I'm actually going to write about poker, since I have a lot on my mind and need to work through a couple issues through the writing.
So allow me to sit on your couch, will you?
I will finish the month down. But you knew that. No one starts a post like this one to say they've won thousands, at least without expecting to get a lime tossed at your head at the next Vegas gathering.
I have played at .50/$1 NL since September on PokerStars. Some of you might scoff at that, but it's the highest level I've consistently played since I started playing for real money back in 2005. I've always been a grinder, and a happy one at that, and felt no need to move up too far because I was making money and enjoying the game.
I moved up in September because I had the bankroll for it and thought I could take a shot.
Results, well, have been mixed.
I actually was ahead before this month. But not by much. It's been a hard month. Two full houses lost to better full houses. Suckouts. The usual. Blah blah blah.
But it hasn't just been that. I honestly believe the players are significantly better than I've ever played before. That could be the UIEGA (OU812?) act finally weeding out many of the fish. That could be because the players are just better in general - it's a long way away from 2005. But I think it might be the level. I see Supernovas. The other day I saw an Elite Supernova at my table.
I'm being pushed off many pots. I'm being outplayed, at least I think so. I've faced more tough decisions. I know it's not the money in front of me. I'm comfortable with the level.
But here's the thing. I'm wondering if I should put or move back to my killing grounds at .25/.50 NL.
Where I know I can win.
I've also started playing Omaha (not that stupid game where you split every pot) and Razz, both at low limits. That's a great way to improve your overall game. It made me realize I've got a serious leak. I play way too many hands out of position. I always paid attention to position, but I didn't realize how important it really is until I played Omaha on a regular basis. This will amuse some of you, but I actually need to tighten up. I'm multi-tabling and making calls with shit like Q-J in early position, hoping to just see a flop, and then the flop comes Q-high and what do you do?
It also made me realize that playing those lower limits can just be easier. I'm playing $25 Pot-Limit Omaha, and I am not a terrific player, but man, i'm killing that game. I usually play shorthanded and people still just hand you money. They can't lay down anything, two pair, an overpair, and they chase flushes and straights on paired boards. Rookie shit. The stuff's that's made me money in the past three years.
The stuff I just don't see any longer at $100 NLHE.
So here's what I'm asking myself:
1. Why do I play? I love the game, but do I love the big pots, the larger bets and the fact that I'm pushing myself, or can I honestly play at $50 NL and be happy? Ultimately, yes, but will it be as exciting? I honestly don't know, especially if those tables are filled with the same nits who I'm seeing at the higher level.
2. I know I need to get better, and I know what I need to do. I need to work on taking advantage of my position, opening up my range in later position and tightening up early. Should I move down to do this, or will that be fruitless since I won't see the same level of player. I've said in the past I need to be more aggressive, but I'm serious about it now, and I don't even see it as being a lot more aggressive as being more opportunistic. I've just started on this with some decent results.
3. How much am I willing to lose to get better? My bankroll is super healthy for $100 NL, but poker is, ultimately, a hobby, and I don't need to blow a bunch of money to get marginally better at it. I can move up to the next level of play, but how much am I willing to do to get there, especially with modest goals in this game and many more important things in my life, like climbing, training, writing and my family?
4. Why bother with $100 NL, and why not just play $50 NL and play more Omaha, a game I am beating (if it wasn't for Omaha this month, I would have lost more than just a trio or quartet of buy-ins).