Saturday, June 17, 2006

Confession..good for your soul, good for your game

Well, the blog is about confessions. So it is time to bare my soul. Confession helps you put things in perspective. It helps you work through your problems. It makes you think critically about why you act, think, live in certain ways. Reflections on your confession help you learn. The pain helps you grow, and, hopefully, not repeat those mistakes. I have confessed what I have written here to others already personally, but have not posted to the world. I think my personal interactions helped my game, and I think posting the story will help others.

I started this post a week ago and decided to finally publish. I think others can learn. So, without further is my confession.

I had a horrible week. Started the week with about $500 on Full Tilt, doing very well, playing good. solid poker. Owning the $1/$2 game when suddenly, everything went wrong. I was sitting there, in a $1/$2 session, and had a table open at PS doing the limit challenge when the bonus window on FT opened. No big deal, right? Wrong. I had forgotten during my European Adventure that I had made a deposit in mid-April. When the bonus window came up, I went to look and realized that I had just cleared $80 of the $250 in bonus money I had.

So I started to think. "Hey, that's free money! I can't let that go by! I'm doing well here, I'll just play some other games and clear that bonus faster!"

Wow, what a horrible, horrible, bad, horrible idea. I opened up some NLO8 and PLO8 (that's no limit Omaha Hi/Lo and Pot Limit Omaha Hi/Lo to you poker newbies). It didn't matter that I had been playing Limit Hold Em pretty exclusively for the last 3 months and built up a pretty substantial roll. I was playing 1/2 limit, how much different could it be, right? And the pots were so big, I could clear bonus faster!

Talk about an amateur blunder. Being good at LHE won't translate to being good at PLO8. Heck, it won't even mean you are a good NLHE player. I'm not. I should know better. My brain is wired to play LHE, and I struggle everywhere else. But hubris got me. Made me think I was bulletproof.

If you have been around poker for a while, you know the end of this story. I lost the full $500. And then some. I had about $200 over on PS, so I brought over $100 and am now hovering around the $125 mark, with about $60 in bonus that got released during the freefall.

So what's the moral of this story? Heck, there's a laundry list, not just one.

Even when you are running well, you are not bulletproof. Just because you are good in one game, doesn't mean you should be playing at that level in others. Don't jump into games that will drain your BR in just a few buyins. Don't play just to get the "free money". Play your game and play it well. If you are going to jump to different games, start at low limits and work your way up. I'm sure there's a ton more, but those are the biggies.

So now I'm back to low limits. I still post and hang out on, and we have a $0.10/$0.25 NLHE table that will show up if enough people are playing online. To get back to my "roots" I had a few people help me get the table to show up (Full Tilt now only has one "empty" table on the list at a time, so you have to sit at it to get the next to show up, and the forum table is down the list a bit) and sat and had a good time there for a while just to get out of my funk. Talks with the Cat, Dee, Grumpy, steeler, Khan, Zooks, all helped a lot too. Thanks to everyone for letting me unload a bit.

So where do I go from here? Here's another addition to this post pre-publication. On Friday afternoon, I had a team offsite at work that was over in Lawrenceburg, IN. Argosy casino is right up the road, so when the team event was over I decided to head up there for some LHE action. I wanted to make sure I hadn't completely destroyed my game. I promised the wife that I would be home for dinner, so I knew I would only have 3 or 3.5 hours, tops. It would depend on what the waiting lists were like when I got there.

I joined the players club for the comps, then headed down to the poker room. I was worried as it was a Friday afternoon (granted, it was only 3:30pm) but I had heard that the place had long waits. When I got there there were 2/4, 3/6, 4/8, 6/12 and 10/20 LHE, 1/3, 2/5 NLHE, and they had PLO and PLO8 running as well. It is a pretty nice setup, an non-smoking room next to the non-smoking slots, so people can't just hang out smoking at the rail, they have to go outside to get their nic fix.

I asked to be put on the 3/6 and 4/8 LHE lists, and they told me there was a seat at 4/8 that was open. There was one on the list, but 2 seats available. So I hit the cashier and sat with $320. 3 hours later, I left with $445, thanks to some great cards and some loose play. Oh, yeah, and those quads that I hit. But you'll have to wait until tomorrow for that post. It's bedtime now.

Cya at the tables.


At 9:28 AM, Blogger Teresa said...

good thing is you can step back and see that... most ppl cant even do that.

youre smart enough and skilled enough to get it all back

At 6:44 PM, Anonymous Grumpy said...

Sorry about the loss. On the up side, it's cool that you can 'confess' to losing. It gives you credibility when you tell us the good, the bad, and the ugly. People with gambling problems tend to hide their losses, even from themselves. Great poker players remember lessons and improve.

The other lesson to learn is that casinos use tactics like bonuses to get people to play beyond their comfort zone. If you feel pressured to put your money in a game, you have to question whether you are doing the right thing.

At 8:06 PM, Blogger IlliniFan97 said...

Agree with you both. Thanks for the compliments, guys. I post here to keep myself honest more than anything. Best way to win at poker is to learn and work on your game. That's why I'm here.

And grumpy, you are dead on. I was being greedy and it bit me. I won't make that mistake again, I hope :)

At 3:39 PM, Blogger Squib aka TwistedOreo said...

Nice post. Greed is a very big leak. I ran into the same thing awhile back playing way too much of my bankroll chasing after the big MTT hits and trying to clear my bonus faster.

I play the best when I play only an occassional MTT and stick to my money makers grinding it out. My win percentages go up along with my confidence which is crucial in poker. You just have to trust your reads and play accordingly.

At 2:05 PM, Anonymous Zooks said...

The first time I played my ass off just to clear a bonus I swore it would be the last time.

Yeah it's free money but it's not worth the hassle. If I reload for a bonus I no longer let it dictate what I play, when I play or how I play.

Bonuses are just the house's way of trying to get you to play more. In this case, more isn't always better.

GG for recognizing it for what it was. You [pry] won't do that again.


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