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Zoom Poker Strategies

March 27, 2012

I’m playing $10nl full ring Zoom Poker, winning at a rather ridiculous rate over a very small sample (not yet to 10,000 hands). At some point I’ll move up, but Zoom, like it’s ancestor Rush Poker, is a variance monster and I want to have a solid idea how I want to play before putting my small post-Black Friday online bankroll at risk. Some thoughts so far:

  1. Even the fish are playing tighter (see the VPIP stats in the lobby) because they can quickly fold their marginal hands. It’s much harder to fold when you’re a beginner playing only one regular cash table.
  2. Because of the anonymity some players will do things and do them over and over again because you don’t stay at the same table. No one “sees” you do this over and over again, though some player will have stat trackers.

Some of the repeated plays that I’m seeing:

  • stealing from late position or the small blind,
  • open shoving preflop,
  • donking into the preflop raiser or it’s inverse, raising or check-raising continuation bets,
  • squeeze plays, and
  • general (non-squeeze) three-betting preflop.

Some of these things are much more common at higher levels of play than $10nl and I’m not certain yet whether the high frequency of occurrence is from players from higher levels playing at lower levels or from players who have just decided to try them out. The three-betting and sometimes the calling of three-bets are much more frequent than normal 10nl games, but are also particularly weak as you often get raised the minimum or slightly more – well under recommended three-bet sizing, and with marginal hands like Ax suited or middle pocket pairs, and when you three-bet you often get called with similarly weak dominated hands or hands lacking sufficient implied odds.

But overall my approach is pretty simple:

  • Open raise everything from the button if no one has opened
  • Open raise everything from the cut off position if the button seems tight
  • Fold everything from the small blind unless it’s worthy of three betting
  • Open raise all pocket pairs as well as suited connectors and suited one-gappers 56 and 57 and above from all positions
  • Use standard TAG starting hands by position for all other hands
  • Raise AK/AA/KK/QQ/JJ larger than other hands to get value and because I don’t think anyone at this level is tracking bet sizing
  • Always three-bet/shove AK/QQ/JJ. I may trap with AA/KK

That’s preflop. Keep in mind this is designed for $10nl 9 player Zoom Poker as I see it playing right now.

My weaknesses tend to be:

  • Calling preflop rather than three betting too often, including from the blinds with hands that I think dominate a stealing range. I really don’t play well without the initiative and without reads/stats regardless regardless whether or not I have position.
  • Continuation betting too often (85%) when the fold rate is marginal (40%, lower fold rate than Rush Poker; see this post about continuation betting http://www.anon-poker-blog.com/index/poker-basics-for-beginners/instructional-basic-poker/continuation-bet-success-rate/
  • Not being able to fold to “bad” aggression from my opponent. “Bad” meaning min-raises, overbets, strange lines like min-bet flop, pot-bet turn, etc
  • Trying to outplay these opponents. Its nice when you can call down a three barrel bluff with an underpair on the flop, but I really should not be trying to do this at Zoom Poker because I don’t have enough stats yet to be certain enough that it is a bluff.

So most of my weaknesses tend to be post-flop. A little bit of this is fine when I was starting out, paying off some winning hands to see what my opponent held when making that play, but if I’m going to grind then I have to stop doing that.
[My domain times out and does not allow me to log in from one of my writing IPs, so I'm using my old blog to post entries to move to the permanent blog at a later date]

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The Free, Online, Concise Guide to No Limit Texas Holdem Poker

August 30, 2010

Announcing the publication of The Free, Online, Concise Guide to No Limit Texas Holdem Poker.

The Free, Online, Concise Guide to No Limit Texas Holdem Poker is an e-book and is available for online reading in HTML or JavaScript, or you can download it for Kindle, Epub, PDF, RTF, LFR, or Palm Doc formats at SmashWords. Alternatively, you can read it as a series of web pages, starting here. The advantage to the web page version is that it includes a 40 minute embedded video of me actually playing poker while pointing out examples of what starting hands to play.

