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Self-Critical

Howard Lederer: "To be a good player, you have to be self-critical."

Good, because I suck. More accurately, I've been getting my ass handed to me lately. Since a near-$300 winning session, I have hit a five session losing streak. Oddly, what little success I have had has been at Seven Card Stud.

So, what's wrong with my play? Honestly, I have no clue. Maybe it's just variance. Maybe I just need to focus more. Maybe I need to reevaluate my playing style.

All I know is that losing stinks.

But this isn't a pity party. I just wanted to air my losing ways, mostly because I have been silent about it over the last week. I didn't want to say it aloud, but it is what it is, and right now it is a leak in the bankroll.

What's a man to do? I guess I can focus on the fact that I'm still up $1200 or so in 2006 (down from near $2400, a month or two ago). That means that I'm winner overall, and maybe this is just a bit of variance. I can also drop my stakes a bit to adjust to the weakened bankroll (in the $600-800 range, thanks to withdrawals and the losses). I might even have to table my desire to play in a $300-500 live tournament by the end of the year.

This is poker. What a fucking grind. Hell, it hasn't even been as fun lately, probably because of my losing ways. Once I start losing, it seems to keep going too. Certainly that is worth examining. It must be a little bit of tilt; not enough to say "okay, I'm starting to tilt here", but enough to cause me to play less than optimally.

I don't entirely suck, mind you. I went out 9th out of 15 at the WWDN Not last night. That place isn't promising, but I liked how I played, overall. I tried a new style that was aggressive (as usual), but a bit more robotic, keeping my bets at generally the same amount, regardless of my cards (preflop at least). It helped that I got amazing cards too, although I rarely had to show them down. But still, a 9th place finish is poop. These blogger games are probably heavily -EV for me. I've never won a single won, and I've rarely made the money. I think it actually hurts my game, as opposed to, say, Woffle, who I think benefits from playing against fellow bloggers.

Oh well. That is all for today. I have some poker time lined up on Saturday afternoon while wifey Kim is painting the town red with her friend who will be in town. If anyone is playing, look me up. I usually commit weekend poker time to MTTs, but I'll gladly join you for a cash game or SNG. HighOnPokr (no E) on Yahoo IM. I'm out!

posted by Jordan @ 9:28 AM,

9 Comments:

At 11:10 AM, Blogger Chi_Town said...

Hey,

I am in a slump as well... I really upped my bankroll in a big way at limit HE, and wanted mix it up with some NL SnG (my favorite way to play). I cashed 1st or 2nd in like 5 tourneys in a row... and I was feeling invincible.

Then, I went on to bust out of the next 5 or 6 SnG's, place 2nd in one then busted out of 3 more... yikes. Suddenly, one third of my new and wonderful bankroll is gone. Was I feeling too invincible and played off my game??? Some of the tourneys were ultra weak/tight were I could not get anyone's money when I played, but would lose a few bets when my timing was off and was rerasied, while trying to steal. Was grinded down and busted out...

My cards were pretty dead for most of that play, and the players where not paying off my good hands AA, KK, QQ. And I think I was playing poorly with poor reads and folding when I should have played, playing when I should have folded...(probably kept sliding as things went poorly)... Now, I am gun shy to play again... like I am going to lose and should just throw my money away.

I need to reset and do some tight/aggressive play at LHE to get my act together... what a damn roller coaster ride this is.

 
At 11:41 AM, Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Hey man, I absolutely love the idea of a Rebuy tournament for the next DADI, and I look forward to being able to play and to regaining my DADI title that was taken from me in the last DADI event when I was not available. I just wanted to weigh in to say how much I love the different variations you guys consistently come up with for the DADI events.

