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Stop the Bleeding

I finally finished off my New Year's Reload Bonus at PokerStars. All told, I cleared $190 in bonuses and Stellar Rewards over the past three months. I also dropped about 250 BB at $1/$2 short-handed limit games over that same period. I don't know what to say. I'm told that long losing streaks are usually due to poor play. I guess I just stink at limit hold'em.

Time to change up my plans for the year...again.

Try as I might, I just can't seem to win at poker. I've made money over the past five years but very little in the way of poker winnings. Bonuses, rakeback, and blackjack winnings account for 90% of the profit that I've made. Over the past year and a half, I've only posted two winning months. I'm obviously doing many things wrong and can't seem to shake off the bad luck and bad play that have been killing my bankroll.

As much as I hate to do it, I'm going to have to regroup. I withdrew a good 70% of my bankroll last night. I don't have any plans for the money. I'm sure it will get spent on something down the line. There will be probably be toys (for the kids), jewelry and major appliances (for my wife), and video games and golf (for me). I think that the money will do more good offline than it would have online. As much as I love funding the bankrolls of the 70/5/0.3 fish in the $1/$2 SHFL games at Stars, I've kind of had enough for now.

Starting immediately, I'll be dropping down to $10 short-handed no-limit hold'em. Until I figure out what's wrong with my game, there's no point in playing for significant stakes at all. I'm going to focus my play at Full Tilt during their upcoming Take 2 promotion (runs April 3 - April 11). I'll also play a bit at Titan Poker and Party Poker. Unfortunately, PokerStars will likely lose out because I don't plan on playing at the stakes necessary to earn VPPs at a reasonable pace.

My only goal for the moment is to get back to being break even at micro-stakes no-limimt hold'em. I'm not going to rush it. I'll try and be happy playing when I feel like it and earning a little rakeback in the process. Poker's not fun when you feel that the games are impossible; spending time with my wife and playing video games is much better alternative right now. I think I'll start playing a bunch of online golf over the coming months: it makes me happy and costs far less than poker.

I always hoped that I'd get to be a great poker player. I guess I've just come to realize that I'll have to settle for being a mediocre poker player with extraordinarily good bankroll management skills and a great deal of patience.

I hope poker's going better for those of you still playing out there. It's a tough game. Good luck.


The Poker Meister said...

I agree that it's a tough game. The games seem to be getting tougher on a daily basis as well.

I just want to point out, having the benefit of playing 10NL within the past 8 months, that it is probably the HARDEST level to play from a variance perspective. Truly, the best advice for a 10NL player is to play standard, ABC poker. Do not make fancy moves. Do not go for thin value. Do not pass go.

If you have good cards, shove. You generally will get called by any and all pairs. Do not try to bluff unless it really really really makes sense. You will get called by any and all pairs. 10NL is a mind-F*CK. I don't know your current bankroll situation, but given your experience level, I would drop to 25NL instead.

If you're still playing at P*, I'll look for you at the tables; I'm trying to build my BR there.

Klopzi said...

@Meister -

I think ABC poker works at most limits. I question the necessity of introducing trickiness into my day-to-day game when playing against relative unknowns.

In any case, I don't really mind the mind f*ck of $10 NL. It's been a long while since I've been a "winning" player. Might as well limit my losses.

I'll likely be focusing more on my play at Full Tilt and Titan Poker for the next little while. Good luck at Stars though: great site if you can put in the volume.

AW said...

How many hands were in the three month losing LHE stretch? A lot of it could be due to variance, especially since it's shorthand. Do you play any full ring at all or just short handed? If I was looking for some confidence building I would probably go back to a full table, but I have no idea how you play.

And finally, keep going! It's impressive you can keep BRM in perspective and maintain a level head among some rough times. Not many players can...

Klopzi said...

@AW -

I've played about 20,000 hands of 6-max LHE at the $1/$2 stakes and running at about -1 BB/100. There is certainly a lot of variance at 6-max limit hold'em. That being said, it's far too easy to attribute losses to bad luck instead of bad play.

I think that posting 3 winning months in the past year and a half seems to point to poor play on my part. I haven't really identified where the leaks are coming in my game. Perhaps I give my opponents too little credit and assume that I'll get paid off with worse. Whatever the case, I'll back off for a bit and just play like a clueless fish for a while.

I have enough pressure in my life without having to worry about dropping $100 a night to poker.

AW said...

What are your VPIP/PFR like? WTSD? W$SD?

I'd say you should definitely take a good long look at some of your losing sessions in order to determine whether it was bad luck or bad play. Maybe spend a little extra time playing around with Poker Stove as well.

If you'd want to either post or send your stats, I'd be happy to take a look. Even though I play mostly FR, having another opinion always helps.c