<![CDATA[Automatic Poker - Blog]]>Mon, 11 Dec 2017 10:00:54 -0500Weebly<![CDATA[Planning Poker Hands -The DPS Method]]>Sat, 23 Sep 2017 19:19:52 GMThttp://automaticpoker.com/blog/planning-poker-hands-the-dps-methodCartoon picture of a blueprint
I've talked about strategy and tactics and how that theory can be used to plan hands based on the table dynamic. However, I didn't discuss the actual process itself. In this post, my goal is to give you some direction on how to hone in on a hand planning process that can be used on every single street you play. Once implemented, the overall quality of every play that we make should be improved. Also, as a bonus, once you start using a deliberate decision-making process, you will find that it becomes virtually impossible to auto-pilot and make hasty or emotional, sub-par decisions.  My hope is that this article (video version) will go a long way toward eliminating a lot factors that atrophy our win-rate when we play in an unorganized fashion. In other words, once you implement this process or a similar process, the quality of all of your actions will then only be limited by your strategic and tactical skill.

Every winning poker players makes decisions based on the information at hand. How they go about processing the information varies from person to person. Often, exact methodologies may be inconsistent from session to session, or even hand to hand. While quality decisions may be arrived at with a great frequency, without a systematic and precise process, optimal performance would be difficult to achieve. Think of a golf or bowling routine. There is a reason players do this, it's to reset their mind and focus at the beginning of every action in order to make sure they are staying true to fundamentals and building "muscle" memory and optimizing everything they do.

I am guilty of this from time to time. Sometimes I'm lazy, tired, or both and find it hard to focus and have definitive structure on my decision making process. This leads to auto-piloting, which is detrimental to anyones win-rate. After years of falling into ruts more often than I care to admit, I decided to invent my own systematic way of thinking through hands that consistently has me thinking of the correct things in the most efficient way possible. I call the process the DPS method. DPS is an acronym for Dynamic, Plan, Sizing. It's similar to the REM (range, equity, maximize) process that you can read about in the book "Professional NL Hold'em". And, while I feel the REM process was groundbreaking at the time, I think it is a little bit difficult for average players to implement. Thus, the DPS process.

The major difference is that my process forces you to assess the table dynamic before forming a plan. The plan can include deciphering the ranges and equities, but some situations don't require you to go that deep, some do. My process allows you to always factor in other players into your decision making process, which alone, will make a huge difference in anyone's play. Once you have the fundamentals down, adjusting to your table is what 90% of your focus should be on. The end game all comes down to being one step ahead of your opponents. Become both technically good and master reading situations and you become a dangerous beast of a poker player. Now let's talk about the process in detail.

1. Dynamic- All current factors that affect the strategy which you will implement, based on the opponents at the table and any recent history as well as a focus on keeping in line with general winning poker fundamentals.
2. Plan- The best tactics to attack your opponents based on the dynamic.
3. Sizing- When betting or raising, the appropriate amount to bet or raise that best carries out your plan.

The beauty of this process is that it works with any action on any streets. It also allows you to account for contingencies, or new information, that might arise through an entire hand or series of hands. It is also the ultimate weapon to combat complacency, or auto-piloting. If you find you are timing out on tables while using this process, you are playing too many tables. Now that you have the process to keep your thoughts on track, now you can focus on forming strategies and tactics to attack every different dynamic you might face. Hopefully, the game just got a whole lot easier (and maybe even a lot more interesting). Enjoy.

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<![CDATA[Converting Poker Theory Into Winnings]]>Thu, 21 Sep 2017 02:05:27 GMThttp://automaticpoker.com/blog/converting-poker-theory-into-winningsCheck out my latest video where I discuss the difference between poker strategy and tactics and how we can improve our decision making process by taking a page out of a chess master's playbook.
After watching this, my hope is that you have a renewed sense of direction in your journey toward improvement and mastering the game.

Thanks!
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<![CDATA[Dealing With Poker Downswings: 3 Tips]]>Sat, 16 Sep 2017 19:52:59 GMThttp://automaticpoker.com/blog/dealing-with-poker-downswings-3-tipsIf you play poker long enough, you will deal with a soul crushing downswing. In fact, you will deal with soul crushing downswings multiple times a year. Playing poker professionally, or semi-professionally, is unique to other jobs in that, day-to-day, you never know whether you will actually make or lose money. Therefore, being able to mitigate the losing periods we encounter is an extremely important skill to master.  In this article, I will  give you three tips on how to navigating those times when everything just seems to be going the wrong way, help you minimize the losses you sustain, and get back on the winning track as quickly as possible.

