(that’s yiddish for spring)! my god it’s almost the end of march. i’ve been in such a poker bubble that it takes me by surprise whenever i pop my head out to check on what’s going on in the real world.
right now i am struggling with some contradictory feelings about poker, in terms of my play and my progress. subjectively, in my own mind, i have the strong sense that i am improving at a rapid rate. it really seems like every day i play poker and watch training videos and rail high stakes games and read pros’ blogs, i learn more and get better. on the other hand, my bankroll online has basically been at a standstill for the last 6 or 8 months. well, not a standstill really – i’ve been playing a lot of volume and it fluctuates quite a bit from day to day – but i haven’t been seeing consistent growth. part of this has to do with shifting my focus to live play for several months, and part of it is certainly attributable to the high-variance nature of playing MTTs. but how big a part of it? how much longer do i essentially need to operate on blind faith that i am going to really win a tournament for $5K or $8K or $20K one of these days? because i NEED TO so i can stop being stuck in this bankroll limbo. i’ll have small losing days and small losing days and then maybe i’ll win $800 or 1K for a 5th or 6th place finish every few weeks. and it just repeats over and over. i’m getting impatient.
when i think about that, i get discouraged. it feels like i’m on a stationary bike, pedaling in place. but then when i think about the bigger picture, it feels like i’ve come insanely far. last march, i decided i would go down to the bay 101 to check out the WPT shooting star. i had been playing micro and low stakes MTTs online for several months and had watched every televised poker event i could get my hands on, but i had never even played in a card room or casino. one year ago, live poker was a completely alien phenomenon to me; even being inside bay101 at all, was intimidating. i recognized all these big time poker players i’d seen on tv shows, and i tried to watch for a couple of hours, but quickly realized that railing a tournament is the most boring thing on the planet. after a beer or two i was on my merry way, and i told myself that the next time i went back there, no way i’d be slumming it on the rail – i’d be playing that tournament!
last week i returned to the bay 101 shooting star, unfortunately not to play (turns out that jumping into 10k events after playing poker for one year was a bit of an ambitious goal, haha), but to say hi to my buddy veerob from vegas who was running the live feed, and meet up with a couple people i’d been chatting with online. just thinking about what it was like to return to that setting, and the enormous strides i have made in the last year, is kind of mind boggling. first of all, i’m not a total random gawker anymore – i actually know some people in the poker world! and i might not be playing WPT events yet, but i’m a real life live poker player now. when i first set foot in bay101 i was nervous and intimidated; i’ve now played there a bunch of times and get excited about popping down every few weeks to take money from silicon valley nerds.
so yeah, i kind of alternate between being disappointed with my lack of progress online, and amazed by my progress as a poker player on the whole. i think one of my problems is i want to do everything all at once, right now. i want to be a great online tournament player and i want to do it while multitabling 10 tables and i also want to be a great live cash player and the most important goal, a great live tournament player. i want all of it!! and i think trying to do it all at once, means it has been slow going. i think if i had focused solely on playing online for the last 6 months, i would have a lot more results there. but then i wouldn’t have all these live skills and live knowledge! so i guess i have to accept that becoming a well-rounded poker player has to be a slow process if i want to do it right, and just have faith that my efforts are going to be rewarded. MTTs are a sick and brutal business and luck is something i can’t control, but i can put myself in the best position i can to capitalize on it when it decides to go my way. one of these days i’m going to win that giant flip at the final two tables. one of these days i’m not going to get 2-outed when we’re down to 5-handed, and i’m going to win the tournament. and the better i play, the more i learn, the more deep runs i will have, the more final tables i will get to, the more chances i will have to acquire that all-important big score. so i’m just going to keep at it online and try to play my best and make good decisions at every point.
live poker has been pretty good to me in the 2011. not live tournaments of course, but live cash games. i seem to win almost every time i play these days. i’m up around $1500 over my last twenty sessions (this is at $1/2 spread-limit). normally those profits would be squandered immediately on live tournament buy-ins, but i’ve banned myself from playing the tournaments at my card club. it pains my MTT-devoted heart to have to do that, but i need to suck it up and admit to myself that tournaments with such abominable structures are not good investments. if i have a skill edge, it is completely negated at the endgame when there is no play left and you literally NEED to luck out with your 8bb average stack at the final two tables. furthermore the buy-ins are too high for my live pseudo-bankroll. it’s just not a good use of my money all around. so i’m saving up my live earnings and using that money for bills and practical stuff, kind of viewing that as my ‘salary’ while i continue to work on my online game.
so what about live tournaments? as i say, i’m off that junk for the moment. i canceled my trip to reno for the ladies event weekend, when i looked closely at the numbers it didn’t seem worth it to eat $400 in travel costs for three tournaments with small buy-ins. the fields don’t get that big in ladies events so i’d pretty much have needed to win one of the tourns just to break even on the trip. plus, the structure sheets weren’t posted anywhere online, so i wasn’t even going to know whether i’d be driving 3-4 hours to play reasonable events or turbo spewfests. there’s a ladies event next sunday at bay101 – the LIPS tour – that i am considering playing, but the structure doesn’t look super great. 10k in starting chips is nice, but 20 minute levels and ginormous antes aren’t; it’s basically like one of my terrible nightlys but with double the starting stack. and it starts at 9:30am which is pretty disgusting, even with the enticement of an 8am players “champagne buffet.” we’ll see if i feel like it; i love ladies events and one with a $300 buyin is going to make for a nice prize pool. i also think there is huge value in getting exposure in live tournaments and making contacts in the poker community. but honestly, that gnarly start time is probably going to dissuade me even more than the questionable structure. i couldn’t even wake up yesterday for the 10am miniFTOPS event.
so i guess i’m putting live tournaments on hold for now, while i save up a roll playing cash games. i think that’s going to be my best course of action. when i’ve got a few more dimes lying around i will return to live tournaments, my one true love..