18 May 2006

Not Yet to the Bottom

I'm trying to document as much as possible during this slide, both to help me as well as hopefully help others now and later. I'm also trying to be as candid and honest as I can, which isn't always that easy. I'm not going to list the hands that went south, but you do need some hands to hold up when you're trying to turn these things around. That includes turned flushes that get four-flushed on the river (KQ vs. AQ), all the other nonsense, as well as you just can't have KK pick up the blinds.

I'd rather focus on my mindset. I feel like I really, really prepared well. A correction, I tried to prevent myself from playing. I played my simulator (I got knocked out in 4th at the Bay 101, pocketing $220k, which goes a long way to pay my imaginary bills). Sweetie fell asleep, then whop I jump back in and start playing. I worked very hard to stay in a good state of mind, but I don't think it worked. Not that I did horrible things but that I just again was not in good enough mental shape to be playing.

OK, let me be even more honest. I received an email from the client that I'm supposed to be going to China for a kick-off on 12 June. He said approval process hasn't started yet, which then means I don't have a signed contract and that I'm holding this schedule while this may either slip or not happen. Meanwhile, I've been waiting for my contact at another client to get some things done that I need to move forward. I'll be with his boss and his boss's boss this Sunday evening. It's closing on a month that I've been waiting for this to be done, and again nothing and no answers. I normally don't get anxiety in my life, but I do believe that my stress has increased. None of this is anxiety. It's really both symptoms and data points. Data points: that this stuff that I do is frustrating and often not very rewarding. Symptoms: all of this is evidence that my business life is lethargic, that I am using poker as a release. When it's going well, then the release fills the void, probably too much. When it's going bad, it simply adds fuel to the fire.

For some of you, this $4k that I've now lost from my bankroll is quite significant. For others, it literally is a couple of bad sessions. For me, it is complicated. I'm losing winnings, which is a heck of a lot better than redepositing money. Should it be the same? Probably, but I'm able to deal with it alot easier. Again, a little honesty. Here is what I think: I'm a very good limit holdem player. I know that because my spreadsheet shows how much I win. If my spreadsheet shows that I lose, then I'm either unlucky or I'm not as good as I thought. I rarely think about variance, that the players I respect the most either would have lost what I did with the same cards and conditions, or they would have lost less or more. In the micro-sense, here is how you can win a pot:
  • Everyone folds to you
  • You raise and everyone folds
  • You bet and everyone folds
  • You raise and everyone folds
  • You call or are called, and your hand wins
Most of the time, the vast majority of the time, something else is going to happen and you'll either not lose anything or you'll lose. String enough of these most of the time's together and you have a losing session. String a few losing sessions together and you have variance. I can increase the standard deviation by making bad decisions, as well as by others making bad or good decisions that work out for them. We want to have the bankroll to handle the stringing a few together.

What we have to fight hard to avoid is increasing the severity of the loss, the standard deviation of our session, by making poor decisions. Poor decisions are calling raises with speculative hands, chasing a gutshot for crying out loud, paying the guy off even when you know he has a baby ace and your queens are worthless. It's easy to remember the suckouts, the bluffs that didn't work, and the big hands that get flop cold-cocked. It's the invisible calls that get folded on the flop. It's the value bets that get avoided after the fifth river-raise of the session. This is what sets in that just isn't there normally.

Right now, Party is a release that isn't giving the desired results, emotionally or financially. I appreciate all of the comments. I haven't addressed any but will do so probably Friday. By the way, have I mentioned what a joy it is to see the guy make his flush on the river when you raised and he has Jc5c UTG+1? Or when you were mixing it up sitting at a 1/2 table on Stars waiting for the jackpot hand only to see some guy limp in middle position then check it down all the while taking his time while the jackpot hand was about to hit? Losing all this cash might put some folks on tilt, but honestly can you at least pretend to have a brain? Can you at least see that the hand will hit within the next two minutes, so get this hand over with? They really should prevent players younger than ten playing on these sites. By the way, when you have KcQc and you catch your flush on the turn then a fourth club hits the river, why in the world would you raise the original raiser who bets at the flop, like I did. That may be a sign that you need an intervention.

Pretty tired trying to decompress, so I might write more in the AM. Thanks for coming by, as well as the input. I'm sure this isn't fun to read, but as Klopzi said maybe it can make you feel less horrible about your own losses.


Blogger Klopzi said...

cc -

I've been where you're at emotionally when it comes to your poker play right now.

When variance bites you in the ass, it gets harder and harder to play your game the way you used to. There are monsters under the bed and you feel like everyone's making a play at you.

With the added work-stress, I recommend taking some time off from the game. Just take a week.

I also recommend taking a little out of the bankroll and buying something frivolous yet solid. For example, I bought a PS2.

Take it easy and remember: it's just a game. Money is how we keep score, nothing more, nothing less.

9:26 AM  
Blogger Seattlejohn said...

cc thanks for the offer on the book. Sorry to see the run. I went through the same thing at the beginning of the year, just multiply your number by 10 and think how sick that makes you feel when you lose a car. Don't worry it will turn. If you know you are good, and keep playing a sloid game you can't help but win. Poker is such a stupid game sometimes. Hey I don't have your email. Hit me at Seattlejohn@gmail.com directly and I will reply with address. Good luck, and taking a break is never a bad idea. I took a month off just a bit ago. Mostly because of work and vacation, but I think it really helped. I missed the game hugely, but maybe that was a good thing. It renewed my desire to play again. SJ

6:08 PM  
Blogger WillWonka said...

I feel your pain brother. I'm not sure what to say. The answers are out there and they are probably just the keep the course type thing.

Somehow, we will get through this and hopfully be better players for going through it.

11:54 PM  
Blogger Slimeface said...

Very thoughtful and honest post... I wish you future success.

12:10 AM  

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