Just a quick one this week.

Hi everyone, I know I’m a day early this week, and you won’t have pages of text to read through for a change! yay!

I am away this weekend for a family get together, so can’t do my usual Sunday update, I also haven’t had a chance this week to get my thoughts together and write a proper post.

Cliffs for the week:

Volume: Way under 500, by a couple of hundred games

Results Checking: Failed miserably

Coaching: 1 sessions, and a few review sessions. yay!

Results: +$322, plus unlocking a $50 bonus on my account. I also placed in the top 10 for the SnG leaderboards for the week, so I should get around another $60-$80 depending where I finish after everyone is done playing today. I also have enough VPP’s (points for non players, think Tesco clubcard style loyalty program where you can exchange points for $ or prizes) for another $150-175 in rewards.

Sooo, in a nutshell, I really messed this week up, and I am very very annoyed with myself after having a few good weeks where I was playing the right volume and not checking my results. This might all seem totally backwards to some of you out there, ‘how can you be angry after winning $ all week, and how were you happy in previous weeks when you lost X amount of $’

The reason is because I cannot control what I win or lose in a week as I explained in previous posts, I can only control the amount I play and things like not checking results mid week. So I failed rather miserably with my goals for the week 😦

Goals for next week:

Volume: 500+

Results Checking: NOOOOOO

Coaching/review: 1 Coaching session, 2-3 review sessions

Results: YAY! Targets: NAAAYYY

 

Creature of (bad) Habit(s)

Happy Sunday everyone, hope you weeks have all been good to you and you are all having a good weekend so far. Here’s this weeks update.

People that know me, can vouch for this, I am a massive creature of habit. I eat the same food all the time, order the same drinks all the time, watch the same TV shows/films over and over again and listen to the same music repeatedly. And up until the last month I went out and got drunk repeatedly, chain smoked and ordered takeaway 5 times a week and was being a naughty boy on too many occasions for it to be a healthy lifestyle.

The first things I listed are all well and good, me listening to the same podcast 25 times in one day isn’t going to affect my health or ability to have a normal life. The same thing goes with the food thing, unless you count all the pizzas, or all he brie, or the bacon…well yea OK maybe the food can be a bad thing! Obviously the drinking and smoking is terribly bad and needed to go!

So..on to poker, it is incredibly easy to have bad habits creep into your game, especially when playing a large amount of volume, and playing a few tables simultaneously. I have found this extremely prevalent in the last couple of weeks, since i started knocking out a medium-high’ish volume of games again. For example I played a 5 hour session one day this week, from 9am until 2pm with no break. While I was playing I felt like I was making good decisions and playing well, and doing everything I could to play the best poker I could. Upon reviewing some games from this sessions I was appalled with some of the decisions I was making.

Looking back over the weeks results it seems this happened on more than one occasion where I just got stressed and locked into making bad decisions repeatedly and losing $ in the process, which is never fun! The frustrating thing is that a week is a tiny sample of games, but I can’t help but feel blaming variance for ALL of the mishaps might be kidding myself and not taking responsibility for my actions.

I used to play a lot of golf when i was younger, at least a couple of times a week for a few years at one point. When i first started playing the 18 hole course instead of the usual 9 hole course I was used to it was a real strain in terms of fatigue and keeping focused. There was one hole on the course that was a par 3, the tee was elevated from the green with a water hazard shaped like a horseshoe around the front of the green, now I had played this hole numerous times and never really had a problem with it. On this occasion however it all went a bit sideways. I ended up hitting my tee shot into the water, then taking a drop, now leaving maybe a distance of 20ft over the water to the green. I got so angry with myself for ruining my tee shot and just got transfixed by the water, you can probably guess what happened, long story short, I shot a 21 on a par 3! This is essentially what still happens in my head to this day, with poker or other things in life, I have a habit of just getting so wound up that I forget that I can easily do this and there really is nothing to worry about, and I just need to take a deep breath and move on.

With poker unlike my round of golf, locking into these cycles of behaviour is extremely damaging, mentally and financially. I can feel it happening, I start to get a bit warm, then I start making decisions too fast, I then start just staring at the part of the tables where I’m sat and at my cards, no taking in to account any of the other players actions, or reads on them or HUD stats. This results in awful, fast, badly thought through decisions. Don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t last forever, and I’m ALOT better at dealing with it than I used to be, but it is still a big and costly issue that I need to address and train myself out of.

