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Could you some cheering up

ThehammahThehammah Posts: 7,090Subscriber
In the first two weeks of January, I won almost 5k.. In the last two weeks of January I lost almost 5k. My win rate for the month was a whopping $1 per hour. In the last two weeks, I have lost every all in except for one. Every one of those I had the best hand and was drawn out on. I have been feeling really confident in my game ... but now I am wondering I am just destined to never really be a winning player..

I know about streaks and the long run.. but really when the fuck is the long run supposed to show up?

any votes of support would be welcome!

Frown

Comments

  • eselspieleselspiel Posts: 115Subscriber
    Wendy,
    from your posts and your LATB play it's clear you're a good, winning.
    Your move at LATB against the maniac ( I forget his name), asking to see
    one card was awesome. What you're experiencing it's short term variance.
    It's tough but it's what keep the fish coming back. I went through a though
    Rough patch for about six month. Mostly in tournaments.
    I would get all in with pair over pair and lose.
    Finally, things changed and hands started holding up.
    Same thing is gonna happen with you. Keep making the right decisions
    and you'll be winning a lot more than a buck an hour.
    I really envy how much you get to play. My real job it's so
    demanding is starting to be months between trips to the casino.
    So keep grinding and playing well and the fun and $
    will follow!
  • ThehammahThehammah Posts: 7,090Subscriber
    Ty eselespiel.. I know in my brain that this is variance.. but why does it always come in clumps? I wish it would be spread out a bit more.. I really really hate variance.. I would happy as a clam if I could just win a couple hundred most sessions.

    I guess I should be happy that at least with this huge downswing I was still profitable in January.. albeit a tiny amount.. I do feel I am making much better decisions.. although I still have room to improve..

    Wendy
  • eselspieleselspiel Posts: 115Subscriber
    believe it or not, it comes in clumps because it's random.
    if it was equally spaced it wouldn't be random. ;)
    sounds trite but that's the explanation
    without getting into real math.
  • GlennJonesGlennJones Posts: 176Subscriber
    First time poster here, although I've been listening to Bart for a couple years at this point.

    Wendy - I suffer from the same affliction. My winning and losing seems to go in streaks. I can put together a number of wins in a row, and then, bam! A number of losses in a row. I'm in the middle of one of those losing streaks right now. I played on Wednesday night, started well, but booked another small losing session. As I review that session, as much as I don't want to admit it, the losing is affecting my play. I become tight passive in some situations because I'm wondering whether I'm good or not. I'm sure my mental (and therefore physical) presence at the table is like a beacon in the night.

    I think we are continuously in the middle of long run. It's the short run that keeps us honest.
  • edogedog Posts: 43Member
    Hey Wendy, I have been watching LATB, CLP, and listening to Deuces cracked for several years. I have thought a lot about poker variance. I like to think of the variance in my game as situation dependent. When I play small ball, i.e. isolation raising week opponents when in position, barreling board textures, identifying when opponents are drawing, the effective variance is low because the dollar amount involved with each occurrence is relatively low. Even though, the actual expected edge, percentage wise, for each instance may be the same as big value hands in big pot. I believe we can make 3-5 BB an hour with very low dollar variance in the small ball part of our games.

    On the other hand, when we have big value hands we are building big pots, consequently the dollar variance is going to be high. I sent this concept to Bart and he commented on it in Deuces cracked premium #34. Obviously when we have our opponents' ranges crushed we are going to be shoveling money into the pot, but when we lose hands where we are an 80/20 favorite it is rough. A lot of times when I am running bad in this area of my game, upon deeper analysis I realize that I was not really as far ahead as I thought in some of the situations. And the closer to EV neutral a situation is the actual expected dollar gain is relatively small.

