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Roland’s Goals: February Update

By: Roland GTX @ 05:17 (EST) / 115 / Comment ( 8 )


I am sad to say I made Goldstar yesterday. The four golden beacons I earned, now shine under my name as a constant reminder of a man on tilt. This is my story of how bad luck can lead to self-inflicted mistakes. I hope this will serve as a lesson for you and a means of catharsis for me. 

I ran great all January and ended the month with better than 8 bb/100 at 25NL FR Zoom. I was playing well, running hot and brimming with confidence. Or, perhaps it was arrogance. 

Friday, the 1st of February, was the start of a new month of poker. My wife was away for the weekend giving me time for some nice long sessions. That evening I played my A-game, but ran as cold as I ever have. I lost five all ins. In four of them I got all in on the turn with about 80% equity, such as a straight against a set. All four times I got rivered. The fifth hand I actually got it in bad with the second best set. Well, that was 162 dollars out the window and a horrible start to the month. Fair enough, variance is part of the game. My EV adjusted showed that I was still playing solid poker and didn’t think I was too stressed about a bad session. In reality, I was already on tilt.

The next day I ditched the unlucky 25NL Zoom tables opting for a session of 50NL full ring Zoom instead. Yes, I play 50NL Zoom, but only a single table in order to give it my full attention. This time I fired up four. This plan seemed like a great way to quickly “recoup my losses” from the day before. I ignored my inner voice whispering that this was a bad idea, and doubled my risk. Let it suffice to say that my luck hadn’t changed. I got coolered again losing another 80 dollars. Well, this was obviously not the best way to deal with a stretch of unfavorable variance. Time to close my laptop, go for a walk, and cool my head in the Norwegian winter air.

Four miles later, I thought I had regained my composure and logged back into Pokerstars. I once again employed the fool proof Blackjack method of doubling my bet after a loss. There were not enough players for 100NL Full Ring Zoom to be running. So, I fired up a 100NL 6-Max Zoom instead (as well as three 25NL Zoom tables, and a Rush multiple tourney on Full Tilt....). An hour into my 100NL session, I picked up 1010 in the bb, 3-bet a btn steal raise and got called. The flop ran 10 7 4 rainbow. I lead with a bet and the btn raised me big. I jammed the remainder of my 174 dollar stack in the middle and got insta-called. The villain showed K4o?!  I was far ahead with top set against his bottom pair. Far ahead that is until a K on the turn and another K on the river gave him a better full house. No, the villain did not have ”Run it twice” turned on so the result stood unchanged. I had just screwed myself... again.

I could sit here crying about these suckouts (even more than I already have), but I should never have put myself in this situation to begin with. Moving up stakes to improve a downswing is bad, no matter what the results. If I am going to play 100NL, I need to give it my full attention, not impulsively toss it into a multitabling session. Furthermore, I play full ring, not 6-Max. I had no business playing 100NL 6-Max Zoom! This is outside my comfort zone, outside my skill level, and outside everything I know about playing smart poker. Just like getting value owned, my own actions had created a dangerous situation for which I paid dearly.

In retrospect, perhaps a good kick in the face was just what I needed in order to make this lesson stick. I had finally gotten some sense beaten into me. I took a few days off in order to come to terms with my predicament. I admitted that I had tilted. I accepted that I had spewed a significant portion of my bankroll. And I acknowledged that running cold is an inherent part of the game. I wiped the blood off my face and went back to the tables. This time I did bring my A-game, as well as, some humility.

Since this shaky February start, I have played 30K hands of 25NL Zoom. I actually did play some more at 50NL and 100NL, but this time under the right circumstances and with the right mindset. I did not reach my 500 dollar monthly profit goal, but I did manage to end the month with about 150 dollars in profit. This took more time at the tables than I wanted to invest though.

So, yes, looking at my Goldstar makes me sad. The FPPs came from going on tilt, and consequentially from the intense struggle to recover. For me, it will serve not as a symbol of improvement, but as an embarrassing reminder of what not to do. I often talk about minimizing one’s losses, but my actions this month have been the exact opposite. The amount of stress has not been fun. Thankfully, I am back on track now. And on a happier note, some good did come out of February. 


*I have gotten better at ranging my opponents post flop. This has allowed me to win more hands without going to the river. My Non-showdown profit used to be a huge minus. Now it is closer to break even. Recognizing when my opponents have missed the board has allowed me to open my starting hand range as well. My stats are moving from ABC toward TAG.

* I have ironed out my ”just a pair” issues. I did not spew a single stack in February in spots where I ”knew” my over pair was beat. This was one of my main priorities.

* I can now comfortably 4 table 25NL Zoom without reverting to ABC poker now.

* There have been quite a few interesting hands and good discussions in the Cash Analysis section this month. Dave always delivers the goods in his full ring analyses, but ArtySmokesPS and f1nlaion and have posted some thought provoking full ring analyses, too. Good stuff guys, thanks!

*I didn’t play many tourneys this month and only cashed in two. My best finish was fifth in a $4 Rush Tourney at Full Tilt. Making the final table is always good.


Focus on 25NL zoom, keeping the right mindset and grinding what I am good at. I will continue working on the same improvement goals that I have been. Reviewing my stats, posting hands, training sessions, videos etc.

Milestone hands: I will multitable regular tables during this promo. 16NL Full Ring seems to be my sweet spot. It generates enough VPPs to be worthwhile while being soft enough to be nicely profitable.

WBCOOP: I will be playing NLHE and PLO games, as well as blogging and tweeting throughout the competition. Remember to vote for your favorite blogs once the doors open at PokerNews!

There you have it. I have survived my first downswing at cash tables, although not with much style. I have learned a bit more about keeping the right mindset. And I am looking forward to less stress and more fun at the tables in March.

Thanks for giving me a shoulder to lean on PSO! Being honest with you, forces me to be honest with myself. I truly believe that is the only way to improve.

Roland GTX

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