Monday, January 12, 2009


Some Changes

It's just coincidence that this post appears early in the New Year ; I've always believed that if you need to change something, then change it now. But I am taking a different attitude towards a few things, as follows :

Play 6-max Cash

I'm certainly not foregoing the donkaments to switch to cash ; all I'm doing is any day I'm not donkamenting I try to put in two or three half-hour cash sessions, for the sole purpose of improving my medium and deep stack game. I think this is helping a lot already, I feel a lot more comfortable with 40BB+ in the donkaments, especially out of position. I've read Ryan Fee's online book and have almost finished Danny Ashman's (by the way I recommend High Stakes Bookshop ahead of Amazon for quicker delivery of new releases). As it happens I've made a few hundred $ so far which is a bonus !

Make more and better opponent-specific plays

Turn off the auto-pilot and consider OPR, Pokertracker stats and any recent history when you get into a hand. Obviously this is a 6-max cash kind of angle, but anything that makes me engage brain before clicking mouse is good. If I have to cut down on the number of tables I'm playing to do this, that's fine, it's not much of a loss to cut out the 2 least profitable tournaments in a session.

Spend less time on 2+2

A lot less. I could go into this in depth, and might still at a later date, but just sticking to the strategy angle, there is very much a "2+2 style" in tournaments that I have fallen into when I should really be thinking about playing against this style exploitatively. The High Stakes MTT forum was a good idea in theory, but in practice threads tend to either be "shove ldo /thread" or endless "how many angels on the head of a pin" arguments about which of two perfectly serviceable options is slightly better. Don't get me wrong, there are some excellent posters on there, but many of them post less and less often, and what's left is the "stars" holding court, which kind of grates because a lot of those guys are massive life losers IMO (but again not all).

Forget live tournaments

They are a complete waste of time unless you can find some kind of deal that gives you a partial freeroll (at least 50%), and by that I do not mean a makeup deal. Those are complete smoke and mirrors and basically not much better than getting a loan off Jim Davidson on the TV. I can put $3K in play any night of the week I like, and $4K+ on Sundays, with a vastly superior hourly rate, lower variance, zero hassle and zero expenses. On the downside, I won't get my picture in Bluff Europe - oh noes. Live play is so subtly different from online that trying to mix both regularly can screw up your instincts and feel IMO. I can probably make an exception for TV 6-max games because they are quick, great value and basically little more than avoiding egregious stack mistakes, which seems to be beyond most people (even the superstars in the Premier Poker League [1]).

Increase volume while maintaining life balance

I can put in a bit more volume if I'm careful with my health, which is the whole combination of diet, exercise, sleep patterns and general awareness of the body. It's so hugely important not to burn out though. You need to shear the sheep of online poker tournaments, not kill it. By which I mean kill it for yourself by playing so much that you can't stand it any more, or so much that you need to take stimulants and/or relaxants to do it, which is going to screw your long-term health. Even something as apparently standard as coffee, if you can't play without it, you've got a problem. As I mentioned in another post, one reason the tournaments are still soft is that good players have burned out mentally and aren't playing any more. What's better, making $750K a year for 2 years or $300K a year for 10 years ? And this is seriously exacerbated by the fact that when they stop grinding online, they still can't walk away from poker entirely, so they play live, get involved with backing from either end, and that's a really slippery slope.

Anyway that was a bit of a digression, but for me, I should be able to fit in Sundays + 3 weekdays, and work it around the rest of my life, and make good money. That's the plan going forward for sure.

[1] I didn't want that to sound bitchy but what the hell, that's basically how it is.

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