Saturday, 31 December 2011

300,000 VPPs

A tough grind in December comes to an end..!!


Friday, 30 December 2011

Occupy Pokerstars Mass Sit Out Protest Due to Rake Changes / VPP Calculation Method

During my time at Pokerstars I have seen various changes. Many of these have been welcomed and some have been opposed.

The recent announcement regarding the VPP calculation and rake changes is one of the worst decisions that Pokerstars has taken. This decision will have a direct impact on how much I play in 2012.

The rake changes due to take effect from Jan 1st 2012 have now been cancelled but in essence would have made some games more expensive to play at and some slightly cheaper to play at. The VPP calculation changes however are still due.

The rake changes are quite complex in the sense of how they affect different games and I believe that some of the 6max, CAP and short handed games would have been negatively hit while some of the full ring games at micro level would have received a small benefit. As this part has now been cancelled we don't need to discuss this too much compared with the real issue which is the VPP calculation and distribution.

This main issue revolves around how the bonus given by Pokerstars (VPPs) are calculated and distributed. They are changing from the 'Dealt' method to the 'Weighted Contributed' method. The change can be illustrated by this example:

Five players participate in a hand of $1/$2 No Limit Hold'em.
  • Player 1 raises to $6
  • Player 2 folds
  • Player 3 folds
  • Players 4 (the $1 small blind) calls
  • Players 5 (the $2 big blind) calls
  • Player 4 makes a bet of $9
  • Player 5 moves all in for $21
  • Player 1 folds
  • Player 4 calls
  • The remaining cards are dealt, and the $60 pot is awarded to Player 4
The pot is $60 in total. Players 4 & 5 contributed $27 each, and player 1 contributed $6. The total rake on this pot is $3, which is worth 16.5 VPPs.
Under the old method, all five players would receive an equal share of the points, i.e. 16.5 / 5 = 3.3 VPPs.
Under the new method, the VPPs will be awarded as follows:
  • Player 1 contributed $6 (10% of the pot) and so receives 1.65 VPPs.
  • Player 2 contributed $0 (0% of the pot) and so receives 0 VPPs.
  • Player 3 contributed $0 (0% of the pot) and so receives 0 VPPs.
  • Player 4 contributed $27 (45% of the pot) and so receives 7.43 VPPs.
  • Player 5 contributed $27 (45% of the pot) and so receives 7.43 VPPs.

Now while this may seem fairer there are more hidden issues they have not been addressed or mentioned by Pokerstars.

The bulk of money made by stars is from the cash ring game grinders who play hours on end everyday generating rake for the poker company. These guys will see a marked reduction in VPPs unless they play a really loose style which is rumoured to be around 25% VPIP+. The vast majority including myself will play a style which is a lot tighter and therefore under the new method will lose over the course of the year between 10-40% of our bonus. The tighter you play the more you stand to lose. These VPPs will then be given to the recreational players who splash money around on an evening after work or at the weekends.

Now this is a real insult to the loyal players who provide wages for the people who work at pokerstars through the rake they collect.

A secondary issue is that the recreational players have lower VIP status levels and therefore will recieve less FPPs which will be money collected directly by Stars. This should be pumped back into the poker community to compensate for the losses that grinders will incur but so far is not going to be.

Due to this announcement there has been uproar in the poker community and there is a strike planned on Jan 1st where players will sit out at 24 tables for two hours and tell other players at the tables to sit out too.

You can find more details here:

Please support our strike action if you are a player by sitting out during the planned 2 hours



Tuesday, 27 December 2011

I Stared Down the Devil....... and I Lost

There's a card game where you get 4 cards dealt to you instead of two. Surely this must be twice the fun of hold'em then?

After all if you have 4 cards to choose from then you can make so many more hands and it must be easier to win? Right? Wrong?

Well the game is Omaha and answer is Omaha is the DEVIL....!!

