Thursday, March 15, 2012

Mid month checks

Had an average nights sleep last night and then woke up this morning to the sound of Formula 1 cars. I thought the garage next door to our house must of had it on tv but when I got out of bed realised it was the cars getting ready for the Melbourne Grand Prix just down the road in Albert Park. Looks like there will be a few early morning wake ups the next few days!

I checked my balance after my session yesterday to find out how I'm doing for the month and it wasn't good news. I'm down $3000 for March so far. I'm running $6500 below EV (expected value). It's frustrating because I should be up $3500 for the month according to how I have played and got the money in. Poker is a game of skill and luck. The luck is what brings the bad players back as they can beat anyone on any day which is great. However the downside means as a good winning player you can have losing days, weeks and even months. It just means that I just have to keep up the hard work and keep playing winning poker and the results should work out. I normally run well over EV so I can't cry about it as I have been due a bad patch in the long run.

I'm currently on a $9000 down swing from my peak. I'm down 35 buy ins from a combination of 200NL and 400NL. I think this has got to be up there as my biggest down swing. It's annoying as I have finally reached a point in my poker career where I have started to work hard. I'm learning so much though and hopefully I will be a better player for this. Yes I have tilted a bit and spewed off some money but I feel I have dealt with it quite well and could have been much worse. I have probably said this before but I was chatting to the White Knight the other day and he reminded me of a good point. It is how you deal with the bad times as a professional that is most important, anyone can win but not everyone can handle losing correctly. I took my break and I am now back into a good daily routine for poker.

I get up and play my 3 or 4 hours in the morning and then quit and stick to this everyday. I have watched a ton of good bluefire poker videos and I am working very hard to improve my game. I still have ups an downs everyday which you will always get with poker but I'm feeling really good about things now. I have a very positive attitude to each session and look forward to try and play my very best each day now. Today I played a solid session of poker. I made a few mistakes towards the end of the day making some marginal calls not giving people credit but I played much better on average the whole session which I'm really pleased about. I have played 60 hours so far this month. I'm going to try and get around 100 hours of play in by the end of the month, which should be easy.

I also find the music I listen to during my sessions has definitely had an influence on my mood while I play. I've been getting into Muse in a big way, always seem to be crushing when I'm listening to them. I'm currently downloading Annie Mac presents now so I will have plenty of good listening over the next few sessions. I'm going to do some downloading over the next few days so if anyone has some good grind music suggestions please send them my way. Big fan of this tune at the moment: Garden by Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=39BirET8OIg

I will be absolutely clucking if I can turn this month around and make it into profit. There's a fair way still to go and I'm playing well so I've got a good feeling about things. I'm Castor Troy.....wahhhhhooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

Follow me on twitter @thebigjpizzle

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Blog Voy Primus

So I hit a bad spell this month and to be honest things haven't got much better. I haven't checked my HEM yet but I'm pretty sure this is one of my worst ever down swings, maybe around the $10,000 mark from my peak. I put my bankroll strategy together that I posted about last time but after speaking to Dan he advised a more appropriate plan of dropping to 200NL and grinding it out until I'm well bankrolled enough to move back up again. I'm very glad I have done this because as exciting as my plan was it would have involved a lot more stress which is what I don't need right now. So I started playing 200NL again and putting the volume in but I have still been running really bad. I have been losing loads of my coin flips and running hands into better hands in very standard spots. This has in turn lead to some bad play too. I decided to take a few days off poker to relax. Sometimes you can just play too much that you end up not playing your best and this is especially true when you are on a losing spell. We went out on the piss Friday night and I took the day off Saturday too. I wasn't even that hungover for a change but it was nice to just give my mind a break from poker.

This was me down at the Pier in St Kilda over looking Melbourne city on Sunday.

I played a short session Sunday morning where I did get unlucky a fair bit but I noticed myself playing some bad poker. I only played a few hours and then got out and played some frisbee in the sun. The weather has been really nice here recently, it had been raining for days previously! So I took Monday off also and got out with the boys again and relaxed and had some fun. Whilst taking time off the tables I have watched some videos by Alan Jackson the last few days at bluefirepoker.com and found some good advice in there. It made me realise that I do have to find a healthy balance to be successful in poker. My enthusiasm has been good but poker isn't just about smashing out a load of hours out on the tables. You need to make sure when you are playing that you are playing the best you can and that you keep up with an ever changing game. I think my problem has been that I play a session early and then end up getting bored later in the day and play another session. Quite often I can be tired when I playing later or tilted from the first session and this impacts massively on my results. It doesn't help that the television in Australia isn't the best, you know you're in trouble when you're actually looking forward to Two and a half men coming on, sigh. Hence I have got bored and played more poker. Now I will just get out of the house for a bit or watch a film and resist playing poker again when I'm not in the right mind set for it. I can remember last month playing some really good solid sessions when I get up and then many of my evening sessions were quite destructive and I tilted off buy ins.

