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

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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!

This is my Brain on Tilt

Hi guys, sorry I’m a day late! I partook in some jollies on Saturday, and as a result wasn’t feeling terribly bloggy on Sunday!

As you have all seen from last weeks post this month so far has been pretty uninspiring stuff, low volume of games and non existent profit, although atleast I was breaking even and not losing a ton (I know of guys going through $2k swings this month, so I must try not to complain about breaking even!)

After this ropey BE start to the month I wasn’t going into last week feeling terribly confident about my own ability and generally was feeling a bit rubbish, but I soldiered on, I played pretty much every day although I did cut some sessions short   (monkey tilt) and had some other commitments which meant I couldn’t play quite as much.

If I’m being honest, the entire week felt like an absolute train wreck fro start to finish,  although Tuesday or Wednesday had some soft $15s that I felt I did OK in. I was convinced I had been running badly, playing worse and losing a ton of money. As you can probably imagine going through 4-5 days of thinking this way and being that negative and stressed did a number on my ability to be objective and really see how I was playing and judge how the week was going. So much so, that by the time Friday arrived I was steaming before I even loaded the first games up. But this passed and I kept playing, then BOOM! Uber insane monkey tilt set in at about 3pm on Friday……

I stopped playing, I quit the strategy chartrooms I belong to on Skype (I do this now and again when I can feel the tilt and rage building to the point where I will start ranting and imposing my shitty feelings on any poor soul that happens to be in the chat room) and that was it until today (Monday) I didn’t check my weeks results, and I didn’t speak to anyone about poker, and as far as I was concerned I had probably lost about $300+ and (poker) life was pretty craptacular.

So, I’m sure you are all wondering what happened…..did I lose it all…..how much did I lose, is there any hope, is there a dealer button at the end of the tunnel…. will I rise from the ashes like a lanky ginger phoenix once more…

This weeks breakdown:

Games: 292 (low volume but could be worse given the tilt issues)

Profit/Loss: +$145.98

Coaching/Review: 1/2 (boo not enough review)

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The really sik thing about this week was Friday, I was so consumed by tilt that I quit the session in the middle of a $140 up swing. In my mind I was getting pwned and losing every hand, which to be fair had been happening from game 122 – 267, but was not an accurate picture of how I was doing at that moment in time.

So…what conclusions can we draw here?

1) I am still not as in control of my mental game as I had thought recently. I think I’m going to reread The Mental Game of Poker, and speak with my coach more about this.

2) My ability to judge my game and results is pretty piss poor even when not tilted, but even more so when I am. So I really need to try not to think about my perceived results while playing.

3) The George Formby Grill would be an infinitely more entertaining kitchen device.

That’s all folks, see you next week, I hope you all have a great week at the tables/the office desk/wherever you work 🙂

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 🙂

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Rethinking and Adjusting targets.

Good afternoon all, I hope you have all had a good week and are enjoying your Easter sunday, for those of you that are that way inclined. 

Last week I set some pretty lofty goals to maintain my Platinum VIP level, which alas did not happen. So after midnight tonight I will drop back down to Gold. Sad times! The original plan for this year was to be hitting Supernova by August/September time, unfortunately with my slack ness and other issues this is starting to look slightly unrealistic. 

After a lot of thought on the matter and how I want to proceed this year I have decided to stick at the $7 level for a little while longer regardless of my current bankroll. I plan to keep adding tables though to hopefully offset the fact I won’t be playing higher buy-in games quite as soon as I potentially could. I am quite keen to see how many games I can play at once and I have been watching videos and reading blogs by some of the top SnG multitbaling beasts such as Boku87 and Phase89. For those that might not know anything about these guys, spend a few minutes doing a google search and you will see what I’m talking about.

There are a couple of reasons for this decision, one being the challenge of playing as many tables as possible, and getting insane volume in as I think it’s something I can do and would enjoy. The other and more practical reason comes down to $ and not wanting to have to endure swings at higher levels currently. I feel that I can stay at the $7 level and be able to consistently withdraw $, more so than I feel I can moving up to reg infested games. Given my current financial situation this is the best decision for me and will hopefully enable me to have a bit more financial freedom and also start paying off some debts. So I intend to keep my BR at a certain amount and withdraw anything over that amount every week. 

This is not to say I am totally abandoning the Supernova goal this year, rather that it is now taking a back seat in favour of just making some actual cash money slightly faster. Where the plan with SN was to play as much as possible and not worry about the results, as in the long run the bonuses and VIP rewards associated with SN more than make up for running at a loss or breaking even for a few months. 

My other goals last week were focused around alcohol and food intake, I set a goal of not drinking at all, which I failed at, I had a few pints a couple of nights, once while at the casino with friends and the other being Friday night. I did however refrain from getting drunk and waking up feeling like garbage, so not a total fail on that one. This also lead to smoking ciggies as well. boooooooo 

I seem to have also consumed a vast amount of fried foods and other crap, so not so great there either! 

I do overall feel a lot better than I have for the last month though, so that’s gotta be a good thing and hopefully this trend will continue into April. 

My game volume was down again this week, this was down to me really not feeling great mentally still, Thursday was a god awful day for my brain, I don’t know what happened but I was all over the place. Thankfully one of my best mates decided to come for an impromptu visit, which helped immensely. I’m not sure whether it was coincidence or some kind of best mate telepathic link, but whatever it was, I’m bloody glad it happened.  

Last week I mentioned I was getting a stake for the ISPT 300e buy in MTT, after chatting with my backer we decided that I could use this stake to play the cash games at my local casino. I had my first session there on Thursday, I only played for a few hours after being knocked out of the nightly tournament, but did quite well. I was pleased to see all the same awful players that used to play the .50p/.50p games sat in the £1/£1 games. My mate went on a sick heater and turned £80 into £590 in 3 hours! While my results were good, they weren’t that good! 

Overall a decent week, and I feel a lot better in myself and, I just need to keep my head clear and crack on with next month now. 

Here’s the results for the week: 

Games: 375 

Review/Coaching: 3/1 

Profit/Loss: +$238.40 ImageThat’s it for this week, enjoy the rest of your weekends, and GL at the tables. See you next Sunday 🙂 

Drunken Style

Hey everyone, it’s me again! Time for a new instalment of bloggy goodness. well….maybe

Since completing the prop bet weeks ago now, I have really struggled to get back to the tables, I have been away a lot and other than that I have been not feeling great mentally.

Those of you that are regulars to my blog on WordPress or the older version on Pokerstrategy.com (search my username for link to old blog) will know I have a rather torrid relationship with alcohol and partying in general. I wrote a post last year called “Slippery Slopes” which talked about this, and how easily I can go from feeling great and motivated and focused about life, having a bit of a heavy weekend then slipping back into bad old habits.

This month has been less of a slippery slope and more of a terminal velocity freefall with no parachute. It all started innocently enough to be honest, after I finished the prop bet I shot off for 8 days for a job. After this I thought “Hey I’ve been working really hard these last few weeks and not going out much, I think i deserve a couple of nights out” Which is fair enough, unfortunately it just spiralled downwards, a few nights out, ruined 1 week, then I was away for weekend with some mates, ruined another week, too many beers at a home game, another day or so gone, popping out for “a couple of pints” ends leaving me feeling ropey for a day or so, more days gone, I’m sure you get the picture.

When I did get around to playing, it was awful, playing some of the worst poker combined with moving up stakes to the $15s has been really painful. I’m not gonna bore everyone with tales of variance and run bad. It’s just been lol bad, and a lot of it’s mainly my fault.

I have decided, as I did a few months back, to get back on the wagon with the drink, as I cannot and do not want to keep this cycle going, and when looking at things objectively, alcohol is probably the single largest thing stopping me from achieving all the goals I have set for this year. This isn’t just poker either, I have missed bits of work and other responsibilities  and it’s really not good!

It hasn’t been all doom and gloom though, I have kindly been offered a stake for the ISPT event which is a 300E buyin, starting online for Day 1, then Day 2 onwards being played live at Wembley Stadium, so that’s quite cool! I have also been getting back into playing chess with some friends, watching tutorial vids on youtube and even bought a couple of chess books. I still suck really bad, but it’s good for the old grey matter. Anyone that plays on chess.com feel free to add me and have a game sometime. (nick: bristolbasher)

Down to the nitty gritty facts and figures from the month so far though, as I’m sure that’s all a lot of you care about.

Games played: 588

Profit/Loss: -$735.63

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I did cash in $250 worth of bonuses and make a small withdrawal, so I guess it’s not uber bad financially. But as I always say it’s not about the $ in the short term, my volume of games and motivation and mental state are what really gets me down. Which is part of the larger problem I guess, the less I do, the more I beat myself up and the less I want to do, and round and round it goes!

So it now seems that I have ended up in a similar spot to last month with regards to VPPs and volume…. this should have never happened playing the $15s as I need 50% less volume to achieve the same amount of VPPs, but with my low volume and awful results, I am now forced to move back to playing mostly $7s again and need to clear 4,376 VPPs in the next 7 days (by the 31st) which works out to about 218 $7sngs/day. So here we go again, hopefully I can get my arse in gear and keep my head clear and get down to business.

Goals for Next Week:

Play everyday+Review session everyday

Keep Platinum star by clearing 4,376 VPPs

No drink/cigarettes (I only really smoke when I drink)

Healthier food

Thanks for stopping by guys, hopefully this hasn’t been too depressing a read for you all! I will come out the other side bigger better and stronger, and hopefully manage to stop repeating this cycle every few months!

p.s. If anyone sees me drunk you have my permission to come bitch slap me

Prop bet madness, and getting back on track!

Hello my lovelies, so sorry I’ve left you all blogless for 2 weeks now! I have been rather busy with “real life” stuff *yawn* but I’m back now and time to crush games and write blogs!

I didn’t play at all last week as I was away a lot and didn’t have the time to get to the tables, so that would make for a rather dull blog update after 2 weeks of nothingness. Thankfully the week prior to that I got in lots and lots of pokerz, a rather insane amount really, but it was great.

To set the scene let me explain why/how/what I was doing.

As you all know my goal for this year is to hit Supernova by August/September roughly (if not before), to get on track for this I needed to get my Platinum level back first, which I should of had by end of January, but didn’t due to various reasons. In order to get myself back on track I had to clear 4,898 VPPs by the end of February, which is about 1,700 games, in 8days!

In order to light a fire under my ass somewhat I decided I would setup a prop bet with some other grinders I know online. For those that don’t know, a prop bet is a proposition bet, eg “I bet you $X at X:X odds that you can’t do X task”

Poker history is full of famous and rather large prop bets, from million dollar weight loss bets and these days more reasonable volume bets, which is what I setup.

The Challenge:

Platinum VIP (4,898 VPPs)

8 days

Avg 208 $7 6m turbo SnGs/day

As you guys will know I have been working on my volume a lot so far this year. My recent volume increase has got me to 150 games a day average, with my personal best ever prior to this being 200 ish games, requiring me to take a day off afterwards! So this amount of volume was going to be a challenge, playing for 8 days solid with no breaks really.

Regardless of this, I was feeling quietly confident in my abilities otherwise I would never have arranged this prop bet. Aswell as potential to win some $ from the bet, playing this amount of games also clears roughly $150 in bonuses and rewards from the VIP program, so it could be a rather profitable week if all goes according to plan!

I tried to keep a daily poker diary during this intense 8 days, and have included some excerpts and music to accompany the day and reflect my mood slightly.

So, here we go…

Day 1: Feeling good but slightly apprehensive about the task I’ve taken on.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uvk6DJu26gI

Day 2: Same as yesterday really, although a bit more tired

Day3: Really feeling tired now, massively underestimated how fatigued I would get from this amount of games. Spilled cous cous on desk/mouse pad, thank god for optical mouse, cous cous in a roller ball wouldn’t be the one!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YGkJE-mA_Ss

Day 4: Nice relaxing breakfast watching Frasier, feeling good, although I do feel like I might be getting a cold, could be bad! Finding it hard to concentrate as day goes on, getting tired, ill and tilting, stopped playing after 160 games.

Day 5: Feeling better after an early night, still not 100% though, tilting a bit, although it’s passing quickly and isn’t all consuming rage like yesterday. Gotta make up lost games from yesterday!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9D-QD_HIfjA

Day 6: Today feels awesome, not sure why as I’m still a bit ill, but feeling focused and in the zone. Played 195 games without a break, then finished off a shorter evening session.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cKO0RrM7LvI

Day 7: Wow am I tired now, finding it super hard to focus and keep playing, cabin fever setting in slightly as well. Making a lot of mistakes and misclicks (including an open shove at bb30 with 54o) Finding it hard to analyse hands in game and think decisions through.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yO2yiVsiExI

Day 8: Started at 8am today to make sure I win this bet! Starting to get anxious now about my results for the week as I still haven’t checked how much I might be +/-.

So close to being done, but it’s not ever till it’s over.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9jK-NcRmVcw

And we are done! as of 6:45pm GMT on day 8 I completed the bet!

I played a total of 1,660 SnG’s in 8 days;

1,606 x $7

53 x $15

1 x $30

I haven’t felt this happy with myself in a long time, I cannot believe I stuck to the insane schedule for 8 days. It really goes to show me what I can achieve if i push myself with poker, and I’m a very happy person.

The main lesson I’ve taken away from this is just how bad I am as judging how a day/week is going when I’m playing, as you will see from the graph below there was some pretty gross swings of $200-300 a couple of times and some nice up ticks aswell. These have almost no bearing on how I thought I was doing at the time, and make me appreciate how much of a difference not checking my results makes to my mind set. For example I really think I would have struggled to continue had I known I had lost $300 in the first day, or the times when I got even or + then lost it again would have really shaken my confidence and belief in my abilities.

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So I ended up +$187 from the games, $150 from VIP/bonuses the bet. So not a bad week all in all and money aside, I am just very pleased with myself and I am really confident I can hit Supernova on schedule this year. Also I can now get back to the $15’s and get out of the $7 games! w0000000

Thanks for stopping by guys, I am going to get back on schedule with my blog update now, although I can’t promise one this Sunday as I won’t have much time to play as it’s Wednesday already.

Have a great week and see you all soon.