I have been playing this maniacs game for a short while now on the side and began okay. I started at PLO2 and beat that. I had bouts of variance at PLO5 and PLO10 but just about beat them too. I then moved up to PLO25 and started to read books and learn and came face to face with big variance.

This variance was visibly far greater than in hold'em even in my small sample of hands. The problem with Omaha is that your opponent is very rarely drawing dead. So they often get there and you take a bad beat.

In holdem if you are 80/20 to win 3 times in a row and you lose all 3 that is pretty bad running. However in Omaha you might be 65/35 or 60/40 when the money goes in and suddenly lose 20 of these in a row in very quick succession.

Even though the game is pot limit the money often gets all in with the numerous draws that exist.

I thought it might be interesting to look up the PTR pages of regulars that play this game and the results were very interesting.

What I found was that consistent winners in one league were suddenly big losers in another league and there was no decipherable pattern. The luck and variance factors seem to contribute a bit more than I like in this game.

In this example you can see the difference in stats of each league this player plays in:

It's just totally random.

In No Limit Hold'em winners are usually winners across each level they play and losers are the same.

Here is an another example:

This is just 2 examples but I saw this time and time again over many accounts.

What this tells me is that it is very hard to figure out who the really good players are and who the really bad ones are as there is often very little between them due to the gambling nature of Omaha.

So does this mean that I insta quit this game as it is unlikely that I can win consistently? Well you would think so, huh.... but... and here comes the but..... I have a small problem:

I F***ing Love this game and I am addicted

I am going to play once or twice a month only and not go above PLO25 but I am determined to find a way to beat the DEVIL. I could lose this battle big style but I have to give it a go.

If you want to know how sick this game can get then watch this short clip and take note of the outs and equity percentages that each player has.

Monday, 26 December 2011

Challenge Update - 26/12/2011

My Challenge to hit 300k VPPs is going pretty well as I have put in grind work pretty much everyday.

My game play has been terrible juggling 24 tables and I have been playing my 'C' game or maybe even worse. I have now dropped to 20 tables and feel a bit less pressured. I may drop to back to 16 for the last few days.

I am actually in the black slightly after being up almost $700 at one stage. Hope to activate my 'A' game from tomorrow.

I have around 8,700 VPPs left to get in 6 days which means around just under 1,500 per day which will take around 8 hrs a day at nl50.

I want to give my self new years eve night off to go out so I have put together the final plan as follows:

26/12/11 - 1,600 VPPs
27/12/11 - 1,600 VPPs
28/12/11 - 1,600 VPPs
29/12/11 - 1,600 VPPs
30/12/11 - 1,600 VPPs
31/12/11 - 700 VPPs

Almost there.....

Sunday, 25 December 2011

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Biggest Prize Pool Ever

A bit of history took place last Sunday when the weekly Sunday Million tournament was set with a guaranteed prize pool of $10,000,000 to celebrate 10 years of Pokerstars.

A prize of $2m was also guaranteed for first place.

I snap entered this with hopes of making the final table. An amazing 62,116 entrants made the cut off to register the largest pool in online tournament history of $12,423,200.

I managed to beat 94% of the field and score my largest MTT win of $729.63 finishing in 3,718th place.

A deal was done at the final table and the event ended as follows:

1. First-Eagle (Canada) $1,146,574.65*
2. Unstoffable (Spain) $580,724.34*
3. BLAABAR (Sweden) $709,896.78*
4. tunafish919 (Australia) $627,317.26*
5. Dimedroll (Russia) $995,996.85*
6. SkunkDen (Australia) $758,986.42*
7. fireballdia (Portugal) $182,406.00
8. kaalen (Sweden) $119,866.80
9. yokouno1980 (Israel) $86,512.56

*= reflects a six-way deal that left an additional $200,000 for the winner

A huge day for these guys

Congrats to BLAABAR who posts in my forum and finished 3rd.

