Archive for June, 2009

Assault on Las Vegas

June 29, 2009

The Main Event begins this Friday through Monday. I’m going to register to play my first day on day 1d, Monday 6th July. That gives me six nights in Vegas to prepare. No drinking, plenty of sleeping, eating well, a gym session and a blog entry every day. Lol does that sound optimistic? Well, I have the goal of being properly prepared for the biggest tournament of my life, I have plenty of reading material and I have four training tournaments to occupy me.

A number of Vegas casinos run deep-stack tournaments starting at 12noon each day, like the Main Event. One day the Bellagio, next day Caesars Palace, another day the Venetian and finally the $1090 tournament at the Golden Nugget. I can win that on the Saturday and have a day off before the Main Event starts. If I get through day 1d there is another day off before day 2b on Wednesday 8th July. Players then get one more day of rest before the big push starts from Friday through Wednesday.

Obviously paying $12,500 to enter five tournaments is a little bit of a departure from my normal bankroll management approach but f*ck it, If I’m going to play the Big One I can’t prepare by playing $100 tourneys or $1-2 cash games.

As for the shows, clubs and bars, they will have to wait until next time if I make a deep run in The Main Event.

During each of the preliminary tournaments I will be focussed on two goals. Firstly, re-establishing the Hellmuth/Navarro table posture that worked well for me during EPT San Remo. Its not much fun but effective at reducing the information I transmit. Its not really necessary against a lot of players but may be crucial in higher buy-in events where I will encounter some very observant pros. Resting my chin on my fists, body in a neutral position, baseball cap, relaxed and breathing normally, eyes focussed on my opponent or on the middle of the table. I don’t have to be in this position for the full twelve hours every day, just every time I’m in a hand, from the moment I look at my cards to the moment I fold them. At the same time, I need to re-read that Navarro book to clarify exactly what I’m looking for in my opponents’ body language. Although I haven’t got a great deal experience playing live poker, I have spent the last eighteen months getting paid for sitting at a poker table, so I should be OK.

Secondly, I want to transfer to Las Vegas the aggressive and active game that has generated success for me online. Playing a few more hands from a few more positions than most, especially during the Main Event when most players will be playing fewer hands less aggressively. Relying on my tried and trusted modes of thought to analyse each situation and find the best option, making a plan for the hand and having the courage to execute that plan, however difficult it might be and however far from the standard or safe answer. Its harder to bluff live, because you’ve got a guy staring you down and you can’t hide behind a computer screen. Thats why the Hellmuth/Navarro approach is so important.

 

Back at the tables at Dusk Till Dawn, loads of people wish me luck and congratulate me for winning the seat. ‘How much was the satellite?’ ‘Where are you staying?’ ‘Which day are you playing’. It makes a pleasant change from being constantly asked about and sympathised with re: The Mugging. That got a bit much after reliving it the first fifteen times.

Punter #1: ‘I’m sorry to hear about what happened Joe’

Punter #2: ‘Why? What happened to him?’

Punter #1: ‘Oh he got mugged when he was coming back from work on his bike, they broke his jaw I think. What was it Joe, three guys?’

Joe: (sigh) ‘Yes mate, there were three blokes…’

Punter #2: ‘F*cking bstrds. What did they take?’

Joe: (sigh)(reels off list of stuff)

Punter #2: ‘Bstrds… You know, I wish they would have tried to mug me… I wish it was me they mugged. You shouldn’t ride home on your own, you know.’

Joe: (sigh) ‘Yeh, you’re right, thanks.’

 

Walking up the street I overhear a fragment of conversation between a middle-aged lady and a young man. The guy is presumably a friend of the family or some other acquaintance. He has obviously just asked her how she is. She, with white hair, looking a bit frazzled from the sun, offers more than a cursory reply.

‘Listen, people have their ups and downs. I don’t really want to go into that… but this time for me now, this is my up time, do you understand?’ (smiles and nods)

Thats all I get as I continue up the road. I grin broadly as the sentiment resonates.

