Thursday, 1 March 2012

Poker Break Over

Hello!!! :)

As you can guess from the title, I AM BACK! My poker break lasted quite a bit longer than Ι originally expected... The reasons for that are more personal than poker related, which is why I don't see the point in writing anything more about it here. I just want to apologize to the people that were regularly following my blog for disappearing without a trace. I know that some have asked André about me... Thank you for your interest!

So... Around the end of January I decided that it was time to go back to playing poker. The question was... where do I go back to exactly? Playing 9man turbo sit-n-gos like before? Or should I try something new? And what could that be? Initially, I was almost convinced to try playing cash games. I think that cash games players are some of the best poker players out there and that they have a deep understanding of the game. And I mean, even if I decided to play the 9man turbos eventually, the time I would have spent learning cash games would not be a complete waste, since my postflop play would get a lot better.

But then my boyfriend, André, was like "You know that what I'm best at is hyper-turbos, I could teach you how to play those". Yep, good argument. If I chose to learn cash games he could point me in the right direction and tell me what to study and what to do more or less, but he could not actually teach me himself cause that's not his format. With the hyper-turbos, it's completely different. He's one of the top players in the world, so he definitely knows what he's talking about. I do feel kind of bad that I won't be playing flops anymore cause that steals a bit of poker's magic, but hey, I'll go with the pro's advice, can you blame me? :P

So in the beginning of last week, I arrive to the office all ready for my first day of hyper-turbos (yep, we have an office now! More about it in an upcoming post!). I sat on the other side of the table and André gave me 5 spreadsheets. Needless to say, I had absolutely no idea about how these games are played. I spent a day in the past converting my FPPs into money playing hyper-turbos, but that was about it and it's been mooooonths since then. Could have been a past life, that's how much I remember about it. So I took the spreadsheets in my hands and looked at it like it was Chinese. He spent a bit more than half an hour explaining to me how to read them and some basic rules, and then we went to my Pokerstars lobby to set the filters.

Hyper-turbos basically run in satellites, which means that the stakes you have to chose from vary depending on the day of the week and the time of the day. It works like this: you register at a satellite that starts with 6 players. The first two win an entry to the tournament for which the satellite qualifies. The third player gets a small amount of money, but it's irrelevant comparing to the buy-in, so we'll just assume that the third player gets nothing to make things easier. Now, if you register at another satellite but when you win, you are already registered for the tournament it qualifies for, then Pokerstars deposits the buy-in of that tournament to your account in the form of $t money.

I started playing some $3 tables, but those run out quickly as the tournament that they were giving entry to started. Then the lowest satellites I could find were those qualifying for some Sunday tournaments and the buy-in was $18.77. Not even in my best days of poker have I played that high. But since there was no other option, I had to play those.

The day went by with me one-tabling (OF COURSE!) and trying to find where on earth among the spreadsheets that I lay out all over my desk was the answer to the play I had to do. And I had the luxury or 8 full seconds to find what was the correct play before the clock started ticking. Cause yeah, that's how much time you have to react in those. HYPER. TURBOS. I was feeling lost to say the least. In retrospect, that day was kind of Karate Kid style. You know that classic scene from the movie, where the student shows up to Mr. Miyagi's house to learn karate, but ends up painting the fence instead? Then, after a lot of hours and while he's about to go home disappointed, Mr. Miyagi shows up and the kid realizes that by painting the fence he learnt some defense techniques... Well, after a day of "What on earth am I doing", "I don't know how to play this", "Why did he leave me all by myself in front of the computer" and "Oh, that was the calling range, not the shoving range", I went to have dinner with André. He asked me "What did you learn today?". I was like "Are you kidding me? Nothing!!!". But then he asked me a couple of questions and to my surprise I answered correctly. Hmm. I guess the day was not a complete waste after all, even though I probably know less poker than that kid knew karate.

Anyway, the rest of the week I pretty much only tried to get better at using the spreadsheets, which is not as easy as it may sound at first. Right now, I'm pretty confident with what to push and what to fold during the first level without checking them. Once the blinds go up it gets tricky, and the bubble... That's a whole different story! As you may have already guessed, the info I have on the papers in front of me is not nearly enough to cover all of the situations that come up in a tournament so eventually I need to make my own decisions and learn how to play the game. I think the next thing I'm going to challenge myself with, is playing two tables. I tried it a bit the other day and lost every single tournament I registered to. At some point, I also registered to a third table by mistake, and nearly went crazy!!! Apart from that, I think the poker gods have gifted me with good variance as a welcome back present, and I have been running amazingly good. My winnings are something like $700, which if you take into account the fact that I'm one-tabling and have been playing for about a week, is pretty awesome. I just brace myself for when the other side of variance comes my way...

So for now, my poker time goes by the following way: play one satellite, review my game and study it, play another satellite, study another satellite, interesting part, boring part, interesting part, boring part... I really don't find it that exciting to stare at the re-player and squeeze my mind about what I did right or wrong, but I guess that if you want to learn it's inevitable...

And before I go, here's a funny one:

The funny part is not the hand itself, but my opponent's name... For those of you who are not greek and do not understand what it means, let's just say that if Pokerstars had a way of controlling what each single nickname means in every language, they wouldn't have allowed this one! ;)

Anyway, keep checking back for updates on my adventures in the hyper-turbo world. I'll be blogging again from now on!

See you at the tables! :D


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Hello!

      At this point, I prefer to keep my mail and skype personal and not associate it to poker stuff. However, please feel free to post anything you want to talk to me about as a comment! After all, this is what this blog is all about! :)

  2. Dear Katerina,
    I'm following your blog from the beginning, and it's very helpful, also Andre's. I'm thinking on playing 6-may Hypers myself as well. I don't know if it's possible or not, but the charts you mentioned in this article are public or for your own usage? If it's public, is it a way to get a copy? Thanks in advance! Waiting for the next update :)

    1. Hi there!

      Sorry, but the charts I mention are not public. A big part of the work when playing hypers is to make charts, and each player's are different. Thank you for your kind words regarding my blog, I'm glad you enjoy reading it! :)


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