Poker experiment is over

So I think my experiment with session length is over.  Playing last night live and microstakes online for the last few weeks has yielded a number of epiphanies.

  1. The reason that I’m trying to run short sessions is to cover for leaks in my game.  The longer I sit, the more the leaks cut into my winnings.  I need to fix the leaks in my game. 
  2. My problems with online poker are similar.  Because I play so many more hands, my leaks decimate my stack faster.
  3. There’s no good reason that over time I can’t sit at a table where I’m as good or better than most of my opponents and make money.
  4. I believe my attention wanders after a few hours.
  5. My skills at reading opponent styles and reacting accordingly are not where they should be.  My math is strong, but those skills need help.  I don’t mean, "Can I tell when he’s bluffing?" but more like, "That person is a calling station, I need to not try and bluff them out of a pot"

Last night I dropped a pair of boots playing $6/$12 limit hold’em and realized how obvious my mistakes were.  I have all sorts of leaks, including:

  • Calling the small blind for fun
  • Calling with any two suited cards
  • Proceeding after the flop to try and turn a drawable hand
  • Calling with barely-valid pot odds for the draw I’m on
  • Overplaying small pairs hoping to hit a set

These are all mistakes that I didn’t use to make, and are all made by players at my local casino.  I appear to have developed their bad habits.

As I explained to Sarah when I got home, I’m going to have to do this thing that poker players do when their game is a mess.  I have to re-examine my poker game, step by step, and plug my leaks.  Good players develop bad habits and have to do this periodically.  It makes you a better player, but it’s time consuming and requires dedication.  I love poker enough that I will happily do both.

Unlike previous analysis exercises, I’m using Poker Academy Prospector for the online analysis.  I’ve typically been a Poker Tracker fan, but the interface is a little daunting, and the Prospector is really a lot cleaner.  I think there’s a new version of poker tracker though, so I may check that out too.