I have had my share of bad downswings over the past few years. The most recent occurred during my spare change challenge. Everything was going great the first 25k hands:
​Then, when I took my first shot at 400NL, boom; doomswitched!
After a few really bad days, I took a deep breath, called upon my mental reserves and and managed to get back on track. 

In the end, I made it through and went on to have a successful challenge, running by bankroll from $25 up to $4,000 in just a few months of part time play. Here is what I do to mitigate the effects of downswings and, when they occur, make them less detrimental to both my mental well-being and my bankroll.

Tip #1
The best way to deal with downswings happen before your next downswing. Most people fail at poker because of mental weakness and not understanding how poker works on a fundamental level. Make sure you understand that a long term poker career is actually just a series of upswings and downswings. No one runs exactly their expected value or expected win-rate day in and day out. One day you might run 50bb/100 and the next day -45bb/100. While the -45bb/100 day really suck you are still, after those two days, a 5bb winning player. It's when several of those losing days come at at once over consecutive days that mind games can start and we get tricked into believing something is wrong with us, or that we are just unlucky, etc. etc. etc.
The solution is to actively work on the mental side of poker and not just be variance's whipping boy. Try to distance yourself from the hand-to-hand and hour-to-hour results. One way to do this is by not looking at the cashier. I used to only look at my cashier on Sunday. It's really liberating to remain ignorant of how you did on a particular day.
Does your daily poker result determine your mood? If so, avoiding looking at day-to-day results is probably a good idea for you. Even during sessions we can use this tactic. If you stack your tables, or stack and tile, don't watch individual all-ins to see if you won or not. Just move on to another hand on another table and focus on making the most +EV decision you can.
Sometimes this is easier said than done. It'd be nice to be a Vulcan and be able to remain detached and completely logical all of the time, but unfortunately, we are humans. Focusing on each little result is the road to mental destruction. Remain positive, learn to think long term, stop worrying about short term results, or stop knowing about them altogether, and you will find you are tilting less, and not exacerbating the downswings you endure.

Tip #2
Follow a reasonable BR management plan and stick to it. Don't chase losses, just move down, maybe even take a break, regain some confidence and grind it back up. My advice is to be very deeply bankrolled, making it less likely to ever sustain a downswing that requires moving down. If you are a part-time player, it's a good idea to keep behind the same amount you have online. In other words, if you have 3k online and grind 100nl, have 3k behind held somewhere like a bank account. If you hit a huge downswing down to around 2k online, you can move 500 from the bank account and lessen the period needed to rebuild. Just make sure you replenish the "emergency fund" once you are able. And be sure to bolster it during the good times.
If poker is your sole source of income, I suggest always having at least 6 months of living expenses behind, preferably 1 year or more. You never want your poker downswing to put pressure on real life or force you to change your lifestyle just because the poker Gods are bending you over lately.

Tip #3
Make sure you continue to study and improve. Be honest with yourself and make sure you invest a portion of your bankroll to coaching and getting better. In fact, it's no secret that, he better you are, the less awful your downswings will be. I once went 18 months running about $20,000 under ev. Even so, I still managed to win money during that period. How did I do this? Not to brag, but I had a 10bb ev winrate during that period but a 2bb actual win-rate. Ouch, right? All of those early years I spent building a solid foundation and my consistent daily study paid off. Imagine if I had a 4bb win-rate and endured the same type of disparity between my ev and actual win-rate. I would have probably been down to playing micros again and likely wouldn't be writing this article!

In summary, the best way to deal with a downswing actually has nothing to do with trying to deal with it when one is occuring. Instead, with proper preparation and knowledge, you should actively plan for downswings and understand that they are just part of the game.  We do this by actively working on our mental game and understand that poker is a long term game, by following a conservative br management plan and being in it for the long haul, and by working hard to become the best player we can be. In the end, nothing pwns the threat of a downswing better than just being a damned good player.
Watch the YouTube version of this article!
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<![CDATA[Automatic Poker Bankroll Challenge Contest]]>Sun, 10 Sep 2017 04:00:00 GMThttp://automaticpoker.com/blog/automatic-poker-bankroll-challenge-contestPicture
Earlier this year, I was able to use a short stacking strategy to turn $25.66 into just over $200 in my first 10,000 hands of the Spare Change Challenge. Think you can do better?

