18 May 2006

Dissection of the Slide

I've been in my own little world the last several days, so I missed out on TripJax Questions and all the good stuff that has been birthed by these. Very good stuff. ESPN Classic had a highlight show of all-in's from 2003 WSOP Main Event. I had forgotten about some of these, and it was a great reminder of that point in time that completed the final explosion point of poker as we know it.

Sweetie was here in the office yesterday to further help with the move, and we had a great talk about what I've been going through the last week. I had slept on the sofa the previous two nights, so she knew something was up. I think most of these things are little more than symptoms of where I am personally right now. 41 years old, father of three young boys, minimal interaction with other human beings (working alone most of the day). In the corporate jargon, I was a high-pot, meaning a manager with high potential. I left that behind in 2000 to start this company, and we've gone from financial security to depleted funds, from socking away literally six figures each year into savings and stocks to having no real plan for savings.

Sweetie pointed out that she stays in the here and now about our situation, where I'm thinking about the future. This has served me well, but it can be daunting. I'm now in a mentality of what does the end of this year look like, what does 2010 look like if I keep at this. I have an opportunity to create something special, something that most folks would give their left arm to do. If I can create it, I could give 20% of my time back to others, to the boys' school, to developing businesses. I could give 20% of my time to thought leadership and giving moving the needle in what I do. I could spend 60% of my time with clients, doing good work. All that would be potentially incredible. Or I could jump back into corporate America, back into the grind of moving every two-four years.

And where does poker come into this? Well, it has been a reprieve for me, a solace and safe haven. I've been able to sit at the Bellagio and be dealt hands by Linda before either of us knew the other, to sit across from tourists and regulars, to become good at something, to see Jennifer Harman and Barry Greenstein and Phil Ivey behind the windows in Bobby's Room. I've been able to build relationships through this site with people I don't know, that only know me as cc or closet or csquard or ccexplore. I've had people say nice things about me. When the poker starts suffering, it affects me. The money is significant, more that it is an erasing of weeks of work vs. losing dollars. I don't do anything with the money except keep it as a sacred bankroll anyways. The losses put my ability to keep playing at risk more than anything else, as well as being evidence that I'm either unlucky, the other players are better or stupid, or that I'm not as good as I thought. It wasn't really a pity party with Sweetie, more an analytical discussion where I articulated where my head is and my concerns. It's something that I don't do enough, create an environment to talk like that with her.

So I wanted to do more work regarding what exactly happened during all of this from a poker and play perspective. Had I indeed loosened my play up? Did I have bad beats. I did what limited slicing and dicing I could in PokerTracker (I don't know how to export into anything else, so I just use what I've got). Some interesting things jumped out:
  • -$882 in Position 3 This really jumped out, that I was a loser in this specific position during play. 20.88% VP$IP during the run vs. 20.3%, 7.2% winner from here in hands played vs. 10.3% previously. 0 for 4 with KQo here, with a very big loss where I played a player stupidly.
  • UTG VP$IP of 26.74% vs. 19.9%. This is a discipline problem, and it's probably trying to make things happen too much.
  • Premium hands In my analysis of five worst hands measured by bb/hand per position (giving me 50 possible hands), I looked at how the Top 10 starting hands held up in my five best and worst outcome hands (Top 10 starting hands: AA, KK, QQ, JJ, AKs, AQs, TT, AKo, AJs, KQs). Previously, 4 out of 50 worst hands/position were premium hands (AKs twice, TT, and KQs). During the run, 13 of 50 were premium hands (AA, KK twice, JJ twice, TT, AKs twice, AQs, AKo twice, KQs twice). This means premium hands weren't hitting or were getting cracked, but also that I was losing bets either staying with them, being over aggressive, or getting sucked out on. The first two options are the concerning ones, as during a negative period you feel entitled to keep jamming your great cards because they should win, right? Autocalling is also related to this (that is when you have KK on a flop of 99J, 3 comes on the turn, you are check/raised, and you call down so that you can see K9o).
  • Facecards 15 of the remaining 37 bad hands were non-premium face cards (QJs, KQo, etc.). Most frequently were KQo, QJs, KTo, and JTo. Previously, 13 of the remaining 46 bad hands were non-premium face cards. I think this is significant, again marginal hands that starting looking oh so good when you're trying to make something happen.
  • Tables The run is over 24 tables, 7 of these being winning sessions. Previously, 118/211 were winners for me. Five of the seventeen losers were >$500, compared to nine of the ninety-three previous losing tables. This is a big finding for sure, that when I lost I lost big. 68 of the 211 were at $5/10 or greater compared to 15 of 24 during the run.
Higher stakes, bigger losses when you lose, dollars impacting bankroll more, premium hands losing more dollars, face cards looking better and better, losing bigger more when I lose. I know there's more in there, but I'm going to leave it there. One of the challenges is to transfer all of the above into next steps at the table. I'll do more work on that to make certain I come away with some new steps forward. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

The Da Vinci Code is widely being panned. I'm one of the few who have not read the book (unlike untold number who have read the over 60 million books sold worldwide). I played with Dan Brown's brother in Athens once with my brother the Econ Ph.D. candidate.

