First things first, no Omaha 8 tourney action going on tonight. I repeat, no Omaha 8 tourney action tonight. Just taking a wee break for a week, then back in action next Friday.
I wish PokerTracker would let you flag sessions with beer mug or blunt icons, to track your play under, umm, altered conditions. I've been depositing at Absolute to take advantage of the 20% reloads they've been offering the last few days, and had a decent chunk of money sitting in the account last night when I sat down, eating what might have been the absolute best tasting ice cream sandwich in the history of ice cream sandwiches. For some reason it seemed a good idea to sit at a $10/$20 short-handed table. Twenty minutes later it seemed like a good idea to go to bed, up nearly $800.
So, umm, yeah. March was officially a really good month. I'm honestly not sure to handle this, as far as posting crass results and what-not. They're also a bit misleading, as I'm including poker/casino/affiliate profits, and that sort of skews the results. Maybe I'll just stick with general trends and related observations from both the last month and the YTD.
1) Pound for pound, the Cryptos (InterPoker, PokerPlex, Will Hill, TotalBet, and UKBetting) continue to be the most profitable for me, for both the month and YTD. Not only are these some of the best bonuses out there, but the player base is the easiest to extract profit from. Yep. Even more so than Party.
A lot of this has to do with the fact that the Cryptos draw players in from the attached casinos, but I think there's also a more subtle trend occuring. I can't help but think the ability to data mine from observed tables on Party/Party skins is having an effect on the overall profitability of players. Simply put, the logical result of that is that fishier players will go broke faster (due to showing up on the radar of assorted data-mining sharks). A corollary effect is that even winning players will have more pressure put upon them as trends in their own play become apparent to those willing to voraciously data mine observed hands (or subscribe to services that do the same).
With that in mind, it seems a no-brainer to play off the grid, as far as data mining observed hands, as long as you can find equally ripe pickings. For myself, the pickings are just as ripe at the Cryptos. So that's where I be.
2) This is the first month I've logged enough hands at limits > $5/10 to draw any sort of meaningful conclusions. My results have been pretty good, but the real encouraging trends go beyond pure profits. All of that frustrating grinding at lower limits really does pay off. It sounds counter-intuitive, but the same game that can show a loss over thousands of hands at 1/2 can be a solid, winning game at 10/20 and above. Tight, solid, aggressive play can't always overcome the schooling effect at lower limits, especially against loose, passive calling stations. That exact same play, though (once you adjust to the amped up aggression, especially pre-flop and on the flop), can be very profitable at higher limits.
Long story short, don't be discouraged if you're studying, reading, analyzing your play, and still not making much head-way at lower-limits, as far as profits go. In the long run you'll get there, if your game is solid, and the dividends will only increase as you move up limits.
3) I would highly recommend setting up a plan to regularly withdraw and invest a portion of your winnings each month. For me, it's more a psychological trick than anything, but it keeps me much more focused amisdt the grinding out of hands, knowing that even a +$2.67 day, after three hours of play, is a positive contribution into a monthly chunk of money that's going into a Vanguard fund (which has the potential to become a much larger sum of money 20 years from now).
I think a lot of success in poker is internal smoke and mirrors, as far as finding a way to trick yourself into ignoring the short-term stings of bad beats and suckouts, to divorce yourself from all of the factors that lead to a visit from the Tilt Monster, solely focusing on playing each individual hand optimally. It's helped me a lot to formalize the reward part of that feedback loop, as far as withdrawing and investing a certain amount of profits each month, instead of just letting it accumulate in an amorphous fashion in my online bankroll.
4) Casino bonuses can be a poker player's best friend. They're not for suckers and they're not -EV. If you're disciplined and stick to the game plan, you can pad your poker bankroll with hundreds (and yes, even thousands) of dollars. Call me Shilly McGee, but it's true. I've got the Neteller balance to prove it.
5) It's the golden age of poker bonuses. If you're not always playing with a pending bonus, you're leaving money on the table.
6) PokerTracker is the best thing since sliced bread. If you don't already have a copy, get one. Just do it. Then get a copy of Poker Tracker Guide and you'll be armed for chip-flingin' bear.
7) Variance is a bitch. No matter what level you play, if you play long enough, you'll have scrotum-shrinking stretches when nothing goes your way and all you do is bleed money. Ain't nothing to do about that but expect it, cuss at it when it smacks you upside the head, and keep getting back on the horse, no matter how many times you get thrown off.