Saturday, 26 January 2008

Don't cry over lost profits!!

My initial intention on creating this blog was to discuss my daily exploits playing poker. I was going to review a few hand histories and generally share my ups and downs playing this fantastic game. However looking at hand history after hand history would probably get very tedious for the reader. After all, when you get all your cash in with a nut full house and lose to a runner runner 55 giving the other guy quads, what more is there to write about? So for now my blog is taking a turn to the more cerebral and emotional side of poker.

I have not been working now for about two and a half months. Poker still doesn't take up as much of my time as I would like (what with decorating and the likes) but I do get to play online every day. One thing is becoming increasingly apparent though! There can be big swings in my bank roll from day to day, even hour to hour. As a consequence my mood changes along with the flow of these wins and losses - Up when winning and down after suffering a substantial loss. So what to do about this?

So far I have developed a number of techniques to help me deal with these eventualities!

First and foremost ...

Swear at the computer and stomp around the room asking myself how this idiot could have called to the river holding " ... that S**T". Its funny but following a big loss this almost always is the first phase of controlling my emotions. Joking aside though I do think this is an important part of dealing with a loss. After all, how do I celebrate a big win. By stomping round the room shouting "..Yes, Yes ... Get IN!! " or something of the sort. In essence it is letting off that tension that builds over a session of playing.

Secondly ...

Take a break. If I have just suffered badly to the cards then I will always take a break. Just walk the dog or go to the shops. Anything that will take me away from the computer and its environment. This gives me the space to think about what has just happened ... How does it affect my monthly plans? ... Did I play poorly? ... What do I now need to do to get back on track?

Finally ...

When I decide I am in the right frame of mind to start playing again I will chose a game that I know I can beat. For example I may chose a low level 5 man STT. I may even play a few of these games if I initially don't get the results I like until that confidence and winning feeling returns. Then I will continue with my normal bank rolling methods.

Generally ...

In order to maintain a modicum of sanity I tend to try and keep to the following few easy rules:

1. I try to laugh when suffering minor setbacks. Luck is a big part of the game and someone does have the right to hit their 10% chance some of the time, its just not nice when it happens against me.

2. I try to keep my emotions level by not over exaggerating my current mood. For example try not to get too irate after a beat, and try not celebrate too much after a win.

3. And this is my most important point to note to date ....... DON'T CRY OVER LOST PROFITS.

Let me explain by using the example of the beat full house above. At the time I had that hand my month had been up and down with regards to profits, but I was $250 or so in profit up to that point. That hand lost me somewhere in the region of $150, but I was still in profit afterwards.

That gives me a great psychological advantage when looking to continue playing. " ...I can take a horrendous beat like that AND STILL be a winning player .... how good is that?".

"What happens if it takes you into the negative?" I hear you ask. Well as yet I don't know, but when it does I will be sure to let you know here.

So thats it! A general emotional overview of a typical day playing poker at the Jester household.

All that remains is for me to ask you to Keep It Tight! And if any of you have methods you want to share please email me on

Monday, 21 January 2008

Well Done Mark !!

Just a quick note to celebrate Mark Selby and his first professional snooker title win.
I have known Mark for about 5 years now and he is one of the most down to earth, hard working characters you will ever meet. If any one needs to learn what it takes to achieve your dreams then just continue to watch this guy. He has dedication and skill in abundance, and just refuses to give in to any negative pressures put his way.
Well done Mark!!! You deserve it!!! Long may it continue!!!

Sunday, 13 January 2008

Worst feelings from poker to date

The game of poker has dealt me some highs and lows but today has got to be the worst I have ever felt playing this beautiful game.

In the past I have woken to find my monthly profits down to zero when playing after a night out on the town; that hurt. I have since lost $500 in one night early on in my Vegas break; that was worse. But this feeling is by far the hardest to stomach.

I guess you are thinking I must've blown my whole bankroll in one session. You couldn't be further from the truth. This experience has cost me absolutely nothing - so why am I feeling so bad?

Well it all started when I got an email from Gala Poker saying that they hadn't seen me on their site for a while. If I were to come back and generate 10 points they will enter me for a $3000 restricted freeroll. I normally play these tournaments, they are a bit of fun and are normally far less subscribed to than the normal freerolls. So off I trotted to generate my 10 player points. When I had earned my ticket I logged into the tournament lobby, registered (along with two other players at that time) and waited for the weekend to play.

