Thursday, June 08, 2006


Recently, I have decided to play a lot more online poker and really give it a good bash. When I first joined the blonde team, I just played every so often, but over the last few weeks I’ve hit the felt on an almost daily basis.

So why do I suddenly decide to post today? Well, since I got back into the swing of online poker, today has been my first losing session, and I feel crap as a result.

The time is now 7.32am, I’ve been threatening to hit the sack for hours now, but, a combination of fatigue, insomnia, and desperately trying to make a profit have all prevented me from doing the sensible thing. This irritates me no end as I thought I’d conquered this disciplinary part of my game. Although on past occasions I would have played for longer and lost even more due to my stubbornness, this area still needs a lot of work.

The problem I have is that I am still refusing to take breaks unless I am doing well, and, even if I do manage to pull myself away, I’m back on in no time, eagerly trying to pull back my deficit.

The last few weeks have seen me make a profit of some kind on virtually every session. I felt good, was enjoying my game, and seemed to be adding to my bankroll at a rather brisk rate.

Today, however, it all went downhill. The reason for this, I believe, is that, for the first time in a while, I’ve had the whole day completely free. Normally, I play for a couple of hours, then shoot off to do something else that needs to be done. I don’t need to worry about breaks, because I only plan on playing a short session. If I know I have hours ahead of me, I tend to just play, and play, and play, gradually allowing fatigue to take control of my decisions. Then, I start to make mistakes, which, when playing four tables simultaneously, can really throw you off your game.

Of course, if I start off winning, then I have no problem taking a break after an hour or so. However, if, like today, I run my set into a bigger set and immediately find myself $200 down, I then move into the mindset of ‘Must get my money back’. Very dangerous indeed.

Several months ago, I would have started playing badly right from this point, but now, I can still maintain a solid game. On many occasions, I will pull back this deficit, joyfully finishing the session in profit. However, every so often, you run into a series of bad luck scenarios, which is what happened today. Without boring you with the details, I quickly found myself $500, and wondering how my solid play could be punished so fiercely.

Now, this is where I started playing poorly. Several hours later, I find myself several hundred down and only just manage to pull myself away from the laptop before I fall even further down the pit.

What seems to send me hurtling down that pit is my state of mind. My shoulders slump and I let poker become more important than it really is. In short, I let it get to me too much, and I start to think the following thoughts: (i) 'I don't deserve to be down' (ii) 'All that profit that I made over the last few days is going in the space of a few hours' (iii) 'What a waste of my time this has been' (iv) 'I could have done something productive rather than spent my time losing money' (v) 'This isn't fun anymore' -- Once your start thinking like this, then it really is time to stop for the day.

This is what I really despise about days like these, they make me feel low. But why? The big picture is that I haven’t lost a lot, I didn’t tilt, what I did lose was just profit from 2 or 3 days weekend play, tomorrow’s another day, and there are more important things in life. Also, due to an improvement in discipline, I believe this loss would have been double several months ago, as I surely would have encountered the dreaded Tilt Monster.

However, I’m still pissed off that I let it happen at all. Why I can’t just say, ‘okay, I’m down, but I’m tired and it’s unlikely to get any better, so I’ll take a break for a couple of hours.’ I’ll never know. But tomorrow, I’m going to make a change.

This is the plan. Get up at 3pm, eat brekkie, then boot up the lappie. Throughout the day, I’ll play in 1hr 15min shifts. Whether I’m winning or losing, I’ll take a break for an hour, then get back on. True, if the table’s soft, then I really should stay seated, but, at this point in time, I really want to get into the pattern of being able to take breaks.

I have no idea how this is going to go. There are a few things that concern me. (i) Perhaps I’m just not playing well at the moment (ii) Maybe I’ll be tired tomorrow after going to bed post 8am (iii) I’m feeling kind of down.

But, I’m going to give it a crack and see what happens.

Watch this space. True, we all slip up now and then, but what I believe sets the good players apart from the bad, is that they can come back twice as strong.


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