Friday, September 24, 2004

¡No Más!

It's been several days since my last update. The reasons are many, but paramount to what you,my faithful readers, are interested in is that I've been doing much thinking and next to no playing of poker in the last week. Any poker I have attempted to play has had the recently very predictable result of a loss of bankroll.

A mere couple of weeks ago I had great aspirations for my poker play. The idea was to work my way slowly, as I always have been able to, though the 50/1 level to an appropriate level for 1/2, and just carefully sort of grind my way up from there. To beat the boredom of the grind, I was thinking of playing a multi-table tourney a week (starting a the $5 ones). -EV, to be sure, but it's good experience and it mixes things up a little bit. I was hoping to be able to comfortably sit the $3/$6 limit games by the time the weather was warm again, but so long as I was making progress towards my goal, I would be happy.

Well, after about 3 weeks of almost straight losses, I'm completely baffled by what is going wrong. I think I'm making the same plays I've made a hundred different times in the situations I see, but they all invariably result in me losing. I've tried to break down the numbers, to look for holes, but there's just nothing that is jumping out and saying "here's the problem, bonehead". My basic stats from the previous few months compared to this one look essentially the same! It's not like I've suddenly become a maniac or a calling station so far as I can tell, but again, the frustration and the disappointment is likely clouding my judgement. All I know at this point is that when I get a hand that connects and I bet into it, I expect to lose.

I'm just very disappointed in myself. I've been playing poker for almost a year now, and by this time I should be crushing the 50/1 game and I should definately have game for the 1/2 tables, yet that's not what's happening. I am only marginally successful at 50/1 and any attempts to play the 1/2 tables result in steady, sometimes crushing losses. The short handed 1/2 games were likely big winners for me due to varience and finding tables with God aweful players on them. It seems that the truely bad 1/2 shorthanded players have either busted out or grown a brain. I can't find anyone these days on the 1/2 tables voluntarily putting money in the pot 80% of the time. These guys were like taking candy from a corpse. Just wait until you have a hand and pound them to dust. Any idiot could win against these guys.

So, I only have to assume that I'm not improving at all. Likely because I'm playing at the lowest level with the worst players, and the only way to win against the random array of hands that bottom level players play is to play straight A-B-C poker. There is no reward for betting for results. If you have a hand, you bet/raise. If you don't you check/fold. This is where I've been for a year. If I were any sort of a programmer, I could have written a bot long ago to play this level and just let it rip. God knows I could have used the time to sit and read a few poker books and maybe learned a little something.

So, this long and bizarre journey has come full circle for me. I have taken a majority of my bankroll out. There were several things I wanted to do with my poker money, but when I was making steady gains it was easy to say "I'll just wait". If I were making money at the rate I'm losing it, I'd be bankrolled for the 1/2 game by this time next week. As it is, I just couldn't stand to lose the opportunity to do this as the possibility existed that I would lose to the point that I no longer had the opportunity, so out it went.

The bankroll stands at a tick over $50.

I have, in effect, started over. Maybe. I'm not even motivated at this point to continue in the way I have been going. Poker has ceased being fun, and the reason is as I stated before. I'm on automatic. I can't afford a coach, especially if I'm constantly losing, and anything I learn would be wasted on a majority of the bottom limit cretins. I feel like an ass asking for someone to mentor me. There's gotta be better things for better players then me to do then spend valuable time breaking my of bad habits, and if I were to get into a mentor situation, I would want to actually have "sessions" where we can talk and go over things. I can't ask anyone to do that and not repay them somehow.

So where does this go from here? To be quite honest, I don't know. As this is a poker blog I'd be remiss if I were to begin deviating into other subjects. I could come on here and start taking about poker stuff, but without me actually playing, I can't imagine there being enough content to be worth visiting here anymore. I don't want to stop playing poker, but I don't want to continue to pound out the hours if I'm not improving. I mean, at this point, I don't even know if I suck or not. I don't know a goddamn thing, really, except that I feel like I'm sitting at the bottom of a well and there's no ladder. I've spent enough time trying to climb out to know that, unless a ladder is thrown, there is no point in continuing to dig at the muddy walls.


At 12:48 AM, Blogger SirFWALGMan said...

Good luck in whatever you decide. I have hit some bad cards lately too. Down $160 this week. I cannot imagine that it would be fun to run bad for a long time. I hear it happens to everyone though. Like month long bad running. Anyway it has been great reading the Blog and playing with you!

At 10:36 AM, Blogger Ignatious said...

damn. i've been there, too, but i know commisserating doesn't help yer situation.

perhaps a break? that *always* works for me.a new poker book or two to reflect on while you step away? a new game? o8 or stud 8? i dunno, just thinking out loud here.

regardless, best of luck. i've been reading icp for a helluva long time now and would hate to see you completely walk away versus taking a psychic breather and regaining your footing.

my pathetic two cents.

At 6:03 PM, Blogger doubleas said...

I agree with Iggy. A new game may be just what you need. I don't play limit much anymore because of the grind feeling. I'd love to play 5/10 or higher if I knew what I was doing and/or was bankrolled for it. Instead I find fun, creative play in the NL games. Sit-N-Gos may also do the trick with regard to mixing it up a little. I tried an 'experiment' in limit trying to work my way up, but that just felt like a grind as well at the limits I could afford.

I'd quit too if my game was .50/1. It seems like video poker to me. Sure you can study and practice ways to beat the game, but what fun is that?
My opinion...

At 8:22 AM, Blogger JW said...

Yikes. Very much not cool. Can I ask what you've read as far as poker lit goes?
I'm by no means anywhere near an expert, and there are plenty of better players (bloggers) out there, but if no one else is willing I'm more than happy to take a look at hand histories or chat on strategy. No guarantees, so no repayment necessary.
Contact me if you like, but regardless, here's hoping you come out of the funk. No one wants to see the ICP go away!

At 3:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

ICP, the "old hands" have written above that they've been there - I can say I'm going through something similar right now, just at $3/$6. Like you I started at .50/$1 building a bankroll and subsequently moved up to $1/$2, built a bankroll and then moved to $2/$4. I couldn't beat 2/4 - I was just getting killed. I found the play to be much worse than $1/$2. Essentially with 8 other people all taking long odds into a pot, it was probable that someone was going to hit.

At 3:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So after taking a $400 hit I took a short bankroll to $3/$6 and was immediately successful. Until just recently. I'm sure some of it is my play, some of it is variance and a lot of it is the knuckleheads at 2/4 finally moving up - catching up with me. So like much of what the "old hands" have suggested - take a break to refresh yourself. If you still like the game but just find your frustration and patience levels making you sick - take a change of pace.

At 3:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Read, or re-read, a book. Play a different game. Don't play as much and recharge. Take a break. Since the Monty I've been playing at Pacific in the .5/.10 limit Omaha and Stud games. Also playing a lot of $2 SNGs. I've grown my $15 into $70, but more importantly it's been fun and I'm learning again. I've been back to Party $3/$6 a couple of times (up and down, just slightly up overall) and everytime I get that feeling of frustration/desperation I walk again.

At 3:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd be happy to discuss/work-throught-this with you. Maybe between the two of us we could get it figured out for both of us. Wouldn't be a mentor situation as it sounds like our level of play is similar, but maybe a different perspective could help us both. Or just a good 'ol bitch session to let of some steam. Contact me if you're interested at Cheers Habsfanca11

At 4:00 PM, Blogger The ICP said...

You guys are great. I'm still on a sort of "madatory vacation" from poker. I'll get in touch with you guys in a little bit.. Don't think I'm ignoring you... Just realigning the perspective so I can have the proper mindset to make this work.

At 3:51 PM, Blogger SirFWALGMan said...

I think you will be back.. once the gut wrenching feeling of losing works it's way out of your system and the pain dulls a little, the gambling blood will start boiling again and you will return! heh. I look forward to playing with you again.

At 1:53 PM, Blogger Damien said...

I have had real problems beating .50-1, even though I know I am better than that game. You just can't shake bad players, and unless you put in hundreds of hours, the bad play can easily knock you down for a while. If you don't play many hours, this is just more frustrating.

My own solution has been to focus on the $5+$1 single table limit games. In these, the idiots can play for a while but once they are beat, they are gone. No new idiots sit down to rile things up. You can play a real game, learning the other players and even making a move or two as the game wears on. You know it will be over in no more than 1 hour and 15 minutes, so you can schedule it.

I typically play 2 at a time, and try to time them so they don't end at the same time. I tried 3 but it was too crazy.

Finally, there is almost no grind feeling as each game is an almost fixed duration and gets more exciting as you near the finish.

That's been working for me and I suggest you try it too. You can do a lot worse than $15 or $30 bucks profit per night, and there are bigger SNGs to move on to, up to at least $30+$3 or so.

BTW, I play on Party probably has more/bigger games.

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