Prop Bet Madness!

Hey everyone, I hope you have all had a great week and weekend.

So this week has been the best 5 days poker I’ve had ever I think. I setup a prop bet with a few friends of mine, the bet being that I could play 1,300 SnGs in 5 day from Monday-Friday. This works out as an average of 260 games/day. Prior to this week my personal best for 1 day was 257 games and that was a one off day, not doing it for 5 continuous days. This was going to be a lot tougher than my previous bet as well where the average was 207 games/day over 8 days.

Monday, here we go!

Well it seems the run good from last week was still present! God mode was fully engaged, I haven’t had a session like this in as long as I can remember! As everyone knows I don’t check my results until the end of the week, so I had no idea how well the session had actually gone, but there seemed to be an insane amount of bubbles and HU running for the entire session. I played about 215 games 15 tabling pretty much the entire time, then went to Krav and played again for a little bit when I got home. I then stopped, had a beer and watched Game of Thrones, life is fantastic sometimes! I am also quite glad I haven’t read the books because OMG what an episode, bat shit crazy y0!

The rest of the week was ouch of the same, I put in long days and managed to play 15-18 tables the entire time! This is a personal best for me, as before I have only been playing 12 and it’s great to feel relatively comfortable with increasing the games to 15. On Wednesday I think it was (the days blurred together after the long sessions!) I made a side bet with a friend of mine that I could play 300 games in 1 day! The deal was I had to stop regging by midnight, I got incredibly close according to sharkscope I played 295!! Painfully close! Oh well it was a tiny bet for $10 so no harm done, but it was the most intense day I’ve had in my life and I can’t quite believe I played that many games. bens prop bet meme

The week was going incredibly well until Friday! I somehow made a huge error in tracking the amount of games I had played, and when I thought I had a 180 games left which wasn’t looking too bad. Upon closer inspection it became clear that I actually had 275 left at about 5pm Friday……

By this point I was incredibly tired and getting quite irritable and was also finding it hard to keep 10 or more games running. I could feel myself drifting off and losing concentration and I was also beginning to make misclicks and mistakes more frequently.

cute-sleepy-duckling

I decided to abandon the bet, this was because I really felt that I was playing awful poker and really struggling to keep going. I also wanted to get out of the house and socialise in the evening and not grind until midnight again. I had an incredible week already and really didn’t feel I needed to put myself through the extra pain on Friday night. I did feel like a quitter, I might have been able todo it if I had a rest for an hour then played late into the night, but this really wasn’t appealing at the time!

So overall I’m incredibly happy with this week, other than losing the bets! 18 tabling was immense and playing 295 games in one day was insane! I also got an awesome score on the Battle of Planets weekly leader board. I had 1st place for the entire week until Friday when someone else went a sick heater and put me into 2nd. This is still good for a $300 bonus though so I can’t complain too much.

Now the fun bit, the numbers and the money!

Games: 1,094 w00p w00p

Profit/Loss: $516.14

Coaching/Review: 0/2

screen-capture-12

So there we go, that’s 2 weeks running with decent profit which is a much needed boost, both financially and mentally as I was really struggling after the last few months of running bad and not being able to win a hand.

touchdown dance

I don’t think there will be a blog next week as I’m really busy all week and won’t get to play much, if at all. Have a great week everyone, and I will see you all soon.

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Back Once Again

Hellooooooo everyone!

Sorry about the lack of posts recently, the combination of being busy and not getting to play as much and also running bad hasn’t made for much interesting news poker wise. 

In a coaching session the other week I spent some time going over my stats in PT3 and checking my overall EV graph for the year. This confirmed my suspicions that I had been running below EV by quite some way. I have had run bad before but never over this large of a sample of games and over this much time (5 months now!). 

It is really starting to wear thin and I have been finding it increasingly difficult to keep a positive out look and not to let negativity seep into my mindset and games while playing. I’ve had several blowups/melt downs mid session over the last few weeks which has not helped the situation. Some of this was related to poker and some was to do with the new improved wifi in the house, which is actually worse than the previous one. The connection drops out randomly, sometimes for 5 seconds sometimes for a minute or more. I’ve had it drop with 15 tables going and by the time I’ve managed to reconnect there has only been 9 remaining, costing me $ and stressing me out in the process! There has been a few proper “omg da fuk does it all mean” moments.

Woah!

Woah!

