Wow, that was sweet. The Dow closed in the red, so I got paid off at more then 3 to 1 with double size!
Ok folks...This is why I am so insanely in love with the stockbets. With every other beatable game, (Poker, Sportsbetting, Blackjack)you are basically backing with a mathematical edge. You know that X out of one hundred times the proposition will pay out.
With these stock bets, not only can you add to your risk when you think the odds are shifting in your favor, but more often then not when you do THEY WILL GIVE YOU BETTER ODDS! Its freaking amazing... They just don't seem to get it. It makes me paranoid. How long will the honeymoon last before they figure it out and stop offering me these "no brainer" bets?
While the stockbets have been paying me recently, my poker has been a dead end. I played 3 200 hand sessions today and only ended up +5 big bets. The black ink is all due to one perfect flop. I down pretty bad when I caught J-10s in the big blind. The flop came...
Js Jh 10h
...which gave me jacks full of tens! I bet out and got 3 way action. The turn came up a heart, and one of the callers had caught his flush draw. I bet, he raised. We put as much money in as the caps would allow us, and I took the pot down to save my day. (Damn it, I should have been playing no-limit!)
I quit after that and have been catching up on some of the poker blogs I keep up with. The year end recaps have been a lot of fun. Scurvydog over at Sound Of a Suckout put up a must read post.... (Especially items 3,7 & 8!)
Top Ten Poker-Related Lessons I Learned This Year
1) Poker is a grind. It just is. Theres no magic bullet to cure your poker ills, no panacea for horrible beats, suckouts, and bubbling in tournaments. Moving up (or down) in limits wont cure it. Playing SnGs and MTTs wont cure it. Playing NL wont cure it. Playing PL Omaha wont cure it. Successful poker players win money in the long run by grinding it out. Its just that easy. And just that hard.
2) Party Poker is not where its at. This is sure to cause raised eyebrows and counter-arguments but Party (and assorted skins) isnt the most profitable site to play at for skilled players. It just isnt. Playing at the assorted Cryptos (InterPoker, Caribbean Sun, Will Hill, PokerPlex, Total Bet, UKBetting, et al.) is far more profitable. No, really. Even if you discount their monthly bonuses theyre more profitable. The simple reason why is that they have casinos that constantly feed gambling idiots with money into the poker room. Which is exactly the same reason why Pacific > Party. As far as tournament offerings, you can make a good argument for Party, but as far as ring games go, Party aint the place to be.
3) SnGos are fun but EV. MTTs are fun but EV. I fought this battle for a long time but I think Ive finally made peace with it. I really enjoy SnGos and MTTs but they dont make me money. Or, more importantly, they make me much less money than Id make sitting in ring games. I know people occasionally post amazing SnG results, showing them to be highly profitable, but almost everyone I know (and trust) thats played in a significant number of them usually ends up break-even overall. The variance is through the roof and while you have great runs you also have back-breaking dry spells of no cashes.
4) Discipline > patience. I used to equate these two but I think thats a mistake. Patience is good but it leads to nut-peddling too often, leaving too much money on the table when aggression would pay off. Discipline, however, is much more powerful. I used to remind myself to be a patient player but now I battle to be a disciplined one. Patient players wait to be paid off; disciplined players punish others for making mistakes while constantly fighting to avoid the same mistakes themselves.
5) Bonuses are your friend. If youre building a roll, building experience, building confidence, poker bonuses can be your very best friend. You wont show a profit on every bonus you chase. Its not guaranteed money and it can be frustrating at times, playing on sites you dont particularly like, carefully managing your bankroll, etc. But bonuses are the best way to rapidly build a bankroll and greatly speed the learning curve, as it buys you time to make mistakes and learn without having to dip back into your wallet repeatedly.
6) Be aggressive. This is hard for me and doesnt come naturally. Ive posted about this more in-depth elsewhere, but aggressive poker really does win. I think the key is realizing that, but, more importantly, finding the level of aggression that fits your own playing style. Dont just mindlessly follow the guidelines and suggestions in SSH. Im not saying theyre wrong or that the style the advocate isnt optimal, but that you have to be comfortable with the level of aggression you employ. Amping up the aggression knob from 4 to 10 will likely result in one thing: turning you into a frustrated, losing player, even if 10 is the theoretically correct setting. Gently turning the same aggression knob from 4 to 7, though, might make a huge difference in your results.
7) Life > poker. Poker will always be there. Yeah, I know, when youre in the grip of poker addiction you want nothing more than to be slinging chips. But guess what? Poker will always be there. Thats the beauty of online poker. Its not a trip to Vegas where you have to cram in the maximum number of table hours into a small window. Online poker aint going anywhere. Enjoy yourself. Get exercise. Do other stuff.
8) Only play when you can play. I used to hop on for quick mini-sessions, trying to squeeze in a few orbits before work, before going out for the evening, etc. And would inevitably find myself getting involved with marginal hands, not pushing hands as hard as I should from fear of losing too much in ten minutes, etc. To the point where that would be bouncing around in my head, even when I was sitting down and firing up the computer. The simple solution is just dont do it. If you have any doubt, just avoid it. Remove it from the equation.
9) Set specific goals. Dont just wander aimlessly around from table to table. Dont tell yourself that all you want is to improve your game. Even if money doesnt motivate you, use it to set specific goals and targets. It may be arbitrary and results-oriented but youll go crazy if you dont set yourself demonstrable, transparent goals. Argue against being results-oriented all you like but its virtually impossible to set an aggressive monetary goal (and reach it) without your game improving as well.
10) Use thy tools, but dont abuse them. PokerTracker is great. I love it. You should love it, too. But dont be obsessed with it. Far too often I see people posting constantly about improving their aggression rating, lowering or raising their VP$IP, etc. Dont let yourself be consumed by the tool. Its great for harvesting data on other players, great for identifying trouble hands that you tend to become involved in too frequently, and great for showing your positional stats. But when you find yourself acting at the table in a way with the effect on your PokerTracker stats in mind, youve got a problem. Tools like PokerTracker are great for when things go awry and youre looking for leaks but not so great when youre trying to address larger strategic issues in your game.