Wednesday, 29 August 2012

And the beat goes on...

...Or in this case, it's the coaching that goes on! For those of you who didn't read my previous post, I have been having coaching with André since the beginning of the month. Until recently I was having 2 hours of coaching per day, I was studying 4 hours by myself and playing 2 hours. I was playing the $7.49 hypers and it was going pretty well. 

That schedule was recently changed to 6 hours of playing plus 4 hours of coaching. Even though now it's a total of 10 hours per day, I prefer this program over the previous one as I find it a lot more interesting. Not to mention how lucky I feel that André decides to give me 4 hours of his working time on a daily basis. That's a lot of time.

Now to the next topic. Back in July André made me a bankroll management guide. Here it is:

So based on what my bankroll is, I can check the table and see what are the stakes that I'm "allowed" to play. Before you start arguing about whether the current bankroll management is good or bad, let me tell you that it was specifically made for my case and what I'm trying to achieve this year. It may or may not apply to other people, I don't know. What I'm trying to say is, I'm not presenting this as the "golden rule" of managing your roll or anything, it's just what I'm currently using as a guide. As you can see, the $74s are the end game for this year and I'm not going to play higher than that even if my bankroll allows me to. That said, I do feel a million miles away from the $74s not only in terms of bankroll but also in terms of game play. 

But let's move on to why I started talking about bankrolls... In the beginning of August and almost throughout the entire month I was playing the $3s and the $7s. Coaching has helped a lot and I have been running good, so my bankroll kept going up and up... Until it hit the point where I was supposed to move up in stakes and mix in the 18s... That's when I started getting cold sweat and even though I had the bankroll, I didn't move up for a couple of days... Basically because I was traumatized by the last time I played those games back in May. If you don't remember my huge downswing and you'd like to see a graph, click here.

When I eventually did start playing the 18s the impact of the first day was kind of hard, because up to the $7s there are plenty of occasional players whose names you don't recognize and you see lots of bronze/silver/gold stars. Suddenly, you move up to the $18s and it's mostly supernovas and above or people that you know for a fact are regulars... I must admit it's kind of intimidating. Not to mention the obvious, people simply play better. And you feel it right away. I remember I went home that night and I bombed André with questions and told him about stuff that I hadn't seen people do at the lower buy-ins.

That said, the poker gods do seem to favor me lately and I'm on a good run again. That's awesome, cause I don't know if I could take another downswing right after moving up like last time. Here's my graph at the $18s since the beginning of the month:

And since I started with the graphs, here is my graph for the lower stakes (it includes mostly $7s but also some $3s): 

I'm obviously on the good side of variance, but I think coaching has a lot to do with these results. Speaking of which, we've had some very heated discussions with my coach.

The other day, a pretty interesting hand came up. Now, I only have this in a video and I guess I could pause it and take a printscreen but I don't want to expose the names of my opponents or the stats I have on them so we'll have to do it the good old fashioned way with pen and paper. Here's the situation: 

So here's what we know: Players 1 and 4 are good regulars. Player 3 we don't know much about, except that he is probably tight. Player 2 is not much of an issue because he is on the big blind, extremely short and is obligatorily all-in (hence the side pot already created in the middle of the table). The blinds level is 50-100 with an ante of 20. Player 3 shoves and Player 4 shoves over the top. I'm sitting comfortably on the button with my 1448 chips and it would be an easy thing to walk away from the hand, only I've been dealt pocket Queens. What is the correct play here?

André was saying that it's a fold. His reasoning was the following: I'm the chip leader at the moment, Player 2 is practically dead (he only had 12 chips when the hand begun so even if he wins this hand he is still most likely to bust soon). We don't know what Player 3 is shoving with, but since he is short and will be getting the big blind on the next hand we can't put him on the tightest range. Now Player 4 didn't just call, he shoved over the top risking a possible elimination from me if I decide to go with the hand as well. So his hand must be good and on a tight range. If I decide to fold, Player 1 may also call cause he is also very short. That would be a 4-way all in which is very good for me since I would be the only one that folded and with the chip lead. If Player 1 folds and Player 4 wins the hand, then we would be playing the bubble where I would have an extremely good position with the chip lead and a player with less than 2 blinds left. If Player 3 wins and doubles up, then I'm still at a good spot because at the next hand everyone will be much shorter than me and I can "bully" them around with my big stack.

