loose/tight, I've become too predictable/exploitable. I must maintain faith I suppose since it happens even to the best. If this trend continues, I might even step down a buyin level and hopefully start winning to rebuild my confidence.

On the positive side I achieved GoldStar VIP for this month and should be close to clearing out a $250 deposit bonus as consolation prize. Also I finished both "Kill Phil" and "Kill Everyone" so I feel my knowledge has improved a decent amount.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Overemphasis on ROI

Before this year I used to place great emphasis on having a high ROI. It's nice bragging rights and results in pretty graphs. However in doing so, I neglected some basic economics, namely that the most valuable resource is the one that is most rare. If there were a fixed number of trials, then having a high ROI is probably the most important thing. Examples would include playing a tournament series that runs 6 tourneys for a week, or Hellmuth's quest for bracelets given that he only has a certain number of years and opportunities to accumulate more.

However for most of us outside of poker and especially within online poker, TIME is the most valuable resource. We should aim to make each unit of time spent playing online poker as efficient as possible, which would imply maximizing our HOURLY RATE. Really, nothing else matters. And there are only a few variables in computing the hourly rate that we can adjust.


Basically, we can adjust our ROI or skill level, our average buyin, or the number of tables / hour that we play. As mentioned before I was quite a perfectionist, only 4-tabling so I could maximize reads and taking lots of mental breaks. I could've gone one step further, just playing one table a day to craft the best and highest ROI, but that would've gotten me nowhere.

This especially applies to the new / old school debate about single table focusing vs the mass multitablers. Perhaps my play isn't as optimal as someone single tabling, but my argument is that their play isn't 12 or 24 times better than mine. In addition, I get the benefits of diversification and lower volatility for free, as well as rarely going on tilt. I welcome your thoughts and opinions.


Here's my mid-month update. I'm up about $1340 / 672 SNGs for this month, so I'm confident I can hit 3-4K this month. This includes the fact that I've missed about 7 playing days so far and will make all attempts to heavily increase the volume for the rest of the month.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Hello World!

I've decided to start blogging about my poker journey. This is mostly for myself to keep record and sustain motivation, and perhaps to get feedback from interested and more informed parties. I've played poker since 2003 as part of the WPT boom. For a year or so, my friends and I played a .25/.50 game 4-5 nights / week. I had a dozen stints playing online at Party Poker but with mixed results due to bad bankroll management. I had some more experiences playing at larger live 2/5 games, but with my tight style, I did well in the loose gambling games, and was outclassed everywhere else.

I didn't play much for a few years since I was devoting time to school and career. I would play a handful of times / year with friends but not much else. During the final spring 2008 semester of my MBA career, things were starting to slow down so I deposited $100 into a PokerStars account. I started playing small $3 45-man turbos and quickly built my bankroll up to $300 through a mix of cautious play and good timing. I switched to $6 / 45s and quickly built up to $1200 before switching to $12 /45s. I 4-tabled them in sets, so that I wouldn't get too bored and tempted to do something stupid, and so that each tourney would be at a similar stage of blinds / antes. With the 45 turbos, I felt that it was easier to navigate a final table that paid top 7 instead a normal SNG that paid top 3.

At the $12s I went on my first downstreak of $600 (50%). This forced me to revisit my game. I discovered the Harrington tournament series as well as online software to track opponent stats. I went on a strong streak building up to $5-6K (30% ROI) over the course of the summer. I continued to 4-table and had to mentally prep myself each time. This approach resulted in high ROIs, but low volume and moodiness. In other words, I was being too much of a perfectionist.

In fall of '08, I had my first prolonged 100 buyin downswing. My game had become too tight and exploitable. This was a vicious cycle in that it killed my motivation to play which killed my volume. In early February of this year, I discovered vers' blog and read the entire thing. I adopted a more automated aggro style and moved down to the $3 tables so that I could experiment without hurting myself. I began 8-tabling and then 12-tabling continuously so that I could ramp up volume and sample size. I made about $700 in a week with this method and made another $1000 at $20 / hr before moving up . At the $6's I've been averaging about $35 / hr. I made about $900 in February and expect to be up about $3000 in March. I'll be highly confident when I can clear at least 5-6K monthly.

I had my first coaching session with vers a week ago. It seems like I have most components of my game down. It was a huge confidence booster and I feel that my current strategy can scale up to the $27's at least. In the meantime I'll have to prove myself and my consistency.