Friendly People, Friendly Poker
While it's not much compared to sick grinders, 85k hands is my highest volume month since I started playing on Stars in Nov 09. Most of my months hovered around 30-50k, with the exception of December which was at 84k with the end of year Supernova chase. The big difference however is that in this case, there was no 20k sessions marathons (with horrible losses at the tables).
This month has also been an interesting learning experience. I started the first 15k playing extremely laggy both pre and post. This resulted in a very big redline (and poor blue line) but allowed me to learn many spots where my game was lacking. I then cut most of the spew and started playing a very solid/aggressive game, with the results that go with it.
However, as is usually the case when I play solid for awhile, I try to fix imaginary leaks. While leak fixing is not bad in itself, whenever I start to read too many pro threads, I start trying to fix what's not broken. While I may be a little too tight in some spots, and some pros may be able to ecke out a small profit in those spots, in most cases these players are just a lot better than me so when I try to emulate them, I end up spewing massively.
Not only am I not actually fixing any leaks, i'm creating big ones by trying to be a playmaster. Another major pitfall for me is complacency at the tables. It's so easy to drift into weak-tight play if you're not vigilant (with big hits to redline & overall results, as in month's end). Staying very aggressive, especially in position, is so important that letting those small edges go can end up having a huge impact on your winrate.
Thus, I sat down and went through my month, thinking about what I did well and what I shouldn't have changed. I came to the conclusion that my results started declining when I lost sight of the basics in poker. Play very aggressive in position, tighten up out of position. Sounds dumb, but I was starting to do the opposite and it showed badly (becoming weak-tight in position and trying to playmaster out of position. leaking + spewing = sad bankroll).
It's pretty obvious when you think about it. What are the three edges in poker?
1) Hand strength
One of my big leaks was overplaying marginal hands OOP against tough villains (even worse in 3b pots). While I like my progress and i'm fairly happy with my game, I know full well that there are many stronger villains than me at the tables. So if i'm playing a marginal hand out of position, i'm already out 2 fundamental edges, which means I need a very big skill edge to compensate. Against tough regs, my edge is at best slim and at worse crushed.
When you think about it this way, you have a very easy fold preflop, or check/fold postflop, even though the hand could be playable against a weaker opponent (bigger skill edge to make up for low hand strength and lack of position). Better to give up a couple additional tiny pots here and there than to spew massively by making huge blunders in big ones. The lesson here is to focus on what you do right. Do keep studying and do learn advanced moves. But if you lose sight of the basics, and especially if you overestimate your skill edge, your results will very rapidly decline. Thus, be honest with yourself and play according to the way things are, not as you wish they would be. Good luck at the tables!
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