11 May 2006

Better Days to Come

The -$1,673 day, or more specifically the -$1,445 night. A night on two tables, losing $672 over 32 hands on a $10/20 table then losing $773 on a $30/60 table over 124 hands. The first had some brutal pots: AKs twice, KQs vs AK, A8s flush draw, QQ vs. KJ, and finally AA vs KQ. The $30/60 I played solidly but nothing hit, with AK twice (once bailing when nothing hit, another time playing hard vs. JJ). My afternoon session I was down -$23o or so after being down $1,000 and fighting back at the end on a $10/20 table. Had a nice misclick for the first time two-tabling, raising with AsJc, flop coming JsTs5s and folding (flush came won by QsTc). The day puts me in the hole for the month while I was trying to push the Party account above $5k for the first time. So, back to the grind. 18% bankroll loss in one night, so that's not a good thing for sure, but now it's about staying solid.

How do you deal with the big loss? This was the first big losing session that I didn't feel down emotionally, which is a positive in my mind. I'm now in the hole $744 for May but still with a healthy bankroll. But what tactically occurs after a session like this? First, my plan is to review PokerTracker for each table yesterday to identify the specific causes for the loss. I've jumped to the $30/60 tables before to recover, but I just don't have the bankroll or experience to play there in my opinion. It is a much more aggressive game at times where players can sniff out scared money, I think. Anyways, I'd be interested in other folks thoughts on how they deal with the day after the 10-30% losing day. I think it would be some healthy exploration for us all.

Well, we moved some books which is nice, but I've decided not to wait, just put all the books out there. The first four are taken and only available if someone wants to provide me with a barter bid (meaning they have to give me something). Original claimer will have first right of refusal (to match barter bid or come over-the-top). If you claimed a book yesterday, then you can claim a second book, but these are the only guys who get more than one book.
  • Positively Fifth Street by James McManus; Claim: FJ Delgado
  • Moneymaker by Chris Moneymaker; Claim: pokerpeaker
  • Red Lobster, White Trash, and the Blue Lagoon by Joe Queenan; Claim: Miami Don
  • Raw Faith by John Kirvan is a small book highlighting ten different spiritual teachers dating back through the centuries. An important saying, a quick reflection, and a prayer. It's a nice book to pick up in the morning. Claim: Jordan
  • Internet Texas Hold'em by Matthew Hilger is an introductory book that covers the basics. Claim: kurokitty
  • Ben Hogan's Secret by Bob Thomas is a fictionalized biography that I received playing at Grayhawk once in Scottsdale.
  • Beat the Odds Blackjack by G. Phillip Cline gives you the secret of winning a blackjack without counting cards. I'm +EV at blackjack ever since I quit playing blackjack a while back.
  • Bad Beats and Lucky Draws by Phil Hellmuth is a quick read of 222 pages, which seems short if it listed all of Mr. Hellmuth's bad beats. The cover has him holding pocket aces on a board of 2cThJhQsKc, so maybe the other guy flopped a set or had Ah2h, I don't know.
  • Making the Final Table by Erick Lindgren, a quick nice addition to the poker world. Claim: seattlejohn
  • Tournament Poker for Advanced Players by David Sklansky. Enough said. Claim: pokerenthusiast
  • Super System by Doyle Brunson. The book that started it all. Claim: BloodyP
  • The Tao of Poker by Larry Phillips, this is a small book with lots of wisdom, some good reminders regardless of how good you are. I pick it up all the time. Claim: mookie99
  • Cinderalla Story by Bill Murray explores his golf pursuits.
  • A Feel for the Game by Ben Crenshaw is a quick read and covers his Ryder's Cup captaincy.
  • Golf is Not a Game of Perfect by Dr. Bob Rotella deals with the mental aspects of the game. This is a great book and even has some nice findings for the poker table.
  • A Scandalous Freedom by Steve Brown is just a terrific book for anyone who struggles from time to time with their faith. It is absolutely liberating.
  • When Men Think Private Thoughts by Gordon MacDonald. This is a pretty interesting book about what makes us tick and the role of faith in all of that. Things like men and friendships, sex, intimacy. I'm more of a book buyer than a book reader, so I don't know if I actually read this.
  • It's Your Kitchen by Joan Kohn. Over 100 inspirational kitchens for those looking to spend ten poker bankrolls to upgrade their home.
  • How to Grow When Markets Don't by Adrian Slywotzky and Richard Wise (signed copy). I'm a big fan of Slywotzky's professionally and give his signed copies to clients and prospects.
  • Da Vinci Plastic Playing Cards: I'll give a set of playing cards to the two best comments on how to deal with the aftermath of the bad session.
So Chris is gone from American Idol. That must mean that Taylor is the winner this year. I'm a bit disappointed that Chris didn't make it through, although Paris, Chris, and Taylor are going to have solid starts to their career I think. Sweetie fell asleep during Bones, which was crazy as it's her show. I think that contributed to my loss last night; if she had stayed awake, maybe I would have chosen a different table and won $1600 instead of losing it. Butterfly effect and all that.

