Poker 2: cant think of a witty title

In short, the crushing continues.

At the end of last post, I had a ~$94 profit, running at 15.61 bb/100 over 12,000 hands.

Last two days I’ve played relatively little poker, spent more time watching films/music/games, so played only ~1600 hands. Stats of:

28th session was pretty boring, ran pretty poor and dropped a buyin or two and worked it back up to a slight loss, nothing I did super wrong or super right I feel, just a pretty standard session.

Todays (29th) session was pretty ridiculous – people were donating their money to me, and I was making pretty normal plays and people never seemed to believe me, and kept paying off my thin value bets and always folded to my bluffs and semi-bluffs. That 3.5 buyin profit should have been a lot, lot higher, but I ran in to some coolers which changed my (at that time) $22 profit to an $8 profit in the space of three hands. Regardless, I powered through and worked it back up to a solid 37.25 bb/100 session.

Preflop stats  are pretty much spot on with my averages, so nothing to say there. Maybe I’m still calling a little loose from the bb/sb, but it generally is against fish with good postflop hands.

The big dip here  in my hands played/bb won graph was thanks to 2 hands, these:

Hand 1 – http://www.pokerhand.org/?6713836

This fish had been running something absurd like 59/8/2 over ~100 hands, so I should’ve just seen it coming. The context, though, was the previous hand, where he limped A4s, I raised 55, and he called and check the A94 flop, I checked back, and binked a 5 on the turn. He bet, I raised, he called. River he c/c my pretty sizable bet. Then he started complaining and was like “why don’t you raise???” – then as he types it he raises here, so I 3bet with my KK super happy, and he just shoves. I was tempted to fold, since his likely hand range here is only ever AA and a tiny percent of the time KK and AKs, but given the context I opted to call because he felt super spewy and I had been 3betting a LOT this session. In hindsight, an easy fold, but oh well.

Hand 2 – http://www.pokerhand.org/?6713837

On the flop I’m pretty happy with my hand, and on the turn I’m slightly less happy but still happy. His raise here was giving me 2.91:1, so I’d need to win the pot slightly less than 30% of the time. Against his exact hand, I’m a 25-75 dog, so it’s the wrong play, but against a range of some overpairs and two pairs and sets and stuff, I’m a 38-62 dog, so it would be correct to call. I’m not sure if this is one of those spots where they’re probably only making a play with a strong hand, either way, just a shitty spot and happened exactly after hand 1 on another table.

Hand 3 – http://www.pokerhand.org/?6713838

3bet and bink trips, wee. Should I check the river to try and induce a bluff? I felt like maybe my hand looked super weak after I check the turn on such a wet board, but his check back maybe signals he’s really as weak as I’m pretending to be. I guess a check on the river is the right play so he can bluff with his missed flush draws or overcards, but I guess I hoped he had AK and would call a bet there.

Hand 4 – http://www.pokerhand.org/?6713839

Can I ever fold the turn here? Getting 4:1 so I only need to be winning 20% of the time, and I feel like I am even though this turn shove seems super super strong – if he has AK he’s probably gonna 3bet preflop, K9 is possible since there were good odds preflop, but more likely is probably Qxcc for a flushdraw+pair, or some two pair hand, or 89 for a straight of course, probably even more likely. Even then, I’m still getting the right price to call even vs a straight, but against a wider range of flush draws and two pairs and stuff, I’m a slight favourite. Pretty awful play by him I think, we ran it twice and chopped when he binked a club on the river on the first run.

Pretty happy overall with how I played today, some gross spots but some pretty good spots too. Total profit over the last two days of $14.48 (2.896 buyins), can’t complain.

Graph update: Slight increase to bb/100, and a nice increase to total winnigs.

My Currency Won in USD over Hands Played for (PokerStars) frequency172

paykah 1 – November 19-27

So so so, let’s begin.

Starting roll was $100 – a stake from a friend. My end goal is to be rolled for NL100 ($2000+) and have a good winrate at NL50 and then obviously NL100. This post is essentially just going to be the starting point, I’ve got a small but decentish sample size of hands and statistics to look at and think about as I move forward. All these questions I pose are just questions to myself, I don’t expect anyone to read this.

The huge bulk (~95%) of the 12,000 hands I’ve played so far at NL5 6max have been in the last 7-8 days, I was donking around at NL2 and NL5 full ring trying to remember how to play this new Hearthstone patch (haha lol). I was up like 10 buyins at NL2 (stupidly boring and easy), which then buffered my 4 buyin loss at NL5, causing me to remember I hate full ring and move back to 6 max.

