Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Like a yo-yo

I was ready to pack it in just about an hour ago. I've been playing like crap lately, or at least it feels that way. I decided to play some poker tonight, and I entered a satellite at Full Tilt to one of their Full Tilt Online Poker Series tourneys. Out of 52 entrants, I finished a lowly 41st. Maybe I didn't get a lot of great cards, but I suspect I could have played better than I did. So, thinking my luck should change, I bought into a two-table SNG. 18 started - IGH in 16th. Got sucked in by a flopped full house when I turned a flush. Should have got a better read on him/her.

Well gee, I'm thinking, I've barely played tonight, and things can't get worse, so into another SNG I go, this time a single table. I lose a chunk of chips early when I fold my TP medium kicker to a big raise with a flush draw showing. I tighten up and let the others duke it out, and some bust out, for a while. Finally I get a couple of hands and some chips, and I double up when I call the short stack's all-in with 88. He shows 76h and doesn't improve. Once I get a decent stack, I start putting some pressure on, and it pays off with some blind steals. Eventually, I take it all down. It's the first tournament win I have had in about four months. I've had several cashes and a few second place finishes in that time, but it definitely feels good to get first again. It might even make me think that I know something about how to play this game. That's kinda scary, because I know that I have a helluva lot to learn. I'm in the red for the calendar year, and that isn't a good sign in my opinion. Sure, variance can take you way up or way down, but I'm sure I could improve my stats if I worked harder at playing smarter. I finished 2005 with a small profit; I'd love to do the same in 2006. Guess I'd better pay more attention, study all the freaking poker books I have, and see what I can do to reach that goal.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Should I stay or should I go?

I haven't posted in a while, as I guess you can tell from looking at the date of this post and the date of the last one. I've been playing some, but not enjoying it all that much. I feel like I have forgotten much of what I have learned up to this point about how to play poker correctly. I also feel like I have so much more to learn, it's overwhelming.

I have a running joke with my wife, where almost every day I say that I am giving up poker. She knows that I don't mean it, and we laugh about it. But there are days, which lately seem to come more frequently, when I mean it a bit more than she thinks. I wonder if I should get over my "obsession" with poker and find another hobby. Usually I enjoy playing, but sometimes I think that the time I spend playing might be better spent doing something else. I worry that it occupies too much time that I ought to be spending with my wife and son. Neither of them is interested in playing, unfortunately.

I also wonder if I have the mental discipline to get better as a poker player. I have bought numerous books about the game, and read something in all of them, but I haven't really studied them closely, to make the effort to improve my game beyond the elementary school level. It seems too much like work, and I want poker to be fun. On the other hand, at least if I do fairly well in poker, the game can pay for itself. I don't want to be the kind of player who is always raiding the cookie jar for poker money because he always loses.

I know that I will continue to play for the time being. I will try to learn more about improving my game, and not make too many donkey plays because I am tired, or trying to get cute. I hope to keep my online bankroll intact, if not growing, so I can sustain my playing time without having to worry about the possible deposit hassles that may come with the UIGEA. We will see whether poker continues to be a source of fun for me, or a source of frustration or friction.