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Thursday, March 8, 2012

Monthly Update: February

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February took a bad turn.  After making over $47,000 in profit pre rakeback in January, I lost almost $22,000 pre rakeback in Fenruary.  March has been no different.
Here's my February adjusted EV graph.

As you can see in my adjusted luck graph, my EV was still good.  As you will see on my sharkscope graph, the HEM average stake is a little off, but my adjusted profit in February was $19,443, so I ran over $41,000 below EV on the month.  This is the frustrating part of playing a wide range of stakes.  Your overall profit is heavily influenced by a small sample of games at your highest stakes.  This can bring much higher than normal swings.  Thankfully, I think my mental game is pretty strong.  While I think everyone's game is at least slightly affected by huge downswings, the goal is to still play at a very high level.  I think I have done that, and my EV graph reflects that opinion.  I've certainly had worse downswings, and I'm sure I will have more that are just as bad or worse.  

I always hear of pros breaking laptops and other things when the cards go bad.  I've never even come close to doing such a thing.  In reality, variance is what makes the game so profitable.  If it weren't for variance, the bad players would never win, and would probably just choose not to play.  I think it's important to remind yourself of that when going through a downswing.  Thinking you don't deserve it isn't going to get you anywhere.  You need to worry about what you can control, and that's playing your best.  People always ask me how I deal with the emotions of the game.  That pretty much sums it up.  That said, it's still frustrating as a competitor, but the goal is to not let that frustration affect your play.

My sharkscope stats for February and for the year, as of today, as well as my 2012 sharkscope graph:

In March I'm down another $23,000 so far, so it's more of the same.  However, my luck adjusted yearly profit is almost $55,000.  That would be good for a $14K lead on the 2012 Merge any game by network leaderboard right now.  Thinking in terms of adjusted EV, rather than actual money won or lost is the best way to look at things.  It should all even out in the long run.

Here's my HEM 2012 adjusted EV graph.

Again, the HEM average stake is a little off but you get the picture.  The graph also understates how far I am running below EV, because it is based on average ROI, not total ROI.

I have talked in my blog a lot about how sitting other winning regs in HU SNGs can be very beneficial if you can get good enough and learn to beat them.  I still hear regs complain all the time when I sit them, claiming that neither of us is making any money and that I just have a big ego.  Well that simply isn't true.  Proof that sitting other winning regs in HU SNGs can be a +EV move is below.

HEM adjusted EV graph of other winning regs when playing me:

In HEM I created a global alias of every HU reg I can think of that I have ever played on Lock.  The global alias then combines the stats of all of these players.  I've certainly forgotten to include some people, but if I forgot a player I probably haven't played them much, and they're also probably a very low tier reg, meaning that including them would likely only make the results of the alias worse.  As you can see, I have played 2,471 HU SNGs against these winning regs this year, which is over 46% of my total games.  The regs have combined for a -3.9% ROI against me.  Considering that these stats include rake of 1.5%, this means that my adjusted ROI against them is 2.4.  My total adjusted ROI on the year is 2.6%, meaning that my adjusted ROI against non regs is probably somewhere around 2.8%.  That's only a 0.4% drop in ROI from playing randoms.  You may be thinking, well why would you want to play regs if your ROI is lower against them than against randoms?  The answer is simple, you don't have to wait to play regs.  They're sitting 1st and you just sit them.  This brings a huge increase to your games/hr, and ultimately to your hourly rate, which is what it's all about.  So far this year I'm getting in about 26 games/hour.  Considering my average stake is $400 and a lot of the time I will only be 1 to 2 tabling $500s or $1Ks because I don't sit lower while playing them and most people don't want to play more than 1 or 2 tables of them, I think that's a pretty high games/hr.

