Saturday, December 27, 2008

2008 in retrospect

It's so easy getting caught up with the daily, weekly, monthly swings. I know you and I have heard it a fucking million times, but all you should be concerned with is the hand...and the results will come in the long term. A year is a good long-ish term, and I really can't be disappointed with how things have gone.

January of 08 saw me move from where I started in the rings at 25nl to 50nl. I still remember my first session, even one of my first hands when I moved up. I was playing full ring at the time, and I distinctly remember playing a hand with AA where I overplayed it a little bit on a Kxx board where someone limp/cold called my 3bet, and we ended up getting it in. I won the hand and his $50 stack against what turned out to be AK for top pair, and I got a taste for what could be some potentially big money to be made in the ring games. I don't think I'm way past my wildest dreams considering where I ended up, but I did pretty damn good, and am pretty proud of myself.

I've made my way from playing 25nl full ring to now playing mostly 200nl 6max with some 400nl mixed in when the games are good, and I've sustained a nice winrate the whole time. I've definitely had some trying times (namely March, where I lost about $200, and October where I lost about $1,500), but overall I've made a fuckload more money than I ever did in the tournies, and my game has progressed at a tremendous rate.

Last few months I've been taking a much more serious approach to playing and studying poker, and hopefully that will yield some nice 2009 results.

Real life has been a bitch. My aunt getting a stroke, my Oma moving in because of it, our whole financial situation being fucked up on top of it's been tough. It's been tough on me, I guess it's hard having to be around all the time to take care of my Oma...

[pic removed]

...ok maybe it hasn't been that bad, but I just yearn for more time to dedicate to poker. To the friends and family who don't understand what I'm doing, it seems to them like I just want to sit on my ass and play games all day. Those who do know me know that I'm trying to set up my future here.

I have no doubt that my current situation is the root of my stress problems and my tilt. I had planned on moving out or traveling this winter, but instead I'm stuck at home taking care of everything, and that means I can't play as much as I'd like. Things are clearing up some, and I expect to play a lot more in the coming year.

I've mentioned I've been getting coached by Alan. One of the things we discussed was his poker career. It seems odd for me to pay him 200/hr to tell me about his trials and tribulations as a player, but it helps tremendously. He talked a bit about his coaching from Jared Tendler. Alan was in a real rut at one point, and without straying too far off topic, Jared told him that basically at that point he wasn't setting his sights high enough. He made something like 300k one year, and decided that 380 or something was enough for the next year, so that was his goal. He was failing miserably, and Jared basically shook him up and said he should be shooting way higher. He didn't have enough motivation. So Alan changed his goal from 380k to 1M. In the end, Alan says, he's failing miserably for his 1M goal, but is crushing his previous 380k goal.

My point is that I need to set some really high sights for next year. I'm not big on monetary goals since that's something I really don't have much control over, but I can control the number of hands I play. I got through almost 275k in 2008. 2009, I'm shooting for 500k which translates to somewhere over 40k hands/month. I'd like to be positive and say I will reach that goal, but I think it's a little out of my reach. The main purpose of setting it so high is to try to get that high. Better to try and fail than never to have tried at all. If I play anywhere over 400k hands, I'll be very happy. 500k is the goal though :)

I'm starting to rant here, so I'll close up with my little condensed review and goals thangs.

2008 overview:

- 275,000 hands
- $25,000 profit
- Went from 25nl FR to 200nl 6max/taking shots at 400nl
- Ongoing battle with tilt, my biggest enemy
- Got coaching from Stosh and Alan of stoxpoker, both of which have helped tremendously

Comparing my big bets vs hands graph with my dollars vs hands graph, you can see why overall it all seems good, but lately it's been tough controlling the tilt. In 'real' terms, it's just swingier. In the terms I should be thinking about, it's been absolutely fine.

Overall, I'm happy with how the year went though. I'm sure I lost like $5-10k in tilt, but that's something I'm working on. And will most probably be dropping a few K trying to fix.

This month was pretty good btw. I ended it on a pretty bad run with pretty bad tilt, but I can't be too disappointed. I cleared 30k hands like 5 days ago and haven't played since due to RL business, but I'm still pretty happy with how it went. Going to start coaching with Alan again in the next week or so.

