Raise or Fold:  A Year of Risky Business

Writing and playing poker as if they were activities worth doing well.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Month 7: Nothing to Write Home About

I just realized that I failed to summarize Month 7. This is partially because it wasn't terribly interesting, and partially because I think I'm still a little shell-shocked from the losses of Month 6. Who wants to look at the numbers when the numbers are nothing but bad news?

Still, you can't take yourself seriously as a poker player without looking hard at your numbers. Going "la la la" and pretending that reality is other than it is… well, that's a recipe for failure both personally and professionally. So here's how Month 7 went.

It went weakly. I averaged a 10% profit on the money I put at risk, in both cash and tournaments. So I made money, but not much, and certainly not enough to be viable as a sole source of income. That's way too close to break-even.

Even harsher: I only recovered about a third of what I lost in Month 6. The only "consolation" there (and it's not much) is that I simply did nowhere near as much playing in Month 7 as I did in Month 6, and the total money I wagered with was only two-thirds what I put at risk in the previous month. It's hard to make a big recovery if you're not playing as much or for big enough stakes.

By contrast, Month 8 is off to a relatively strong start (of course this means next to nothing). In fact, this first week is the best first week I've had so far. This month will include a few days of my next trip to Las Vegas, although not the whole trip. If historical patterns (again, perfectly ridiculously small samples, but anyway) hold up, I ought to do well this time, as I seem to alternate between substantial wins and losses in Sin City. I suppose I should note that I'm actually well ahead overall on money made in Las Vegas ~ despite Month 6.

I've decided that I'm going to try an experiment for the rest of Month 8. I'm putting in place some win-capture and stop-loss rules for cash game sessions at casino-level stakes. If I am up two buy-ins, I will cash out and either quit for the day or take an hour-and-a-half break. If I go through two buy-ins, I will stop for a minimum of four hours at a casino, and for the day if I'm at home. In AC, I failed to get up from the table when I had the urge to lock up my profits while substantially ahead, and went on to regret it. I know poker is one long session, really, but one's mental condition and psychological state have a tremendous effect on how one plays (okay, maybe it's just me), and positive reinforcement (booking a healthy win) is the best way to keep me on track. Resilience is important, no question, but I do much better if I approach the table feeling less beat up.

Someday, perhaps, I'll be less vulnerable to this kind of emotional weather, but until then I might as well try everything I can to maximize the time I'm playing in a good frame of mind.

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Blogger Mike Wilson said...

This sounds more and more like trading every day.

3/24/09 7:33 PM  
Blogger diverjoules said...

Good Luck in Vegas. sigh.....I wish I were there now.

3/25/09 9:46 AM  

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