sup guys :) Well it’s been a while since I posted, ever since my last trip down south I just haven’t really felt like blogging away..as you’ll read things haven’t gone that great since then but it does feel like my mushroom trip had me questioning a lot about why I do the various things I do heh. It feels like the blog is losing a bit of relevance for me and I had toyed with the idea of closing it, but I have done that a couple times in the last four years and always restarted so I figure at worst I just let it lay dormant when I want to and then still feel like I can update it as needed.
It’s mid-December so it’s around that time I reflect on how the year has gone. It has been one of the most challenging years for me in recent memory. Last month both my dad and my cousin had (non-fatal) heart attacks; my dad while visiting some trade shows in the US, and my cousin while in Melbourne for an interstate work job. Dad has had a pretty poor run with his health over the last year and so that was another real shake up, I felt pretty helpless getting phonecall updates at 3am when his condition was critical, and didn’t feel like I could sit down at the tables for quite some time. My cousin, who is effectively like a brother to me, was apparently the victim of randomness as the doctor’s tend to think his health was good and there was nothing he could do about it; sometimes a bit of plaque/fat/whatever gets knocked off the walls of your arteries and wreaks havoc even if you’re not some unhealthy fat dude with high blood pressure. One of the main things that sets humans apart from animals is our ability to think and use our wits, but it’s also a curse at times as we tend to feel uneasy about anything that we can’t rationalise or make meaning of. So being abruptly faced with the concept of your own mortality without being able to come up with a good reason why was probably not an easy thing for him to handle to begin with, but he is a smart dude and will get through it I reckon, thankfully the doctors think his chance of a future attack are really low. He crashed with me for a week or so until he was allowed to fly back to Perth, and we just hung out doing the things we do; philosophising about life down at the beach, watching documentaries, and killing everything in sight on Grand Theft Auto V ;) I guess in that sense I’ve had quite a few interruptions to poker in the last few months, and poker has not gone particularly well so I’ve felt a bit helpless in that respect too since I either haven’t been able to or haven’t felt like playing depending on what’s being going on.
So a recap on 2013..
I started off the year almost exclusively playing HUNL, and felt like I learnt a lot in a really short period of time. I dabbled a little with HUSNGs but immensely enjoyed HUNL; on the one hand it has broken me out of a formulaic tourney style of poker, taught me how to properly adjust and made me feel more comfortable in marginal spots, but it’s also given me a rewarding reason for doing all the math/strategy work I like to do away from the tables. I had some help from a few guys that play high stakes HUNL and 6m which was invaluable as well. I can still get heaps better but I feel like I have a good framework for achieving that over time.
Heading into the WSOP months MTTs were looking insanely soft, and I decided it was time to take a bunch of shots in anything soft/with overlay and really belted out a ton of volume over a two month span. I was feeling really fresh from not playing MTTs for hours on end, and really sharp from playing lots of focused HUNL. Unfortunately I ended up bricking almost every meaningful spot during that patch and lost a bunch of money, one of those true horror patches where every time you’re top 3 on the F2T in a big tourney something happens and you bust 8th or worse. Everyone has those, they’re effectively what forms the basis of a downswing for a grinder, so I was trying to be philosophical about it and take it in my stride, since poker doesn’t really owe me anything and taking calculated shots is exactly what it is, a higher financial risk with the prospect of higher than usual financial gain. I figured I would brush it off and get back grinding up the roll again at HUNL; there really is no merit to hanging on to any ‘what ifs’ and MTTs present you with those plenty of times.
The last couple months I am running about 35-40 buyins below EV at HUNL, much of which has been at the higher end of limits I play or taking shots vs fish, so in an absolute $ sense the amount of buyins I’ve dropped is a lot more than that relative to my bread and butter stakes. It feels counterintuitive to not be rewarded for how much work you’re putting in/how well you feel you’re playing, but again it’s just one of those things in poker where it’s important to focus on what you can control (study, volume, mindset, bankroll management) and forget about the other stuff. That said I definitely had a few nights standing around in the kitchen at 3am after getting binned that I was like OMGCANONEOFTHESESHOTSPAYOFFGUHHHHHHH…and then there was the night I ran 98 into KQdd on 9x9x9dTdJd 200bb effective – probably haven’t stared at the screen without saying anything for that long since those nude selfies of Blake Lively got leaked.
On the positive side, I have probably improved more at poker this year than any other single year I’ve been playing. While I’m proud of that I also think it’s testament to the value of studying effectively (a lot of people study things that are rarely going to be useful or don’t critically assess their weaknesses and actively tackle them) and playing less tables when you play. I even do this in MTTs; gone are the days I’d be pushbotting and reshoving over 35 tables not really thinking about anything. This has obviously helped my coaching as well and a lot of the guys I worked with this year are infinitely better than they were at the start of the year as well.
My health is slowly improving too. I have always been a little bit fat and even though I still am I have been extremely diligent about eating well/working out and not letting things slip up for too long. Being 34, sleeping poorly/sporadically and working in a stressful profession in a chair puts you a little bit behind the eight ball when it comes to physical shape but I have given it a good nudge and don’t intend to let that slide in 2014.
Matilda: When I was in the 7th grade…I was the fat kid in my class.
The other good point is that I feel I’ve emotionally handled this year better than I would’ve at any other time. It has been a tough year at times but I have managed to bounce back from every setback quicker than the last time, and I feel like I have a good framework and network for handling tough spots. I would very much like to have less of them in 2014 however :) The plan is to grind a bunch, keep getting fitter and get married early in 2015.
Well that’s about it for now; I’m off to Perth for ten days next week for some Xmas celebrating and catching up with family and mates, then I will be back playing pretty much immediately afterward so I can start the New Year on the front foot. I will be doing some more MTT coaching next year as well and if you haven’t seen the coaching link on this blog, I also have one on 2p2 now.
Enjoy your holidays :)