    Sometime when I find myself losing a bunch of big value hand pots, I tone down putting a lot of money in the pot with close to neutral EV. I attempt to let my small ball play take the sting out of big losing streaks. I sure Bart would disagree, but I only play for fun and to make a little extra money and Bart is an accomplished professional. His game has more facets to it than mine, i.e. identifying bluffs and bluffing, applying unbearable pressure, etc. He and you probably have more tools to work with to reduce the impact of losing a bunch of big hands where you are the favorite.

    I guess my advice would be to squeeze out as many dollars as possible in the low dollar variance parts of our games, so as to offset losing a bunch of big hands.
  • whatsyourplay?whatsyourplay? Posts: 752Member
    Wendy, you know that you are currently experiencing short term variance, so I guess there is not much we can tell you which you don't already know.

    Just try to remember that you are basically taking stock of the last few sessions at a random point in time. So, if you take stock today for January, that's just a very arbitrary timeframe. If you would have taken stock in mid January, your balance would have looked totally differnet, yet you are still the same winning player that two weeks ago. If you are going to take stock in let's say in March, your balance will look totally different. But it won''t tell you if you have become a better poker player by then. So, depending on which point in time you select, it can make you happy or unhappy. Just be aware of that.

    One way I like to look at this is the following: in order to move up to a higher limit, I need a couple of different skills. One is some sort of "theoretical poker knowledge", meaning how to play certain hands in certain situations. Another is reading hands, for example. And one important skill is getting accustomed to higher variance, avoiding results-oriented thinking, stuff like this. So, if my goal is to become a better poker player, I not only have to work on poker theory, hand ranges, etc.. but also on handling variance.

    In case you set objectives for yourself for each session, maybe it helps if you set the objective to EXCLUSIVELY focus on the quality of your decision making process for the next session. Afterwards, you judge yourself. If you accomplished it, you made some progress to becoming a better player. No matter if you made it, you'll set the same objective for the very next session, and so on....
    Just like you were focusing on valuebetting thinly, not calling 3bets OOP, tableselecting better, or whatever.
  • ThehammahThehammah Posts: 7,090Subscriber
    Thank you guys! It means so much to me to be able to have a place to discuss this. As eDog said, I think with my brimming confidence I know of at least a couple spots where I took a pretty think EV line with high variance because I knew I was ahead.. Curse of handreading when you know your range is better than theirs..

    but does the reward outweigh the risk?

    Also I had implemented a stop loss a few months ago since I dont go on tilt at the table but I get depressed off the table..I think I need to reinstigate this. I tend to be ok if I max my loss at 1k per session for a 2-5 or 5-5 blind game. More than that and I am really upset.. I had two over in one week and a couple pretty close..

    So back to basics.. focus on the good spots against bad players .. may play the baby games for a bit too..

    why do I play? For the Puzzle.. have to keep reminding myself of what makes this fun for me.. The Puzzle.. The Puzzle..

    You guys are the BEST!!!! Kiss

    Wendy
  • Fish FryerFish Fryer Posts: 161Member
    I always tend to look at variance with a couple thoughts in mind. The build off of each other. This is another reason why I thinnk detailed record keeping is critical.

    The first is something that I remember reading in the Michael Jordan autobiography (maybe biography)....When asked if he ever had doubts about his ability to score or thought he should pass more when he was having an off night, he immediately dismissed the idea. His theory, and I am paraphrasing, was that if he could shoot 50% from the field and missed his first 10 shots, he was bound to catch fire and make the next 10 shots so that he would return to his average. They then asked him what about when he made 10 straight why would he keep going, and he replied that he felt like those nights were just payback for the horrible nights he had had previously, so he would continue shooting.

    To move into a poker theme - If you take a career hourly expectation that you have for the long run of your poker game, being up 5k most likely exceeded that number. The subsequent loss, while running poorly without a doubt has a horrible short term emotional impact, brings you back to a realistic number.

    I tend to think of my own results as always being compared to my hourly. Perhaps this is a little too nitty for some, but it keeps me level in the high and low times. Last night I won about 500, which, based on session length and my expectation, was about twice what I would expect the time to be "worth". If I play the same length session today and lose 100, I will still have the expected result for the time I put into the game. The wider you make your "x" axis, the less important recent history becomes.