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Make your eyes water

June 25, 2009

Once again a dog day is rescued by a good tournament result. Like a nosediving plane thundering towards the earth yesterday I whiffed SNG after SNG. Sit n Gos have not been going well last couple of weeks. I tried some cashgames, it did not go well.

I took a break and watched TV. I laughed at myself and how bovverrred I was about another four-figure losing session. Its amazing what you can get used to. Very character building. The key is to separate the money you play with from the money you use to live. Mentally in terms of it being just chips, and physically in terms of accounting.

My strength is to keep persisting when things are not going well and continue to play well. 

The session finished at 4.17 am with a second place in the 6max $33 rebuy on Stars.

The good structure meant lots of play at the final table. When I got heads up with SonnyRamone he had about 30 big blinds to my 110 big blinds. To his credit he managed to wriggle himself back to even. The heads up battle lasted 49 hands and 13 minutes but it felt like half an hour. Sonny made a weird call to win the tournament when I four-bet bluffed all-in with J-2 suited.

He’s been raising most buttons, I’ve been raising a lot of buttons. We had three bet each other several times during the battle, and each time the other guy would flat and play a flop or just fold. When Sonny 3-bet me again here I thought the stacks were great for a 4-bet shove. He doesn’t  have the pot odds to call with anything but a premium hand, and because this is the first time I have made this move he has to give me credit for a premium hand. On the down side I’m risking 244,000 tournament chips to win 38,500, but I just don’t think he’s calling enough to  make this unprofitable. If he wins every time he has a hand good enough to call then to break even he must call approximately one time in seven. However my J-2 suited wins about one in four of those times he calls.  Hmmmm this is close I’m going to do the sums.

He has three bet my button raise 24% of the time. I would expect him to call a shove no more than one-quarter of those times, or in other words with the top 6% of his hands. When he calls I have 28% equity with J-2 suited against his range. Could I expect to gain chips by shoving here?

Option i) – fold. I have 244k.

Option ii) – shove. 75% of the time he folds and I have 292.5k. 25% of the time he calls and I either win or lose the race. When I win I have 514k. When I lose I have zero.

.75(292.5) + .25(.28(514)+.72(0))

= .75(292.5) + .25(143.9+0)

= 219.4 + 36

=255.4k, more than 11k better than folding.

The figure that makes this shove profitable is his high three-bet frequency. It basically means that he knows I am raising my button light and is responding by re-raising with a wide range of hands. If that figure were lower, say 15%, he would have shove-calling hands more frequently, and my shove would be unprofitable as he calls and wins more often. When I first analysed this problem I used 15% and found I lose 4k in chips with the shove. I was surpised when I took a look at the Poker Tracker statistics to find that Sonny was three-betting once in every four opportunities.

The 24% figure is reliable in so far as it is real observed data from the heads-up match. Although because it is observed over a sample of 49 hands it comes with a high margin of error. It seems very high compared to other heads up matches i’ve played, and over a larger sample of thousands of hands SonnyRamone might be 3-betting me as little as 10-15% of the time. The 24% figure is all I have right now though, and I have to work with it. I also have to use my impressions of this player and past experiences to estimate that he will fold to the shove three-quarters of the time.

Whatever he thinks I’m shoving with here, its very difficult to put your tournament life on the line with anything less than a premium hand. You only get dealt a premium hand around 4-6% of the time.

Imagine my surprise when he thought for half a minute then decided to call with K-9 offsuit, a medium-poor strength hand. I could not have expected him to call with that piece of shit. Unfortunately that piece of shit was a 61% favourite over J-2 suited. Sonny won the hand and the tournament. His optimistic call flew in the face of my estimations and calculations. There was no way he could have guessed that I was making a move on him, the very first time I four-bet shoved him all-in.

