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ILuvPoker77 -- Cowboy's Challenge Practice Run

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  • ILuvPoker77 -- Cowboy's Challenge Practice Run

    I know the real challenge doesn't start until November, but I have decided I want to undertake to play 100 games of the same type/buy-in in October, just for my own learning and development.

    I am going to publish the results publicly mainly to keep myself honest, and also to encourage myself to play my best poker. In addition to playing a solid TAG style, this means doing my best to avoid my most common (and often fatal) 3 errors:

    1) Getting annoyed at another player and making irrational plays to try to "beat" him or her.
    2) Calling bets and raises when the odds aren't right.
    3) Getting "married" to strong or very strong hands, getting excited about having the "nuts" even if I don't have the absolutely nuttiest nuts, and then failing to recognize what it might mean if an opponent is playing back at me.

    Anyway, if I feel I have lost a game (or significantly impacted one) by making one of my "favourite mistakes", I'll list that in my tournament results as well as the numbers.

    Hopefully this will be a step towards me breaking those habits.

    Since I have been playing a bit higher limits than my bankroll can support (mostly due to being misled at first by a bankroll management article on another web site), I am going to drop down from $1.00 and $1.50 games to the $0.25 45-man SNG's for this challenge, to eliminate the influence of "playing scared".

    My main goal here isn't necessarily to make a lot of cash (which I know I won't at this level), but to become a better player.

    Thanks in advance to anyone who reads this, responds, or supports me!


  • #2
    Good Luck. I'm starting the same thing on my end. I'll try to keep up with your postings, and drop in a tid bit from my own here and there too. I'm pretty terrible at keeping up with message boards though, so maybe I'll use this as a double excersise!!!

    See you in the live sessions, and who knows, maybe we'll run into each other at the tables!


    • #3
      That's sounds like both of you are weel grounded in your understanding and realistic of your expectations. Luv you ask very good questions in the live training so just keep asking and learning.
      After 1000 games of $.25 45 mans in 2 1/2 months I made $107 so no you will not get rich but you will build a bankroll and learn how to be patient and outplay your opponents. I will also add you will take some pretty brutal beast along the way!

      Gidee Up!


      • #4
        Best of luck, hope the cards fall your way.
        Bracelet Winner


        • #5
          Thanks, BandShooter and Cowboy.

          My first day's results (see below) were less than stellar. The bad news? I made mistakes. The good news? Mistakes are fixable (over the long term). The other good news? I lost 4/5 games, but it cost me <$1.00! Losses are sooooo much easier to take at this level...that doesn't mean I'll be careless, but it is a very welcome benefit of playing at the right level for my bankroll.

          Date Tourney ID Finished Cost $ Won CB Notes

          10/10 453110039 10 $0.25 *** $24.75 No major mistakes.
          10/10 453110838 6 $0.25 $0.62 $25.12 No major mistakes.
          10/10 453164490 8 $0.25 *** $24.87 Got short stacked mostly due to lack of good hands or steal/resteal opportunities. Probably should have shoved before I did...was dealt A3s UTG on 10BB at the (full) final table and folded...chickened out because there were 8 people after me, but in retrospect I think I should have shoved there. Ended up shoving QQ on <5BB and lost.
          10/10 453171985 26 $0.25 *** $24.62 Called a shove worth half my stack w/AKo when I didn't need to (was doing well until then) and lost to AA, then spazzed and shoved when I didn't need to (still big enough stack relative to blinds) w/ AKo and lost to a pair. Disregarded the rule that chips lost are more valuable than chips gained.
          10/10 453182005 20 $0.25 *** $24.37 Got short stacked due to lack of playable hands or situations. Shoved several times w/decent hands and only managed to pick up the blinds...was then dealt KK on a stack of <10BB and shoved; lost to A7o when an ace hit on the river. No major mistakes in this game...just bad luck.
          Last edited by ILuvPoker77; Tue Oct 11, 2011, 06:25 AM.