​Here is your chance to prove it!

To celebrate my successful challenge, I want to give something back to the community. Therefore, Automatic Poker is now accepting entries into its first ever short stacking bankroll contest. To make it interesting, I am donating up to $1,000 of my own bankroll toward the prize pool! J
ust like a poker tournament, the more people that enter, the bigger the prize pool.

Take The Challenge

How The Challenge Works

The free contest is open exclusively to Rat Pack members (free to join) and includes generous cash prizes, shown belowThe contestant who is able to win the most money in 10,000 hands is declared the winner. Jim started with $25, however, we'll give everyone a bit of a head start and allow contestants to start with a $100 bankroll! You then play 10,000 hands and send us your results by December 15th, 2017.

Prizes

​The number and size of the prizes will be dependent on the number of entries. Prize pool in parenthesis.
10-20 completed entries ($500)
  1. $250
  2. $125
  3. $60
  4. $40
  5. $25
21-30 completed entries ($700)
  1. $325
  2. $140
  3. $75
  4. $50
  5. $35
  6. $30
  7. $25
  8. $20
31+ completed entries ($1,000)
  1. $400
  2. $180
  3. $100
  4. $75
  5. $65
  6. $55
  7. $45
  8. $35
  9. $25
  10. $20​

Take The Challenge
Graph of my first 10,000 hands during the Spare Change Challenge
Graph of my first 10,000 hands during the Spare Change Challenge
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<![CDATA[Spare Change Challenge Complete!]]>Mon, 04 Sep 2017 13:25:12 GMThttp://automaticpoker.com/blog/spare-change-challenge-completeYes, I know.. my last blog post said I was "renewing" the challenge. However, I did some soul searching in August and finally came to the conclusion that I just didn't have the time and energy to devote myself fully to the effort. I have decided to move on from it and, instead, focus on the writing and coaching.

However, that is not to say that the challenge was not a success. On the contrary! I was able to take $25.66 last November, and turn it into over $4,000 in less than 6 months. And that included a $2,000 downswing! Who knows what might have happened if I had just run a bit better at 400NL (Go here to pick up where the 400NL shot began). Even so, I am not going to sit around and whine about what might have been. Instead, I am celebrating the accomplishment of proving that one can take a small sum of money and, rather rapidly, grow it into a substantial side income from poker!

I won't recap the challenge in this post, as I covered it fairly extensively on a YouTube post. Instead, I will tell you some of my ideas and goals going forward.
  1. Finish my 2nd book: This is a priority for me. It has been a work in progress since 2013 and I have over 90,000 words written so far! To put that in context, the first book was just over 80,000 words. I feel I finally am at a place, experience wise, that I can put the final touches on it. My targets are rough draft by end of year, editing done for a Spring publication.
  2. Offer a micro-stakes poker challenge to anyone who is interested: I am working on the details, but my idea is to provide the strategy for people to follow and offer prizes to the winners. Stay tuned, I should have announcement on this front soon.
  3. Publish more YouTube strategy videos: This one is self-explanatory. I want to keep providing quality content to viewers. By the way, if you have any video ideas.. I am all ears. Email me at automaticpoker@gmail.com.
Thanks to everyone who followed along on my Spare Change Challenge journey! I am both grateful for your support and appreciative to have met so many amazing people along the way. The pilgrimage back through micro-stakes was both a humbling and gratifying experience at the same time. I was happy to prove that poker is not dead and that we can still make money from this frustrating and exhilarating game.

Have a good month everyone. May you drag much cheese into your rathole!

Ever Upward!]]>
<![CDATA[July 2017 Poker Results: Spare Change Challenge Renewed!]]>Wed, 16 Aug 2017 12:32:09 GMThttp://automaticpoker.com/blog/july-2017-poker-results-spare-change-challenge-renewedFirst off, my apologies for the delay on this post. It's hard to believe we are already halfway through August. That's the way summer goes, time just evaporates away.

