MT January Online Review

So January has now come to end and it’s time for my first monthly online review of the year for 2010.

50NL (PokerStars)

Well as any regular followers of the blog will know after a successful year last year playing multi-table SnG’s I made a conscious decision to try and develop my game and turn my hand to cash for the beginning of 2010. My intention was to play FR (full ring) for four hours per night, five nights a week & nine tables at a time at 50NL (0.25/0.50). This would roughly allow me to play 2,000 hands per session and 10,000 hands per week. To gain a decent sample size I wanted to do this for 10 weeks solid and try to put in a 100,000 hand sample.

However, due to various reason I simply have not been able to sustain that type of volume. I set myself a four buy-in ‘stop loss’ and ‘stop win’ and subsequently this resulted in me sometimes not getting my 2,000 hands in per session. IDK if it’s prudent to end my sessions if I’m four buy-ins up but that’s what I’ve been doing. Maybe if I’m running and or playing well I should stay on but being new to cash poker I wanted to keep things balanced for the time being. However, the biggest contributing factor is the simple fact that I’m working full time and have a family, because of this I always try to have two nights per week when I don’t play so I can spend time with my wife. As you can probably imagine multi-tabling nine tables does not leave much time for anything else. So if I want to play a live game or do something other than play poker (like trying to set HEM up which I will come to later) then it’s not fair on my family to sacrifice one of my non poker nights to do this so invariably it means one less night doing the online grind.

So all said and done I still managed to get in 22,252 hands at 50NL on PokerStars this month which for reasons already stated was well below my initial target of 40,000 hands. So anyway, I didn’t get off to a good start and after the first 12,766 hands I was running at a horrendous -2.64/100BB (number of blinds won or lost per 100 hands seen) & $337 down. Over the back end of the month I’ve slowly managed to turn that around somewhat and ended the month on -0.29/100BB and only $65 down. So unfortunately I am reporting a negative ROI for my first month but given the turnaround over the last two weeks I’m pretty happy and feel I’m on the right track. After all I’m only a shade over one buy-in down & I don’t think it’s unrealistic that I can’t achieve a 2/100BB by the time I’ve seen 100,000 hands. I was also able to earn $100 in rakeback this month ($50 in sellar rewards & $50 store purchase for 3000FPP’s) from my cash sessions so factoring RB into account I finished the month $35 up on the cash.

With regards to the cash poker, generally speaking I’ve been finding four hour cash sessions to be very tedious and I think my game is suffering in the last hour or so of my sessions. This is something I didn’t anticipate as I’m used to playing for 4 hours + when grinding multi-table SnG’s or MTT’s but the difference with the cash is after 3 hours + I’m still on all 9 tables and obviously no end game is needed and it’s just a case of maintaining my focus and discipline which can get tiresome.

I’m also having major problems with the HEM (Holdem Manager) software. To the point where I haven’t even got it fully installed yet. Having downloaded the software to try the free trial I found out I was not eligible for it because I’d downloaded it once before, never used it and subsequently wasted my trial. So with no trial I just bought it anyway on the back of a few recommendations. This was right at the beginning of the month. One month later and I’m no further forward. I got stuck trying to install ‘PostgreSQL’ so I contacted HEM support via their forum and they took a look at it for me. One of the support staff took over my laptop via ‘Teamviewer’ and tried everything. A few hours later and he basically got stuck too. I’m waiting for another member of the support staff to have another go but I must say my confidence in them and the software is wearing thin & I’m beginning to wonder if it’s really worth it. What concerns me is that their forum seems to be full of people running into various problems and because I’m pretty useless with computers I can’t understand the most basic advice and instructions. Anyway, I will pursue things for the time being. I will report back next month with hopefully some good progress.

All said, I still feel as though I am a MTT player first and foremost and I must say I have been a bit conscious of neglecting my ‘tournament game’. Particularly this year, given that I have such a big opportunity in some of the big live UK ranking events this year with my live sponsorship with Coral. Plus I just enjoy them so much more. For these two reasons I made a decision during the middle to back end of the month to keep my toe in the MTT’s and multi-table SnG’s. This decision also contributed to me not getting the volume I’d hope for playing cash.

Multi-table SnG’s, MTT’s and Satellites (PokerStars)

So I went back to my ‘bread and butter’ for the odd session and in total I played an additional 85 multi-table SnG’s in January with buy-in’s ranging from $4.40 to $22. These were all 180 player tournaments. I’m pleased to say I have managed to show a profit of $301 in the SnG’s for this month which is great considering my very limited volume. However that doesn’t tell the full story as I gave most of it back over a few MTT sessions with the odd crack at some Sunday Millions satellites (I wanted to win a seat for the Millions for the 31st January due to the 2MIL GTD).

I played an additional 16 MTT’s with buy-in’s ranging from $5.50 re-buys up to $55 freezeouts and one crack at the nightly $100,000 GTD for $162. On top on these I played 5 satellites ranging from $6.60 re-buy’s to $12 shootouts. Nothing or any real note to report. A couple of min cashes here and there, although I did have one really deep run in a $55 MTT with $80,000 GTD. With 2611 runners it was a juicy pot and I was chipped up from the get go and after about 5 or 6 hours of poker I’d made it down to the last 100 players as one of the chip leaders. An hour or so later and I was down to the last 3 tables with only 27 players left. Taking a look at the FT payouts was enough to keep me focused as the top three paid out $20,000, $15,000 & $10,000. Anyway, I was playing really well and picking my spots perfectly before a moment of madness cruelly ended my night. I bust out B on B when I raise from the SB with Ax and the BB tank moves in me. IDK why but I made the call and he tabled AK and had me crushed. With 25-30BB’s still behind it was such an easy fold even if I think I’m vs a couple of broadway cards. The money I had invested in the pot could easily have been recovered with one re-steal. Anyway, his AK holds and I hit the rail in 25th place for $391.65. Small consolation when I was so close to such a sweet score.

Right at the very end of the month I also played in the ‘World Blogger Championship Of Online Poker’ freeroll on PokerStars. With just over 2,000 players I ran like god for the first few levels I found myself as one of the early chip leaders. I sat back and watch the field thin and before I knew it we were down to the last 200 players. The table captain whom I had POS on had been very agro & as the bubble approached I decided to take him on. We get involved in a big pot blind on blind. He raises my blind and I make the call with J6s. The flop falls 69x. He leads and I shove. He snaps me with A9 and sends me to the rail in 166th place with the top 154 getting paid. FML. I was knackered & forced myself to play this despite not having any sleep at all the night before and I bust out eight places before the payouts.

50NL (Coral)

Ok so that was pretty much my online month as far as PokerStars is concerned. Nothing of any real note but slow and steady progress and a small profit so no complaints. This was however in stark contrast to my online month on Coral. Due to my 2010 sponsorship with Coral I agreed to try and commit some time to their site. So I downloaded the software and took a look around the site. I figured my best strategy was to continue to play the 50NL on there & hopefully reap the benefits of some softer tables. However getting used to the software is taking me a little longer than I expected and I just simply can’t nine table on there at the minute. I must say though that I am impressed with the set up, traffic and the game selections considering they are on the ‘On Game’ network. I having no problems getting seated at 50NL regardless of the time of day I look. One thing I particularly like about the software is the preset betting options you get. It defo helps speed things up a little when multi-tabling. So far I multi-tabled up to six on Coral but to be honest it was too much and I’m back down to four for the time being.

So are the tables a lot softer I hear you ask? Well yes. Am I crushing? Well no. I’ve had a disastrous start on Coral. I’ve ran so, so bad. I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve ran 2nd nuts into nuts and I’ve been cold decked over and over. I’ve also lost a shit load of pots getting my big pairs, sets, straights etc flushed out on the river. This has been getting to me a little but as I feel like in the main I’ve played pretty good poker and played my hands well. On top of this, frustratingly, I’ve also been timed out of two 200BB’s pots with the stone cold nuts on the river & one 100BB+ pot when holding a set which I was certain was good. Needless to say this is a little tilting and obviously my biggest problem with Coral. The time bank you get just isn’t long enough to make all my decisions when multi-tabling. Maybe it’s just because I’m not used to the software yet but frustrating all the same.

So in January on Coral I ended the month a shameful -$571 down on 50NL. Unfortunately I have not been able to track or count my hands so I don’t know what my win/loss rate is yet. Although I know I have played far less than the 25k+ hands I’ve played on PokerStars. I have emailed Coral and asked for my hand histories so I can review my big pots and hopefully eventually upload them into HEM. Once I have this data I’ll also be able see my how my EV line is looking and also exactly what my win rate is. At a guess I’d say I’m running at about -6/100BB on Coral at the moment.

I did also play a $108 MTT on Coral just to see what the general standard was like. It had a nice guarantee and the field was less than 200 so I just treat it like a regular 180 SnG. Anyway, I didn’t really notice any big difference and I bust out mid way through and took another $108 hit to my roll.

So in summary this month :-

50NL cash = -$636
MTT’s = -$278
SnG’s = $301
Satellites = -$30
Rakeback = $100
Total Profit/loss = -$544

So not good reading really but hey ho, there you go. I did have more luck on the live scene this month cashing £1,650 in prize money over five live MTT’s so still a good month all things considered.

So I really need to make a decisions about what I want to do for February. I still intend on continuing with 50NL until I reach my minimum requirement of 100,000 hands but it may take me a big longer to get there as I don’t really want to just play cash exclusively. I was trying to work out if I’m rolled enough to just play MTT’s but it’s so hard to put a figure to it as the variance can be ridic. Maybe if I’m playing five nights /sessions per week then I’ll play two cash sessions, two multi-table SnG sessions and one weekly MTT session. I’m still trying to decide what to do for the best but I think I might try this route for February and see how I do.

Thanks for reading and feel free to comment.


  1. IDK if mixing 50NL & MTT's is a wise choice, concentrate on polishing 1 IMO & like you say with your Coral sponsorship I'd more inclined to play MTT's so that your game is geared towards those ready for the festivals. GLGLGL Bro ;-)

  2. Mark just interested in why you feel compelled to do the cash ? Is it purely personal objective. Do corals want u to be playing cash ? Is it other players talking about or suggesting its where the money is ?

    I can play cash, but have no love of it and dont at all right now, and am still of the belief that steady profits from sng/tourneys can be made with decent brm and a little shot taking which looks like your approach too when your on tourneys, rather than cash. kq4eva from the forum here, real name andy blair.

    Gl whichever route you pursue.

  3. Hi Andy, thanks for reading and your comment. No I'm not under any obligation to play cash from Coral. It's just a bit of everything really, I'm always looking at ways to learn and delevop my game and more cash poker seemed like a natural progression & I wanted a new challenge for this year. I also think the money made from cash can be more stable long term if can beat the limits you play. To be honest i've no love for cash either but really just want to get my sample size in first before I make a final decision.


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