Usually followed by a feeling something like this…

BOOM Headshot

BOOM Headshot

I am now in a position where I have a week before my next bit of work starts so in order to maximise the time I have available and also to kick my arse into gear again  I have decided to arrange another volume prop bet similar to the one I did at the beginning of the year. If anyone is interested in getting involved in this bet get in touch with me on twitter or Skype and I’ll fill you in on the details. I was thinking about going for Platinum again in a week, but it works out as  roughly 315 games/day for 8 days straight, which even for a prop bet to push my volume of games is still incredibly unrealistic. So I am currently trying to work out a similar but more realistic challenge for myself. In my previous bet I played 1,668 SnGs in 8 days, so I’ll be looking to beat that! So next weeks blog update should be rather interesting and you will see how I got on with the bet! 

In other news I’ve now been doing Krav Maga for over a month, and am fully in love with it. I even went to an extra session on a Sunday morning last week! This has really been helping my mindset by keeping me active and healthy and I really think that if I didn’t have this as a release during these crappy poker times I would be struggling even more to get through it. I’m also finding it good as it’s a bit of routine and structure in my life, which as you guys will know from reading this blog are things i struggle with a lot, and I really feel I benefit from having this and not being left to my own devices all the time. 

So this week I only managed to play for a day and a bit, but lets check the figures out! 

Games: 179

Coaching/Review: 0/1 

Profit/Loss: + $379.37

A site for sore eyes!

A site for sore eyes!

Well that’s a pleasant surprise, it felt like another break-even kind of week! I know it’s not about results and I shouldn’t let winning or losing affect me emotionally but I do have a lil smile on my face now after how rough the last few months have been! 🙂 

Next week is gonna be a mad one, I might make a lil post on here when I work out the prop bet details just to keep everyone up to date. 

Have a good Sunday all, and I’ll see you next week 🙂

Keep your mind on the Grind

Hello everyone, happy Sunday (now Tuesday due to long weekend!) to you all, I hope you have all had a great week on and off the tables, and hopefully have been getting some of the sunny weather.

This week I really got back into hard work mode with study and review, but still didn’t play as much as I should have done as once again I got landed with some extra commitments that I hadn’t planned for this week. Oh well, at least I’m keeping busy I supposed, on the keeping busy vibe, I have also started Krav Maga in the last couple of weeks. I’m seriously loving it and it feels great to be being more physically active again, and that in turn is making me eat better and drink and smoke less, so happy days!

I found myself doing hand history reviews at 8am one morning as I was feeling so fresh after getting good sleep and eating good food for a change, so long may that continue. It sounds a bit strange but in a way now that I’m technically busier and have less time for poker, I’m feeling more focused and am enjoying my sessions more again. I guess as Phil Galfond once titled a blog post, “It always comes back to balance, doesn’t it?” a thing regular readers will know I struggle with! http://www.philgalfond.com/it-always-comes-back-to-balance-doesnt-it/

So this week has been pretty good to be honest, I’m feeling refreshed and more focused, and it pretty damn great! I spent some time this week working on my HU (heads up) game a lot with my coach, doing some live sweat sessions playing HU SnGs and some review as well. I also broke my no MTT rule by playing the $11 Saturday Duel HU MTT, as I thought it would give me some much needed practice. This was probably the dullest MTT experience of my entire life, I got a by in the first round, so played no hands for over an hour until the next round started. ZzZzZZzzZzZz 

Round 2 Fight! Wohoo, some hands, finally I can get into some epic HU battle lets go! Right well…6 hands is all it took to dispatch the guy that took all of 5 minutes! He was pretty loose passive and a total fish bowl, I ended up donk betting into him with some draws and other random hands which seemed to put him on tilt pretty bad. That’s all it took to make him lose his mind with  a T high river bluff after I turned top pair. gg me! Sleep mode now for another hour til the next round… This next guy took marginally longer to beat, 26 hands! YYAAYY!! Next round is the bubble round, I drew a total uber mega fish (although I didn’t know this until after when i scoped him) The crappy thing was that I was quite tired and bored by the time this round arrived as it was getting late and the time between rounds was ridiculous. I failed to adjust to the guy and instead of realising he never folded pre, or post flop, I just kept raising a wide range of hands and insisting on barreling multiple times with air. Not a good strategy against a really bad player who never thinks about ranges or anything other than drooling over their own cards!

