Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Consistency Is The Key

Well, the constructive criticism seems to have had some impact. I played 5 SnG over the last two days and came 2 4 3 3 3. No wins but four payouts.

This hardly compares favourably with the 1 1 2 2 1 run I hit at the start of the year (pre blog), but it's infinitely better than the 10 10 8 7 6 run I staggered through at the weekend. I managed to lose all my stack in one game on the FIRST hand, all in on the flop with KK against some maniac with 76 who hit trips on the turn. Boy did that hurt!

Tonight I kept my guard up, and didn't let any sucker punches through. Maybe a few more risks might have got me a first place, but for now building the bankroll, and watching and learning, are the main objectives. I played three games tonight and never saw a higher pocket pair than JJ, but despite this saw some sort of return from every game.

I've been catching up on the excellent Best of HDouble posts and they really ring true. I would put myself at Stage 2 in his development of a poker player. I've only been playing for 5 months. Mostly online, and only once in a casino - but hey it WAS in Vegas!

The fancy play syndrome he mentions has been obvious to me when I've reviewed some of the games I threw away. One aspect which is sort of fancy, and which I've eliminated in the last few days, is getting my chips in first when I sense a coinflip scenario.

By this I mean a situation where I get raised pre-flop late in the game when I've got something like 44, and I judge them to be on two overcards, such as AJ, which would make me a very marginal favourite - something like 53% to 47%. Generally in these situations I'd been reraising all in, figuring that noone wants to risk a big chunk of their chips for a coinflip and they will probably fold and I'll take down the blinds plus raise.

Unfortunately on quite a few occasions I was getting called and outflopped by players who obviously don't think like me. Add to this the times when I got it wrong and my opponents suspected AJ turned out to be QQ, and this was becoming a negative tactic. So, in the interests of variance reduction, and bankroll building, this tactic has been shelved but not totally forgotten.

I'd already considered the conundrum of my skill progression being limited by playing low buy-in no fold'em type games, and I would like to move up the stakes to play against better players and improve my game. In the short term though, building the bankroll and continuing to learn the basics are the main targets. So, for now the focus is on consistency and steady improvement both in play and finances. If that means grinding out a few dull games then so be it.

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