I had my first visit from change100 (who may or may not be Claire Danes). I'll keep believing everyone that they are one and the same, and I'll be either right or not. Speaking of grammar, when did they change the punctuation rule about commas and a series? For example, look at the following sentence. Dogs, cats, and rabbits are mammals. I'm talking about the comma after cats here. I think the rule now is that you don't put a comma before the and, although I always do. I don't understand how you change that and what the logic is and how they're supposed to let people know about it.

My buddy-through-email Joe Sebok is currently riding a major rough spell in MTT's. I'm not good enough to give him advice; having said that, I told him I thought a slump like this was similar to a baseball player batting .187 over six weeks, how they then start overthinking everything trying to figure out what to do right. Tourneys are great if you're riding strong but horrible if you keep crashing out. How much of tourneys is luck? Some of it absolutely is. Give every player your cards and situations over a single tourney and what would the results be? For a single tourney, there may be nothing that can be done not to crash out before cashing or in the first two levels. That doesn't mean that players who regularly cash or do well in tourneys are great; maybe it means there is a quantity component to tourneys, that you have to play a bunch of them to move luck to the side a bit. Anyways, Joe keep cranking away.

Not sure if anyone uses the discount codes I've gotten for suppliers, but I'll mention them again (see the link at the top right). Chips and Games gives you 10% off if you use CLOSET at checkout, a trusted supplier. Big Slik Poker Tables gives you 10% off any custom table, and they do great, great work at a reasonable price. Thanks for coming by, and it will be interesting to see who gets what. Also, very eager to see what folks think about how they deal with the bad day/session.


Blogger Bloody P said...

I'll lay claim on SuperSystem, word.

As for how to deal with the losses:

Put a stitch in it and stop losing.

I know, I know...sage advice.

9:24 AM  
Blogger kurokitty said...

You know, I'd like to get Matt Hilger's book, Internet Texas Hold'em. I've interviewed him a couple times now but never have read his book.

You know, downturns are going to happen. That's why we have bankroll. One of my recent posts addressed this, basically, you need a bankroll big enough to take some serious hits yet keep going unfazed. You've got to have ice in your veins to play this game, it's not for everyone (even though many think it is). It's no different than being a concert pianist or a pro athlete. Those people aren't recreational -- they work day in and day out. Or they end up in the minors.
You can either suck it up and keep playing, knowing these downturns eventually will bottom-out and you'll win again. Or you can stop altogether, and I'm sure you won't do that.

9:42 AM  
Blogger mookie99 said...

I'll claim the Tao of Poker book.

10:31 AM  
Blogger The Poker Enthusiast said...

I'll take Tournament Poker for Advanced Players. I'm not advanced but would like to see how you guys do it.

11:11 AM  
Blogger Sean said...

I've also struggled with what to do after dropping a large portion of my bankroll (although for me, 10% is enough to really cause pain). The important thing that I try to keep in mind is that even though I feel like I'm not emotional about it, it still has an effect on me one way or another.

Probably the biggest problem with a large loss is it both desensitizes you to losing money (making playing higher stakes seem like a good idea) and instills an urge to 'win it back'. For me this is dangerous because my gameplan is modified and, although I don't usually go up in stakes, I don't drop down either, and often I decide to try a different game (i.e. PLO or NLHE) at similar stakes when I'm not in the right mindset. So essentially it is a double wammy of a different game and a modified strategy making me a decent dog. In other words, I'll be more likely to increase my loss than to win it back.

So my current strategy when I take a big hit is to consciously decide to let that money go and not try to win it back right away. The interesting thing is I notice I'm still focused on 'getting back to even' for a few days -- just my psychology. So I try to switch to a game/stakes with less variance. Its important to have a 'fallback' game you know you can beat -- for me I think that is the $25 NLHE tables, but my bankroll is only $2K after all.

My advice to you CC, given your play level, is maybe drop down to Party's 5/10 or $100-200 NL for a day or two when you hit a bad run like this for a day or two. I have a feeling though it will leave you feeling things like "5/10 is too low" and "there's no way I can recoup my losses playing these tables". In that case, you probably are emotionally impacted by the loss a little bit, and you may be better off taking a day or two off until that feeling goes away (or blow off steam in tiny games for a bit, one of my favorites).

Or, for the executive summary, I'm saying take the extra time to be honest with yourself and have some 'tests' (set up when you are running well) to objectively determine if you should take a step back or drop down for a cooling off period. After all, tilt is a nasty little thing and often we would rather risk financial ruin to have a small chance of getting back to even and killing the pain of the loss.

Just my 2c...

12:20 PM  
Blogger HighOnPoker said...

