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Ode to a Buddy

The Life & Humbling Times of a Bridge Pro Learning Poker
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April, 2014    

Jared I have problems! First, for what should be good news:

It was the end of January, 2013 when I joined PSO, having never played poker. Ten months later, I moved from 10NL Zoom to 25NL as there was nothing in between. Ironically, I was losing money at 10NL but still knew I was ready to move up and indeed I was right. Yes, this sounds totally illogical but just hold on!

By mid-February, 2014 I was plus $563 in Zoom and +$235 in Sit & Goes. Only six weeks later at 25NL, I have accumulated over $1,300 from my Zoom cash intake, stayed about the same in tournaments and that includes 2 weeks without play (see my last blog). I have jumped from 690 VPPs since February to 2,685 during March. For all of last year I earned 1,183 VPPs while only during thw first 3 months of 2014, I have earned 8,900. Again I made Silver Star but this time not by the end of the month, but by mid-month.. While many PSO members are way ahead of my game, I now understand that I needed more of a challenge and can only assume I was under-stimulated at 10NL...Here's how my poker tracking looks today, including January through March of this year:

Pokertraker April 1st, 2014

Sounds good, right? But this means I may get bored with 25NL and why can’t I imagine moving up to 50NL?  I have work to do on bet-sizing and analyzing the board in relation to what my opponent(s) may hold. I can’t afford—and I don’t mean financially—to move to 50NL with such work to do and my private teacher, Dave (‘TheLangolier’) will testify to this. However, I have always been an over achiever and know that certainly by 8-10 months I will accomplish the fundamentals of these issues.  And once Dave and I review flat calling, re-raising, 3-betting, c-betting, checking, check/raises, and more,  I know I will absorb the material well discussed at  Live Trainings I attend, blogs and videos I study, hands I play which I always review and Dave’s incredible talent as a teacher.

And if I can now become a Silver Star by mid-month, does this mean it makes sense to aim for a Gold Star? Somehow it feels right for the work I put into this game but I keep coming back to the fact that there are so many much better players on PSO who are not Gold Stars and for me to be a Gold Star it seems unnecessarily flashy! It’s okay to be an over achiever but flashy, for me would be tacky! 

Then there’s this major problem I fight: once I reach about a win of $60-$70, I leave the table. When I haven’t, $60-$70 sometimes moves down to $40 or $50 as I go on a scared tilt. When I see someone with $100+ I wonder how they do it. So I land up playing 3 shorter sessions on a good day.However, such becomes a real problem when I make a substantial win at one time. Do I stop playing after these hands or am I jinxed given I am in easy reach to a win of $60?  

Pocket Tens are lovely, regardless of position:



This one I dedicate to all who feel they get bad beats and particularly to GeneralKhan!:


Do you think he would have gone all-in had I bet higher once I knew I had the nuts? We will never know.

So Jared Tendler. It’s time we looked at issues surrounding the psychological factors of moving up and moving down. How does one know when one is really ready to play for bigger buy-ins and hopefully bigger wins, play for smaller buy-ins or if outside the U.S., move from play to real money, partaking in PSO’s bankroll management program?

Jared, having read your terrific article on poker and fear, I know that right now you are a busy guy on PSO.  Soon it will be time for you to be interviewed by me, as we have planned, so PSO members are invited to leave me questions to ask of you. So please leave comments with questions to Jared on this topic or write about your experiences. Then the interview will be on audio for all to listen to and hopefully, learn from.

Ironically, I had no problem being a 'star' student through medical school, one of few teaching first through third students during my first year of internship as a psychiatrist, as a first year professional being invited to speak at very large conferences, being published in prestigious journals or receiving funding for research. So Jared, why am I so concerned about the thought of eventually 'moving up' at poker? Will I feel like a fraud amongst a group of such excellent PSO poker players? Or can I own the fact that I learn quickly and that I have organized my learning and playing time well? 

Jared Tendler, I need your help!

May all your aspirations come to fruition.

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