Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Losing Sucks

It really is amazing how quickly your performance in this game can change. I always kick myself to write as much as possible about what I'm feeling, about how I'm playing and how I'm approaching certain hands and certain situations when I'm on a winning streak. I goad myself to try to get as much of that feeling, and of that style of play, down on (virtual) paper when I'm running hot, because I think in some ways the goal of every poker player is to find a way to constantly be playing your absolute "A" game. Since my vacation weekend in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, I went from running hot to being on a major cooler. The roll that I had built up over the previous few months has uncommonly been shrinking. And I am playing pissed off poker. I'm still having my shots in the big mtts -- last night I was top 10% in the donkfest known as the 28k for most of the first two hours -- but eventually I keep making donkey plays that I know are donkey but I'm just tired, frustrated or both, and I'm not lasting much beyond the early levels of the cash in anything.

When I say frustrated, I mean that I am experiencing what seems like far more than my share of dumbass beats and hugely unlucky cards in bad spots, and as usual when I'm losing, my dam draws are just not filling. Ever. Just Tuesday night about 50 minutes into the token frenzy, I open-raised with pocket 7s, got one caller from the big blind and saw a flop of 732 rainbow. I bet 600 into the 900-chip pot with my set (because I'm a man), and the guy raised me allin. Bingo. I call, and he flips up pocket Jacks for the standard overplay with overpair move. Turn is a rag, and the river is a 2-outer Jack to send me packing. Fun stuff any time you can get a 2-outer working against you. And I think I mentioned in the Labor Day 100k guaranteed tournament that on the very first hand I flopped a 15-outer, had my allin raise called by two pairs and whiffed on everything. It's plays like that that basically were not happening to me for two months and that now seem to be lurking around every single corner.

It's not a fun way to play poker, and for the life of me I wish I knew the way to turn things back around to how they were just a couple of weeks ago. In the past I have never been helped by taking a break, and switching to other poker games has worked eventually but I guess I'm just not quite to that point yet. I'm not going to ask everyone for their suggestions, again, because I've done that several other times in the life of the blog and frankly nobody's ever actually been able to help me shake the losing cardma. I guess I'm just going to slog through it and see if I can bust out with a big score or something to get me back to my winning ways.

One thing I will be changing for the time being, however, is that I don't plan to buy in to any larger mtts for a while. My roll can easily support playing things like the 50-50 and the $100 satellites into the Monday 1k tournament on full tilt, but I'm not going to play those for a while. I know that over time I have proven to be a very streaky player, and when I get on a bad jag it can often be several weeks in between wins of any real significance. One measure I intend to take in light of this streakiness is to try to limit my overall losses during the streak by limiting my tournament buyins. So that's the plan. If I ever log on early enough to play the 50-50 satellites then maybe I'll play in that biatch, but if not, no more $50 and up mtt buyins until I show myself that I am ready for prime time again with consistent, solid tournament play.

Playing my "A" game. That's what I'm always striving for.

And that's why I'm playing the Mookie tonight at 10pm ET on full tilt. Password as always is "vegas1". Come out and play the Mook tonight, and hope you start off at my starting table because folks, I am once again back to being the deadest money there is out there in poker tournaments. I can't even remember that guy who should have won two consecutive Mookies just a few weeks back. Now I'm just the donkey who gets caught resteaing 20 minutes in to a blonkament with 52o, or the guy who calls of my stack with KJ on a Jack-high flop. This is how I keep my perspective on donkey play as well as I do -- because half the time, I am the donkey, and for some strange and I'm sure masochistic reason, I willingly put that donkery on display and for donation week in and week out in the unwinnable tournament called The Mookie. See you tonight at 10.

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Blogger Astin said...

While I don't play as much or at as high a level, I'm also going through a ridiculous streak of late. Save the small cash in the $100k on Labour Day, I haven't seen squat, and it's been pretty much all do to some of the worst beats I've seen. Either absolutely retarded calls that catch 3-outers, or gawdawful rivers after a well-laid trap.

And of course you've got Chad dropping out of the online world, Don bored with poker, and general malaise. The sites must be trying to get the college kids back on by tweaking their RNGs :)

Play live, I find the shitty play diminished there.

11:39 PM  
Blogger Wipe Me Down said...

I think you are worrying too much about what box Monty Hall picked for you and if you have Lupus or not. Free your mind and the rest will follow.

1:22 AM  
Blogger wormmsu said...

keep grinding you will be fine you know your a goood player. its that time of year. dont let the donks tilt you too much. gl you will be fine.

1:30 AM  
Blogger Julius_Goat said...

Bolstering my 'losing sucks' theory once again . . .

1:49 AM  
Blogger Astin said...

Careful JG, "theory" sounds like science-talk to me, and we know how I feel about that.

2:31 AM  
Blogger Julius_Goat said...

Science sucks, Astin, and I can prove it using science.

2:52 AM  
Blogger emptyman said...

Ah a slump -- aka semi-low grade perma-tilt. Any and all advice how to handle it is probably worthless.

So, here's my advice.

Smaller venues. Beating 1000 donkeys requires 'A' game AND being AstinBayned. As you said yourself, even when accumulating chips, you find a way to lose them.

For example, I started beating on (read: bubbling) the 50-person $20 HORSE on the weekends. Even played a couple SNG's just to get the flow back...

3:51 AM  
Blogger cmitch said...

Not sure if these things will work for you, but they usually help me when I am going through a downswing.

1. Play only 1 or 2 tables at a time.

2. Don't play with the TV on or when my wife is having a conversation with me. (the 2nd one only works in cash games.)

3. I usually jump online right after the kids are in bed. When I am running bad, I usually wait 30 mins to 1 hr after they are in bed, so I can chill, unwind, destress, etc, etc before starting up the laptop.

4. Tilt off some cheap money (blow off some steam). About a month ago, after suffering some brutal beats I fired up $1 and $2 HU sngs and went all in every hand. You won't believe how many poor ppl that I sucked out against. I think that I played like 15-20 of these. :) It made me feel a lot better.

5. Don't play cash and tourneys at the same time.

6. If you are playing cash, set pokertracker for just today's date forward and see what kind of ptbb/100 you can achieve for the night. Nothing like seeing a 100ptbb/100 in your PT DB, even if it is just for a few hundred hands.

If all this fails, you are screwed. Give up poker and take up knitting. :)

4:01 AM  
Blogger Mondogarage said...

All good advice, and you've got the BR management and patience to stick it out. Poker is a humbling thing, you know...

11:02 AM  
Blogger SubZero said...

We all know losing sucks, but providing you take the opportunity to re-evaluate your game and your mindset, then all you have to do is wait for the cards to run good again.

Otherwise you could try doing what works for me when I can't win a game: I cry like a girl ;)

4:35 PM  
Blogger Klopzi said...

I think you've got to come to terms with the immense influences of luck on MTT success.

Just be happy that you've had success and embrace the good beats along with the bad.

Even if you failed to final table another tournament for the rest of the year, you've still had an enormous amount of success that seems to say that you do have a valid edge as tournament player. The same cannot be said for most poker players out there.

With that said, get out there and win another damned tournament already!

9:28 PM  
Blogger lj said...

cmitch - aside from the wife comment (n/a) i think that is all fantastic advice!!

maybe give some lower stakes a shot, or perhaps the 180 person or 90 persons sngs might have the challenge of mtt w/o the huge field?

11:07 PM  
Blogger Fuel55 said...

Dear God,

Is Hoy morphing into Fuel?

Please advise. Cordially,


3:22 AM  

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