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I can summarise July with the following 2 facts:

1. I lost $111.25 over 14,608 hands.

2. I moved up to 25NL lol!

Most of the loss was actually in 25NL. After a good start I had one single session where I lost $115 (ie all of my months losses) due to a combination of bad play and bad luck.

I feel comfortable with the decision to move up. I have made up most of that loss and feel like I am playing solidly. The decision was triggered by the Pokerstars offer of 40% bonus for depositing towards the end of July. My bankroll stands at $609, however I have a “virtual” bankroll of $859 on the basis that in about another 13,000 hands, I will pick up my $100 bonus for the deposit, plus I will be able to cash in for another $100 using my FPP as I qualify to be a Silver VPP on Pokerstars. Then after about another 5,000 hands I can cash in for another $50 using FPP. The caveat to this of course is that I don’t go bust in the next 13,000 hands!

Then hopefully it is on to $1,500 for the next move up!! Maybe. It might not happen, but I think over the next 2-3 months I will get to play ~50,000 hands and get an idea of whether I am a winning player at this level. Of course my experience with 10NL tells me that you probably need > 100,000 hands to know that for sure.

I know I still have a lot to learn. One of the things I am grappling with at the moment is overplaying big pairs like top pair, good kicker, and overpairs. I showed the hand I lost with AA v a flopped two pair (which accounted for almost half my monthly loss!) Since then I have lost with AK a few times when I probably should have folded without a showdown. I am sure this is a leak and it can be a considerable one. I am now trying to think about each situation in a hand in terms of EV. For example, take the following hand from a session today:

PokerStars No-Limit Hold’em, $0.25 BB (5 handed)

UTG ($25)
Hero ($28.85)
Button ($14.60)
SB ($15.25)
BB ($26.10)

Preflop: Hero is MP with , .
1 fold, Hero raises to $1, 2 folds, BB raises to $3, Hero calls $2.

Flop: ($6.10) , , (2 players)
BB bets $3, Hero calls $3.

Turn: ($12.10) (2 players)
BB bets $6, Hero folds.

Final Pot: $12.10

Results in white below:
No showdown. BB wins $12.10.

Not very exciting I know, but the way I thought about this hands was not in terms of whether I made a bad lay down (which I may have), but in term of EV. Btw, I didn’t know much about this player with few hands played between us. I know that there are times when I would have raised on the flop, or even shoved here. But unlike other times when I would literally click the all-in button with my eyes closed (lol), I stopped to think about it and used all of my time (regardless of other tables waiting for me). Here was an unknown player reraising me preflop and then betting on the flop on a scary board. I thought that if I reraised on the flop, if he shoved what do you do? I am not ready to give up the hand yet and a call was still cheap reasonably cheap with 3:1 pot odds. So I called to then reassess where I was at. Then he put another half pot bet out and I decided to call it quits. My rationale was on the basis that if I played this hand with exactly these circumstances an infinite number of times, my AQ is going to lose money here.

However, the session didn’t all go bad:

PokerStars No-Limit Hold’em, $0.25 BB (6 handed)

Hero ($29.40)
UTG ($25.85)
MP ($48.40)
CO ($31)
Button ($43.15)
SB ($4.95)

Preflop: Hero is BB with , .
1 fold, MP raises to $1.25, CO calls $1.25, Button calls $1.25, SB calls $1.15, Hero calls $1.

Flop: ($6.25) , , (5 players)
SB checks, Hero bets $2.5, MP calls $2.50, CO calls $2.50, Button folds, SB folds.

Turn: ($13.75) (3 players)
Hero checks, MP checks, CO checks.

River: ($13.75) (3 players)
Hero bets $10, MP raises to $20, CO folds, Hero raises to $25.65, MP calls $5.65.

Final Pot: $65.05

Results in white below:
Hero has 2s 2h (full house, twos full of sixes).
MP doesn’t show.

The villain had pocket 3’s for a rivered straight.

Good luck in August everyone!!

GooOutcome: Hero wins $65.05.

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