Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Discipline - What a Concept.

I've taken some time recently to get a little more focused on my poker game. I enjoyed the heck out of the live games I got to play in Vegas two weeks ago (and enjoyed meeting/talking to some great people - hi @girlvibe and @ironman0509).

I came home up (rather than down!) in the dollar figures category. While I didn't fare as well in the tournaments I really wanted to take down (the High Heels Poker Tour Ladies qualifier for the WSOP Ladies Event and the Nugget's $330), I had great success in the Nugget's little $65 re-buy tourneys. I won (chopped for first) 3 out of the 5 that I entered and should've won 4 of them but my As got cracked late near the bubble on one that crippled me and I badly misplayed a bluff in the other.

Once I got home, I just assumed those winning ways would translate into my online game. Um. No.

I'm amazed how different live is from online. At the end of my Vegas trip, I remember feeling so comfortable at the table and feeling like I was finally getting a handle on reading people and flops. It was a fun, fun feeling and good experience. I'm planning to make the WSOP tour an annual event, this having been my second year, and it's a fun thing to do with my mom and aunt...although, to be honest, they go for each other because I do not see them. Just misshapen lumps in the bed during my brief forays into the room. One thing on my list for next year is a longer stay. I'm actually going to try a week next year, so I'm saving my pennies now. Also on the list - a few expeditions to some tourneys in neighboring states and casinos. Winstar, for one, and Louisiana, too. If you know of any tourneys I should be following, tweet me!

The main shift I've made in my game though, is really focusing on the bankroll. While I am able to redeposit if I have to, I'm sick of doing that. I keep reading about all these terrific online players who are just living off the fruits of their online poker labors, and I want to be one of 'em.

I realized I wasn't respecting the cash I was depositing or maintaining any discipline whatsoever in my game. Because the money was there, I'd play whatever tournament I wanted without reference to the amount of buy-in and its relationship to my bankroll. As a result, I'd often be donking around in a $1 tourney and a $55 tourney at the same time. While a min cash is a min cash, and I'm all for cash, there are plenty of non-cashes to go along with those buy-ins. And, it adds up.

I'm now taking a decidedly different approach to my game. My online bankroll is currently at $537.27. This means that I can't buy into any tourney that costs more than $10.75. This means I can - oh joy - play a bunch of $1 to $8 donkaments, so long as my bankroll allows.

What I've been doing though, is playing the 90-man, $.25 tourneys. First prize for winning such a tournament is a hefty $6.23 for your quarter buy-in. Scoff if you will (and I did, too, at first). But if you can get your mind around the value of $6.23 x 6 and on and on - you can see the value in playing just as hard to win that amount as when you're playing for $1623.00. And I, for one, am banking on it making me a better player.

To give you an idea: My stats so far show that out of 50 games played, I'm in the money 28% of the time, with an ROI of 170.4%. No joke. I have 6 firsts, 2 seconds, thirds, fifths, sixths, sevenths, and tenths; 4 eighths; and, 6 ninths.

So, I'm going to work hard at this level for awhile and see what, if anything, I can do with my bankroll here. And then, when this success continues, I'll move up to the next highest level. PokerStars does not have a $.50 or $1.00 90-man level; rather, it jumps to a $1.20 45-man or 90-man knockout.

While I'm bankrolled for that level now, the whole point of this exercise is to increase the bankroll by following a plan. So, once I get my bankroll to $650, I'm going to take a shot in the $2.20 90-man game.

Wish me luck and I'll let you know how it goes!

In the meantime, you can check out these excellent resources on bankroll discipline here and here.

Good luck at the tables!


  1. You have discipline way beyond me. You're an inspiration.

    I'm down on poker right now. I think I need a break. It's funny that, out of all our friends that made this trip, you and Ruth were the only ones who cashed. Well, Lynda barely cashed. I normally do very well, but this year was tough.

    I'm so happy you did well. I need to work on my attitude, and as Negreanu says, "don't do anything stupid"...when you're deep...I make so many final tables, and then blew it at the end...

  2. Sometimes poker really sucks, doesn't it? Try to shake it off and let's kill 'em tomorrow in the home game!


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