Unless I’m missing something, or he could see my hole cards, I would strongly suggest that he had simply had enough of this furious heads-up battle. ‘No more pain’. I have seen that sort of capitulation many times, and its great when you have a dominating hand. Mental fatigue and negative emotions can lead a player to give up and gamble the tournament away with poor cards, calling the all-in raise when they are sure to be behind. Fortunately for Sonny he was in fact 61% to 39% ahead and won the race. He must have been as pleasantly surprised as I was dismayed to see the hole cards revealed.

http://www.pokerxfactor.com/SH195196/36150_20090625_081601

Oh well, a fair move that didn’t work out and a great result for the bankroll.

The Big One

June 15, 2009

Damn I was right when I said something big was knocking on the door… coz I qualified for the Main Event in Las Vegas!

The $10,000 Big One.

The sateellite finished about an hour ago.  I was aggressive and fortunate enough to outlast about 7900 players to get one of the 233 seats.

I have the choice to keep the $10k but its worth about $2k in Poker Stars incentives to play the thing, and if I don’t play it, how will I be able to win the $6million?

Changing

June 14, 2009

My flatmate moved out last week so I have been enjoying spreading out my stuff into another room. I set up an office on the first floor.

There are no curtains or blinds in this flat and my office looks east over a lot of back gardens. There must be people in those houses wondering what is this man doing on his computer at odd hours of the day and night. He must have square eyes looking at that screen for so long. Why is that he sometimes leaps up out of his chair and throws his mouse against the wall?

There was some leaping last Thursday when I emptied my account on Titan during a downswing playing sit-n-gos. I took this hard because I have not re-deposited on Titan since my initial $500 in March. Damn.

I decided to play multis on Stars and Tilt during the evening. I should not have been playing at all. I made several bad decisions. Making bad decisions in $100 tournaments is not funny.

So another string of losses later, and I am facing the worst day in dollars lost. The worst ever day. Fortunately I managed to score second in a $20 rebuy on Full Tilt to swing it all  back round into the black. What a relief.

I not bothered about losing money when I play good, but making mistakes I have made before really pisses me off. So I took a breather and did some reviewing during a couple of days off playing. I analysed some hands where I hit the skids and watched some training videos. I realised that I have to take a night off after a big losing session.

Now its Sunday and I need to try and get the night off to play the $370 World Series qualifier plus some more multis.

I feel so good about my game now, which is still evolving, and my bankroll is healthy. I feel like something big is knocking on the door…

The Warm Fuzz of Happiness

June 12, 2009

In Bargain Booze grabbing Heinekens.  There is one woman in front of me in the queue. She is fumbling with her words and with her purse as she attempts to purchase a bottle of vodka and some cigarettes. She is the living, breathing reason why shop assistants everywhere ask you ‘anything else?’ after you have carefully and deliberately selected your items for purchase.

‘A bottle of… Tolsty… Tolstoy vodka, whatever it is… yeh, that one… ummm… AND TEN RICHMOND SUPERKINGS! (laughs)’

She is drunk and her mind can only deal with one thing at a time. Now the assistant has placed the bottle on the counter, she remembers that she needs cigarettes. She is very pleased, as if she had been speaking to a friend for an hour before remembering a really funny or really juicy piece of news to tell.

‘Yep, ten superkings and… er… OH! Sweeties! DON’T FORGET THE SWEETIES!!!’

‘Can’t forget the sweeties!’ I reinforce her joy for sweets. I exchange looks with the shop assistant, who has obviously served thi s woman before.

‘Thats £7.09 then please.’

She fumbles with notes and coins stuffed into a tiny purse. ‘Do you want the 9p?’

The shop assistant says no, ‘lets not make this any more complicated than it already is’. I am impressed by his wisdom. He is a well spoken man in his late thirties. I wonder what the law says about serving drunk people in an off-licence. Is it not like a pub, where the barperson has the right to say ‘I think you’ve had enough mate’?

‘I’ll just… give you the change. I always look after you, don’t I?’

