Tuesday, July 19, 2005


So, umm, yeah. That poker "hiatus" lasted all of what, 20 hours?

Sue me. I recover from weariness well.

On a serious note, thanks for the supportive comments. Sometimes I feel bad about venting and spleening in blog fashion, as I don't think people should have to put up with me bitching and moaning, but, then again, it is my damn blog.

I'm just not good at quitting or admitting defeat. I can't say I have an extraordinary, innate talent for anything in the world but I can get pretty damn good at things via sheer dint of dogged effort and stubbornness.

I have thought about dropping back down from the 15/30 games. The thing is, though, that it's not so much the dollar amounts that are spleening me. The embarrassing thing (given all my moaning) is that I'm still slightly ahead at the 15/30 level. (And I've already admitted to small poker junk, so that's not just posturing.)

The main thing that's spleening me, and why I was threatening to take a poker vacation, is that I've never worked this hard at poker before, never taken it this seriously, never studied or analyzed this much. Just when I think I'm making progress, seeing the results that I hope to achieve, I hit a vicious run where the very cards seem aligned against me, and everything that can go wrong does, and I get slapped back down with much vigor. And I chip back up, slowly and steadily, only to get beaten down again.

I can look at it analytically and see that a big part of it is just variance. I'm not always playing optimally, especially in the midst of a bad run, but I'm not that far off. I'm just not.

An extra wrinkle is that I've been pushing myself hard to maintain pretty aggressive play, more so than I ever have before. Read and study and analyze enough and there's no getting around the fact that hyper aggressive online play wins in the end, especially at mid and high stakes. But it also amps up the variance knob, too, which is the dark underbelly that no one really likes to discuss in forums and post about on blogs. While it's great to spout off about capping from the button with QJs and taking down a huge pot when some muppet keeps playing back at you to the river with an unimproved AK versus your flush, that's not the normal outcome. I'm not saying it's bad play, as it's a very smart play in the right conditions, it's just not the whole story. You're leaving out all the times you have to fold that QJs on the flop, and the times that the muppet actually has a hand, a bigger flush, and you end up looking like a hyper aggressive idiot that overplays hands without giving their opponents a sliver of credit. You're leaving out the chapters where hyper aggressive play leaves huge chunks in your bankroll, when you don't post a winning session for days and days and days. In the end, sure, your junk is huge and you make lots of money playing poker, but you're leaving out more than a few of the tragic chapters in between.

But I digress.

The main thing is that I need to get my monkey head around the variance issue, embrace it, coddle it, talk nice to it. I also need be smarter about when/what I play. I still knock out an occasional bonus at lower limits and I need to be more selective about when I play 15/30 and when I bang out some hands at 2/4. When I'm fresh and ready to do battle and have a few hours to do so, then fire up 15/30. When it's late and I'm tired or running like crap or in less than a stellar mood for whatever reason, bang out some hands at 2/4.

I also need to have more fun, per this fine post from Otis the Wise. This is completely my fault, in nearly every way. I've put myself on this little poker island of my own creating, not taking advantage of any of the social benefits of the whole poker blogger phenomenon. And there are reasons, mainly limited time in general for poker amongst all other life obligations, so it doesn't all spring from misanthropic tendencies, but damn, I suck. I'm still embarrassed and filled with the shame that I managed to spend so little time hanging out with bloggers in Vegas. Again, reasons abounded, but still, my fault, when you get down to brass tacks. I'm way too prone to bemoan the fact that I feel like I really have no one to talk poker with, especially about jumping up to higher levels, when damn, fool, there's a whole wide world of people out there to talk to.

I also may steal a page from the book of Grubby and start posting daily/weekly poker results, as soon as I can think of some non-annoying way to do that. It's one thing to bitch and moan about people only posting selective results from daily play at higher limits, but it's sort of a pot kettle black conundrum. It'll be useful to me, methinks, as far as focusing up my play a bit, knowing the results will be broadcast for the whole world to see, as well as useful (hopefully) to anyone contemplating playing at 15/30.

I'm also going to set aside a day for posting two interesting hands, one which I think I played well and one which I think I butchered, with my thought process for both. Again, the whole pot kettle black thing. It's pointless to gripe about blogs and forums lacking good, real-world examples of both ends of the spectrum when I'm not even doing that myself. And yeah, sure, even what I think is "good" play can likely at times be laughable and worth of being poker with a stick. So laugh and poke away. Learn me.


Drizztdj said...

If you can find a blogger who's writing about "running good" let me know.

I think its a poker site conspiracy against us!!

I can loan you my tinfoil hat if you need one :)

WillWonka said...
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WillWonka said...

Variance... what a nasty word.
I'm experiencing a little of that right now.

Performify said...

drizz - i'm running good these days :)
But in fairness I'm just focused on $10+1 party SNGs after experiencing a big bout of variance at my usual $50 NL tables... my "running good" results at the SNGs aren't that impressive in that context, I guess.

SD - posting and tracking results is a fantastic idea. I use the date range abilities of Poker Tracker to keep on top of exactly that, and I find it really helps me keep things in perspective. I hardly even pay attention to the bankroll as the scorecard anymore - i just track the bb/hr, ROI/ITM, etc from PT. I update my stats for the day, for the week, for the month, and occasionally for the year and lifetime...

d said...

There are some bloggers that are very honest about their downswings. Take 50outs as an example. He is brutally honest about how bad he has been running this year.

I certainly agree though that he seems like the exception to the rule.

d said...
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