The Free, Online, Concise Guide to No Limit Texas Holdem Poker covers:

  • Playing styles; their advantages and vulnerabilities, how to play against each style and some recommended starting hands to play, and then
  • the mathematics of poker including outs, odds, percentages, pot odds, and implied odds. At the end I include
  • additional suggested readings once you are comfortable with the basic material. As an appendix I’ve included sections covering
  • rules, game play, poker hand rankings and terminology and definitions, for those of you who are brand new to the game.
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Ruminations

May 28, 2010

I used to put this kind of post in the main blog but the main blog seems to be gravitating toward very instructional or informative topics and away from the uncertain or exploratory type of posts.

I’ve been idly wondering lately why how I’m running at poker affects my everyday confidence and perspective and attitude. When I’m running well I feel more confident and happier, and the opposite when I’m not running well.

Today on the final leg into work via transit I realized that poker is the only challenging/developmental thing that’s going on in my life these days. Work is not challenging and not really going anywhere new, my personal life is pretty stable, my other interests and hobbies I’ve been involved with for so long that there’s little change or development going on there so that just leaves poker.

Seen in that context it makes sense that so much spare cycle time (as they used to refer to underutilized network servers) gets allocated to poker, and why how poker things are going tends to affect me so much. It’s not necessarily that the other things are not important but just that they are stable and don’t provide a lot of entertainment as things to think about.

It’d be different were I in my 20’s and still finding my way in the world, but that’s not the case anymore.

That’s not the best situation, either for things in general or even for my poker playing specifically because it could put undue pressure on poker to be successful. On the other hand, maybe that kind of pressure is good for my poker to move things forward, though at the same time it may strain the rest of my days when things aren’t running well. So, I talk myself in a circle, but hopefully with a little added perspective on things.

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Tricks to adding category feeds to static HTML pages

April 7, 2010

I wanted to create a static HTML page that would display both the latest blog feed as well as the latest blog feeds from within specific categories.

The reason for wanting this is that some of the categories might be more appealing to some potential readers than others, and even though my blog seems narrowly focused, I write a heck of a lot so even more narrowly focussed categories might be more appealing.

Unfortunately I can’t cut and paste and display the results here; WordPress.com has restrictions on scripting within posts and to use this you need to be able to accept javascript from Feedburner. But here’s a view of how the summarized blog feed looks on the static HTML page:

Main blog RSS feed

And, here’s how a couple of the category feeds look:

RSS blog category feed

(click image for full size if it’s not readable)

Note that there is some duplication, simply because some of the most recent entries are also in some of these categories, and also because some of the posts are in more than one category.

For archival purposes I’m saving an operating version of this HTML file here:

http://www.anon-poker-blog.com/rss-index.html

~

To get this all to work, I used this page, “Feedburner: How To Republish Blogger Feed as HTML” to help me to set up a Feedburner feed of my desired categories. But here’s where I got stuck, and I still don’t know why.

Feedburner would not accept the url for my categories. I would paste in the url, and Feedburner would return with multiple possibilities for the feed. One possibility that Feedburner would find would be the root of my blog, in other words a feed for the entire blog. The other possibility suggested by Feedburner would be a url that was only the most recent post in that category, not the entire category itself.

I experimented with different possible urls for the category feeds, and accidentally found something that worked:

http://www.anon-poker-blog.com/index/ ….

… category/poker-basics-for-beginners/feed/?cat=2/

(without the …., sorry; it’s too long to fit in this theme)

or, in more generic terms, (I run two blogs in one domain so each has it’s own directory; most blogs don’t need the “/index/” but that’s where the main blog exists separate from the other blog)

http://www.SITE.com/category/CATEGORYNAME/feed/?cat=2/

where the CAPITALIZED parts are unique to the site and category.

Why I needed both the “/feed/” and the “/?cat=2/” at the end I still don’t know. This is not even my second category, so I don’t know that the number even makes a difference, but for whatever reason this seemed to fool Feedburner into accepting the category feeds?

If anyone knows why this issue might have come up, please let me know.

