Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Epic Post, Thanks, and July Goals

Thanks for all the supportive comments guys. Even thanks to the one guy trying to troll me lol. I am still trying to getting used to all of this. Nobody gave 2 shits about this blog for years and now I get double digit comments every other post and hundreds of unique hits every day. I am the one who decided to reveal my screen name but ever since PTR came around nothing has been the same anyways.

I am not someone who seeks the limelight and I continue to write this blog with myself mostly in mind. But I do thank all my regular readers. I read every comment and try my best to reply to each one.

Recently I had a bad run. I played bad too. I'm nowhere near perfect. I've been around the block a few (too many?) times in this game. It has been a year and a half almost since I last regularly played NL25 on Stars. You won't find this data on PTR as they only began tracking micro play in October of 2009.

With all the new readers I should briefly explain some of my poker history so that people know where I am coming from a bit more. I started with play money on PartyPoker in 2004. I switched to Stars and began real money play in 2005. I never deposited. I got a bankroll by selling play chips. I have never made a single deposit to any online card room to this day.

I had zero discipline for the longest time and 50k hands in a month was a major accomplishment. I played as high as NL1000, but much more regularly at NL25-NL200.

The games back then were a complete joke. I have reviewed some of my data in Holdem Manager from NL100 in 2005 on Stars and average table VPIP was the same as NL2 today. It was like printing money. I was an absolutely terrible nit but anyone with a heartbeat and a double digit IQ could destroy those games.

In 2005 a 3bet at NL100 meant AA or KK only. Limped pots were the norm, not the exception. Cbetting was only done when someone had top pair at least. Sets, overpairs, made hands were almost always "slowplayed" until the river. And things like stealing blinds or floating with the intention of taking away a pot were unheard of concepts.

I have seen the evolution of poker since then. It is truly remarkable. Unfortunately it is only in the past year or so that I have learned how to approach this game as a professional. That is why I started this blog. I post my hand totals each day to hold myself accountable. Unfortunately though, I do not have a time machine handy. The games are as tough as they have ever been and I am constantly amazed at the progression. Note that this doesn't apply to NL2 and only applies somewhat to NL5.

This is not to say that there isn't still a lot of money to be made in poker. Rakeback programs have gotten much better over the years. Also the ability to multi table (Stars only allowed 5 tables when I started) and the associated software have improved greatly.

However, winrates have plummeted and that means variance goes way up. I just experienced a 12 buyin downswing at NL25. There was a fair bit of spew/tilt in there as well, I can't lie lol. However two years ago a 12 buyin downer at NL25 was simply not possible for me. I still didn't think it was possible today. C'mon, its freaking NL25 right? It is very humbling to say the least.

I do not consider myself to be some kind of great player. Frankly I wouldn't even want to be known as one if I was. Leatherass is my idol in poker. I espouse his ideals of ruthless work ethic and game selection. A sucker's money spends the same way as a reg's and it comes way easier and takes way less skill or brainpower to get it.

With that said, I have poured my soul into this game for years, and I know that I can be at least a small winner in any small stakes full ring game, even in today's climate. And if the above statement isn't true then I am someone who is willing to put in the effort to get there. I am not willing to give up on this game just yet.

I plan on spending the first week or two of July furiously grinding the NL5 and perhaps NL10 tables. I also have a mountain of FPP to convert to money through satellites. After that I will take another shot at NL25, playing less tables and not tilting like a monkey this time! My goals will basically be the same as last month. 250k hands, NL25 reg and Platinum Star.

blackrain79 - micro stakes strategy


  1. Just to support you in your new challenge. I saw in PTR that a lot of envious people are haooy that you're loosing. Show them who are you. Good luck


  2. I think your first few attempts went bad because you jumped too quickly into it- it would have went a lot better if you did a little prep. Here's what I do when I'm preparing to move up:

    1) I use PTR and find out who the top 50 winners (of all time) at that stake are. I then look for the top 50 winners for that month (if I'm being overly cautious I'll go ahead and look up those who are running well for the week too); I add them all to my buddy (enemy list) and have that list up when I start a session. This way I can know who's online and sitting at what table, plus if someone sits down at my table I already know who they are and be cautious until I get some confidence about their game. The worst thing that can happen to you when moving up is having someone play back at you and you have no idea who they are (maniac, reg, nit).

