Monday, July 21, 2014

Likely The End Of The Chase

Several people have asked me when I'm going to update my blog and I apologize for the delay.  I just haven't felt like blogging and the updates from here on out will likely be sporadic.  I know people really enjoy seeing my results so that's the majority of what will be posted.

I'm right about at would be the midpoint of the year VPP wise but it's extremely unlikely at this point that I'll try to make SNE.  I just don't have the same drive this year and have no interest in killing myself for next 2-3 months to do it.  This is my 10th consecutive year putting in this type of volume (6 on Stars and 4 on UB) and it's really wearing on me.  Things would be so much easier if I could play from the US but alas it is what it is.  So unless something changes drastically for me financially, I'm not even going to try.

My plan at this point is still to play about 40 hours a week but to try to play during the busiest times and play some really focused poker.  Playing 4-5 tables for endless hours makes it nearly impossible to be totally focused and motivated so I'm hoping the reduced hours help with that.

This is what the year has looked liked so far big bet wise:

It looks like a pretty typical TPirahna graph.

Here's what the year has looked like in terms of $ won:

This is by far the worst 250K+ hand stretch I've had in the last 4 years despite the recent upswing.

As you can see in the last screen capture, I'm actually down money at my three highest limits combined.  I believe only a month ago, I was down over 40K between the 3 limits so I feel very good about where I stand right now.  Funny how your perspective and emotions can change depending on whether the money was won and then lost or lost and then won.

I've played some really good poker the last few weeks, easily the best of the year.  I think making the decision to abandon SNE has given me a sense of freedom and control back.  It's refreshing in a way and I've felt really comfortable and focused while playing.  It makes such a big difference to want to play as opposed to being forced to play.  I'm still forced to play to some degree because I need the money but 40 hours a week seems like a breeze compared to the 70+ I was playing.

I'll have another update likely by the end of August.  Good luck at the tables everyone.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

May in the Books

I finally rebounded a bit in May and had a pretty respectable month.  In terms of big bets won, it's one of my best in the past couple years.

Overall, I'm still very concerned with my mental state.  I'm completely unmotivated and going through the motions way too often.  My primary focus is on VPPs every day and it feels like torture trying to reach the VPP goals I set.  I have some moments or hours of clarity where I'm thinking clearly, focused, and know what's going on at my tables.  But those moments are few and far between.  Far more often I'm in sort of a haze just going through the motions and struggling to focus.

As I mentioned in my last post, there's nothing left in the game for me except money.  There's no other incentive or motivation at this point.  Despite some of the obvious problems with PTR, it at least gave me something to shoot for - being the leading $ winner at the various limits or racing for the all-time $ lead.  I wish that aspect was brought back, it least would give me something else to shoot for.  As it stands, my poker days are numbered.  When I get home in the fall, I'm going to work hard to transition into some other forms of gambling that I enjoy more.

As far as my mass multitabling plan of low-limits, it lasted about 3 days.  I believe I won 510 BB's in 3 days 6-7 tabling 5/10 to 15/30 but I'm confident it's some of the worst poker I've played in a long, long time. I have a lot of difficulty committing myself to doing something where I know I'm not doing it to the best of my ability.  It frustrates me to know I'm making countless mistakes that could be avoided by dropping tables and slowing down. There's a trade-off of course which is I earn VPPs at a much faster rate.  So at this point I've modified my plan and am alternating between playing some "mindless" sessions where I'm 5-6 tabling low limits and focused (at least trying to focus) sessions of 3-4 tables from 10/20 to 50/100.  I'm done at the moment playing 100/200 and 200/400 and it's unlikely I'll play very much more in the future until Poker Stars fixes their non-random button issue.  It's to the point where many of the games are totally unplayable because of the rec players hopping tables - this inevitably causes the players that aren't starting the tables to play more blind positions than non-blind positions.  Additionally, it's a lot less stress not having $40K-$100K swings every month or two.  Ultimately it will mean less money but I think the tradeoff of less stress is worth it at this point.

On the VPP front, I'm about a month behind pace, currently at 340K VPPs.  It seems like every day I wake up with a goal to do at least 5K VPPs and I consistently fall short.  It's very hard to believe that I once did 7K per day for 3 months straight.  5K seems like an eternity these days.  I have no idea if I'll make SNE this year, at the rate I'm going, it doesn't look like it.  Hopefully I'll find some motivation and drive somewhere.

Good Luck to everyone at the WSOP and online in June.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Serious Variance

I figured this would be as good a time as any for my annual, sometimes bi-annual, post on just how utterly insane the variance in this game is.

My prior fifty thousand hands leading into this month looked like this:

My next 57Kish this month have looked like this:

Even that graph doesn't do justice to how insanely well I've run.  I'm up over 1800 BB's pre-rake which I'm quite sure is a one month record for me

This could be the time to get carried away with myself and talk about how I've mastered the game, have soul reads on all the regulars, and am ready to jump into the 1K/2K games (pretending they ever ran) because I'll never lose again.

