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November 17, 2005

Something For The New Players

Posted at November 17, 2005 03:21 PM in Beginner Topics , by Sack.

Just a little something I ran across on a forum a few days back. It was posted by user Vasumi, and he is kind enough to grant me permission to put it on here. I think it is full of great observations, thoughts, and situations that all newer players go through at some point. Vasumi is lucky enough to have the ability of self honesty with himself about his game. Based on that fact alone I look for this guy to be a strong player. Here's what he had to say in his post "Some Thoughts From A Newbie" ...

"I started playing poker online about a year ago. I was a very casual player, and played small $ MTTs or micro level limit holdem. I would deposit $100 at a poker room and play for a week or 2 or a month or 2 depending on how my luck ran, and then be broke. About 6 months ago, I got a brainstorm, and realized people actually made money consistantly at this game. I also realized I had no real clue as to what I was doing on line or what kind of games I should be playing. Bankroll mgmt? Ha, I played whatever I felt like. Starting hands? The looser the table, the looser my play. I saw about 60% of the flops. Notes? Notes were for wimps? Review my play? The only hands i looked at again were my bad beats, to cry over and complain to friends about how unlucky I was.

So I took a six month break from my online play and started reading everything I could find about online poker and poker in general. I read books, I read forums, I read online articles, I read everything. The more i read, the more I realized 2 things. 1) I was a total fish. 2) I didn't have to be.

I started developing a strategy in my head about what kind of player I wanted to be, (tight agressive) and how to do that with out being predictable. I also needed some way to read my online opponents, with very little information. In thinking about it, my job is very similar. I work in a state prison, where reading what someone is thinking of doing is not your bankroll, it can be your ass. So you get good at it or you get out. The way you read them is by knowing their patterns, and looking for variations. Online poker it seemed to me was the same. About this time I found both this forum and Poker Tracker.

So I decided to step back into online poker about the begining of October. I decided that I would stay with 1 site and basicaly 1 game. I also had a goal. If I could play poker and work up to where I could make about $300 a week, I could stop working overtime at work and improve my lifestyle without trying for the final table at the WSOP. I went with SnGs because they seemed to offer the best chance of return with the least risk. After a couple of weeks I was about even, with 1 huge problem. I was not earning enough points to collect my deposit bonus! That was free money, and I was gonna miss it! So I entered the world of NL ring games.

You never saw anyone play with more scared money than I did. well, after the 1st week of playing about an hr a day, I was still about even, but now I was converting the bonus. Then, as I began to relax and not be so scared, I began to win. Even better, I understood why I was winning now, and it was not just dumb luck. So in a week I doubled my deposit. Man I was good! So I moved up from the .10/.25 NL to the .25/.5 NL.

And then the very worst thing that could happen....well, happened. I got a hot run of cards. In 2 sessions I doubled again. Man, I was good! So I moved up again, to the .5/$1 NL tables. Now here was money! The max buy in here was $200. Half my bankroll. So I played, and even though I was back to being scared money again, I was still hot, and still winning. In a week I doubled my bankroll again. Boy, I am unstoppable! Maybe I am ready for the WSOP after all.

Then reality hit. The cards turned cold, and I could not catch a hand, and if I did, the flop did not match. So I started chasing hands. Hell, the K4s won me a ton in the button yesterday, so why shouldn't I bet it UTG today? I lost back $400 in 2 days.

But now I woke up. I had Poker tracker. I could look and see what went wrong. So I did and I see how I let the small hot streak open my play, to as much as 35% of the flops. I also see the junk I was winning with because weak tables let me limp in with em. I also see how often I got killed by chasing these 'b' hands at a more aggressive table.

I think this self analysis coupled with developing strategies for dealing with different kinds of opponents has saved me. I have survived this little cold streak, and have started back up. But I think I am wiser for the killing I took, and I play better now than I did just a few weeks ago. My postflop play is impoving now, and I have begun to see just how complex and wonderful this game is.
The funny thing is, I learned from the cold streak, and the hands I lost, not from the hot streak and the hands I won.

So I look forward to playing and I still have that goal of $300 a week in income, but I think I will take my time and work up to it.

I wrote this because I find very little online from people who are just starting to play 'aware' poker, and I wish there was more from beginers who will talk about the mistakes and traps they hit."

Sound familiar anyone?

Nose deep in Harrington's Book,

Two quality poker forums:

The Poker Forum


Playing online poker is definitely rewarding. In alot of ways I have realized that online games are better than the usual games played in casinos. Recently, I have been involved in a lot of tournaments. My peers would constantly say that playing online is better. The first time I tried it, I was tentative and my strategy was weak. When I gained some confidence, hell broke loose and I was winning a lot of games. Until today, online poker is still a favorite to me.

Posted by Pat Zeike at November 18, 2005 04:38 AM

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