Sunday, December 13, 2015

The Mental Game

The session tonight went about 8.5  hours including breaks.  I returned to my TAG style, I revamped my starting hands and even tweaked it a little in progress as the session was in motion.  As it turns out between the mix of what I've always known and what I read it turns out I have opened up my range slightly, sort of a middle ground that I'm very comfortable with. 
Tonight I did more than play a session of Poker and once again it was the light going off syndrome that seem to hit me out of nowhere.  As I began playing I realized I was subconsciously doing something tonight which made it to my conscious level that I realized I had not really done previously except on rare occasions, but tonight I dare say I did it every single time I was involved in a hand.  If I raised preflop I looked at how many players had called me, exactly where was my position in this post flop and what was the texture of the board.  This dictated whether or not I fired a continuation bet or checked it off.  When I did fire a continuation bet  and I was called I took a second look at the board and was asking myself questions such as "what did you call me with preflop", "did you pick up a piece of that board or are you on draw", "if I fire a second barrel estimating what you may have or what I feel your range may be in this situation will I get you to fold or will you call that second bet if I fire with air. 
I was completely engrossed not with just the cards that I was receiving, not with just the bets I was making, calling, raising, but in every instance the mental aspect of the game was at the forefront of my thought process.  Tonight I was an actual player of the game not just a participant.  Rarely  did I click over to the Internet as I was too engrossed in watching whatever table seem to need my attention at that particular moment.  Sometimes it was the table that I was involved in a hand on, sometimes it was that table and another I wasn't involved in, but a person, but a player may have raised that I didn't have a note on so for a couple of seconds I kept an extra eye on that table to see if they would showdown and I could pick up some information.  I focused on players and even though the majority of the time I had four tables going I focused on opponents, what they did, the size of the bets they made, when I wasn't in the hand and I knew they were going to show down silently to myself try to predict what they had.  Pokerdogg talks about the mental game.  Is this part of what he meant??  Have I been so lacking in it before tonight that I wasn't thinking poker when I played, I was only playing poker.  Lastly, because of my involvement in every single hand that I played, because of my involvement in what was happening with opponents on other tables that I wasn't even involved in is it mere coincidence that I had the best session that I have ever had since I started this little adventure.  A profit of over $56, in excess of 5.6 buyins added to the bankroll in just over 1500 hands.  

I wish I could say that this is the start of steady profit, but I know for fact a 5.6 buyin increase in 1500 hands is outrageous.  Why did I do so well?  I'd like to say it was through pure skill,  but he fact of the matter is while I did take what might be considered some bad beats the important part of that was I didn't let it cost me as much as I had previously.  A prime example was when I flopped threes full of fives.  Perhaps I slow played it a little too much, but when it was all said and done I got beat by tens full of fives and I folded that full house on the river.  I knew I was beat and although I hate to have to admit this if this was yesterday's session I would have called that value bet  that he threw out there, but not tonight.  Tonight when I knew I was beat I let things go.  There was only one hand that got to showdown that I would have won with if I hadn't folded compared to I would say at least 20 that when I folded was the absolute correct decision because  the opponent had me beat.  It also helped that almost every big pair held up , but again the big pairs that didn't hold up I knew when they had me in new when I was beat and do not allow myself to let stubbornness or insistence get in the way. I let things go when I had to.

This was my new day one I guess you could say because as I said previously it did not make sense to group the results for earnings and whatnot with what I had done previous and what I am doing starting last night.  An entire new world in so far as frame of mind was opened up with last night's session.  The major accomplishment, in my mind, was not the $56 profit although that's a wonderful fringe  benefit, but the major accomplishment as I see it was the mental aspect of this game.  The asking questions, the observing, the figuring out what people had, the laying down big hands when I had to, that was the major accomplishment, but one night is not sufficient.  I have to make sure I am doing this exact same thing each and every night that I am at the tables and I can not be surfing the web in between hands. I can not be writing blog comments on my blog or others that I read while I am playing poker as I have been guilty of before last night.  Every single night that I play I must be as focused as I was tonight and if I catch myself not in that frame of mind, I need to shut it down for the night because if that's the case I'm not a poker player I'm just a screen name sitting at an online table and it is vital that I remain a poker player each and every second that I am playing.

