So my coach and I have settled into a new routine. I play all week, pick a session at random, and then run it through a processor and add my notes and send it off. A day later he sends back notes on my notes and we get on the phone and talk for an hour.
I'm playing $.50/$1 Limit Hold'em online (mostly full tilt) and almost breaking even, which is a great improvement over my previous results where I was just spewing money. I'm happily grinding it out at those stakes. Although I'm doing ok straight money wise, I'm clearing a deposit bonus, which helps, and I've got an account with rakeback.
Let me explain: when you play poker in anyplace that is an enterprise, they take a little money out of every pot, called the "rake". This is what pays the dealers, the rent, the lights, etc. Casinos are profitable businesses, and the rake on poker alone is the least of the money made at most casinos.
There's rake online, and it adds up. Over the past 30 days I've played about 4,000 hands over 32 hours and paid $76 of rake. Poker theorist David Sklansky would tell me that I should expect to make 1 big bet ($1) per hour at these stakes if I'm talented. That would be $32. My deal to get part of my rake back from the online casino in exchange for lots of play means that I've got about $20.50 coming to me. Quick math tells you that if I break even on my bankroll, I've got $0.64 / hr coming to me. It's not much money, but it's better than losing money.
So my coach and I do an hour talk weekly and go through my hands. I then get homework to focus on next week: learn when to isolate and why, you need to save a bet on the turn to a scary board with actors behind you, practice playing from the small blind, and so on, and so on. It's fun. I told him that this last week was the first time I felt I really had a good read on someone online. Not like he had a betting tell, but that he liked to call hands all the way to the river that were way too weak, and that all I had to do was isolate myself in a hand with him with halfway decent cards.
That little bit of knowledge allowed me to raise most of my opponents out of hands until it was just the target and myself. Once we were the only ones in the hand, my habit of playing better quality cards than him meant that I usually won the pot. I finished that session with $50 in profit, which is astounding to me for such a small stakes game. (Especially when my entire bankroll for $.50/$1 is $125)
Tomorrow I head out to Safdar Poker Bootcamp. Matt and I are going and my plan is to play low buyin tournaments ($70 or less) every day from 9am until 10pm. I'm staying at the Monte Carlo, which has 3-5 of them a day. To answer Aaron's previous questions, The airfare cost me $115, the hotel $230, and I'm taking $400-$500. If I lose that, I'll be going to the movies.
Finally, for all you men out there who have colds (except Tim, who has some mysterious illness that's more serious than a cold), I offer you this: