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April 12, 2007

Why am I an EX Poker Player?

I had someone ask me what happened to me way back to cause me to stop playing. The answer to that was kind of a combination of things. I guess it all started when I won a large tournament about 4 years ago. I felt link I had finally accomplished what I had been working so hard to do. I had always seen poker as a way to make a lot of money so that I could invest it in other things and make more money. I had never planned on playing poker for the rest of my life. I always looked at the people who were older and still playing as a pro. Most of them are miserable with few friends and no life. That’s not what I wanted. They also get stuck with no other skills and have no other options but to play poker.

So after I won the tournament I didn’t play any poker for a few months. Most people jump up in limits and try to play larger, not me. I wanted to enjoy life away from the poker table. So when I did come back I was a little rusty but it didn’t take long for me to get back into it. Then I moved so that instead of being 15 min from the casino I was now 45 min away. I started to play a lot more online instead of live because I was able to make a lot more in a lot less time. I would only need to play a few hours a day and I was living a good bachelors life. Definitely had a little to much fun in the party scene with all the extra free time I had. Eventually every time I sat down to play I Expected to win, mostly because I always did. But what happened is was that along the way I stopped having as much fun when I was winning. I was only content, and when I was losing I was miserable. Not only did what I liked to do become work but it was a job I hated to do. So that made me start to play bad. After a few months of basically breaking even and putting a lot of hours into the game that I needed a change in something. I needed to get that spark back. That extra spring in my step on the way to a casino. The excitement from out playing people. I had lost it all. So instead of playing bad and not making any money, I just stopped playing. First for a month and that worked for about a week or two, then for a full year. I hated doing anything that had to do with poker. Back when I played my best I would go to the casino with friends play poker all day then on the way home we would take about all the mistakes we made and how others would have played the hand. Reviewing each other and getting better as a group. Now I didn’t want to talk about poker, I didn’t even want to see it on TV. I even refused to play drunken home games for a quarters.

I had not lost my bank roll, but my discipline also refused to lose it. If I was no longer going to play profitable poker why should I invest any time playing. I started to look into some other jobs and did some work with online website marketing ( I went to college for computers) and was able to make some reasonable money. I then moved back to the original town I lived in and was again only 15 min away from the casino.

So after about a year off from poker a friend asked if I wanted to go up to the casino. I had a few hundred bucks that I was willing to lose in a game and so I said yes. I won really big for the game I was in. The next day I felt that old rush again to go back. So I did. I ended up going and winning the next 11 days. I killed the game. I probably won close to 400 big bets in one week. So what did I do then? The next most logical thing I could do. Bought a ticket to Vegas leaving the next week. I had friends that had continued to play and had moved out there. I wanted to visit their new place and so I had a place to stay for free. Since then I have doubled and doubled again the limits that I play. Which brings me to where I am today.

A few months ago I found out I was not going to be able to make money the way I was in the past. Which was another reason I thought I would take a shot at poker again. I had to make it three months with out income while I trained for a new job. It didn’t help that about a year ago I spend most of my bank roll as a down payment on a new house. So I needed to be able to cover the mortgage and other bills for those three months. Luckily I have been able to do more then that and I kind of laugh because I am making more then what I expect to make in the new job. That’s ok. I can still do both. Job by day poker by night. As for family, I don’t have one yet. I am still rather young and although I have a girlfriend its not at the point where we are even getting married, let along have kids. But she is cool about it all.

One of the hardest things about coming back is sucking up my pride and playing in the lower limits. Everyone would see me in the smaller games and they probably think,, “wow he must have lost it all” I know I think that about others. But that wasn’t it. I needed to get back into the game and learn all the lessons that each limit has to offer. On top of that I needed to build up my confidence in my own game.

Another factor in my life that has really helped me is my parents. While I was going through all the rough times they always said that if I needed it they would loan me money. I never needed it but it always made me more comfortable playing knowing that I would not starve if I lost all my money. That’s why I always say that people who play poker professionally should always have a back up job. One that when they go to work they know they will come back with more money then they left with. Not everyone has parents as cool as mine, and some people don’t even have their parents around to help.

So that’s about it. That’s why I left the poker scene and why I came back. If anyone has any more questions ill try to answer them. Just don’t ask who I am, where I play, or what limit. The more anonymous I am the more honest I can be talking about poker. If you think you know who I am feel free to drop a guess in the comment box.

I would love to hear if anyone else has a similar story.

April 15, 2007

Poker Money Management

Money management is very important to your long term poker game. Everyone has different amounts that they need to play the next limit up. One factor that determines this is your personal variance. What I mean by this is how often do you play and win and how often to you play and lose. Another question is; when you lose, do you tend to lose several days in a row? You also need to consider how much you lose on your losing days and how much you win on your winning days. Now for me I never bring more money than what I can win in one day at the same game. The reason for this is I never want to need to play two days to get back to where I once was. Notice I didn’t say get even. That’s because the day after you lose you are even, just even at a different level. If you find yourself trying to go get back your money you will lose more days in a row.

The reason for only bringing a smaller amount of money with me limits my long term variance. It also lowers the amount of money I need to play at a specific level. One thing I know about myself is that I don’t play well when I am losing. So the two things I try to do every day is, win my first hand I play so I start up money, and, quit when I am down more then what a quick rush will make me even. Quitting is one of the hardest and most profitable things I have had to learn. Especially when playing online. The pull to get even is so strong, its really tough. But its that pull that makes me play bad. The stronger the urge to get even the more it effects your game. Sometimes I still have that feeling the next day. If that’s the case I wont play then either, maybe take two days off. What ever it takes to clear my head.

Something else that I will do that I think everyone should do is constantly analyze your game. Am I playing good or bad. If I am playing bad am I losing because of it? If I notice that I am playing bad and try to change it but cant, I will go home. Something strange that I found has effected my play is if I win right when I sit down. If I win two hands in the bb and button with bad cards, I remember that all day. Then subconsciously I think later when I am in a cold streak that those cards won earlier. Maybe it’s a good idea to play them now. Just like any other game or sport, you can develop bad habits. Manage your money wisly, maybe reading a book is more profitable then trying to get back the small amount you are down.

Now most people want specific answers on how much money they need to play in a game. But because of all the variables that go into it, there really isn’t any set amount. All the standards that every book I have ever read always have a much larger bank roll then what I use. But that’s also because I have done just about everything I could to stop losses. Its really the big losses that effect your bank roll.

On the last post Ricky asked me my opinion on what I think he should play with his small bank roll. it’s a long post so you can read it if you llike. Now money management does not always mean playing lower if your bank roll is not substantial enough for higher poker games. Money management may also mean play higher. Now because I am use to all the plays and tricks of higher limit games, I don’t win in very small games. Many other people find this to be true as well. (that’s why I have always said that the best poker player is only the best poker player at the limit and game they play) If you don’t win in a game why would it be good money management to play? But at the same time, if you are in a game where you constantly think about your chips you cant play that way either. Now I can think of two times in my life when I was next to broke, once when I had $0 and borrowed some from a friend and once when I only had a few hundred to spare. Both times I sat in the highest game that I thought I could comfortably win. Usually when I do that I never try to win a lot of money. Usually I just try to win 50% of my bank roll. Then come back the next day and do the same. Once I have 3 days of small wins I have a lot more confidence, I am able to play much better. You cant rush poker. So be patient, the money will come if you play well.

Well that’s all the time I have for now, get back to me with any more questions.

April 18, 2007

Ricky’s Time Management

These comments are responses to Ricky’s posts on the last two entries.

Well my first impressions from your post is that you cant have an A game with out a B game. When I look at your kings hand, if you are willing to fold your kings there all the time people will notice. I know if I noticed something like that I would put your big pairs to the test all the time. Making so so calls sometimes protects your weaker hands. People wont be willing to make bluffs against you if they think you are going to call all the time. Then again you don’t want to be calling all the time because it’s a losing play in the long run.

I would also like to point out that I play limit Texas Holdem. Although I know how to play NL I don’t claim to be an expert on correct betting amounts. But poker theory is something I can relate to.

One thing you did say that is very good is that you don’t care about winning/ losing for that day because its all one big, never ending, game. That is a mind set that will usually help prevent tilt when you are in one of the long downswings of variance. Now the reason people say that you should never play tired is because it makes it easier to tilt and harder to tell when you are tilting. Now in online time 5 hours is a long time, when I use to play online I would only play in chunks of 3 hours. Then take a break and then come back for more. The fact that you are tired and only have a limited amount of time to play will result in you rushing or forcing a win. It will also make you that much weaker when trying to resist the temptation to peal cards or pay people off. Some of the folds I make take every bit of concentration I have, so I want to be mentally strong. At the same time, some of the best players can play for days straight. Its really a part of conditioning. If you do it all the time you can get good at it. But you will rarely play your A+ game the entire 5 hours.

I hate to say it but if you are looking for me to endorse the conditions you are playing under, I cant. But if those are the only times you can play you will need to set up methods that protect yourself. Maybe make a list of things you are not allowed to do. If you do them you have to quit playing for 20 min. (like going for a straight with two cards to the flush) This is a good way to prevent tilt and force you to play at a higher skill level. Another trick is stop loss. Set a max you are allowed to lose and if you hit that point you cant play until next week. You really need to analyze your own game and find out how being tired effects your game. Unfortunately one of the best options may be not to play until you have better conditions to play.

Don’t forget, don’t miss out playing with your kid just to play poker. That little box on the desk will never grow up and the people you play against will never love you back.

I am really not sure if I answered the question you wanted, maybe someone else can put in their input on time management and limited poker time.

About April 2007

This page contains all entries posted to Ex Poker Pro in April 2007. They are listed from oldest to newest.

February 2007 is the previous archive.

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