Monday, June 28, 2010

Ego and Self - The Shame in my Game

In my last post, I blogged about my efforts to grow my $537 bankroll and move up in MTT stakes from the nosebleed $.25 stakes to the $2.20 90-man game.

I started off pretty hot, but after six days and 132 tournaments, I'm down -$13.43 and my bankroll is at $523.84.

During those six days, I played 132 MTTS. 16 of those were 1000+ MTTs with buy-ins greater than $1.00 at a cost of $46.20 and I only cashed in 2, for a measly $5.77. Thus, I lost -$40.43 and my ROI is a sad -87.5% for these games.

The remainder were the $.25 90-mans. I played 116 of those at a cost of $29.00. I cashed in 29 of them for a total of $68.31. If I calculated right, then my ROI on these games continues to be good, at about 135.5%.

My longest non-cash streak was a grueling 29 was ugly. U.G.L.Y.

Looking at the calculations, I see that I need to get even more disciplined and stop donking around in the higher dollar, larger field MTTs. At least until I get the bankroll up to $650.00. If I hadn't played any of the larger field buy-ins, my bankroll would've been right at my goal!

At any rate, I question whether it's really true that the players are more recreational/bad at the micro stakes or that luck plays a bigger factor in the larger fields. Haven't figured that out yet.

What I'm learning, though, is that patience is really key. And the game changes dramatically when it gets down to the 12-25 person stage (12 is the money). And man when you get to the final table in the $.25 tourneys it is crazy to see how you can be shortstacked and still come back to win with smart and patient play. I play poker for those moments because I believe without a doubt that if I can get to that stage I can and should win, no matter my stack.

The title of this post, though, is about ego and self. In these microstakes, I'm learning that it's key to get your money in good and completely let go of the anger that a bad beat can bring, whether you're on the bubble, at the beginning of the tourney, or at the final table and shortstacked. Just let it go. An absolutely terrific post from a player I really admire says it even better: You can read Lee Childs' excellent take on bad beats here.

In addition, and I learned this in my Friday night live game, not stopping when you know you're beat (and were possibly just trying to make a move from the button, for example) will also lose you money. My Friday live game, I got moved to a table where one very stubborn, ego driven player had a very healthy chip stack whereas I was fair to middling. Why then did I decide to tangle with her big blind after looking down at my 92o on the button? Did I just call her stubborn and ego driven? Oh self...look in thy mirror. But, I'd played only two hands the whole night, raising pre-flop and receiving no callers to take only blinds. You know how the story ends. I raised, she called, I c-bet, she called, I'm mad now and she's caught two pair by the turn, and of course I shove to stubbornly and ego driven(ly) give her my chips. Alrighty then. Guess I showed her! As I walk to my car and it's not even 10:00 p.m.

Same online and in every other area of life. Stubborn, ego driven living can and does hurt others in my life and, ultimately, it also hurts me. In poker, that hurt is doubly painful because it costs money. And I don't hate money, so...definitely an area I am focusing on.

One thing that helps is re-reading Chapter Seven of Larry Phillips' "The Tao of Poker," to help remind myself that it's not the cards, the beat or the pot that endangers my game. It's me and only me. "In the whole poker process, the least stable part is the player...the weak link in the chain is us."

It's the same in life, right? So I'm drilling down further - no more large field MTTs until I get that bankroll up to my goal ($650). And no more stubborn, ego-driven plays against equally stubborn, ego-driven players (or excellent players, for that matter!).

We'll see how disciplined I can be!

In the meantime, good luck at the tables, and in life, amigos.


  1. If u would, follow me @tomisi so I can dm u...think I cud help another Texan.

  2. Remember this quote from Lampwich, "The key to happiness is gratitude." I like the direction you are heading. Boneyard

  3. Dude, you crack me up....

    I do the same thing. My stubborness gets the best of me at the table. When I have that patience, sit back and let those other donks who are arrogant (we know who I'm talkin about) just hang themselves...oooh it feels so good.

  4. A very nice & pleasant read that makes me want to guide at times and simply share in others, for each little "yes" and every strong "no"!

    Tao as mentioned is a great book and you might like "Zen of Poker" as well. It's mostly within...

    Your passion for game play exudes forth, with mine the same, perhaps only felt...yeah right!

    I love the goals that so many of us share: learning our way though with some picayune stake that will never really matter, but certainly helps us keep score, KNOWing the future of each unique journey. Can't put it down approaches to our goals abound; prizing respect, improvement & sharing, outwardly modest and truly sincere, with an end of holes plugged we'll make the best (us) proud!

    And oh yes, YOU GO! It's Booga, Baby!


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