Also, if there is a way of using PHP to generate the category feed in a static HTML page without using Feedburner at all, please let me know as well. I’m sure there is a way, but I haven’t been able to find one yet that is cheap (ie. free)

You can find more general information about setting up category feeds with WordPress here, Category Feeds With WordPress and Feedburner, but again this couldn’t help me solving the category feed problem and only helps with adding a pre-determined widget for category feeds. The other site mentioned at the top helps you to clip the script for the feed and then use it where ever you want with a static HTML page.

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“Raise Everything!” at Rush Poker

March 26, 2010

My first attempt at the new project.

213 hands, VPIP of 71.4, PFR of 69, (keeping in mind this is Full Ring RushPoker, so every table has 9 players at it) minus 120 bb/100 loss rate. I think that I can get that down a bit. Or up a bit, depending on how you look at it. Losing less money, or losing it slower, I hope.

Of the 146 times that I raised preflop, I folded to a 3 bet 13 times. Of the 129 times that there was no 3 betting preflop, I saw a flop 75 times, only taking it down preflop 54 times! And on the flop I c-bet 52 times for a 70% c-bet rate, which is a tad low for me but so many times I had multiple callers and of course no hand. The c-bets took it down 26 times so a 50% c-bet success rate.

It’s interesting to note that the $ per instance rate for Raise/C-bet called and for Raise/No flop are equal and the quanties as well, meaning they offset each other. Bet/Folds, Folds to donk bets and Check/Folds are always going to cost money but many of the folds and check/folds were multiway pot.

On the turn it’s hard to say. When you open raise 83o, you don’t hit many flops so it’s hard to fire a second bullet. I know that often players at this level seem to often wait for you to fire on the turn to see if you were serious, or to see if the turn improves their hand. On the other hand, I also know that I’m losing money overall and that turn bets are larger than the flop bet, which is larger than the preflop bet which makes it seem like spew unless I have a reason to believe that a second barrel might work.

On the other hand, playing out of position makes it easy to fall suceptable to floats or even river steals, and it’s worse because my hand has no value. If I raise with 55, at least I have a pair. If I raise with AK, at least I have Ace high. 83 doesn’t often have much pot equity at the turn, much less for a river call.

~

Some things that I noted:

  • Short stacks are a nuisance. There’s no reason to call or raise a really short stack, and if any short stack 3 bets I can’t do much of anything. Mind you, I did 4 bet AK from late and got called by a 40 bb stack in the BB who 3 bet/called my 4 bet with J9o, and proceeded to hit trip Jacks.
  • I was surprised by the number of times that I open raised and had 2 or more callers. I had never noticed this before but I presume that because normally I open raise from early position so infrequently that I’d never noticed how often you get multiple callers.
  • It’s really hard to hit a flop with 83o, J3s, Q5o and the like. Without position to try to take pots away all I’m relying on is my opponents folding to c-bets, and that only happens half the time.
  • Opponents at this level call with potentially dominated hands. That being the case, they also don’t fold when I bet a flop that hit my positional range hard. And since my range right now is everything I don’t actually hit these ranges, so betting them is really hit and miss as to whether they are going to fold.
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3 + .40 sit and go

February 12, 2010

I’m still running badly at Rush Poker so I tried to return to my 4x4x6 Rampage with 4 tables of 25nl at Stars but I ran just as badly there. Was card dead, the hands I do decide to play miss the flop, so I try to compensate by generating action with weaker hands and get played back at. Then I start to not be able to fold post-flop raises or bets, and the spew begins.

The last few days I’ve watched some Collin Moshman videos and decided to stop the spew by tightening up and playing some sit and goes for a while. Last night I went to bed early, had the laptop already there so I searched for some tournies on Stars hoping to find a $5 sit and go. I have $22 in T dollars from 210 FPP satties so I thought I’d use that and play some $5 SnGs but they weren’t filling up at that time of night so I ended up in a $3.40.

