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Progress report

    • aciddrop
      Joined: 08.10.2006 Posts: 1,519
      For those who are interested, here is my story so far.

      Early, I struggled. I didn't get that poker was a game of small edges that needed to be seen and taken advantage of. My BR went up, then down, then up, then down. I had no idea whether I was playing badly or well. I knew I was following the SHC strictly, at least this much was good. Post flop, it was like a lottery. Playing at micro limits where opponents could have anything at anytime added to the confusion. It was hard to believe that it is possible to effectively put someone on a hand when exposed to this constantly. So I overplayed many hands, and cost myself many BB. I also suffered when my big made hands got rolled on the river, which happened many times. This mostly happened when my opponent had started with rubbish, and stayed with no chance (almost, say 15-1, 22-1, or even 45-1). It was easy to convince myself that the losses were because of this.

      I started reading one of the recommended books, and a lot of things came together in my mind. I have since found a lot of the same information on the strategy board, but at the time, being Bronze, I couldn't get access to anything but the basics, which I read and reread. The stuff available to Silver, and now also to Bronze I think, is really necessary in order to advance. One of the points that David Sklansky makes in his book is really important in order to believe in yourself. He points out that the normal human process for learning is trial and error. To refine and repeat, eradicating obvious flaws in a process, until perfection is approached. The better you get, the greater the reward, and it is simple to track progress, because the best technical play brings the greatest reward. Poker is not like that at all. (He emphasises it strongly). In poker, you can play a hand 100% correctly, and still lose. You can make a complete mess of something, and win, and large sums can be involved. This counter intuitive reality is what had been messing with my head the most. I was constantly posting hands in the forum that should have won, but didn't, in order to understand how I should have played them better. The truth often was, even with the best play, they would have lost, because the opponent knew less than I did about what was sensible. The truth of every poker hand is fixed before the first card is dealt, because the order of the cards doesn't change after the shuffle. If someone plays blindly, they will still sometimes win, because it is already that way before the cards are dealt.

      The greatest hurdle for me was to understand that I shouldn't be trying to base my play on the outcomes, because they will differ regardless of the correctness of my play. I needed to understand very clearly that in order to win, I had to be able to identify which situations offered an edge, and having identified them, what strategy then maximised the return overall. Play this way, without suffering over results, and the numbers will pay off, because numbers can't do anything else.

      I took my new found insight to the .15/.30 FR tables, to see what would happen. I had by this stage lost $12 of my first $50 bankroll, on one of the roller coaster dips, however, I had cleared my extra $100 bonus from playing so many damn hands. I considered that advancing to these tables was right for me. I played 20 sessions, over 23 hours, 3400 hands. My net gain for this time was 218 Big Bets. My biggest winning session was 46.5 BB, and my biggest losing session was 46BB. I had 15 winning sessions, and 5 losing sessions. I played anywhere from 2 to 4 tables at a time, but mostly 3. The players here seemed quite loose, and put a lot of money in, and were mostly easy to beat, when my luck was in. If my luck was out, I lost, and if I got stressed over that, I lost more. I seemed to be getting better cards, but looking at the rough stats I collect, the numbers are pretty much the same, so maybe I was just playing better cards. I still lost big pots sometimes, but I won more, and lost far fewer small pots after having taken them too far. The trend was pretty consistent, so I have just moved up to the .25/.50 level.

      This one is different! I have played just 3 sessions so far, and it is much faster. Everyone is very much tighter, and it seems so much more passive. It is hard to believe that it is the same game really. The tables I have experienced so far almost never go to more than 3 player pots, and that not often. A raise will mostly fold everyone, and win the pot uncontested. It seems weird. The cards don't seem as good again. Strange that. Maybe here, everyone plays better cards. The first time I went heads up against a raiser, I found out on the river that my JJ, with no overcards on the table, still didn't beat his AA. Even though it is more difficult, I have a few +BB to my name, but it is early days. I have dropped back to just one table for the moment, to settle in a bit and feel confident.

      So to summarise, I think that I am doing more right now than I am doing wrong. And I expect that at this level I will eventually find those who do more wrong than me. When it seems tougher, I am slowing down, and playing less hands on fewer tables at once. It is hard to try and do the right thing on 3 or 4 tables at once, when nothing you do seems to be right. So, when it gets like that, I'm backing off until it eases up again.

      Thanks lots to Blinzler, cRith and Stefan for their patience with my hand postings. Without you guys, we would all just be swingin' in the wind.
  • 2 replies
    • Anakha
      Joined: 23.05.2006 Posts: 92
      I really have nothing to add to your post except nodding in agreement.
      Though I understand the difficulties between poker and our natural learning ability I still often struggle with it, as such it was quite pleasant to read about someone else's thoughts and struggles.
      Good post and keep at it :) .

    • Stefan1000
      Joined: 24.01.2006 Posts: 1,649
      Thx a lot for that compliment.

      Good to hear a report like that. It shows me that we at least must do something right.

      And i can aggree to your development when i compare your sample hands you are posting now to those you were posting in the past a good development is noticeable. Keep on to post sample hands.

      Posting sample hands is something you should never stop.

      Best regards,