Thursday, February 09, 2006

Well I've been on what so far has become the second worst run of my poker career, so the time has come to take stock of the facts.

Fact: I hate losing money. I mean really hate it.

Fact: My performance has become a lot more volatile over the last four or five months, ever since I regularly started playing 30/60 online.

Fact: Since October I haven't earned any more money on average than I did the previous months, I've just had bigger winning runs and worse losing runs (see previous fact).

Fact: It really isn't a goal of mine to be as good at poker as I can possibly be. I mean I want to do well, and for a while there I was doing everything in my power to be as good as I can get, but I've reached the point where it's not really a priority to get better. The money is more than I need, and the additional stress of playing against better players just isn't worth it. I like keeping a relatively laid back, easy-going lifestyle.

On the flip side:

Fact: I hate jobs. I mean a lot. If I have to spend my life working at a job like my last job I will kill myself. Seriously. Or just be a homeless bum. I'll figure something out, anything out, rather than work a job.

Fact: I like being able to make good money playing poker.

So my conclusion: I should probably drop in limits and "redo" what I did most of last year. I'll be earning money with less stress, and perhaps (hopefully) plugging leaks that have sprung up in my game. I won't need to put in 50K+ hands/level like I did last year, but it should hopefully help me get my bearings again.

I'm not talking going to 15/30, or even 10/20. I'm talking trying out 5/10 again for a while. Maybe 20K hands. Then 10/20. Then 15/30. Then 20/40. Then 30/60 again, if I make it that far. If not, oh well. One can make a very good living at the 10/20 to 20/40 level. Heck, one can do better at 5/10 than I was doing at my last job.

Ultimately, my goal in life is to enjoy my life, and so I rate quality of life higher than anything else--money, fame, accomplishments, whatever. Not having a wage-slave, cubicle-monkey job is about #1 on my list of things that improve my quality of life, but #2 is simplicity. Many people over-complicate their lives (most of the time unnecessarily, and I mean from any viewpoint), and I'm someone who's always done the opposite. Some may say my life is overly-simple, and perhaps it is, but I love it that way. And stressing out over dropping $6k+ in one night at 30/60 is just complications I don't need.

Perhaps I'd feel better if those $6k losses came after tons and tons of wins, but they haven't. I'm still up in the online 30 game overall, but not a whole lot. Yes it's only been maybe 40K hands, but they haven't been much fun.

(Warning, tangential rambling--yes, even more--ahead.) I think the turning point came last weekend when I did very badly, but couldn't exactly put my finger on exactly why. I've certainly had plenty of bad runs over my career, but there's always been a clear reason, sometimes bad play or bad game selection, but often just extended runs of bad luck. I remember my worst run when I used to play 3/6 was losing close to $1000 in one night (still by far my worst BB loss in one day). But that run was an obvious bad luck run--I remember three times within 5 minutes I flopped the nut full house and lost. AK never hit, pocketpairs never hit or held up, two-outers on the river kept coming in for opponents, etc, etc.

But last weekend I couldn't say that. I in fact won some huge pots, like, I dunno, hitting a gut-shot straight flush over a full house and a straight. My big pocket pairs have been doing quite well, although KK and QQ are perhaps a little below typical. Where I've been getting ground down was the small "typical" hands, where it's heads up or three-handed and people have their usual assortment of A-highs and middle pairs and whatnot. I think I'm just letting too many pots go without a fight since really every heads up or three-handed pot is getting bet on the flop (and often raised) regardless of people's hands.

It's possible to run badly in these small pots, but the other possibility one has to consider is that, well, maybe I'm just getting flat outplayed.

Of course the other possibility is that I'm simply overreacting and other people who've played a similar number of hands at similar levels would laugh at my overreacting to having two bad runs in the span of about two months.

Regardless, it's back to the drawing board.

And, as my first attempt at reducing variance, I'll be in LA this weekend playing 100/200. Heh. Okay, much like with diets, I'll start being good come Monday...


Anonymous Johnny FlopBoot said...

What happened to the NL trials? If you're going to drop down in levels, why not throw in some $3/6NL, or even $2/4? I would guess that the pots are typical of a 5/10, or 10/20 game... although I guess there may be a little more variance.

I played quite a bit of limit and could never really gain any traction with my game til I switched to NL. Granted, you're a better limit player than I ever was (or ever care to be for that matter.. limit bores me) but maybe fine tuning your NL game could help your earn rate while risking less, causing less stress?

Not sure what you think about that, or what you've found if you tried that before... just came to mind thinking about your posts a while back.

6:59 AM  
Blogger Stacy said...

You're going back to 5/10? 5/10 is my limit! Stay out of my limit!!!

12:18 PM  
Blogger eric said...

Heh, fwiw, I'll probably last about two days at 5/10 before moving on.

Yeah, I plan on playing more NL. More "other" games, too. And get back to playing more live. I've played live once in the last four weeks.

1:19 PM  
Blogger dukyboys said...

Eric, I don't know if you have a rakback deal on party if you don't I could set you up with a guy who does it for them. One of my friends got a deal from him about 4 months ago and gets paid pretty well for 6 tabling about 8 hours a day.

1:24 PM  
Blogger Beset7 said...

Sounds like you are tilting.

1:31 PM  
Blogger eric said...


I'm all taken care of.


you might be right. I think playing the same game online day after day just wears on my ability to approach each hand individually and I start playing too much by remote control and too much with my feelings involved.

4:50 PM  
Blogger Beset7 said...


A lot of things you said in your post remind me of thoughts/feelings I have after tilting.

I play 30-40k hands online a month and I get the same way. Every other month it seems like.

Have you read Inside The Poker Mind by chance? No book can cure tilt but there is some great stuff on the professional attitude and tilting.

6:31 PM  
Blogger eric said...

I've never read it. One thing that I've always been pretty good at is not tilting.

I think the main problem might be the convergence of two things, 1) reaching levels where I have to pay more attention than ever and 2) getting relaxed enough in my approach to poker that I don't wan to have to pay as close attention.

We'll see. Thanks for the tip. I'll give that book a try.

And 30-40K hands a month? Yikes. If I do 25K I feel like steam will come shooting out of my ears.

9:46 PM  
Anonymous StrangeNuts said...

I don't play online so I'm sure I don't understand the mindset but how can you play 8 tables in anything but 'remote control' mode?

11:08 AM  
Blogger estonb said...

I can relate Eric. I have been tilting as well. I played maybe the worst poker of the year last night, and was lucky to escape only 1.2k loser. I would point out that it is entirely possible to run less than stellar for 40k hands, but it does make you feel like shit huh?

Live poker sucks!

2:12 PM  
Anonymous duck said...

estonb....where are you playing live nowadays?

Needs Money

10:12 AM  
Blogger estonb said...

I don't play live anymore. Every once in a while I show up at Chip's or a random game, but I haven't played live in a long time seriously.

3:54 AM  
Blogger eric said...

Hey guys I like live poker. Maybe those Austin games are hardly worth it, but games out here in LV and in LA are pretty darn fun.


As one increases tables, one increases the amount they are on "remote control" but one can still play 8 tables not totally on remote control. The problem is that at a certain level, every player has their own style, so one can't group most players into just a few general groups. One has to start paying attention to each individual rather than just peg them for a style that would be a good approximation of their game.

For me, this means 8-tabling is possible at 15/30 and 20/40, but not 30/60, where I think I should really never go above 6, and perhaps should concentrate on playing 4.

7:31 PM  
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