          • #6
            Since this is your thread, I don't want to take up too much space, but basically: I'm 1 7th place finish for 7 attempts. Started off poorly, and became extreamly, and uncharacteristicly passive, and it hurt me several times. The last game (The 7th place) I started to pick it back up, but am pretty sure I failled to pull the trigger on a couple of hands I should have defended.

            Off I go.

            EDIT: 2 more. One OTM, the other 2nd place (Bit of a tennis match ended with me on the losing side.)
            Last edited by BandShooter; Wed Oct 12, 2011, 02:32 AM.


            • #7
              Hi ILuv and BandShooter good luck with your runs.

              Two pieces of advice I can give you are this...

              1. Take plenty of notes. You WILL see the same players over and over again in these if you play a large amount of them.

              2. At the bubble (I personally consider from 15 players left to ITM the bubble in the 45's myself...) identify the "bubble-watchers" and abuse them. Mercilessly. They're the passive players just hoping to turtle along until the bubble bursts and looking to stay in their shell until their next Category 1 hand (maybe Cat. 2 if late position in an un-opened pot...) comes along. Attack them at every opportunity. They will not fight back 90% of the time and if they do they have it. Period.


              • #8
                Originally posted by Moxie Pip View Post
                1. Take plenty of notes. You WILL see the same players over and over again in these if you play a large amount of them.
                100% correct. You will see them over and over... so any advantage on them you can get is a bonus.

                6 Time Bracelet Winner


                • #9
                  Thanks, everyone, for your feedback and support.

                  After playing (and not cashing) in 5 $0.25 45-man's this morning, I realized that playing a large volume of games in that particular level/format would only make me miserable.

                  And I do play poker to have fun, you know. I do love the game.

                  So. I may not be "properly" bankrolled to play at the $1.00 to $1.50 levels, but I am much happier there, especially playing mostly single table SNG's, which is the format I've played the most and am most interested in developing more skill in.

                  Thanks, everyone, for the advice on notes -- I am being careful to take notes on as many players as I can (as well as colour code them according to my own system), because it's true, you do run into the same ones over and over. And it's nice that I'm starting to have enough HUD stats on some players to make some meaningful interpretations.

                  I had a losing day today -- played 9 $1.50 STT's, and cashed in 3 of them, but only in 2nd place, so all in all I'm down $3.06 since I switched back from the 45's to STT's. Since this isn't the actual November challenge yet, I'm not going to post all the tournament ID's, but just to be accountable, and in case anyone is interested, I did make significant errors in 4 of the games as follows:

                  "Major errors on one hand. Had a decent sized stack, attempted steal from button w/ J9s and was called by BB. Flopped an OESD, called opponent's large bets on flop AND turn, and then didn't make draw. Although I was getting decent odds, the implications on my stack of losing those chips should have prevented me from chasing that draw at that time. I was the chip leader 5-handed...I should have just let that pot go while it was still small. After that hand I was the short stack, and lost on a (correct) shove I made soon thereafter."

                  "BIG mistake. Stacked off w/a 2-pair hand on a draw heavy board and lost to a should have been crystal clear to me, when my opponent was being super-aggressive, that she had a hand stronger than my 2 pair."

                  "Chose a bad moment to try to defend my blind by re-raising all in. Opponent had been stealing often and I had about 7 BB, shoved Q9s thinking she would fold, but she had JJ. Was it really worth taking that kind of risk at that point in the game? I'm thinking not."

                  "Last move was perhaps all in w/ AKo from SB against button raiser, lost to 99. In retrospect, I think I probably should have just called or folded. I was on a really awkward stack size -- if I made a standard re-raise, it would commit me, and I didn't really think of flatting at the time However, if I had flat-called, I probably could have gotten away from the hand with a still-playable stack after I missed the flop."

                  Would I have gone on to win those particular games, had I not made those errors? There's no way to know. However, having made the errors, I definitely lost.

                  Tomorrow is another day...


                  • #10
                    I just realized I should maybe share my triumphs as well as my errors.

                    The following were notes I made on the other games I played today (not every one was a cash, but that doesn't matter -- what matters is I played my best).

