Bitcoin to the rescue

My run good is officially over. I lost about 750 chips in several back to back sessions. Some of that result was from bad luck, but some was from making moves at the wrong time. So where do I stand now? From a bitcoin perspective I deposited 4 BTC on Seals with Clubs and have cashed out 3.2 BTC. I have just over 1.4 BTC remaining on the site for an overall profit of 0.6 BTC or 600 chips. Not shabby, but not exciting either. Add in the 4 BTC I lost betting on the Superbowl and my bitcoin gambling results are pretty horrible.

With bitcoin’s zooming to $40 apiece it suddenly occurred to me that I could sell my 3.2 BTC and that would cover the cost of all 8 BTC I have gambled. Looked at from that perspective, my remaining 1.4 BTC on the poker site is pure profit. I like that better. It puts me in a better psychological mindset. The only downside is that I have to sell those bitcoins to really convince myself that my remaining roll on the site is profit.

Well I did it. Bitcoins don’t mean anything to me except as a means to get some light recreation via online poker and the occasional football bet. I am really not caught up in the larger story of the bitcoin economy at this point and so having a few bitcoins in my wallet has no real value to me during the football offseason. Now I can consider my chips on Seals as pure profit, but they also represent my entire online bankroll and so I am going to have to tighten up my game selection and try to grind for awhile. That means playing less 2/4 and also no more tournaments with buyins over 100 chips for the time being. I can live with that.

Tight is Right

Seals with Clubs just added some new daily tournaments for 1/2 BTC and 1 BTC. I almost, but not quite, have the bankroll to start taking shots at these. To help me reduce the temptation to jump into one of these, I cashed out another 1.2 BTC. This worked, but it did not stop me from plopping 400 chips into  PLO8 2/4 cash game. I played very tight, which is saying something since the entire table was playing tight as well. I did find a few good hands to push and things worked out well as I won over 300 chips in about 25 minutes.

Later I bubbled a 45+5 NLHE tournament. These run once an hour on the half hour and I have been getting good results in these as of late. This particular event was marked by some wild swings including a hand where my jacks ran into aces and both an Ace and a Jack came on the flop. Grrr. Later I found a spot for a blind steal shove on the button with T9 only to get two callers. Fortunately I flopped a straight and it held up. That got me to the final table and we got down to 5 handed and I was small stack by a tiny margin. I found another spot to blind steal shove with QT suited, but got called down by KT and that was it.

All in all I had a good day and now sit at right about my high water mark for the year (including my cash outs) which means that I am up about 1200 chips for the year. That’s all for now…

Trying New Things

I am trying to mix a few new plays into my game but so far they have been no help at all. One technique involves overbetting the river. Of course you do this with a mix of good and/or nut hands and bluffs to extract the most value. It sounds great, but there must be more to it as thus far my overbets have induced folds when I have a good hand and the one time I tried it with a bluff, the other guy called me down rather easily with an underpair. Grrr.

I also got into a discussion with a PLO player who insisted that playing fast and losing the occasional stack with middle set was the correct thing to do. Personally I have found it useful to be careful in this spot and lose less when I might be up against top set. He described a specific situation where you really have to play fast against a check raise and, sure enough, it came up yesterday. I shoved and the other guy had it.

The other excitement yesterday was in a 17 player tournament where I made a nice late comeback to not only make the money, but get heads up with about 48% percent of the chips. On the very first hand of heads up I called an all-in with A9 off and saw I was up against A6 suited. The board came up rainbow with an ace and 2 low cards and so I was in great shape. A Q on the turn meant I only had to dodge 3 outs on the river. I will stop now since you can certainly guess what happened next.

Despite the struggles I am still up a little since my last post and still within striking distance of my highwater mark on Seals With Clubs. See you on the tables!

PLO can be nuts

I have been playing mostly PLO lately and things have not been wonderful. I kept running into situations where I was betting a draw or air and someone with the nuts called me down. Having said that, I didn’t get stacked and I only pushed too hard on one of these hands. Still it was getting frustrating to be in that situation so often. (Parenthetically limping in with aces seems to be the rage on PLO tables these days.)

On the plus side I only tilted once and my redonkulous shove got a fold and I then left the table immediately as I realized what I was doing. Also I did score a few small session wins last night and so I am only down about 300 chips in recent play. It could have been much worse.

Andoid Tournaments are Here

I played some today with mixed results. I was about to pack it up for the night when I saw the note on twitter about a freeroll to celebrate the android app update for Seal with Clubs. This is the first update that allows tournament play and so I had to try it out. I grabbed my phone and signed up for the event.

There were 130+ players and it was a turbo format that turned into a shovefest pretty quickly. I played tight for a bit but found some spots and started to put together a stack. Then, with A10 suited UTG I made a small raise that invited two players to shove over the top. I called and the board came with 2 pair and my ace won me the hand and a huge triple up that vaulted me near the tournament lead (although it was tough to tell as I couldn’t figure out how to see the leaderboard or the payouts from the app.)

Before I knew what happened we burst the bubble and I waltzed to the final table. Unfortunately the app spazzed at that point and I was stuck on some nondescript table. I had to scramble over to my computer. I logged in just in time for my big blind, but it didn’t matter as I couldn’t call the raise. In fact I couldn’t find any playable spots and had to stay patient. As I did, 4 players busted out. Finally I found a suited ace to shove with, but unfortunately one of the big stacks woke up with aces and that was it for me.

Despite the small glitches I am really enjoying the android app. It has shown steady improvement as of late. A friend tells me the tablet rendering is particularly nice. If I keep up the winning ways, maybe I can afford to get myself a tablet and try it out.

Back to Go

After mixed results on Saturday I finally got back on the winning track at Seals today. I built 200 chips to over 500 in NLHE 1/2 in the early afternoon and then had two concurrent winning sessions in the evening to get me back to just about 3 BTC profit for the year and within a few chips of my high water mark on the site (which I hit 3 days ago.)

Just finishing up my taxes now and I am reporting net winnings just over 1,300 dollars for 2012. (Actually you have to report gross winnings and then deduct losses separately. That really sucks, but what can you do.) In the process I figured out that it makes no sense from a tax perspective for a hobbyist player like myself with a decent full time career to accept a staking arrangement as apparently I cannot write off payouts to stakeholders.  I guess it is gonna be another year of careful bankroll management when I make my annual trek to Vegas for a week of poker.