As my poker play goes, this year has been a pretty mighty struggle.  When I went to play in the WSOP Circuit event at Caesar’s in January, I felt like I played pretty well but came up just short of my goal to make it to day 2 of competition and threaten to make the money.  My other tourney and cash play experience there as pretty much downhill from there and it carried over to my play here in Austin.  It took me 5 1/2 months to cash in a tourney this year (a 3rd place finish), and I got a 4th last week in the same tourney up north.

So I felt like I’d gotten my feet back under me some with my card play and had some hope going into my south side game yesterday evening.  Hoped to maybe get a cash on the final table or at least put in a good showing.  Instead I wound up being one of the first 5 out of the tourney and then hemorrhaged money in the cash game after.  By the $$$ it was hands down the single worst night I’ve had playing cards in Austin, by almost 100% increase over my worst loss here.

In the past, this really would have put me in a deep deep funk.  I’ve got plans that are preventing me from being able to play the north game this upcoming Saturday and given the outcome from yesterday, I would have normally just let the excuses make it easy for me to stay away from the game for a few weeks while I beat myself up over being a lousy player.  And I’d also consider such a performance to impugn not just my ability as a card player, but various aspects of my personal life as well.

Yeah, I know.  But if I’m going to have a complex I might as well do it all the way, no?

(Unrelated: do you know how hard it’s been to write blog posts after reading the various back and forths in my FB/Twitter feeds about the Oxford comma?  I’ve been guilty of comma diarrhea in the past, but wondering if I’m using too many or too few and in all the wrong places can drive a man nuts.)

But as I was leaving, I headed out at about the same time as my friend Eugene. I’ve referred to him as my poker sensei in the past, and I told him how much I was stuck this session and how miserable it felt.  The only advice he offered was a reminder was to remember that bad players catch sometimes too and that contributes to variance.  The only thing I can do is check myself and my play to make sure I’m not playing as poorly as the competition and eventually the odds will even out and I’ll come back ahead.

That helped.  It helped a lot, because I spent most of the long car ride home looking at where the holes were in my play and where I could have corrected some of the issues.  There was a spot where I know I could have saved a third of my losses and know how much that could have changed how I played and what I won later in the evening.  It’s good to be able to unpack that, ID where the problems are then leave it alone.  Whereas normally a beatdown like that might have left me tossing and turning, I got home and slept pretty soundly.

Part of what helps with that unpacking of baggage and leaving it behind though is putting it out here.  I know I’m going to get sympathetic support from friends, but I would have gotten that regardless of what I put out here on the blog in any case.  I think it’s more about knowing that if I really need to pick this shit over again I can come back here with the category tags and find what need if I need it and then leave the rest of it behind again.  My house may be disorganized as hell, but at least my neuroses are in order and starting to be put away.

I think in addition to putting this shit out here to hold myself accountable, though, I also need to hold myself accountable for the other goals I’m trying to achieve.  I’m definitely writing more here and I’m happier with the quality and sentiments in the writing.  But I am still a little inconsistent with it and I want to actively change that.

While I’m on myself imposed XBox hiatus, I need to hold myself to a regular schedule of personal improvement.  I think the target goals are/should be at least 2 hours a day outside of my work obligations doing some combination of the following:

  1. Writing here about whatever is on my mind lately.  I find the chatter in my head to be a lot quieter since I’ve started the writing back up.
  2. Reading more.  There has never been a good, effective writer who doesn’t read and it needs to be more than just random posts in my FB feed/Twitter feed/RSS aggregator.  There is some good there, but I need to be reading real books to be a better writer.  Related to that: because my primary focus is film crit, and recommendations on that front would be greatly appreciated.
  3. Rededicating myself to improving my poker knowledge and strategy.  I’ve got at least a couple of strategy books I’m partway through I need to finish (Harrington Tourney Play II, and Annie Duke’s Decide to Play Great Poker), plus subscriptions to both Bluff and Card player and a membership with Deuces Cracked. I need to make use of the info I have available to me.
  4. Cleaning up the damn house.  I’ll feel less isolated once I’m less ashamed of where/how I live and can have people out more.

I’d appreciate help keeping me on task with this, but really the only one who can keep me accountable is myself.  Inquiries/noodging is appreciated but not required.  I think I just needed to call bullshit on myself publicly to hold myself publicly accountable.  Imagine that sounds weird to some of y’all, but this works for me.

Hope everyone has a good Sunday!  Wish my poker buddy Bronson (@TXSooner518 on Twitter) luck in the WSOP Main Event today.  Not just because I have 1/2% of his action, but that doesn’t hurt.

1 Comment for this post you say something?


  • […] move forward.I’d commented on some of the frustrations I’ve had with my card play last month, and that had gotten heavier in my head of late, making me realize that maybe I hadn’t […]


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