                    "No major errors -- did very well against a tough opponent."

                    "Smoothly and patiently handled a bad LAG immediately to my right...instead of getting mad, I decided to let him take all the risks and eliminate shorter stacked opponents, with me just making the occasional play to maintain my stack size. It worked out well, especially since he eventually managed to eliminate himself too."

                    "No errors that I know of; did well in a tough game, I think. Ended up with only 56 chips after my shove of QQ on 10BB lost to KJo, but managed to rebuild from 56 to over 2000 chips. I think that's my greatest comeback yet! Unfortunately, I lost later when, on very short stack, I shoved KTo and ran into JJ."

                    "Played as well as I know how at this point -- solid, patient poker. Happy with my game this time."

                    "Played as well as I could considering the most unbelievable bad run of cards imaginable!!!"




                    • #11
                      Originally posted by ILuvPoker77 View Post
                      "Last move was perhaps all in w/ AKo from SB against button raiser, lost to 99. In retrospect, I think I probably should have just called or folded. I was on a really awkward stack size -- if I made a standard re-raise, it would commit me, and I didn't really think of flatting at the time However, if I had flat-called, I probably could have gotten away from the hand with a still-playable stack after I missed the flop."[/I]
                      Some of these decisions are right on the line, eh? Like tough calls ... I'm hoping it gets easier with practice umbup: Enjoying your blog luv - thx for sharing!! GL at the tables!!


                      • #12
                        Thanks, Sam!


                        • #13
                          Nice to see the positive side too. You're on the right track, just keep chugging along. umbup:
                          Bracelet Winner


                          • #14
                            Well, today has been a pretty dismal day for me in terms of poker results, but that doesn't mean it was a useless day.

                            For one thing, I played 17 SNG's.

                            In 5 of them, I made mistakes that were obvious to me.

                            In the other 11, I played as well as I know how to at this time. I was focused, patient, disciplined, and did my very best.

                            I only cashed in 2 of the games, and only in 2nd and 3rd place, respectively.

                            So the bottom line is, I lost a chunk of change today.

                            In the grand scheme of things, that isn't so bad. If I add up all the money I have lost playing poker to date, it still doesn't approach the amount of money I have previously spent on FarmVille. I could have easily spent that amount of money buying fast food lunches several times a week, or lattes and pastries.

                            The question is -- what do I do now?

                            One thing seems quite clear: even though I'm playing as well as I know how to at this time, it's not good enough.

                            I must be either doing things, or not doing things, that are beyond my awareness at this time, and are resulting in my inability to be a profitable or even break-even player.

                            I'm sure we've all heard the adage that it is insanity to keep doing the same things, and expecting different results.

                            Right now, I can "afford" to deposit $150 and "properly" bankroll myself to play more $1.50 SNG's.

                            But I'm not going to.


                            Because it makes no logical sense to invest money in an enterprise one already knows is not going to be profitable. It makes no logical sense to continue to play the way I have been, and play, play, play, without taking a major step back to try to sort out what's wrong.

                            At this moment, I'm not going to go into all the reasons I'm determined to become a good poker player.

                            But I will say that I am smart, I am stubborn, and I have never in my life taken on something that I really wanted to be good at, and not managed to become good at that thing.

                            It's clear I'm not a poker prodigy; not a "natural".

                            But I wasn't a natural at bellydance either, and after 3 years of lessons and hard practice, I am within sight of being able to dance in a prestigious professional company (not just an ad hoc community troupe), and probably will reach that goal before the end of next year. My teachers say you would never know, to see me now, that I hadn't taken dance lessons since childhood; that I had only taken up dancing as an adult.

                            When I really decide I want to do something, I get it done, one way or another.

                            So. Is my goal to become a famous live poker player? Not really. First of all, I have a genetic medical condition that makes frequent travel difficult and flares up unpredictably, preventing me from even being able to commit to a "regular" job.

                            Second of all, I'm not looking to make a huge income. At this point in time, if I could even figure out how to make enough extra cash to help pay for my dance lessons and costumes, that would be great. Since I cannot work, my husband is our sole family earner, and I hate that the entire burden falls on him.

