Monday, February 27, 2012

#WBCOOP 2012 - First 5 Events

It's been quite the ride in the #WBCOOP series so far.

I'm currently playing my 5th event - PL 5 Card Draw.

I got off to a frustrating start in my first event, finishing in 11th place in the Badugi, just short of the 8 player final table. Unfortunately that's been my deepest run so far.

It's been great fun to play a mix of different games. So far I have logged just one NLHE event and played one each of PL5CD,  PLO8, Badugi and 7 Card Stud H/L.

I should probably brush up on some of these games, but the payouts have been so flat that I've been lucky enough to cash 3 of the 4 events I have completed so far.

Let's hope I can get something going in one of the remaining events and finally make it to the final table!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

A Bluffers Guide to Badugi for the WBCOOP

I have a confession to make. I have only played Badugi a few times in my life.

The game is relatively new compared to games like Omaha and NLHE, but that's no excure not to learn an exciting new game!

If, like me, you intend to play in tonight's WBCOOP Badugi tournament, here's a quick guide:

Each player is dealt four cards face down, and the preflop action is the same as Hold’em (Button, SB, BB then action moves to the left). After the first round of betting, the first draw takes place. Players can discard any number of cards from 0 to 4 and receive an equal number of cards in return.

A second round of betting then starts, after which there is a second draw.  This is followed by two further draws, with the third and fourth betting rounds after each one.

If at least two players make it to this stage, there will be a showdown.

Hand rankings in Badugi are unlike those in any other poker game. Players only receive four cards of course, and unlike many popular games, suited cards and pairs count against you.

A four card Badugi hand must consist of all four suits and no pairs. For example:

Ah 3s 4d 6c

Any four card Badugi hand beats any three card hand, which would be any three non-suited cards and one that either paired one of the others, or was the same suit, for example:

Ah 3s 4d 4c


Ah 3s 4d 5d

A two card hand would be any hand where only two cards qualify, and two others are either the same suit, or pair one of the others. A one card hand would be one where just one card qualifies.

The best possible hand in Badugi is A234 with four different suits.

If two hands contain the same number of qualifying cards, the hands are evaluated by comparing the highest card in each hand, lowest wins. For example:

Ah 3s 4d 5c


Ah 4s 6d Kc

When drawing one card, remember that there are only 10 possible cards from the remaining deck that can improve your hand (all the hands from the required suit, minus those that make a pair) so working out your outs against a given opponent should be easy relative to some other forms of poker. This allows you to calculate your pot odds too, which again should be easy as tonight’s tournament is fixed limit.

As with any poker game, a solid understanding of the rules is essential to success. Failing that (as will be the case with many tonight, I’m sure) it’s important to take advantage of transitional poker concepts like position and aggressiveness.

Many players have won big tournaments at the WSOP after just a few hours of playing a particular game. Let’s hope I’m able to replicate that tonight!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

WBCOOP Tournie Choices

After a somewhat late submission to the WBCOOP I finally have my tickets. Now there is just the small matter of deciding which events to play!

PokerStars have given us 10 tickets for the 30 tournaments (there are 31 events total, including the main event) so I need to decide which ones to play.

I think all of the weekday 10am ET tournaments are out, so that at least rounds it down a little.

There are some events with great prizepools which have relatively few entrants. For example, the NLHE shootout, event 5, currently has over 200 people registered with 81 getting paid. Event 3 may be Badugi, but there are currently only 57 players registered and it pays out to 96 people. I think I can take my hand to a little Badugi with those odds!

I'm sure the numbers will go up as the tournies start, but the field sizes will be weighted towards the NLHE events. For that reason, I'm going to try to play a mix:

Event 3 - FL Badugi
Event 5 - NLHE [Triple Shootout]
Event 8 - NLHE
Event 12 - Stud Hi/Lo [Turbo]
Event 15 - NLHE [6-Max, Turbo]
Event 20 - PLHE [Turbo]
Event 24 - NL Omaha Hi/Lo
Event 26 - PLO Hi/Lo
Event 28 - HORSE
Event 29 - NLHE [6-Max]

And hopefully...

Event 31 - Main Event!

I'm really looking forward to this, so keep an eye on the blog and my Twitter account @jackrabbitslims for updates as the series progresses.

Monday, February 20, 2012

World Blogger Championship of Online Poker

It's time for the World Blogger Championship of Online Poker again!

This year, Pokerstars have asked all wouldbe participants to submit a blog explaining what we would do with the $5,000 Best Blogger prize.

For me the choice would be easy, I'd use the money to travel to and play in some of the UKIPT events this year.

Pokerstars has 7 more events planned this year, in Nottingham, Dublin, Newcastle, Swansea, Edinburgh, Cork and London.

I don't think I could miss the chance to play in London, since it's so close. I think exploring two new places on top of that would be fun, so I would probably go for Edinburgh and Cork. I have never been to either, so it would be fun to mix playing in a UKIPT event with exploring the local sites and taking in their respective cultures.

