Thursday, June 16, 2011

My poker history, July-December 2008

Last I left you was basically here ( My unrealistic expectations and low frustration tolerance were wreaking havoc on my mental stability when it came to poker. Looking back on how I reacted to running B/E for 5,000ish hands is embarrassing, but as I said in my last entry, it was for the best. If you haven’t already figured it out, I am very intense and competitive when it comes to my hobbies. I have a difficult time taking things lightly, which I don’t look at as a negative attribute, but something that can have negative consequences. Obviously I didn’t end up quitting poker, but I took about 5 weeks off and started to think about playing once again one night when my then, 1 year old son, couldn’t sleep. Once he went back down close to midnight, I was fully awake. I went downstairs to my computer and felt like donking around in a NLHE tournament. I had won a $26token on FTP and I saw that there was a Knockout Bounty tournament about to start. Things worked out and I came in 4th place, which seems to be a running theme for me, which paid out a little over $200. Not bad for a freeroll. These types of surprises are always good for the ego and it was the little boost I needed to slowly work back into playing cash games. I started up with .25-.50 LHE again, mostly on Pokerstars, but added then switched over to .50-1 in October of that year, which was another fairly bumpy ride.

In the fall of 2008, my wife and I had decided to take a short vacation to Las Vegas with some friends of ours. I was excited to go, not only because I love Vegas, but our last trip in the fall of 2006 was quite lucrative as I won over $700 playing 4-8 LHE in the week that we were there. This trip was to be a bit different in tone which began with some bad weather the week before we left. That fall the Midwest was experiencing heavy rain and winds due to some strong Hurricanes in the Southern part of the USA. One Saturday in September, I went to the basement to get some clean laundry and stepped into an inch of water. Apparently the Village’s drainage system couldn’t keep up with the sudden influx of rain water and in began to back up into many of the houses on our block. I didn’t realize how bad it would get so I took my time locating a sump pump and moving out clothes. Within an hour it was 5 inches and I was in shock. Luckily I saw our cat perched on a mattress that was about to start floating around and got her out of there. My wife, 1 year old son, and still dry cat went to her parents as I began to hopelessly grab things that I could save. In the end I borrowed 3 sump pumps that ran for 24 hours straight. I began ripping up carpet and trying to move furniture that was beyond recovery. In the end, we had the entire basement demolished to the foundation. The next weekend we were off to Vegas for 4 days. My wife and I went out there with another couple whom we had known for 6 years. We’ll call them Kevin and Marie. What could go wrong? It started with the 3 Bloody Marys that Kevin had on the flight out. He had another 2 Margaritas at the Venetian pool an hour after landing and then topped it off with 2 more Gin & Tonics at Sushi that night with a desert of 2 more Martinis at Tao nightclub. I think the rest can be summed up in this 2+2 trip report. (

The last half of 2008 was all about how I needed to work on my mental approach to poker which was difficult to change. One thing that wasn’t that difficult to change were the NLHE tournaments that I was playing. As I had stated before, I usually would play $2-$4 buy-in tourneys that had 2,000+ players. The payout was great if you were in the top 5, but not so much if you were on the bubble. When playing poker online, most sites have some sort of reward program, so that the more hands you play, the more points you earn. To be more specific, Pokerstars had a FPP/VPP program where you would earn points based on the amount of money in each pot you played. You would earn more points (fraction of points) when the pot was bigger, whether that was due to there being more players in the pot in a given hand or the simple fact that one was at a higher limit. Another aspect was that if you earned a given amount of points in a calendar month, then you would move up a level which would help you to earn more points in the next month. These points could be used for many different things. You could buy merchandise, tournament tickets, cash back rewards, and so on. I would use my VPPs to enter single table tournaments with up to 10 players, also known as a Sit N Go (SNGsmicrostakes players on the forums suggested that I play 180-man multi table SNGs rather than the 2,000+ entries because I would have a better chance at cashing for more money. In November and December of 2008, I started playing some 180-man SNGs and did well and finished in the Top 10 players 3 times and netted over $80. To me this was free money to help pad my bankroll, especially after moving up in the cash games and not seeing the instant success.

As 2008 drew to a close, I was rather happy how things turned out overall even if there were things that I did or said which I’m not proud of. I felt like I wasn’t the total luckbox in 2008 that I obviously was in 2005 and 2006. I felt that 2009 was going to be my year. I’m not sure exactly what that means, but all I can do is quote John Lennon when I say, “Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans…”

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