Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Lighting A Fire

Wow. I’ve been on a downswing the past couple of days, culminating in a brutal Monday night that saw me down $230 at one point. For many of you, that’s probably just a buyin or two. For me, well, that’s 75% of my bankroll right now.

It started off with a wicked beat in the $32k guaranteed. Yes, a bad beat story is coming. Skip ahead if you like, or I’ll buy you a free beer in Vegas in lieu of $1.

About 30 mins prior to the tournament, I was reading the latest FT email tip, the one about playing big hands early in a tournament (Thanks Erick Lindgren!). 30 mins into the tournament, I found myself in the same spot the email was talking about: a premium hand (QQ) early in the game.

Faced with a pot-size open raise from UTG+2, I elect to smooth call and assess the flop. The CO and Button decide to as well, giving me a 4-way pot in horrible position. Awesome.

Flop is 994. PF raiser bets full pot (600ish), which seems peculiar. I don’t want to raise but I’m not ready to fold either, so I smooth call again. CO and button fold; now I’m fully confident I have the best hand.

Turn is a rag. PF raiser bets full pot again (1800ish) and I push for just 600 something more. Obviously committed, villain calls with…54o. Woot, an early MTT double up is imminent.

Or not. This is a bad beat story, so it’s not hard to guess the ending.

To my surprise, I didn’t really feel like I was on tilt until the end of the evening, when I followed up my sick departure from the tournament by failing to cash in 5 straight O8 SNGs (and one 90 seat KO SNG). Then I got into “recoup my losses” mode, which meant playing Super Turbo SNGs. Luckily, I talked myself down from the ledge (right before I considered dropping the rest of my bankroll into a large Super Turbo), grinded out a couple more O8 SNGs, and ended the night with 2 consecutive cashes.


I’ve been playing a lot more lately. I’ve limited my game selection to the following:

1. Primarily O8 SNGs. Despite recent evidence that may prove otherwise, I’ve made some good profit off of these games. I’ve become bored with one table NL SNGs lately, so I try to rely on these as a way to steadily increase my bankroll.
2. 90-seat KO games. These games are really soft. Unfortunately, they often lead to brutal suckouts, but when I hit my groove in these things, I’ve been successful as well. I’ve steadily seen my success rate improve in these, including a 1st place and a 3rd place over my last 10 attempts (approximately).
3. $32k MTTs. The 7pm (PST) $26 donkfest is really the only MTT that works for me, schedule-wise. I’ve yet to cash in several attempts recently, but I’m feeling more confident in my MTT game with each attempt. Once I find a way to avoid 2-outers, I should start seeing the money come pouring in.

The one difference that I’ve made with my recent play is less of a regard for my bankroll. By playing $11 to $36 SNGs, I’m playing well outside what’s appropriate for my meager bankroll, which obviously contributes to the variance in my roll. But I feel the need to do this to escape the “grinder” feeling I get by playing $3 and $5 SNGs. I found little thrill in playing low stakes SNGs in previous years, but my dedication to (and subsequent success at) slowly growing my bankroll kept me plugging away. These days, however, it’s just too boring to play a SNG for 30-40 mins and come away with just $20, especially when I know that I have the skill level to be just as successful at higher stakes. When I’m hot, I can play those stakes and grow my roll from $60 to $1800 in a couple of months. When I’m cold, I’m reloading $60 multiple times in a month. Right now, I feel like I’m steady (assuming this downswing is just a blip and not the makings of a larger cold streak).

As far as goals are concerned, I’ve only got one main goal: a $2500 bankroll by April 30th. The reason is simple; my primary goal has been to play in the WSOP in 2010. However, after reviewing my non-poker related goals, it doesn’t appear I’ll be able to buy-in using my normal means of income. It sucks, because I’ve had my eyes set on the WSOP for years now, but I’ve finally put my priorities in their proper order, and playing the WSOP at the risk of setting me back too far financially is not one of the top ones. Obviously, the WSOP is a financial setback anyway you look at it since I’ll have no realistic shot at cashing. So, in other words, I need to get into a place where I can afford to light $2500 on fire, and the summer of 2010 looks to be too soon….unless that $2500 is solely acquired from poker. In that case, I’ll happily light it on fire next summer since it’s really other people’s money anyways.

Hmm. This post really didn’t turn out how I envisioned when I first started writing it. In fact, it’s about everything but what I really wanted to write about. Oh well, I’ll save that for next time. It’s been a while since I’ve posted, so I suppose a general summary-type post is more appropriate. I haven’t written anything on either of my blogs in quite some time right now, so to put up a post that didn’t feel like I was forcing myself to write is a success these days. Even if it’s just a post talking about how bad I suck.


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