It’s time to get serious.

I’ve taken the last two afternoons off to play cards with Katie while she was visiting.  We logged good time at both Bay 101 and Garden City Casino.  (We liked the players at Garden City more, since they were more passive)

I had a couple of epiphanies during my 7 hour $6/$12 session with Katie, all of which were helpful.

  1. Poker skills are like muscles, especially hand-reading skills.  I folded both Ace-Ace and Jack-Jack correctly to players that suddenly hit hands on the river.  Not only that, but I noticed who noticed that I folded, and when I learned that they had taken note of it and intended to bluff me, I called them down.  I couldn’t do that three days ago since I was relatively out of practice.
  2. I can re-arrange my schedule to squeeze in at least 8, if not twice that much hours of poker weekly if I stop staying up until midnite.  This will help with #1…
  3. When I study my opponents, I learn not just how to play against them, but it also causes me to consider the right way to play a hand.  I need to do more of this.  Also I’m running into the very same people over and over again all over San Jose.  I can have a real leg up on them if I have some way of remembering their play styles.
  4. My limit game is weak.  You might think this would depress me, but it just makes me want to master the $6/$12 games around here and move up to $8/$16 and $20/$40.  I know I can do it.

To that end I’m going to do a couple of things:

  1. Re-arrange my schedule to spend less time killing time around the house after 10pm so I can log some work hours early in the morning and get in some cards occasionally in the afternoon.
  2. Start developing a player database and start taking notes at the table to help me understand how other players think.
  3. Play twice as much limit hold’em as no limit hold’em.  Though this will put me in games I’m not always a favorite in, this is where I want to work.  Ultimately I think limit hold’em is a better learning tool because the damage to your stack of a bad decision is mitigated.

To this end I need to ask you something: do you have a favorite voice recorder?  I need a way of easily turning on a recording device and muttering to myself or talking to another player and recording it for later record keeping.  Do you have a favorite voice memo recorder, perhaps disguised as a pen, that you’d suggest?  I figure I’ll subtly turn it on, and then say, "Hey George, the board’s three diamonds, so why did you bet that Ace high on the flop?  You didn’t think I had the flush?"  I’ll review and transcribe later.

Let me know in the comments.