This ties back into the whole creature of habit thing, I get stuck into routines, whether its eating the same pizza every time, listening to the same mix 20 times a week, shanking it into the water hazard, or my failure to adjust the way i play hands, or deal with tilt.

Last week I was extremely happy with how I dealt with a crappy week, and all this week I was feeling good about not checking my results. I have realised though that for all the positive steps in the last couple of weeks, it is only a few weeks, and far too small a sample size to draw any meaningful conclusions from in terms of how I’m dealing with things mentally, and there is obviously still a large amount of work to be done.

Still not drinking or raving is making everything a lot easier to deal with, and I still don’t feel like I’m losing my mind, or want to quit poker, so it’s all good 🙂

Games Played: 501 Coaching: 0 Review Sessions: 3

Next weeks goals are pretty much the same again, 500+ games, some coaching and review work. My target for the month is to get my Platinum VIP level back on Pokerstars, which means I have to play 1275 games by Nov 30th, it’s going to be close but I think I can do it.

Thanks for stopping by everyone, and I will see you next week 🙂

Yuck, just yuck.

Springs on Roundabouts

Hello everyone, I hope you have all had a good week at work, or on grinding poker for those players that are reading this.

I had a lot of ideas for this Blog update and various topics I was going to talk about, looking at it now it would have taken up far too much of your time reading and would’ve resulted in a lot of tl:dr comments (too long, didn’t read) So I have decided to split it up a bit and focus on one topic outside of my results and personal updates every week.

This week (rather aptly as I gaze upon my results for the week) I am going to do my best to describe variance for those non players out there. Here is a brief definition I came up with from talking to friends and also quoting a wikipedia entrance.

Variance: In probability theory and statistics, the variance is a measure of how far a set of numbers is spread out. It is one of several descriptors of a probability distribution, describing how far the numbers lie from the mean (expected value). – Taken from (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Variance)

In slightly simpler/poker terms it is deviations from the norm, for example I could get all my $ in with the best hand (say a 60/40 favorite) and lose. If you run this hand 100 times overall I will win as I have the best hand, but this doesn’t mean that the wins and losses will be distributed evenly. I could lose the first 40 in a row then win the last 60 or I could win 5, lose 30, win 55, then lose the last 10. Hopefully you get the idea, this is why poker is always about the long run, not individual hands/games/days etc.

I‘m sure there are better definitions out there from far smarter people than myself so if anyone has any comments or suggestion on how I can improve this, please feel free to comment below.

It is this reason that I made a deal with my coach not to check my results, as in the short term (days/weeks etc) the results really do not matter, poker in it’s purest form is about making correct decisions and playing the amount of games that you have set. These are the only two things you can control, as we have no influence over the cards and what might happen, it’s about making the best informed decisions we can with the info we have. 

I have always struggled with this concept, as obviously we all play poker to make money at the end of the day, and it is quite a strange feeling when you know that you have so little control over your results in the short term, and telling yourself it’s not about the $. This used to be a huge problem for me, and still is somewhat, in that if I’m doing well I think I’m the king of the world (even if I might actually be playing badly) and would stop sessions early to preserve winnings, and conversely if I knew I was losing loads I would totally lose my mind and start playing like and absolute moron. This is pretty much what happened to me on Tuesday (the last time I checked my results until now) I was running insanely bad, and to make things worse I was playing extremely bad.

Not checking results and not getting hung up on the $ figures allowed me to look at my game objectively and really get down to what I was doing wrong and how I could fix it and minimise the damage, rather than whining to fellow players about how bad I was running (no one wants to hear it!) I was doing everything I could to try and sort it out, I was doing more review sessions than I was hoping to, I was talking hands over with people, and also had 2 coaching sessions just to make sure I wasn’t playing awful poker.

So not a great week in terms of $ figures, but overall I am extremely happy with how I got through a shitty week, and actually did more of everything than I had planned. I played more games (554 total), did more review work, and had an extra coaching session. I also really feel that I have broken through a barrier that has been holding back my progress in poker, and that is not being results oriented, if I had lost this amount of a few months ago I would’ve lost my mind, felt slightly depressed and been whining like a fucker to everyone within earshot. As it is, I’m not.. I feel great, actually better than last week after having a winning week. I am also keeping up with the not drinking and partying thing, which is brilliant! 3 weeks now without a massive pissup or going raving, I feel lighter somehow, not in a weight/mass sense but mentally I feel freer and happier in myself, so thats good 🙂

Anyway, this is already longer than I had planned so I will stop here. Thanks for stopping by and giving up some of your time to follow little old me as I journey through poker and life. See you all next week, have a great week everyone. 