This is the laptop I'm playing on while I'm here. I usually play six tables at one time but if the games are really good and I'm well focused then I can play up to eight. It's nowhere near as good as my desktop and two monitors at home but I'm used to it now.

Today I have found the best balance for good poker. I got up, had a shower and then ate breakfast. I got the laptop on and played three hours of good quality poker while I was fresh. I took a five minute break away from the laptop every hour. After playing my session I then quit and had some lunch and headed down to the beach with Garfy. The weather is going to be good again this week and it was close to thirty degrees today. I'm even starting to get a sweet tan voy primus going now. Jezza came back from work today and actually thought me and Garf were black (slight exaggeration). We caught some sun today and played football on the beach. Then we took a stroll back and had a drink out in the sun before heading back to the house. In a minute we are off to the gym and then I will chill for the evening and maybe watch another bluefire video later. Doing things this way I can get up and play my very best poker first thing while I'm fresh and then enjoy myself for the rest of the day. I think playing three to four hours a day is optimum. If I do this most days then I should hit around one hundred hours a month which is decent volume. But this volume should mostly be high quality poker which should improve my win rate and how much I make. i can take a few days off a month if I'm tilted or hungover or whatever. I don't think I'm doing too great so far this month but there's still a long way to go so lots of time to put the hard work in and I will remember it's important to relax too!

Fianlly we we have a possum that lives on our roof called Paul. Jezza caught the little dogger pottering one night and took a photo of him:

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Time to shake things up

I have been losing, looking at my balance and tilting. The last two days have been ridiculous. I saw my balance while loading up a table and knew I was having a terrible day. I checked my HEM and saw that I was running $4000 below EV for that day. It's time for things to change. Things aren't working out for me at the moment so I'm going try something new. It may work out for me or may not but I always learn things the hard way. I have been running bad at 400NL and good at 200NL and I know the only way to get through it is to keep playing it but it is tilting me loads and stressing me out. I hate being stressed, hardly anything in life stresses me out accept money and poker. I always make sure I have enough money to live off, I have been broke a few times and learnt the hard way. Poker is annoying me right now. Running bad at 400NL is just tilting me, the losing days are big. Not just a few hundred but a few thousand dollars. Not looking at your balance is fine when you are relaxed and comfortable with how much you win and lose each day but I'm not feeling comfortable with the downswings at 400NL at the moment and need to control tilt.

I have been well over rolled for 200NL for a long time. I have definitely been burning money by not moving up. My problem recently has been that I have had pretty much had my whole net worth in my bankroll instead of in the bank. So today I have withdrawn a load of money from my bankroll into my bank to balance things out. I'm going to take a more aggressive approach with my bankroll now. I'm going to take the Cole South bankroll route. Basically you move up when you have 30 buy ins for the next level up and move back down when you hit 25 buy ins. For example if you play 100NL then you need $6000 to play $1/$2 and drop back down if your bankroll goes below $5000. This will allow me to take shots but if I run bad then I can drop down without losing too much, rebuild and try again. I think this will be the best way for me to deal with moving up. It may be swingy but I can look at things as a bit of a challenge now and hopefully a bit of fun.

I have run so bad at 400NL and 200NL, the last two days have been a joke. Been getting AA in v's KK deep and getting spiked, then KK into AA and no dice. Take a break and start again, the first hand I play sees JJ v QQ sb v bb. I got TT in v's K8 on the turn for over a $1000 pot on KKTx today to see an 8 hit the river. Had QJ on Q3x3Q v's 33 in a 3 bet pot. I didn't even tilt today but got bashed up. Anyway enough bad beat stories. The fact i'm even listing bad beats is a sign of tilt but this is officially the worst 'short-term' run of luck I have had. Downswings are part of poker. Since I got to Australia I went on a downswing and turned it around so it's not unusual. If you are a poker player you will understand how it feels. It can make you question your ability and you can see no end to the run of bad cards but it's very standard. It takes a very strong mind to deal with the swings playing poker at all, let alone full time.

