A year in the life of me

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Macker94's picture
Macker94
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Hey all. 

I am going to use this thread to document my progress (hopefully!) in poker for this year.

Back story in poker: The usual story (not all that interesting :P) . I am 22 years old (nearly 23) and I have been playing poker since 18. I was terrible etc starting off. Probably still semi-terrible now :D I have been staked with HUSNG.com for the last 2 years now. Unfortunately, I have not progressed in terms of moving up in stake. This was always a goal of mine in the past but I understand (finally) that it's certainly not the goal I should strive to achieve. Anyway, I started off at 7s HU and got to 30s spins (took me an age to get from 15s spins to 30s spins). My first 1k game sample at 30s was not what it should have been (just barely hitting above 1%EV). This was a consequence of not keeping up to date with game, poor mental game at the time (standard of mental game is usually high) among other things. So I was moved back down to 15s spins to gain confidence but that was not how it panned out!! Long story short I am now playing 15s HU for the time being. I have been playing well (running extremely hot!) at 15s HU.  I still want to play spins in the long term but I am enjoying playing HU again. FWIW Learning (attempting to learn) 3 handed play is different beast altogether compared to HU play, which in itself is by no means easy! Thankfully my backers have been very patient with me and I am very grateful. 

For the foreseeable future my main goal is to put in consistent volume, in which I play consistently. My volume for the last number of months has been poor. I hope to become more disciplined in my approach to putting in the volume. I could attempt to do this privately but I have decided it's best to keep an open journal. 

Another goal of mine is to keep improving as a player in order to put myself in a position to make the most amount of money (essentially the reason we play poker!!). I understand this can be a difficult goal to quantify.  I have set a number of "mini" goals in order to achieve this improvement. 

  1. Attend and participate (hugely important!!!) in as much group sessions as I can. Unfortunately, a number of session are during the afternoon on weekdays. I cannot make them as I work during the day. For the evening sessions I should still try to make them. Again a decent amount of the sessions that take place at this time I will always be late by approx 30 mins. 
  2. Watch previous group sessions. This is something I have not been doing as much recently (as I should have!).  I will be taking notes on what I find interesting/ applicable that the coach presents in the session rather than just blindly watch them. 
  3. When plugging a leak, I need to spend time watching a number of sessions that may be on the topic in order to gain unconscious competency. This is something I haven't strived in at all. Most of the time I would spend maybe one session where I am struggling on a given strategic area and then go through hands. Albeit this is okay, it's not great when I know there are multiple videos on the topic. Recently I have done alright on this. For example, I was utilizing a poor OOP strategy on flops in limped pots. There were a number of sessions on this topic recently. I watched all of them, took notes (of which I continually refer to) and went through my own hands since working on this aspect to determine if I am incorporating what the coaches have advised.  
  4. Mental game. I will write a separate post on this topic (my own struggles, how I aim to deal with them etc).  This aspect of poker is so crucial if one wishes to succeed at poker!

They are the main goals for the time being. I will update this thread weekly. 

I will only be posting graph at the end of the month, so apologies to those who care only for graphs :P 

Let's hope for a fun ride! gl all! :) 

Apologies if the above is disjointed. English grammar is not my greatest asset, even though it's my main language :D :D 

Cheers, 

Oisin

adam25185's picture
adam25185
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Hey man... What's your Stars

Hey man...

What's your Stars username? :)

justmrw's picture
justmrw
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Good luck with your challenge

Good luck with your challenge :)

8runo's picture
8runo
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Best of luck Oisin - not that

Best of luck Oisin - not that luck is what you need ;)

Macker94's picture
Macker94
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Week 1

Thank you all for the good luck wishes :) 

@ Adam, my SN is same as username here. 

As for the week, volume was okay-ish. I aimed for 20 hours of play but only put in 16hr. Now I didn't play Saturday. it was a hectic day for me :D In addition to work I must sit professional exams in order to fully qualify in my field of work (taxation/accounting). As such I had a lecture on Saturday and then went back home afterwards. Lectures alternate between Saturday and Sundays so I will have to figure out a way to play on those particular days when I have a lecture. Even if I aim to play 2-3 hours it will help in the long run but only if I play consistently on those days. If I am tired, lack focus etc  when I begin to play it's just so counterproductive since my goal is to play consistent volume. 

