My win rate is up. Am I playing better poker?
A little. I lost the minimum with a set when I thought the guy hit his flush and was trying to check-raise me. He only got a small value bet outta me on the river.
Then again, I could not fold Q-Q to an obvious A-A last night as well. But that was in the Mookie. No one folds that pre-flop in the Mookie in the later stages.
But I'm playing about as well as I have in the last year, which means a grinder's existence playing $50 NL on Bodog and PokerStars. This year I might actually clear a $2,500 profit. Hey, hey, ladies, back off the fur coat. There's enough for everyone here. Who wants a ride in my Mercedes first?
So what's the difference? A couple months ago, I decided to play less.
I really love poker, and I had not realized how much of a part of my life it had become until I took a hard look at how often I was playing. And the answer was every freaking night.
The routine was basically come home, dinner, get the kids to bed, get a workout in or run, then play online poker for a couple hours and go to bed. It was easy to settle into this routine because quite frankly, given the stress in my life (twins are stressful, by the way), I really didn't want to do anything else other than zone out. And online poker is a great way to zone out. Three tables and the world around me grows silent. Online poker was the eye of my life's hurricane.
The only problem was I was paying for that. Mondays and Tuesdays are not the best nights to play. My theory is that the average online player, i.e. the ones we love to hate, gets their fill on the weekend and wants nothing to do with poker on Monday and the first day back at work. Tuesday isn't much different from Monday. They were leaks.
By the time Thursday rolls around, the cash games seem to loosen up again. Maybe that's because some workers have Friday off, or Friday is an easier day, or much of the fish simply gets the urge to play again after a few days' rest.
That's when I hop back in.
It's been nice to take a couple days off each week. I've watched more movies, dug into more books or caught up on some DVR shows (many are poker, but that's OK, at least I'm not playing, right?). Or lately I've battled the kids' teething problems, and to be honest, sometimes poker offers the same amount of frustration as that, so at least that attention going to my kids and not some douchebag at a cartoon table.
As a result, I've enjoyed poker more when I'm playing it. I'm not making as many stupid calls, I'm more selective and, to my amazement, the suckouts are bothering me less, not more.
Poker is less of a job and more of a fun hobby.
Which is how it should be.