Sunday, July 25, 2010

Back on Track

Things actually got a lot worse before getting better. I think I dropped another 10k or so and was down to 35K in my account which was the least I have had in over in a year. It was scary because another 10k or so lost and I would have had to give serious consideration to dropping the 30-60 games. I hit 500k vpps this month and earned two 4K bonuses which helped keep me afloat. Things finally did turn about five days ago and I'm on about a 500 big bet, 28k upswing.

It's amazing what running good does to my game. My game and reads are much sharper. Although some part of that is likely my perception, I'm nearly positive I'm playing better than I was last week. The right plays suddenly seem much more apparent and have been almost automatic at times. It's unfortunate in a way, it's a subtle form of tilt to know I'm not playing my A game when I'm running bad. This was especially true because the more I lost, the more meaningful lost money became to me, and the harder it was to play my best. It's tough not to be results oriented and this is something I constantly struggle with.

I mentioned in my last post that I need to make sure I don't put myself in the position of having to drop down limits because of mismanaging money. This became even more apparent when I started playing worse because the money was becoming more meaningful. This is one of the main reasons I've refrained from taking shots at nosebleed limits even when properly bankrolled and profitable games are running. It's not only the possible lost money at those limits but it's the after affect on my game that can be doubly detrimental and ultimately even more costly. Ideally, I'd like to always play stakes where the money means next to nothing and allows me to always play my best game regardless of how much I'm winning or losing.

On the VPP front, I've gained a lot of ground in the last week. I'm up to 528K VPPs which I think puts me about 2 weeks behind pace. I don't anticipate any problems making SNE again this year.

As my wife reminded me today, I haven't made any strategy posts for a while. If anybody has a specific topic they want me to write about, please email me or comment and I"ll do my best. If not, I'm sure I can come up with something.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Tough Times/Dropping Down in Limits

It's been a really tough 2 month stretch for me. After running so good for so many months I almost forgot what's it like to run bad for an extended period of time. It seems like every 15-25 big bet pot I'm involved in, I'm either coolered or rivered. What's scary is it can get worse, the cards have no memory. In dollar terms it doesn't look so bad:

But last month I had my worst month of the year with WSOP tournaments costing me about 30K. On top of that, tons of expenses. And truthfully, I'm the worst money manager in the world. I live like the Sultan of Brunei and between my wife and I we easily spend 10K a month on non essential things. And if that weren't enough over 40% of my money goes to the IRS

And so I'm left with no choice but to drop down in limits and will be sparingly, if at all, playing the 50-100 games until I'm able to build back up. Those who follow my blog probably know I did this twice last year as well. I only hope I'm as lucky as last to year to be able to build back up quickly. This year it's a little more painful. According to PTR I'm the biggest winner online in the 50-100 games and at least temporarily I can't play them:

My current Poker Stars bankroll sits at 46K and I'd like at least 60K to play in the 50 games. With 50K, I feel fine 1 and 2 tabling the games so if I'm able to get back above 50K, I'll probably selectively play them.

The bottom line is that I need to learn how to manage my money better. The losing streaks are inevitable but not planning ahead for them is inexcusable and now results in a big opportunity cost.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

July Update

I've been back home from Vegas for about 4 days now and it's hard to describe how much better I feel. The heat/lack of humidity, no exercise, and 6 week tournament grind really did a number on me. I can only imagine how bad I would have felt if I was drinking and partying like a lot of players do. I never felt quite right when I was there and most of the online sessions I played, I felt like I was off my game. One of the first things I did when I got home is to watch the CardRunners video I had made while in Vegas and I was amazed that I made 3 math mistakes in the video in the span of 40 minutes. That's a good indicator I wasn't thinking clearly. I still don't feel like I'm playing my A game but I'm at least thinking clearer and it's only a matter of time. Wherever we end up staying next year, exercise equipment and humidifiers will be mandatory.

This month has been pretty rocky so far. I've spent most of it in the negative but have crept into positive land the past couple days. I played about 4000 hands the past two days and this will likely be the norm for at least the next month. I'm currently sitting at about 483K VPPs which I believe puts me about 2 1/2 weeks off SNE pace. It shouldn't be too hard to catch up and I'm hoping to by next month. My brother is getting married at the end of next month, that's the only major trip I have planned for a while.

