Wednesday, September 22, 2004


So hmm. I feel like I'm at a temporary poker crossroads of sorts. Which is odd, as the last three months have been solid, +EV months. I'm usually a lazy monkey and only driven to change when something is obviously, painfully not working. But I'm also a pretty critical monkey. I've got plenty of flaws but self-awareness and the ability to appraise myself honestly isn't one of them.

Despite playing profitably I feel like I've peaked out, or, if anything, backslid. The Blogfather has a recent post dealing with that very subject, and the Complacent type fits me to a T. Especially in regards to finding ways to compensate for inherent holes in my play, so that the creaking machine rolls on, and gets along pretty well, if you ignore the smoke and the rattle. As long as you keep it on the side roads, it'll rumble on for forever, but the instant you steer it onto the expressway you're in trouble.

The biggest problem is that I've fallen into the dangerous habit of using passivity as both my crutch and cudgel. My game works and is profitable at low limits where the betting is rarely capped pre-flop, where many people limp in, and where people will call to the river with middle pair. Under those conditions, I make money playing poker, and will make money until the end of time.

So what's the problem, you ask? Well, simply put, I don't make a ton of money. And, more importantly, low limit games are starting to bring me more annoyance than pleasure, despite the profitability. You know you have a problem when you're dealt AA and your first reaction is to sigh, wondering who is going to suck out on you this time with 85 offsuit. Low limit poker is both a grind and a grinder. Lately I'm feeling ground down, despite steadily building the bankroll.

It's just not creative nor very strategic, playing at those levels. It just ends up being basic math. Play solid starting hands and maximize the value of the hands you catch and you'll make money. Nothing creative. Grind grind grind.

The problem is that I don't have the game for higher limits, despite having the bankroll. I just don't. I hate capping the betting pre-flop with anything less than a monster, can't fire that third bullet on a steal attempt, hate calling to the river with A high, hesitate firing when I've got a pocket pair and an overcard hits the flop. I've got weak tight writ large on my forehead.

So I think a hold 'em (limit and NL) break is in order. I'm going to wipe the slate clean and spend some time with all the poker books we know and love. Because I can't quite playing completely cold turkey, I'm going to focus on Omaha, as I've got fewer bad habits to eradicate there, for the most part. Regroup and retool. Start from scratch, back in low limit purgatory, but with a new game.

Absolute worst case scenario is that I can always relapse into Passive McGee mode, and go back to grinding the fish. Despite all my babbling and griping, I've averaged $12.67/hour for the last six months, which is a little misleading as that includes tournaments and SnGs, as well as ring games (but it's also not completely misleading as the ring games fund the tournament entries, etc.) But yeah, 13 bucks an hour for playing poker 10-15 hours a week is a decent part-time gig.

1 comment:

Heafy said...

I'd say it is good that you can take time away from poker. That's heaps better than loosing a massive chunk of your bank roll THEN realizing you need to take some time away from poker.
By the way, making $13 an hour for a hobby won't get you enough to retire, but it's not bad either for a hobby. Poker is fun anyway.