Many of you may have noticed I haven't been as active with Twitch and YouTube lately. I am finding it more and more difficult to find time for anything other than work and family time. However, I have not been completely idle in the poker realm.

I have started writing on my 2nd book again, which has seem to mostly been cast to the wayside over the past couple of years. Being 90,000 words into the book (the first edition was 80,000), it is kind of annoying that I have not wrapped it up yet. Even so, with strides I feel I have made in my poker game this year, I feel I am better equipped than ever to deliver a reasonably useful contribution to poker literature. So the goal is to work my way through it and, hopefully, get to the editing stage by year's end.

On the playing front, I have been getting a taste of how the games play outside of the Ignition bubble. Ever since I left Ignition due to the cash game changes and insane lag there, I have been getting my feet wet on WPN, the Winning Poker Network. I spent some time working on my PLO game, but soon decided I had better get back to no-limit hold'em while completing the next edition of Automatic Poker. And right now, my priority is the book!

So back to NLH I went. And, trust me, this site is not for the faint of heart. While this isn't my first time playing there, the games are definitely tougher than ever. 10NL seems to play like 100NL did 5 years ago, and 100NL plays like... well I am not sure, I have not moved up that high yet!

It seems silly to be playing the micros again. However, since I am basically having to completely overhaul my thought process in many ways in order to compete in the tougher environment, I decided to take it slow and not chance dumping a ton of money while adapting. And adapt I have. Take a look at my graph so far.
As you can see, I spent the better part of 40,000 hands getting my you know what handed to me. Keep in mind that I am averaging about 800 hands per hour, so this is not some huge sample size really. After a couple of weeks of hell, and feeling like I was getting super exploited and outplayed again and again, I took a brief respite from playing and dived into the Hold'em Manager database and, using Cardrunners EV, broke down every aspect of my game to see what the heck was happening.
Needless to say, I found some huge leaks in my game! I have spent hours and hours diligently working to plug them. Along the way, I also discovered many new angles for attacking different types of players as well as shored up my 3-bet/4-bet ranges. Overall, I feel I have come a long way in a short period of time. Hopefully, the last 20,000 hands are a indication of things to come.
For full disclosure, here is my positional stats as well as my graph that shows rakeback figured in. As you can see, it's not all doom and gloom. I actually managed to make a little bit of coin along the way.
-.5bb/100 may seem horrible to many of you. Especially coming from a guy who has maintained in the neighborhood of 8bb-12bb winrates over the years. Even so, I am actually really proud of my near breakeven win-rate so far on WPN. I took a look at my database so far and noticed that almost no one wins, especially those playing more than 10 tables at a time. To show you what I mean, here is a sample of players on WPN who I have more than 2,000 hands on.
In the above sample of 37 players, only 13 actually won money. As a group, the win-rate was negative. So why the heck would these guys be putting in volume only to be big losers? It seems the vast majority of the reg pool at nothing but rakeback pros.
However, this is not such a bad thing. WPN offers a ton of value, which really does make up for the loss of win-rate.. assuming your win-rate isn't too far below break even. Indeed, lately I have been a rakeback pro myself!
Even so, that is not my long term goal. Sure, if I am able to chase the Beast for a significant amount, I don't mind having a slight losing win-rate in the process. One can still make a ton of money that way! No, I have aspirations for something bigger. My ambitions include a decent Beast score while, at the same time, maintaining a reasonably high win-rate. (when compared to the rest of the regs).
With that being said, I am going to start a new phase to the Spare Change Challenge. The plan is to build a game that beats WPN and allows me to complete the monetary portion of the challenge, while at the same time, using that information to complete the 2nd edition of Automatic Poker. Along the way, I hope you will follow along as I intend to update the blog and YouTube regularly with my progress. As for Twitch, since mass multi-tabling does not translate well into entertaining viewing, I have no plans to stream anymore at this time. Thanks to those that followed along, I will likely get back to it eventually. I ask that you bear with me and catch me here and on YouTube going forward.
Wish me luck!
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<![CDATA[A Poker Player's Take On The Healthcare Debate (Debacle)]]>Mon, 17 Jul 2017 12:55:35 GMThttp://automaticpoker.com/blog/a-poker-players-take-on-the-healthcare-debate-debacleTo succeed as a professional poker player, one must be very good at reading people and situations. It is a skill that we hone day in and day out, and can never take a vacation from. If we do, we get pwned and lose a boatload of our bankroll during that lax period. So having to be hyper sensitive to what drives our profit also makes us hyper sensitive in all situations.  We can instantly spot lies and call B.S., often without even hearing a person's words. Demeanor is usually a dead giveaway to truthfulness or dishonesty. And I'm not just talking about physical tells here.