                            I'm not dreaming of the "big time". I just want to be a modestly profitable player.

                            I've spent a lot of time over the past few years playing games, and this is the first time I've seen an opportunity to turn a game I enjoy into something potentially useful in terms of contributing to the household income, even if only a small amount.

                            But after today, I've re-evaluated how I'm going to go about that.

                            I need to focus more on education and less on playing, playing, playing.

                            I need to get practice playing, but I will do so in ways that cost as little money as possible while still providing me with a "realistic" play environment (meaning play money games are out -- I'm looking at freerolls and micro-micro stakes games).

                            I'm going to experiment with some things. I'm going to take some chances. I'm going to learn how to take more pots I'm not entitled to. And I'm sure I'll make some disastrous mistakes in the process.

                            In conclusion, at this point in time, with so many mistakes looming in my near future as I experiment with various strategies, I believe it is NOT the time to undertake a challenge of playing a certain number of games at a certain level and trying to turn a profit.

                            So, I'm sorry Cowboy, but I'm abandoning ship in terms of your specific challenge, at least for now.

                            But that doesn't mean you won't see me in live training. For me, right now, learning is what it's ALL about.

                            You can be assured that if I'm not at a live training session (that has to do with tournaments, not cash games), it's because I'm either at a dance rehearsal or performance, or I'm incapacitated, or I got the time wrong. :P

                            Cheers, and good luck to all my mentors and fellow students!


                            P.S. I think I'm going to paste this post into my blog as well.
                            Last edited by ILuvPoker77; Thu Oct 13, 2011, 07:42 AM.


                            • #15
                              That is a really good post ILuvPoker and you certainly have put a great deal of thought into it.

                              I will give some insights from one losing player to another and I hope that they will be useful to you.

                              The first thing is that knowledge is power but too much knowledge can be a damaging commodity if you do not know how and when to apply it. You have the basics of a good game, if you did not have the basics, you would not be cashing at all. I would suggest though that the easiest way to improve your game is to identify and work on the weaknesses. Try to develop a well rounded game, what I mean by that is that you have to be more than a player who wins with premium hands. Off course there is a skill to winning and making money with premium hands but that alone will not help you achieve your goal: to play only premium hands is one dimensional and predictable and other players, even bad players, will recognise and take advantage of that.

                              Even with limited skill, you can find a niche where it is possible to build a bankroll and make a profit. With my own limited ability I found min cash games and freerolls to be a good place to build a bankroll. I also played SnGs and tournaments but basically found that I was just going nowhere with those: I have this major flaw of wanting to go to showdown, just to see if i was right or not: in the majority of cases I am right but I lack the discipline and focus to lay a hand down when I should.

                              Another weakness I identified in myself was the ability to know when to push or shove: I often got into the position of being shortstacked by being too tight and passive. I would get two live cards and would not know whether to shove or not and would end up missing the opportunity. So maybe I would have a hand like 10,7 x and I would have hit the flush, or Q3 off, a few hands later and I would have hit the house and I eventually shove with KQx and draw a blank and I am out.

                              For a long time I considered this to be bad luck, but the fact is that it was bad judgement, when I shove with a hand such as KQx, my opponents are usually only going to call with better because I have been playing so tight, so i have in effect laid the foundations for my luck.

                              I have not played a lot recently, but I would not dismiss the value of play money games. The field quality is not that different from freerolls, min cash or indeed low level SnGs and tournaments, and if you can win at play money your opportunity of winning at these levels is much greater. Indeed it is the perfect arena to work on, experiment and improve some areas of your game at no cost to yourself.

                              I have spent a great deal of time in the last month or so trying to upgrade my knowledge of the game. I will start playing again soon and only then will I see if I am capable of applying the knowledge I have gleaned and getting my bankroll back on track. I am not super confident about it but I am determined to do the right things, knowing that if I do do the right things, that in the long term my bankroll will increase.

                              I wish you all the best in your own personal quest and I am sure that in the very near future that you will be turning a profit.





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