Friday, July 31, 2009

Poker Player In Training

It's funny, I've played poker now for a long time -- have read every well reviewed book, I read the forums, I read everything when it comes to poker. For reasons discussed a few times over the years in my blog, I've never moved up into mid stakes but always keep cashing out and staying at the low limits.

Obviously the game has become more difficult to beat since UIGEA came in. I've still beaten it handily but these ain't the days of Party Poker's glory anymore. The opponents were starting to get better even at the lower stakes, lots of TAG's (though bad still, they were tight). You know, it's kind hard to switch gears between playing a pot with a monkey and one who is actually thinking about the game. I'm finding it difficult to give the 'right' amount of credit to people's thinking at these limits.

For example, if I raise AQ OOP and the flop is Q72, against an awful calling station I'll try and extract 3 streets of value with my TPTK. However, if a reasonably thinking player calls my flop c-bet, i have to give him SOME credit for having a hand, and have to wonder if betting the next two streets has value for me since what will he call with that I beat? Weaker queen... what else?

Anyway, enough of the bs strategy stuff, the point is I'm having some trouble these days and a lot of it is, in my opinion, a form of tilt. Yes, I'm stacking the bad players like crazy as normal, yes I'm stealing from the TAG's a bit, but about 3 times a session I do something really, really stupid. Usually it costs me a stack.

This month I've broke even... to make up for my stupid plays I've had to focus on really extracting value from good/great hands when I have the opportunity and as such I believe I'm improving THAT aspect of my game. I'm improving but my 'leaks' are costing me all of that profit.

So, I consider myself in training now. Breaking even / losing is a pretty HUGE thing for me at this game and has motivated me to really work harder at it. It's frustrating to know what not to do and do it anyway.

In one of my next posts, I'll be reviewing my month of July poker results and what I'm doing in order to improve them. It's been a long, rough month.

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