Raise or Fold:  A Year of Risky Business

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

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Nowhere near as bad as I thought...

I was in a pretty bad funk over my online poker results as revealed by tracking software. Nobody likes to suck. But then I realized that I had not included results from my other computer. So I transferred over the hand history files and imported those too. This provided me with a total of 150K hands to look at.

The result: I am, in fact, a breakeven player online. And if I were getting rakeback, I would definitely be profiting.

While this doesn't exactly offer cause for celebratory fireworks and champagne, it is helpful in two ways. Firstly, it confirms my original estimation that overall I'm not bleeding money online. And secondly, it shows very clearly that I was a significantly winning player until my results FELL OFF A CLIFF 15K hands ago in cash games and in tournaments. And when was this?

It was February.

Okay, that's interesting.

Let's see... what happened in February? Well, gee, I went to Vegas and got my ass kicked. My results in cash games, both online and live, have been in the dumper ever since. My tournament results have been okay live, but pretty bad online.

Some of this, I'm sure, is because most of my online play is very late at night/early in the morning, when I'm not at my best. Some of it is probably down to distraction (online play is particularly vulnerable to this, as the computer offers so many potential *oooh shiny!* attention-snags). And if I were a superstitious woman... well, let's just say I could come up with a couple more "explanations."

But I'm not.

So: have I become a much worse poker player in the last three months?

This seems unlikely. I may have been playing less well because I got so badly beaten up by variance in Vegas, but I don't think I've suddenly lost all my skill. And, if anything, I think the last three months have taught me a ton about overcoming tilt. While there's been a great deal of frustration, I think I've actually come to pretty good grips with the hands I've been dealt (so to speak).

I've also noticed, in the past, that when I'm absorbing new information or ideas about the game (say, from reading a book, or having a useful conversation about strategy), my results tend to suffer for awhile as I digest them and try them out in my own game. Eventually, I process them fully, and incorporate them into my game (or not), and the temporary disturbance passes, much like a case of indigestion from an especially big meal. Usually I emerge from those episodes a better and stronger player. It's possible that is what's going on here. I may be having growing pains, and the downswing may be both contributing to the pain and fostering the growth.

The net result of my analysis is this: I've been running really bad, it's affected my play, I'm learning new things that I've yet to fully master, and I don't totally suck.

Sounds about right to me. What do you think?

Labels: , , , ,


Blogger Crash said...

1. I remember one of your posts from quite a few months back that said it was easy to win $ in cash games!

2. It is evidently quite common to lose as you digest new concepts. I have heard that before. So, yup, your post sounds about right to me. You still don't seem confident that you can support yourself as a pro. Of course, if they always comped you a room in Vegas, you wouldn't need to pay for a house or apartment!

5/13/09 5:33 PM  
Blogger Memphis MOJO said...

Nice post. One of your strengths is that you are honest with yourself.

Question: Do you really need poker tracker this or spreadsheet that to track online play? You know if you take money out now and then. That's the bottom line after all.

5/13/09 7:06 PM  
Blogger Fred said...

You also might note which computer you're winning more on. Is one more prone to delivering interesting but loss-inducing distractions?

If so, you might want to play poker on the more boring but more profitable machine.

5/14/09 6:49 AM  
Blogger Poker Dreams said...

great post. I am experiencing some of the very same things and you may have made some sense of them for me. I am winning one or two tourneys a month. Nothing huge. May 1 I won a 50 no rebuy for 863 and three days earlier I chopped a 145 bounty two ways for 2691.00 That puts you on the highest of highs. I read Negreanu's new book on small ball and have tried to use it in play over the last few weeks and seem to put myself in a hole. Then I dont catch any cards and get frustrated and opps out of the tournament. Its pretty frustrating. I finished 16th last night in the local 50 dollar game out of the money. Your post may have hit it on the head. Maybe I am trying to force situations in order to practice something I read. Who knows. I am going to spend Memorial day weekend at Foxwoods at Mohegan Sun so I will try to get the train back on the tracks. What tools do you use to deal with frustration at the table? Great blog, Good luck in the World Series and hope too read more.

Good Luck


5/14/09 7:17 AM  
Blogger Mike Wilson said...

Yeah. Definitely sounds solid. Adding a new technique is definitely gonna wonk your style for a bit.

Mojo: Not knowing anything about poker, much less online, it seems that this level of tracking provided the insight required to determine when (and thus why) things changed. Sounds very useful.

5/14/09 9:13 AM  
Blogger Pokerwolf said...

Sounds like you're on the right track to me.

As for "distractions when playing online", the way that I've overcome those is to minimize all of my other windows and resize the poker table window so it takes up about 2/3rds of my screen. Not only does that make things easier to see (and causes me to mis-click less!), but it also helps me focus and concentrate on the game I'm playing. I'm not sure if that'll help you or not, but I thought I'd throw the idea your way to see if you wanted to give it a shot.

Good luck at the tables!

5/14/09 10:30 AM  
Blogger Mike G said...

Now you've got me curious about the vegas trip - I've got to go read that before I can make an informed comment. You seem savvy enough to be winning, but there's a lot of good players out there nowadays.

5/14/09 1:00 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home