Sunday, September 2, 2012

WSOP-2013: Week #1

It's Sunday, so it must be time for a recap of the past week's prep for WSOP-2013.
  • Preparation:
    • Pregame. Once again, I did a lot of just jumping into games without doing pre-game checklists or warm-ups. This is true even in the one live tourney I played in, in which I just sort of showed up to play, with no overall strategy in mind.
    • Postgame. I fine-tuned my results tracking spreadsheet so I can see how I'm dong in a) online tourneys; b) live tourneys; c) cash games; d) miscellaneous prep; and e) my fitness results. Manually entering results and charting my daily ups and downs is oddly motivating; there's no cheating allowed, and I definitely wake up each day wanting to improve on the previous day's results. This method is highly recommended if you want to get better at poker.
    • Off-Table.
      • Forums. Very little time spent either reading or posting. I did, however, add a quick comment/analysis to a couple of Quiz of the Day posts.
      • Books.  Am continuing to read Snyder's The Poker Tournament Formula. I liked the Patience Factor chapter, and it spurred some conversation with Mr. Multi on the subject (he also dug up a time estimate formula for tourneys that I've yet to look closely at, but which might be useful to adjust one's strategy in a tourney.) I'm now reading Snyder's chapter on "rock-paper-scissors", which is his way of looking at the three main weapons at your disposal in fast tourneys (rocks=chips, paper=cards, scissors=position). One quote jumped out at me in this chapter: "...95% of the time when you bust out, it will be with good cards. Cards are the weakest weapon you have. Don't overvalue them. Don't overplay them. Don't wait for them. Good cards are rare, and you must increase your chip stack so much and so fast, that you must look at cards as icing on the cake."
      • Videos.  Over the course of the week, exercising on my elliptical cardio/card-io machine in the mornings, I watched the first installment of Last Man Standing, which is an eight-part DeucesCracked video series on SNGs (both single table (ST) and multitable tourneys (MTT)). This first installment was focused on early game considerations, and the instructor's main points, if I can summarize, are: Play very tight early on (big pairs and big aces only), because a) chips lost are more valuable than chips won; and b) this builds your image as a rock. Don't get fancy; play your strong hands strong, and fold the rest.
      • Health.  Did pretty good on this front for the majority of week, though I did relapse on Friday when I ate some junk food at work, and then went out for a big fattening meal that evening. Overall, however, I've been exercising and watching what I eat. I'm trying to follow (more or less) the tenets of the "Paleo" or "Primal Blueprint" diet/exercise/lifestyle program by Mark Sisson. It's a very effective way to get in shape, and in just this first week I've dropped a little more than five pounds. Still a long way to go, but this is a good start.
      • Other.  Purchased a copy of the Master Poker training program and installed it on my computer. I've heard good things about this program for playing/simulating long tournaments, which I can do on some of my longer airplane trips (like the one I've got coming up at the end of this coming week). Overall, the program is fine, but frankly it's not really any better than the free DD poker training software that Mr. Multi discovered a few months ago (see this blog entry).
  • Technique:
    • Preflop.  I poked a little at the next installment of my starting hand chart, which admittedly is still focused on L1 cash play, but will also be eventually turned into the basis of pseudo-L2 tournament play guidelines. This exercise, while basic, is actually helping me think through some specific hand spots and, I believe, going to strengthen my game.
    • Postflop.
      • Evals (RED).  In general, I'm a pretty good cash hand reader, but an area that definitely needs improvement in tourneys is factoring in how desperate my opponents are (or aren't) in a tournament, given the current blind level and their stack size. I made a couple of mistakes playing this week when I didn't notice that a villain was getting super short and would have to get it in almost regardless of what I did.
      • Line Implementations (i).  I made some mistakes in this area, too, trying to get too FPS-ish when I had big hands and wanted to get paid off. Flopped a set of sevens at my live tournament, for instance, and should have played it harder than I did.
  • Emotional Control:
    • Tilt Control.  Overall, not anything significant to report here. I'm pretty good at accepting losses, but I do have to say that I started to get frustrated after going zero for eight in STSnGs and MTTSnGs this week. In addition to raw data on entry costs, field size, my finish place, profit, etc. in my results tracking spreadsheet, I also write down my immediate impressions of how I played and what was going through my head after busting. Early in the week, my comments were things like, "Bubbled in eighth place when I called a shove and re-shove with QQ. Should I have waited?" By the end of the week, however, my comments degenerated into such gems as, "Got stupid impatient on the end at the bubble." and "I cannot win a fucking flip to save my fucking life!" and "Got DAMN unlucky again. Played super patient, waited for good spots, took a beat, and then had to struggle to stay alive. ARGHGH."  Sounds like escalating tilt to me....
    • BRM.  No problems here. I lost a lot overall in SnGs, but more than made up for it in cash games. Playing well within my limits.
    • Discipline.  Patience is my continuing downfall in tournaments. I need to re-discover the Zen of Folding, especially early in tourneys. I also need to really understand how desperate (or not) I and my opponents are nearing the bubble of MTTs.
$ Results:
  • Tournaments (Online). Played two 45-man tourneys and seven single-tables. Entries ranged from $5.50 to $11.50. Only monied in one of the $11.50 single tables, taking second place. Net overall loss was $28.
  • Tournaments (Live). Played in just the one live local casino, and didn't money, taking 12th place out of 40 entrants. Net overall loss was $35.
  • Cash Games. Played here and there in online $25NL games. A couple of sessions were definitely played with me not at my best or focused (and I lost a lot during those two sessions). That said, I was up overall $87 for the week due to mostly solid play.
Summary: In general, I didn't do as a much as I would have liked in the studying arena, but I did get in enough ST and MTT SnG play to start the mental shift from cash to tournament play. Bottom line takeaway message I think is: There is a huge difference between cash and tourneys, and I have a long way to go to be even half as good at tournament play as I am at cash ring games.

All-in for now...

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