Hey CC. I assume you keep track of your wins and losses, right? Good. Now take a look at your wins for the year, since Janurary or hell, since last May. Are you up? Good. One day ain't nothing. The precentage of your bankroll sucks, and that is something that must be addressed in the future by playing lower stakes, but overall you are a winning player, and if you have a losing day, then congratulations, you are playing poker. One day does not a disaster make, but it seems like you already know that. Another lick trick you can play on your mind...look back for a recent day when you won as much as you lost recently. If you have to, choose a two-day period. Then you can always rationalize by saying, "I didn't lost 10% of my bankroll. I just lost my profits from day x and y, and that ain't a big deal, since I'm still even between day x, y and yesterday." I rationalize with the best of them.

PS- I don't think losing 10% of your roll is necessarily a sign that you need to re-think your stakes. It just seemed like a disasterous night, and I've read about your very successful nights too.

PPS- If anyone wants the book that I've chosen, the barter offer has been increased...to two knuckle sandwiches!

12:32 PM  
Blogger Shelly said...

I have that same complaint about the comma thing. (I would put one before the and, too).

12:53 PM  
Blogger d said...

It is your business if you wish to play at the limits you do with the bankroll you have. A -13BB swing?

For some perspective on expected swings:
- Open your poker tracker db for 30/60 (or filter on those stakes, depending on how you have things set up)
- Select the Session Notes tab
- Click the More Detail... button
- Look for the value Standard Deviation/Hour. (Assuming you have played enough hands/sessions for PT to make this calc)

I'd be surprised if the standard deviation (SD) was not close to or larger than 13BB. (not sure if you are playing 6max or full; 6max will almost certainly be a larger SD)
Assuming your win rate in BB/hour is WR, your expected hourly results should be between WR-SD -> WR+SD ~85% of the time. Thus if you insist on playing at those stakes relative to the size of your bankroll, you should expect to take those swings with EVERY session.

I have no idea how to deal with %BR swings like that. I think I would throw up.

1:23 PM  
Blogger pokerpeaker said...

Commas are only there to separate complete sentences or words in a sentence. "And," "But" or other conjunctions are there to link up phrases, and therefore a comma isn't needed.
Here's something to ask: Is what I"m writing after "and" a complete sentence? If so , then put a comma there. If not, then no comma is needed.
I went to the store and got some eggs, bacon and toast.
I went to the store, and I bought a nudie magazine.
See the difference?

The one thing that helps me when I lose is I think about what it takes to win.
If you're like most good players, you wait for a good hand to play before you even put some money.
Chances of getting a playable hand, in many cases: 25 percent.
Then, at times, especially with 4-5 players in, as there always are, you need the flop to hit your hand. Chances of the flop hitting you at all: 35 percent. Chances of the flop giving you a hand good enough to call a bet: Less than 20 percent.
Finally, online players at any level don't follow the first two, so the more players in, the less your chances are of winning, regardless of what you have (AA is 60 percent with three players). So chances that one person doesn't suck out: I don't know, but it happens all the time.

Is it any wonder that more than 80 percent of all online players are losing players?

Look at those three factors, and you'll appreciate it when you win a hand even more. So OF COURSE you lose occasionally. Sometimes you are card dead. Sometimes you try to bluff and lose. Sometimes the flop doesn't hit your nice starting hand and your continuation bets aren't respected. Sometimes you do everything right and some idiot hits his draw on the river or gets a 3 to make his Q,3 golden. Grrr. And sometimes you do everything right and have the second-best hand, as that happened to me three times last night.

The way to extend a losing streak is to play too passively, too aggressively or not play your game in order to change things.

Play your game. It was obviously successful before. It will be succesful again.

2:07 PM  
Blogger Wes said...

As someone who has lost 20% of his bankroll in one day, all I can say is I hope that doesn't happen again. Yeah, I don't have anything constructive to say, but good luck building that up again.

2:13 PM  
Blogger Seattlejohn said...

Hey, just found your blog through my comment section. Thanks for stopping by. Will put you on my read list. I would like the E-dog book, making the final table if it is still around? SJ

2:22 PM  
Blogger pokerpeaker said...

One more thing. When I'm going bad in one area, I usually switch to another. I've found that a few tournaments help break up the monotonity (sp?) of cash games and restore the aggression that naturally falls by the wayside after my ass gets chewed in rings. And ring games restore the careful, thoughtful process that playing any hand of poker requires, even if you are playing aggressively.
Plus it keeps poker fun because, for me anyway, it's like playing different games.
I've found that usually, one week I'm kicking ass at the cash game and one week I'm destroying tournaments, but rarely do I do really well in both,and one tends to help cancel the losses out of the other (and in many cases help me make money for the week).

2:45 PM  
Blogger WillWonka said...

Hey CC,

Thanks for the thoughts in an earlier post.. It has been a struggle that past few weeks (poker and work wise). I hope to write about it this weekend.

If possible, I would like to lay claim to a book of my favorite all time golfer... U of T boy Benny Crenshaw.

Thanks again for the thoughts.. and your blog. You are doing some great things here (and I'm sure over at poker pages.. haven't got over there yet; but intend to).

1:55 AM  

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