Indeed, I am an online player and pride myself on being able to read people and situations well. The actions of betting, raising, or folding tell a revealing story based on both the current situation, the cards on the board, and the actions they have taken in the past. In other words, the context of what people do and have done is most important in deciphering the truth. So, let's use that skill to figure out something that often seems impossible to grasp or even begin to fully comprehend: Politics.

Once again, America finds itself embroiled in a debate about the nature of how healthcare is provided to its citizens. Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, rhetoric has been high and vitriolic in nature. As we all know, as a minority party, it is easy to declaim what the other side is doing. Nearly every conservative candidate over the past few years has decried in one form or another, "we must repeal Obamacare! Obamacare is a runaway train toward our country's ruin!" Even die hard conservatives have to be fatigued from hearing this over and over for the better part of a decade. Yes, we all know. Obamacare is the devil, blah blah blah blah.

We got so used to hearing this talk that, for some people, it became a misunderstood reality. But hey, it didn't matter.. it's not like Republicans could actually repeal the ACA. The Democrats had a firm grasp on the presidency and were/are projected to regain seats in both the House and Senate over the next few elections. Then, in the 2016 election, the Democrats experienced the worst night of their lives, not-so-affectionately known as Trumpocalypse.

And now, Republicans find themselves in power. As a result, there is immense pressure on them to make good on a promises they made to their base constituents over the years. Ruh roh, the chickens have come home to roost. 

The majority party is now finding it impossible to just be rid of something that appears to be mostly popular among the American public. Of course, the bill has only recently become really popular. It's just basic human nature, if you want to test how much people really like something, threaten to take it away. The fact is, millions of Americans now benefit from the ACA, even if they don't fully grasp the law or are unwilling to openly qualify the magnitude of the bill. Republican leaders realize that they are "stuck" with, at least, many popular provisions. 

That's why, after the unexpected election of Donald Trump, they changed their tune. Thus came the mantra of "repeal and replace," instead of full repeal. The overriding question is, should Republicans even be attempting some ad hoc replacement of a bill full of mostly conservative ideas, or would they be better served by either full repeal or by just improving the current law? Let's forget politics here for a moment and take a look at this from a poker player's perspective.

To me, the reality does not fit the rhetoric. Demonizing the ACA without acknowledging that it has, and is doing, a lot of good for a lot of people has been a short-sighted tactical mistake. If we took such a short term view in poker, we would probably not last a week. In the real world, people do not generally think completely in black and white. Millions of people, and yes, that includes conservatives too, have had their lives improved by the ACA. And yet, Republican lawmakers continue to disparage Obamacare while working to craft a bill that replaces the name (to appease their base) and yet keeps popular provisions (to appease the moderates), while at the same time removing unpopular elements that are actually the glue that holds the entire bill together; namely the individual mandate. They are literally trying to bluff and value bet at the same time, except they are bluffing a calling station, and value betting bottom pair against a nit. (For you non-poker players out there, here is an article on the different player type we face day in and day out.)

Republican lawmakers could have made their lives a lot less painful. Imagine how much easier this would be if they had been saying for years, "Obamacare is flawed, we must work diligently to improve it." Wow, that just doesn't sound as sexy as calling the other party's legislation evil, and it would also keep part of President Obama's legacy intact.. which is completely untenable to conservatives. I guess that's what you get when people are worried more about getting elected than helping people. And you wonder why most people hate politicians?

Even so, the Democrats are just as much to blame. They have done a completely worthless job of selling the bill to the public, have done very little to improve the bill over time, nor are they currently taking steps to help find some sort of compromise. Liberals seem content (and hopeful) that the Republicans will just crash and burn, or worse, pass a law that is so terrible that the next election cycle will be much more favorable to them. Anyone that feels this way should be ashamed of themselves.

Now, before we look for a solution, let's take a look at the law itself and see what it's all about. Here are a few key aspects of the ACA along with an assessment of it and which party came up with it. You might find the truth surprising.