    I also keep a journal after every session and grade myself on preflop, postflop and decision making along with a few key hands, thoughts etc... The whole thing takes maybe 10 minutes and serves as a reference for the bad times. If my decision making is sound, my money got in the middle in the proper spots, I couldn't care less about results.

    When I really feel that I am on the wrong side of variance, which happens, I try to nit my game up a little bit, try hard to avoid playing out of position, less iso-raising and more value-based decisions, etc... Sometimes, at the lower levels, the proper play on paper fails to pan out because the player pool is so bad that they just don't cooperate.
  • RogerHardyRogerHardy Posts: 794Subscriber
    Wendy

    Hang in there! the comment above about variance coming in clumps is spot on.

    I've got a math background, so let's play a game... Let's say you got sucked out on as a 70-30 fave 4 times in a row. What bad luck! The chances of that are .0081 (less than 1%). Yet no one blinks an eye if Derek Jeter goes 4-4 in a game.....same odds.

    As Mike Caro said, you get paid to make the right decisions, not to win pots. If you're constantly getting it in with the best of it, pat yourself on the back, regardless of the result. Maybe try tracking your Sklansky or Galfon bucks might help assuage the hurt....

    If losing a lot does put you on tilt, by all means, I think a stop loss, or play less, or drop down in stakes, are all good ideas.

    Finally, remind yourself its your hobby not your job. If the worst thing going on in your life is you're on a losing streak at poker that you can afford, you have a pretty good life. There are people out there that don't have 2 nickels to rub together, much less 5K in disposable income to lose at cards.

    And you can always pick up golf to supplement your poker. Same hi's and low's at a fraction of the cost Wink

    Roger
  • ThehammahThehammah Posts: 7,090Subscriber
    Roger

    Thanks for trying. I was a math major in college too and I completely understand the math. I just dont understand why after 8 years of playing and now playing at such a high level I still cant win. I see so many donks making money at this game but it just doesnt seem possible for me. Tonight I played the 1/2 game and lost about 500 .. these were the hands..

    Hand 1. 2nd hand I played guy raises to 16 in ep.. one player in cutoff calls I am on button three bet with AA to 40.. both call. J 8 5 two hearts.. check and now co player bets 20.. I raise to 120 now ep player shoves for 200 and change total. I call. he has 55.. there goes first buy in.

    Hand 2 I top off to 300 an hour later I get KQ clubs in co and raise to 13. button calls sb calls and bb calls..
    flop comes Q 7 3 two clubs.. bb leads into me for 25.. I call

    Turn 6.. bb has 75 left .. shoves. I call..
    River K.. bb shows pocket 3s.

    Hand 3. one limper in front of me I am in lp co I think.. I see QQ raise to 13.. sb calls bb folds and limper calls.

    Flop Q 2 9 all clubs.. checked to me I bet 35.. sb calls and now limper check raises to 100 he has 60 back. such a gross spot.. what does he have? KQ w k of clubs smaller set? flush? I shove sb folds limper calls has A3 clubs.. I brick..

    I mean I have seen this patter with me before and it repeats over and over and over again. It doesnt seem to matter how good I am I can never make enough in value when I am running well to overcome these long stretches when I am running bad..

    I am going to take a break from poker and evaluate if I am just destined to run bad and no matter what I will never be able to win.. I dont want to play if I cant win..

    In the past three weeks I have had 5 hands where I was setted.. I have lost every hand with a big pair with the exception of the pocket tens at parx. EVERY AA every KK every QQ every JJ.. last night I had JJ guy flops a set has only 200 I paid that off too..

