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A Sad State of Affairs

Another weekend come and gone, along with a portion of my bankroll and my soul. Poker's the greatest game in the world when you're winning. And it's the worst possible game imaginable when things aren't going well.

MJ was over on the weekend and he witnessed a typical session for me. He even saw me double up when I got extremely lucky against a terrible Villain who managed to pick up a huge hand against me. Of course, I lost it all back and then some the following evening.

I find myself approaching each session with the best of intentions. Play solid, pick up some hands, get paid off, rinse, lather, repeat. But things haven't been going according to plan.

Typically, I pick up very few hands. The good hands don't get paid off. I over-extend myself, tell myself that I have to be ahead this time only to find that I'm well-behind in the hand yet again.

Not sure where to go from here. I've got a few hundred VPPs to pick up at Stars in order to maintain my SilverStar status. I'll take care of that and then take it easy.

I don't even feel confident enough to offer any poker advice on specific hands or specific situations. All the clarity that I had in February has been replaced by a jumbled mess of half-forgotten theories skewed by my tilt-ridden mind.

I've taken comfort in video games in the past week or so. I always feel that I'm letting my Mediocre Poker readers down by stepping back from poker. But there's little point in playing poker with any frequency until I've figured out what's wrong with my game and my state of mind. I've already dropped half my bankroll this month and I'd rather not continue the downward spiral.

I guess I've just taken the reality of poker a little too hard. Last month's results set my sights way too high and I'm paying the price now, one piece of my sanity at a time.

I just want to thank all my readers again for leaving some great comments. I've had some tough questions asked of me. And I've been shown to be wrong or shoddy in my analysis on a number of occasions. It's taken some criticisms for me to realize just how far my game has fallen in so little time. Maybe I'm just mentally exhausted from all the poker I've been playing? Maybe a little time spent with my Xbox 360 will do me some good.

I'll continue to post some of the hands from my recent sessions. I'd like to get some more feedback where possible. I'm not sure if I'll post one disastrous hand from this past weekend. It's extremely embarrassing, caused by my inability to properly focus on the game at hand.

I'll be back tomorrow - hopefully in a better frame of mind than today.


SimpleStyle said...

I'm curious about the number of hands you are playing. How many hands have you logged for the month? You may just be running into a particularly nasty stretch of variance.

Personally, I like to evaluate my game at 10k intervals. If I'm not posting a good win rate after 10,000 hands then there's probably something wrong. But if I'm down a few buy-ins after 2,000 or 3,000 hands it's really not something I worry about.

Klopzi said...

simplestyle -

As I've mentioned before, I don't have as much time to play as some. Due to my limited number of hands, I tend to feel the effects of winning streaks and losing streaks much more profoundly than some.

If I could put in a few thousand hands a day, I might be better able to deal with the realities of variance. But it's hard to keep positive after logging only two winning sessions (+$10 and +$22) over a three-week period (even if we're only talking about 2000 hands).

As for evaluating my game after 10K hands, I haven't played 10K hands at any buy-in level of NLHE yet.

I'll get through this bad streak in time. I've just to get my game back under control. I know I'm spewing at the tables right now and it's just not fun to play when I feel that I'm bound to come out a loser at the end of the night.

Alan aka RecessRampage said...

I don't know who simplestyle is... but I am worried that he's not helping your cause.

I've always had a problem with your thought process. I felt that some of your thoughts just weren't going the right way and I also felt that you tended to justify your poor plays by attributing weird luck factor (like the one time you have a hand, the aggro donk that never had a hand has a monster, etc).

In all honesty, do you really want to get better? Because if you do, I really think you need to take a step back, question your thought process, question the hands you are playing and how you play them, get in the head of what you refer to as donkeys and see if there's any reasoning on how they play or why they play something a certain way.

The moment you realize that you are just another student of the game, become humble, and be willing to take criticism WITHOUT DEFENDING YOURSELF, then you will improve. If you continue to try to justify mistakes with your own reasoning or whatever, then you can join the masses and win some lose some. But if you really want to improve and make money in the long run (and please, don't respond to this with a "I am overall in the black" or something like that cuz that's not the point and I personally don't care), you really have to break yourself down, question your plays, analyze them, and then take it back to the felt.

