Saturday, March 1, 2014

February Goals Review

February Poker Goals

1) Finish Applications of No Limit Holdem by Matthew Janda and create study notes [Pass]
I was finally able to finish the book and start digesting the material. Lots to think about for sure. I'll probably be referring back to these notes for the remainder of the year. Two things I really want to get better at in the future are:
  • Advanced Bet Sizing: having multiple bet sizes for different parts of my range. Larger bet sizes (including overbets) for the polarized parts of my range, and smaller ones for my medium strength hands and bluffs.
  • Balanced Ranges: realizing which parts of my pre-flop range fall into which 'action slots' on certain boards; and then balancing them with bet sizing. By 'action slots' I mean the following:
    [Check/Fold]     [Check/Call]     [Check/Raise]     [Bet/Fold]     [Bet/Call]     [Bet/Raise]

2) Earn 12,500 VPP's on PokerStars [Pass]
It boiled down to the last day of February but I managed to achieve this goal. My shot at NL200 was going well for the first half of the month, but I started getting slaughtered in the second half of the month and was forced to move back down to NL100.

This is definitely the biggest downswing I've had in the past few months. But I'm not going to get discouraged, as I'm fairly confident that luck just wasn't on my side based on my session review notes.

Session Review Statistics:

I played my mental A-game more than 50% of the time, which is great. B-game indicates that I tilted at one point during my session, but then recovered. C-game means I tilted and didn't recover.

Only 1 in 3 sessions I felt I played my absolute best at (1). Close to 50% of my sessions were (2) which is basically my auto-pilot mode. Not entirely surprising since this has been an incredibly busy/stressful month at work for me. Hard to demand my absolute best after a rough day at work, so I'm OK with this as long as my (2) game keeps improving and (3) game (where I actually played terrible) goes away completely.

This is just my feeling of how I felt the luck swayed in my favor (1-lucky, 2-neutral, 3-unlucky). I try to be as honest as I possibly can when making a rating, but I know there will always be some bias towards bad-luck due to the nature of human psychology. For reference, my January results were: (1-23%, 2-45%, 3-32%). 

That said, there were a few days where bad luck lead to bad play, and I need to work hard on making sure this is minimized in the future. When I did tilt this month, the main reasons were:
  • Running Bad Tilt - 5 counts
  • Mistake Tilt - 2 counts
  • Hate Losing Tilt - 1 count
The logic injections I need to make while experiencing these situations while playing are therefore:

Running Bad - Everybody will eventually run worse than they thought was possible. The difference between a winner and a loser is that the latter thinks they do not deserve it. The professional does not run good or bad. He just plays.

Mistake - Perfection is not attainable but if we chase perfection then we can attain excellence. Even Phil Ivey makes mistakes.

Hate Losing - You have less control over variance than you think. Just keep making the right plays and the money will come in the long run. To win at poker you have to be very good at losing.

Finally, reading GodlikeRoy's blog helps put some perspective on downswings. Even though he plays a different game (PLO) it just goes to show how much variance there is in big bet poker, even for a winning professional player.

3) Produce 2 new poker videos [Fail]
I have to admit that I completely failed this goal. I was planning to do these on my weekends, but I ended up snowboarding every single weekend. And the one weekend I had free, I went to a badminton tournament instead. To make up for this, I'm going to post some hand history reviews in another post with my thoughts.

Hand Analysis #1

February Badminton Goals

1) Continue to fix/strengthen my wrist [Conditional Pass]
My wrist was really starting to feel better this month. I managed to play in a tournament this month and walked away satisfied with my play. No huge unforced errors and made a good come back to win game 3 against one of the Ryerson varsity teams. In the game we got knocked out in; we just got out-classed by Waterloo (ex-junior national champions). Later in the month I ended up falling off a rail at the snowboard park and guess how I landed? On both my wrists. Luckily I was wearing wrist guards, but they weren't on tight enough so I still ended up getting a little hurt. What a slow recovery this has been... but at least it's still improving.

2) Badminton or Insanity workout 5 days/week [Pass]
I didn't do Insanity on all my badminton off days, but I still worked out nonetheless. I managed to break a sweat at least 5 days a week, every week this month, so to me that's a pass!

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