Friday, June 22, 2007

Can't Beat Poo-Fling Mania

After taking down a 3-table $11 SnG on Full Tilt and turning my $25 at the 25NL to $6o, I decided to play a little HU $2-4. I ran my $100 to $300, and then this happened when I decided to play a guy I was watching at the $3-6 HU tables.

Full Tilt Poker Game #2734682302: Table Hopi (heads up) - $3/$6 - Limit Hold'em - 0:55:53 ET - 2007/06/22
Seat 1: lowzy ($149)
Seat 2: Hero ($96.50)
lowzy posts the small blind of $1.50
Hero posts the big blind of $3
The button is in seat #1
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Hero [4h 5d]
lowzy calls $1.50
Hero checks
*** FLOP *** [2h 3s 6h]
Hero bets $3
lowzy raises to $6
Hero calls $3
*** TURN *** [2h 3s 6h] [6s]
Hero checks
lowzy bets $6
Hero raises to $12
lowzy raises to $18
Hero raises to $24
lowzy calls $6
*** RIVER *** [2h 3s 6h 6s] [3h]
Hero bets $6
lowzy calls $6
*** SHOW DOWN ***
Hero shows [4h 5d] a straight, Six high
lowzy shows [9h 5h] a flush, Nine high
lowzy wins the pot ($77.50) with a flush, Nine high
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot $78 | Rake $0.50
Board: [2h 3s 6h 6s 3h]
Seat 1: lowzy (small blind) showed [9h 5h] and won ($77.50) with a flush, Nine high
Seat 2: Hero (big blind) showed [4h 5d] and lost with a straight, Six high

Full Tilt Poker Game #2734691521: Table Hopi (heads up) - $3/$6 - Limit Hold'em - 0:56:57 ET - 2007/06/22
Seat 1: lowzy ($207.50)
Seat 2: Hero ($137)
Hero posts the small blind of $1.50
lowzy posts the big blind of $3
The button is in seat #2
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Hero [6d 7d]
Hero raises to $6
lowzy raises to $9
Hero raises to $12
lowzy calls $3
*** FLOP *** [7s 7c 3h]
lowzy bets $3
Hero calls $3
*** TURN *** [7s 7c 3h] [Tc]
lowzy bets $6
Hero raises to $12
lowzy raises to $18
Hero raises to $24
lowzy calls $6
*** RIVER *** [7s 7c 3h Tc] [2c]
lowzy bets $6
Hero raises to $12
lowzy raises to $18
Hero calls $6
*** SHOW DOWN ***
lowzy shows [Kc 4c] a flush, King high
Hero mucks
lowzy wins the pot ($113.50) with a flush, King high
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot $114 | Rake $0.50
Board: [7s 7c 3h Tc 2c]
Seat 1: lowzy (big blind) showed [Kc 4c] and won ($113.50) with a flush, King high
Seat 2: Hero (small blind) mucked [6d 7d] - three of a kind, Sevens

Now I have $15 in my FT account cuz I'm an idiot who can't help but chase after the bad players in games above the stakes that I should be playing with my $100 deposits online. Discuss my retardation while I go sit and stare at the ceiling wondering why I always do this.

I think it's time to go reread this again:
I've read your blog quite a bit and you seem like a really good guy with your heart in the right place, but you honestly don't know what you are doing with poker. Noone has as big of an edge as you seem to believe you can gain, and unless you have a very large bankroll you can't possibly survive the inevitable variance that comes to even the best players. I know because I have played that much, and I built up a sizeable bankroll from free scraps online. I've never been busto or even down for the simple reason that I grinded my way from barely any roll over the course of about 150,000 online hands. It took well over a year, countless hours, and more study than you could imagine. I experienced tons of devastating losing streaks, much worse in BB or bb terms than what you are describing, but have also experienced much better long term success rates. I understand the underlying math that is part of the game, and while I think you do as well, you are denying it when you right posts like above.

Even if you could afford to buy into the WSOP this year, your lack of experience in poker, tournament poker, live poker, and just in general would not give you an edge over the field. Understanding that, and the fact that you need to get very lucky even if you have a tremendous edge in order to cash or win those tournaments, you could not base any results either good or bad on their outcome.

I firmly believe what you need to do is set asid a very small amount of money (like $300) and go back to grinding small limits online for at least a year. Get a rakeback deal, and make sure to take advantage of some signup bonuses, because right now you probably don't have an edge or the tilt control to be a long term winner at the small limits. I would start at $25 NL cash and $10 SNGs until you have worked yourself up to a $1000 roll. Then you can consider moving up. You need to take advantage of PokerTracker, a HUD, and learn how to take notes. Also learn how to multi table by adding one table at a time, since you will be able to see up to 4x as many hands this way to gain experience.

Once you have a bankroll around $5,000 you can consider taking out $200 or less to play live, but understand that if you experience any rough patches you need to scale back your play and practice very disiplined bankroll management. DO NOT TRY TO MOVE UP TO RECOVER LOSSES! People playing at NL100 right now are probably much better on average than you are. It is actually a fairly tough game to beat online, but if you can beat it then live poker should come easier.

If you are playing tournaments then you need to play a ton of SNGs and see how your ROI is after a LOT. If you are winning you can consider moving up, and taking shot at some big MTT. The same bankroll management rules apply. Slowly grind your way up and don't take shots to recover losses. This is the only way to know that you are a long term winner and good at the game, and not just experiencing short term variance.