Its all smiles in Bargain Booze as the shop assistant and I wait for the woman to put the £2.81 in her purse, pick up her bag of vodka, superkings and sweets, and f**k off.  She laughs, acknowledging her drunkeness. She is middle-aged and has limp auburn hair that clings flatly to her head. We’re all smiling and laughing because she’s struggling to function having spent the afternoon in a pub in Sherwood. The shop assistant rolls his eyes as I thrust the Heineken towards him.

Then I think, is this really funny?

We might be laughing now, but how many broken lives lie behind this polite laughter? Will the woman have a great time when she returns home with her booze, fags and sweets? Or is she depressed? Does she really find it funny that she can hardly pronounce ‘vodka’ or remember what it was she went to the shop for? What other people are in her life?

We three we were, laughing in the shop, were not presenting real happiness.

I walk home with beers, its dusk in June and I am wearing t-shirt and jeans. The taxi dropped me in Sherwood after my shift. My shift was 30 minutes long because work was quiet and I fancied a night treating myself to beer, curry and film. What a good life. The warm feeling of happiness surrounds me. I feel proud to be my own man, sailing my own ship. I might play a short session of poker, or just watch the England game and write this blog, before I get stuck into beer, curry and film.

A few weeks before, in a pub in Stoke, DJ Bacca Chine is playing records in a small room. It is Saturday night. I am surrounded by long-time friends, and we are enjoying ourselves. I have had a couple of pints but am not drunk. I feel a little emotional, so happy to be here. I think positive things, about how far I’ve come with poker and how I can now turn round to someone and tell them I’m trying to make a living with it and its going well. I think about all the songs I’ve written and gigs I’ve played and wonder how much fun it will be to play more gigs with musicians I haven’t even met yet. I wonder about the friends and lovers I haven’t even met yet. I think about the article I wrote that got published in a magazine. All this good stuff swims around my head and I feel the warm fuzz of happiness and my eyes are wide. I’m just standing looking at the record spinning round and people around me are dancing, laughing, having conversations, raising their voices above the makeshift PA playing Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons as loud as is reasonably possible.

‘Lets hang on, to what we got

Don’t let go girl, we got a lot.

Got a lot of love between us, hang on, hang on, hang on, to what we got.’

Perhaps I look strange in my red-and-white farmboy checked shirt, tucked in at the belt, dancing vigorously to the music and singing along with passion. Well, I might be strange, but I’m damn sure I’m for real.

All the best records help you feel like that, unlocking your propensity to experience the warm fuzz of happiness. Whether just a small fuzz or a large dose I suppose depends on your own personal circumstances at the time, and how many reasons you have to feel good and free.

Don’t let go girl, we got a lot.

When I listened to Frankie in the pub, I could think of a lot of reasons to feel good, and the effect was quite overwhelming. The best records make you feel like a soldier in a one-man army, all-powerful, all-confident. Feared, famed and evaded throughout the land. I feel like that when I listen to The Verve’s Bittersweet Symphony, or Dylan’s Like a Rolling Stone.

The feeling is like having the world between your teeth. Existing in the moment. Your mind stops rattling through worries and concerns, ceases to leap and lunge from one crazy thought to another. You know who you are and where you are. You are unafraid to experience grit and pain. You have no time for soft soap, bullsh*t or weakness. You are aware how small you are and how little time you have, but this knowledge does not diminish you, it empowers you.

You discard the normal fear of death, knowing that death is just the last sleep of the hundreds, or thousands, or tens of thousands of sleeps you have to come. You will know as little about death as you do about the moments between when you fall asleep and when you start to dream. You will know as little about death as a lamp knows about being switched off. You will know as little about death as you know about the moments after you put on a mask and took the anaesthetic that sent you to sleep.

You feel like John Wayne. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

I feel the warm fuzz when I listen to Lucinda Williams sing. Her voice is so beautifully well-suited to her words, or perhaps the other way round. The songs on Car Wheels on a Gravel Road focus on imagery. The Americana imagery of trailers and coffee, cars and towns. She sings the name of a city like she is tasting a delectable dish.

