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For the sake of sanity

Wow I'm bad at keeping a blog. Third time lucky to get the ball really rolling? Ok lets go.

As Ive said in earlier blogs, I am a low limit MTT player. As anyone who grinds MTT's knows this can test the realms of ones patience and sanity. Variance is an unholy mistress and can literally make one end up hating MTT's . However the fact that as a purely tournament player, when I sat down to play poker I had no choice to but to set 5 hours absolute minimum aside was really making me fed up of constantly playing tournaments. School work, training, sport and a social life don't exactly fit well in between daily tournament schedules. It was time to give cash another shot.

Previous forays into cash poker had been short lived and unsuccessful. I was, I believe, a much too aggressive player and played full ring which didn't suit me at all. With a bankroll of approximately 800 dollars I decide 2 weeks ago to give six max 25NL a shot. (Ok I'm overolled, but Im both a bankroll nit and underolled for 50nl).

1)Holy crap I forgot how much fun six max is.
2) Holy crap, I thought 4/180 players sucked
3) Being able to leave my house and laptop whenever someone calls me with something cool going down is a great relief.

So far over the last 2 weeks I'm up 10 buy ins over about 5000 hands (4 tabling) and I'm enjoying poker again so much it should be illegal. I'm going to start reading SSNL by skalnsky, miller and malmuth and hopefully boost my bankroll up to 1500 and move up to 50nl.

I'm not completely abandoning tournaments. I'll still play the guarantees, and the better tournaments as my bankroll goes up. However I'm going to play a hell of a lot less. Cash>>>>>>>>>>>>>>tons of 4/180s etc.

Updates soon as long as I can actually learn how to properly blog and such.

The Poker Forum disease

I haven't written any strategy posts so far and I don't intend to as I believe I need to work on my game a lot more than I need to give anyone advice. However, I've noticed a phenomenon (mainly because a while back it happened to me) that could be deluding people as to the quality of their game.

Poker forums like the ones here at tworags and over at 2+2 can be incredibly useful tools in improving ones game if used correctly. Posting hands, commenting on other peoples hands and discussing general strategy on these forums is great. This is especially true as the level of thinking is often higher than general poker discussion in real life.

The problem I've witnessed is that many people who consider themselves to "belong" in these forums automatically assume that they are therefore a good player. A stage up from this is those who do at least manage to post in the strategy forums but seem to get stuck in a very poor way of thinking. These people rarely do the correct math (if any math) in analysing their hands and usually make random comments like "you can wait for a better spot" (this is my personal favourite as its heard all the time and is hardly ever correct).

What these people dont understand (and what I only have understood in the last six months or so) is that unless you're a poker whiz kid being good and, more importantly, consistently good in poker requires a lot of effort the same way being good at an academic subject or a sport would be. Reading books, carefully analysing hands (and tournaments as a whole), engaging in strategy discussion and, of course, regular experience are all vital to improving someones game and should never be neglected if someone wishes to progress.

Ok, that's the poorly worded advice over. I had my return to online poker after 2 months off last night. I decided to keep it mostly to 2/3 tables rather than my normal 4/6 and really focus on what I had spent re reading in HOH I & II and Theory of Poker. I managed to final table a 4/180 and go pretty deep in the 4ET 8 dollar MTT before getting royally brought back to earth when my AK full house managed to run into AA (gg me). I also went deep in the $5 6 max before blundering out around 28th as I was probably enjoying the Packers-Cowboys game a little bit too much. I feel like I'm thinking a lot more than I used to when playing now and it feels good. Here's hoping my foray into smarter poker brings me joy soon.

Thanks for reading if you made it this far.


I hate phone companies

I haven't posted on this blog for months, I haven't played poker for about 2 months and I'm going insane. The culprit, BT (British Telecom). Somehow, since I moved into a new place for college it took BT a whole 6 WEEKS to get a simple phone line activated. I don't know how many phone calls I made where I was kept holding for an hour, told that something would happen in 3 or 4 days followed by nothing happening. Now that the telephone lines finally sorted I have to wait another week (already waited 1) for internet to be activated.

Anyway, small boring rant over. Hopefully I should be back playing poker and actually keeping a decent blog from next week.


Taking a Break

This is my first ever Blog entry here so I guess Ill give a quick background on myself first. Also, Im not a great writer so this could come out reading like crap but hopefully Ill get much better as I do more of these.

Ive been playing poker for roughly four years now but would only consider myself being a "serious" player for the last 18 months. I play mostly online MTT's around the 10 dollar buy in range and have done for a while now. My biggest cash ever was just over 4k winning the nightly 10k guarantee 10 dollar buy in about 10 months back (the one thats the 20k guarantee now). I play live from time to time, but in England the choices are limited, I usually stick to a card club in central London known as the Gutshot. An honest estimate of myself would be that Im a mostly break even player whos +ROI comes from the occasional big score. I'm also a bankroll nit.

Ok now on to the point of this blog. A couple of weeks ago I went off the rails bank management wise for the only time I can remember since I knew what a proper bankroll was. I was on prolonged tilt, which all players get at some stage, some more than others of course. I wont go in depth into bad beat stories, noone wants to here them, but there were a couple of one outers near FT's and a 25 no cash strak involved. As often happens, my play started to suffer, what I believe was worse is that I knew my play was suffering. Surely this is a good thing right? Not always. IMO if you're unaware that you arent playing well, its a lot easier to explode at your "bad luck", be done with poker for a little while and cool off. When I knew that my decisions were a hell of a lot less than optimal, I convinced myself that I didnt need a break and I could just slow down, think more and things would be fine. When one bad decision is all it takes to ruin a night, this was dangerous.

Finally, after almost halving my bankroll and having a truly awful night out with mates because I was so pissed with myself, I decided a true break was needed. I banned myself from PokerStars for a fortnight (actually banned, the self-exclusion business) and decided my only poker for the next fortnight would come from reading forums (thank you new big screen Tv and Madden 2008 brought to you by savings from previously mentioned big win, makes avoiding poker so much easier!). Now Im a day away from getting back to the tables, and Ive got to be honest, I havent felt this good about poker in a while. My brains refreshed, I can be calm when playing again and therefore be more likely to be playing a lot better. Im going to step down in buy in to the 4/180s 5-8 dollar MTT's and a shot at the nightly 20k every so often to truly build my confidence back, but I dont believe itll be that long before Im back where I was before I imploded. Even if it is a while, Ive realised, Im completely fine with that due to one astounding revelation. I LOVE this game. Ive never thought about why I play poker properly and obviously there are a lot of people out there that play purely for the money. The realisation that Im playing, at least partly, due to my love of the game has my confidence sky high with what Im going to be able to do If I just keep plugging away at the key factors (experience, forum reading/posting, books etc.)

A while ago I remember reading Bond18 as he stated that it was impossible to get into the top level of poker without a truly liking playing the game. At the time I brushed it off and thought to myself "of course I love it, I play it all the time." Now I realise what he was saying and can commit myself mentally more to the process of bettering myself on the tables (I may have to ignore other parts of Bond's advice which went along the lines of "moving to China for 6 months and having to focus on nothing but poker," slightly impractical with school methinks).

Two line summary: 1) Real breaks from Poker are good when you feel out of it. 2) Poker has to be truly enjoyable for you to receive anything from it.

If anyone made it this far reading then thank you all ready. Any and all feedback, good or bad is welcome.

Thanks for reading.


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