Quick midweek post

Hello all, this is just to let everyone know I will be doing my main updates to this Blog on Sundays. 

This also coincides with when I will be checking my results for the week, that’s right, I’m aiming to play a full week without caring whether I’m up or down. I will go into some more detail about this on my main update at the weekend. 

Bye for now 

Ben

A more in depth introduction, and catchup

The last few months have been all over the place for me pokerwise, life in general has been pretty good but I have been living in some what of a fantasy world when it comes to my poker attitude.

First things first, for those that don’t know prior to September I was playing solely $15 6max turbo SnG’s on Pokerstars, and was also taking shots at the $30’s when they looked suitably soft.

Great you might think, playing those stakes with a decent enough volume of games should be happy days. It was, and it wasn’t, I was playing OK volume but really not taking it seriously. I wasn’t doing any review sessions or homework and this resulted in a massive breakeven stretch. I would have days where I would be up $600 then lose it back the next few days, and still basically refused to acknowledge that my game wasn’t at the level it needed to be. By the end of this BE stretch I was thoroughly annoyed with poker and with myself, I was also drinking and partying way too much which resulted in not being in a good place mentally or physically a lot of the time, and spending days in bed with hangovers feeling sorry for myself. Then beating myself up (mentally not physically) for things not going how I wanted, while somehow managing to take no responsibility for it myself and thinking ‘O it will all be fine’ the truth is, it wasnt going to be. I’ve always been a strong beleiver that things work out in the end aslong as you put the effort in. I wasn’t putting effort in and still expecting things to miraculously turn around without any hardwork on my end.

Then comes September! For those of you that know me, you know I am heavily involved with planning and running a music festival at the end of September, I am on the board of trustees and also one half of the production management team. So as you can imagine the whole month was taken up with site build and breakdown, which meant….NO POKER! It also meant (as it is all volunteer based) that I had no $ coming in and had to withdraw most of my roll from Pokerstars, leaving myself with a paltry $300 to rebuild from! The festival itself was absolutely mindblowingly amazeballs, we sold out 20k capacity and it really couldn’t of gone much better (apart from the torrential rain on Sunday) For anyone that wants to see some pics, have a look at these beauties http://adamgasson.com/brisfest/

So after a few days of sleeping and eating constantly and getting over the post event blues it was time to try and sort my life out a bit. This was easier said than done and I reverted back to drinking and sleeping a lot and not feeling great about myself and my life. After a couple of weeks of this, I decided enough is enough, I’m 29 years old, not 17 and I need to start acting as such if I want things to go the way I’ve got planned. The result of this positive change in outlook has been: 2 weeks so far without getting drunk and smoking loads and spending days in bed hungover, 2 weeks without ordering crappy takeaway food, and I have also started Krav Maga with some mates of mine to get my fitness levels sorted out. I have been hammering the poker, doing lots of review sessions and talking over hands with fellow players and really putting the work in. The $300 roll has meant I’ve had to drop down stakes from $15 to $7, for those of you with a keen eye for numbers and that know about BRM (bank roll management for those non poker players) you will notice that I am massively underrolled to even play the $7s with this amount, and I would definitely not recommend it. That being said I was/am supremely confident that I can beat those games relatively easily and aslong as I don’t get pwned by variance I think I will be fine! I had a 20 buyin swing last week, which is totally normal for these games but stings quite a lot when your entire roll, and pretty much entire net worth is a total of 40BI!

Thankfully the following week I hit a bit of a heater, this combined with playing some of the best poker I have played in the last 6 months has given my roll a nice boost and with my money from Full Tilt when it reopens, I will be back at the $15s in no time at all. All this said, I am still not happy with how I am playing, and can do much much better. Onwards and upwards and tally ho!

Week 1:Things are looking up!

One last thing, my goals for this month are as follows:

Average 100 games/day or 500/week, do ATLEAST 2 review sessions/week +1 coaching session

Huzzaahhhh

Hello everyone! I have started this Blog for a few reasons, one is to keep everyone who wants to know, up to date with my life and poker as I no longer go on FB and thought some of you might find it inetresting to have a bit more insight into the whole online poker thing. Secondly it is for me to keep motivated and setting goals for myself in poker and life in general. I hope you enjoy the read.x