    Wendy
  • UntreatableFPSUntreatableFPS Posts: 1,004Subscriber
    I used to think the concept of a mental game was a load of bullshit, but I've been getting into it lately. Because I keep wondering why I don't have more monies when I see horrendous play all over the place. The answer I finally found was that one mental spazz can cost you expected profits from several sessions of grinding

    What kind of losing is it that you get up set over? Out of these three sessions, which would make you feel the worst and lose the most later (if you are somehow still playing after any of these sessions which is obviously not a good idea, but let's just say you are for discussion purposes)?

    I'll tell you what I think you should do to boost mental game morale depending on your answer here

    Session A:
    You flop bottom set the first hand you play and stack off on a drawy board against a higher set -100BB

    You 3bet the idiot maniac with AA for value, and he calls with 62s and you lose because he flopped trips -100BB

    You get it in with KK against a fish overplaying AT on a T high board and get sucked out on -100BB

    You call the short stack's shove with AQ on a Qh 7h 6c board and he hits his flush with his 84s that he shouldn't have played for a raise anyway
    -40BB


    Session B:
    You fold every hand for a while, and when you finally get AA, you get a JcTc7s flop multi-way with heavy action so you have to fold -15BB

    You finally pick up AQs when you're the button, and the new player in the BB 3bets you huge (to an amount you can't flat) with an 80BB stack and you have to fold without reads -4BB

    You reload for 100BB, and slowly get grinded (ground?) down when every draw you have for the next couple hours misses, and every time someone else has a draw it hits -60BB

    You finally pick up QQ UTG, and an old guy clicks it back 3-bets you. You call mainly to set mine and miss, and he bombs the flop. You fold. -10BB


    Session C:
    You find a great spot to bluff against a perceived weak range, but it turns out you were against someone who had top pair with a bad kicker and was pot controlling and not folding -50BB

    You pick up KK and 3-bet somebody. A nit cold 4-bets huge behind you, and you know that his 4-bet range is AA/KK and that your hand doesn't do well against that range, but you stubbornly call anyway and pay off two streets post-flop -65BB

    You get frustrated with every draw hitting and decide to call a river against a player who doesn't bluff because you're getting 6:1 -25BB more than necessary

    You top off for 200BB total. You raise with 99 UTG later, and the guy who has been bullying you from the first hand 3-bets you again. You think he's FOS, and you're steaming a little, so you 4-bet instead of a standard flat. He 5-bets, and you fold. He shows K7s and you wonder why you couldn't have just called the 3-bet like you normally would have -40BB
  • ThehammahThehammah Posts: 7,090Subscriber
    I dont do well when coolers and colddecks come at me too quickly... I used to have a stop loss and I would limit my play (say from two days a week to one day a week). But I guess with actually winning a little and feeling confident I forgot about these that have helped me in the past.. So time to take a break.. then back to the baby games and we will see.

    Just sick of seeing sets against overpairs when I cant fold cuz players are bad or short, or flopping sets to someones flush, or undersets..

    Just give me good ol tptk that I can value bet thinly and I am a happy camper

    w
  • napncrashnapncrash Posts: 177Subscriber
    Ahhh, Wendy...

    I struggle with my head in a similar way that you do. I'm working really hard on my tilt issues... my anger at other players is long gone, but my MISTAKE tilt and my DOWNSWING tilt are terrible. I have a hard time forgiving myself for "mistakes." My confidence lays in tatters at my feet when I hit a few week downswing (approx 20 hours per week for 2012, for example).

    I've been exactly where you are many times. Some people don't tilt the way we do, their confidence remains stable... their tilt might come in other forms... but you and I seem to be brethren in this respect.

    The Derek Jeter thing is a good example. I like to compare poker and baseball myself. If I hit blazing liners to the infielders every day, yet they get caught... am I a bad hitter? Or is that just variance? If I go 12/15 over the next few days, am I an actual .800 hitter? Of course not.

    VARIANCE.

    Trust me, this is all easier said than done; I get that. But you're not alone. And, without details, are you lifetime break even player? I would doubt that. I do the same thing. "blah blah blah and I can't win!" Well, 5 years of poker as a second job has given me a great deal of data... and if I just go back to that, look at my Dominator, look at my graph, my reports, etc... I can't bullshit myself and tell myself that I'm a bad player. THE DATA DOESN'T SUPPORT IT. Am I as good as I want to be? No... but I'm always working.