At the start of this month I ran really good and went up a load real quick but then I have hit a bad period. I know the best thing to do is take a break and play through it but I am excited about my new bankroll strategy. If I have some run good then I can be at 1000NL very quickly and if not then I shouldn't do my plumbs. I'm going to bring a five buy in stop loss back to control my tilt and I will try and keep taking breaks. I will need to be very disciplined in quitting with this approach as it may involve moving up and down stakes very quickly. The last few days have been very tough but I'm excited about mixing things up. At the end of the day I know I can crush 200NL, I have over a huge sample of hands so I always have that to fall back on. I just hope I can get a bit of run good going from the start now. You need to do what works for you. Some people need 100 buy ins and some can work off 20. The key with poker is finding a balance. If you are a cash game player yourself then I would be keen for you to let me know what you think about this.

Back to it then...

Monday, March 5, 2012

First week of March

It's five days into the new month and I feel it has started well. I have been playing everyday and my approach has been so much more professional. Last month I made massive progress and I played a huge amount of volume. I learnt a lot about myself in terms of how I deal with poker and my approach to the game. Some of my play last month was high quality solid poker and some sessions were destructive and I tilted off a fair amount not playing my best and being frustrated. I am doing as much as I can to control or reduce my tilt now. I am playing much better in general now and taking breaks every hour. After watching a poker video, I learnt how taking regular breaks can help me detach myself from the games. This can keep you sharp so your play doesn't start to slide from your a game to your b or even c game. Keeping sessions short helps my concentration so I feel like I'm fresh. It also helps me to quit which is an important part of poker. Many times I have had days where I was stuck a load of money and I would try and play until I won it back. This is terrible, you play more hands than you should and feel like you are in a rush to win your money back. By forcing myself to take breaks whether I am winning or losing I then stop that from happening. Also in every hand I make decisions and I am prepared for what my opponents will do. I don't just bet the river and then get jammed on and get annoyed. Before I take an action in a hand now I stop and think. For example, I may think, right the correct play here is to bet and fold if my opponent raises me. So when I bet and get raised I know I can fold. Obviously there is way more to it than that, for example they may go all in and its a snap fold or they may half pot the river and this may affect my decision because of bet sizing tells. But the main point is that I feel more prepared about situations and instead of getting annoyed I just make what I believe to be the right decisions and that's it. I don't get tilted about whether they are correct or not. Obviously I still make mistakes and still feel tilted during sessions but I have been dealing with it better which is great progress especially at 400NL where the swings are bigger.

I'm now playing 400NL and 200NL when there's not enough traffic. I'm trying not to set goals as such and instead focus on each session and each hand at a time and play my best. However I do have a long term goal that I have had since I started playing poker full time. I want to become a regular in the 1000NL games. The only way I'm going to achieve this is to work hard, be disciplined and keep taking shots to move up. I'm going to keep grinding away at 400NL this month and hope the hard work and volume pays off. There's a long way to go but I really do think if I work hard enough there is no reason why I can't be regging the 1000NL games by the end of the year. I will need to play across a few sites possibly in the near future because their isn't enough traffic on the site I play to just play 400NL which I would like to do now.

I was bored the other day and decided to go back and read the start of my blog and it's crazy to think a few years ago I had dreams of turning pro and now it's just normal for me. It may be stressful sometimes and that's why they say it's the hardest way to make an easy living. However I would take playing poker over having a boss any day. Because I have to do it it can be easy to not want to but I need to remember how much I loved poker and that I would have done anything to be playing poker and not working in a job. It's just another reason why I need to keep working hard at it. If you like reading this blog and haven't seen the early posts it may be worth a look. My first post talks about all the years of playing and making no money before I was finally able to start winning. Was hilarious to see I wrote "Hopefully by the time anyone ever reads this I will have made it and be a successful professional player" on Friday, August 7, 2009. Then on Thursday, December 17, 2009 my post title was "First weeks as a "pro"". Go's to show that if you want something enough you can do it.

I have played 18 hours now in March and feeling good about how the month has been going so far. I'm still eating well and have been getting up, playing a few one hour sessions then going to the gym, taking a shower and having some food and then playing another couple of sessions. It seems to be a good healthy routine so I'm going to keep it going. We did go out on Saturday night and I was hungover all day Sunday so didn't get to play when the games are normally the best as Sunday day here is saturday night in europe. I hate playing hungover because I'm useless and can't think straight. I soent the whole day sleeping, eating sushi and muffins and drinking green tea. The three of us had a bottle of vodka between us an then went out to a new area called Chapel Street and hit the bars there. The weather has been rubbish this last week and it's been raining loads. It was really hot the last few weeks with temperatures regularly over 30 degrees. Hopefully the Melbs weather will sort itself out again soon so we can hit the beach again.

Don't forget to follow me on twitter @TheBIgJPizzle and GL at the tables!