So why did I end the session earlier than planned.  I had planned on playing from 3 p.m. to 1 a.m.   You might think I wanted to book the win and not take the chance of variance reversing, but believe it or not that was not the case.  At about 11:30 p.m. I started yawning. at first I ignored it because I didn't feel tired, but the yawning continued and although I wasn't tired enough for sleep I was tired enough not to be playing poker.  Something I did not do previously, something I ignored before, but not this time. I tallied up how many hands I had played and realized that I had just over 1500 and it suddenly came to me I've been looking at my sessions in the wrong way.  I shouldn't try to set a time frame of 8 hours, 10 hours, or 12 hours when playing online, I should set a goal or amount of hands played.  1500 sounds extremely reasonable to me and should take 7 or 8 hours of playing and when I hit that 1500 the day s done, but nothing is written in stone.   If I'm in a game and I hit my 1500 hands and I'm running hot as fire it would be insane to leave or stop for the night.  Like many things in poker whether I stop at 1500 hands will depend on the circumstances.  It will depend on my level of tiredness or fatigue, it will depend on if the game is ultra juicy or just something normal and if it is not ultra juicy than 1500 hands will be sufficient for me.  That should give me 40,000 hands played a month in January and with 40,000 hands played since I will be gold status in the next two to three days I'm looking at approximately $35 in convertible wsop points to cash at the end of January for the month of January, my version of rakeback.  For  December I'm thinking in the neighborhood of $20 at the end of the month.

In 3 days my bankroll could see a significant increase in one fell swoop.  I should clear another $10 bonus in a couple of days, but week 2 of the APP leaderboard ends on the 15th and I am currently in 7th place.   I only earned 27 points tonight.  7th place would be worth $75 added to my account.  Looking at the current leader board I think I have a shot at the top 5 if I can in fact make it, 5th place is worth $125, fourth place would be $175 and 3rd place would be $250.  A lot will depend on how much volume those above me put in, but but even though I only earn the 27 points tonight I still think I have a chance at 5th place and $125.  

I got a direct message on Twitter tonight and it was from a guy who follows my blog, but instead of making a comment about several points that he wanted to go over he asked if I had a phone number that he could call so I gave him my cell number.  As is my habit, much like the infamous Rob at Robs Vegas Poker of assigning aliases to people especially if I am unsure if they want their true identity revealed so for this purpose I will call this guy "Kevin"   We had a very pleasant conversation and discussed a variety of topics including poker literature, bankroll management, live play sessions, fatigue, long hours, you name it we talked about it.  I am so appreciative to Kevin for taking the time out of his evening to give me a call to talk about these things just simply for no other reason than he wanted to try to help me in these areas.  Whether it's Kevin, Pokerdogg, Poker & Gambling 24/7, Lightning and several others it simply never ceases to amaze me how the poker community reaches out to others.  Not because of anything in it for them, just to try to help someone who shares the poker passion as they do.  I'm truly honored to be a part of this community.  

Finally, yesterday I gave Misty my 60 day notice once again, well actually an 80 day notice, but I told her that I would be moving into a different place the beginning of March.  I made this decision not because of any argument we got into as we have overcome that major one that we got into, but the fact of the matter is our friendship is not what it once was.  She calls me her best friend, but rarely confides in me anymore, we hardly talk, and I just feel that our friendship has diminished and if that's the case there's no sense in me being here any longer.  The other two roommates start jobs the beginning of January and Ray is working a part time one now, so on a financial basis they should be fine and quite frankly I would like a place where I'm sleeping on an actual bed in my own room.  Misty has no idea about my real reason for making this decision because financially speaking it would be better for me to stay here.  I confided my reasons to Ray, but I simply told her that I wanted to be near the strip or downtown near the action.  I can't really say why this friendship has faded if not completely definitely much less closer than it used to be, but these things sometimes happen. 

So,that wraps things up for tonight.  The weekly $500 Invitational freeroll is tomorrow evening,or I should say later this evening and I have already registered for it so the screen will automatically pop up when it begins. Who knows if I can make a deep run that could be a nice addition to the bankroll, but it would bring up a dilemma  I have $236 in my account.  Supposing I won the freeroll, and finished 5th in the APP leaderboard, that would had over $300 and give me a bankroll of $500,enough for $20NL, but I have yet to prove myself at $10NL.  I think the best course of action is not to move up, no matter what the account balance is,until I have a minimum 50,000 hands played and am showing not only profits, but an earn rate of at least 5bb/100.  Goodnight one and all.  Time to watch a few poker videos for my study time before I head to sleep.  Good night, sleep well, and I'll see you at the tables.


  1. What you experienced was you being in the present, playing in a state of mindfulness. It certainly is part of the mental game I was talking about. Being in control of your emotion, to not be affected by bad beats, what could have been, recognizing if you are on tilt and taking corrective action, etc, are also part of it. Then there is the bigger picture stuff, how you handle downswings, some may be prolonged periods, managing winning streaks even.

    Glad to see you had a good day yesterday.

  2. How many tables are you running at a time? You can get through 1500 hands fairly quickly if you're 8 or 10 tabling... If it were me, I'd set a goal of playing when I feel alert and on my game, not dictated by hands played or hours played. If you're going to take a run at it, you need to take regular, scheduled breaks. You need to recognize fatigue, and end your sessions when you're no longer playing your "A" game.

    I just started back up with online poker, so it's interesting seeing our intertwining paths. .05/.1 FR is harder than I remember...

  3. how about u tell u where u plan to live next, and what u plan to pay in rent there? im@gine u will just find some girl to let u move in, God i wish i could do th@t but th@t could put my life in d@nger so ill let it p@ss