It will all click soon enough, that’s what I have to keep telling myself. Yet another month where my emotions are totally split into two. On the one hand, I have my results; good, to poor, to even worse. Not exactly a great vision to behold when you’re striving to make this a basis for a career. On the other hand, everything else. I am not going to sugar coat myself and say the only reason I have not been winning at the tables is due to variance, that would make me utterly delusional. While this month, especially towards to the end, that was the case for a few thousand hands, it is certainly not the area I need to focus on to improve my results.
That area is focus.
I’ve been saying it for years now and I hope I will always continue to say it, but focus will be key to my success as a poker player. It may seem obvious to anyone that you should ‘just keep calm’, ‘pay attention’ and all the other totally useless statements that you tell yourself when striving towards a certain goal. But in reality, life just gets in the way and your consistency levels begin to drop. For the last 6 months I have naively gone about my poker in a very casual way. Yeah I put in a decent amount of hours, yeah I’ve racked up around 350,000 hands + and yeah I’ve done some off table study. But how much of that time has spent fully focused on the poker at hand? And how much of that time was spent aimlessly cbetting with no really thought about my opponent’s range or missing an obvious spot to 3bet as the villain folds to 78% of 3bets in the CO?
If I am going to be successful in poker, and I have no doubts that I can be, then I really have to start treating my approach to the game in a much more dignified, mature and serious manner. I shouldn’t just load 6 tables, aimlessly folding, calling and raising hands with little more than a second thought based on my previous 350,000 hands. No. I should be actively learning, understanding my opponent’s range in certain spots and trying to figure out exactly how to optimally exploit my opponent’s tendencies.
To anyone who has ever played poker, that sounds so ridiculously basic and totally obvious, “Of course that’s what you do, that’s how the game of poker is played!” I can hear you all scream. And you are totally right. But feel free to go ahead and play 350,000 hands in the next few months and tell me you don’t become numb, to a certain degree, to the game itself. A sudden burst in fortunes and you’re then riding high and overconfidence tilt sets in. A few excruciatingly bad sessions and rage tilt sets in and then you’ve suddenly lost your 2 weeks work because that small burst of intense anger has made you spew off a few buys because you simply couldn’t fold those pocket aces, even though deep down you know you were beaten.
After the rage has settled, you begin all over again, knowing that you’ve made some improvements but you’re still far off from what you want to become as a poker player. Add to the mix that even if you were the best 10nl player in the world, 6 tabling, it will still takes you a fair while to begin to reap the rewards of your labour. With the levels I am still playing, this isn’t going to be a get rich quick scheme, far from it.
So when you’re down on your luck or you’re just simple making mistakes, you have to dig deep and find the positives that lay elsewhere, away from the results and away from the negatives. Imagine an overweight person who has actively started walking, and maybe hitting the gym once a week. They decide to attend a friends birthday party and find themselves scoffing cakes and necking back a few beers. The next day they may find themselves feeling dejected, depressed and alone. They are the only ones that can help themselves and they believe that they have failed in their mission to become a more healthy person and to lose weight. It is so much easier for them to give up right there and then. To think that they haven’t got the willpower to continue this tough but inevitably rewarding journey. So they do just that. They give up. End of.
Imagine that same person, but the day after the party they decided that what happened last night does not affect what happens in the future. They head out for that walk again and hit the gym again. The next party they are invited to they may decide to eat one less cake, or a couple of less beers. Imagine that same process over and over and over again. Small steps for a greater goal.
I am that overweight person.
And for the last 6 months I have been scoffing myself with cakes and beer.
But I have also been going for those walks and hitting the gym.
For a greater goal.
This song had me both in tears of dejection and tears of joy. Music is the biggest thing in my life and weirdly, this song has that amazing bitter sweet taste of lovely reggae and lush summer horns but with lyrics such as
‘And how long should I go, before I know that i’m there.
And how long will it take, before I wake from this dream oh.
And how long can I wait? I’m losing faith in myself.
You got it. Yeh I want it now. I need it, but I can’t find it here.’
End of Month Stats:
Pokerstars Balance: $800
Demotion: Took my shot at $25nl but had to move down
Non results oriented achievement: Mental Game of Poker Client Questionnaire filled out post tilty session, increased focus on a regular basis, continued Skype meetings with Rob and genuinely feeling like improvements have been made regardless of results.