I'd also like to talk about why I think there's such a small difference between my ROI against randoms and my ROI against winning regs.  A simple assumption would be that I play very well against regs, but don't always maximize my equity against fish.  That may very well be true, but I think there's at the very least other reasons behind it.  When you play randoms you usually don't get to play them for very many games.  Often you play them once and then never see them again.  When this is the case you usually aren't able to develop very good reads on the player, and you're forced to go off of population tendencies.  Well, the range of styles and plays that a random will make in any given hand is pretty drastic, and going off of population tendencies isn't usually going to allow you to maximally exploit that each player individually.  

Then there's regs.  You are usually able to play regs in a lot more games, increasing your sample size of hands on them, therefore increasing the confidence that each play you make is correct against that player.  As two players play each other over and over the more skilled player is likely to gain an even bigger edge because they can get better reads and adapt their play to maximally exploit their opponent.  Even if a reg always declines a rematch and you don't play them much, the range in differences of style and play from one reg to the next is much smaller than it is of a random.  Many have pretty similar styles.  Therefore, going off what you consider to be the population tendency for a reg in any given play is going to be much closer to the 100% correct play than going off the population tendency for a random will be.

Another factor to consider when playing regs is that you are often playing them at multiple tables.  Playing one player at 3 tables is a lot easier than playing 3 different players on 3 tables.  Playing against only one player will allow you to focus a lot more and get better reads, which you can then use to maximally exploit them.

That brings me to another point.  Most of my HU SNGs I have played while 4-6 tabling.  Sometime in December I decided that I would try to usually play no more than 3 tables, considering that my average stake had increased, increasing the skill level of my average competition.  I felt that 3 tables was the optimal number for increasing my hourly rate.  However, I'm sometimes willing to make an exception.  One case where I'll make an exception is if a reg will 4-6 table me at reasonable stakes.  There's a couple reasons I will make an exception in this case.  As I have already stated, it's a lot easier to focus playing 1 player on 3 tables than 3 players on 3 tables.  Second off, in this case your opponent on every table is at the same disadvantage, that being a lack of focus, as you are.  I think I multi table about as anyone on Merge in HU SNGs, but I still would cap the number of tables I would play any given reg at 5 or 6 unless the games were $500+.  This is because I would always like to  stay registered for the $500s and $1Ks, considering how valuable they are.  Also, I'd obviously have to be pretty certain that I have a good edge on the reg, as I wouldn't stay registered for games under $500 if I was already playing 4 or more tables against a reg.

Hopefully this brought up some things you hadn't thought about or you at least found it interesting.

Lock has kicked off their first ever tournament series this month with great success.  The tournament series is called Poker Maximus and the schedule can be found here: http://thepokermaximus.com/poker-tournaments.html If you don't already have a Lock account, you can sign up here https://twitter.com/#!/jhubpoker for VIP benefits (http://jaredhubbard.com/lock%20vip.htm).  Also, be sure to enter the code LOCK150 for a 150% deposit bonus up to $750.  Lock accepts U.S. players.  We also recently launched our own cashier, separate from the Merge network so that you can withdraw and receive your money quickly.  Lock is running a rake race this month as well: http://lockpoker.eu/promos/rally-for-riches-race/

I plan on playing the $100+ Sunday Poker Maximus events when I can.  Last Sunday I played the $109 $175,000 guaranteed and the $215 $80,000 guaranteed high roller.  They didn't go too well.  In the $109 I lthink we were about 3 hours in and I 3bet an aggro button raiser with JJ.  He 4bet all in for 19BBs, which is obviously a snap call for me whether he's aggro or a nit.  He woke up with QQ and held.  A short time after I raised in MP with QJs and got 2 callers.  I'm thinking I probably had 15-20BBs.  The flop came something like J83 with 2 diamonds, giving me a monster with top pair, an overcard, and a flush draw.  I bet the flop and got 1 caller.  The turn was a brick.  I pushed all in for what was about a pot sized bet and got snap called by K8.  I was about an 80% favorite when we put the money in.  Unfortunately he rivered an 8 and I was out.  This play illustrates how soft the fields were though so sign up for Lock now!  #ShamelessPlug

