Friday, December 14, 2007

Looking back at 2007

The year is almost over and before I going to post my new challenges and targets for next year I would like to discuss how my poker play evolved during the past year. Be warned this is going to be a long post but even for poker player with much more experience and a much higher level it still can be good to read the complete post. It will fresh up your mind and learn again how a real poker fish thinks, for which you can benefit in the beginning of MTTs.

I feel that my learning curve this year was steep but I know that I’m net even half way. Like I have posted before: I don’t like reading about poker theory, I’m a man. Meaning that if I buy a new gadget the first thing I do is putting the user manuals in a drawer to discover months later that I should have read it, but because I’m a man (chaotic) I need to ask my wife to find it for me. Probably I did some searches already and overlooked it several times. This of course did hinder my progress substantially.

Let’s see on what areas I made some progress this year

- I feel that my A-game has improved and that it is now on a acceptable level for the low limit SNGs. Unfortunately I don’t reach this a-game level enough and to be honest my a-game is still below average but it probably twice or trice as good as in the beginning of the year!
- I finally know and understand that a Full House is ranked higher than a flush. Had to learn this the hard way!
- Until a month or two ago I thought that one type of play style was sufficient. My play was like an open book to the bigger fishes in the pond. Too predictable and monotone complete SNG. To start over again with the start of a new SNG, which made it even more easy for the bigger fishes who were making notes. Burnlymik, Biakkax and MrPink opened up my eyes that I really have to shift gears. I’m trying to do this but if I don’t pay attention I still slip back in my comfort zone. Now I open up my starting hands and increase my aggression depending on how the SNG is evolving.
- I did overplayed the all-in, I guess like all newbies. I now understand that if I want to steal I never should do it with an all-in cause from that point on you don’t have any power anymore in the hand. If you face a call there is no way out and believe me I tried clicking my heels three times in a row without success.
- Stealing. While in the beginning of the year I tried to steal in the beginning of an SNG I now understand that it is not worth the risk. There are many reasons for this. Firstly there are a lot of morons in the beginning who can’t let a hand go. Also there is no reason why you should donate your chips in this stage. Now I still steal not enough but at least my steal attempts have shifted to the correct moments within an SNG, namely the bubble and the ITM play.
- Things which happen in your private environment do influence your play. Poker is not like most hobbies where you can set your mind to zero and forget all the problems in the world. This last part still is true but everything what happens in your private life does really have an influence on your play. Now I try to avoid playing poker when having a bad day at work, small fights with the wife etc…
- Pot odds. While I still don’t master this I now sometimes can life with some bad beats cause I gave the villain the correct odds to call.
- Calling an all-in. Thx to Rob, I now call all-in less often than I did before and this extends my tournament life a lot.
- Turbo SNGs and 6 seater SNG do not fit my play style. Way not aggressive enough for those. So since a month or two I stayed away from these which improved my ITM%.
- I don’t have the patience for big MTTs nor for multiple table SNGs.
- At the cash games I’m the ATM.
- Last point is my Tilt level. I still go very easily into tilt level but I know how to deal with it. And this is stop for that day cause playing will hurt my BR even further.

Things to focus on in 2008.
- I should be more aggressive during the bubble phase of an SNG. Maybe my ITM% will drop but I expect that my profit will raise. At the moment I’m ending enough time in the money but to often I’m the shorty, going out in third, while the big (at least for my BR) money is within the first 2 places. Here I need to find a fine balance.
- Improve my cash game play, cause that were the easy money is on the low limit tables.
- Besides knowing the existence of some poker concepts like squeeze play, check-raises, etc… I should try to learn then!
- Try to read some poker books.

If I can improve and these 3 things above I will make a profit in 2008.

Good luck at the tables,

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