Friday, July 17, 2009

July Update

I received my 100K VPP Bonus from Poker Stars today for playing the main event and agreeing to their T&C so I'm now at 601K as of writing this. That puts me a good 60K VPPs, or about 23 days, ahead of pace. That's a big relief and will let me relax a lot more, particularly on our trips/vacations.

This month continues to be a tough one, it's by far my worst of the year. It's been the polar opposite of last month where everything imaginable went right, running at 3 BB/100 over 50K hands. This month it feels like I've been rivered every other hand and have lost nearly every big pot I've been in (of course I haven't). But to exacerbate matters, I've run incredibly bad at 50-100. I've had quite a few days where I've ended up winning 50 big bets or so and losing two to three thousand because of 50-100. My stats look like this:

In terms of big bets this hasn't been one of my worst downswings of the year, yet at least (fingers crossed). But money-wise I think losing ~26K is the biggest. What's really amazing is that I've continued to play a good deal of heads up and 3-handed and have continued to beat those games handily. On the month, I'm at about 3 BB/100 playing 2-3 handed which is the primary reason this downswing isn't much, much worse. On the year, I'm at 6.30 BB/100 over 30K heads up hands and 3.80 BB/100 over 28K hands of 3-handed. I don't know how people who don't play short-handed do it, the downswings they go through are very likely in the 500-1000 big bet range. Even when I had my two 500 big bet downswings this year, I was playing 10-15% of my hands 2-3 handed. Now it's more like 20-25% of my total hands.

All I can do is to play through this like all the other downswings I've been through. Something I've stressed to every person I've ever helped with poker is that what separates the good players from the great players is how they play when everything goes wrong. Everybody plays like a champion when they're hit with the deck, the key it to maintain your A game when the cards inevitably turn.

I feel pretty good about my game right now although I constantly have to work at it. I've spent a lot of time this month looking at stats and some hands trying to find some areas where I can improve. I also feel like I need to refresh my brain or I forget things, it's a little bit scary. I think if I took six months off from poker, it's very possible I'd have trouble beating a 5-10 or 10-20 game. It's not like riding a bike for me, more like having a final exam that covers the whole year and having to go back to review all the things I learned that I forgot.

I need to stay sharp and focused and that's the plan for the rest of the month.

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