Losing to a bad player always sucks, but losing to a bad player because of my own inability to adjust, sucks even more, at least if he had just been sucking out with hands and getting lucky I could live with that. So that was that, I played probably 50 hands in over 3 hours…but at least I got to watch a lot of episodes of Parks and Recreation (proper funny show!) 

Oh the irony, I titled a post about keeping my mind on the grind and most of this has been talking about non grinding MTTs! I guess this is because it made a more interesting write up than writing about my SnG week would have done! It was a rather apt end to a pretty rubbish month, another break even week..

I was playing well and felt good in my sessions, there were a few lil mistakes here and there, where I re-shoved too wide into certain types of players a couple of times (this became apparent after reviewing hands post game) But overall very happy with my play throughout the week.

Games: 318

Coaching/Review: 1/3

Profit/Loss: -$7.48

screen-capture-2 screen-capture-3

So yea…overall an incredibly frustrating months poker, but it happens, and it could have been worse. It could have been a massive down swing to rebuild from, rather than just treading water. Even with the few wobbly moments I had this month, I still dealt with it better than I would have done previously, but it has also shown me that there is a lot more work to be done on my mental game. Being a professional player takes a professional attitude and dropping game volume or getting all pissy because you haven’t won any $ for a few weeks is not terribly professional! But I’ll get there, just gotta keep on grinding and working hard, oh yea and going to Krav Maga and getting rid of some of the stress is also great!

Thanks for stopping by guys, see you soon.

p.s I might be away this coming weekend so there may not be a blog!

Back once again, sorry!

Hey guys, I want to start off by saying sorry for missing the last couple of posts, I have been quite busy and haven’t been playing enough to have much to talk about.

This is going to be a fairly short post just to get things going again. In my last post I talked about how I had decided to just stick to the $7s for a while. I have started mixing some $15s in though when the games look good.

I have only played 1,032 games in the last few weeks, which sounds like an OK amount, but not when I need to be hitting 150+/day.

So I am considering arranging another prop bet, to get my arse back in gear and get soem serious volume in. But we will see if that happens 🙂

It’s been a pretty shitty break even couple of weeks, where I haven’t played enough, I haven’t reviewed enough and I haven’t had a coaching session. SLACK!

So tomorrow morning I need to get back on the horse as it were and sort it out.

Here’s the breakdown for the last few weeks:

Games: 1,032

Coaching/Review: 0/3

Profit/Loss: +$24.23 (baller!)

Have a good Sunday all, and I will see you next week 🙂

Image

Image

Mental Strength and some Tennis!

Hi everyone, time for my weekly instalment of poker and life bits. I felt a bit slack last week in terms of content, so I thought this week I would try and come up with a more interesting post.

I am currently sat here watching the Australian Open final between Andy Murray and Novak Djokovich. Those of you familiar with tennis will know about Murrays past and his seeming inability to push himself to the next level in tennis. For those that may not know, he always seemed to struggle a lot with his own mental toughness and always appeared extremely negative and beating himself up a lot in games and in post game interviews etc. Although I am aware that there were 2 other large factors that may have been keeping him down in the rankings and in his own head, namely Federer and Nadal, it can’t be easy to keep yourself motivated and working hard when 2 of the best players in the history of the game were at their peaks and making everything seem so effortless and easy and beating you time after time.

Now before some you of start thinking I’m comparing the physical side of tennis to poker I am most definitely not, the mental toughness however is relevant in any competitive pursuit. The thing with tennis and other sports in comparison to poker is that the skill edge in poker can take a lot longer to become apparent and to show results. For example if I stepped onto a court with Andy Murray, I would never ever win, even if he was on crutches and wearing an eye patch, as the skill edge is huge and there is not enough randomness (variance) associated with the game. The same goes for something like chess, I would never beat any of the greats, even the old (and slightly mad in some cases, Bobby Fischer) or Gary Kasparov because the game is far too solved and their skill edge would be insurmountable even if I were to play hundreds of matches against them.

Poker however has this wondrous thing called variance which I spoke about a bit in a previous post, which allows total beginners/casual players (I will refrain from using terms like fish or donkeys!) to win in the short term against better players, and would also make it possible for someone like myself to sit down and play one of the worlds best like Phil Ivey, and potentially get lucky a few times and beat him. In either scenario this of course is no reflection of the true skill gap and in the long run the worse player will lose and lose and lose.

