September 2011 Gambling Results

October 2, 2011

Poker is such a grind. I made a resolution this past New Year’s to make a profit gambling. I was sick of thinking of myself as a great player without having the consistent results to prove it. I’ve destroyed that goal. I’ve won every month in 2011 and thanks to a great session on the second to last day of the month, I can add September 2011 to that list. In consistently achieving my goal to make money gambling this year, I’ve gotten ahead of myself. I was hoping to be playing professionally by 2013, but I’m ready to make the transition NOW. Part of me wants to throw caution to the wind, quit my day job and really put myself to the test… but that’s the part of me that has kept me treading in mediocrity for the past five years. I simply can’t afford to take that risk. Even if half my bankroll wasn’t indebted to me, I wouldn’t be close to having enough money saved up to take the plunge. Even at a limit as low as $4-$8, I’d be crippled after any sizable downswing without another source of income. My game still has plenty of leaks, but I’m convinced I can beat any limit game Washington state has to offer, so it’s frustrating that the only thing holding me back seems to be how much money I have to play with. So close… yet so far away.

I’ve had someone question whether or not I’d really want to play for a living. Not because they question my talent, but because they say that poker isn’t as much fun when you HAVE to play… when it becomes your job. When you have to put in the hours to make your money. Please. I have a day job now and still managed to put in over 160 September hours in just cash games. That doesn’t included the time I spent in the 17 tournaments I played. Playing is not going to be a problem for me. In fact, I’m in danger of letting poker completely dominate my life. If you include those tournament hours, I probably played around 200 hours last month, which would be a lot even for a full-time professional… and I’m still employed. Over a 450 hour sample size, my win rate in my regular game ($4-$8 fixed limit) is barely worth my time, so spending that much time playing is probably not my best investment. I think I need to cut my hours way back or find a full-time backer so I can move up to $8-$16.

I still have a tendency to think too much in the short term. I think it’s my biggest weakness now. Losing a big pot still hurts way more than it should. A bad run of cards, missed draws, coolers, and lucky catches for my opponents can still put me on tilt. My mood mirrors how my session is going far too often. For someone that is striving to play for a living and has proven that he will win in the long run, these attitudes are unacceptable. My focus on short term results makes me more susceptible to tilting, not playing my A game, and ultimately, cuts into my win rate in the long term and affects my overall performance. I feel like I could be doing much better than my current results if I can somehow get past this problem. Even right now, I feel down in the dumps because I started October off with a -54 big bet session and I haven’t won with TT, JJ, QQ, KK, or AA in my last 12+ hours of play. Unlucky? Yes. Any reason to whine and slum around my house feeling defeated? No. That money will come back. Time to get over it already and plug that leak. Coping with bad stretches separates the above average players from the great players and I’m ready for a promotion.

Rather than break down my exact results like I have in past months, I’ll just say I turned a modest profit for September. Considering the amount of time I put in, my final results are pretty unsatisfying. On the flip side, being stuck with two days left in the month and managing to turn a decent profit feels pretty good. My results in fixed limit cash games were not good at all. I lost at every limit I played, running absolutely brutal for multiple long stretches and probably not playing my best poker as a result, losing even more money than I should have. Before closing the month with a big win, I had six straight losing sessions–a first for 2011. It seems like I can’t go an entire month without 1 or 2 big downswings, even in months I’m generally killing the game. I also cashed for a profit in just 3 of the 17 tournaments I played (17.6% vs. a 45% ITM rate YTD) and went a stretch 8 straight tournaments without cashing at all (also a 2011 record).

Where I did do well last month was in the $2-$40 spread game at E&J Reyes and in the pit. I don’t have a lot of experience in spread games and haven’t had much success in them in the past. I’ve never been able to decide if I want to play a game that’s similar to how I play limit or how I play no limit. This time around I decided to play a mixture of both: seeing a lot of flops cheaply and using position like I do in no limit and using tight fixed limit hand selection in all other spots. I ran much better than average in these two sessions (88 > AA, JJ > AA, rivered a flush against trips, etc.) and I’m not expecting to maintain a $90/hour win rate. In the pit, I killed on match plays and pretty much expected to win every time I played one. Also, in one of my extremely rare moments of playing a table game, I hit quad 9s on Ultimate Texas Hold ‘Em for a pretty decent payout and, unlike the degenerates who usually play the pit games, I immediately cashed out after my score.

Even though September was a small success, my bankroll actually decreased. I made way less at my day job than I budgeted for and had to take more out of my bankroll to pay bills than I made back in profit. Hopefully October will bring more consistency, both at my real job and on the felt. I just read that Full Tilt Poker has been purchased and maybe that means I’m that much closer to getting my money from them. I also got in touch with the dude that owes me a lot of money and he agreed to make a payment on the 5th. And seriously, does anyone in Kitsap County deserve the $9000+ Red Royal Flush Jackpot @ Chips Casino more than me?

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