The term "grinding ball" is one that my friends and I use when referring to putting in a lot of hours at the poker table. It might have been subconsciously born from the actual act of spending hours rubbing their ball sack on uncomfortable poker room chairs, but hey, what do I know? I have a biscuit (that's a Honey Boo Boo reference. I love you if you got that).
ANYWAY, enough balls talk. I've been putting in major hours playing poker these past few weeks. In the past year, actually since Black Friday, I've been lazy. I would put in sporadic sessions here in Vegas when I wasn't traveling, but the long periods of time between playing was really detrimental. I think that the ability to focus at a table for long periods of time is a skill that needs to be honed, exercised, and up kept. So, after EPT Barcelona, WPT Paris, WPT Malta and four weeks in Europe, I was SOOO ready to get back to the felt.
I decided to make it a priority along with work and working out (I'm training for another fitness competition). So, here's what I did: First, I fixed my sleep schedule. I started going to bed between midnight to 1 a.m. and waking up at 8 a.m. Once that was under control, I starting playing in the mornings. I would wake up, eat breakfast, work for an hour or two and head to Aria. I'd play as long as I could (which wasn't that long at first). Then, I'd go work more or work out, depending on what I needed to get done. At night, is when I do almost all of work (writing, strategy podcasts, articles, interviews etc). [Sidenote: Working from home at my own desk when I'm not traveling is one of the best parts of jobs. So lucky] After that, if there's time and I'm up for it, I'll go put in another poker session, but NEVER play past 1 a.m. Having a set sleep schedule makes the rest of my life easier and more efficient. I cannot stress enough the importance of this. I have learned that it is much better to give up some game EV for life EV. Take care of your mind and body and I promise, it will pay dividends more valuable than whatever you might make in that one session you decided through your sleeping time.
Like, I said, I have put in tons of hours, for me that is. Sixty hours so far this month to be exact in 20 sessions. This has been incredibly difficult because I'm also pushing my body to the max with my training, but it's been so rewarding because I'm seeing results. My game is making huge improvements, I'm making less and less mental mistakes, and trusting my instinct. That said, I know I have a ways to go. I tweeted a couple times during my sessions and I noticed that whenever I do, I'm always asked what I play, where, and what advice I can give them. It dawned on my that many of my Strategy with Kristy Podcast listeners are people just like me. They want to crush live, low-to-mid stakes. I thought about what has helped me the most, and really, it's been my friends!
I decided to begin an ongoing, multi-part series about live grinding (balls if you will). When I tweeted a request for questions to pose for live pros, I couldn't believe how many responses I got. I'm so excited for this because 1) this is obv what you guys want and 2) this is what I know! On top of that, I have the best sources ever for interviews. I know who the best and biggest winners are and luckily for me, they are my friends and willing to be interviewed.
Here is the first installment:
At the end of the month, I'll post my results as well. For now, if you have any questions or comments, send them to email@example.com
P.S. I came across the reel for Johnny Chan's new show, Full House. I play with a lot of the grinders featured on the show here in Vegas. Maybe that's why I feel awkward after watching this, but it could be a fun show. What do you guys think?
Last week, just after coming back from EPT Prague, I went to Lake Tahoe for some skiing and some R&R. The city has to be one of the most beautiful places I'd ever seen. Everywhere I looked could have been the setting of a postcard. The slopes weren't as snowy as we would have liked, but it was still amazing fun.
I'm so excited to go home and see my family. What are your guys' plans for the holidays?
I'm doing a podcast this week which is Part 2 of a interview with Jared Tendler, author of The Mental Game of Poker. I'm excited to talk to him about how the application of his process went for me in a session of poker.
Hope you all are well!
In the latest edition of Strategy with Kristy, I talked to 22-year-old Kane Kalas, an instructor on PokerPhenoms.com We talk about how to play small pocket pairs in a six-handed no-limit hold'em cash game, demonstrated by hand histories. Kane played as "Kangis." Here are the hand details to help you follow along with podcast.
Game: $25-$50 NLH 6-max
Kangis - $5,218
Flufferd - $5,377
Kangis opens UTG to $128. Flufferd reraises to $400. Kangis calls. Heads-up. Pot is $850
The flop is . Flufferd checks, Kangis bets $513. Flufferd folds.
Kangis - $5,691
Flufferd - $5,000
Flufferd min raises on the button to $50. Kangis calls with 2s2c in the big blind. Pot is $225.
Flop is . Kangis checks. Flufferd bets $150. Kangis calls. The pot is $523.
The turn is the . Check, check.
The river is the . Kangis bets $689. Flufferd calls and mucks.
Kangis - $6,801
CanCollector - $6,757
Kangis opens UTG to $124. CanCollector calls behind. Numbr1mom reraises from the BB to $575. Kangis folds.
In my latest Strategy with Kristy podcast, I talk to Andrew Robl about televised cash-game hands he's played. Here they are:
Patrik Antonius has and raises to $1,500. Robl has and three-bet pots to $11,500 from the blinds. Antonius calls, making the pot $24,000. The flop comes Robl bet $16,000. Antonius raises pot. Robl raises all in. They run it four times. Odds: Antonius 73% vs Robl 23%. Robl wins four times.
Daniel Negreanu raises to $3,000 with . Lex Veldhuis reraises to $11,000 with . Robl has in the small blind. Robl calls, and Negreanu calls, making the pot $34,400. The flop comes . Robl and Negreanu check to Lex who bets $23,800. Robl calls. Negreanu folds. The pot is $82,000. The turn is the . Both players check. The river is . Robl checks, and Lex bets $54,000 with $85k behind. Robl calls and wins a pot of $190,000.
Lex Veldhuis straddles to $1,600. Ivey raises to $7,000 in the cutoff. Robl has on the button and calls. Antonius has in the small blind and reraises to $30,400. Ivey folds, Robl tank ships for $113,900. Pot $299,600. Antonius calls.
Tom Dwan opens UTG to $800 with pocket threes ($20K stacks). Robl calls on the button with . Pot $2,050. The flop is . Dwan checks. Robl bets $1,200. Dwan raises to $3,850. Robl calls. Pot $9,750. Turn . Dwan bets $4,600. Robl calls. River .Dwan goes all in for $10,075.
(go to 4:30 in this video)
I also talked to Andrew awhile ago about a hand he played on the Big Game which you can find here. I hope you guys like the podcast!
Hello from Barcelona!!!
I hope you guys are doing well! I'm here covering the EPT and LOVING this city. Now, the title of this blog includes two things that have nothing to do with each other. Haha so first, I wanted to say thank you so much for all the feedback on the Strategy with Kristy podcast. I really appreciate it. In case you missed it, here are the first two episodes with my poker coach Andrew "BalugaWhale" Seidman.
Let me know what you guys think! Also, if you have a hand you'd like reviewed by a pro, go ahead and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org
Ok, now onto the second part of this blog title. Well, I've been in Barcelona for a few days now, and in Spain, the beaches are filled with topless bathing beauties. As an American, this is something I have never seen or taken advantage of (no tan lines ftw ) So, in an attempt to gain the total cultural experience, I went topless!
I've been asked to host a strategy podcast for PokerNews! I'm pretty excited about it, and the first episode is going to premiere next week. Obviously, I've never done anything like this before, so I want to find out what listeners want!
Who would you like to hear as a guest?
What topics would you like covered?
Do you like straight up hand analysis?
To be honest, I'm a little nervous about this! I've always prided myself on being a student of the game, and I'm confident I will ask the right questions, but new things are always a bit daunting!
As for my poker playing, I haven't done much of it. I played a couple times at Aria, but that's it. I think I've sort of lost a little bit of the passion to just sit and grind. Maybe it's because I miss online poker, or because there are so many new goals I have. I'm not sure, but I actually do plan on playing tonight! Home game at Sarah Grant's house! Whoo hooo, get the the dirty martini's and slow rolls goin! We also plan on shooting a video about Home Game Poker Etiquette. Should be funny/informational.
Anyway, thanks for reading and please, let me know what you'd like to hear on the strategy podcast!
So I said I was going to post every week, but that went right out the window when the WSOP started. We are now a month in, and I'm just now writing. It's been pretty crazy...
Last blog post, I talked about a hand, and for those of you who read it, I called. He showed me AQ. Boo... Thanks for all the insight you guys posted. It was really interesting getting outside thoughts on this hand. I think it's an ok call, but I prefer a fold. I think that he expects me to float Ace-High on the turn a ton, so why would he try to get me off an ace? Also, if I'm not floating with an Ace-high, then I'm calling with a hand that has showdown value with plans to call any river. He probably knows that I know an Ace is a good card to bluff, so I'd call with an underpair.
Before I get to this week's hand, I wanted to talk a little bit about what's been going on. The WSOP has been great. It's been flying by. I've gotten to play a little poker, but not nearly as much as I'd like. I'm going to play the ladies event, which I'm super excited about. Now if you have missed anything here at the WSOP, just check out our Weekly Turbo videos to find out what's been going on.