This is what things have looked like since about the time I left for Vegas:

Monday, July 12, 2010

Out of the Main Event

The day started out getting all-in with AK against Queens in about a 110K chip pot and losing. That dropped me to about 60K and from there I ran 66 into QQ on the button vs. a short stacked big blind, that took me down to about 35K. From there it was up and down and I briefly got back up to 60K when AK got me again. Button raised, I 3-bet to about 12K with AK and he called. Flop was 78T, I bet about 15K and he moved in. I folded and was down to about 20K. From there I got all-in with 88 against Aces and busted.

It was a tough series and a tough 6 weeks. I'm looking forward to getting back home and putting in a lot of hands online. I'm going to continue working on my NL game and taking lessons from Vanessa Selbst who by the way has over 320K chips in the ME as I'm writing this.

There's always next year...

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Main Event Day 2

I ended the day with 121,500 which is still above average. It was a pretty tough day in terms of starting hands, I wasn't dealt Aces, Queens, or Jacks all day - Kings once but I was pretty fortunate in the pots I played to either flop something or be able to win the pot because my opponent missed.

The only hand I played today where I was "coolered" was when I raised AQo from early position and got called by a good player in late position. The flop was A22, I bet about 1/2 pot and he called. The turn was a T and we both checked. The river was a 9 and I bet about 2/3 pot and he called with AK. I could have lost a lot more money in this hand so I was pretty happy to only lose 15K chips or so.

Aside from that, nothing really notable happened all day. I was playing tight because of being pretty card dead and having the three best players at the table seated to my immediate left including Hazif Kahn. I still did my share of stealing and was able to find a few spots preflop to reraise and squeeze with thrashy hands. One thing I couldn't do is find a way to get involved with the bad players. There were several of them seated before me and I was just itching to get in pots with them but the cards and situations never cooperated. Something I've learned about NL is that you want to look for every opportunity to get involved in pots with bad players. You can take the worst of it preflop particularly in position because they can and often do make huge mistakes postflop.

Day 3 on Monday. It only gets tougher from here. I'm going to spend a lot of time watching videos this weekend and working on my NL game.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Main Event Day 1

Started the day with 30K and ended with 87K. It was a great start to the tournament. I had a very tough table as far as ME Day 1 tables go but I was really fortunate that one of the best players seated right after me was moved about 3 hours in and the two other best players busted including David Benefield.

I played pretty cautiously today and did a lot of trapping with big pairs which is how I got most of my chips. Basically I just flatted big hands in position and let people bluff their chips into me.

The only big pot I lost was early in the day when I raised JTs UTG and was called by two players. The flop was J85 rainbow, I bet and got one caller who was a good player. The turn was a Jack, I checked and my opponent bet pretty big and I called. The river was a 9 and my opponent bet big again and I called. He had 55 for a full house. This is a hand I would have lost a lot more chips in a few years back.

The biggest pot I won was towards the end with Kings. I raised UTG and was reraised by a very tight small blind. At the time, I thought there was a very good chance he had Aces so I just called. The flop was J8x and he bet very big which I called. The turn was a 5, he checked and I checked. The river was a King and I bet about half pot which he thought for a long time before calling with QQ.

Day 2 on Friday. May my good fortune continue...

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Out of the $1500 Limit Shootout and a Merciful End to June

I'm not sure I've ever been more card dead in a tournament than this one. In the 5 hours I lasted, maybe 250 hands, I was dealt KK and AK exactly once each. I never was dealt TT, JJ, QQ, AA, AQ, or AJ. I was the tightest player at the table until we got about 4 handed and then I started picking up a lot marginal hands. I ran my chips up to about 7K when we were 3-handed and then got coolered twice with A9 vs AK on an Ace high flop and my bustout hand with A8 vs A5 on a A5x flop. I played as well as I possibly could. Even being shortstacked 3-handed I felt like I had a great chance to win my table, it wasn't meant to be though.

I'm happy to see June go. I believe it was my worst month as a professional gambler. I lost somewhere around 20K in WSOP tournaments and that's about what I won online so I basically broke even for the month. Online it was a really crazy month, I had 5 or 6 20K swings and up until a couple days ago I was actually down money. I think I played fairly well overall but ran really poorly. There were some times where I was tired from all the NL and it took me a while to refocus my mind on limit but I don't think that impacted the results too much.

Next up is the main event, my last shot this year. I'm looking forward to getting back home and putting in a lot of hands again. I've been playing a decent amount of cash NL as well and took a lesson from Vanessa Selbst a few days ago. I intend to continue learning NL and to start putting more and more time into that. My ultimate goal is to have my NL game on par with my limit game.

Here's what June looked like: