Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Focus

The bankroll challenge got a little more difficult last night. Blew through about 7 games with only one cash, a 2nd place finish. Just an awful night altogether, nothing more telling when I pushed with AK and got called with....J5o, which of course turns into a straight on the turn. I rarely got the cards I needed to bust these donkeys, but when I did, it didn't matter either, like when I got KK vs 66 and flopped top set, only to see runner-runner straight. Frustrating as it was, I'm sure there were a handful of mistakes on my part too. So my bankroll takes a decent hit, but it's nothing that I can't overcome.

Today's post is a continuation of my little 5-part series on the attributes I feel I'll need to make this challenge a success. The topic today: Focus. An appropriate topic for today, as I'm on about 4 hours of sleep and have been dealing with a pretty bad headache all day.

Sometimes, I feel that my lack of focus is my biggest problem in poker. Most of my big mistakes occur from not taking the time to think about the situation and make the right play. As a result, I'll make crying calls when the chances are pretty high that I'm beat. Or, I'll c-bet a hand and get check-raised off the pot when I could check for a free card instead. Or, I'll size my bets improperly and leave chips on the table when, if I had been paying closer attention, I could have squeezed more chips out of my opponent.

Part of this problem comes from boredom at the $5 games. I do feel like that, every time I play one of these games, I am the best player at the table. Most of the donkeys at these levels have little understanding of basic poker strategy, so playing these games doesn't really feel like a challenge. I can honestly say that I get relatively little satisfaction when I cash or take down one of these games. I appreciate the cash and I'm excited to add to my bankroll, but otherwise, there's no glory in a victory.

Another problem related to focus is a tendency to stray from how I normally play poker. Doing things like calling OOP with weak hands. Check-calling with weak draws. Things like this usually happen when I'm on a losing streak, attribute the losing streak to how I've been playing, and adjust my game without actually identifying what about my game may be broken. Instead of focusing on making the right decisions, I focus on the outcomes. The end result is something like limping under the gun with QQ, then pushing on a reraise against a flopped two pair. Staying focused and playing my game will improve my results; that's just something I need to remember.

Although I have a tendency to lose focus on occasion, I feel that this is easily corrected. One, if I'm going to take this bankroll seriously, then I need to take the $5 games seriously as well. Yes, they may be full of donks who think that ATo is gold, but I'll be more successful if I pay better attention to how they're playing. When things are going wrong, I need to examine my play and continue to focus on making the best decision, and let the outcome happen however it may. Just because I lost KK to 66 on a runner-runner doesn't mean I need to start getting tricky with KK. I feel that these are holes in my game that are easy to fix as long as I apply myself.

On tomorrow's agenda: dedication.

2 Comments:

At July 25, 2007 at 8:08 PM, Blogger Alan aka RecessRampage said...

I think this is very important. You have to remember that in poker, it's a lot more of a grind than glory. That means that you have to play at every stake the way you would if you were at your best and at the most competitive level. There's no reason for you to not be crushing the $5 tables and I honestly won't even take bad luck as an excuse. I know you can do it and I think you know that too. Focusing is so important and is the key to everything.

 
At July 25, 2007 at 8:27 PM, Blogger RaisingCayne said...

Indubitably! Focus is crucial. Being the most skilled player at a table means NOTHING if you're "playing at 50%" given a lack of concentration. Similar to an athlete that has a minor muscle injury and "isn't 100%," poker players are only at their best when they're able to maintain complete focus!

And I have to say, alan makes a GREAT point above: "...you have to play at every stake the way you would if you were at your best and at the most competitive level." Try to do your best to IGNORE the buy in of the tourney you're in. (I know easier said than done.)

Enjoyed the post... good luck!

~RaisingCayne

 

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