Throughout the week I thought my overall play was meh. I am pretty sure I am running very good. I haven't check my graph nor will I until end of the month. In my opinion I think looking at graphs is pointless. It can cause emotional stress which can lead to making suboptimal decisions. Like for example let's say you need to make X% ev over N games in order be given the go ahead to move up in stake (assuming you are staked). If you constantly keep looking at your graph you could either:

a) become unmotivated because you just happened to hit a be stretch which has "diminished"  your chances of getting the required ev (but not really, you could get heater in next stretch)....  results oriented FTW :P or

b) You get close to your ev requirement  and you have approx 100 games left to play an over these 100 games your decision making may become suboptimal because you are now nervous/anxious that you may not make the ev + you check graph every game etc. Additionally, you become more prone to tilt because if you take one bad beat, make one wrong bluffcatch (in a profitable bluff catch spot)  you likely become frustrated. This frustration possibly stays with for the majority of the session which is a disaster. So, why look at your graph if this is the possible outcome?   

Regarding a) I realize someone could counter-argue what I mentioned by indicating that from seeing a graph where you may be break even for last x games etc this can lead you to becoming motivated to improve. Sure that may be the case but why should viewing a graph ignite your motivation to improve? Surely the want to improve is enough motivation required to improve? 

I understand that the above doesn't happen to everyone as they may have become "immune" to these emotional reactions from viewing graphs (i.e. decision making is not impaired). Anyway, moving on :D Apologies for ranting. Just my thoughts on the matter ( even though I barely scratched the surface of though process, mental game etc).

The sessions that I was able to attend, I did even if I was late. Participation wasn't great. I will have to prepare hands in advance. I have a topic I am preparing which I want to discuss in a HU session with one of the coaches.

In terms of study, I have been working on OOP turn play. I have been watching previous sessions. I don't think I have fully grasped the application of the concept in game so I will continue to work on this particular area of strategy. I will be watching a session immediately after posting this ;) 

Gl all for the week! :)

Cheers,

Oisin

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Macker94
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Update - Week 2

Hey Guys, 

I hope you all had a great week! :)

Unfortunately, for me it was a pretty poor week. Poor volume (only got in 11 hours) :( I was out 2 nights this week meeting with friends and then family at the weekend for birthday celebrations. I was able to make the sessions I intended to, thankfully. Study was somewhat poor. Only got to watch 1 group session vid on turn play. After I post this I am going to go through HH specifically OOP turn play. I really want to get competent at turn play :) 

Overall I thought my play was okay. I think I am running pretty well. I bluff -catched well :P I have nearly played the required number of games since moving back to HU, so I will be checking my graph in a few days. Hopefully, I will get the go ahead to move back to spins! :) 

During the week my mental game was pretty solid, or at least I think it was of an acceptable standard. Of course there is always room for improvement. Lately, my pre warm up plan has been good. Currently I go through my study notes on topics I am  studying (turn OOP). This helps me to engage my mind in poker thoughts. This makes it easier to focus on the task ahead (i.e. a session (or multiple sessions) of poker).

In my opinion a pre game warm up is such a crucial aspect of poker. It is an area of poker where I have focused on lately. However, it is an area where I frequently change my approach and to be honest I don't know if that is optimal.  For example, I used to listen to Elliot Roe's pre game warm up (be it for HU or spins) while I never simultaneously went over notes in detail (which I am doing now). Now I don't listen to Elliot Roe's pre-game warm that often  and just focus on reading through notes. I also used to use a pre warm up website called pokerwarmup. It's an excellent pre game warm up tool! You write down goals (short,medium and long term), different types of tilt/leak issues you have been having (how to spot and deal with them) and you essentially go through what you have written to help engage your mind on poker.

As you can see, I exclusively focus on one of the above for my pre game warm up. So far it has been okay but I never simultaneously incorporated the aforementioned exercises in my pre game warm up, which is likely the most optimal way to prepare. For this week I will start to integrate all of the above (plus HH analysis) in my pre game warm up. I am sure it will be beneficial :)

Alright I hope you all have a great week! glgl :)

Cheers,

Oisin