Welcome to my blog post and let me quickly outline the plan for my upcoming live sessions and for the blog itself as well.

 

 

 

I assume you know the basic terminology for the game, if not the sites, explaining the jargon, are abound online. Go to Google doctor, he will help you out as always!

There is a lot of focus on online poker these days, and my previous poker experience mainly comes from online games. Although I haven’t taken poker too seriously so far, I do not consider myself a recreational player. For many years, I played a card game called Magic: the Gathering competitively and I have a very competitive mind-set, trying to work on my game constantly and play the best. At heart I am a gamer, and poker is just another game for me, where money is a tool, part of the game.

Playing online I had to realise that the field is tough, and people seem to know what they are doing, even at lower stakes. And I must admit that in a vacuum, poker is a very boring game compared to Magic. It’s very deep strategically, but still boring.  

Currently working in a casino as a croupier, I am familiar with the environment, can handle chips very well and just know the general approach and play style of any Dick, Tom and Harry in the place. Some of the regulars are decent, with a few very good talented players, but most of them still fall short from their online counterparts at £1-2.


So to sum it up the reasons for live over online:

• Softness of the games compared to the stakes
• Easy access (30 minutes by tube to Central London)
• More depth to the game (physical tells, as well as betting patterns)
• More fun (social side, some really interesting characters show up sometimes)
• Regulars are less dangerous

Goals:

• Beat the crap out of £1-2 live NLH (15BBlind/h)
• Build up a bankroll of £40K within a year (18h/week, roughly 1000 hours)

My current bankroll is £10000. The maximum buy-in is £400, unless the game is deep stack, in which case there is no upper threshold. The minimum is £50. So with full buy-ins we have 25, but because I still make rookie mistakes and suboptimal moves every now and then, I will sit in with £300, unless the games justify a higher amount. Sometimes some really poor players show up in the deep stack game, or some fish gets lucky and builds up a big stash. The rule is that if somebody at the table has over £800, one can buy in for half of whatever that amount may be.
As far as sessions go, I can do two, rarely three a week. The first is a shorter, 4-6 hour one after my second day-shift. The second one is longer on my first day off, where the length of the session is bound only by how juicy the games are and my own physical/mental capability.

As for general strategy outline I’ll stick to a fairly conservative, tight aggressive style. Based on previous experience, these games should not be too difficult to crack.
Some key points that we need to bear in mind when sitting down:


1.)
Bluffing is a big no-no, unless the circumstances are very favourable. We make money mostly because of the loose passive style of our opponents, and their tendency to call down with weaker hands. Betting against these guys as a bluff is like banging your head in a concrete wall. It hurts.
2.)
Set mining is profitable, even OOP (out of position) and in EP (early position) due to the passive nature of most tables. Sometimes the games do get wild, then we adjust, but normally limping or making a small raise with a small pocket pair UTG+1/UTG+2 is fine.
3.)
Openings as large as 5BB get called by 2-5 players on a regular basis. This is ideal for building a big pot with premium hands, AA-QQ, and the suited beauties AK and even AQ.
4.) Most regulars play a loose aggressive style, which can be a bit frustrating sometimes. Ideally we want them on our right and the passive guys with decent stacks on our left. The short stacks at the table are usually short because of lack of capital. Yes, a casino environment is not the happiest place on this planet, these are usually the addicts, or the random guy who tries his luck with £50-100.*

5.)
We bet aggressively against the calling stations, and if they talk back it usually means a big hand, like two pair or better and unless we hold a monster too, the cards hit the muck Full stop.
6.)
We tip the dealer generously and the yellow chip (50p) after the rake goes to them, always. If we can’t make enough money despite this, we shouldn’t be playing this game.
7.)
We keep it healthy, no alcohol at the table. I go for green tea instead of coffee. The latter makes me hyper for a short period of time and after that I feel exhausted. Unfortunately the new food menu is not great, but if ordering it is healthy stuff.
8.)
The results are being tracked by an app, it’s a great tool where one can take notes and see graphs etc.
9.)
We observe the game as much as possible, even when not involved in a hand. No phone, no bloody Facebook and all the rest of it. We sit down to play poker well and make money and have fun.
10.)
We don’t do rubbish like quit when you are ahead, or you lost a certain amount or anything like that. We quit when the games get bad, we go on tilt or just feel knackered and burnt out.

So that’s 10 points, I am sure a lot could be added to it, but it’s enough to start things off. I’ll mainly focus on questionable plays, or a great move, so hand analysing will definitely be part of the blog. I am trying to make this blog very personal, almost like a public diary, to let steam off, reflect on my sessions and share my opinion and learn from comments, hopefully.


The books I’ve read and are currently reading are:


Harrington on Cash Games
Sklansky: No-Limit Hold’em – Theory and Practice
Mike Caro: Caro’s Most Profitable Hold’em Advice

On the list:

Caro’s Book of Tells and re-read the relevant parts of Super System 2

All right, this is to start things off. I am unaware is anybody has started a similar blog-post, but when I looked last time there was no information on playing cash games in London.

Thanks for reading and wish me good luck at the tables!

 

       Laszlo

* I’ll write a long post on the morality of poker as well, as my life has moved in a more spiritual direction recently.