So my stats over this last week and a bit are:
sessions

For a total of 12,093 hands and an average of 412.73 per hour. That one red line shows a losing day (boo), for this in $ terms:

cashmoney

So that’s ~2 buyins (~$9.50) per day, averaging at 15.61 bb/100, which is an absurdly high bb/100 rate and only attainable at the micro levels, but even then, I’m unsure if something as high as 15bb/100 is sustainable, or if I’m going to slow down or take some bad sessions.

Overall my stats are pretty good I think, especially since I just started playing again. Then again, it is NL5 and people are generally beyond horrible, and will hand you their money if you just play with some common sense and are able to identify trends in betting patterns and postflop lines.

Preflop seems pretty normal for a 6 max table:

preflop

The top session is an outlier, in that it was only 200 hands, so the higher VPIP/PFR isn’t too important. I’ve noticed a lot of the other regulars that don’t suck have stats more around 20/15/4 – so I’m a bit looser, and generally a bit more spewy against regs, since they tend to fold to 2nd barrels a lot more. Sometimes I have cbet%s of <30, when I never cbet vs fish because they never fold to cbets, so I only cbet with good equity.

Still, overall, I’m happy with my winrate, and should just focus now on putting in volume and continue playing the way I am and think through tough decisions a bit more, and review them when they come up.

Which is what I’m gonna do now.

Hand 1 – http://www.pokerhand.org/?6713612

The UTG raise is pretty bad probably, but obviously I hit two pair on a draw heavy board, so I’m happy and gonna bet. The short stack shoves over me, and I can’t re-raise because of his tiny raise amount. The turn is obviously where I am concerned, it fills JT, flush draws, KQ, and of course I’m still dead vs sets or higher two pairs. Is c/f the only line? Is b/f too weak? I’m not sure, obviously I played perfectly since I put money in when I was ahead and folded when I was behind, but it is a bit of an awkard hand.

Hand 2 – http://www.pokerhand.org/?6713613

This hand is a bit more about bet sizing on the river. I didn’t want to c/r the flop despite probably being a huge favourite against just about any non-J hand because I’ve found at these limits, a c/r on paired flops sends a terrifying message to the opponent and they fold unless they have the nuts (or AA, obv the nuts 100% of the time).

Anyway – the river. Half pot sized bets are pretty much obvious value bets, so thinking through his range (25/25/25 over 8 hands, so useless stats) that’s going to fire two large bullets on that board, it’s probably a hand like AK/AQ/AT with a club, maybe sometimes A9/T9/89 or some other 9x hand, and perhaps TT making a thin value bet on the turn. Jx is possible, but obviously he didn’t have one (unless he did and he made a hero fold). So given that, is half the pot too obvious of a value bet? I can’t ever c/r because he’s never calling with just Jx, and a smaller flush probably wouldn’t raise. I have no idea if I should have bet smaller or bigger, but I’m pretty sure half pot was bad.

Hand 3 – http://www.pokerhand.org/?6713614

Plenty of these crazy spewtards at micros – I 3bet AKo from the BB and get called by a guy 150bb deep and with a 40% VPIP over a tiny sample. Preflop and flop is normal, but on the turn I decide to check, for a reason I’m not totally sure of, maybe I wanted to keep the pot controllable on a pretty dangerous board for my hand – he can easily call here with AJ, AQ, KT, QJ, and obviously 33 or even sometimes a random A3s. I’m expecting him to check back lots here with bad aces or jacks, and then I can put a value bet on the river where he’s going to do that thing that people at the micros do where they percieve a check as weakness and will call down with 3rd pair, because obviously if I check on any street I have nothing.

Then he shoves for 1.8ish times the pot – am I ever ahead here? Putting it in to Pokerstove (sets, two pairs, pair+broadway draws, random Ax etc) sees me at 62% equity, but since I have to call ~70bb to win the 50bb in the pot, I’m not getting a good price and I rarely see him bluffing here.

Hand 4 – http://www.pokerhand.org/?6713616

This hand I must have just had some sick read, I guess I tagged it as ‘good hand’ in PT4. Probably a losing play in the long run, but I felt good about making the right play.