There are lots of Lucinda Williams songs on Spotify, which I would recommend that you download if you haven’t already. Its like i-tunes but you can just listen to songs for free.

http://www.spotify.com/en/

Open the box

June 1, 2009

Made me laugh out loud.

Brutal – Episode 1

June 1, 2009

My friend told me a classic response of someone who has been mugged. You feel daft for not avoiding it. Taking a slightly different route home, or stopping when you saw them coming and running off in the opposite direction. When I saw the three guys in my path I didn’t avoid them. I don’t normally run into anyone at 4.30am on a Thursday morning. Actually my first response was to give them a very wide berth, but my second thought was ‘don’t be paranoid’. Why should I be worried about cycling past a 40-year old guy in a yellow high-visibility jacket and two young lads? 

You can’t go around scared avoiding people all the time. Nevertheless if I had been more paranoid about these guys I wouldn’t have had my jaw broken in two places and my stuff ripped off. Inevitably, if you’re in the habit of having paranoid fears about people in the street, and have become adept at dismissing these paranoid fears for what they are, you’re going to be wrong sometimes, lol. 

I got the beat down and they ran off with my phone, bike, keys, eighty quid and assorted items. By some fluke this was the second time this year I did not have my wallet on me, so they did not have my bank cards and address to accompany my house keys. 

I also managed to recover my glasses, which had been knocked off with the first punch. Unlike me, they were unharmed and still in one piece. I was stunned but still standing. There was no-one around to call for help. In this neighbourhood, I knew that there wasn’t much value in knocking on doors. The householders would probably ignore the doorbell, especially if they looked out the window and saw a man covered in blood wobbling around on the doorstep. I made my way to the main road. It was just about light now, in a grey, drizzly, nasty sort of way. A car came down the road and I waved for the driver to stop but naturally he didn’t. 

I’m no medical man but I knew my jaw was broken. I didn’t feel a lot of pain but when I put my hand to my chin I experienced a novel sensation – the left side of the jaw could move up and down on its own, free and separate to the right-hand side. My teeth were intact but the second fracture on the right side meant that from the canine to the last molar the teeth were resting higher than the others, at an angle such that the canine had penetrated into my gum. 

I could still talk, and made my way to the tram stop to summon help. I found assistance from two binmen. While we waited for the police and ambulance to arrive, one of them offered the words of comfort that would become familiar over the next couple of weeks – ‘bastards’. Usually accompanied with a shake of the head, a gaze into the near distance and perhaps a tut tut. ‘Bastards, ain’t they. There’s some bastards in this world.’ 

The paramedic said that I would probably wouldn’t have to wait long in Accident and Emergency because there would not be many people in there at 5am on a Thursday morning. The first doctor I saw asked me what happened and then asked me more questions about where, who, why. Why was he so interested in chewing the cud with a broken-jawed man? In conversation he referred to the incident as ‘this alleged attack’ or ‘this alleged robbery’. I took umbrage but kept my mouth shut. 

I waited in the waiting room for my X-ray to come back. There was a Phillipino family with some kind of ailment, a cleaner, a few vending machines, some hard chairs, a security guard talking to his mate he had ran into whom he had not seen since school, and I. By this time my mouth had swollen up inside and out, making me look somewhere between the cartoon character American Dad and Marlon Brando in the Godfather. My face and clothes were covered in blood. I turned round to ask the security guard which hospital we were in. He told me Queens Med. Then he commented to his mate about me as if I wasn’t there – ‘he’s bin battered’. 

They transferred me to a ward but couldn’t find me a bed so I got a couple hours kip on a chair. I woke up with seven doctors in my face explaining that my jaw was broken and they would have to operate to fix it. The operation could happen in a couple of hours or a couple of days depending on my progress on the emergency list. In the meantime one of the doctors injected a local anaesthetic into my mouth and produced a pair of pliers and a coil of 24 gauge wire. He pushed the wire through my gum and out again to bind together two pieces of my jaw. I wasn’t allowed to eat or drink anything so they put a fluids drip into my arm. 

