Wednesday, August 31, 2011

August Recap

This was by far my toughest month mentally. I can't count the number of days I felt completely unmotivated. Too often I was just going through the motions trying to get my VPPs for the day. I hit about a 100K hand breakeven stretch dating back to last month that made things even more difficult. In total I put in 321 hours at the tables or just over 10 hours a day. Imagine the mental wear and tear of walking twenty miles a day, every day, for three and half months and that's likely similar to what it feels like 4-6 table poker 10+ hours a day for 3.5 months. On the bright side I'm up to 967K VPPs, only have five more days of this, and don't ever intend on doing it again. I'm hoping next year to travel to some different tournaments, using my FPPs to buy-in, and staying at the different locales for 3-4 weeks at a time while playing a more normal schedule.

I did finally break out of my extended slump, winning about 700 big bets over the last 15K hands or so. It didn't translate into a great deal of money because most of it came at lower limits. The higher limit games have been incredibly dead over the last week. In fact, I've noticed at the end of every month I've been here the games have died down. I'm not sure why but there were a lot of high limit games towards the middle of every month. In any event, it's nice to run good and string together consecutive winning days.

Good luck to everyone in September.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Oh Variance

Don't ever underestimate the amount of variance in poker. And further don't underestimate the affect variance can have on your game and mental attitude. If you asked me four weeks ago how I was playing, I might have told you as good or better than anyone in the world. Ask me now and I'm not sure I'm playing better than at least twenty-five of the regulars in my games.

The only thing that's changed is that I've gone through a 400 BB downswing, a 300 BB downswing, and a few 100-200 BB downswings all in the span of 70K hands. There is a serious negative mental impact this has, I start questioning a lot of the things I'm doing and my mind starts playing tricks on me. For example, it becomes a lot more difficult to make a thin river value bet on a scary river card when you've been raised the last nine out of ten times in that situation. I've read that the human brain is conditioned to believe an outcome is likely after it's seen it happen two or three times. This is an evolutionary trait and obviously has a lot of value in the real world, just not when you're playing poker. At that point, you have different parts of the brain conflicting with each other about what the best decision is and when making split decisions for hours at a time, it's easy to choose the wrong one. It's a subtle form of tilt I suppose.

That's just one of many examples.

I've said it before and I'll say it again (and will probably keep saying it), what separates the good players from the great players is being able to maintain your composure and play your A game even when nothing is going right. I think I do a good job of it compared to most but I have a whole lot of room for improvement as well.

I've got about two weeks to go and am up to 915K VPPs or so. I need to get more focused at the tables and bring my A game. I'm not leaving Canada with any regrets about the way I played. I've been really burnt out and unfocused this month. In a strange way this losing streak has been helpful. It's jolted me awake and reminded me that I do actually have to give 100% effort and think through all of my decisions.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Down the Stretch

I'm up to 873K VPPs. I pushed back my return date to the US to Sept. 6th to give me a little breathing room and still have enough time to make my cousin's wedding in South Dakota on the 10th. I still need to average about 6100 VPPs a day to make it. It's been incredibly challenging, I'm completely burnt out and sick of poker. I've been totally unmotivated this month and often just going through the motions at the table to get hands in. My win rate is probably spot on for the level I'm playing at. All in all, it's just been a frustrating month because I hate playing when I'm not on top of my game. Only three weeks to go thankfully. And for anyone thinking of doing something similar, don't do it. Don't even think about doing it. ~750 VPPs in 3.5 months playing limit borders on insanity.

On the banking front, I found a convenient way to get money back to the US cheaply. I was able to open an account with Canadian Forex. I'm now able to make a bill payment from my TD Canada trust account to CF and have it wired to my US account in about 4 days. The fee is somewhere around 1% which beats any of the banks.

Good luck to everyone at the tables. I'm really looking forward to playing no poker for three months, I never thought I'd say it.