Hand 5 – http://www.pokerhand.org/?6713617

Table about to break, so only 3 people left. Is this a fold preflop? His 5betting range is obviously super narrow, but I’m getting 4.18:1 on a call here, and we still have ~80 bb behind, so if I flop a J and he has QQ+ and we get it all in, obviously I’m loving it. I flop an overpair and a gutshot and backdoor hearts, and he shoves. Here I can just fold but for some reason I prayed he had AK and I called. Looking back obviously this is bad, the hugely likely hand he has is AA or KK, which I’m a huge dog against, so even despite almost getting the right odds (Pokerstove says I’d be a slight favourite against QQ+,AQs+,AQo+ as his range, but I even doubt he’s 5 betting AQo, even 3 handed).

The math seems to say this isn’t tooooooo terrible of a call, but I feel like this is one of those spots that math is trumped by experience.

Hand 6 – http://www.pokerhand.org/?6713619

Only 4 handed this time, and I open JThh and get 3bet by a guy that had been 3betting pretty liberally. We’re both 120+ bb deep, so I choose to call with a good hand. I flop top pair and a gutshot, so I’m liking my hand. He checks, which I should’ve read as odd, because he had a 100% cbet rate. Still, he could have just 3bet with air or some picture cards and is going to give up and try to get to showdown as cheap as possible. I bet a pretty normal I think 65ish% of the pot, and he raises, in this exact spot I’m 35% to win, and I’m getting 33% on a call, so logic says I should call and see what the turn brings. Against a pretty wide range of 99+, AT+, KJ+ and QJ+, I’m a 71% favourite, but like the last hand I think this just felt wrong, as soon as I bet I was worried for some reason. So I shove and he calls, I’m not thrilled with this hand but in hindsight I don’t think I played it too terribly.

Okay and to close heres my graph so far, running only 1 buyin under EV which is really great, was even running above EV. The big drop just before 8500 hands was pretty gross, losing 4 buyins in the space of a few hundred hands to random two pairs being hit on the river and random backdoor flushes and losing QQ vs JJ and AA vs KK, but oh well, not like I’m running bad.

My Currency Won in USD over Hands Played for (PokerStars) frequency17

pa pa pa pa pa poker face

Not that anyone cares, but I’m going to start posting about poker.

I first started playing in 2008 – my brother and I were at a family friends house and one of them played pub poker quite a bit, and suggested we go play cos we had nothing else to do. I was only 17, so used his brothers name to register, and got obsessed. Basically I was a typical pub poker moron that eventually read a little bit about how to play properly, and started playing online. I ran up my first $50 deposit to $750ish somehow, which makes me incredibly confused because I had literally 1/30th of the knowledge I have now (which is still practically nothing). Then I withdrew it for whatever reason, got staked $200 by some guy, ran it up to $230 over a little bit of time then he said he didnt want to stake me so I gave him the $200 back and kept the $30 which I ran up to $900 (in 2012 I think), which was surprising again because I sucked. Then one day I lost like 5 buyins at NL25 and decided I hate poker and withdrew it all (about $750 again). So like $50 to a total profit of ~$1400 over the course of like 5 years.

I decided to start playing again and try to take it seriously this time, in the past it was just semi-serious but never really studying or trying to improve, it was just wanting to make some money. I’m just going to post stats/graphs of sessions and that sort of thing, make myself motivated and give myself goals to reach and make myself think about how I play rather than just going on autopilot mode (which, admittedly, has done pretty well so far).

A friend staked me $100 and I’m playing NL5 6max. I used to play NL25 6max and was a break even rakeback hero, so let’s aim for better than that.

My end goal, at least in the short term, is to get a comfortable bankroll for NL100 and get a decent winrate.

Posse – Soft Opening (2014)

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>indie rock, comfy-core

[ Download | Sample ]

Soft Opening is the second album of American indie rock group Posse, one of the warmest and nicest sounding albums of the year. Hardly a musical masterpiece, Soft Opening still manages to create an eight song, 35 minute album of far above average indie rock that is the sonic equivalent of lazing around the house on a slightly rainy day.

Nothing is too loud, nothing is too quiet, everything is mixed just right, and the male and female vocals take turns on the songs so that nothing sounds too repetitive. The guitar tones are similar to many of Angel Olsen’s from her 2014 album, but move away from the folky vocals and arrangements in favour of guitar solos and some more layered instrumentals.