    A question to ask yourself: what does YOUR data say?

    Here's something I recently wrote to a friend of mine...he didn't need to hear it, I'M THE ONE WHO NEEDED TO WRITE IT:

    Remember, it's a game of up to nine opponents with any random mixture of two cards from a 52 card deck. You also have 2 random cards. The board is a random mixture of cards left over. Key word: random.

    People arrive with random skill levels, motivations, bankroll considerations, alcohol levels, emotional levels, levels of "gamble" in them, risk aversion, and any other of a host of variables that make them the player they are at the MOMENT you are against them.

    This means that, over time, every possible outcome is GOING to happen...to someone...somewhere. When it happens for or against you, it's not luck. You can call it running good or bad, that's fair, but we all understand it's VARIANCE.

    But also understand that, since each possible option is GOING to happen, our job is to maximize profit or minimize loss REGARDLESS of situation.

    Being angry or frustrated is pointless. Every combination is going to happen the RIGHT amount of times. If you don't like it, you've chosen the wrong pursuit.

    Did your cards run like shit? Then did you lose the minimum considering the circumstances? Then you played awesome poker. That's your goal, isn't it?

    Most opponents are bad. There is plenty of money to be made. Sometimes variance doesn't allow you the opportunity. That's ok. Someday it will and when it does, you better be prepared to maximize. "They'll still be bad when you run good."

    So in the meantime, study, work, practice... not only your strategy but your ability to handle long stretches of cold or bad cards.

    Review your data and NUT UP!

    -Chris
  • UntreatableFPSUntreatableFPS Posts: 1,004Subscriber
    Hmm..

    Disclaimer:
    I didn't come up with this advice, but I also don't think it's copyrighted anywhere

    So example A would be the kind of running bad that gets to you. Coolers and suckouts. Kind of the opposite of me. I'm heavily C, partially B, and not at all A.

    B is constantly being put in shitty situations with good hands but getting away from them
    C is being spazzy and having it not work out

    Advice for A is:

    I will refrain from the "You want people to get it in bad against" advice you see everywhere

    Disassociate poker chips from real life spending value. When you take a casino trip, exchange your poker money for chips (to the amount that equals your stop loss) at the beginning of the trip, and only play with chips. Don't rebuy with $100 bills. Do so with the $100 chips in your pocket/coin purse. Forget that they're cash to trick yourself into suckouts and coolers hurting less

    When keeping track of your winnings, keep track of them in EV instead of actual results in your phone app or spreadsheet or whatever. That way you'll have an imaginary "account" for how much you're winning in the long run. You can also exclude obvious coolers (such as top pair getting outflopped 25BB deep, AA vs KK pre-flop, nut flush over K high flush when not super deep, set over set, etc)
    And if you think a sane decent player could have gotten away from the hand sometimes, it doesn't count as a cooler. An overpair 60BB deep doesn't even count as a cooler sometimes.
    And make sure you include these from both sides, meaning including the ones that you won.

    Now I came up with this part:
    Maybe you panic a little and don't play optimally when faced with an aggressive action. Like your AQ hand on LATB when you didn't think too hard before shipping. Or when you have an OP and get raised.
    Give an honest assessment about how you're playing when you're losing. It's possible that you might be paying off rivers a little more lightly when you're losing, not value betting as effectively when you don't want to be raised again, etc.
  • Wendy,
    How's this for cheering up---I am a infrequent visitor/poster here, but in that short time I have found that I look to your posts as one's that I think for first: generally very solid and very much like my own game. In fact,after Bart, you are one of the peeps I was hoping to meet up with when I head to CA in late August! So keep your head up!
    CraigSmile
  • ThehammahThehammah Posts: 7,090Subscriber
    Claire said

    Hmm..

