Wednesday, August 03, 2005

The Downswing

My limit game is fucked right now. A 120 BB downswing kind of fucked. Did my (forced) hiatus from poker and all the NLHE hours I put in leading up to the WSOP just scramble the area in my brain responsible for good limit play? I know I'm a good limit player. I know I can beat the Party low limits for 2 BB/hr. My pre-burglary Poker Tracker database would tell you that in an instant. I miss that database, not only for my reams of stats on the fishies, but for the way that beautiful, green, overall positive number would greet me as I fired it up in preparation for that night's session. I loved that green number. It said, "Change, you're a winner! You can smoke this game! Why? Because I am a mathematical statistic and I say so!"

That number is red right now. It mocks me. It spits in my face. It makes me second-guess my own ability and I hate that.

I've had downswings like this before, but not at this limit. Those all happened when I got too cocky and greedy and moved up to 5-10 before I was properly bankrolled to do so. Got my ass handed to me every time I tried that, so I've promised myself that I'll grind it out at 2-4 and 3-6 until my bankroll is flush enough that it won't feel as scary. Bad Blood posted recently on getting kicked in the face every time he took a shot at a higher limit and I could totally relate. It felt like he was reading my mind. But I'm getting off topic.

Like any good student of the game should, I spent the bulk of last night poring through Poker Tracker (or, the "Poker Tivo" as we call it in La Casa de Change y Showcase). Went over all the trouble hands and relived the nightmare of the last week. My VP$IP was still where it should be, around 20. I still had the little moneybag icon in front of my name, so I was still playing fundamentally sound poker. My aggression factor was a tick lower than it had been before-- something I attribute to temporarily playing on a short bankroll, given all the dough I've had to lay out this month for the new laptop and ipod and things that make my apartment safe. So, perhaps I was playing a little scared in some situations. But nothing totally aberrant.

So how did I drop 120 BB in just under 1000 hands? Post-analysis, I'd say 15% of it was not playing marginal hands like middle pair well in early and middle position, 10% scared play, and 75% just the shittiest luck imaginable. QQ cracked all 6 times I had it. KK cracked 3 times out of 4. Lots of agressively played nut flush draws, but like, one nut flush. Full house over full house twice in huge pots. If there were 50 key hands, I was completely fine with my play in maybe 40 of them. I discovered that I made some great laydowns where my read turned out to be correct. So unless I'm just so utterly blind and stubborn that I can't be honest with myself (and I think I can be), I think this downswing is largely due to crap luck.

So, to mix it up and get off the LHE-induced tilt, I played a couple of SNGs on Full Tilt and won both of them, which did wonders for my self-esteem, and nicely cushioned the blow I'd taken in the cash games that night. The second one, though, must have been the longest SNG I've ever played. Fo' reals. FIVE players went to break. FIVE! I've never seen that on Full Tilt before. With the blinds approaching 300-600, I had something like 5K, the guy who ultimately finished second had about $4K, and the three other morons left had around 1500 each and were pretty much just trying to fold into the money. I'm talking about folding in the BB when it comprises like, half your stack! Of course, I had a freakin' field day just pushing in on these guys over and over again and mercilessly feeding off their blinds... yum. I think I'll try a few more of these tonight, until I feel ready to grind the LHE again. I'm just not in the right headspace for that right now.

Many thanks to Amy Calistri for the blog pimpage! I'm such a fan of hers that I swear I blushed when I first saw that she'd linked me up. Even Showcase was impressed.

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