Now onto the hand. Ok, so I just move to a new table. I have $900 in front of me in a $2-$5 game. UTG +1 limps, next player raises to $15, call, call, call, then to me in the small blind. I have I think this is a perfect spot to squeeze and reraise as a bluff. Obviously, it would help if I was in position, but I still love the spot. I make it $70. Limper folds, original raiser calls, and another player calls who was the second to call the initial raise. I was surprised to get two callers, but at this point, I'm thinking both their ranges consist of small players, suited connectors, and maybe some broadways (suited).
The flop is . I c-bet $130. The original raiser folds, and the other player tanks, asks me how many bills I have, and then ships. It's $450 on top of my $130 to call. What do I do? What's his range?
Thanks guys! I hope you are all having an amazing summer. If you're sick of poker talk, I made a couple posts on my personal blog at Snaptress.com
So I'm sure that you guys have been waiting ALL week to find out what that online player called me, right????
Well first, I need to tell you how the hand ended, so if you haven't read last week's blog, you will have to go back so the that following makes sense...
So, I decided to go for the small value/bluff induce river bet. I didn't think he'd hero call for an over-pot ship, but I know he would come after weakness if he thought he had fold equity. I bet $110, leaving three tall hundo dollar stacks. He tanked then raised to $320, I shipped, and then he tanked again! He showed a king of clubs and called. I showed my hand, he looked back at the board, and went off!
"Are f**king kidding me? (laughing incredulously) Are you serious? You call with that? F***ing donkey girl. Wow, fuck, you call with nothing and get a flush!?" <--actually kind of similar to what he looked like
Obviously, I was the aggressor in the hand, so I wasn't really sure what he was talking about when he said I was calling... But I guess he didn't have a hand history to refer to. I didn't say anything and he walked away. When he came back to the table, he put his hand on my shoulders and said, "I apologize for the way I acted, it's just that the hand was so far fetched." What???? And you called me a donkey girl? WTF?
Man, people say the craziest things to me at the table. Just the other day, I went out for a night of fun drinking and playing poker with my PN girls Sarah Grant and Lynn Gilmartin. We were pretty tipsy and decided to play a $30 tournament at Bill's Gambling Hall. Awesome, I know! So it's a two table tourney, and Lynn and Sarah get sat at the other table. I sit down and this guy who looks like a legit cowboy (ten-gallon hat, scruffy face, denim button up, hole-in-knee frayed Levis and boots) says to me, "Yur perty." I say thank you. Then, with a super creepy look in his eye and crooked smile he says, "I got a fetish for oriental women." Oh, wow. Woooow. Umm cool? Hahaha eh he (awkward laugh)
Anyway, a few shots later, Lynn ended up shipping into me when I had aces, and I took our chips to victory!!! This is my super braggy winner photo... hahaha yeah those are twenties.
I know, I'm super classy! Eek!
I have been having so much fun with Lynn here this past week, and we are about to have even more fun this weekend for my bachelorette party! (watch out if you're in Vegas, it ain't gonna be pretty... Er um PERTY)
It's funny that lots of poker guys really want to find an awesome girl who is into poker, right? Well I felt that way too! Haha and I have finally found her!!! Last night, Lynn was so awesomely degen! At 11 pm, she decides she wants to grind, so we went to Aria. I would always rather sit at her table and hang out whenever we go together, so we sat in a new $1-$3 table.
There were so many bizarre events that happened... first, two gorgeous ladies sat to our left, one started to lose and they got into a fight, a drunkard sat down, shipped for full stacks w/ 4-5 off into Aces and Queens and obv won, and then Scott Seiver came over and caused a ruckus! (We love Scott, he's the best. Hilarious and super sweet even when he tries to be an ass ) Anyway, we both ended up small winners on the session.
That brings me to my hand of the week which comes from last night's session in the $1-$3...
One of the girls opened in early position to $12. She'd been raising a decent amount and hadn't been three-bet yet. After observing the way she played the few hands I saw, she seemed decent. A recreational player calls in late position with about $80 behind. I have AA in the small blind. After only a couple orbits, I hadn't played many at hands at all, so I assume, as a woman as well, my image was pretty tight. The girl and I are both $300 deep... Do I three-bet? If so, to what? Can I flat? Should I flat?
Let me know what you think! Leave it in the comments...