The weekend came along and on the morning of the tournament that started at 6pm I signed in to Gala to see how many entrants the tournament had ..... "STILL THREE??? .... wow this is going to be cancelled surely"....... "No" I think "there are gonna be some more sign in today!". So I set about playing a few 5 man single table tournaments just in case.

After above average success and about an hour before the tournament was due to start I logged back on to the Gala Tournament lobby to find that .. as I suspected .. there were more entrants .... ONE MORE!

So the tournament started with a winner takes all prize fund of $3000 dollars with 4 players. I was very nervous but seriously fancied my chances of at least getting heads up. Certainly I did not expect to go out first.

However go out first I did. It lasted only 29 hands for me, I played completely out of character and played completely hopelessly. I am not even going to post any of the hand histories as they read back so poorly. Just be rest assured I did not play to my full abilities.

So what went wrong? All I can think of is that the situation played the cards rather than myself. With such high expectation any deviation from what I imagined affected me greater than it should have. In essence I was playing on tilt without any reason to be tilted.

I should be consoled by the fact that I still have over $200 in profits this month with my new bank rolling method showing some sign of promise. I should be consoled by the fact that I lost nothing in the search of this free $3000. I should be consoled by the fact that my multi tabling has improved and that I have final tabled 3 times out of 9 tournaments and cashed in a fourth. But all that can go hang for the fact that I did myself an injustice by how I played this tournament. There was such a high reward yet I didn't show an ounce of the skills I know I possess.

BUT ... this is what I love about poker. It is not just a game of luck or skill. It is a cameo of life itself. You can carry on expecting it to all come your way and make excuses for why you didn't achieve ... OR ... you can look, learn and react to produce a better result the next time around.

These results all contain valuable lessons, and I expect to learn every single one!!

So for now .. Keep it Tight!!

Thursday, 3 January 2008

Goodbye 2007, Hello 2008

The festivities of Christmas are over and the poker profits for December got to be reasonably fat. In fact at one point they went over the $1000 dollar mark, unfortunately they were pegged back again to $886.09 (however another new personal best since keeping records to round off 2007 quite nicely).

In summary I am quite pleased with my progress throughout 2007, especially as during the second half of the year I made a profit in every month since June. This was quite a way to come since up until then I couldn't fathom how people made money at this game.

I have though highlighted a couple of weaknesses on reflection :

1. I have a tendency to drop back down the levels too quickly. I will venture up to the higher limit, take a beat and then drop back down to my comfort zone of $0.50/$1 NL. I know this is crazy because many of the same players are in the $1/$2 as at the $0.50/$1 level and I can beat them there, so what is the difference?

2. My Multi Tournament game needs some work! I have cashed in many tournaments and even won a few (tournament winnings of $3,800 for the year) but still have made losses of $1,000 for the year in this format after buy ins (luckily my cash game has funded this loss). I think I may be playing too many small buy in tournaments ($5, $10 and $15 with too many players for not enough return).

So what about the positives:

Well the fact I have made a profit over the year is a start. I have the patience and the willingness to put in the hard work to get better. I never stop reading about the game or critiquing my own (as well as others) play. Also, humbly, I never forget to sometimes admit defeat when faced with the prospect of playing with better players. Sometimes admitting that they are better than you can keep $$$ in your bank roll, give you the chance to figure out why and then come back with a new game plan to take revenge.

So what is my game plan for the new year?

Well firstly I need to work on persevering with the higher levels of play to boost my profits. I am currently working on a new bank roll method to aid me with this aim and I will let you know how it pans out at the end of the month.

Secondly I need to try my skills in the higher levels of multi tournaments. To acheive this I am looking to put all profits I make on Sit ' n' Go's back into multi tournaments, sort of like using them as qualifiers for bigger buy ins. So I will keep you posted on how that goes.

For now I will post the figures for December 07 and wish you a prosperous new year!

Cash Games - $476.56
Multi Tournaments - $12.73
Sit 'n' Go - $24.5
Bonuses - $372.3

Total Profit /Loss (December) - $886.09

Years Results (monthly profits) Below "Click to Enlarge"