Monday, February 27, 2006

What should I do in the long run?

I am a goal-oriented person.
Others might refer to me as "anal," but that's a little harsh.
Yes, instead of occasionally climbing a 14,000-foot peak in Colorado, I had to finish all 54, and not just all 54, but all of them in five years.
Yes, instead of jogging off some weight and getting in shape, I decided to run a mini-marathon less than a year after I took up the sport.
And yes, instead of just taking up poker, I decided to read many books, watch a lot of ESPN and the Travel Channel and read blog after blog for ways to improve my game.
As I said, goal-oriented.
Not anal.
In many ways, I've accomplished far more than most because I can't be satisfied with just having a hobby.
On the other hand, poker, by its nature, was a tough hobby to take up because you will fail at times. Even the best players fail. It took me a long time not to obsess over hands, even when someone sucks out on me, convinced I could have done something to avoid it. I still have problems letting bad hands go. It took many posts by even the best bloggers talking about their losing to help me past it.
Yes, even all those bad beat stories were worthwhile.
So now that I'm a successful poker player at the .25 NL and $5 SnG level, I'm wondering where to go from here.
I want to start setting some long-term goals.
I have some immeadiate goals that I believe will be reached fairly soon or, at most, by the end of the year. The big one is to buy a new computer with my poker winnings. I purchased a running GPS and now am convinced I can save my money and cash in for a brand new puter that I otherwise could not afford, unless I wanted to pimp Jayden, the cutest 8-month-old you've ever seen, out to some Huggies commercials.
Believe me, I've thought about it.
I've made $450 just this month, just by sticking to my level and playing smart poker, and though I know that won't happen every month, I have posted winning months every month since I started playing for real money in October. I am convinced that will continue, even when variance rears her ugly head.
Those numbers aren't huge, but I'm thrilled with them. All that reading apparently is paying off.
See? Goal-oriented.
Not anal.
But beyond that, I'd like to learn more about playing real poker.
I want to learn how to bully a table in a tournament. I want to bluff like the big boys. I want to take advantage of scare cards. In short, I want to be somewhat of an aggressive badass, instead of the accountant, straight-laced, none-for-me-thanks poker player that I am.
At my level, knowning when to fold is, unfortunately, your biggest weapon. In other words, play tight-aggressive, and don't play stupid, and you'll win. Don't try anything fancy. You don't need to, after all, and it will only be lost on dumbfounded players.
It's solid. It works.
But it's not very exciting.
It, of course, has it downfalls, too. What do you do when you don't get solid starting hands for the night? Well, you limit your losses instead of attempt to bluff your way to wins. What do you do when your top pair with great kicker gets re-raised? If the guy is any kind of a solid player (yes, they do exist out there in .25-cent NL land, many more than you think, actually), you grit your teeth and fold. What do you do when you get sucked out on over and over? You quit instead of trying to win it back and hope for a better night tommorow.
You rely too much on the cards. But, usually, you'll get your share of hands, so it doesn't matter.
The problem with poker at my level is I could stay at that level for years and probably remain a profitable player. I could buy lots of computers, maybe that brand new X-Box system, or a trip to Las Vegas for the family.
And I could never improve.
I could never play in big tournaments. I could never play, and win, at the larger tables in Vegas. I could never play in the World Series of Poker. Maybe I'll never get there anyway, but one day, just once, wouldn't it be fun?
I am wondering when to move up. And I'm wondering if I should.
I hold a good hand. Given the brutal, honest statistics on winning players, some might say I hold a great hand.
I'm just wondering how far I should push.


TripJax said...

I would find more books or blogs that discuss more growth and bankroll management, and less about the actual play. ScurvyDog has had some good posts about bankroll management I think.

You've got the drive to be a good player, just don't settle in and find yourself playing the same games years from now. I'm in the same boat, trying to find the right mix of different games and higher buy-ins that fit my mold. It will come with time. I think I (and possibly you) need to play more MTT's with our SNG winnings. Without playing a ton of MTT's, we won't be able to challenge others in the big MTT's down the road...

Just a thought.

TripJax said...

Oh, and all 54?! That is crazy cool.