    2) Scale back the number of tables: since you're not comfortable with 25NL yet, you should run maybe like 12-16 tables and take notes and get used to the bet sizing (the different bet sizing plus the fact that you buy in for 100BBs instead of 200/250BBs made me uncomfortable for a long time). This prevents you from making too many mistakes on too many tables; it also helps you gather information on regs and see what they're doing. Once you're comfortable with 25NL , go back to playing 24 tables and maximize your winrate.

    3) Augment your game: light 3 betting/4 betting/floating/positional awareness are things you rarely see at 2NL or 5NL; take the time to reinforce these concepts at 25NL. You may have to use 10-12 buyins as an experimentation; since you're trying to be a reg at 25NL as quickly as possible this is needed. If need be you know you always have your bread and butter for backup (2NL/5NL). I recommend that you read the Poker Blueprint if you haven't already; if you want I will send you a copy.

    One more thing about playing against regs: Even though they're good and whatever, it's hard for them to play against you if you initially only play a range of TT-AA, AQs/AK. You may call this being too passive, I call it playing smart and protecting yourself until you have the information needed to open up your game against new opponents. There's also nothing wrong with playing that way: for example, TheBowlBoy plays a 12/8 game and he is one of the top 5 winners of all time at 25NL.

    I'm not trying to tell you what to do or w/e, I genuinely want you to succeed. Your work ethic is incredible and is something all microstakes players should aspire to have. Good luck sir!

  3. Anon,

    Hmm, I don't know whats wrong with those people. But I noticed in the past that PTR comments are like a bathroom wall. A lot of them are anonymous and they are often hateful or insulting. Personally I just use the Firefox Addon "Remove It Permanently" and they don't even load when I visit the site.


    Some great stuff in your post there. Thanks for taking the time. I will play much differently next time I move up there and probably use a lot of the advice in your post.

    I was definitely trying to do way too much, expecting to run everyone over and giving regs no respect. My table selection was also very poor. I won't make these mistakes again.

    I have managed to get a copy of the book you are talking about and have read the first dozen pages. Looks great so far. Thanks and gl.

  4. I just looked up leatherass. I think he knows a thing or two about online poker. Have you read his book? I'm a losing 2nl player. The last two months was about even with about 50k hands but tilted it all away dam Just looking for some knowledge and I think I found some in this blog.

    Best of luck to you blackrain.

  5. David,

    Yes I have read his book. If you plan on taking this game seriously it is a great read imo.

    50k hands isn't that big a sample but if you are even at NL2 there are probably some significant problems with your game. You may want to join a poker forum and do some reading up on how to beat the micros and ask some questions.

    Tilt is something everybody deals with to some extent. I wrote an article about it last month which can be found here

    On Tilt

    Best of luck to you as well.

  6. Hey Blackrain, I played with you on NL5, my avatar is tacocat.

    Anyway, your blog is amazing and you are one of the best microgrinders I have played with.

    However, I do have to say that your jump from NL5 to NL25 is absurd. NL5 and NL10 are not the same. I just started playing NL10 and people are more nittier than NL5. I think you should really grind NL10 then you would be good for NL25.

    Keep up the good work. Dont skip stakes!

  7. sorry for my previous comment. now i see the right answer and i'm reading through my mobile phone so it's kinda messed up.
    gl man!

  8. Heyyyy, Ive seen you play and thought u were a bot xD, I go under PaleTokio 10NL on stars, gonna read youre whoole blog buddy, I wish was in 50NL :S