And one more thing, Lynn and I interviewed Todd Brunson and PokerNews Hostess Laura Cornelius for the latest edition of the PokerNews podcast! Cheeeeck it!
If you haven’t noticed, all the PokerNews hostesses have started blogging! I think it’s such a great idea not only because I think all the women are amazing (Lynnie G, Sarah “Jay-Z” Grant, Globalls, and the new ladies Nichole Pickering and Laura Cornelius) and I can’t wait to hear their stories, but I also believe we can all provide a different take/view on poker than players can. For my blog here on PokerNews, I decided to keep it strictly about poker (my personal blog is at here). The plan is to post every Wednesday, and I thought it'd be fun to share a hand I've played that can be up for discussion! I don't mind putting myself out there. Feel free to call me a donk
So for those of you guys who don’t know, I play a TON. I used to play a lot online, but now I’m transitioning back to live along with tons of other poker players in Vegas. Since Black Friday, online players have flooded Vegas poker rooms, and they stick out like sore thumbs. Just look out for the young guys in sweat pants with dork stacks sitting in a $5-$10 game who don’t know how to handle their chips… chances are, they’re three-betting your face off.
Now, I can’t help but observe these creatures in an unnatural environment. There are a couple of tips I have for them…
Three Tips for Online Poker Players Transitioning to Live Poker
1) Acknowledge that you will get bored… it’s a lot less hands an hour. Also, other players may annoy you with their “poker talk.” Just wear headphones, and don’t spaz because of it... Come to think of it, there are a lot of live poker pet peeves that internet players never had to deal with...
2) Spots that are “standard” online, are not the same live.
-Live players in general are much more tight/passive than online players, and WAY more tight preflop with their 3-bet 4-bet ranges. When the button opens, the small blind three-bets, and the button four-bets… It is almost NEVER a bluff if it’s a recreational player!! Since live cash games play much more deep, you can actually fold QQ pre. It’s not just “standard” to get it in.
3) When you berate a player, they can hear you…they are literally right next to you.
Is it wrong of me to do this when I win a hand while yelling "IN YOOO FAYYYYCE!!!!"
-But seriously, Internet players more often have the propensity to yell at or criticize recreational players. They are used to playing behind a computer where blow ups can happen in the privacy of one’s own living room. Doyle Brunson used to preach that the pros must make it a priority to ensure that the “fish” are having a great time playing, otherwise they won’t come back. Why would someone continue to play a game at which they are obviously losers, when these young kids are yelling obscenities at them? It should go without saying that I’m in no way accusing ALL internet players of this, but I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I’ve seen this 10times more often in the last week and a half than in all previous four years of my live experience in Las Vegas.
That brings me to this week's hand... It happened last week at Aria in the $2-$5 game.
So we’ve been playing for about 20 minutes, and there are actually a few decent players in the game. They are three-betting pre, making good/tough hero calls, and just seem to be playing well. A standard reg opens UTG + 2 to $20, one person flats, and I have A6cc in the cutoff. This is a three-bet sometimes, but I decided to flat. A loose/aggressive semi spazzy player flats in the small blind. The flop is K 5 4 one club.
It checks to me… I decide to take a stab. I'm in position, it’s a decently dry board, and I think I can get better ace-highs and under pairs to fold with a couple barrels. There are a lot of turns that give me decent equity, and also, against most hands that check-call me, I think my Ace is live. I bet $45. The loose/agro calls and the original raiser calls. The turn is the 3c giving me open ended and the nut flush draw. They both check.
At this point I have $520-ish in my stack. I’m not worried about the original raiser check raising. I think he’s got a pair under the K, or else he would have c-bet the flop, or bet the turn. What I want is the loose-aggro player to check raise so that I can jam overtop. I think he’d checkraise this card on the turn with both value hands (sets, and two pairs) and bluffs with any sort of equity (5-6, 4-6, 3-6, 4-7, flush draws). I also think it's possible that he turns a weak K into a bluff. My hand looks like K-Q, K-J, K-10 which he’s definitely ballsy enough to try and take me off a one pair hand.
I need to make sure my bet sizing is small enough so that I have enough stack to have 3-bet ship fold equity. I bet $80, which now, looking back, I don't think gives me enough stack behind. It's super awkward if he makes it anymore than $200. Anyway, he called and the original raiser folded. The river is AWESOME. It’s the 2c. He checks. So now what do I do? Remember, the pot is $365, and I have $440 behind.
Let me know what you think of the hand, as well as what you think my river play should be. Next week I’ll let you know what happened, what insane words he called me, and I’ll have another hand for you guys.