Nothing really could be further from the truth and that line of thinking greatly increases the chances that my next 50K will look a lot more like the 1st graph and a lot less like the 2nd (I've made this mistake many times in the past).  I've played well this month but it's all so subjective.  When you consistently run into the bottom of your opponent's ranges, sure all your bluffs are going to work and you're going to feel like you're playing your A game.  When your opponents are consistently running into the top of your range with their bluffs, you're going to feel like you're "owning" them.  When you win 70% of the 15+ BB pots you're involved in, you're very likely to be on a massive heater and actually start believing that you should be winning that percentage of big pots on a consistent basis.  In the end, it's all just variance.

I say this every year and will keep saying it, do not under any circumstances underestimate the variance in this game.  50K hands is nothing, 1000 big bets (won or lost) is very little.  The key is to stay even keel with your emotions and be focused on one thing: making the best decision possible with all the information you have available, each and every decision.

I'll have another update at the end of the month along with some details on how my low-limit multi-tabling plan went.

Good luck everyone.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Stake Variance Continues in Costa Rica

My frustrating year continues:

In terms of money won, it's my worst start to a year in nine years as a pro.  It's easy to blame it all on variance but I've also been less motivated this year than any other and feel like I've played some of the worst poker I've played in recent memory.  I'm sure the truth is somewhere between and it's some combination of running bad and playing bad.  One thing's for sure, I've run terribly at high limits.

I've given serious consideration to quitting online poker or at least doing it in a reduced fashion and pursuing some other interests,  As nice as it is to visit all these exotic locations, all the travel is getting tiresome and I'd much prefer to be home. Also the grind of playing ten to twelve hours a day for nine months is really wearing on me as well.  The idea is to be happy and even though I have the last three months of the year off, I'm not too happy the other nine.  This has been in the back of my mind for a while and I think it's only a matter of time before I pursue something else.

I decided yesterday to make a pretty drastic strategy change in how I'm approaching things.  Up until today, I've been trying to play the majority of hands at 30/60+.  The result of this is a lot of downtime when no games are running, a lot of lobby/table watching which takes away from focus on the games and a lot of frustration with the table hopping (and the unavoidable consequences that come with this) that's en vogue with the high limit recreational players these days.

So my new plan (for now at least), is to 6-8 table 5/10 to 50/100 and try to earn 7-8K VPPs a day.  I'm pretty far behind SNE pace as is and if I continue what I'm doing currently, I'm either going to have to play fourteen hours a day to make it or make a third trip at the end of year for at least a month.  More than that though, it's a much less stressful and faster way to make SNE.  I don't anticipate I'll be able to make as much money as I have the last three to four years but I think the tradeoff of not being stressed out and having a lot of extra time off is worth it. To be frank, I'm pretty fed up with the whole high limit situation as is.  The two biggest recreational players sit in the same seat every time and most of the regulars starting tables are always seated in the seat that guarantees them position on these players or start tables with the button.  So without having all the tables open and constantly monitoring them, it's near impossible to start a game with the button or get position on these players.  Combine that with the fact, they're often playing short sessions and changing tables, it's one big headache and a costly headache at that.

If I end up sticking with this plan, I should be able to earn about 200k-240k VPPs in a month and be done by September.  This would give me an extra month to relax and really focus on the high limit games if I decide I want to.  At that point, I can have all the tables open, be able to get good seats, and not be distracted with other games since I'll just be focusing on those.  I also can 2-3 table those games and really hone in and play my best game as opposed to multitabling, lobby watching, and constantly trying to shuffle tables in and out.

That's the plan anyway.  I will have an update in a month or so with how it's going.

Good luck at the tables everyone.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Argentina In The Books

It's been a really frustrating start to the year:

This is about as bad of a stretch of stake variance as I've had since playing high limits.  Basically all my winrates are reversed from the last few years.  It seemed like every time I sat down to play this month, regardless of what stakes I was playing, I was always getting crushed at whatever table was my highest limit. The last few weeks in particular were tough to stomach.  It'd been a while, probably a year or so, since I've run that bad.  I think I got a little too comfortable after running well for the last half of last year and forgot just how bad you can run at this game.

My win rate isn't too far off of what it normally is so there isn't much cause for concern.  That said I don't feel like I've played well at any point this year.  I'm really struggling with motivation and as a result have put in about half the volume I normally do.  I'm setting myself up for a near impossible grind at the end of this year so it's entirely possible I don't make SNE.

I'm headed back to the US tomorrow.  I'm planning on doing some studying while home that I neglected this past fall.  After getting home, it's off to Vegas for some much needed fun with friends and then it'll most likely be off to Costa Rica.  It's looking like I'll be in Costa Rica from April to October.  I'll have an update when I get there.

Good luck at the tables everyone.