It’s been exactly 4279 hands of 5NL 6-max since my first blog post, and this is the current state of my bankroll:



After all these hands, I’ve made a total profit of 15 cents. So basically, I’m back where I started. On the bright side, at least I haven’t lost any money. As for the league, well I’ve dropped a few spots, but it’s nothing to be too concerned about. This is mainly because I haven’t been playing as many tournaments as I did at the beginning.

I also haven’t been running so well lately on the cash tables, but I feel that the adjustments I am making to my game are showing some results. My non-showdown winnings line is not yet where I want it to be, but it has improved slightly. I definitely think that I should turn up my aggression a bit more and I’ll surely show some profits once the cards start coming my way. But now it’s time for some poker insights by yours truly.

Because in poker our opponents profit from our mistakes, it stands to reason that to play perfect poker, we must make no mistakes at all. A quote from the ancient Chinese general, strategist and tactician Sun Tzu comes to mind:


“He wins his battles by making no mistakes. Making no mistakes is what establishes the certainty of victory, for it means conquering an enemy that is already defeated.”

                                                                              --- Sun Tzu, The Art of War.


Because poker is a game of incomplete information, we are bound to make mistakes. So in poker our goal should be to make as few mistakes as possible, with the information we have at hand. I’ve found that just a few mistakes in big pots can turn a good session into a losing one. That’s why I try to make time at the end of every session to go over my play and thought process in hands where there was a lot of money in the pot. To illustrate how I go about conducting such a review, I’ve selected 3 hands that I recently played for a little section that I’ll call The good, the bad and the ugly.

The good
Here’s a hand where I was quite pleased with my play. I open raise  from the button, and get called by villain_3 in the big blind. Villain’s stats are 14/11/2 over 266 hands. I flop an OESD along with the NFD, and fire off a pot sized CBet. Villain raises my bet, so now my range for villain is:

QQ-88, AJ, KcQc, KJ, QJ and JTs

From previous analysis of similar situations, I knew that my equity against his range was a bit better than a coinflip (It works out to 57.63% versus 42.37%). Taking into account the money already in the pot, I chose to maximize my fold equity and shove all-in (I believe this villain is capable of folding AJ, KJ, QJ, 99 and maybe even QQ in this situation).

The bad
In this hand I wasn’t entirely happy with my play. Villain_2 minraises from the cutoff, button calls, and I decide to 3Bet my  from the small blind. Villain_5 in the big blind calls my 3Bet, and so does villain_2. The cutoff folds. Villain_2’s stats are 36/18/0 (33 hands), and Villain_5’s stats are 12/11/2 (206 hands).

At this point I remember being a bit worried about about Villain_5’s call. You don’t see someone with his stats cold calling 3Bets light very often. I also didn’t think my table image warranted people to not respect my 3Bets, as my own stats at the time were 18/15/6 and I wasn’t doing anything too crazy. My range for Villain_5 was:

AK, AQ, QQ, JJ*, AA*, KK*

*These hands I believed were less likely to be in his range, because of his stats, and the preflop action (I believed this villain usually folds JJ, and 4Bets AA and KK to this action)

I labeled Villain_2 as loose, and his calling range in this situation should be quite wide. I flop top two pair and chose to CBet just a little over half the pot to entice weaker aces (or maybe even a stubborn KQ or KJ from Villain_2) to make the call. Villain_5 calls and Villain_2 folds.

Alarm bells were now ringing in my head. Because this tight villain has now called my CBet, I believe his range narrows to:


For some reason I can’t explain, I just decided that he had to have AQ and shoved all-in on the turn.

What I didn’t like about my play here is that turn all-in shove, as I believe villain was capable of making a good laydown with AQ in this spot. So my action gives him a chance to fold the only hand in his range that I beat, and he’ll always call with the rest. I believe checking the turn was best because it keeps that AQ in his range all the time, and it gives me one last chance to maybe get away from this hand after I soulread his turn action (unlikely). I probably would have still called his bet, and the end result would have been the same, but I think checking the turn was better here. We should never be worried about giving the diamond draw a free card, because he simply is never on a flush draw here ( is on the board and we hold ).

The ugly
This one was really ugly. I only had 2 hands on villain when I raised his big blind from the button with . The flop comes , and I decide to just bet pot for value (I usually just play quite straightforward against unknowns). The turn comes the  and even though QJ now beats me I still think there is plenty of value in betting here (he could call with medium pocket pairs, worse jacks, a queen, etc.). We also don’t want to give the unlikely diamond draw a free card. The river comes  and he shoves all in, I call and the rest is history.

To tell the truth, against an unknown at these stakes I’m pretty much always calling here. I seriously could never put him on the hand he had after calling the flop.

And that was it for this time, thanks for reading. Feel free to drop any comments, questions or feedback you may have about the hands or anything else for that matter in the comments below.