I put in over 4,000 hands on Monday. I rarely do anything like that, but I was feeling the need to work, and I decided to just stay home all day, buckle down, and multitable. Playing mostly 6-max and mixing in HU matches when a good one was available, I came out a small winner. I ran pretty badly (there's a funny stretch in PokerEV where you can see me break even on "Sklansky bucks" for 200 hands and drop something like 5 BI in showdown winngs), but even so, I played my B-C game for the last 1000 hands or so, and I definitely spewed a couple buyins in bad spots. So, running badly or not, I have much work to do.
But I did feel good about the fact that I stuck to it and put in 4000 hands. Not that I plan to do that frequently (and obviously, it's bad
to do that if I'm playing my B-C game), but knowing that I'm capable of it when I need to be was a big boost of confidence. (And if I'd quit when my play slipped, I'd have made about 8 BI in 3000 hands, which is a pretty good day, all in all.) It takes a certain amount of mental fortitude, and in the past, I'd certainly questioned whether or not I had it; I feel this represents a big and tangible step in my attempts to become a cash pro.
So I had an idea for a post about the proper mentality to keep while playing poker, and I had an example I wanted to use that involved LaDanian Tomlinson, but after the Chargers lost Sunday while he was on the bench, the public perception of him isn't exactly the one I want to evoke when I talk about staying mentally strong through tough times.
But I'm going to do it anyway. Allow me to cite this Michael Silver article which mentions a speech Tomlinson made in the locker room back when the team was 5-5:
In the players only meeting, which took place five days after the Nov. 18 defeat to the Jaguars, Tomlinson challenged his teammates to become more accountable. The first part of LT's message, according to several players, centered on the widely held views that Turner (as the offensive play-caller) and defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell were hurting the team from a strategic standpoint, especially when compared to popular predecessors Cam Cameron and Wade Phillips. Tomlinson not only acknowledged the complaints, but he also copped to having shared some of the same feelings. That gave him even more credibility when he told his teammates, "It's not about the coaches. Between 1 and 4:15 on Sundays, we're the ones who decide our fate. Don't buy into this 'Norv's not a leader' stuff. If we do that, we're gonna finish 7-9, and we'll be the ones who suffer. This division is there for the taking, and we have to decide right now whether we're going to take it."
(bold emphasis mine)
It's something I've been trying to keep in mind when I get frustrated at a bad run of cards, or start verbally exhibiting my contempt for my opponents (which is horrible and, for various reasons, is strong when I play online; when I play live, it almost never ever happens). And that is: Guess what? I can use a bad run as an excuse for bad play, or I can tilt and blame it on my frustration, but in the end, I'm the one who suffers for it. I'm the one who will continue to have mediocre results and not grow as a player. The money is there for the taking, and I have to decide whether or not I'm going to take it.
That's what being a professional means.