1. Individual mandate: If polled, you would find that most Americans don't like this provision. However, it is my opinion that the problem is that politicians did a poor job of explaining how this works. Basically, everyone must pay into the insurance pool to make the system viable. All insurance is based on pools of people who pay into the pool when healthy in order to benefit when sick. No one gets to be a free-loader.
Origin: This is mostly a Republican idea. It was first introduced in 1993 by John Chafee as part of an alternative health care plan to the one proposed by Clinton. Supporters of individual mandates are Orrin Hatch, Newt Hingrich, and Mitt Romney. Barack Obama initially opposed the mandate but agreed to it later on as a compromise.

2. Pre-existing conditions: Conversely to the mandate, the vast majority of Americans love this provision. It says that people cannot be denied health care based on pre-existing conditions. Before the ACA, insurance companies could just build their pools around healthy people in order to bolster their profits.
Origin: Another Republican idea. Once again, it was introduced in the 1993 Republican alternative bill.

3. Coverage for young adults: This one has been off the radar for most and avoided being a lightning rod, but is likely universally popular. Everyone can remain on their parents' plan until they are 26.
Origin: I was unable to find details on exactly whose idea this was. It was likely crafted as a compromise to make the idea of an individual mandate more tenable. Paying the penalty or buying their own health insurance is difficult for kids 18-26, as this is the time they are working on their career and not typically making much of an income.

4. Medicaid expansion: Most conservatives today see medicaid as part of the free-loader wellfare system and want to contract it or do away with it altogether. Liberals think this doesn't go far enough and call for universal coverage.
Origin: The idea for this was proposed the month I was born, in February of 1974. Republican Richard Nixon, of all people, suggested an expansion of medicaid. 30 years later, Mitt Romney basically made Nixon's plan law in Massachusetts. But don't get carried away thinking that this is some big conservative idea, it's not. This part of the ACA is a compromise to the single payer system, which Democrats still want, but didn't have the votes for back in 2009.

5. State-based exchanges: These are the marketplaces where individuals can shop for insurance. The idea is to drive down premiums through competition. Most Republican politicians rail against this and say it is a failed system that is driving costs up.
Origin: The basic idea and framework was proposed by, among others, the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think-tank. It is also at the heart of "Romneycare" in Massachusetts and an attempt to add elements of a free market to a welfare program.

6. Menu labeling requirements: Chain restaurants, vending machines, etc. are now required to show calories counts. This provision is little known to the public, although everyone now enjoys this benefit. The hope was that people make better choices when there is full disclosure on calories they are consuming. My deduction is that the true intent of this provision is to force restaurateurs to improve the overall makeup of the items on their menu and provide more healthy options for their patrons.

My overall assessment is that many of the provisions in the Affordable Care Act are already based on compromise between the parties. So, why start from scratch? The current law is far from ideal, however, since it includes many facets of both the Democratic and Republican agendas, it seems ludicrous just to toss it out completely for spite's sake. Instead of being all-in on this repeal and replace nonsense, Congress should just muck that idea and start working on just improving the current law. The obvious reason they can't do that; empty promises and guarantees made over the past few years.

All of this mess could have been avoided if politicians would just stop thinking in black and white, or red and blue. Most people are reasonable, if you keep the conversation respectful. It's when you become unwilling to consider that what you believe may not be perfect that things deteriorate into a talking point shouting match. However, there is a silver lining. If Republican lawmakers can't agree on an adequate replacement to the ACA, the only recourse they will have is to try and procure the votes of some of their Democratic counterparts. In other words, the people we sent to Washington will have to take part in what our entire system was founded upon: Compromise. It's been +EV for the United States since 1776.]]>
<![CDATA[June 2017 Results & Future Plans]]>Sat, 01 Jul 2017 04:00:00 GMThttp://automaticpoker.com/blog/june-2017-results-future-plansJune was a frustrating month. As many of you know, the unbearable lag on Ignition Casino forced a lot of players to pull their bankrolls off and find another place to play. I held out hope much longer than I should have, but eventually did cash out most of my bankroll in order to find greener pastures. After some deliberation, I decided to leave a small amount on Ignition in order to continue to stream some of my play.