It requires hard work, discipline, humility, and the desire. IF you got that, you will be able to move up like you specified in your goals. Until then, you will be futzing around in the lower limits.

This might sound harsh, this might not. But that's a true feedback for ya. What you do with it is up to you.

Gnome said...

The most desperate times in my poker career have come when I know something is wrong with my game, but I don't know what it is, no less how to fix it. As Alan says, you have to work through it.
Now for a small rant:
You also have to ask yourself whether you're doing everything you can to prepare yourself to win. This is the biggest single offense among bloggers, Alan included:
Are you using PokerTracker and PokerAce HUD every session? Don't tell me it's not your style or you're playing on a Mac -- buy a freaking PC.
Are you watching poker training videos? No? Why the hell not?
There's no excuse.

support said...

I agree with Alan and Gnome, it's no use and a bad habit to keep claiming it's all due to factors that you have no control over. As I said in a previous comment, you don't seem to have very good basic thought processes for the stakes you're playing.

Apart from that I'm also amazed to hear that you've never played 10k hands at any level and are now messing around at NL100. I think you've probably moved way too quickly and should be humble and move down to NL50 or even NL25.

This will allow you to be less results oriented and more at ease with the plays villain will make. Don't make the error to increase the number of tables however. I'd even advise you to make a video in which you explain your thought process, this way you cannot try to talk yourself out of it afterwards (i don't mean this in a harsch way).

I like reading your blog, but it would be even more interesting to really see you question yourself and improve as a player. I think the readers have done a superb effort to make you aware of this. Now it's your turn to take action.

Klopzi said...

Alan -

I couldn't agree with you more on many of your points.

But in my defense... ;)

Seriously though, I realize that I'm a student of the game. And I'm getting bad grades right now.

But I've always believed that change takes time. And I like to take risks and try things out myself to see how things work. I hate following the well-established standards set by successful poker players simply because "that's the way it is".

For example, I haven't reached that a point in my game where I feel confident using any non-PAHUD related reads. For me, VP$IP and PFR% are the end-all and be-all of my poker world. If a player appears loose, then I'll quickly pigeon-hole him into the aggro donk category and play accordingly. Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn't. Hopefully I'll continue developing the other skills and abilities required to play solid poker. Until then though, things could hurt a little.

Klopzi said...

Gnome -

I play with every conceivable piece of software out there.

I've read all the books.

I watch videos (except CardRunners' videos because I don't have time to watch videos at home).

Right now, I'm more or less at the point where I've hit a wall and I have to figure out where things have gone wrong.

On the surface, my reads are off, I play too loosely, I play too tightly, I'm making silly turn bets, I'm taking extraordinary chances on the river, I'm calling down too much, I'm playing too many hands out of position, I'm not using position like a hammer, and I'm not playing aggressively enough when warranted.

Nobody said poker was easy, right?

Klopzi said...

support -

I'd like to make a video if it wasn't for all the screaming baby noises in the background and the extremely loud breathing noises I seem to make over a microphone. Quite embarrassing, really.

I'm always looking to improve my game. But I'm afraid that being results-oriented is in my blood. When I play video games, I can see my score right there on the screen at all times. I screw up, score goes down. I do well, score goes up. I'm still not used to poker where the score is independent of how well you play in the short-run. And for me, the long-run is too far away when 3000 hands a month is a busy poker month for me.

You may be right. Maybe I should try jumping back down to the $50 NLHE games and staying there until I've logged X hands.

Let me put it out there and see what everyone thinks.

Alan aka RecessRampage said...

Gnome - stop attacking me!!! LOL... fine so I'm a mac user, shoot me.

SimpleStyle said...

Yeah, I'd definitely go back down and log at least 10k hands at 50nl, if not more. At the end of the 10k hands your game should improve a lot just by the different situations you'll end up seeing. That in itself should help you move beyond HUD stats when it comes to making reads.