Friday, November 2, 2012

When to take the WIN, and thinking about the year to date

Today I had planned to play for about 6 hours, but 3 in I decided to call it a session.  I was running about 2 BI under expectation, was getting coolered quite a bit, and definitely missed some value bets.  But I had managed to win about 4 buy-ins and for the first time all week I felt good about my game.  I'm not sure that I was playing drastically better today than I had for the 21k hands I had played earlier in the week, but I finally had won some cash and I needed the mental boost.

Poker can beat you down.  This year has been a trial.  Cash flow not what it used to be due to Black Friday and FTP stealing the vast majority of my bankroll, I was already under the gun so to speak in terms of stress.  It took a lot of work just to get a bankroll back, and to get playing again on different sites.  After all of that I had eaten through a good portion of my savings.  And then the run bad started.  It began last fall and was definitely a combination or running bad range vs range as well as being under EV.  But I managed to win some money just about every month thanks to RB and bonuses so I wasn't sweating it too much.  But then things started to get ugly in January of this year.  I simply could not win, and I was running multiple buy-ins under expectation every second.  Combine this with a volunteer position I took on a Division III college baseball staff, and suddenly I could barely stomache playing.  At this point in the year I was about 80 BI under EV and wasn't sure if I would ever win big again.

The run bad continued at the tables, but I was trying to grind it out when I could.  Then it extended to my real life.  At the beginning of April of last year I accidentally stabbed myself in my right palm.  The story itself is both frightening and funny, but I'll stick to the results.  I severed the flexor tendon that bends my pinky, knicked an artery, and did mild nerve damage.  It took surgery to repair my hand, and then 6-8 weeks of rehab before I was able to use it again.  Everything is back to normal now, but during that time I basically was one handed and it was the hand I don't use to play poker.

In order to be able to play and try and make money for that month, and May I decided to try and 4 table PLO at lower stakes.  I figured that my slower mouse movements would match with my poorer understanding of the game and need for more time to think about decisions.  Eventually I started to think I had a better handle on the game, and my left hand was getting very proficient with the mouse so I found myself frequently 8 tabling. Unfortunately I was overestimating my knowledge of PLO and underestimating the variance.  My breakeven to slightly winning PLO game quickly took a nosedive and I found myself losing, and losing frequently.  I ended up running about 35 BI under EV for my PLO play, but had I run at EV I would have still been a slightly losing player.  At this point I was at an all time poker low.  Using the wrong, hand, playing the wrong game, and still losing.  I'd been losing or breaking even for nearly 5 months.

Thankfully I budgeted for crises because (although not dire or life threatening) this was certainly my first crisis as a pro.  I decided to give myself two more months to work out of the funk.  I had my hand back, I'd go back to my bread and butter game (NLHE) and I'd rededicate myself.  If I couldn't book a reasonable winning month with new focus and new rules for sessions I'd polish off the resume and move on.

then things started to change...


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