My sister arrived with a box of toffees and a deck of cards. We played a little Gin Rummy and read the newspaper. Across the room was a man who was getting ready to be discharged. He had not been able to speak for a few months due to a severe throat infection but an operation had cleared it all up. I wanted my operation to happen as soon as possible so that I could bounce around like him, waiting for a taxi to take him home. 

My sister was the first person I phoned when I got to hospital and also happened to be the last contact I had dialled the night before. That might be why she got a surprise phone call from the muggers a few minutes after the incident. They were laughing and joking like schoolchildren. When she related this to me I was reminded of how the men acted as they fled the scene of the crime. They were giggling like schoolboys who had just got away with a prank. At time of writing it would seem that they have indeed got away with it, as the police have nothing more to go on than a blurred CCTV image. 

I got a really good look at the older guy of the three as he spoke to me before the attack. He was the one in the high-visibility jacket who first flagged me down. When he started speaking, as the lads surrounded me, I realised a few things, one after the other, and all a little too late. Firstly, he was drunk. Secondly, although he told me he was a traffic warden, he was almost certainly not a traffic warden, and was in fact a tramp. Thirdly I began to suspect that I would not be able to humour this guy with a smile and a few words as I continued my journey home. Perhaps these guys wanted more than a stop-and-chat. My suspicions were confirmed as I received a spray of unknown liquid to the face and a punch to the jaw. 

A week later, looking through pages of mug shots, I could see a few faces that could be the tramp in the high vis jacket. ‘Could be’ is not good enough however, and as he could not be positively identified it is likely that the man is not on police records and is still out walking the streets. Perhaps in Nottingham, perhaps in another city. I wonder if his young partners in crime were already known to him or whether they had randomly teamed up that night, wandering the streets with nowhere to go at half four on a Thursday morning. Drunk or high on drugs, the value that they put on the person in the mirror so low, and the value of other human beings so meaningless, that robbing and beating a man on his way home from work is not only a gainful and worthwhile act but also a thrill and meaningful and something to laugh about. 

It would be satisfying to see the men punished for what they’ve done, but surely men with lives like this are punishing themselves every day. Trapped in a sh*t life. Anyway if they don’t get caught for mugging me they’ll probably get sent down for something else.

Brutal – Episode 2

June 1, 2009

About 30 hours after being admitted into hospital, I open my eyes in the recovery room after a successful operation. I have two titanium plates joining the fractures in my jaw. My mouth is even more swollen than it was yesterday. My throat feels as dry and rough as sandpaper. The nurses are trying to wake me up but I am confused and don’t know if I want to be asleep or not. I feel very restless and can’t arrange my body into a comfortable position. I feel like this, groggy and dry, for the next few hours. I did not think that recovering from the operation would be as tough as being mugged. It feels like the worst hangover I could ever imagine, and it will go on for the next few days. My immune system is low and I will get a cold and a skin infection. I will feel listless for the next week or so. 

I watch bad films on Sky and sleep a lot. I can’t chew anything for a while so my diet improves – lots of fresh fruit smoothies and lots of vegetable soup. I am reminded of how lucky I am to have many good friends who bring support, sympathy and get well soon cards. My family are brilliant. I’m touched when the staff and customers at work have a whip round and raise a few hundred quid to help me replace what was stolen. I don’t shave for 12 days and I am disappointed to see that my beard is not full and doesn’t look great. I shave it off. The swelling of my mouth is gradually reduced and the headaches stop. 

Hilariously, my flatmate comes down with Shingles and is also off work for the week. We play loads of low buy-in tournaments on Poker Stars and lose. I lose my temper when I have problems with my computer and realise that as well as resting my body I need to rest my mind as well.

Brutal – Episode 3

June 1, 2009

Ten days after the incident I’m beginning to feel a lot better. That’s a good thing, because although I don’t know it yet, after the mugging and the operation I’m about to go through another brutal and testing experience. 

