Thursday, January 26, 2006

Did Phil Ivey start on .25 NL?

OK, Hollywood Poker has these $2.25 10-table, SnG tournaments, and I play them at work as I write my stories for the Greeley Tribune for three reasons:
1) I want to continue to practice 10-person play, as I cut my teeth and continue to play six-person tables for .25 cash games or shorthanded SnGs.
2) They are profitable. I've cashed like 15/20 of them.
3) They require about 10 percent of my attention most of the time.
The ease at which I've been cashing them made me think about where I was a year ago.
I am, like Low Limit Grinder, a .25 NL player and a $5 SnG level player. I have relatively small bankrolls on Hollywood and Pokerroom, about three hundred bones each, and I play well within those bankrolls. If I lose $25 in a day, that's a big loss to me, and, of course, any win over $10 for the day makes me happy. In fact, I'm good with $5 a day.
And yet, that's far above where I was a year ago, when I was a play money player, not even ready for the $10,000 table on play money, when I thought reading a book about poker was a waste of time and I wondered why people would watch poker on TV.
The addiction dug its little kitten claws in, of course, and after losing my initial $25 faster than you can say "rigged Internet poker" (he he), I decided that if I was going to play for real money, I was gonna DO IT.
I'm that kind of person anyway. Why climb only one 14er in Colorado when you can climb all 54, the quest I completed this year, becoming the 1,300 in the state to do that. Why start running when you can try to knock off 4:30 off your 5K time in a year? Why not be obsessive about something rather than just enjoy it? I'm not bragging when I tell you this. There are advantages, of course, to being this way, but I wonder sometimes (especially during a losing streak) if being obsessive about a hobby, rather than just enjoying it, is really the way I want to live my life. I don't want to have my first heart attack at age 45, for instance.
Ah, the price we pay for being Type A!
Anyway, I read and read and read, and now plays that seem absurd to me, like calling an all-in with A,9, were pretty routine for me back then. And that's why I continue to do well in those Hollywood $2 tournaments. I'm playing a bunch of mes, like I had cloned myself a bunch of times and dove into The Matrix of Poker, only the mes are from July of last year, not now.
There are still many flaws in my game. Though I understand the concept of bluffing and representing and forcing opponents off pots, I still, for the most part, need cards to win. I can read players, but I'm still wrong too often about what they have. I know how to bet and what to bet, and yet, many times, I still overbet great hands, getting a fold instead of some extra money for them.
But, rather than focusing on Will Wonka and his hundred-dollar dailies, I've tried to focus on how far I've come. I am a few hundred ahead since I started playing for real money full-time in October with birthday money. I have two healthy bankrolls and should be able to play real money for a long, long time if I stick to my current limits. I recently made my first purchase solely with poker money, a running GPS that I could not afford otherwise.
Poker is still scary for me. Journalists don't make a lot of money, and my wife is a teacher, and we've got a 7-month old and my wife is murmuring about how having another one now would be better, given that we're both over 30 (she's 29, actually) and we'd like to be able to walk at our kids' graduations rather than use a walker.
But I am encouraged by all your posts and piddly little tournaments.
If you're ever doubting yourself, a daily occurence for me, play a $2 sit and go. It's all the therapy you'll need to see that, hey, you've come a long way, baby.


WillWonka said...

Nice Post!!!.. I, too started with $60 and played the $5 SNGS and 25NL. Keep playing and studying (especially the latter) and things will work out fine.

Thanks for stopping by..

Ameretto said...

Hi, enjoyed the post, and will follow the up and coming posts with anticipation. I started out playing $5sngs, and basically broke even. I then swithched over to limit, read a few books, got obsessed with the game and the rest they say is history. Still trying to get the life/poker balance sorted out ;) but I still love the game,and it is one of the few hobbies I have that doesn't cost me money. Well, that is unless you count the new pc that I want, oh and the Dell monitor, wireless keyboard would be good........

TripJax said...

Playing poker at work...

...where should I send my resume?!