Saturday, December 20, 2014

Some poker questions

Above: Derby Lane in St. Petersburg FL has a terrific poker room.

I played today at Derby Lane. It held a $130 buyin tournament for 10,000 chips. They call it a Toys for Tots Tournament. If players bring an unwrapped toy to donate, they give them an extra 5,000 chips. Of course, this is a must if you are serious about winning. I believe about 70 players entered, and I busted out 24th, so no money.

What do other players do to improve/elevate their game? What do you do? I've joined Float the Turn, a web site by Jonathan Little. It's only $10 per month. They make their money by offering other content for an added fee. So far, it's been worthwhile for me.

One of the things Little insists for all his students is that they keep a notebook, and record hands they play in a tournament. Across the top, he has them write H, S, B and P. These stand for your hand, your stack size, the blinds and your position. After you're involved in a deal, you record the above, then tell how the betting went and what happened.

I decided to try this today. I found the notebook helped me in an unexpected way. I busted out around 5:30 p.m. (it started at 1:00). With 25-minute levels (and a 10 minute break after each four levels), I decided I should have been dealt 125 hands. Bovada doesn't give this, but other online poker sites used to tell the percentage of hands you've put money into a pot with. My percentage has always been lower than most, but still around 20%. Today, I played 18 pots out of 125 deals, and that's only around 7%, waaaay too low.

Even if I was being dealt a lot of bad starting hands, I must find a way to enter more betting situations. Today, I essentially bled to death, not the recipe for winning.

Do you record your hands? Do you know your percentage of hands where you put money in the pot? Are you working on your game using training sites? If so, how do you like them?

Above: One section of the poker room at Derby Lane.

Images taken with my point-and-shoot.


  1. Sounds like the scientific method is being applied here which makes a certain amount of sense, even though luck is involved, right? One of these days your ship will come in!

    Yes, the food at the Ivy House was pretty good. We may try the one here in town sometime next year.

  2. @Lowell: The menu looked "interesting." I love places like that. Usually, they are pretty good.

  3. I won my first seat to the WSOP by winning the Float the Turn Poker League in 2010. Even have a tee shirt to prove it :)

    My post on the subject is here.

    <A HREF=";postID=1115877474248422969;onPublishedMenu=posts;onClosedMenu=posts;postNum=3;src=link</A>

    I let my subscription expire after Black Friday and need to get back on it. Jonathan is a good teacher and my game would certainly be better had I stuck with his site. Guess this is my wake-up call to get back on the horse :)

  4. I don't record hands, but I've played at Derby Lanes. It's a pretty decent locals room - they offer a ton of promotions if I recall correctly. I felt really out of place when I was there though - I felt over matched because the players all seemed to know each other and their styles pretty well...

  5. @LuckiDuck: Agree that Little is a good teacher. I've tried several other web sites and their training videos are so poorly done that they are a waste of time. I tried to follow the link you posted, and it failed. Perhaps you could try again.

    @PokerMeister: I know what you mean when you play somewhere and they all know each other.

    1. I never was good at the linking thingy. I re-posted the article, so just go to my blog to read it.

      Good luck!

    2. Well, never over-think a cooler. Online should at least have taught us that. Because you played a lot of hands online, you should recognize when it won't let you play your normal game.

      That said; where do you turn lose the gamble? One thing a lousy session does to us is corrupt our normal response. It weakens our decision making.

      Harrington says it when an M=10 but I have tended to make that the latest possible point. You need to make it while the opponent is given a hard choice. Against a loose player that can be a good bit earlier.

      What are the cards you are willing to play? At some point it becomes any two. Looking back at your final table and being called by the 4's, I've thought he couldn't find a way to force you to a hard decision. I think that is why he played the pair. You really dictated his play.

      It is good to add something to your game. But, don't abandon a successful strategy without a reason that it isn't going to work then and now. It will though, I think, teach you something more about gear changing. For whatever I learned, gear change stands at the top. I think you need three games to have regular success. In the three, they'll be good, better and best. If you work on a better game do it with the segment that causes you the most problems. I don't see the early more passive game your problem. Even in this sad session, you kept yourself in longer than most and that meant you still had opportunity. That it didn't come out was circumstantial.

  6. Believe it or not, I once spoke with a player at Bally's Las Vegas who insisted that poker is all luck. He would not buy the argument at all that skill played any part. My guess is that this was the way he justified his continual losses.

  7. theres 10 players at the table (in most casinos). u will get the best hand 1 time in time, maybe less if u play solid and tight. so u shouldnt ever see more than 10% of the hands. 7% is far better than 20%

  8. Thanks for the comment, Dave. We were on our way to Ft. Lauderdale for Xmas with our daughter and family. Always have a camera handy is a motto I try to observe! Hope you had a merry one and wishing you a happy, healthy and prosperous (esp. at the poker tables) New Year!