Poker Stars have a special promotion in May for UK based players. They will upgrade your VIP level one notch above whatever status you achieve in this month. I need to earn 7,500 points to achieve Supernova status. This represents a great leapfrog forward in the capacity to earn cashback and other bonuses in the future, and is really too good an opportunity to miss. To achieve my goal I will need to play a couple of hundred single table tournaments.

I start work in earnest on the Monday, playing a few $60 turbo 6 max tournaments at a time. The top two places in these tournaments pay, and I have a successful history playing this format. I run bad and fail to cash in thirteen of the fourteen tournaments I play. When you’re playing turbos, the swings happen quickly. A good run is a rush and a bad run leaves you feeling stunned. I’m stunned. I turn the computer off and rest. 

On Tuesday I begin by playing a set of 8 tournaments and lose 7 of them! I’m a little angry and shocked at how bad I’m running. If I was playing at a higher level I would be thousands of dollars in the hole. This is the worst run of sit-and-gos I’ve ever experienced. I take a break and resilience kicks in. I have a clear goal that I need to achieve. Although I’ve lost money I have earned about one-third of the points I need. I have a few days left in May to get them. I want to complete this goal by Thursday night, to give me the opportunity to visit friends in Stoke on Friday and Saturday. As well as becoming Supernova, the goal is also to continue playing well when things are going bad.

Running bad means two things are happening again and again. Firstly you are getting all your chips in as a favourite then getting outdrawn. Secondly you make a strong hand when your opponent has a stronger hand. 

Looking for positives – this bad run gives me a great opportunity to become mentally stronger as a player. Getting my money in as a big favourite and losing really highlights the poor standard of play displayed by my opponents, which shows that I can expect to win at this game. Also running bad makes you search a bit harder for leaks in your play. 

I change my game a little when I continue to run rags into riches – pushing a short stack into one or two players when I hold rags and expect them to fold. They keep showing up with a decent hand and I realise I can get a just a little bit shorter or have some kind of a hand before being this desperate. I also notice that I’m not a great multi-tabler. When playing more than four games at a time its hard to know the individual tendencies of each player, and it feels less like playing against humans. Playing more tables also gives me less time to think through every hand carefully.

I make a couple of mistakes which lead me to question whether I am mentally 100% yet. On one occasion something on the screen obscures my cards and I play a whole hand with AJ when I actually hold JJ. Another time I get frustrated at the end of a sit n go and shove all in holding second pair when my opponent’s raise tells me that he has at least top pair. Also I notice that I’m becoming irritated at losing more than one game in succession. I remind myself that in the larger scheme of things, the outcome of a few sit-n-gos is almost irrelevant. 

I’m reminded of what a player once told me about how one  separates the good players from the bad players. Its not how you win that’s important, its how you lose. Anyone can play well when things are going good and the cards fall into place. When things are not going well, the good players keep their heads and the bad players lose their heads. The good players keep playing well and lose the minimum. The bad players start moaning and groaning. They forget about winning and start to let go, finding ways to give up. Getting angry or going on tilt is just a way of giving up when things get tough. Its weak. 

I put on the theme from Rocky and turn the speakers up. 

I plough forward, playing a set of four tables at a time and taking a break after each set. I continue to lose. I continue to stay positive. Wednesday comes and gos. I’ve lost every day for a week, but I’m closing in on my points target. 

I enter a load of results into my spreadsheet and it looks wrong, like I’ve made a load of duplicate entries. In fact I have whiffed that many sit-n-gos. 

I kick Thursday off in familiar style by losing a couple of tournaments and then… 

‘I knew it… I knew I was alright.’ 

Lose, lose, lose becomes win, win, win. Throughout the afternoon and the evening I go on a sick run of cards and a large upswing. I feel that my response to the downswing of the last few days has laid the foundation for today, enabling me to get the maximum when things finally started to go right. I finish in profit for the week and with Supernova status secured. More importantly, I’m back to nearly full health as a person and I’m a stronger poker player.