At the start of 2016 I set myself a challenge of starting with absolute zero and turning it into $1,000. By the middle of October I finally achieved that aim. It wasn't as easy as I first thought, I sturuggled at the absolute lowest stakes until around June when I finally had a balance to play a certain $1 rebuy game on another site that has paid my way since.

At the end on November, the football team I support, Glentoran, announced they would be playing a friendly in May 2017 in Detroit USA. So I've now set myself  a new challenge of winning $1,000 to pay for flights and hotel by around February. I know this won't be easy and it will require me moving through the stakes while table selecting carefully.

I'm glad to say that I'm well on the way having reached the £100 mark on Friday. Thanks to some free bets won I now stand at £117 net profit.

Although those stats include Pokerstars, I can't say I'm doing particularly well on the site. I cant stress enough about table selection. Most of my profits are coming from 2 games on another site that are filled with fun players, I also "play" another all in flip tournament that has 15 players and a $25 prize pool. I'm getting well over my fair share of luck in this but the game always has an overlay.

My results on Stars have been abysmal, I'm net -$11 this month. Again table selection is the key. There are just too many regs on Stars and I don't have enough of them tagged. I may be the decent reg in my rebuy game on the other site but on Stars I'm just another reg that makes making a profit much harder.

You don't win money by being brilliant, you win money by making less mistakes. Play player that are worse than you, not players that are similar ability.

I done as I said and withdrew £25 after I took and abused the last deposit bonus. It will come in handy for the next one. Free tickets are free money after all.

This brings me onto todays subject. Everyone has a thought process even if that thought process is flawed. Working out that process will not only help your game but also allow you to beat your opponent.

How often do you look back over your hand histories? Not enough I reckon. I'm also guily of not doing it enough. Do you look at a hand history and think "Wow that donk was lucky", well look again. Sometimes there's a reason to the madness and working out that reason will help you change and improve your game by asking what if questions.

I dipped into my hand history and found this hand, I didn't do much searching, I just picked the first hand that went to the river without an all in situation.

Main villain is  44% VPiP, 31% PFR, 50% Fold V's steal, villain in BB is 43% VPIP, 22% PFR, 33% Fold V's Steal. I have less than 100 hands on both but these are 2 typical fun players that love action.

There is a logic to 3 bet here but I think a flat is fine. We're at a difficult stack where 3 betting may commit to an all in. Both these players are no foldems and they just love to flip with any pocket pair, any A and any broadway. Against 2 maniacs I don't want to be taking a 60/40 shot when I can outplay them on the flop.

Questions I'm asking myself here. What is villain min raising with? My sample isn't big enough but I know it's pretty wide. Every A, every pocket pair, every broadway. I also know from experience that 3 betting here this villain will reshove a wide range. Anything from 22+ any strong A and any suited strong K. I don't want to be flipping at this stage of the tournament so I think that's another reason to flat here.

The flop is horrible for me. If villain bets here I think I'll just fold and find another spot. Villain can have a diamond here and is never folding. If I have a diamond I think it's a good spot to bet.

When villains check here it's good information. They could easily have flopped a flush as vilains like these love every suited combination but flopping a flush is unlikely. BB may not lead out with any diamond here as they love to trap. Main villain with position will lead out any diamond here 100%.

When the turn hits my hand I bet. I think I gave away a sizing tell here but against 2 villains it's OK, they don't think of my range they just want to win the hand. I'm betting for value here not to bluff. When villain reraises here I'm thinking he has a diamond. As I said it's unlikely he has flopped a flush but if I shove here (and shoving is my only option) I don't want to go broke by him hitting or if he has flopped a flush so I think flatting here is my best play.

Villains got the hint that I didn't have a diamond and tried to rep one here. It almost worked but my thought process told me that he may have a diamond but I was still ahead.

The river is a blank but I check when maybe I should have bet for value. As I put him with a diamond he clearly hasn't hit.  He checks and I win the hand.

That's the difference between a good LAG and a bad one. The main advantage a LAG has is he can play any 2 cards and it's hard to work out his range. A good LAG can work out that I don't have a diamond here and he can pull the trigger on the river as a bluff. This villain was not a good player imo.

I think I played the hand OK maybe missing a bit of value on the river. I could work out to a certain extent what the villain had and I could extract chips from him. I also pot controlled a bit and kept the pot low so I didn't go broke.

Villain ended up showing A3o which makes a lot of sense apart from his reraise but villains like this love to bluff and bully so I was right to give his 3 bet no respect.

Every hand tells a story when you work back through it. Have a look at your hand histories and see if there are spots you are missing where you can save chips or add more to your stack. Every chip counts.

Until next time