Poker Ramblings of cmitch

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After a horrible 2008 and a 25k hand break even stretch in cash games over the first couple of months of 2009, I have taken a step back and really tried to analyze my game and make some changes.

I started thinking more about the areas of my game that don't involve call, bet, raise, or fold. The catalyst to me making some changes came about a month ago when I first heard Tommy Angelo on the Deuces Cracked podcast. I was driving back from the Hard Rock Casino in Tampa. I left after taking a few bad beats in a row in the 2/5 $100 max buy-in game. Quitting the game and leaving wasn't as hard as it usually is when I'm down. I had accepted that I was playing a low max buy-in, high variance game. I played well and got my money in good, but wound up losing. I realized that sometimes that is just how things go and I have a huge edge in the long run against those players.

On the ride home, I fired up the Deuces Cracked podcast and listened intently on my 1 hour drive home without any distractions. I think that I happened to be in the exact right frame of mind to listen to Tommy Angelo for the first time. Over the next week or so, I listened to part 2 of the podcast and the 2+2 podcast interview with him from several months ago. I couldn't get enough of what he was saying and it has helped me to start to make some changes.

I decided to set some strict guidelines for myself starting at the beginning of April and have developed an initial plan without any specific time frame or monetary goals. While doing this I'm also hoping to find the right balance between number of tables and hourly rate for me.

So here is plan:

Cash Games
1. Play no more than 2 tables of full ring $200 NL cash games at the same time for 5,000 hands.
2. After completing 2 tables of 5k hands, play no more than 3 tables of full ring $200 NL cash games at the same time for 5,000 hands.
3. After completing 3 tables of 5k hands, play no more than 4 tables of full ring $200 NL cash games at the same time for 5,000 hands. (may increase the number of hands here to get a comparable hourly rate.)
4. I'm not sure, but I may also try this for 6 tables, but probably not. I think that I have already made up my mind that six tables only works for me in short sessions.

I realize 15k-20k hands isn't going to really tell me much, but one of the reasons that I am doing this is to keep myself disciplined. I am not going to let myself play any additional tables or any higher stakes during this period.

1. No more than two tables at the same time.
2. No tourney over $100 unless using T$ that I won specifically for the tourney that I am going to play.

What I'm doing differently that has seemed to help so far:

1. Forcing myself to quit or sit out for a few minutes whenever I feel like I made a mistake and after taking a bad beat.
2. Hitting the time bank button and waiting at least until my time starts counting down before making a big decision.
3. Asking myself what my plan is every time before I make a call OOP, especially asking myself if a flat call OOP is +EV or -EV in the particular situation against the particular player.
4. Taking notes more often and more detailed notes. (a lot easier right now while playing only 2 tables)
5. Paying more attention to how others are playing when not involved in a hand (and take notes on their play - see above)
6. Leaving tables that don't have any fish.
7. Leaving tables when some tough aggressive players are sitting to my left.
8. Sometimes deciding to quit when ahead to book a win if I would be quitting relatively soon anyway.
9. Making the decision not play by asking myself before starting a session if I really think I can play my "A game" right now.
10. Not sitting at tables with more than 2 short stacks unless there is a huge fish at the table.

Hopefully, being more self aware while playing will revitalize my game. It can't hurt.

6 responses to "Being Self Aware while playing"

  1. Self aware is good. Figuring out where the other guy is, is better. Running lucky is best. Best Wishes. Lex


  2. Good luck with the revamp. But definitely be aware that there's (almost) no information to be gained by comparing your win rates in the samples differentiated by the # of tables you're playing. There's just way too much variance. Table selecting is definitely good. There's really no point in sitting at a $1/2 game full of TAGs when there are so many other tables out there.


  3. Having read your blog on and off for awhile now (one of like 40 on my live feed thing, haha), and playing at your tables here and there, it seems like you are in a constant battle between being a decent recreational player and being a the very good player you seem like you can be. Some thoughts on your ideas:

    1 - Try NOT sitting out after this happens....the emotional aspect seems to be shining through more in your blog lately. Only way to get better at that is play through it

    3 - There arent many spots where calling oop are +ev long run. On your first page, the 4 way AQ pot is about borderline enough to make calling ok I guess (though definitely need to reraise there a certain % of the time), but other than a situation like that or small pairs against straight forward, hand overplayers...not a whole lot of value.

    4,5,6 - all seem to be good ideas

    7 - try to adapt to some of these. It seems the variance really gets to you, and variance will obviously be higher, but can still be profitable

    8 - kiind of like #1...too emotionally based. In poker, there should be no days/months/years (except for taxes). Just long term.

    10 - as a tourney player, im sure you know how to make playing against shortstacks you should want to play against short stackers. They are one of my biggest profit creators.

    ok, just my 2 cents while waiting for my ride :o)


  4. brue - yeah I agree with the # of tables not telling me much. It is really just something I'm doing to see if I can be disciplined while getting a "feel" for the number of tables that are most comfortable. I have almost always played 4 tables in the past, but have noticed I am paying a lot more attention with two. Hopefully, I can maintain this level of focus as I add tables.

    Anonymous - Wow, thanks for all the great comments. Good stuff!!! I'll keep all of them in mind.


  5. Another Angelo convert, excellent! I can't praise him enough. I keep trying to develop the discipline to keep enforcing guidelines akin to those you post above, and I swear by quitting better than my opponents. Unfortunately, about once every 3 months I seem to fall off the wagon and tilt off about 4 buyins ...



  6. Reading Elements of Poker changed my game, too. I play fewer sessions but my win rate per session and ratio of winning sessions vs. losing ones have both increased. Good Luck.