2015 Poker Goals – February Wrap-Up

March 2, 2015

Every month I’m going to reflect on the previous month of poker and see how well I’m doing at accomplishing my 2015 goals:

-log 750 live hours

For the second straight month I played 100+ hours of live poker with 112.5 hours logged in live games. That brings my total to 249.5 for the year and I’m on pace for nearly 1500 hours in 2015. As someone noted on my Facebook last month, 750 hours is a soft goal for a professional poker player – that’s true. But it should be noted I am NOT a professional poker player – I work to pay my bills. Still, it’s obvious that my 750 goal is going to get demolished and it’s sad that I was playing so little poker that I felt like that was a number I had to strive for. I think I can safely update my goal to 1200 hours as 100 hours seems like a good number for me since I’m working part-time.

-focus on how well I played, how well I controlled tilt, and how well I paid attention to game flow instead of how well I ran.
-continuing taking notes throughout all my sessions and combing through them later.

I fell off a bit here in February. Once again, I pretty much only kept notes for $8/$16 sessions, but I ran into some roadblocks this past month. For one, I have at least three sessions worth of notes I haven’t gone through looking for mistakes or for variance so I can’t post the stats like I did last month. I may update this page in a few days with those numbers, but part of me feels like I should just move forward and focus on current events.

Another issue I had was that I played a lot of short-handed poker and when then game gets down to 5 or less players, I find it not only difficult to jot notes between hands, but my game changes so much that some crazy things are going to happen – variance is going to increase drastically and I’m going to be in a lot more marginal situations. It’s better to just focus on the action and let the results speak for themselves.

My ability to keep my emotions in check remained strong, but everything else listed in the above goals could use some work going forward.

-spend less than 20% of my total hours in 4/8 games

February was extremely fluky. I should be able to log at least two $8/$16 sessions a week, but this past month it seemed like something random came up on all my normal playing days: big poker tournament, went to a hockey game, I got sick, I attended a going away dinner, I played $4/$8 on a friend’s shift because he’d been playing on mine, and I had to cover a shift for someone on vacation. As a result, I only played 39 hours of $8/$16 compared to 70 hours of $4/$8, although nearly half of those $4/$8 hours were as the floorman. For the year, 67% of my free time hours have been in bigger games, so I guess I’m okay with that.

-log 100 hours of spread limit

I actually played one really short session in the $3/$5 Muckleshoot game which brings my total hours for the year to a whopping 2. I feel like this is a goal I’m more likely to achieve over the last few months of the year. While I’m all for challenging myself as a player, at the end of the day, I’d rather spend my time in a game I’m an expert at and I just haven’t spent much time developing my NLHE game and I don’t feel like my bankroll is large enough to learn on the job.

I doubled up early in the session and won a sizable pot with KK, but I blew back all my profit in an extremely marginal situation where I whiffed a nut open-ended straight draw in a raised pot and then leveled myself into calling off $200 on the river with 4th pair after concluding that I should fold. It’s that kind of flimsy decision-making that makes me feel like I’m not ready for that game yet – the confidence is simply not there.

I did cash out +$20 though. GOT EM!

-play a tournament series in a city I’ve never been to before

I thought I was going to Shakopee, Minnesota this past month, but that trip was cancelled for various reasons. I will probably revisit that idea in late summer or early fall. Some friends recently moved to Connecticut and I may visit them later in the year, which would certainly include a trip to Foxwoods. Also, I am going to Vegas a week from today, but that’s nothing new and also not necessarily a poker trip.

-continuing reading about mental game, develop mental game profiles, and improve my c-game
-focus my learning — don’t study multiple variants at the same time or games I’m not playing frequently

To be honest, I didn’t spend a ton of time on my game away from the table this past month. Between all the distractions and being sick, I didn’t have a bunch of free time, but this should change going forward.

-treat poker like a job with set hours and not like a hobby

Fortunately, I work for a living and I’m in a situation where straying from this plan isn’t detrimental to my short-term quality of life. Even though I reached my hours goal, I definitely treated poker like a hobby this past month.

-watch opponents closely in tournaments and develop exploitative styles for each of them instead of playing laggy for laggy’s sake
-take my time in critical pots and really think things through before acting
-set a new career high tournament score

I played five tournaments in February, but three of them were at my job and two of them were while I was working. I took second while I was working for my only cash of the month.

I made a pretty early exit in the $115 Monday night tournament at Muckleshoot. I lost with QQ to quads for a decent portion of my stack and then I jammed over an open with 18-19 bigs holding JJ and my opponent showed up with QQ.

I also played the 4th Sunday $250 deep stack at Muckleshoot and never really got things going. I had a chance to chip up early, but got decidedly unlucky. With blinds at 100-200 and effective stacks well above 20K, a weak, predictable player limped in and I raised it to 700 on the button with AKdd. A younger Asian guy three-bet me from the big blind to 2200 and the limper folded. My first instinct was that this guy was capable of re-raising me light and capable of realizing that I would raise the button light trying to isolate the weak player in position. In this instance, I was near the top of my range and I felt like if the big blind was capable of 3-betting light, he was probably capable of 5-betting or jamming light. Since I’m never folding AK here, I decided to avoid the leveling war and not get 100+ bigs in preflop with Ace high during level 2 and just called. The flop brought KQ3 with two clubs and I called his bet of 2500. The turn bricked out and he bet 5000. I could jam here, but I really felt like his range was mostly air and that if he had nothing, he would almost certainly have to bet the river and raising the turn would let him off the hook – so I just called. The river was a pretty gross Tc, but since I felt like I backed him into a corner where he had to be his entire range, I snap-called his 10K bet and he showed me the 85 of clubs for a flush. Sigh. From that point, I made a few unsuccessful opens trying to pick up some much needed blinds before eventually cramming it in with AT and 6 bigs only to run into AQ.

I am now about a month away from going a year without cashing in a tournament with a buy-in of $100+ and it’s been such a steady drain on my overall results that I’m starting to think maybe I should focus solely on cash games. At the moment though, I am still planning on playing the $500 NLHE event at Muckleshoot this month and the first two events at The World Series Of Poker in late May, plus the daily $150 at Venetian this month.

-double my current bankroll size
-maintain a 1 BB/HR win rate at 8/16
-start playing 20/40 regularly by end of year

I crushed it in February for the first three weeks before having a rough last week.

My final numbers were 1.35 BB/HR overall, 1.52 BB/HR @ $4/$8, and 1.02 BB/HR @ $8/$16, which brings my YTD totals to: 1.15 BB/HR overall, 1.87 BB/HR @ $4/$8, and 0.48 BB/HR @ $8/$16.

See you next month.

One comment

  1. […] I noted in my February Wrap Up, I have upped my goal from 750 hours to 1200 hours. Since I’m frequently playing when […]

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