Standout tracks include ‘Talk’, that crawls along at the pace of a dirge before picking up momentarily for the chorus of sorts, and then instantly roars in to a very clean guitar solo that brings the track to its end. ‘Shut Up’ runs at 6:30, and features male vocals and a similar structure to ‘Talk’, but is faster in general and slowly builds up a lot more to a height in the middle, and the end of the song fades away peacefully. The big instrumental parts are still riding on top of the drums and bass/rhythm guitars in a way that makes them feel really easy – as if they’re not trying to outshine everything else, but move it all together at once. ‘Zone’ closes the album and sounds like a midway point between Is This It? era Strokes and Funeral era Arcade Fire, all while still having the Posse sound ingrained.

Soft Opening is just a nice album to listen to, while inoffensive and not super original, it has a charm to the music and vocals that has convincingly won me over.

Taylor Swift – 1989 (2014)

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>pop, synthpop

[ Download (Deluxe version, loads more songs and stuff) | Sample ]

1989 is the strangely titled 2014 album of pop sensation Taylor Swift. Not being one to normally listen to mainstream pop music (*tips fedora*), I was hesitant, but since a friend was harassing me to listen and since I realised I literally have no idea what her music is like, I figured ‘why not?’.

Well, now I know why not.

In this 50 minutes of music, Taylor Swift manages to create three and a half to four minute, radio friendly pop songs at the same rate that I create witty puns. While this in itself isn’t a bad thing, literally every song follows the exact same format of verses, choruses and bridges, even to the point of knowing EXACTLY when the bridge will come in, and what it’s going to sound like (she’s going to sing soft without much backing, and it’s going to get louder as more instrumentation comes in). Combine this with pretty cringey lyricism and uninteresting instrumentation, and you’ve got an album that rides soley on the fact that it’s got mainstream appeal in its catchiness. I’m sure there is a plethora of 17 year old girls on tumblr tagging Taylor Swift photos with “#perf” and “#omg goals so perf bae !!”, so criticising her seems a bit odd on tumblr.

There simply isn’t much to say about this album. Her lyrics are pretty typically pop, with songs like ‘Welcome To New York’ emplying not quite Newsom-esque chants of “Welcome to New York/It’s been waiting for you" and on ’Blank Space’ lyrics like "Oh, my, god, look at that face/You look like my next mistake” and plenty of other crude faux lovey dovey lyrics.

“Style” is apparently a break up song about her relationship with one of the guys from One Direction, that made me giggle a bit. Especially referencing the “James Dean daydream look in your eye”.

“Shake It Off” at least sounds pretty good, probably because she seems to actually be singing, as opposed to reciting some cliche lyrics (which, well, this song is full of too). I’m still a bit confused about how the inspiration for these songs are her personal life… which is shaped by the publicity and celebrity status which she enjoys. It’s almost like a self perpetuating cycle of mainstream pop culture, where someone breaks in to music and then becomes a personality rather than a musician, and the two are inseparable.

Blank Space sounds eerily like Avril Lavigne’s “Complicated”, too. From this part in the song I couldn’t stop thinking she was about to burst in to “tellllll meeeeeeeeee”.

The rest of the album is just so much more of the same, it’s catchy and well produced, but for lack of a better conclusion, it’s just really fucking boring if you’re listening to it for a purpose rather than listening as ambiance. A bunch of standardised synthpop with cliche lyrics about relationships and love. Yawn.

(I just googled what she looks like. Now I get why she’s so popular.)

The Flaming Lips – With A Little Help From My Fwends (2014)

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>psychedelic rock, experimental rock, cover album

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With A Little Help From My Fwends is the audio record of The Flaming Lips inviting a huge list of guests to re-create the already overrated Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band by The Beatles (which I already argue isn’t even that amazing). They’re no strangers to this practice – already having done a similar album recreating the even more overrated Dark Side Of The Moon by Pink Floyd. With a guest list featuring Miley Cyrus, Moby, Foxygen, and plenty, plenty more, you’d probably suspect this is either going to be a monumental failure or a phenomenal piece of work.

Haha, oh boy.

The Flaming Lips have gone more off the deep end in terms of experimental music over recent years. This album might be a way to link the old with the new, the new experimental (also bad) The Terror from last year meets the flawless pop music of their past, in The Soft Bulletin and Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots. It would make sense, since Sgt. Peppers is often regarded as one of the best pop albums of all time, so injecting it with the experimental weirdness would be logical. The result, however, is far from pleasant.