When mulittabling online everything get accelerated (I’m currently playing 12 tables at once) as you play more hands and more games and therefore experience the highs and lows (swings) a lot faster and also to a much greater degree in some cases. This is where the mental toughness comes in, as when you are constantly getting beaten by people that you know for a fact you are way better than, it can get extremely disheartening and make yourself start doubting and second guessing decisions that you know are 100% correct in the long run, but seem to go painfully wrong in the short term.

I used to be a lot more like the old Andy Murray, and still do beat myself up a lot, but it is getting better, and really does take training to build up the mental muscle to deal with bad runs of cards/games. I think it was in the second set when Murray started to flag a bit and make some mistakes that the commentators remarked on how much better he is at dealing with the missed shots and opportunities and also at appreciating when he’s been outplayed and that there’s nothing else he could’ve done in that spot. Gone are the angry facial expression and aggressive actions that used to surface and he now seems a lot calmer, which is better for his mental state, and also doesn’t give his opponent an extra edge by letting them see how distressed he is and that he clearly isn’t happy with himself, which then allows them to prey on and use to their advantage. There are of course exceptions, but overall his mental game seems a lot better.

My week has felt pretty horrendous if I’m honest (as I’m writing this I still haven’t checked my results) I felt as if I couldn’t win a hand regardless of how far ahead I got my money in, and I know in the short term this is fine, it happens, to a certain point full time players need this to happen so that weaker players think “o great I won when I played X hand  Y way so it must be to correct play” which then in turn keeps them playing badly and also keeps more dead money in the games. It is easy to lose focus of this fact though and I found myself getting increasingly wound up and angry to the point where I was swearing at myself, the screen and if i hadn’t had a self imposed chat ban, probably tapping away insulting people in the chat box!

In earlier times I would have abandoned sessions, part way through the day and spent the rest of the time whining and feeling sorry for myself. But not the new me, instead of tilting and stopping sessions and quitting for the day, I found myself either keeping playing but reducing the number of tables for a while until the rage passed. Or taking a break and doing review work and studying hands and making sure I was playing well, then after a break would start up again and play an afternoon session. This all might seem fairly straight forward and obvious to be honest but for me it definitely signals some what of a change in my mental toughness and dedication to want to push and push and get better and better at this game. The mental toughness is essential and so is a positive self image and outlook, us Brits are known for self deprecating humour it is somewhat of a national pastime to put ones self down in order to make a joke. This is all fine in context but something I have realised recently is that I make, or used to make a lot of thinly veiled whines and comments, hidden behind either making  joke out of it or seeming like I didn’t care, when really when looking at bit deeper at it, it was because I wanted some sympathy or for someone to validate me or my ability at the game. I have actually found myself typing then deleting msgs on Skype to other players and in chartrooms this week, because after I’m done typing I realise that the comment serves no purpose other than a thinly veiled whinge and self pity.

The old poker modicum goes “Whine less, play and study more, and everything will be fine” Well I don’t know if it was or is a modicum or if it does go like that, but whatever, as far as I’m concerned it does! And that’s my game plan for the next month, going full hermit mode and getting my shit together so I can achieve what I want to achieve in this game. All the guys I look up to did not get to where they are today by slacking off, cutting sessions and not doing their review and study time outside of the games, so why on earth should I expect it to happen for me without the work on my side.

So Murray has just lost to Djokovich, he obviously was feeling a lot of pain and exhaustion from the Federer match in the last round, but well done to both, it was an incredibly entertaining match, just a shame about the end result for us Brits (insert self deprecating joke here if you must).

So my week has been pretty good actually, I soldiered on through sessions I would have normally abandoned, I played more games and did more review and coaching sessions than usual (I had an extra coaching session midweek when I felt like I was losing my grip slightly!) and overall feel pretty awesome about the week. I got in days with 150+ games which is great, although I still have a lot of ground to make up after missing the first weeks of January.

Big thanks as always to my buddy and coach and sports psychology master Casy151 for going that extra mile and sorting my head out, and to Solidthought and the rest of the guys I’ve spoken to and worked with this week.

Games: 807

Profit/Loss: – $44.80

Coaching/Review: 2/4

Next week, more of the same, 150 games/day+ and try and make a dent in my missed weeks.

Cheers for reading everyone, I hope you had a good weekend and have a brilliant upcoming week. See you all next Sunday

Good start and finish, shame about the middle :)

Good start and finish, shame about the middle 🙂

Another woefully below EV week, playing well, so it'll be fine :)

Another woefully below EV week, playing well, so it’ll be fine 🙂

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.