    Disclaimer:
    I didn't come up with this advice, but I also don't think it's copyrighted anywhere

    So example A would be the kind of running bad that gets to you. Coolers and suckouts. Kind of the opposite of me. I'm heavily C, partially B, and not at all A.

    B is constantly being put in shitty situations with good hands but getting away from them
    C is being spazzy and having it not work out

    Advice for A is:

    I will refrain from the "You want people to get it in bad against" advice you see everywhere

    Disassociate poker chips from real life spending value. When you take a casino trip, exchange your poker money for chips (to the amount that equals your stop loss) at the beginning of the trip, and only play with chips. Don't rebuy with $100 bills. Do so with the $100 chips in your pocket/coin purse. Forget that they're cash to trick yourself into suckouts and coolers hurting less

    When keeping track of your winnings, keep track of them in EV instead of actual results in your phone app or spreadsheet or whatever. That way you'll have an imaginary "account" for how much you're winning in the long run. You can also exclude obvious coolers (such as top pair getting outflopped 25BB deep, AA vs KK pre-flop, nut flush over K high flush when not super deep, set over set, etc)
    And if you think a sane decent player could have gotten away from the hand sometimes, it doesn't count as a cooler. An overpair 60BB deep doesn't even count as a cooler sometimes.
    And make sure you include these from both sides, meaning including the ones that you won.

    Now I came up with this part:
    Maybe you panic a little and don't play optimally when faced with an aggressive action. Like your AQ hand on LATB when you didn't think too hard before shipping. Or when you have an OP and get raised.
    Give an honest assessment about how you're playing when you're losing. It's possible that you might be paying off rivers a little more lightly when you're losing, not value betting as effectively when you don't want to be raised again, etc.
    thanks Claire. for me what works best is the stop loss and breaks when losing. so Iam going to take a few days maybe even a week. go back to smallest games and get back to basics. I should remember my losing tilt tendencies and not take really marginal plus EV lines becuase of the bad results. not neccesary and I should know by now that it does bother me.

    now as far as the aq hand against the laggie I had planned pretty much what I was going to do before he even threebet me. even given this I still took at least 30 seconds before I decided to shove. I saw the show and I am still surprised that it looked like I didnt think for 5 seconds and Bart making that comment too. I am not sure why that was.. afterwards I talked to both Bart and my old coach Zach about that hand to see if I missed something. I took away that I had been discounting related actions to me when I must be very strong. the other was getting over my fear of stacking off when I think I am ahead. My analysis was wrong but I am happy I stacked off. that was a big moment for me.


    Its so weird. the money isnt that much and wouldnt really change my lifestyle. I just feel its wasting something that could go to say a new car, or a vacation, or some nice earrings. playing poker in of itself is not fun enough. I need to feel like I am beating the game and winning money is the thermometer. I havent kept records in the past because I just couldnt face what number I was seeing. I have kept records of every session so far this year. I hope that maybe seeing things arent so bad may help me as maybe I am just remembering the bad stuff and not the good stuff

    wendy
  • ThehammahThehammah Posts: 7,090Subscriber
    craiglewandowski said

    Wendy,
    How's this for cheering up---I am a infrequent visitor/poster here, but in that short time I have found that I look to your posts as one's that I think for first: generally very solid and very much like my own game. In fact,after Bart, you are one of the peeps I was hoping to meet up with when I head to CA in late August! So keep your head up!
    CraigSmile
    craig that is so sweet! I love this forum and it has greatly improved my game. I have met some awesome people when I play out of town after my business meetings. I look so forward to meeting everyone I can. I also suggested to Bart to have a forum meet up and I think he is going to plan that for sometime during the wsop.

    ww
  • GlennJonesGlennJones Posts: 176Subscriber
    Thank you all for the great advice in this post! I've been a little down in the dumps suffering through a small downturn. The advice here has definitely lifted my spirits. It is comforting to know that those who I read and admire here suffer through many of the same trials and tribulations that I do.
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