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Poker Pity Party: Licking my Wounds

November 10, 2018

I am going through one of the toughest stretches of poker I’ve experienced in some time. It has me on poker and life tilt. I am in a funk that can only be described as at least a mild case of depression. I’ve been going to bed earlier and waking up later, plus my overall energy level has been extremely low. I went to the gym twice last month and the last time I lifted weights was on the 18th of October. We stopped hiking – mostly because of the weather, but still.

My motivation to play poker has been low also. Going back to the second week of October, I’ve played one day that wasn’t a massive struggle or a complete collapse. Maybe ‘collapse’ isn’t the right word. But when I spend all day around even on Marathon Monday and lose $1700 in the last 90 minutes, it feels somewhat appropriate.

I had a day-saving PLO session last week and a huge day last Friday, but every other day I’ve played live poker in the past month has been a losing effort. My graph over that time is a straight downward spiral.

I have to admit, it wears on me. Accumulated tilt is when the results of previous sessions seep into your current session. As much as I’d like to think I’ve reduced tilt in my overall game, I know I’ve been carrying a good amount of accumulated tilt around with me lately.

I feel like I’ve been saying the phrase “all-time worst” a lot lately. As in, “one of my all-time worst cash game stretches,” or “one of my all-time worst 8/16 sessions,” or “the worst 90 minutes of poker I’ve ever had.”

So last week I started off losing $360 on Sunday playing when I didn’t want to. Then I lost $1700+ in The Santa Claus Game on Monday.

That brings me to Wednesday’s PLO session. Things were pretty standard until this hand came up:

There was a $15 open and a call in front of me. I 3-bet AAKQ single-suited to $40 (too small), Part-Time calls in position and the two others also call.

With roughly $160 in the pot I bet out $100 on the AJ5dd. I had top set but no diamonds, so I was vulnerable to flush draws, but I had good blockers against gut shot straight draws. Part-Time and the original PFR both call.

Turn is an offsuit 9. Now I bet the $300 max, Part-Time jams for like $450, and the third player stacks off. I call for about $400 of it, pretty thrilled about the situation. I just need to dodge non-board pairing diamonds and kings and queens.

No one is turning their hands up so when the river pairs the 9, the pot seems as good as mine, but Part-Time blurts out: “I have the nuts” and turns over J993.

Jack Nine Nine Three.

What the FUCK?

Okay, he had two diamonds in his hand. So he flopped a shitty flush draw and turned a set.

But Jesus.

J993 single-suited? I wouldn’t complete my small blind with that piece of shit in a limped pot, let alone call an 8x raise in a 3-bet pot with it. It’s an amazing spew. The flop call is spew. The turn jam is basically just a punt. He probably doesn’t have the best made hand and it would be shocking if he had the best draw in this situation. Somehow he had the only diamond draw here (third player had a Broadway inside wrap, another massive spew on the turn with diamonds and possible duplicate draws drastically reducing his winning chances), but that is some serious wishful thinking to gamble for stacks with it.

So I started off my PLO session immediately stuck $600 because I lost to a massive punt attempt. At the time, I handled it well. I quietly reloaded and took my loss in stride.

But then I kept losing in gross fashion, particularly to Part-Time, and I was absolutely simmering. Not only was I losing in dumb spots to the same person, but twice I folded on the turn in marginal spots and rivered the nuts.

The first time that happened I had some T9xx hand on a board of Q862 rainbow and folded after a bet and call of $155, which was about pot-size. Since both my outs make the nuts, I pondered calling, but opted to fold. The river was a 7 and Part-Time led out $300, the other guy folded, and PT flashed 754. It was the most annoying result possible. Watching him win that pot with an inferior straight draw and then donking out for the max made me sick. My fold is probably correct, but still.

The second time this happened I folded top two pair with a likely bad flush draw on a super coordinated board (AK is the nuts) with four players invested on the turn already. Basically pairing my top card was the only way I was going to like my hand on the river, so of course I mucked and rivered the absolute nuts. I was already simmering near the boiling point when that happened and watching that river card fall was enough to make me rage quit.

Poker had broken me. I took my $997 loss and headed out the door, wondering what was wrong with me (woah, look at that alliteration!). For crying out loud, I shipped $5k in a tournament in late October and booked a $2k winner less than a week ago. How bad can it really be?

Bad enough that I knew I needed some extra time off… so of course I returned to Palace on Thursday and lost ferociously while playing 8/16, completely tuned out as I watched instructional PLO videos on my phone. I could have stayed home and done that. What’s the point of playing live poker if I’m going to be on total autopilot mode?

I passed on PLO on Thursday with plans to hop in later, when the game got better, but after losing $504 in 3 hours of 8/16, I once again realized, for the third time in five days, that I didn’t really want to play.

I went home early again. And then I took Friday off. Friday!

One good thing has happened this week: I have taken a serious liking to studying pot limit omaha. While I’ve been sulking at home, I’ve been watching training videos and practicing online at the PLO 100 level mostly. I can feel my game drastically improving.

I’m up almost seven buy-ins at the PLO 100 level this month and my online PLO volume is at an all-time high.

I averaged about 32 hours a month from February to April at my peak volume, but played only 12 hours combined over the last two months.

In November, I’ve already played 52 hours of online PLO, by far my most in any month this year, and it has only been nine days!

So at least something good has come from this horrible slide. When things go badly, I tend to hit the lab more often and I always come out a better and stronger player.

I just felt like sharing my misery and giving an explanation for the lack of blogs this week. It’s been rough. I’m playing 20/40 Omaha 8 at Muckleshoot right now but I’m not going to blog the session. I will be back to live blogging for The Santa Claus Game on Marathon Monday.

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