This is overdue, but I’ve been freakin’ busy with work and family life. These numbers are stored in PokerTracker and every session is logged, so the quality is good.
Let’s recap what I vowed to do in 2007 after the lessons I learned in 2006:
- Stop playing online poker for real stakes. I lose money and it’s not clear why.
- Play live poker, practice practice practice.
- Try and practice a little every day.
Play only microstakes online
So in 2007 I cut back on online poker and only played $.05/$.10 and $.10/$.20 poker online for practice. Mostly Pot Limit Omaha but some no limit hold’em. The swings were sometimes as much as $5 or $10! I think I lost $100 all year, but I just stopped counting it was so small. Until I start playing higher stakes, I won’t be tracking online poker. For whatever reason, I’m unable to be successful or focused in front of a computer.
Play every day
I played one or two days a week live for most of the year and then online for at least half an hour for microstakes every other day. Online I made and lost the same $200 all year. I kept this up through the end of the year.
The results were good for the year. Not because of measures I put in place, but because I think I finally hit a learning plateau where I finally had enough hours under my belt to be generally better than most of my opponents in the casinos. Without further delay…
As you can see, I managed to play almost the same amount this year as the year before, but I was profitable both in limit and no limit. Although I’d only gotten in three sessions of O8, I was booking a loss, paying about $7 an hour for “lessons”. I’m playing a lot more Omaha/8 this year, putting in time at the table every time I’m at the casino. The real question is the length of each session.
I continue to struggle with this, especially in no limit. I’m often up in my no limit sessions and then down again. Should I just pick up and leave when I’m up $100? I’m often up $100 and then lose it in a big race or when I get outplayed. (which happens plenty) Some days I think it’s my ego at work, saying if I can win $100, I ought to be able to win more. But luck and my lack of mastery continue to dog me.
As an aside, I’m shocked at the skill difference between the no limit and the limit players at my stakes. It seems that any idiot with $200 will sit down and play $6/$12 limit with no knowledge of math, but the no limit tables bring the poker brains. It’s totally normal for someone at a no limit table at Lucky Chances to see two hands turned over and say, “55%-45%” and be pretty much right. Whereas at the limit games if someone manages to count their outs correctly it’s kind of a shock. I’m over generalizing, but there’s plenty of truth to it.
However in both games I’ve noticed something about these stakes: you can’t win money without cards. Bluffs are very hard to pull off. In the limit games nobody folds, and in the no limit games the hand reading ability of your opponents is spot on. In other words, you need good cards and flops to win pots. That may not be true at higher levels.
I find the Omaha/8 games perplexing. They challenge different parts of my poker brain and so I enjoy those games immensely. Most Omaha/8 games at local casinos are full of guys that have played the game for 20 years, and I can’t help but learn from playing alongside them. I continue to be unable to do the math fast enough to keep up with a full Omaha/8 table’s worth of action, and continue to make mistakes. When you hold four cards in your hand, and there’s three community cards out there, your hand can make potentially 24 different possible hands. Add to that the complexity of playing a hi-lo game and you’ve got one badass mental challenge. I love this game.
In my opinion this is a beautiful thing because I can continue to learn while not playing particularly high stakes.
Where do I go this year?
This year I’m going to continue to hone my $1/$2 no limit game, my $6/$12 limit game, and my $4/$8 Omaha/8 game. I banked most of my bankroll and the year’s profits (about $4k total) at fidelity, but with the market volatility I’ve liquidated it into cash.
I won’t get to play this year every day, as my job has suddenly become very busy and I’ve got family commitments more important for my long term happiness than increasing my table time above one night per week. But I love poker, and I savor every moment I get at a card room. I’m seriously toying with the idea of spending my birthday playing cards.
This year I intend to take a shot at two higher limit games.
$10/$20 Limit Omaha/8
Lucky Chances runs a $10/$20 Omaha/8 limit game on Thursday nights that I’ll sit in a couple of times. The swings will take a little getting used to. I’m going to play this instead of trying the $10-$10-$20 pot limit Omaha game they have occasionally. I’ve watched that game, and as someone accurately pointed out, every other pot is $1,000 (a rent payment). I’m just not that good yet and I don’t have the bankroll for it.
$10/$20 Limit Hold’em
I’m going to have to venture out to another casino to find this because it isn’t offered at Lucky Chances near me. I’ve heard these games exist, possibly at the Oaks over in the East Bay. I just have to go check it out.
I’m going to stay at $1/$2 no limit hold’em this year. The fact remains that I just don’t feel like I’m a strong enough player to play in the $2-$3-$5 no limit game. There’s no maximum buyin for that game. You can just sit down with $10,000 if you want, and I still feel challenged by the lower limit players, so I’ll stay where I am.
Online I’m going to stick with Pot Limit Omaha at the nickel dime level. I love getting the experience at those stakes, and it’s a fun game.
Well that’s it for this year. Now I gotta go pay my taxes on the winnings…