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  1. TAG's: hoodies & sunglasses

    LAG's: overweight individuals who order food at the table; all asians esp middle to older aged asian men

    Nit's: Anyone with nerd glasses, all their buttons buttoned up; broke person on his last buy-in

    Calling Stations: older middle eastern men who are drinking alcohol; nice old grandpa's;

    Maniacs: young asian men with lots of jewelry and hi tech gear/headphones


    These are just some of the images that come to mind from when I've played live at The Commerce. Sure they're generalizations and can come off as racist to the lay observer, but they are just observations that generally hold true. More often than not, people are not really trying to deceive with their appearance. I think I may have seen some people try to do this at Vegas many years back-- like a shark purposely dressing like an accountant, etc. But I find that someone's profession can be a very good predictor of their playing style in a vacuum.

    Attorneys are usually TAG. High intelligence with an appetite for some risk, but not too much. The younger attorneys with some cockiness in them will be playing LAG. You can generally differentiate the LAGs from their TAGs by their immediate table presence, how they speak to the cocktail waitresses, how they put their arms on the table, how they throw their chips into the middle.

    Accountants: nits and rocks. You don't see much aggressiveness out of someone wearing glasses and a button up shirt with a tie. Unless they've loosened their tie, unbuttoned their top few buttons, and are drinking (unless all of those)... you can generally assume they are a nit, and get out of the way when they raise preflop.

    Hoodie/Glasses/Headphones: Tags and Sharks. Nuff said. It doesn't necessarily mean they are great players, but I can automatically assume they've read some stuff and know what they are doing, and know some advanced plays.

    Women: this is the hardest type to initially read, because female poker players are polarized in that, they are either really good or are straight up beginners. I often see women using their sex advantage, getting other guys at the table to ease off on the river value bets, getting free cards and check downs. I will make it a point to extract the maximum from a beginner female player, even more so if she's attractive, just to set the tone for the rest of the table to know that I'm a straight up no mercy player. Sometimes the beginner female is incredibly difficult to play, because she might think her hand is weak, when in fact she has hit 2 pair, and I value bet the river and I lose.

    Businessmen: this is a pretty wide ranging player type, but generally it's a man who owns his own business in some respect and comes to blow off some steam after work. I think they are LAGs for the most part. They couldn't give two shits about a few hundred bucks, and like to be aggressive.

    Daily Grinders: Mostly nit/rocks and some TAGs. If I know they play every single day, then they are probably just trying to have a positive win rate, and therefore are more liable to fold rather than risk their entire stacks at any given time.

    Some things I do to manipulate my image. I never use my player's card. I could be missing out on free money here but I'm hoping it sends a message to the rest of the table that I don't give 2 shits about making $1/hour-- I'm more concerned with relieving fools of their stacks. When I see another player making sure that the dealer scans his player card in, I almost automatically give that player less respect. Unless proven otherwise, players super concerned with making their hourly rakeback are just playing not to lose, and even this tiny amount of information I feel is exploitable. For these players, I increase my perception of the fold equity against them, as they are only calling with the nuts, and rarely trying to think about whether I actually have it or not. When the dealer sees that I am the only seat without a player's card scanned in, he will often remind me, to which I always decline.

    Also, if I'm sitting nearby the dealer to where I can read the little screen that shows each seat and the accompanying names, sometimes a person's name will give me some insight into his personality.

  2. I just signed up for pocket fives and so far I'm impressed, seems like a pretty cool site. I'm looking forward to poking around and learning more.

  3. I want to start by thanking the people who commented on my previous post. I also want to thank Dara O'kearney for his kind tweet. That brings me to two important points. Firstly, I better actually read my blog before I post it. I began this thinking not many people would read it; its purpose was solely to track my progress and keep me focused on my goal. Thus, numerous spelling mistakes were merely me just rambling and typing. No time was spent looking for erroneous grammar or spelling. Time to change that. Secondly, I actually plan to carry this challenge out and hopefully complete it. I had a tendency to start challenges and either get bored or need to cash out. I have enough financial income from bar work and subbing in various schools not to be worried about the money aspect. I don't intend to spend a huge amount of time in front of the screen but during the summer months I should be fit to increase my volume. Poker has indifferently affected my compulsive nature over the years. I want to have a balanced approach to this challenge. For me, poker is a recreational game. However, I want to illustrate to small time grinders what you can achieve at this game no matter how small you play. I don't propose to be a great player. Far from it. What I do believe is that adaptation, diversification, patience and smart bankroll management all contribute to a successful game.

    So let's briefly outline my challenge. From my initial 100 deposit I want to reach $10k. Easy? We will see. I have had moderate success both online and live. I have dabbled in many formats from heads up, 6max, 180s, mtts. I have incorporated hypers, turbos and regular speed formats. I have to admit that I have a love for mtts and that elusive big score. But I guess every poker player does. I believe this challenge will work by incorporating my strongest game, heads up poker. A very small range of mtts will be added at a later stage. Hopefully a bink or two will get me over the line. While some of my rules may change (remember I mentioned diversification) these are my initial rules.

    100 deposit: initially I will incorporate $3.50 hyper turbo HU games and $10.50 HU knockout tournaments.

    At $250. $7 HU hypers and $10.50 HU knockout tournaments.

    At $550. $7 HU hypers and $10.50 HU knockout tournaments. At this point I can add 1 big $11 a week.

    At 1250 $7 HU hypers and $10.50 HU knockout tournaments. 1 big $11 a week and 1 big $22 a week.

    At 2k $7 HU hypers and $10.50 HU knockout tournaments. 1 big $11 a week and 1 big $22 a week and both on a Sunday (if playing) or 1 weekly big $33.

    At 3k $15 HU hypers and $10.50 HU knockout tournaments. 1 big $11 a week and 1 big $22 a week and both on a Sunday (if playing) or 1 weekly big $33 and 1 weekly big $55.

    These are my initial plans/targets. If at any stage I struggle and drop below my previous target I will go back to these guidelines. For example if I reach $250 and move up to the $7s but struggle and fall back down to $100, I will just drop back to the $3.50s. While I have never done in depth analysis into my results at HU sit and goes I know that I should easily beat the $3.50s and $7s. I could have decided to focus on the turbo structure but I prefer the hypers for numerous reasons which I may explain in a future blog. A few people felt my BRM was initially poor but as you can see from these guidelines I am extremely cautious.

    I began the challenge on Monday and despite a $40 dollar downswing and a $100 bubble in one of the HU tournaments I have managed to get my bankroll just over $200. Hopefully I can soon move up. While I expect this to be an extremely long challenge I hope it will inspire small time grinders to seek out small edges and games they can beat, ultimately improving their own game and making a few extra dollars :)
    GL at the tables.

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