First hand, early raise, player to my right flats, I raise to 11 bbs with AKo, one blind cold calls the 3 bet, and the OR flats as does the other caller. Great, so that’s how these tournaments play; first hand, a 3 bet pot and we end up 4 handed. Flop is low cards two tone, OR bets 3/4 pot, player to my right shoves his A9s that he flatted the raise and 3 bet with preflop with the flush draw, OR calls with his TT, flush fills and we’re off.

Then I go card dead so most of my attention shifts to the InuYasha clips that I’m watching in the other half of the monitor. When the blinds are at 50/100 and I’m down to 1100 facing an early position raise I decide to shove my TT. I’m hoping that I’m in a race, though he’s fairly tight, but I think the fact that I had been so card dead made me unwilling to fold TT. A wrong decision for a number of reasons; He’s relatively tight, and when the blinds start to rise at low buyin level tournaments players get weaker and more passive, so open raising means even more strength, plus I believe that I’m a better player than most if not all players at this level so the more hands I can see the better my EV overall. A player at this buyin level at this blind level might not even raise AK in his situation, which is the hand that I’m most hoping for. He’s also raised from early position, though most players are not very positionally aware so I don’t give this consideration too much weight.

My HUD covers some of the cards in the all-in situation so I all that I can see is that he has one King and the other card is not the same suit, but I hit a set on the turn and double up over his KK. Then I have some chips, the blinds are rising, I’ve played tight since the first hand, plus I go on a card rush so I start open raising every second or third hand. Activity in general picks up and within a few orbits we’re down to the bubble and then past, but three handed we got there so fast that the shortest stack has 15 bbs, I’ve been chipped down after been the chip leader at one point, I go card dead again plus I had been so aggressive just moments earlier that I tone down my aggression and the other two revert to ultra-tight raise/fold so it takes forever to finally finish.

I end up second for $8 something, so an okay return on 3.40 T$. I’m gonna try to stick to tournaments for a while to try to get my impatient spew under control.

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Rush Poker

January 21, 2010

At the moment I’m hooked on Rush Poker at Full Tilt. Or Crack Poker, which seems to be a popular slang name for it.

Second night of playing, I think I got in 1,300 hands or something, on top of the 700 from the first night. More hands last night because I played two tables, just because one wasn’t fast enough. :) There is a slight delay after folding while you get seated at a new table, which gives me enough time to go to the other table and make a decision.

I don’t have a lot of bankroll at Tilt so I’ve been playing the $10nl tables, and after 2,000 hands I’m down $1.40 or something. Conclusion so far; there’s a lot of lost value at this level being readless because you can’t pick off the maniacs as easily because you don’t know who they are. Most of the time that there is a possible bluff (I guess 30 – 50% chance of a bluff or overvaluing their hand) it turns out that they weren’t bluffing. Exception being ones like a pot sized bet on the river when I checked going for pot control (ie. seen as “weakness”) with a river card that only made sense if he had the two cards that would fill a straight, and it turned out to be a busted flush draw, or a 60 bb stack that I 3 bet with 99 and he shoves, his KJs that he raised from early. But I lost a stack when I got in in pre with QQ and I probably should have read AA/KK.

There’s thin line between bluff/overvalue bets and standard players at this level which is easy to see if you have some hand history or stats, but is tougher to guess totally readless like this.

And there’s unexpected aggression, at least for $10nl FR. A lot of squeezing and 3 betting, at least more than I expect at this level. When I see that aggression my reaction is to crank up my aggression level, which causes me to spew against more standard players. It’s not the same players each hand so you can’t really make that kind of adjustment. What I should do is to take the stats from the hands that I have and identify general player styles, but I’m not planning to keep playing $10 tables if I do continue to play. What I might do though is to keep working LAG play preflop, get my stats up to the 22/18 level for full ring, which is more my 6 max stats. Or go to $25nl.

It’s also quite possible that there are a number of players from $25 or $50 sitting at these $10 tables for the time being trying this new thing out, which might be a part of the reason for higher aggression than I expect from $10.

If nothing else I’m cranking up the FTP points like never before. Maybe I’ll earn a free month at Stox.

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