Otherwise, I decided to do something I said, at the beginning of the challenge, that I would not do. And that is to stray from the path and start a new venture. However, since I am basically now without options, due to the unfortunate Ignition situation, I have decided to use my forced downtime to broaden my poker skills into another game; namely Pot Limit Omaha, or PLO, or LOLPLO.. however you view it.

Last year I spend a couple of months attempting to learn the game, with marginal success, before returning home to NLH. This time, I am going to give it one more chance.. hoping that it goes well. If it doesn't it won't be for lack of trying. I have already put in a ton of hands. Check out my graph so far:
As you can see, my start was not exactly stellar. However, since my play was at $10 PLO, the initial disaster was mitigated. After doing a ton of study, watching videos, reading articles, guides, etc, things have begun to turn around. I plan to spend a few more thousand hands at 10PLO and then take a shot at 25PLO once I build up the courage. (lol)

I do realize that changing course like this has slowed down the progress of the spare change challenge. Even so, I was never in some huge rush and feel like learning a new game will both broaden my horizons and make me a more complete poker player. I already feel like my NLH game has improved, since PLO forces you to focus so heavily on post-flop play.

Going forward, I plan to continue learning PLO over at least the short term. However, I reserve the right to return to Ignition, should the lag go away and improvements become implemented. I still think it's the best place to play.. when the software freaking works and there is no lag. So wish me luck in my new journey, I look forward to sharing the results of my new path along the way!

P.S. I forgot to mention my results. As you can see by my graph, it was basically a break even month. The total poker bankroll now sits at around $4,200.00... sitting mostly in my bank account. I have about 1k on WPN, where I play PLO, and about $300 on Ignition, where I plan to play HU SNG turbos on my stream. Be sure to stop by and say hi.
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<![CDATA[May 2017 Poker Results: Graphs and Stats]]>Fri, 02 Jun 2017 15:17:27 GMThttp://automaticpoker.com/blog/may-2017-poker-results-graphs-and-statsAs most of you know, I did not look at the cashier for the entire month of May. It definitely took a lot of discipline to avert my eyes each time that I opened the client or reloaded on a table. It is not something I plan to ever do again, although I may do it on a weekly basis at some point. However, I feel that a lot of people tune into my stream or YouTube channel each day to follow my progress and it isn't fair to keep them in the dark.

With that being said, I do not regret having ignore my results for an entire month. It definitely allowed me to be freer from any potential tilt, positive or negative, nor did poker affect my mood. I highly recommend that any poker player give it a try for an extended period of time and solely focus on each hand, one at the time.

So how were my results? Not exactly stellar. However, I started the month with a fun-filled 23 buy-in downswing, immediately followed by a 50 buy-in upswing, only to run into a 16 buy-in downswing early in week four of the month. Luckily, I managed to finish strong and actually show a profit for the month. All-in-all, I am please with the overall experience and result, and, ecstatic to achieve my peak bankroll for the challenge of just over $4,000. Before we talk about plans going forward, let's see the garph and stats.
May 2017 Results
100NL: $713.61
SNGs/MTTs: Did not play
Total: $713.61

