Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Behind Pace, Good Week

I've fallen about a day behind pace now. I've earned ~145K VPPS and need to be at 148K starting today. It shouldn't be too much of a problem to make up the hands. I plan on playing a lot the next 3 days since I don't have anything planned. I do have a Vegas trip planned for the beginning of March. I've made the trip the last 3 years with some of my best friends I grew up with. It's something I look forward to all year and maybe even more so this year since it has been such a grind. I do plan on playing while there but doubt I'll be able to keep pace. I'll likely have to play catch-up again after Vegas but I still have plenty of time.

Aside from that the week went well. I started off on a big downswing, the biggest of the year so far. I lost 325 big bets over the course of about ten thousand hands which amounted to roughly 11K in losses. Since that I've been on a tear and have recouped my losses and then some. I've even won a bit at 30-60.

That's it for now, I will do a February recap next week. Here's what my year now looks like in big bets:

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

100K Hands - Quick Update

It has been a really busy week for me and I'm actually slightly behind SNE pace now. I spent about half a day doing taxes and played a couple pool matches last night and Friday night which caused me to fall behind.

The past seven days or so have been a roller coaster. I won another 250 big bets or so before going on a 300 big bet downswing and the last day or so I've broken about even. I'm very close to 100K hands on the year now. I've won a total of 1053 big bets and am averaging a little over 1 big bet per hundred. I'm happy with that considering the games I've been in. Most of my play has come at 15-30 during the day and those are pretty tough games on average.

Here's what my first 100K hands have looked like. Hopefully every 100K looks this good:

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


My friend Eric emailed me a question about motivation that is a good blog topic. Basically what he asked is how do I stay motivated? He's going through a period where he doesn't feel like playing, gets distracted by something else, and then ends up not putting in the hands he needs to.

I've been through what Eric's going through more times than I can remember. In fact, a big reason I've decided to pursue SuperNova Elite and write this blog is to stay motivated and focused on playing poker.

It's really easy to start playing poker on auto-pilot and feel like you're just going through the motions. This is especially true if you're a host and have scheduled hours. You're then forced to play whether you want to or not and if you don't want to, there's an increased chance that you won't put all your effort and energy in it. If you're not a host with scheduled hours, then you might just stop playing altogether and find it very difficult to muster up the incentive to play. Unlike most jobs, if you're working at a substandard level or putting in minimal effort, you don't get paid. In fact, you pay other people.

So to the question of how to stay motivated. I think you need to first figure out what motivates you. Is it money, the challenge, the love of the game, the desire to be the best, etc. Once you've figured out what motivates you, then you need to set some specific goals that pertain to your motivation.

For example, let's say money is your primary goal. You want to make $4,000 a week on average. Instead of setting a goal of winning $4,000 every week, since that's impossible, set a goal of playing X amount of hands every week. Let's say you look through Hold-Em Manager or Poker Tracker and determine you make 40 cents per hand on average. Well to make 4K a week, you need to play 10K hands. That's rougly 1500 hands a day so maybe you want an additional shorter-term of goal of playing 1500 hands per day. You can set these goals and not even worry about whether you're actually making 4K a week because you know in the long-termit will average out to 4K a week. You could even set another goal to never worry about short-term fluctuations or how much you're winning or losing in a given week.

For me, it's a little bit of everything that keeps me motivated. I love to play poker, I want to win money, I want to be the best I can be, and I want to continue improving. Acheiving SuperNova Elite is my long term goal for this year. Becoming SNE will guarantee that I win a lot of money. I have a short-term goal of earning at least 3,000 VPPS per day which puts me ahead of SNE pace. I also have a short-term goal of watching at least 2 videos on StoxPoker or Cardrunners each week. These videos always give me ideas and help me improve my game.

Another goal I have is to look for ways to improve my own game by analyzing data in Hold-Em Manager. This can be a bit of work, but I always find myself more motivated to play after I've looked at data and decided to implement changes.

You've probably read or heard this a hundred times (I have) but write down your goals. I don't know exactly why writing down goals works so well but it does. Once I write something down that I need to do, it's done. Maybe not done at that moment but it will get done. If I don't write it down and just keep in my head, maybe I'll do it, maybe I won't.

So, that pretty much it. To summarize:

Figure out what motivates you
Set specific goals that pertain to your motivations (short, medium, and long term)
Write them down

Sunday, February 8, 2009

A Long Week

I haven't finished playing today but as of right now I'm slightly ahead of the SNE pace - 107545 VPPS earned to 106850 needed.

It was a crazy and difficult week. At about 6:00 yesterday I had played approximately 13,000 hands on the week and was down almost 7K. It was particularly frustrating because I was only down 110 big bets at that point. Every time I stepped up and played 30-60 this week, I got absolutely crushed. Early in the week I made the mistake of 4 tabling during the day with all the regulars. I ran bad but it wasn't a smart decision given how tough those games can be. After that point I was very selective about the 30-60 games I sat in but ran incredibly bad. After 300 hands of 30-60 yesterday I was down 6K! I gritted out another 1000 hands or so of break even poker at 15-30 before mercifully taking a break around 6:00. I started playing 15-30 again around 9:00 PM and everything completely turned for me. From that point up until now I went on a 300 big bet upswing and actually turned a terrible week into a winning week (barring anything catastrophic taking place tonight).

Here is what my week looked like in graphical form:

I realize I focus a lot on short-term results in this blog and it's not something I'd recommend any poker player should do. Poker can and will drive you crazy if you focus on short-term results. There's incredible variance that can last for tens and tens of thousands of hands. When I'm suffering through losing streaks, the first thing I do is look at my long term results. I have a graph of my lifetime results that is always on my desktop. Unfortunately it's human nature to look at short-term results and that's why most of us do it. But I'm able to cope with it by also keeping long-term results in mind.

My plan is to continue playing 30-60 but be very selective about the games I get in. There are some very good games going at night and weekends so I'll try to target those games and spend the rest of my time playing 15-30.

All in all, I'm very happy with how the year has gone. I'm still averaging about 1.2 BB/100 with almost all of my hands being 5-6 handed. I also made another significant change to my game. I ran a few reports in Hold-Em Manager and did a little number crunching that led me to revamp my 3-betting ranges from each position. So I'm excited about that (I easily excite) and think it will help add to my bottom line over time.

Off to play some more....