2009 goals:

- 500,000 hands
- Sticking with the 'possibly out of reach but motivating goals,' $100,000 profit. Bam.
- Continue coaching from Alan, look into coaching from other 1knl+ monsters, get coaching from Jared Tendler
- Beat 600nl by the end of the year
- Go sign up at the boxing gym
- Develop a firm schedule to make sure you reach these goals, including study time away from the tables
- Possibly take a cross-country road trip over the summer
- Enjoy life

GOGOGOGO 5k+/month, 100k/year, midstakes beat-down time guys. I know you'll be up there with me, let's just try to avoid each other on the tables :)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

14,085 hands

...and it's been a challenge.

It's all good experience I guess. It's just frustrating when you have days where you're like a grand under EV, or when said swings make me lose another grand from raging, frustrated tilt. I'm thoroughly convinced that tilt has me sitting on somewhere between 2-6ptbb/100 under where I would be without it, but realize my technical game still needs a ton of work. It's not just the beats and coolers that get to me. When I get in a spot where I'm not sure what to do, and in a confused 8-tabling rushed state make a mistake that loses me a half stack, then repeat the same process several times in one session...well that doesn't feel good either.

It's just hard. It's also very challenging which is what keeps me going. Like Tommy Angelo says in his book, every bad session is just practice for dealing with the next bad session. Every time I tilt, all I can do is just try to do my best to suppress it (usually by concentrating on breathing really deeply and tightening up on the tables to free up some focus), or just quit if it's too much to handle. Usually it's the former as I'm not a very good quitter.

Not much else to say I guess. When I found out I was going to be getting more free time through december and on, I got pretty excited about making lots more money, but that hasn't been the case so far. I'm fluctuating around 3k on the month which is good, but not great. I guess everything feels small after a monster month like september's 9k. There's always more money to be made, or to be desired. I can't possibly be disappointed with 3k, but I can always strive for more by doing more work.

I'll be getting some more coaching sessions with Alan soon, will be looking into coaching from Jared Tendler some time soon, and will be doing some more work (similar to the pokerazor analyses I posted) away from the tables.

Of course the obligatory hand replays since last post:

Obviously an embarrassing one. One of the two things that happen to me when I tilt: I don't believe people when they obviously have a hand.

Funny spot. Villain folds to 3bet incredibly high, so I'm 3betting almost any two in position, and most OOP. Flop comes great, but I fuck up all the bet sizing, yadda yadda yadda, and I can't push out an overpair which holds.

1) my CRAI sucks, it was tilt, I suck. 2) WOW at villain's call. He's one of the laggier regs at like 28/22 or something. He's owned me in a ton of pots, but every once in a while he makes a ridiculously spewy play like this which leaves me in shock. No, you can't have his screen name. You might not even want it. He's a pain in the ass.

That's about it. KK vs AA for 10 hands in a row isn't too interesting. Bitch, whine, moan, yadda yadda yadda.

Thanks for reading. I hope my ramblings are half interesting, or that I make some of you feel better about your monthly progress, heh...

Sunday, December 14, 2008

You have achieved the Supernova

Poker goes well. Well, everything's kind of going well right now. My cousin has taken over for a good chunk of the week watching my Oma, and that means I'm basically free every day but Mondays and Wednesdays now. Even when I am busy, I have my new laptop to play with. That all adds up to more poker. Last few days I've been a little busy, but without feeling like I'm even playing that much at all, I'm already on pace for a record month in number of hands played.

Coaching with Alan has been phenomenal. We had another two hour session and talked a lot about flop textures, how exactly to use pokerazor, and other good stuff. I should get coaching more often. He charges $400 for a two hour block, but I always seem to make that back and then some after a session with him (or Stosh for that matter). I may be getting a little ahead of myself, but both Alan and I are confident I can both make it to the mid stakes, and win. By his guesstimations I'm better than %50 of the regulars, probably %60. That sounds pretty good, but I think I still need some more work done before I move up; I feel I'm better than a much higher percentage of 200nl regulars than %60, and would like to feel a little more comfortable before I move to 400nl.

Right now that's not really my biggest priority though. If I can really motivate myself to play more hands the rest of this month and next month, I can start reaching the 10k/month point again. I mean even if I'm making around 20c/hand (my overall rate has been ~10c/hand, my 200nl rate has been slightly higher than 20c/hand), that means I can clear $10k in 50k hands. That also doesn't include bonuses, which are significantly higher now that I've reached Supernova status on Stars.

10k/month is 120k per year. And that's fucking ridiculous for a degen like me. Moral of the story: play more, and you can set the rest of your life up with your poker winnings.

Now I'm obviously really high-spirited right now, and as you can guess, a lot of that is from me running like a god recently. But even if I'm overestimating my winrate or whatever, how can playing a ton more possibly be wrong? What's wrong with trying for $10k/month and only getting $5k?

I really mean it when I say this, but you guys will be seeing a lot more from me in the future. I'm motivated through the roof and will be playing tons more, and a lot better too with the help of Alan and some other resources. Oh, as an aside, I'll probably be coming out with a sweat style video for stoxpoker with Stosh! Should be fun. I wasn't really sure if I wanted to expose myself and my screen name like that, but I don't think it'll make much of a difference anyways.

So, this month's graph below. It's obviously a sample size thing, but my coaching literally started right at the base of that mountain.

Monday, December 8, 2008

7,720 hands

Swinging confidence

Two days ago, I was feeling like I'd taken a huge leap in my game. Today, well, not so much.

I had a two hour coaching session with Alan Jackson (Dixon01) of stoxpoker, and it was awesome. We talked mostly about preflop stuff, lots on stats, and some mental game stuff. I go through a little more detail on cardschat in this post. As you might be able to tell, my attitude has changed a little since. I'm still %100 happy with my coaching, but my confidence has dropped considerably since then.

I'd rather not get into the nuances of the stuff I've changed lately, but it's getting tough. When you change your game, you generally don't get great results until you balance the rest of your range, and I'm having a little bit of trouble in that area. Some things are showing immediate, and very positive results, but I know I have a ton of work ahead of me. It's fun and challenging, but hard.

Sunday I played my longest session ever at 5k+ hands, and unfortunately ran pretty poorly. I can recall a good half dozen hands where I ran into the very top of my opponents ranges, all in huge pots. If you look at my EV graph, I'm basically running neutral, and that goes to show how little that thin green line means. The coolers lead to some tilt, and I'm sure I lost a good $500 making bad calls and running silly bluffs. One terrible defense vs a 3bet preflop lead to me winning a stack off of a bluffy opponent, but obviously I should know better than to believe that was a good call.

At least I'm playing lots. I'm putting in lots of work with my game, and I'll be looking forward to doing some sweat sessions with a fellow Dixon student, FPaulsson. Lots of work and playing at least means my FPPs are piling up. Supernova will be a breeze (only 2k vpps left) and when that's complete I'll have a nice raise in pay with fpps. I think I'll be gaining some weight with all the cookie baskets I'll be ordering.

Oh, on the subject of the fpps and all that, I finally got my laptop (via fpp store via $1,000 giftcard). I actually got it a few days ago and have been figuring it all out since. I can now use it downstairs with a wireless connection (which is surprisingly stable since I last tried it), and that means even more poker! I'm actually writing from my dining room table...

I'm pretty happy with it. It's pretty fast, has a great monitor with solid resolution, and surprisingly vista hasn't caused any problems yet. I actually like it. I only have one qualm with it, and that lies in the cd drive. For one, the actual tray rattles back and forth and feels pretty cheap, and it also has a problem of getting really choppy when I play burned movies on it. It seems to skip up every time it changes 'chapters' or whatever you want to call them. The bluray drive is pretty awesome, but it's too bad I only own 3 movies in that format, and they all came with the pc. Surf's Up (yay disney), Quantum of Solace (meh), and Hitch (have yet to see it, and probably won't). Otherwise, I'm happy.

The new laptop means more poker, and that means more profit (hopefully). I feel as if this is a big turning point in my poker career, and as long as I can maintain the swings I'll be just fine. I'm in good hands with Alan, and hopefully his coaching 'feels' cheaper than it does right now. It's hard dropping $400 for a couple hours when you're breaking even with your game.

Oh, you want hands right? Well too bad! Gonna have to go over to cardschat's hand analysis section for that. I've posted plenty, feel free to jump in the discussion.