Terry proposed a deal. She wanted to stake me in some online tourneys, but she wanted me to play something higher than the $2.20's I've written about here previously. "You sit on your ass for hours on end, wade through 5000 runners and are happy with a $20.00 payout. I know you're insane AND a bankroll nit, but come on! Don't you want to take a shot?"
I loved the idea. First, as the Bling Blang Blaow boys already know, winning a tourney like the Sunday Million is every player's dream. Second, I feel like part of a team. I know poker is an individual sport, but knowing that I've gotta be accountable for why I played a hand a certain way does make me stop and think. Third, it's less of a financial risk for my own bankroll. And, nit that I am, that's always good. Fourth, it creates a requirement to do homework. Being staked by a buddy who's a poker player in her own right and seriously interested in strategy and play (and better at it than me), the set up created the perfect opportunity to go over hands together, to talk strategy, decision making, odds/outs, and all that stuff we've got to be thinking about when at the table. And last but not least, I love me some Terry so how could I say no?
So, we're not doing this deal until the first of the year but...it got me itching to play some of those higher stake games. Just TALKING about it with Terry caused me to throw caution to the wind. I immediately bought into some $22, $33, $55, and even a $109 tourney. It was crazy. I cashed in a few and of course busted out of a lot. I did that several days in a row. I nearly decimated my bankroll. I called Terry crying - "What the hell are we thinking?! This is insane!! I am a pitiful poker player, the definition of spewtard, and this is a stupid idea and we can't do this!"
She told me to quit crying and to calm down. I stopped playing the higher stakes. I went back down to my regularly scheduled micro-insanity levels and kept the dream of the bigger limit tourneys in my back pocket, knowing that the first of the year is right around the corner.
I kept reading strategy. I kept talking hands with Terry. I kept reading hands/strategy on skype with another group of players. I played less tourneys at time and I played a lot fewer hands. Also during this time, I'd seen a video in which Annie Duke was sharing that when a poker player is running good, they tend to attribute it to skill; yet, when they're running bad, they attribute it to luck and lose out on an opportunity to study how they played the hand the way they did, which can only lead to improvement. That stuck with me and I was going over my HEM hands like crazy - the ones I won AND the ones I played badly.
I don't know if taking a shot at the higher levels helped me see that I was playing too many hands or what, but something happened during my short-lived time in those senior classes. I found myself playing a very tight, aggressive style and just waiting. Folding. Waiting. Holding. Folding. Watching for the right spot - and then striking. I found myself shortstacked so many times and just folding, folding, folding, only to strike with a hand and doubling, tripling up and being right back in the game.
I took that experience back to my freshman class games and played the exact same way. And you know what happened? I final tabled the Ladies game on back to back nights on Stars. I came in 4th out of 5299 in a $5.50 $20k gtd, and cashed in 5 of 8 of the tourneys I played.
It was sweet, people. Sweet.
So...taking a shot is not good bankroll management. We all know this. But sometimes, good things besides just winning more money can come out of taking such shots.
I posted a tweet tonight after coming in 34th out of 5000 in a $2.20 tourney about finally knowing the secret to running deep in online tourneys. Well, you know there's no secret. You've got to play well, have your good hands hold, and get lucky a time or two (or three or four). What helped me, besides a few distractions like mess-eeng alound on twitter, posting dumb links and listening to my favorite music (and bombarding followers with links to same) was taking the shots I took and then taking what I learned back down into the stakes my bankroll will allow.
That's what's happening of late. I'm hoping it's going good for you, too. If not, keep plugging away and try to find a good friend like Terry with whom you can talk pokers. In the meantime, have a wonderful holiday season and good luck at the tables!