Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Returning to the limit hold'em homeland...

Posts are going to be sporadic because, given a choice between posting on this blog and playing poker, I usually chose to play poker. I actually have a lot of ideas I want to get down, but blogging is pretty low priority for me.

Anyway, after burning the bonus on Eurobet I decided to start burning off some of my $400 bonus on UltimateBet. UB is awesome that the bonuses never expire and are released as you earn them (a few cents at a time if necessary) but the rate per hour is pretty low. So, I decided to focus on limit hold'em again for a little while because I feel like I am weaker than I should be.

Before I get into LHE, I should say that I decided to spend a little poker money and get some new cards: four COPAG decks, including two four-color decks (playing a four-color deck online is MANDATORY, btw). I'm psyched to play with a four-color deck in live play... Anyway, I also bit the bullet and spent $55 on PokerTracker. I've been holding of on PT because of the proportion of my bankroll it would require, but now that I'm pretty secure in my bankroll and I wanted to do more limit, I decided it was time.

So, armed with UB, PT, and GameTime+ I can set up a two-tabling system on my 800x600 monitor that requires minimal effort. Doing this on UB is especially nice since GT+, when you open the hand history window, will automatically download up to 200 of the previous hands on the table even if you weren't sitting down. Amazingly powerful -- just open two tables that look good, open the history window (with PT and GT+ on) and within a minute or two you'll have stats on everyone at the table. With mini-view, I can set up two tables to be constantly visible with the GameTime+ HUDs -- so all I need to do is click my moves. While the GT+ overlay doesn't work with tournaments, the auto-download option does work, which is useful for scouting new tables in MTTs.

PT and GT+ works well with PartyPoker too (grabbing histories even if you aren't sitting but just watching a table) but the constant switching between windows can be very disorienting. Haven't tried it on many other sites, but definitely worth a buy. I can't point to any cases where it saved (or earned) me money yet, but I guarantee it will pay for itself in the analysis of my play alone.

Of course, the important thing is not my set up, but how I've been doing in my LHE play. Honestly, I feel like I've been playing suprisingly well. I started out at 25c/50c and have moved up to 50c/$1. Honestly, I feel like I could easily beat 1/2 and 2/4 but I'm holding back a bit to see how things go. I've also started the IGMPAY bonus over on Party and it is amazing how soft those games are. Sadly, the rake sucks (10% of a pot, OMG). If I wasn't making over $10/hr in bonus alone I'm not sure if it would be worth playing there. My numbers are solid (up $93 over a bit over 8 hours, mostly long-hand with about 15 minutes of shorthanded limit).

In the interest of full-disclosure I think I have been an the positive side of variance, but honestly I've been suprising myself with some of the reads and plays I have made and I feel like I'm learning a ton. I had been feeling like I was on a plateau for NLHE, but I definitely feel like I'm making huge leaps in LHE ability. This is good -- because the first time I play ring in a casino it will likely be limit, and I want to feel comfortable.

So, in summary, I've moved to limit hold'em for a little while and am on a hot streak. My bankroll is at an all-time high (over $1,250) even after buying a few things. The only thing I need now is time to play :)

But, we'll see how I feel when I hit a negative variance slide -- that will be the true test. My near term goal is to move up another limit or two and still feel like I am comfortably beating the limit. I think it is very possible (and my BR would support it) but I don't want to rush myself.

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