I have been to Ireland for a couple of poker tournaments, but those were held in Dublin. Cork looks like an interesting place to visit. It’s the second largest city in Ireland and is referred to by it’s locals as the "real capital of Ireland".

The Irish spirit is sure to be alive and well at the UKIPT event and there’s no doubt they’ll put on a good show!

While I’m there I might have to take some time to catch some Gaelic football if possible. I have always wanted to watch a game, and since the sport is so big in Ireland, I’m sure I’ll find a place to watch some.

The two remaining stops on the UKIPT that I haven’t been to are Swansea and Edinburgh. I have to admit, its close between those two, but Edinburgh just gets there ahead. I have been to Wales a few times before, but never to Scotland, so that swings it.

I’m a big whisky fan too, so while I’m in Edinburgh I’ll take the chance to visit the Scotch Whisky Experience and do the tour they offer while I’m there.

I’ve played in a few WBCOOP over the years and they are always great tournaments. There is something about the camaraderie in a bloggers tournament that you just don’t get in other poker events. As a guy, I imagine it’s not unlike that of the atmosphere in a Women’s tournament. Everyone wants to win, of course, but everyone at least has some fun with it.

Plus, with blogger tournaments you never know when you’re going to read about a hand you played! Because everyone is blogging a tweeting about the experience you can be sure to run into someone who was at one of your tables. 

I’m looking forward to it. There is a great mix of game types, and even Badugi has been thrown into the mix! I prefer to play in a rage of games because an all NLHE series could get a little boring.

This series has everything, PLO, Turbo’s, 6-max, Stud, Deepstacks and even HORSE and the 8-Game.

I’ll have to brush up on my skills in some of those games.

If you’re a blogger and haven’t already got yourself registered for the WBCOOP, get yourself over to the registration page. It’s free to enter, and there are some fantastic prizes on offer.

There are 31 events in total and each participant will get 10 tickets to play in events.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Pokerstars iPhone/iPad app

At long last, Pokerstars has released an app for iOS devices.

This now means you can play your regular games anywhere you have connection and battery power.

I downloaded the software and I have to say, I'm impressed! It has all of the functionality you would expect, and they have really brought the online poker experience to the iPhone and iPad.

While it works really well on the iPhone, it can be a bit fiddly. That's down to the device though, and not the software, as on the iPad it's an absolute dream to play!

I have now officially won my first real money tournament on my phone (a 6-max hyper turbo, but still....).

So download the software and give it a go!

Monday, January 30, 2012

January Review

I managed to get much more volume in to start the year than I expected. I’d still like to play a bit more if I can, but I’m on track to put in decent volume if I can carry on like this.

The games on PokerStars have been great, and there is still plenty of action at the stakes I play. In the current online climate I’m really grateful for such a solid site, and one that we can trust.

As for the training: so far, so good.

I have watched quite a few videos so far, and I have found them more useful than I thought. Setting smaller goals means I’m not trying to plough through something to get it done. I’m taking my time and making sure I’m in the right mood before I get started.

Hand reviews haven’t been quite so good. I did review a handful of tournament hand histories, but I need to get cracking and go though a more meaningful amount of data.

The math review has been a bit hot and miss. I have done a couple of short sessions with the good old ICM calculator, but each time I have been distracted by the lure of playing instead. I need to exercise more discipline and ensure I’m in the right mindset to learn, as I have done with the training videos.

I have also joined a discussion group, which really helps me concentrate. It’s quite late in the day for me, which means that it’s at a time I can’t actually play. That’s good, because I can focus on learning rather than playing.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

2012: I'm ready for you

I didn’t get the chance to play as much as I would have liked in 2011, but towards the end of the year I started to get back into it, and really enjoyed playing again.

This year the focus for me will be on learning. I have played hundreds of thousands of hands but certainly haven’t done as much studying as I should have. So this year, I’m going to make a real effort, and here’s how:

Training Sites

I still have my DC subscription, so I’ll be making full use of that. I’m not a fan of setting huge targets, rather breaking them down and making them more achievable. So I think watching, reviewing and taking notes on at least two videos a week is a good place to start. While I don’t think they are the best way to learn for me personally, they give a great insight into other peoples approaches to the game. It’s rare I watch a video without learning at least something.

I’ll also look into some of the other sites to see if I’m missing out elsewhere. Sometimes a change is good and can re-ignite your interest.


I have gotten very sloppy with my math, using rough figures to make decisions that can often be wrong. I need a quick brush up on the basics and a solid run though a bunch of hands from an ICM perspective. I’m playing a lot more MTT SNG’s so solid ICM is essential. Let’s say I’ll run 100 hands through in the next 4 weeks…

Hand Reviews

I also need to spend a decent amount of time reviewing hands and critiquing my own play. I don’t review hands often enough, which is bad because whenever I do I tend to find leaks and mistakes. Concentrating on previous hands is a great way to make sure what I’m watching in the videos is being applied in my play. I might think is it, but this will help me spot those areas that need work, informing my future video selections. I think I should spend 4 hours between now and the end of the month.

I think that’ll do for now. I’ll add more as I think of them.

Best of luck to everyone in 2012 - hope it’s a big year!