sorry about the delay since my last blog post. i’d like to use the excuse that i’m going for quality over quantity when it comes to blogging, but the real reason is that i’ve just been flat out on the grind, trying to accumulate enough VPP’s by the end of the year to hit supernova. that, together with running a stable, doing coaching, and trying to enjoy a social life during a glorious australian summer. after my last blog entry, i was approached by a few different HSMTT regs, who seemed a bit uneasy at the fact that i had actively put out information that probably wasn’t that beneficial for the self interest and EV of other HSMTTers. i feel that i was pretty general, and didn’t really cover anything too specific, not to mention that most of the stuff that i had addressed was readily available on mainstream poker forums such as 2p2. anyway, as much as i have a trolling or nasty image on some forums (mwahaha), i’m always willing to contribute to the poker community in some respect, whether that be via replying to PM’s, giving advice or posting some strategy stuff in my blog.
let’s get on to what i wanted to talk about today. tournament poker is such a variance filled game, that you often go long stretches without making money. even the most astute poker player can go weeks and months without making a cent, even if they are playing a high quality game. i find that many regs will struggle to emerge victorious from the deeper downswings, as they lose the ability to properly assess spots and make profitable decisions, as their negative streak has hammered these pessimistic thoughts in to their head. they lose confidence in their game, and begin a negative spiral which often prolongs these downswings, and can cost them a lot of money. how do you get the luck back? it’s simple. put in the effort away from the tables. i’m by no means one of the best poker players, but i am one of the hardest working players, which is why i’ve been able to climb the stakes from the bottom rung in a year and a half. here are a few things that have helped me.
review hh’s: hand histories are great to review, because it allows you to focus on all aspects of your game, and give thought to the more complex situations. some people will just whizz through the hands that they had played, but i find it much more beneficial to watch the whole hand history (yes, all hands, even the ones you didn’t play), to be able to make reads on other players, and understand table dynamics. this is great for mid to high stakes regs, as they’ll be able to spot tendencies in other regs, giving them extra information they’ll be able to draw upon in future games. you can also get down and dirty with the math work through programs like pokerstove, which will give you greater understanding of what your optimal pushing/calling ranges should be given various assumptions. it’s great to go over hh’s with other people on skype, and/or go over their hh’s as well. everybody plays slightly different, so it’s great to see what people are doing differently to you, and assess whether this is something that’s worth incorporating in to your game.
talking spots with friends: this is similar to above, but more so singular hands in a vacuum. there are always various ways to play a hand, and people will argue their view to the death (hello mr. hawkins). it’s great to get other peoples perspectives, and even better when these perspectives conflict, because it forces you to analyse things even closer. lots of people fall in to the trap about having preconceived ideas or assumptions, which they always take as gospel. the one thing that helped me transition from the midstakes to higher was that there really aren’t any concrete rules in how you should play, and thinking within a boxed in mindset like this limits your creativity and ability to win pots that you otherwise wouldn’t.
reading poker forums: this is more so related to reviewing hands posted up in forums, but can also extend to general poker community related posts. it’s great to interact with other players, as sometimes the game can be very isolating and cruel. there are some great theory posts in the HSMTT 2p2 forum, and various other hands in the lower forums that you can look over, make a decision on what you think the optimal play is, and then read the next few pages on what other players think.
watching training videos: this was probably a really big part of my fast development as a player, as i’d watch a lot of training videos on sites such as pokerxfactor (specifically doubledave22 and AJKHoosier1). i also suggest having a look at tournament poker edge, as they’ve got a few good pro’s there as well.
work with a coach: most people have leaks, let’s face it. working with a coach fast tracks your progress, as instead of having to figure out what your leaks are, you can work with a more experienced and successful player who can usually identify leaks within a session or two, and help you take corrective measures. i did a few sessions with doubledave22, who i highly recommend to all low and midstakes players looking for that little bit extra. i also do a few sessions with the_dean22, when i can get him away from the live poker circuit.
preparation; sleep, food, drink and exercise: although this is a small factor, i think it definitely has some impact upon your ROI. you want to be in the perfect state so you can perform at your highest theoretical standard. it’s tough for us aussies, as most of us have to get up really early to play. in the winter, i have to get up at about 3:30am, which is never ideal, especially since i’ve never been a morning person. i also hated eating breakfast… i just was never hungry when i first woke up. i found that when getting up early to play, i definitely needed to eat something, or mid session i’d be really tired and lack the ability to concentrate, or think deeply. so now i make like goldilocks and the three bears and smash some porridge. i’ll also have some snacks during the session, usually fruit like a banana or a pear, just to give you that little bit of energy. it’s also really important to keep hydrated, so i try to drink a glass of water every hour or two. exercise is also a great tool to keep you refreshed during a session, so i suggest things like situps and pushups in your breaks, or jumping jacks to get the blood flowing again. outside of a session, i think it’s also worth doing physical exercise, as it’s a great stress reliever, which can really help you break from a negative spiral.
managing tilt: this is such an all encompassing topic that i’ll probably write a blog entry simply focusing on this topic. i think that the key to beating tilt, is to just change your thought pattern to trick yourself in to playing better. i’ve always been a competitive person, so the way i like to approach the issue is, after taking a cruel beat, i try to react better than your average reg would. if a reg would be affected by a beat like this, well then i’m going to manage it better than he would. this little mind trick has been able to snap me back in to focus many times, and i’ve had numerous times where i’ve played hours upon hours and ran terribly, only to bink off one of the later tournaments to hit profit for the day.
anyway, there are a few more things i could talk about, but i feel that this is starting to get a bit lengthy, so i might wrap it up there. a quick update on my VPP grind, i need to hit 15k VPPs in december to qualify for supernova, so should be hitting the grind pretty hard over the first half of the month. it’s always better to be ahead of schedule than behind, especially with the holiday festivities towards the end of the year.
wow 1400 words.