Btw I know a whole lot of bloggers and other online players who have been on a noticeable losing streak of late. Not sure why that would be, but I know for myself, I'm getting rivered and turned in the worst possible ways, I'm getting killed lately by redickulous runner-runner situations, and then eventually that definitely tends to have the effect of making me play like a fatalist, like I don't give a sh*t. Like if I get reraised allin early in a tournament, and I know he has a middle pair against my AK, I'll just go ahead and call it, even though I know I'm calling off all my chips early in a tournament on less than a 50% chance of winning. Is that dumb or what? But that's what a bad losing streak can do to a man, even New Yorkers such as ourselves.

I'll look for you this weekend, though I probably will only play in the evenings is my guess.

 
At 12:07 PM, Blogger FloppyJT said...

Hey Jordan,

You are not alone! And it will turn around in time.

I have less experience with poker than most and have not been willing to try this myself but I imagine a nice break with no poker playing is probably good for the soul during a bad downswing. Instead, I opt to mess around with forms of poker other than my usual game and find I have a LOT of fun. It doesn't help at all with recouping losses but it does at least put the fun back into poker for me.

Good luck turning things around. It WILL happen sooner or later. Variance is a real bugger at times is all.

Cheers!

 
At 12:17 PM, Blogger C.L. Russo said...

What I don't understand about variance is why it seems to come in phases.

I'll either have a good stretch or a bad one. Why not a little here and a little there?

Doesn't make sense.

 
At 2:32 PM, Blogger CJ said...

Okay, I know this can be taken the wrong way, but I'm curious because I hear this a lot...

Why do you think the blogger tournaments are -EV for you?

I think it's an important examination. If you're constantly playing in events where the quality of play will generally lead to you missing the money, then game selection is the issue. However, sometimes they can be learning experiences.

If you're not out of your league in these events, why do you think they are -EV. Is it because you play them differently than other events? If that's the case, then why? Are tourneys in general -EV for you?

I think answering these questions can help stop your slide. Please don't take this as me questioning your abilities. It's NOT meant that way at all. Real introspection can be very benefitial.

 
At 3:43 PM, Blogger HighOnPoker said...

HOW DARE YOU QUESTION MY ABILITIES, CJ!!

Actually, I don't mind people questioning me, as long as it is done in a thoughtful way (instead of an accusational way, in which case I'm likely to get all defensive).

So, with that said, allow me to explain:

(1) I do believe that my recent downswing is mostly variance based (specifically 2nd best hand syndrome) and the resulting awfukits, like Hoy mentioned.

(2) I still have confidence in my abilities, but think I need to work on consistency.

(3) I am a semi-serious player, in that I will often play when inebriated, which we all know is not good, but is, after all, good fun. This adds to the leak.

(4) The blogger tournaments are -EV because I rarely cash. Why is this? Well, partially, I think it is because of my general image amongst bloggers. Partially, I don't think I am adapting to the different type of play that one sees in a blogger tournament. Hell, partially, its because bloggers are better than the average player and also that in these events, we all tend to play differently. I often get a lead early and watch it slip away until I but in the top 50-25%.

So, basically, the blogger events have a different feel. I play different, my competition plays differently than most MTTs and I haven't been able to effectively adjust...I think.

In the end, I'm not damning poker or myself. I'm just being honest about losing lately. I'm still have confidence in my abilities, although sometimes its hard to summon it at the table. I know it'll turn around. Its just important that I remain honest here.

End post-within-a-comment here.

 
At 3:44 PM, Blogger HighOnPoker said...

Oh, and Hoy, we love finding new variations for the DADI events. We still haven't done Stud yet, but I'm, frankly, in no rush.

 
At 8:36 PM, Blogger mowenumdown said...

Great assesment my friend. Your slide is a product of all the factors that you listed but first and foremost is the variance.

As you know, you will hit a few suckouts to get the earth back on the correct axisis and then you will go on a huge winning streak after that.

 
At 4:37 PM, Blogger Felicia :) said...

"What I don't understand about variance is why it seems to come in phases.

I'll either have a good stretch or a bad one. Why not a little here and a little there?

Doesn't make sense."

Because once players start to run bad, they typically start to play bad.

 

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