Cash Game Stats
Hours played: 95
Hands played: 
24,965
Win-rate: 2.86bb/100
All my volume was played on Ignition Poker.
My May volume was the best I have achieved so far in the challenge. However, it came at a price. I forced myself to play at sub-optimal times and even when I was overly tired. Therefore, my goal going forward is to get back to better game selection and avoiding any soft tilt situations, such as tiredness or distracted playing. And yes, I am talking about watching YouTube videos while I play. I must have watched 80 hours of footage during my sessions this month, and that my friends, is definitely..definitely -EV.
On a personal note, I managed to take an average of 10,500 steps a day during the month. I am trying to get more active lately, and shed the last few pounds that seem to be stubbornly hanging around (literally), on my mid section. I am not sure I have mentioned this on the blog before, but my peak weight in the past couple of years was about 230 pounds, and as I sit here today, I am 181. That's a lot of lost flubber! I am guessing my 12% bodyfat weight will land somewhere around 155-160 pounds. And, if any of you have ever tried to lose that last 20 pounds, you understand how challenging it is!
As for my poker play, I plan to continue being a bit of a bankroll nit going forward. The games are definitely tougher now on Ignition. So, I may stick to a 100 buy-in rule for moving up. That doesn't mean that I will keep that much money on the poker site, but I will have that much set aside for poker, before moving up. I cashed out all but 20 buy-ins for 100nl a couple of days ago, and am awaiting the bitcoin to come through. I will set that money aside in a separate bank account and reload (hopefully not) if necessary. I think it's a wise move nowadays to keep the absolute minimum on a poker site. Call me cautious, but Black Friday still haunts every online poker player's dreams (nightmares).
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<![CDATA[April 2017 Poker Results: Graphs and Stats]]>Mon, 01 May 2017 13:03:07 GMThttp://automaticpoker.com/blog/april-2017-poker-results-graphs-and-statsI spent most of April in "rebuild" mode after the March downswing fiasco. The month began on Ignition Poker and immediately something went wrong. Many times when I would pull up a new table, I would get an error message that said I was associated with someone else on my table.
I called the folks at Ignition and it turned out to be a known issue that was being experienced by numerous people. Rather than sit around waiting for them to fix it, I decided to move my action over the the Winning Poker Network and mass multi table there until the issue was resolved. I wish I had just waited, but hindsight is 20/20. I ran awful on America's Cardroom and would have been better served just taking a break. Here is the graph:
So, on the 10th, with the issues having been resolved, I limped back to Ignition and resumed the grind. Things were fairly uneventful for a few days, I ran decent.. and then BOOM. Major changes on the site! I logged in one day and saw this:
Major facepalm moment. They took away table selection! Now, you choose your game and stake and they automatically place you on an open table. Players now have no idea what the table VPIP is before sitting down or how many games might be running at this time. Both contribute to creating numerous challenges for poker players.
After being fairly annoyed at the changes, I have come to the conclusion that it may, in fact, be a long term positive for me. First off, the rat hole timer is gone. You can leave a table, and if you happen to come back to the same table you just left (happens a decent amount of the time), the stack size is reset and you begin anew. Secondly, many regs and professional players may be turned off by these changes and move to another site. Lastly, recreational players may find the changes more in line with what they would experience at a live casino and, in turn, feel more comfortable and protected from the sharks.
One major adjustment that I am having to make, however, is that mixing stakes no longer has the ability to land me better seats more often. Not being able to sit at the highest vpip tables, spread over multiple stakes, definitely makes it less likely that I will be able to sit with fish more often. But, before we jump to conclusions here, I am not so sure that this will have a hugely negative impact on my win-rate.
Remember, that money in poker comes from doing things better than your opponents in every facet of the game. Since the other regs will not be able to table select the old way anymore either, the result is (at face value) a net neutral one. Even so, those that complain or don't actively find edges, will indeed suffer from the changes. That creates opportunity for us! It's those that embrace the new system and find ways to optimize finding the best spots that will profit the most.
For now, I have decided to focus on one stake at a time and be a bankroll nit. I want to build a sample size at each stake and give myself time to discover what my win-rate will be under the new system. I will still move up when my bankroll allows, it will just be more of a "slow and steady wins the race" mentality.
With that being said, I am going to focus on 100NL for the month of May. And while my bankroll certainly makes me feel comfortable at 200NL, I want to not have to check the cashier on a daily, or even weekly, basis to see if I am swinging up or down. I want to virtually eliminate my risk of ruin by being deeply rolled for whatever stake I play. Mind you, I am still not going to keep a ton of money on the poker site.. maybe 3k-4k max. I just mean having a deep amount of money set aside for poker, even if most of it is in the bank.
Therefore, during the month of May, I will take Leatherass's advice and not look at the cashier for the duration of the month. I will focus on play quality and volume; that's it. I want to maximize and let chips fall where they may, in May. :)
April 2017 Results
25NL: -$245.74
50NL: $103.89
100NL: $430.46
200NL: $735.76

SNGs/MTTs: Did not play
Total: $1,024.37

Cash Game Stats
Hours played: 66.5
Hands played: 
36,933
Win-rate: .06bb/100 (skewed due to tons of WPN hands played at 25NL at a loss)
My volume was played on Ignition Poker and America's Cardroom.
On another note, I have gotten away from streaming over the recent past due to a sporadic r/l schedule. My plan is to get back on schedule and at least start doing my afternoon streams again. Be sure to join me Tuesday to Saturday at 3PM Eastern time! If you can't make it, I will upload them to YouTube as well.
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