I imagine Wayne Coyne standing over a mixing desk, pressing buttons at random, twisting knobs and sliding things up and down, just for the sake of being random. The opening track is only recognisable as the title track due to the muffled bassline that rides under the entire track, the vocals are even more muffled and distorted and border on unlistenable. ‘With A Little Help From My Friends’ is less awful, but on the reverse, is pretty much a carbon copy of the original, just a fuckload louder. ‘Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds’ features Miley Cyrus and Moby, riding peacefully along until the chorus – forgoing those iconic three drum beats, and instead replacing it with a droning “gone… gone… gone…” until the raping of eardrums follows, an earblowing loud pulse of noise that is so pointlessly awful I have no way of knowing how someone thought it was a good idea. Other than the awful everything else, the vocals aren’t terrible.

‘It’s Getting Better’ at least is true to its name, while still pretty overly loud, it at least brings some new elements to the song while staying pretty true to the original. ‘Fixing A Hole’ is a boring acoustic track with dreadful vocals, and ‘She’s Leaving Home’ brings a pleasant electronic tinge to it, sort of like if MGMT were playing trip hop. One of the better on the album. ‘Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite’ is just dreadfully boring, some weird metal/industrial vocals over an incredibly dull electronic beat. ‘Within You Without You’ keeps going this direction, bells and whistles feature more prominently than anything interesting. ‘When I’m 64’ is equally boring.

‘Lovely Rita’ is at least enjoyable, quirky vocals matching the quirky story, and a pretty cool jam at the end, but still a bit much on the ‘muh electronics’ department. ‘Good Morning Good Morning’ goes from electronic pulsing to almost neo-psychedelic jamming, but kinda sucks, I’ve always enjoyed how straight up rock n roll the song was, but it just felt so strange in this context.

The reprise of the title track is EASILY  the best song on this otherwise awful album. Unsurprisingly it is the one with the least arbitrary electronic bells and whistles, and is instead a very groovy psychedelic jam with Foxygen and Ben Goldwasser. Perhaps what a jam would sound like if The Doors, MGMT, and Santana got to play together.

‘A Day In The Life’ is terrible. Fuck.

One of the worst records of the year, not only does it manage to not be interesting, it spits in the face of one of the most celebrated (although overrated) pop albums of the 1960s. Their concept of “lets put our twist on this” is turning everything to 11 and throwing their heads in to a synthesizer, assuming the end product will be magic. It’s fucking horrible.

Lil Spook – Black Silk (2014)

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>hip hop, R&B, post-post-rap

[ Download | Sample ]

Black Silk is the debut mixtape of Minnesota based artist Lil Spook (formerly known as Spooky Black, the name change was a good idea), whose album cover is a beautifully enigmatic photo – when you see a cover that looks like it was created in MS Paint, with a young looking white kid wearing a knockoff 1990s Vanilla Ice outfit, you have no choice but to be puzzled. Is this legitimate? Is this guy for real? Is this just memerap?

Turns out it is for real, and despite looking hilarious, the music is not as ridiculous as the cover purports.

The intro, ‘Time’, is one of the better tracks on the album, with pretty simple beats and nice vocals that sound less like they’re being sung and more like they’re just there in among the music. It’s also one of the shorter tracks, just under three minutes, which is a bit of a let down because it’s quite cool.

‘Remember You’ is the standout track, but like Time, it is a total let down because of how short it is. Coming in at just 1:40, it opens with a sample from a TV/film that I’m not sure of, and sets the scene for some nice vocals and quick beats that work against the somber vocals. The lyricism is quite weak (“You look so damn sexy when you do the things you do”), but for a guy called “Lil Spook”, I’m not exactly expecting Dylan or Newsom-esque lyricism.

The bonus track, ‘PERSONAL TOUCH’ is another stand out, the opening ambience morphs in to a pounding beat similar to 2000s R&B and 70s funk, and is one of the better use of samples and vocal performances on the album.

Most of the rest of the album is pretty straight forward R&B, to the point of it feeling very repetitive. Lots of cliche sounding 90s pop/r&b sounding tracks with some sort of half bad half interesting vocals on top. A bunch of the tracks even fade out/fade in with the exact same wishy washy sound (i have no idea out to describe it), which add to the samey feel of most of the tracks.

It’s not bad but the extreme lack of diversity really makes this an acquired taste. A few of the songs (Time, Remember You, PERSONAL TOUCH) are pretty great but the rest are super forgettable. At 35 minute’s its not much of a risk to give it a quick listen, and maybe pick up more than I did from it.