In case you missed this, Mark Cuban was fined $200k for blogging. I've never seen a $200k blog, so here you go.

Friday's Recipe is Jambalaya Pasta. I first had this at the Cheesecake Factory in Redondo Beach in '93 and immediately fell in love with it. I've made it my own, just modifying a jambalaya recipe from a cookbook that I got from New Orleans. Be prepared to make an absolute mess in the kitchen.

First, dice 1/4 pound of ham and brown in bacon grease or oil. You'll want to do this in a big pot. After you do this, remove all of the ham, then stir in 1 1/2 teaspoons or so of flour until brown (medium heat). Brown a whole onion, diced (you can use less if you like, and you may need to add some oil to brown this a bit). Add a sliced bell pepper, then add a can of tomato sauce, one or two cans of diced tomatoes, a cup of water, two bay leaves, some garlic, some oregano, and pepper (I never use salt in anything, but feel free to fire some in). Now, separately you need to slice a package of kielbasa, marinate in Worcestshire sauce and some Italian seasoning and pepper, then grill this and slice. Take two pounds of boneless chicken breasts, cut into bitesize pieces, cook this in olive oil with some seasoning (more garlic and oregano or some creole seasoning if you like). Dump the ham and other meats in and simmer, stirring occasionally. If you like oysters, fire some in as well. Last, cook 1 1/2 pounds of shrimp over butter and garlic (don't have the butter too hot when you put the garlic in; I do 50% of the time, burn the garlic, and have to start over). By this time you're kind of in freefall, probably like ten-tabling I expect. After you've cooked the shrimp for five-seven minutes (flip them and stir), you'll just dump this into the pot and let some or most of the butter dump in as well. Keep tasting this stuff every ten minutes or so. I'm not quite sure what you're looking for, but it makes you like like you're a pro. Boil a pot of water while adding salt and a little olive oil. Dump a package of fettucini into the boiling water, cook it, then strain and serve. I get this really big pasta bowl, put a bunch of the fettucini in then ladel the jambalaya over it, all the while mixing it up. Have Tabasco and parmesan cheese on the table. Some will want to add cayenne pepper to this, which is fine althoug most folks are fairly timid. French bread so that you can sop up all the sauce. It is my best dish, only brought out for special feasts or guests, but man it's some kind of good. And if you review, it really is fairly easy except for all the preparation required cutting and chopping so much stuff.

By the way, after coming in third in a $55 SNG and having my KK cracked by K9o at a $5/10 table, I ended a short day +$84.50.
Have a great weekend, thanks for all the encouragement.

7 Comments:

Blogger BadBlood said...

Have confidence that your analytical mind will uncover whatever is at the core of your recent losing streak. That self-analysis, in and of itself, is what makes you a winning player. Even during the losses.

10:49 AM  
Blogger Sloejack said...

If you haven't already looked into it, Hdouble and Iggy wrote a guide about using PokerTracker to analyze your play. Your milage may vary in how useful it is to you but for me I found that it gave some good starting points for how to use PT for analysis at the very least.

11:24 AM  
Blogger F.J. Delgado said...

badblood is completely correct... most players are never able to take a step back and analyze their own play. The fact you are doing so gives you a great chance to plug up leaks and maximize your profits the next time you are able to capitalize on a good run of cards.

Poker is a difficult game to master, and none of us will ever have it completely figured out.

4:54 PM  
Blogger FatBaldGuy said...

Jambalaya, [the pasta version is known as pastalaya here in the Big Easy] comes in two types, red jambalaya, and brown jambalaya. The red is similar to yours, with tomatoes. The brown uses more roux, and no tomatoes. And cayenne is not optional, and not just a little. I made some red jambalaya a few weeks ago that was right on the edge of the inferno. I just couldn't stop eating it, even though I knew my mouth would be on fire for half an hour after I was done with it.

Another thing about jambalaya [and gumbo as well] is that most folks here don't use a recipe, so each time is kind of like a new adventure.

As for the slide, hang in there. You appear to be all over the problem.

8:50 PM  
Blogger kurokitty said...

I think you know that I totally respect you, so please don't be too offended by what I say.

I think you need to both need to step down and shore up your significant leak of playing above your bankroll limit (being 300 to 500 big bets). Your $4,000 loss puts you somewhere at $4/8 to $6/12 and maybe not anything higher than $8/16.

Do not play higher until you've rebuilt your bankroll. It'll come back -- chase bonuses, etc. By playing lower you'll have less anxiety and will be able to examine the mechanics of your play.

You've undoubtedly read or heard about people who do all the right things yet completely go broke, so I think you'll need to heed the above wisdom or you are going to be headed for some whitewater.

I think your multiple -30BB sessions at various limits is alarming -- this is a point where Annie Duke has previously said it's unlikely you're going to recover in a session. It's a symptom of something not good -- I don't know if you're chasing too much to try to get even.

Bankroll is what separates us from those who fight for scraps of meat on the street. Use it as both sword and shield.

12:29 PM  
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