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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.



EdmondDantes says

Nice post. I always play much better after a break and agree that it's best to LOVE poker if you're going to play it successfully. You have to enjoy digging into your game, asking questions and making changes. You also have to like the journey itself (as ridiculous as that sounds) because there will always be dry stretches and down drafts. For some reason, scooping a pot is always enjoyable for me. It's when I play well and the dealer shoves it to the snickering fool that just sucked out when my love for the game really gets tested. Good luck!

P.S. How about a nice room review of your local poker room for the good guys?


AC-Cobra says

Yeah Ill get on that room review, nice idea. Thanks for reading and commenting.



Anonymous says

Everyone needs a break from time to time. I like to take the weekends off so I will be fresh for Mon. Ed is right, there is alot more to poker than just playing. OK Ed, I said it!



lakong says

I made it to the end! I agree, a break really helps and makes you realize how much you miss the game. I haven't played a tournament since the World Series, but will be playing tomorrow night at the CA Poker Championships. I love the game, I miss playing and like you, can't wait to get back to the tables.

Welcome to the site. We'll be following your progress here on your blogs. We look forward to reading more and discussing poker with you.

- S


EdmondDantes says

Thanks for the nice review of the Gutshot Club...The Gutshot Card Club, London. Review from a regular player.


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