“If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”
That was a popular refrain in grade school, and it effectively kept me from making fun of the kid with the nosepicking habit. Lately though, it has also applied here. I’ve been quiet on the blogging front because there’s really nothing good to report in pokerland. But this thing is supposed to be about my trials and tribulations, not only my triumphs, so here you go.
While this is a very exciting, satisfying time in my life–Janeen and I just had a great engagement party and we’re closing on our new apartment tomorrow–I’m also withstanding an extended period of losing while playing fairly high volume online.
It’s the same old story: I am having a very hard time getting over the hump in online tournaments. The problem is crystal clear. The intuition I have in brick & mortar settings is missing from my online game. Yes, the competition, on average, is worse in live tournaments, but I’m certain that the issue runs deeper than that. I simply make better reads live. Of all the “sick laydowns” or “sick calls” or sick plays of any kind I’ve ever made, 95% of them have been live. I just think with much greater clarity when my opponent is sitting there in front of me in the flesh.
The solution is something I’ve been pondering for a very long time. I’ve thought of everything: switch to cash games, play sit ‘n go’s exclusively, take more notes, take fewer notes, use tracking programs, quit using tracking programs, play more volume, play less volume, play lower stakes, play higher stakes, add another monitor… I’ve thought of everything, although I’ve implemented relatively few changes. The changes I have implemented have been ineffective. Particularly embarrassing is the fact that my ROI (roughly “rate of return” for those of you who don’t speak pokernerd) in Pokerstars tournaments has slipped into negative figures over a very long period of time. I’m still doing fine in sit ‘n go’s and on Full Tilt, so I’m not losing a ton of money, but Pokerstars tournaments, which were once my bread and butter, have become impossible for me to crack.
My recent failures are having a negative impact on my psyche. It’s getting bad. I have found myself screaming obscenities and throwing tantrums, which is pretty unusual for me. These episodes are surely amusing to look at, but unfortunately I don’t get to witness them, so they don’t help me in any capacity.
This is no way to warm up for the World Series of Poker. So for the time being, I’m going back to basics. I’m going to play online tournaments of all stake levels until my confidence is restored. Final tabling a $10 tournament after 7.5 hours of play and walking away with $438 might feel kind of futile to someone who has several six-figure scores to his credit, but I need to remind myself that I still know what I’m doing, dammit.