So what did I do? I called. Simply because my hand was QQ and it has plenty of value by itself. If I lose, I'm still in a good position having more chips than player 1 and possibly player 3, while if I win I practically also win the tournament. And there comes the guessing part, cause when you put the hand in any ICM calculator you need to guess the ranges of each opponent. Unfortunately, this was the first time that our beloved ICMizer would not cooperate. It seems that the fact that the player on the big blind was so short was messing with the program's parameters and as a result it was saying that the hand was not valid to be analyzed (same as when you put all players folding for example). And it's not like we could give a few more chips to player 2 cause him being obligatorily all in was crucial for the decision of how to play the hand.

But anyway, André did not completely dismiss my opinion and admitted that it also made sense and could possibly be the optimal play. That alone for me is a victory. There were more controversial hands like that that we discussed. I remember an ATo on the bubble which André was insisting it was a shove and I was insisting that it was a fold. That one we managed to put in ICMizer and... I was right! No matter how much André would mess slightly with the opponents' ranges here and there, it was always an indisputable fold. I tried to find the hand to include it in the post but I couldn't (I have hours and hours of footage so unless I remember the exact date and time of a hand it's almost impossible to find)... While André kept looking at the screen trying to accept his defeat, I went to the kitchen to get a bottle of... chocolate milk to celebrate (I figured champagne would not be a good option cause the coaching was not over yet). 

Then yesterday, when we did our usual quiz of "what would be the range to call in this situation", I got my first 100% correct guess. At some other point André paused the video and asked me "Why did you do this here? It's not correct". I justified my play with so many different arguments that in the end he had to go with it and move on.

Towards the end of the session, we were reviewing a bubble play. It was a spot where I was on the SB and I shoved against the BB. He told me that folding would be a better option in that particular case and explained why. Then he said "That's what makes the difference between a good player and a great one". I nodded, still thinking about the hand. The short conversation that followed is kind of funny.

André: I just gave you a compliment.
Me: Are you kidding me? You just said that the best thing would be to fold. I shoved, so how's that a compliment?
Andé: I just called you a good player.
Me: ...   : P

We just sat there laughing for a while. Then we decided to call it a day cause we were both tired. For all I know I may not even be a winning player at the $18s, but it was nice to receive a compliment from a hyper-turbo specialist. This past month alone I feel like I've progressed more than all the past months I've been playing the hypers all together. Which makes me wonder... Why did we lose so much time and we didn't try this coaching thing earlier? I don't really have a reply to that. I've had coaching sessions with André before, but I didn't like them or learn nearly as much as I do now. I guess it's not only the student that's evolving through the learning process, it's also the teacher.

Anyway, for the first time plays and numbers and cards actually start to somehow... make sense. Could I really be going from zero poker?


  1. Nice post Katerina, i really enjoyed that as always.

    I would like to mention one point regarding to your bankroll management.
    It is really surprising that André recommends this (also think he probably doesn't know how much buyin-ins under the 74's have changed). I am not only saying that based on 230k tournament experience from satellites. Btw André has the same played volume but obv at higher buy-ins but there is no difference in the point of view of variance (we count that in buy-ins not in USD, right..).

    Basically i want to say, you have such a small tournament sample size that you dont know where you are even if it seems that you are playing pretty good recently.

    Yes, should have more money in the pocket to play a higher buy-in, but it is a must to have also appropriate sample to know / to be almost sure, you beat that buy-in.
    Otherwise your money account can be crushed so quickly and easily.

    I wish you many accomplishments, its really fun to play with you. I see often many extraordinary moves from you making the game more creative and fun.


  2. Hi Roy4lpl4yor!

    André is well aware of what the stakes are below the $74s. The bankroll management is rather aggressive, but the general idea is that I move up or down quickly. Sure there is a risk to it, but I don't want to be grinding the $7s for long. My target is higher than that. You are right about the volume being important, but I can't really afford to wait until I get a big volume of tournaments before I move up or down. André (and you possibly) can mass-multitable but I can't, so... I need to rely less on volume than someone who can play 20+ tables. I know it's not as linear as that, but I have to start from somewhere... And if the pro says it's fine, I'll go with it!

    It's fun to play with you too! Oh, and thanx for always stopping by my blog, I really appreciate it!

    I wish you the best of luck and see you at the tables! :)


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.


Unordered List