In the $215 high roller I 3bet a very aggro MP raiser in the CO with 97.  He flatted out of position with J4s.  On the flop I hit middle pair and he check/called a gut shot.  The turn was checked and the turn and river came running 4s.  He led into me on the river for a large bet near the size of the pot.  Knowing what I knew about this player I expected him to almost always bluff a missed draw in this spot.  He also represented very little for value.  The only hand he really repped well for value was a flopped straight or trip 4s.  Both were pretty unlikely, especially the trips considering he would have had to call a 3bet out of position with a 4 in his hand & then check/call the flop with a 4 in his hand.  He also couldn't expect me to have a big hand considering how the hand played out but I wasn't sure if he would actually think that through.  I decided that the vast majority of his range was missed draws, and I was getting a great price on the call at about 2:1 considering the makeup of his range.  I called and lost a large chunk of my stack.  Later I picked up in the CO with a stack of about 18BBs.  Considering there were antes in play, I think this would be a reasonable spot to just open shove in an MTT.  However, the 3 players behind me were all aggressive 3bettors and I was 90% sure that none of them would flat if I made a standard raise of 2.25x the BB.  Considering this info, the clear play was obviously to 2.25x raise/call instead of open jam.  If I open jam I will never get a better hand to fold, but I will often fold out hands I dominate like smaller pairs, and hands like 76s & A5s.  If I 2.25x the small pairs are reshoving almost every time and considering the players behind me, I expect some other stuff I dominate to reshove as well.  I opened to 2.25x and just as I expected the button 3bet me.  He and the blinds had larger stacks so 3bet shoving would have been an overbet for him, but making a standard 3bet does the same thing vs me, since he knows I'm never going to flat a 3bet at that stack.  I shoved and the button showed up with 99 and held.  GG

Hopefully the hand analysis made things a little more interesting.  It's something I'm willing to do with MTT hands since I play so few MTTs, but not something I'm willing to do with HU SNG hands.

I will be playing the $1,000 Minnesota State Poker Championship this Sunday at Canterbury Park.  It will be the first live poker tournament I have played since winning the Canterbury Fall Classic Main Event for $70,769 (http://www.mnpokermag.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/NovemberIssue2.pdf).  Back to back live tournament wins?

I wrapped up my February promotion (http://www.easiestpokersites.com/lock-poker-elite-pro-jared-hubbard-challenges-fans-to-heads-up-battle) with success.  I was 26-10 in the HU matches for the promotion.  My favorite answer to the trivia questions goes to Mikey Vee on facebook.  The question was: What injury was I rehabbing from when I started my first online poker account?  He replied with "swollen vagina."  Well played sir.  Well played.

Below is a review of all of the daily trivia questions from the promo and a list of the people who beat me in the HU games at the bottom:

What was my online profit in 2007? ($251,388.84)

What is the name of my dog and who is he a fan of? (Gunnar – Twins)

Where was my most recent Live Tournament win? How much did I take down? (Canterbury Fall Classic - $70,769)

When did I turn pro? (2007)

How much have I earned in rakeback to date? ($640,000)

What is the symbol of my sponsor Lock Poker?

What did I say in my interview with DALEROXXU about what my first deposit was when I started? ($50)

Feb 8 Trivia ?: In 4 years of playing 6 man SNGs, how many years did I lead the world in total profit pre rakeback?

Feb 9 Trivia ?: Who won most of my money in my last losing #poker session?

Feb 10 Trivia ?: What was my screen name on Absolute Poker?

Feb 11 Trivia ?: What's my favorite TV show of all time?

