Thursday, June 04, 2009

A confession

I haven't posted much about poker here lately. Mostly that's because I don't have much to add to the field that hasn't already been written. I save my best hands for Pokerworks, I'm still learning Omaha and with the World Series of Poker going on, it's a little insignificant for me to write about $50 NLHE.

But I do need to write what I'm about to say. It's time.

Hi, my name is Pokerpeaker. And I'm a losing player for 2009.

I'm on an extended, painful and frustrating losing streak, the first one of my four-year career in poker. I've had three winning months, but the take was small, and the losses in the bad months, like this one, have been much larger.

I'm hardly in danger of losing my bankroll, but it's taken a significant dent.

What's worse - or maybe better, depending on how you look at it - is it's almost killed my love of poker. I have no desire to play it right now. Losing, I suppose, will do that to you. 

I feel like a big wuss about that. I've approached many other challenges in life with fortitude and determination, but in this case, taking a pretty significant break seems like the right thing to do, and I can't muster up the urge to fight. I've been fighting. It's not working.

I'll spare many bad beats before this post turns really whiny, but I will tell you a story about last Friday, and you might see why my passion for the game has dwindled. It's a bit of a tale so be patient.

All right, we all know how I play, and that's tight. Really tight, in fact. In the past, it's always won me money, as so many others just could not resist making stupid plays against me, plays that I easily picked off or called down. 

Poker's tougher now, as so many know how to play NLHE with at least some competency, and whether that's because the fish aren't online any longer or the game's just been too popular for too long I'm not sure. Live games are looser but aren't what they once were either. Maybe this economy's killing the action. 

Whatever it is, I realized this year I needed to change things up a bit. Tight was not always right any longer. And as I did that, I began to feel like a golf pro who suddenly changes his swing and can't find his old groove.

Playing tight was not an incredibly effective style, but it WAS a style. It was a game plan. And switching that up meant I had no game plan any longer. I would play tight, then suddenly make a stupid move that cost me half my chips.

I was, in a sense, one of the donks.

So Friday I decided to take what I've learned about playing aggressively and use it but only very sparingly. For the most part, I would play like I always have and see if it's effective at all anymore.

And you know what, it was. For one night, it was incredibly effective. I got all-in at least seven times as a huge favorite, at least 70/30. Three times I had my opponent down to a two-outer - twice it was my Aces versus my opponent's Kings.

And I dropped six buy-ins.

That's an all-time record.

I didn't win one of those hands. 

In fact, the only pot of any significance I actually won was when I sucked out against a short stack with my Queens versus his Kings. I chuckled darkly at his chat box rant.

So I played well, with my old style, and lost a shit ton of money.

That will dampen your enthusiasm for the game.

So when I could think again, that night I came up with a three-part game plan.

I withdrew a huge chunk of my money off online. That leaves me with a small amount to play cash games with at my comfort zone, .25/.50 NL. That will force me to play carefully, within my game, and if I just can't win anymore, then it's gone and that's it.

I broke out my Nintendo 64. Yep. That's right. I'm going Old School baby. It still works beautifully, and it's been a trip to play games I hadn't touched in eight years. My life was just a tad different back then. Right now I'm tackling "Perfect Dark." Remember that one? Sure you do. I gotta tell you, it's still hard.

Finally, I will continue to play The Mookie, but I may not join many other games right now. I took a break from The Mookie for the BBT and also dropped Mondays and Tuesdays, and to be honest I enjoyed the break. My Netflix queue is now whittled. I've also written more and read a few books. Poker's no longer a major chunk of my life. It's merely a pastime.

More and more, I'm thinking that's where it belongs.


Memphis MOJO said...

Sorry to hear things are going poorly. Taking a break works for me, although I'm not sure why, so that sounds like a good plan. GL.

BWoP said...

Hang in there Peaker. Breaks are always good. I've been on one for the past couple of weeks, and I'm just now starting to get antsy to play again.

HighOnPoker said...

Perfect Dark = Awesome.

StB said...

Hang in there buckaroo! At least you didn't kick the dog.

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