‘My Bad Psychology’, or ‘How I learned to stop worrying and love Golden Rule #1’

Okay, so I just sat down to my first online poker session for the first time in what for me, is a fair old while.  I think I’ve been putting it off.  I guess that it’s because I know that so many things in my game have to change, and that doesn’t fit with how I’ve been using poker.  For far too long and far too often I have played as a distraction from life, facilitating relaxation rather than demanding concentration.  How do I ever expect to make a healthy profit?

I started this session when I had already made the decision to go to bed.  It’s not the first time and it certainly won’t be the last, but I was struck by the desire to play and actually address some of my many flaws, so I thought the snoring could wait.  I have basically no bankroll, and I never like to deposit when I don’t have to, so I thought I’d grab a table at a micro limit game, hopefully bump up the pennies in my Pokerstars account, but more importantly really start to think about what I’m doing.  So I found a seat at a 6 player fixed limit texas hold ’em table.  That’s what I know, it’s the game that’s made me by far the most profit, so by my reckoning that’s the place to start.

Immediately as I sat at the table I focused on the players and what they were doing.  It’s easy to chuck your money away at micro fixed limit table by starting off too aggressively with a too large range of starting hands.  If you discover you’ve got five calling stations, playing tight is the only way or you’re just signing up to play bingo.

So it feels good, I’m watching the hands play out and making notes on what I see, waiting for some suitable cards to play myself.  Oh hang on, I forgot, even though I put that CD in the drive I haven’t actually started copying the files yet.  I’ll just do that. Hmmm, which folder should they go in?  Better make a new one…  BEEEEP BEEEEP BEEEEP BEEEEP!

Before I know it the Pokerstars software is bleeping at me to tell me that I’m nearly out of time to take my turn.  So I fold the Q9s under the gun and start to despair that my attention span has become so small.  In a split second my brain can be distracted by the most inane of things.  My brain is killing my game!  I get bored too easily.  But if I was doing it properly, it wouldn’t be boring!

So here’s the thing.  Poker time has to be poker time.  Nothing else.  No distractions.  No TV, no talk radio, no emails, no blog.  The only thing in poker time is poker.  And maybe some music.

That’s my golden rule #1.

It’s hard to have some time away from any other distractions, so in the interests of sticking to it, I think I need to intentionally make sessions pretty short.  Hmmm, I guess that just means cash games then, no tournaments.

For now I’m off to the land of nod, but before I do I want to make a commitment to you, my loyal and wise followers.  Even though you barely exist yet dear reader, my promise to you is this.  I, the self proclaimed Triple Barrel Kid, do solemnly swear to abide by the golden rules set down herein.  I promise to love them, to cherish them and to live them.  I do.


Skill Beats Luck in Legal Battle!

Yes folks, it’s true!  American poker players have long been waiting for a ruling like this since Black Friday in April last year.  Americans have been barred from the vast majority of online poker sites since the United States v. Scheinberg ruling declared that providing online poker to Americans was a federal offence.  Check out the wikipedia page for more of the background.

I don’t know about you, but I have to say I very much miss them!  America has a massive pool of players that frankly, I want to play against. Apart from anything else is the geography of the whole thing.  I live in the UK which means that essentially the later it gets in the evening for me, the less people are playing, as they are all on either the same time zone as me or ahead of me.

Now it looks like they could be back.  A judge in the US has ruled that poker is a game more based on skill than it is on luck.  If the Americans are allowed back there should be as many people coming on to the site as leaving, all throughout my evening and night.  14 hour stints could feasibly be back on the cards.  Blimey.

Check out the Economist’s take on things.

Where’s the startline?

I haven’t played much for the last month or so.  I’ve got quite a lot going on in my life right so time for poker is limited, which means that I’ve got to be at peace with the fact that this journey is likely to start pretty slow.  But maybe that’s a good thing.  Maybe that’ll help me focus on how important learning from each and every session is.

The other barrier, of course, is cash.  I don’t have much to add to a dismally small stake, so I’m expecting a bit of a grind.

Wow! Really starting with a bang then.

There are lots of different things that I need to spending time thinking about in regards to how I play, all of which affect my result.  Eventually I’ll try and get around to addressing all of them.  So…

  • Frame of mind
  • Environment
  • Distractions
  • Tables I play at
  • The type of game
  • Opponents
  • Knowledge of opponents
  • Knowledge of the maths
  • Stakes played
  • How many tables
  • How much time is available
  • Multi-tasking
  • Which site is used
  • Use of tracking software (I currently use Poker Tracker 3)

One of the major things that I want to sort out is to make sure that I play the best table available.  Why play in a tough game when there’s a soft game elsewhere?  Recently, like a lot of players it would seem, I’ve been defaulting far too often for playing on PokerStars. It’s a massive site but I’m limiting myself far too much.

So I need to figure out all the networks that I want to play at, and pick the best site of each.  Of course to play you have to have a bankroll, so every site that I’m expecting to have in my armoury has to be deposited into.  Like I say, I don’t have much cash, so it’s taking winnings from one to feed the next I guess.

For now, mainly because I need to have slept, woken up and got into the frame of mind to entertain a 3 year old in the next four and a half hours, I’m going to leave it there.

Full Tilt Bought and Paid For

The debacle that was Full Tilt Poker has been bought by PokerStars, increasing the giant’s prowess over the online poker world.  They have vowed to pay all of Full Tilt’s short changed players, so it looks little old me gets my little old stake back. Great news for the triplebarrelkid – I seem to remember it was about 4 dollars…