The Actual Prize breakdown before the deal was:

1st -             $2,000,020.70
2nd -            $1,042,320.00
3rd -             $677,508.00
4th -             $489,890.40
5th -             $354,388.80
6th -             $255,368.40
7th -             $182,406.00
8th -             $119,866.80
9th -             $86,512.56
10th-12th -   $65,666.16
13th-15th -   $47,946.72
16th-18th -   $34,396.56
19th-27th -   $22,931.04
28th-45th -   $15,634.80
46th-63rd -   $11,986.68
64th-81st -    $8,859.72
82nd-99th -   $6,775.08

Surely one day I must make the final 9. I will keep trying..!!

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Just Can't Fade F*** All

The month seems to be getting worse chasing this damn milestone. I am now 24 Tabling for the first time in ages and while I am not playing my 'A' game I am getting done over by some serious beats over and over again.

Poker Stars $50.00 No Limit Hold'em - 9 players

MP2: $49.20
CO: $41.25
Hero (BTN): $66.20
SB: $50.00
BB: $37.05
UTG: $53.95
UTG+1: $65.30
UTG+2: $18.25
MP1: $39.50

Pre Flop: ($0.75) Hero is BTN with K of spades K of diamonds
6 folds, Hero raises to $1, SB raises to $3.50, BB calls $3, Hero raises to $9.90, SB raises to $50, 1 fold, Hero calls $40.10

Flop: ($103.50) 9 of diamonds J of spades 8 of spades (2 players)

Turn: ($103.50) 7 of clubs (2 players)

River: ($103.50) 6 of diamonds (2 players)

Final Pot: $103.50

Hero shows K of spades K of diamonds
SB shows T of spades Q of spades

SB wins $100.50
(Rake: $3.00)

This was quite and interesting hand as I played it a bit tricky and shoved the flop to make my hand look like an AKs or some other draw. The villain tanked for a while and made the crying call

Poker Stars $50.00 No Limit Hold'em - 7 players

BB: $53.30
UTG: $40.70
UTG+1: $27.30
MP: $50.00
CO: $51.55
Hero (BTN): $99.85
SB: $16.50

Pre Flop: ($0.75) Hero is BTN with K of diamonds K of hearts
4 folds, Hero raises to $1, SB raises to $3, BB raises to $9, Hero calls $8, 1 fold

Flop: ($21.00) 8 of hearts 4 of hearts Q of spades (2 players)
BB checks, Hero bets $90.85, BB calls $44.30 all in

Turn: ($109.60) 6 of diamonds (2 players - 1 is all in)

River: ($109.60) Q of hearts (2 players - 1 is all in)

Final Pot: $109.60

BB shows Q of clubs A of spades
Hero shows K of diamonds K of hearts

BB wins $106.60
(Rake: $3.00)

Poker Stars $50.00 No Limit Hold'em - 9 players

UTG: $46.25
UTG+1: $20.00
UTG+2: $51.70
MP1: $79.55
MP2: $54.15
CO: $61.40
Hero (BTN): $61.50
SB: $16.80
BB: $50.00

Pre Flop: ($0.75) Hero is BTN with Q of spades T of spades
3 folds, MP1 raises to $1.50, 1 fold, CO raises to $2.50, Hero calls $2.50, 2 folds, MP1 calls $1

Flop: ($8.25) K of spades 5 of spades 6 of spades (3 players)

MP1 checks, CO bets $1.50, Hero calls $1.50, MP1 raises to $11, CO calls $9.50, Hero raises to $22, MP1 raises to $77.05, CO calls $47.90 all in, Hero calls $37 all in

Turn: ($185.15) 9 of spades (3 players - 2 are all in)

River: ($185.15) A of hearts (3 players - 2 are all in)

Final Pot: $185.15

MP1 shows 5 of diamonds 5 of clubs
CO shows A of spades 8 of clubs
Hero shows Q of spades T of spades

CO wins $181.95
(Rake: $3.00)
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