Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Continually reinventing myself...

It's funny; the more I play this game, the more I realize that I don't know squat about playing this game.  As you have probably surmised from my lack of daily posts over the past month or so, I've been a horrendous downswing.

When I moved up to playing 100NL back in September, I experienced the best month of my poker career; BB/100- and winnings- wise.  It was fantastic.  My total win rate for the month was on the order of 8 BB/100, 4 PTBB/100, which I knew was unsustainable, but felt damn good.  I wasn't so much as sucking out, but the hands where I was ahead were holding and I built up a fair amount of positive EV for the month as well.  I was flying high.

Leading into October, the other shoe dropped.  I remember distinctly when it happened; sitting in the airport, waiting for my plane to leave from Portland, Oregon, I decided to utilize the free internet available.  I experienced 2 horrendous all-in suckouts and lost 4 buy-ins in a 30 minute session.  Needless to say, it was all downhill from there; set over sets, 0 equity calls from river suckouts, blah blah blah - as a poker player for any length of time, you know the drill.  I've never had a losing month prior to this past October.  It was not a good feeling - definitely not a feat I want to repeat.  Needless to say, my September wins were wiped away, and I started eating into my yearly profit.

The point of this post is not to brag nor complain; it's to describe where I am right now, as far as my mental state.  It took me dropping back in stakes plus the better part of November to get my head screwed on correctly.  While I was "in search of my poker self," I've come to discover something: in this game, you need to continually reinvent your game.  It's very easy to fall into a cycle where you're comfortable with your game, style, etc.  However, your opponents, if they're good, will adjust to you and pick apart your shortcomings; i.e. no particular style of play is "unexploitable."  If you play tight, then your opponent need open up his game to force folds.  If you play loose, your opponent need trap more often.  If you play aggressive, your opponent should call for value, and if you play weak, your opponent should bet more often.  You get my point.

My new self has changed my game from a 23 / 18 to a 19 / 14.  My new self has changed my won money at showdown from a mid-40% or lower player to a near 50% player.  I'm folding AJo UTG most of the time, along with KQo.  My new self has started table selecting with a lot more scrutiny.  As I come out of this losing stretch, I'm starting to look forward to playing once again.  I'm hungry to win.  I'm working hard to improve my game, rather than just resting on my laurels.

A quick summary of this month and my plan for the future:  I broke even; +$70 for the month.  The next point is more telling, though.  I played around 30K hands this month, 20K of 50NL to close out the month.  My win rate at 50NL for the month was 7.5BB/100, 3.25PTBB/100.  Those numbers should tell you how poorly I performed at 100NL to start the month, and the comeback I made to simply get to break-even.  I am currently owning 50NL, better than I was prior to my departure onto 100NL.  My plan is to continue to play 50NL for the month of December, with the end of December featuring a mix of 50NL and 100NL, rather than isolated to only 100NL.  The idea is that table selection will be easier when I have 2 stakes to choose from, rather than sticking to 100NL solely.  There are plenty of fishy tables at 50NL, but not so much at 100NL.  I am planning on taking my new game to the 100NL players; aiming to maintain my ~50% W$SD rate, with the expectation that if I can flat-line my showdown results, I can reap the profits of forced folds, rather than relying on my forced folds (i.e. won $ without showdown) to offset my W$SD losses.  I'm ready to shot 100NL again.  I belong.


  1. NL100 is the death vortex for poker players. I ran -1.5BB/100 over 150k hands at that level in a month earlier this year.

    BTW your post tone sounds a lot like my latest.

  2. I like how you compare the old 'Meister' to the new and improved 'Meister'. It shows that you have been intrinsic and spent considerable time picking apart your game which is absolutely necessary to grow on a regular basis. However, it's dangerous when you set goals like "I want to win 50% W$SD..." since every stat is an offset/inverse of another. Nits and rocks win 50%+ at showdown, but you'll always earn more than despite having a lower average. Instead of saying I want to win at showdown more frequently, recognize that winning at showdown is generally a key driver of overall profit and there is room for you to increase that %, since you may not be getting enough thin value against your opponents.

  3. Yes, I have a tough couple of months myself.

  4. Ditto for me as well. Currently in a horrific downswing but working to get "my head on straight." Keep at it and don't fall prey to the "oh the games are tougher" BS that I see floating around.

  5. Thanks Dubs, and everyone for the comments. I very much feel like I can destroy 50nl, but as soon as I get to 100nl, doomswitch / poor play. Hopefully, this latest "reinvention" will enable to own 100nl.

  6. This was the doomswitch that made me quit for a while.. Running bad at 100nl is a mind f*ck. maybe because it moves into the realm of actual decent money.

    Good luck, stick with it. If others can win there then so can you.


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