Also you need to buy and read and study every significant poker book on the market. including: NLHTAP by sklansky and miller, HOH 1 and 2, Theory of Poker by sklansky, Super System 2, Mathematics of Poker by Bill Chen, and if you are going to play limit then you need to study HPFAP by sklansky, SSH by Miller, Winning in Tough HE by Stox. There are lots of other good books on other games, but if you are focusing on Hold'em that list is a start. These books should be read, and reread, and reread until they are falling apart. Read them at work during your lunch break. Read them while taking a shit. Read them in between hands online. Take notes. Reread sections you don't understand.

Then you should start posting hands on 2p2 and listening to the advice and suggestions you get. Also read and respond to as many hands as you can. Read all of the stickied articles that have great advice on how to play that game.

and finally just play play play play. It doesn't matter if it is 25NL online, play for pride. Play because until you learn to grind that $300 into a real roll you aren't even close to a good player. Until you learn how to survive crippling downswings via tough play, game selection, and bankroll management you can't be a winner. Until you move up solely because you have been beating the game for 30,000+ hands at a good clip you don't really know whether you are ready.

this is how you can learn how to be a winner at this game. It takes a ton of time. A lot of patience. A strong work ethic. and a desire to prove that you are winner and not a luckbox. It also takes a lot of heart when you are going throught he downswings, and even more discipline to understand that you aren't ready to move up. Finally it takes humility to move down and rebuild before taking another shot and to avoid going busto.

Over the long run any intelligent and driven person (like yourself) can accomplish this, but if you continue to think of and approach the game they way you are you will always experience the rush and depression of short term variance, but never know the satisfaction of actually becoming a winner at the game. With your current approach you will never see long term success.

I have thought these things for a long time, but avoided responding to your blog because I didn't want to dishearten or come across as a jerk. But I think reading the above and taking it to heart can do your poker game a world of good.

Now that you have your job prospects settled, and you seem content and happy with your personal life it is time to redirect the approach to this hobby if you want to take it seriously. Otherwise just keep it as a game on the side like blackjack, and don't let the losing bother you. If you aren't going to take a serious approach you shouldn't build yourself up with false hope that you are going to make your mark someday. Make your mark in your own life by proving that you can be a winner.

I hope the above helps in some way. It was meant in the most sincere and kind way by a person who understands where you are coming from and has surprisingly similar view points on many subjects. Good luck on the journey, it will be long and tough, but you can make it.

This is definitely something I should do, cuz I'm tired of being on a six-month losing "streak". Anyone wanna help me out? Apparently I can use some more coaching than I'd like to admit.


Darsky said...

There are quite a few good points in that comment. I think the key for you is money management. You really aren't on a six-month losing streak. You came away winner from several seats before moving up to the 3-6. So that is a matter of perspective.
I'm not surprised you tried to run it up like that. I'm sure it was never your intention to stay at the $25NL game after getting enough to play higher. Go in with a plan to stay small until you have a roll that can stand moving up and you will have a better result.
I know you're not upset about losing as much as you are losing what you had accumulated. You need a plan.

Brando said...

I agree with alot of what was said. I know I could never be playing full time if it wasnt for just about every book mentioned and alot of good bankroll management.
IMO those numbers are way too by the book. You'd have to put a gun to my head to get me to wait until my bankroll was $5000 to pull out $200 for a live game.
While i'm sure it's completely "by the book" I don't see how it's realistic unless you actually want to play $25NL tables for the next year.

When I started playing NLH i built up to about 800-1000 playing .25/.50 and .5/1.00 and then I graduated myself to the 1/2 game where I stayed for about 2 months until I figured out that the 2/4 NL game was actually easier to beat and I stayed at that level until my bankroll had hit close to $20,000. For me it's all about your comfort level and how much of a downswing my bankroll can handle before I make a move to the next level.
I've started to ramble and I don't even remember what my original point was going to be... lol If you want any help from me i'm more than willing to help out.. i recommend getting ahold of pokertracker and playing a few sessions. You could send me the database (im almost positive you can do that) and we could go over it. If there are any critical holes in your game that's an great way to find them... I know its helped me immensely.

CoolChangeSailor said...

Kid -

IMVHO, excellent commentary from anonymous; an individual who, judging from their use of the vernacular, would appear to have a least a little experience with your chosen avocation.

'Just the tiniest bit of chiming in here, but indulge me as I offer encouragement from someone with a little familiarity with your personality, your psyche, your background:

Your self-confidence (borderline arrogance, some might say) has long been a fertile seedbed for more than a healthy portion of my envy for you, your youth, your charisma, and your potential. In other words, Kid, you've got the world by the tail.

Someday, I'm sure you'll realize that.

'Meantime, please do indeed read and reread and reread again the advice from anonymous. It sounds very similar to the mantra some people close to you have been preaching to you ad infinitum: work, work, work. Work and discipline are the key--the ONLY way to succeed at ANYTHING!

You can do it. It's a given. We've always known it. But you cannot do it using only your charm, your wit, your heart. You must learn to discipline yourself, you must embrace the grind inherent in the struggle to succeed at poker, at love, at LIFE. Success without perspective is hollow, untrue, and invariably, horribly short-lived.

Know that we love you and are proud of you; ever moreso as you mature and come to realize your true self.

-Pops and Mom

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