Feb 12 trivia?: What players were #1 & #2 on 2008 sharkscope any game 5 to 6 players any stakes lb? List screen name & site.
1.     Jhub3000, Pokerstars 2. Jhub3000, Cake

Feb 13 trivia?: What injury was I rehabbing from when I started up my 1st online #poker account?
Torn Achilles tendon

Feb 14 Trivia ?: What's my wife's name & when did we get married?
Paula: August 8th, 2009

2/15 Trivia ?: Name 1 real life example I compared the tyraak situation to in today's blog.
Dropping a wallet on the street, etc…

2/16 Trivia ?: What company designs my website & created this trivia promotion?

2/17 Trivia ?: What stakes did I say start playing #poker at online in my Poker verdict interview? 
$1 & $2 SNGs

‎2/18 trivia?: In my interview w/ PokerUpdate what did I say is the main difference between online & live?
Online is much more aggressive

‎2/19/12 Trivia?: Before becoming a professional #poker player, what was my major in college?
Business administration

2/20 Trvia ?: In my Interview w/ PokerLizard how many SNGs did I say I play at a time?

2/21 Trivia?: In my interview w/ PokerWorks how did I say I handle bankroll management? 
100-200 buy-ins online

2/22 Trivia?: Fill in the blank: In STTs I stated: After 3,000 games you are x likely to be within x of your true ROI
90%, 5%

2/23 trivia?: In my interview on Tourneyblog what did I list as my interests outside of #poker ?
Sports, fantasy football, camping, fishing, working out.

2/24 trivia?: What city did my US Poker Bowl team represent? hint: PokerVerdict
San Diego (meaning a whales vagina according to Ron Burgundy)

2/25 trivia?: In my PokerVerdict interview what book did I say revolutionized the way I play #poker?
Harrington on Hold em

2/26 trivia?: Who was on my US #Poker Bowl team?
Alex Jacob, Shaun Deeb, Thayer Rasmussen, Peter Feldman, Jordan Morgan

2/27 trivia?: What games did I mostly play on Pokerroom? Hint: PokerNewsBoy
5 handed SNGs

2/28 trivia?: In my interview w/ #Poker Verdict what 5 adjectives did I say best describe me?
Sarcastic, motivated, loyal, easy going, dedicated

‎2/29 trivia?: In my Parttime #Poker interview name 1 player that I said reviewed my games as I was learning SNGs.
Atomicdog239, MikeMcQ1, Newt_Buggs, BigJoe2003

Matt Miller
Erik Heights (2 wins)
Marc Alioto
Mark Hoke

I had a question about labels on blogspot.  If you know the answer just let me know.  I was wondering if you put spaces in a label if it still works.  For example, does the label online poker work, or do you need to put onlinepoker?  I couldn't find the answer on google.

Thanks & GL,


Thursday, March 1, 2012

Weekly Interview Series: Nicky Evans

If you like my blog please click the BlogTopList vote button to the right. This will give my blog a better ranking & help increase traffic to my blog. Thanks.

To signup to play at Lock Poker:
1. Clear cookies & internet history
2. Either click the banner above or 1 of the following links:
After signing up please make sure jhub3000@hotmail.com is listed as a safe sender in your email. You can also email me with any questions. Before you begin playing on Lock, or even if you already do play on there, you will probably want to read this post about optimizing the software: http://jhubpoker.blogspot.com/2011/06/making-most-out-of-lock-pokers-software.html

For daily updates & other ramblings please follow me on twitter http://twitter.com/#!/jhubpoker

Please like my facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jared-Hubbard-Poker/221586851240049

Fellow Lock Elite Pro Nicky Evans is my next interviewee for my new weekly interview series.  You can read the interview below.
How did you get started in poker?  How old were you?  What did you play?  How did you progress through the stakes and different games?

I Started playing poker in my 1st year at university. I was 18 years old at the time and it all started with $10 No Limit texas holdem home games in my halls of residence. I progressed onto playing small rebuy tournaments at the local casino in brighton England where i met James Dempsey. James started backing me for mid stakes live multi table tournaments in 2006 and he coached me  online. After getting to grips with online poker i started to grind full time in 2009 where i met some great poker players like chris moorman. I switched over to being backed by Chris in 2010 which enabled me to play all the high buyin live and online events. 
What has worked best for you over the years in regards to improving your game?

I would have to say that having a pool of around 15 professional poker players at my disposal 24/7 on skype really helps and the views and opinions of these guys has opened up my mind to different ways we can adapt to our opponents. I feel like i used to follow set rules and guidelines when grinding mtt's (10bb do this-20bb do that) but talking with these guys has enabled me to keep up to date with player tendancies with certain stack sizes and ways to exploit those tendancies. 

How old are you now?

How many tables do you usually play online?
I used to play up to 20 tables at a time during full tilt multi entry week but now i try to focus on playing less tables. I played a session of mtt's earlier today and i peaked at 14 tables but i averaged around 9 tables throughout the 8 hour session. 

How many hours per week do you usually play?  How many hours per week do you usually spend total on poker-related activities?
I try to play a full MTT schedule across all the major sites on Tuesday and Sunday which usually lasts around 10 hours per day and then i usually play 3-4 more days on Lock Poker playing MTT's and sit n go's which usually lasts around 5-8 hours a day. So most of the time i play around 40-50 hours a week but i have been known to take lazy weeks. I also try to blog once or twice a month at nickyevans.co.uk and i regularly tweet/facebook poker related articles. I am looking to start doing some training videos for Tournament Poker Edge in the near future. 

What kind of a computer setup do you have for playing?  Do you use any poker software?
I have a 17 inch Macbook pro attached to a 23 inch external monitor. I try to tile 12 tables on the external monitor before using my Macbooks screen for tables and i use the laptop screen for lobbys and skype. I have recently switched over from holdem manager 2 to poker tracker 3. HM2 was way to glitchy for my liking and it was easy enough to export all of my hands over so ive been using it for the past few weeks. 
What are your short term & long term poker goals?
ultimately my short term goals are to continuously improve my play while making money on a month to month basis. I would love to one day capture a big live title (wpt, ept, wsop) but i only really play 4-5 weeks of live poker a year at the wsop and maybe 1 or 2 other live events per year. 

How long do you plan on playing poker for a living?
I think i will try to play the WSOP main event and some of the side events every year but i would like to start some other projects that ultimately lead me away from being a full time grinder. The beauty of playing poker is the ability to make your own schedule. I have 2 dogs, a fiancee and hopefully one day some children so my goal is to make enough money to provide for my family so i can enjoy watching my kids grow up. Its hard to put a timestamp on it but in 5 years time i would like to think that i would have other projects on the go that will occupy more of my time than poker. 

At this point in your career does poker feel more like a hobby or a job?  Do you still enjoy the game as much as you used to?

After playing poker for 6 years i still love the game when things are going my way. I find it really exciting when im deep in a really big tournament but obviously it becomes a little tiresome when things are not going great. It definetly feels like a job more so than a hobby but i still get excited to load up the computer on a sunday as on any given Sunday you can win 6 figures! I have had a huge downswing in the past and it really starts to eat you alive but luckily i managed to dig my way out of the whole. I am a big beleiver in taking some time off to clear your mind when things are taking a turn for the worse. I try to put things into perspective and i realise that i am lucky to make a living playing a game of cards so overall i am very happy that i stumbled across poker all those years back.

You recently won a $2,500 Fallsview Poker Classic event in Niagara Falls for $240,000 after deals.  How did it feel to win so much money in one tournament and has this inspired you to play more live events?
It was a huge weight off of my shoulders. I have been so close to huge scores on mutiple occasions and ive not managed to close out so this was more of a relief than anything. Since winning the event i have put in more hours online than the previous 3 months month so i guess it has inspired me to play more. In regards to playing more live poker i hate flying and im in a pretty serious relationship so being a live grinder just isnt feasible and to be completely honest i dont think i would enjoy being on the road all the time. Saying that..... I cant wait for the WSOP to roll around now!

How do you adjust your game when playing a live event as opposed to an online MTT?
 I read a really good article by Casey 'BigDogpckt5s' Jarzabek a few weeks back called 'The killer Instinct' (http://www.nickyevans.co.uk/#/articles/4554588940) and it just opened my eyes to the fact that i was probably playing a bit to conservative in areas i should be doing the complete opposite. Its safe to say that most high stakes mtt guys are going to be fairly competant so i play with the assumption that online players  know what they are doing until they prove otherwise whereas live i take an alternative approach. I try to play a similar game live to online but obviously you can make some cool adjustments as you can instantly profile people and assign them pretty accurate ranges in most situations. I tend to stereotype youngsters as competant, woman as tight, middle aged men as solid and old guys as tight or insane and i will make adjustements based on how i see them play over the time i spend at the tables.I find that in live tournaments most recreational players really tighten up around the money bubble and then around the final table bubble and these were the 2 spots that i went to work in the $2,500 and made alot of chips. Alot of people get stuck in the routine of following a set of rules for certain stack sizes and hands and positions but in live poker you can bend those rules and make plays that would be unprofitable online into a profitable live play. Raise folding off smaller stacks, 3b folding off smaller stacks and other quirky plays become much more profitable live as people dont tend to pay attention to the stack sizes and situations and just assume a 3b means the player has a good hand or that they cant play vs an open as they have a bad hand. 

If you never got into poker, what do you think you would be doing for a living right now?
When i was at university i studied Business and Marketing so i would probably be working in a bank or something similar.
How did you go about getting a Lock Pro Elite contract?  How has your experience at Lock been so far?
Lock approached me 2 years back for a small rakeback deal but i was grinding MTT's so it wasnt realistic. Last year in June i was contacted again through my poker agent at Poker Players International (PPI) Randy Kasper and i took a serious look into the company and there vision. I spoke with Eric Lynch for a few weeks on and off and i really liked the direction Lock were headed. They had some great ideas and the roster of Pro's were solid in American and European markets. Lock have been great to me! The pro team is like a family more than a team and i love representing them. They have gone from strength to strength over the past year and they continue to listen to what the players want and they do there best to accomodate. I would like to run a little better on the site though as im losing quite a bit in MTT's right now :( 
What do you like to do in your spare time besides poker? 

i love going to the gym, playing soccer, watching any type of sports, eating, MMA, socialising and trying out new things. 

What are your favorite movies and TV shows?  Who are your favorite bands/musical artists?
Anything with denzel washington, edward norton kevin spacey or morgan freeman. 
24, dexter, The Event, breaking bad, cough 'greys anatomy' cough. 
Music is practically impossible to rank as its all mood dependant but lately ive been listening to lifehouse, eminem, evanescence and daughtry. 
What’s your favorite food? 
Me and my Fiancee Barbara have been trying out various diets lately. I am currently on the Paleo Diet which is basically the caveman diet. Its all meats and vegetables which im a huge fan of! I love all foods and Barbara is from an Italian family so cooking is a huge part of our life. I love seafood aswell so i really am easy to please in the food department. The only thing i will not eat is celery.... i cant handle the after taste
What’s your favorite place you have traveled to?
I love being in las vegas with all of my friends for the world series. The novelty is probably starting to wear off a little but i have easily had some of my greatest days/nights messing around in Vegas. I also love going to the cottage in the summer in northern ontario with all my friends for bbq's, beer and volleyball.

Thanks for taking the time to do this & good luck at the tables.

For more on Nicky Evans you can follow him on twitter @nickyevanspoker and go to his homepage at http://www.nickyevans.co.uk/

You can sign up for Lock Poker here http://download.lockpoker.com/jaredhubbard for a 150% deposit bonus and VIP benefits (http://jaredhubbard.com/lock%20vip.htm)
In case you missed the past weekly interviews, here they are: